Synan Says: The Real Top 25 in College Football, FSU Had to Fire Willie Taggart

After firing Willie Taggart, Florida State University’s (FSU) administration said it all.

“I think very highly of Coach Taggart and wish him well, but in the interest of the university we had no choice but to make a change,” said FSU President John Thrasher.  “We will support our student-athletes in every way and do all we can to return to the winning tradition that is Seminole football.”

“We had no choice but to make a change.” That offers some fascinating insights at just how far off the rails Taggart took FSU’s football program. His recruiting classes were not horrible–but the play on the field sure was.

The penalties were stupid and unending. In an Instagram recap of Saturday’s game, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, a major influence in college football, went off on the Seminoles after the loss to Miami.  He said he was “done with Florida State” and doesn’t want to talk about the Seminoles anymore.

Herbstreit was even blunter as he took a look at the Seminoles.

“I hate the way they represent themselves. Their current roster needs to go back and watch the Bobby Bowden era, because it wasn’t about talking trash and fighting, that’s all they do. That’s all. They’re the most undisciplined team you’re going to watch and the terrible team. They need to focus more on execution and less on chirping,” he said.

It’s over, no matter the cost–and it should be. Florida State is a powerhouse and the job opening should draw the best candidates in the country.

Who could FSU get as their next coach? I don’t have sources inside the Athletic Department but I do have some ideas on who the Seminoles should call.

FSU needs discipline. If the last coach could not impose discipline, FSU should get one who will instill it in the program. How about Matt Rhule from Baylor? He did a great job cleaning up the mess (often times criminal) Art Briles left behind at Baylor and, just three years later, the team controls its own destiny for the college football playoffs.

Matt Campbell at Iowa State has won the right way at one of the most difficult schools in America to recruit to and win football games. The big negative with him could be the NFL will eventually want his services.

Mark Stoops at Kentucky could be the eventual hire. He won at a difficult place to recruit despite  playing much tougher competition. Unlike Taggart, he’s actually beaten Florida.

Brent Venables at Clemson could be on the list. No one has gained 300 yards this year on his defense. He’s still fairly young, but does FSU want a first time head coach? Same goes for Co-Offensive Coordinator Jeff Scott, the son of Brad Scott who was offensive coordinator at FSU.

FSU could use a big name but who is out there? Would Bob Stoops ditch the XFL to return to college coaching? He won a national championship at Oklahoma. The Seminoles are not brining in Urban Meyer, just stop it.

FSU could just go for broke.  How about Lane Kiffin? Things have been mostly quiet at FAU. Has the “Lane Train” learned his lesson about how to manage things after some success–but a lot of wild times at Tennessee and USC? He’s brash and would certainly bring some attention back to FSU football. The question is would it be the kind of attention the Seminole want.

Joe Brady is the 30 year old wunderkind offensive coordinator at LSU. The last time FSU hired a young guy, it turned out pretty well.

The Seminoles have a lot of options–and  it will be interesting to see where they go as they start their search.

Top 25 For the Week Beginning November 3.

1. LSU (8-0) They’ve lost eight straight to Alabama. Can they turn it around?

2. Ohio State (8-0) Wisconsin and Cincinnati are their best wins.

3. Penn State (8-0) Michigan and at Iowa best wins but they get undefeated Minnesota this week.

4. Alabama (8-0) At Texas A&M, at South Carolina are best wins. Will be in the top spot if they beat LSU this week.

5. Clemson (9-0) Could another road trip to face NC State trip them up? Unlikely.

6. Baylor (8-0) Looked pretty unimpressive against West Virginia. Still, being undefeated matters.

7. Georgia (7-1) The loss to South Carolina is terrible but the Dawgs now boast wins over Notre Dame and Florida.

8. Oregon (8-1) A one-point loss to Auburn on the opening week in a game they mostly controlled is the Ducks’ only blemish on an otherwise good resume.

9. Minnesota (8-0) A win this week over Penn State would put the Gophers in the top 5.

10. Utah (8-1) A quality win at Washington pushes them ahead of Oklahoma.

11. Oklahoma (7-1) Texas win is still the only one with any value. They are at Iowa State this week.

12. Florida (6-2) The Gators are a recruiting class short of being a top 10 team. Mullen is getting a lot out of them though.

13. Auburn (7-2) Had to hold on to beat Ole Miss.

14. Memphis (8-1) Did well in the spotlight, putting 50 on previously unbeaten SMU.

15. Wake Forest (7-1) Normally, they win close ones but the Deacons really dominated NC State.

16. Cincinnati (7-1) Almost got upended at awful East Carolina.

17. SMU (8-1) Cotton Bowl looks very unlikely but they still get Navy to try and muck up the AAC West.

18. Michigan (7-2) Playing Maryland solves a lots of problems.

19. Boise State (7-1) Still in the Cotton Bowl hunt, especially with SMU’s loss.

20. Kansas State (6-2) Three wins in a row, including the monster upset over Oklahoma.

21. Iowa (6-2) Still have Wisconsin left.

22. Wisconsin (6-2) Defense still great except that one half against Ohio State.

23. Notre Dame (6-2) If the Irish wanted to impress voters, a late comeback to beat Virginia Tech at home was not the way to do it.

24. UCF (6-2) Wins are just not very good–but the offense and running game are.

25. Appalachian State (7-1) That was a crushing loss to arch rival Georgia Southern. They still get a game at South Carolina to make their case.


Reach Mike Synan at


Share this story on Facebook or Twitter or Send in a Text Message::