When Florida State offensive lineman Brady Scott proposed to his girlfriend on the field last week in the moments after a crushing, historic loss to Jacksonville State, the Misery Index’s initial impulse was to give the kid a break. With all the angst in the world these days, what’s wrong with a little love?
But the more we thought about it, and the more we heard former Florida State players weigh in on the inappropriateness of a marriage proposal at that particular moment, the more it suggested that something was deeply amiss with the Seminoles under Mike Norvell.
We all know that the result of a football game isn’t more important than asking the person you love to be your lifelong partner. At the same time, hints about the culture of a program and how seriously the players take winning and losing often emerge in tough times. When a player decides to make a public spectacle of a marriage proposal right after one of the worst losses in program history, it does not suggest a locker room that is deeply invested in on-field greatness.
Now we have to wonder whether the Seminoles care at all about what any of this looks like. Because as awkward as that marriage proposal might have been, it’s nothing compared to the embarrassment of losing 35-14 to Wake Forest and falling to 0-3 for the first time since 1976.
With this loss, it’s time to officially put a hard stop on the idea that Florida State is ever going to quote-unquote "be back." This is now a different program from the one that won national titles under Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher, and it should not be viewed as such.
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Instead, Florida State is like a formerly great company in the middle of a bankruptcy that will eventually emerge as something very different from what it was. There's no going back, only a choice in how it reinvents itself. Time will tell, but the Seminoles may not have even hit rock bottom yet. There’s a decent chance they’ll end the season 1-11 or 2-10, particularly if the players have checked out as much as it seems they have.
So what’s next? Obviously there are buy-in issues from the players, which is very much a Norvell problem. But a significant percentage of how Florida State ended up here pre-dates Norvell and won’t magically go away with yet another coaching change.
Just a couple of weeks ago, everyone at Florida State was happy after an overtime loss to Notre Dame that showed how competitive the Seminoles could be. Now, everything coming out of that program seems lifeless and hopeless, which puts Florida State at No. 1 on this week’s Misery Index, a weekly measurement of knee-jerk reactions based on what each fan base just watched.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida State No. 1 on Misery Index after college football Week 3