The Willie Taggart hire was a nightmare, and now Florida State has no obvious replacement

One thing we (sort of) know for sure: Florida State didn't fire Willie Taggart because Urban Meyer is available. As often as Meyer is known to change his mind, even he wouldn't take on the mess that has become Florida State. Not as a former Florida coach and not with another job (USC) waiting for him if he wants it.

Worse for FSU, there is no obvious replacement. You will see lists of candidates, including ours. (Might I suggest, in all seriousness, Lane Kiffin? Also, please consider Mike Leach and Dave Clawson!)

Sure, there will be random guys who would take the job.

But who makes Florida State … Florida State again?

The school did its best to discredit Jimbo Fisher for the current state of the program. At some point, that narrative turned, too. This is now all -- or mostly -- on Taggart.

It's possible a bright coach with plenty of years left in his career found his level. It's called the Peter Principle, the business concept that one "rises to the level of their incompetence." It probably applies here.

You know you've done something unspeakable when one of the first voices out of FSU is school president John Thrasher. In a statement Sunday, Thrasher said, "… in the interest of the university, we had no choice but to make a change."

In the interest of the university? This is more serious that I thought. All the poor guy did was coach losing football.

Ah, but we all know the tail wags the Nole at this level. We have witnessed the swift rusting of a football factory. Six years ago, FSU won the last BCS Championship Game.

Now, because of that rust, might as well forget Bob Stoops, a name I've already seen as a possible replacement. Iowa State's Matt Campbell, too.

First, FSU is overvaluing itself if it think it can get either of those two. Stoops, the former Oklahoma coach, took the Dallas XFL job for fun. He doesn't have to recruit. He barely has to show up if the XFL folds. He can still be a dad and husband.

Campbell isn't going to risk perhaps the biggest move of his career to go to Florida State. Not now.

Earlier this season, Taggart had started 6-9 at Florida State. That was the worst 15-game stretch for FSU since 1973-74. Told you, things sank fast.

Taggart is a decent man who climbed the ladder quickly. He turned things around at Western Kentucky, took South Florida from 2-10 to 10-2. He was one of Jim Harbaugh's most trusted assistants at Stanford in the preceding decade. Taggart spent one optimistic season at Oregon before skipping town for his dream job in Tallahassee, Florida.

Now there are nightmares all around. Everyone is to blame -- Taggart, his assistants, former athletic director Stan Wilcox for hiring him and agreeing to a $17 million buyout, the second-largest in college football history behind Charlie Weis at Notre Dame.

Current AD David Coburn made sure to tell Bleacher Report in the offseason that the downturn was Jimbo's fault.

Not entirely after Sunday. At 4-5, the Seminoles can still go to a bowl. It's obvious the decision makers at FSU didn't see a future in even pursuing that possibility with Taggart.

Might as well "blame" Clemson, too. The Tigers have run away and hid from the ACC -- and possibly all of college football. Noles-Tigers used to be the ACC game of the year. In terms of real estate, Clemson is in a gated community. Sadly, FSU is the one working the leaf blower.

I spoke to Taggart in September after that horrendous 1-2 start. I was surprised by one of his first comments.

"We're a fragile team," he said.

If the head coach is saying that in the open, things must be bad.

This is not to tap dance on Taggart's legacy or rub FSU's nose in it. We all know college football is better when Florida State is good.

Sunday proved college football is not going to be operating at full strength for a while.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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