McElwain Is Out At Florida—What Does That Mean for Florida State?

The football gods have typically smiled down on the Florida State Seminoles in November. Since winning the national championship in 2013, the Seminoles have only lost one game in November—in 2015, to No. 1 ranked Clemson in Death Valley.

In fact, losing hasn’t been much of a late-season tradition in the Jimbo Fisher era at all. Since Fisher took over as head coach in 2010, the Seminoles have lost only four November games total.

It’s a trend the Seminoles need to continue in order to maintain a 35-year bowl streak. And the downpour of misfortune down the road from Tallahassee may just be fate generously providing them a slight glimmer of hope.

Four games remain on the Florida State schedule, and they’ll need to win all four in order to remain bowl eligible. While one would expect them to handily rout an outmatched 1-7 Delaware State team, the ‘Noles are sporting three very losable games on the agenda: Syracuse at home, and road contests at No. 6 Clemson and Florida.

The unceremonious ousting of Jim McElwain, however, raises new questions about the Seminoles’ end-of-season rivalry rumble. The effects of mid-season coaching changes vary—see the 2015 South Carolina Gamecocks, 1-5 after Spurrier’s departure, or the 2016 LSU Tigers, who only lost two games after the September firing of Les Miles.

But the woes of the 3-4 Gators are many. The Gators will be under the direction of Defensive Coordinator Randy Shannon—a remarkable defensive coach, but not the man to make immediate improvements to the 112th ranked offense in the country.

If the embattled Gators can’t rally around the coaching cry of their new leader, and Fisher & Co. are able to inspire some desperately-needed confidence in their team, a win against the University of Florida suddenly seems much more possible.

Enter the best blessing-in-disguise Stan Wilcox could ever wish for: an extra game Florida State could actually win. As of press time, the canceled contest with Louisiana-Monroe has not been rescheduled since Hurricane Irma foiled it back in September, but there has been plenty of speculation about the game being rescheduled for championship week on December 2nd.

With assumed victories over ULM, Delaware State, and a more reachable win at The Swamp within their grasp, that leaves Florida State in need of only one quasi-miracle: they’ll need to beat a 4-4 Syracuse Orange team at home in Tallahassee this Saturday.

That won’t be an easy feat given the ineptitude of Florida State’s offensive line and mostly-absent defense, but not even the football gods believe the Seminoles can pull off a victory over Clemson.

If Florida State, Fisher and Stan Wilcox have any sense at all, they’ll take the chance that their bitter rival’s misfortune could be the key to their salvation—and they’ll put Louisiana-Monroe back on the schedule as quickly as possible.

After all, it is November, and miracles do happen.
You can follow Britnee on Twitter @BrittneeTaylor.


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