This is a Florida State program that was among the most stable in the country for most of its existence. It isn’t as old as many of the other power programs in the country, playing its first season in its modern iteration in 1947. In 1976, the school hired Bobby Bowden as its head coach, who remained in that role until 2009 and won two national championships in the process.
But the quality of the team declined in the final years of Bowden’s tenure, and it had reached sleeping giant status when offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher took over following Bowden’s retirement. He quickly built the team back, winning a national title with Heisman-winner Jameis Winston in 2013 and making the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014.
But after a middling 2017 season, Fisher stunned the folks in Tallahassee when he left for the same role at Texas A&M. The school replaced him with Florida State coach Willie Taggart, which didn’t work out at all. Taggart went just 9-12 at FSU and was fired in the middle of his second season.
In came Memphis coach Mike Norvell, whose tenure also got off to a rough start. He went 3-6 in Year 1 in 2020, and he started off the 2021 season 0-4, including a loss to FCS Jacksonville State at home. But the team is 5-2 since then, and it has solid wins in that span over North Carolina and Miami.
Things still aren’t great in Tallahassee, but Norvell seems to be getting things together just in time for his first matchup against the Gators.