Here are five takeaways from this past weekend’s football action around the state.
Where do Seminoles go from here?
First of all, don’t feel too sorry for Willie Taggart after news broke on Sunday that he was fired as Florida State’s football coach less than two seasons into the job.
Taggart has 17 million reasons to not be all that upset, and the staggering buyout owed to him by FSU, which could total about $20 million when you factor in assistant buyouts, shows just how much prominent FSU supporters wanted him out.
Now, the big question is, “What’s next?”
You spend that much money to get rid of someone, odds are there’s added incentive to spend even more to bring in a big-name coach.
For that reason, Urban Meyer’s name might start to pop up.
Of course, FSU athletic director David Coburn told the Tallahassee Democrat a couple of weeks ago that there was no way Meyer would even be considered for the job, saying that “If Coach (Taggert) were hit by a bus tomorrow, we would not target Coach Meyer, period.”
But are there any better alternatives out there who will rally the fanbase?
Rumors are rampant that Meyer is going to be pursued heavily by USC when Clay Helton likely gets let go, so FSU would have to win a bidding war if it changes course on its Meyer stance.
Even if Meyer is not considered, there’s enormous pressure now on the FSU administration.
This is a critical moment in the course of a once-proud FSU football program that needs this next hire to be right.
No 0-16 season for Dolphins
Whether or not you believe the legend that members of the unbeaten 1972 Dolphins team pops champagne when the last unbeaten team of an NFL season loses, it’s a good bet former Dolphin players and fans are toasting the fact Miami won’t be on the other side of history.
Thanks to a 26-18 win over the Jets, the Dolphins won’t finish 0-16 on the year and join the 2008 Lions and 2017 Browns as the only winless teams in NFL history.
With that weight lifted off, now the rest of the season will be a matter of whether the Dolphins finish with the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft.
Crushing loss for Gators
Saturday was definitely a missed opportunity for Florida, which had a clear path to the SEC championship game in Atlanta and a possible shot at a playoff berth if it could have beaten rival Georgia in Jacksonville.
But Georgia must have noticed Florida’s easy remaining schedule as well, as the motivated Bulldogs outplayed the Gators in a 24-17 win that gave Georgia (7-1, 4-1) what’s essentially a two-game lead over Florida (7-2, 4-2) in the SEC East.
All hope is not lost for Florida as far as getting to the SEC title game goes, given Georgia still has tough games left at home against Missouri and Texas A&M and at Auburn.
But getting to the playoffs is out of the question now.
Maturation of Williams promising for Hurricanes
Don’t look now, but is the maligned offense for the Miami Hurricanes starting to find some footing?
It sure looked like it in a 27-10 win over Florida State.
Miami freshman quarterback Jarren Williams continued to show he is getting better rapidly, throwing for 313 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Hurricanes had four plays go for 30 yards or more to stay in the hunt for a spot in the ACC title game.
FAU with big road win
Florida Atlantic needed a win at Western Kentucky to have any hope of making it to the Conference USA championship game, and the Owls delivered with a 35-24 win over previously first-place Western Kentucky.
Chris Robison passed for 208 yards and James Pierre had two interceptions to move the Owls (6-3, 4-1) into a first-place tie with Marshall in the Conference USA East standings.
Marshall has the tiebreaker via its win over FAU earlier in the year, so the Owls will still need some help with three league games remaining.