With the worst-kept secret of Jimbo Fisher leaving for Texas A&M finally over, it means Florida State has joined Florida in a football coach search in the same season for the first time since 1960. The Seminoles will be hard pressed to equal the home-run hire of Fisher, particularly since heavy hitters like James Franklin (Penn State) and Dabo Swinney may have no interest in leaving and Scott Frost (UCF) appears bound for Nebraska.

 

FSU seems focused on pursuing Willie Taggart, a Bradenton native who successfully rebuilt programs at Western Kentucky and South Florida, and guided Oregon to a 7-5 record in his first season. It’d be a historic hire since the Seminoles are one of 11 ACC schools to never have an African-American head football coach.

Whoever the new coach is, Fisher’s awkward departure doesn’t remove the fact he returned FSU to national prominence and will be a tough act to follow. He had a great run (82-23), just not a good ending. …

Maybe it’s poetic justice that Tennessee keeps fishing for a football coach and can’t seem to reel anybody in, and has now added to a dysfunctional environment by firing athletic director John Currie and appointing ex-coach Phil Fulmer to replace him. What’s next, interviewing ex-coach Lane Kiffin during halftime of his Florida Atlantic team playing in the Conference USA championship?

The UT search became radioactive after school administrators caved in to public pressure to retract Currie’s offer to Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. Then a long line of candidates either turned the job down or couldn’t reach an agreement, prompting UT to become a social media/national punch line.

When Tennessee can’t pry coaches away from Duke, Iowa State, Purdue, Washington State and North Carolina State (Dave Doeren has a 15-25 ACC record), it’s obvious the job has taken a prestige hit. But after UT fans ambushed Schiano’s hire, and the power brokers continue to fumble on this search, maybe the Vols and Currie are getting exactly what they deserve… .

During Eli Manning’s 210-game consecutive start streak with the New York Giants, nine different Jaguars started at quarterback and compiled a record of 83-127. Manning was 110-100, a surprisingly low win percentage (.524) for a two-time Super Bowl champion. His 83.8 career QB rating is also average by NFL standards… .

Here’s what Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden told me about Florida hiring Dan Mullen: “I really think Florida got the right man. When we played them when Urban Meyer was coaching, I was really impressed with his play-calling. He kept us off-balance.” …

Pigskin forecast: Jaguars over Indianapolis Colts by 6 (quarterback sacks); Tennessee Titans over Houston Texans by 1 (AFC South photo finish); Auburn over Georgia by 1 (tight rematch); Clemson over Miami by 10 (Pitt exposures); Wisconsin over Ohio State by 1 (closed Alabama playoff debate). Last week: 2 right, 3 UCF playoff committee rankings.

Gene.frenette@jacksonville.com: (904) 359-4540