â†µUPDATE, 8:25 p.m.: Bowden tells The Associated Press he hasn't made a decision on his coaching future.
â†µUPDATE, 7:43 p.m.: The Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that Bowden will announce his retirement Tuesday. â†µ
â†µIt shouldn't happen like this. It shouldn't come on the heels of a 37-10 loss to Florida State's greatest rival, shouldn't follow a 6-6 season, shouldn't be the only thing the once-proud Seminoles can talk about while Florida can talk about the possibility of the President in their cheering section in their drive for a national title. â†µâ†µ
â†µAnd yet, today is likely to be the last day that Bobby Bowden will be the head coach at Florida State, either in name or in actuality. ESPN's Mark Schlabach has the story of Bowden being given two options in a meeting with boosters this afternoon, but he is also citing a source that says one of the options is a reduced role that gives Jimbo Fisher more power over coaching responsibilities. (If that's one option, it doesn't take a detective to conclude that the other is probably more dire.) â†µâ†µ
â†µBowden's fate seems more sealed than it did last week, when his wife, Ann, was making noise about the Bowdens' importance to the university. And though I've heard conflicting reasons about why he would be allowed to stay (Bowden as creditor to trustees who lost money when the economy nosedived?) and why he is no longer a fit (Bowden wanted to hire his own defensive coordinator for a one-year ride to the sunset?), I would guess that these smoke signals, with the presumably softer option still shifting power irrevocably to Fisher, are evidence of a regime change in Tallahassee. â†µâ†µ
â†µ"I make the decision," Bowden told ESPN.com, and if that's true, I would also guess that Bowden takes the lesser role. Leaving for good is something he could have done many times before, and leaving after an dispiriting loss in the Swamp (check the quotes on preventing a shutout) is even less likely than Bowden getting to retain full grasp of the reins. With quarterback Christian Ponder returning and a defense that has nowhere to go but up, his 2010 team might have a chance to beat Florida at home in Bowden's last game on the field named for him. â†µâ†µ
â†µFor the last five years, Bowden has been hanging onto frayed hopes like this one. Why stop now? â†µâ†µ
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