Bobby Bowden, It’s a Dadgum Mad World
His acoustic version is a cover of the 1980s hit made popular by the British pop band Tears for Fears.
More recently, Mad World became well-known with the success of the film Donnie Darko in 2001.
And, five years later, it was played all over television with the release of Gears of War, a blood-and-guts video game.
That transitions me into where I am headed: the slow-fall of legendary Florida State head football coach Bobby Bowden.
Whether you are one who wears orange and blue, black and red or garnet and gold, a piece of you has to feel bad about where Bowden is at this time in his lengthy career.
Of course, credit has to be given where credit is due. The man is a living legend with nearly 400 career wins.
Nobody can ever take away the accomplishments, tangible and intangible, that Bowden has brought to Florida State University.
Two national championships (1993 and 1999) and 14 straight years (1987-2000) of finishing the year ranked in the top five are lines other NCAA coaches would love to have on their resumes.
But, the years of going 13-0-1 over a span of 14 bowl games have been over for some time now.
Since the 2001 season, Bowden has gone 69-39 and won four bowl games.
Essentially, Bowden equaled that total in a little over six seasons (1995-2000). And, if you ask any intelligent college football fan, it was a phenomenal run few head coaches will match.
Back to the song. The first four lines of Mad World are fitting for Bowden’s current state of affairs at FSU.
“All around me are familiar faces Worn out places, worn out faces Bright and early for the daily races Going nowhere, going nowhere.”
The 79-year-old Bowden is surrounded by long-time defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews and Oakley-wearing Chuck Amato, who returned to FSU in 2007 after seven years as North Carolina State’s head coach.
Prior to N.C. State, Amato was on Bowden’s staff as linebackers coach from 1981-1999. Talk about familiar faces.
As Bowden shuffles along the sideline on the field which bears his name, he has led his Seminoles to a near-loss to Jacksonville State and losses to Miami and South Florida.
For the fans, disbelief, heartache and misery are a few of the words associated with Florida State football.
Others are used, but they would have made the late comedian George Carlin blush.
The next lines of the song refer to the fans who may be mourning the program’s demise in a bar or on their sofas. In either location, a cold alcoholic beverage is not far away.
“Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow.”
FSU fans equate tomorrow with cheerful Florida Gator fans. The success of a rival program never makes the comparison better.
Now, the discussion of Bowden’s stepping down is nothing new. The 2-3 start, the slowest since 1976, has fueled the fire.
Whether you believe head coach in-waiting Jimbo Fisher, current offensive coordinator, should take over the throne, one item is clear – Bobby Bowden needs to step down.
In the world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, Bowden’s records and wins mean little. Additionally, the 2007 academic cheating scandal will not go away.
For the past handful of seasons, the FSU football program has been spiraling out of control. Someone needs to correct this nose dive because the altitude change is making fans ill.
A portion of a Mad World’s chorus is “And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad.…”
It has gotten to the point that nobody knows what to feel on the matter. The mixed emotions are overwhelming.
It’s because both Bowden and the university deserve much better
And, it is impossible to see the Alabama native donning his wide-brimmed straw hat much longer on the sidelines.
There would be no Saturdays filled with “dadgums” and other Southern-filled phrases.
It is nearing the end of an era, but for Bowden “it’s a very, very mad world.”
In the end, “I find it kind of sad.”
Richard Miller also is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio. He can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays with The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show. Richard contributes to Inside the Game with Robin Valetutto every Saturday from 12-2 p.m. Currently, he is collaborating with David Lamm on a book, which will be available in 2010.
You can e-mail Richard at Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org.