Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day Oct. 21

A few thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning...

Here it is Tuesday morning and probably to the chagrin of numerous talking heads in the media along with quite a few boo birds who voiced their opinions quite loudly at The Swamp Saturday night, Will Muschamp is still gainfully employed as Florida’s football coach. That isn’t to say that he will be the football coach next year, but he is for now.

Athletic director Jeremy Foley, who stated a few weeks ago that no decision would be made about Muschamp remaining Florida’s football coach until after the season was over, issued a statement Monday. It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Muschamp nor was it as strongly worded as his earlier statement, but it made clear that at least for now, Muschamp is the coach.

“At the beginning of the season we said we would evaluate the season as it plays out,” Foley said on the Gatorzone website. “We will continue to do so. Our sole focus right now is supporting our coaching staff and players as they prepare for Georgia.”

Predictably, Foley wouldn’t tip his hand and with very good reason. Although unlikely, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Muschamp could save his job by rallying the Gators to what would be a shocking 5-0 run that would include wins over nationally ranked Georgia and defending national champ Florida State. While no one figures the Gators could pull off that daily double, it’s entirely possible they go 3-2, which would make them bowl eligible. A bowl game might be just the incentive the Gators need to continue to play hard the rest of the season.

Of course, if the Gators do go in the tank and suffer an embarrassing beatdown at the hands of Georgia in Jacksonville in a couple of weeks, that could force Foley to act sooner rather than later. But for now, it’s all speculation. The only one who knows what Jeremy Foley is going to do is Jeremy Foley and he’s not offering even the slightest hint for good reason. This isn’t just about a decision to retain or fire a football coach. It’s also a decision about the wives and children of the head coach, assistant coaches and support staff who very well might be uprooted in a matter of a few short months. Foley will take into account all these people as well as Muschamp whenever he makes his final decision.

While all signs point to a coaching change, it’s something we won’t know until Foley has taken all things into consideration and has a plan in place to move forward with or without Muschamp.


With the sting of the loss to Missouri still being felt by the Gator Nation and so much speculation about the future of football coach Will Muschamp, there was actually some very good news Monday. Keith Stone, a 6-7, 215-pound small forward from Zion Lutheran Christian School in Deerfield Beach committed to Billy Donovan and the Florida basketball program Monday night, choosing the Gators over South Carolina and Alabama.

Stone averaged 28 points and six rebounds per game last season. He played on the AAU circuit with the Florida Vipers. He’s got range to the 3-point line with his jumper and handles the ball well enough to put it on the deck and go to the rim. He is an above average defender who can defend three positions. Rated three stars by, he could easily move up a notch with a strong senior season.

Stone is Florida’s fourth commitment to the recruiting class of 2015, joining Noah Dickerson (6-8, 240, Atlanta, GA/Montverde, FL Montverde Academy), KeVaughn Allen (6-2, 190, North Little Rock, AR) and Kevarrius Hayes (6-9, 205, Live Oak, FL Suwannee County).


It is with straight faces that far too many of the talking heads say the four-team playoff is about getting the best four teams together. If that were really the case, the first college football final four would probably have three SEC teams out of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama and Auburn along with Florida State to fill out the bracket.

But let’s get real here. This is all about the money and when the “selection committee” makes its choices known, you can bet the farm that the final four teams will have more of a national than regional appeal. Three SEC teams and Florida State would say plenty about football in the south, but it might not do a thing for television ratings and advertising dollars. So figure one SEC team is in along with Florida State. Now that Notre Dame is out of the way, the Seminoles play whatever convents, monasteries, homeless shelters and guts Frisbee teams the rest of the way. Such is life in the Almost Competitive Conference. But, barring a meteor striking Tallahassee, the Seminoles are going to run the table and bring a 30-game win streak to the playoffs, so they’re in. And the SEC champ will be in, too.

