Florida State won the National Championship just five years ago. Think about that. Let it soak in like a rainy night in Tallahassee on the Doak Campbell Stadium grass.
Since the highest of highs, dark days have fallen upon a still-proud program, as Bobby Bowden will surely remind you. Less than a week after FSU's decision to fire Willie Taggart in his second year at the head of the football program, rumors abound as to who the Noles will choose to replace him. Bob Stoops, Mike Norvell, Lane Kiffin, DEION SANDERS? The names are big because the stakes are large.
Florida State needs to nail this hire. Should they swing and miss, wasting more good years in the process, they risk becoming an *other*.
Florida State sits on the same side of the ACC as Clemson, staring at Dabo Swinney's behind as he dominates the conference year after year, taking advantage of an easy slate to notch a College Football Playoff berth. The moral of the story is that the Seminoles' recent success will no longer be so front-of-mind in the recruiting seasons to come. This is the risk of working to convince young athletes to attend your program, one that only boasts an appearance in the original CFP. Doesn't Jameis Winston feel like a relic by now?
Yes, Florida State resides in a recruiting hotbed. Yes, the Noles will always, always have access to some of the top talents in the country, and are likely to land a few. But when you're competing against the likes of Florida, Miami, UCF and USF in your home state (not to mention the national powers opting for that very same talent), simply participating in the recruiting process isn't enough.
Florida State's next coach must have the enthusiasm necessary to reach a younger generation. Even if that's not Sanders, due to his lack of coaching experience, one can see why FSU's board dares to target a longshot former alum who 17 and 18-year-old kids can relate to, even if it's merely for marketing purposes.
Recency bias rules all, and it can mean death in a college football landscape dominated by a "what have you done for me lately" mindset. Should they fail in choosing their next leader, death is coming for Florida State.