Top 10 Stories of the 2000's: 10-6

The past 10 years have been a wild ride for the Florida State football program. From contending for the BCS Championship in the early part of the decade to fighting for bowl eligibility this past season, FSU has seen many storylines develop over this decade. NoleDigest gives their list of the top 10 storylines during the 2000's starting with 10-6.

Florida State sat atop the college football mountain in the 2000s, and it has also had several seasons where they were battling a .500 record and national respectability. The program had highs and lows and it saw the ending of a college football legend's career. Several stories made FSU what it was this decade. NoleDigest gives its top 10 storylines for the Seminoles, starting with numbers 10-6.

10) Recruiting misses: It is often said recruiting is the lifeblood of a college program. FSU felt that fact as much as any big-time program this decade. The Seminoles landed some of the best classes on paper according to Scout.com, but when you look at them now the misses, academic casualties and busts are almost comical.

During FSU's dynasty run they had strong quarterback play. Not until the end of the decade with Christian Ponder can it be discussed that FSU had an excellent signal caller. Fabian Walker, Xavier Lee, Adrian McPherson and Wyatt Sexton were guys who didn't live up to their billing for their own reasons. FSU's offense was mediocre for most of the early part of the decade, and poor quarterback play did not help.

We can talk for hours at the misses. From playmakers like Dishon Platt, Fred Rouse Jamaal Edwards, Kenny O'Neal, Russell Ball, Damon McDaniel, Brandon Warren, etc. FSU just had too many whiffs on the offensive side of the ball. Then when you look at the offensive line, you'll just scratch your head. There's a reason why Jimmy Heggins and Mark McHale are still mocked by the FSU fan base to this day.

The defense didn't have as many busts as it did players of need choose other schools at the end or just not qualify. Marvin Austin, Callahan Bright, Brian Coulter, and many others are misses the ‘Noles still miss to this day.

Regardless of the way you look at it FSU's recruiting killed them this decade. Between reaches and poor evaluations this program saw way too many players that couldn't make it at FSU. Without a doubt it played a contributing role in FSU's on-field struggles in the 2000's.

9) The Death of Devaughn Darling: The death of Darling rocked the program in 2001. Darling was coming off a freshman season where he played special teams, and he entered workouts before spring as the projected starting outside linebacker.

The Seminoles off-season workouts were known as one of the toughest in the nation, a reason why many felt the Seminoles were one of the strongest teams in college football. This topic caused a lot of debate in the death of Devaughn and it put national attention on the program and the way they treated its players.

Devaughn passed away February 26, 2001 of what was then thought as cardiac arrhythmia. Later it came out he was diagnosed with the sickle cell trait before his passing. Nonetheless the death of Darling put a major damper on the program and it changed the way the Seminole coaches trained their players throughout the rest of the decade.

8) Adrian McPherson gets busted: Adrian came into FSU with all the promise in the world. He was the first Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball in state history. He had every accolade coming in. He came from a good family, had good grades and by every account was a good kid.

After a 34-24 home loss to Notre Dame in 2002 McPherson was named the starter too much praise and excitement. Over the next three games, FSU went 3—0 as McPherson threw for 654 yards, eight touchdowns and just one pick. He played with the kind of smooth, clean, effortless power and control that prompted Bowden to say he had as much athletic potential as anyone he'd coached.

2 days after McPherson led FSU to a win over North Carolina he was in R&R Truck & Auto Accessories checking out rims with friends Melvin Capers and Otis Livingston. When left alone, McPherson reached over the counter, tore a check out of the book and had Capers cash it for $3,500.

After the arrest speculation ran rampant that McPherson stole the check to pay off gambling debts. He was accused of betting on college football games, including FSU's. Even though Adrian denied it charges were filed and he had to face a trial in the summer of 2003. While the jury deadlocked and a verdict never came McPherson pleaded no contest to theft, forgery and gambling charges. That ended his collegiate career.

With the poor quarterback play this decade one has to wonder what could have been with Adrian at QB. The loss was major and the embarrassment was severe for the Seminole program.

7) Myron Rolle wins the Rhodes scholarship: Myron winning the prestigious Rhodes scholarship was big news for not only the program but for the college in general. Challenged as a legit institution by some coming off of the academic scandal, Rolle showed that each student makes their college experience their own and that FSU is a top-flight institution.

Rolle did as much off the field for FSU as he did on it. Maybe that overshadowed his playing career to some but Rolle earning the Rhodes was a top highlight for this program in the 2000's.

6) Bad Losses: FSU wasn't the team it was in the 90's, granted, but this team lost a ton of games they probably shouldn't have lost.

The first bad loss was the last time FSU played in the national title game in 2000. FSU entered the game against Oklahoma as the prohibitive favorite as they were playing for their second straight BCS Title. The offense played poorly in the 13-2 loss.

A sign of things to come was in 2001 against North Carolina. 41-9 is still talked about till this day. It was FSU's 3rd ACC loss, and it was ugly. Turnover after turnover and an inept offense that foreshadowed Jeff Bowden's tenure as offensive coordinator was the story to this game.

N.C. State in 2002 was ugly. McPherson, some thought, blew the game on purpose. Whether he did or not doesn't matter now but that was a game FSU came into winning 3 straight and playing well.

The Florida loss in 2004 was ugly for several reasons. FSU was the better team coming in as they were playing well at 8-2. Ron Zook was on his way out at Florida and the Gators were struggling to not finish .500. The Gators dominated the ball on both sides. This was the start to the current 6 game losing streak FSU has to the Gators.

The biggest loss of the decade, and the most shocking, was the 30-0 loss to Wake Forest at home. The game was a smack in the face to FSU as it showed just how much they had fallen, and it led to the much needed changes in terms of coaching and direction FSU needed.

Stay tuned to NoleDigest for Part II of this feature later this week.


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