Half the bracket will be from the Deep South. Count on it. You can also count on the folks at ESPN exerting a little bit of clout to ensure the other half of the bracket has more of a national appeal. An ideal ESPN bracket would have a one-loss Oregon from the Pac-12 and one-loss Notre Dame. Oregon would take care of the West Coast audience and Notre Dame would combine national appeal with Midwest ratings dominance. Should Notre Dame lose a game and the choices were a one-loss Big 12 champ – most likely either TCU or Kansas State – and either one-loss Michigan State or Ohio State, the Big Ten champ would prevail because of a wider television footprint.

A bracket that includes a team from the Midwest and Oregon from the West Coast to go with an SEC team and FSU might not present the best four teams, but it would be a ratings blast and in the end, that’s what it’s all about. Higher ratings equal more money and the only reason we have a four-team playoff is because it will pay more money than the BCS.


No surprise here, but Florida is no longer projected to make a bowl game even though there are three potentially winnable games (Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Eastern Kentucky) among the Gators’ final five. Three wins would give the Gators six and that would make them bowl eligible. What’s surprising in Palm’s projections is a Liberty Bowl matchup featuring Tennessee yet he doesn’t have Kentucky, which needs only one win in its last five games, playing in a bowl game.

Palm also predicts both Ole Miss and Alabama into the semifinals along with Florida State and Michigan State. Florida State is understandable since the Seminoles are very likely to run the regular season table and win the ACC title game. Michigan State is the surprise. The Spartans could very well finish their Big Ten slate with only one loss, but if Oregon did the same in the Pac-12 it would seem likely that the Ducks would get the nod since they soundly beat Michigan State head to head.

Liberty Bowl: West Virginia vs. Tennessee
Music City Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. South Carolina
Belk Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU
Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M
Gator Bowl: Maryland vs. Missouri
Capital One Bowl: Ohio State vs. Auburn
Peach Bowl: East Carolina vs. Georgia
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Mississippi State

Sugar Bowl: Michigan State vs. Ole Miss
Rose Bowl: Florida State vs. Alabama


Matt Hayes, the college football columnist for The Sporting News does a weekly projection for the playoff. His eight-team, four in and four out scenario has a very Deep South feel to it.

Four in:
1. Ole Miss
2. Florida State
3. Mississippi State
4. Alabama

Four out:
5. Notre Dame
6. Auburn
7. Oregon
8. Michigan State


You could call Monday Jimbo Fisher vs. The Media. The Florida State coach continued his steadfast defense of Jameis Winston. It doesn’t seem to faze Fisher that it’s been one fracture of the rules after another with his quarterback nor does he seem the least bit fazed that Winston skated on a potential rape indictment or that there are mounting allegations that his star QB signed autographs for cash, a clear violation of NCAA rules.

"I base my decisions on the facts. If the facts change, we change whatever goes on. But we believe in everything so far and we have no reason not to."

How could Jimbo base a decision on facts when facts say the evidence stream was tainted by the Tallahassee Police Department to the point that State Attorney Willie Meggs couldn’t indict? That student conduct committee hearing might actually produce some real facts and that could get very interesting. There is no double jeopardy in this case since Winston has never been charged with a crime. Of course, you might have a better chance of seeing donkeys fly than you will of seeing Jameis attend that hearing.


Jimbo took offense when questions about Winston’s problems were raised by the media. Fisher got downright huffy when someone from the media called his reputation into question:

“Why is my reputation taking a hit? For backing a kid who has done nothing wrong? I don’t want to get into this. The questions weren’t supposed to be asked today. I’m done. I’m done.”

Nothing wrong? You mean the crab legs, the pellet gun, the Burger King incident are nothing? Then you throw the alleged rape and the autographs and you have serial disregard for right and wrong. That doesn’t seem like “nothing wrong,” does it?


Do you agree with Foley’s decision to hold off for awhile or do you think Muschamp should be gone immediately?


There is a reason Larry Carlton is one of the most in demand studio musicians. He’s on your short list for best guitarists in the world as evidenced by the fact he’s played as many as 400-500 studio sessions a year in the past for folks like Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Steely Dan and Quincy Jones. This is “Bubble Shuffle” from Carlton’s 1989 album “On Solid Ground.”

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