As Florida State and Miami finished up another set of losses Saturday night, ESPN’s Andrea Adelson posed an interesting question.
Which team has had the more disappointing season?
More disappointing season
— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) November 11, 2018
Times columnist Martin Fennelly and college football reporter Matt Baker discuss.
Baker: There are no winners here. Only losers. But the biggest loser is FSU. As bad as the Hurricanes have looked in their four-game losing streak, at least they’re competitive; those four defeats are by a combined 30 points. FSU’s last loss (at Notre Dame) was by 29 points … and that’s not even the Seminoles’ biggest defeat of the last three weeks. Losing is bad. Quitting is worse, and at least a few FSU players already did that midway through coach Willie Taggart’s first season.
Fennelly: I’ve got to say Miami, only because I had limited expectations for Taggart and FSU. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, were in the preseason Top Ten. They were coming off a CFP near miss — ah, yes, the Notre Dame game. But the Hurricanes, under Mark Richt, seemed poised to change all that in 2018. The U was back. And then they went and played LSU. And now they’re in a death drop, threatening to lose five in a row.
Baker: The limited expectations for Taggart in Year 1 are fair. But the likelihood of FSU’s first losing season since 1976 is is worse than anyone could have reasonably expected. FSU’s NCAA-record bowl streak survived the lost years under Bobby Bowden and the fall of Jimbo Fisher, even if it meant sucking up its pride to reschedule Louisiana-Monroe last year. Yet the streak stops with a new head coach who inherited a roster that had four consecutive top-six recruiting classes.
Fennelly: All you really need to know about Miami this season is it should have lost to FSU, only to discover that FSU would have none of that. The indictment of the Hurricanes is that its defense, under coordinator Manny Diaz, is still one of the best in the nation — and it’s being completely wasted by Richt’s bland offense, replete with flip-flopping when it comes to quarterback. We saw this begin to creep into Athens late in Richt’s career there. He is one heck of a man, I would be proud to send my children to them, unless I wanted them to score a lot. Changes need to be made in Coral Gables, and it might include Richt finding a red-hot offensive coordinator and leaving him alone.
Baker: At least there’s a blueprint for change at Miami. Who knows what the future should look like in Tallahassee? Taggart’s honeymoon ended in Week 1, in a 21-point home loss to a Virginia Tech team that, it turns out, isn’t good. While Miami is wasting a top-tier defense, FSU is squandering one of the best backfields in the country, with Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick — with an alleged offensive guru as a head coach, no less. And if nothing else, at least Miami has the win over FSU to make its season seem slightly less awful.