Florida State Football: Is Jimbo Fisher a Better Coach Than UF's Will Muschamp?

Austyn HumphreyCorrespondent IIINovember 4, 2012

Good friends are now great competitors at UF and Florida State.
Good friends are now great competitors at UF and Florida State.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

If you haven't voted, here is your chance.

For Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney? Heck, no. For an election that actually matters.

The state of Florida is still recovering from last year's shocking football decline. Florida State was the only program (in the entire state—here's looking at you, UCF) with nine wins and a ranking. Perhaps the most shocking stat was that during the season no Sunshine State team appeared in the AP Top 25 for the first time in 29 years!

With Miami floundering under NCAA sanctions and still struggling to reverse a general decline since the late Larry Coker era, the Big Three have become the Big Two. Both Jimbo Fisher and Will Muschamp have led their schools to reasonable success during their short runs, but which program has gotten more bang for its buck? We'll evaluate three key components for each of these Saban disciplines' results.


Jimbo Fisher has raked in two consecutive Top Two recruiting classes and has consistently brought in Top 10 recruiting classes (going back to his days as FSU's offensive coordinator). His current talent will at least give the Seminoles a national championship appearance before graduation unless the NFL comes calling.

Will Muschamp has done equally well, continuing to mine recruits that were in flux during Urban Meyer's "will I stay or will I go?" renditions. Muschamp has a second Top Five recruiting class on the way, and—like Fisher—is competing neck-and-neck with Alabama's Nick Saban for Florida's talent base. Yes, the Gators won two national titles recently, but when you take over for Coach Indecision you have to expect your recruiting to fall by 10 spots.

Given Fisher's extended success and Muschamp's ability to keep extraordinarily high recruiting classes despite the fact that Urban Meyer brought instability to the Florida program, I have to call this a tie.

Winner: Tie

Who wins on Thanksgiving?

Jimbo Fisher wins on Thanksgiving—he is 2-0 against the Gators (one win versus Meyer, the other against Muschamp). He has won in Doak Campbell Stadium and at the Swamp. Fisher is also 6-0 versus teams from the state of Florida.

Winner: Fisher

Overall Winning Record and Recognitions

Fisher took Florida State to the ACC Championship in 2010 and has his team poised for a return appearance this year. Muschamp's UF team finished with the Gators' first losing record in SEC play since going 2-4 in 1986, but it raced out to a 7-1 conference record in 2012. If Georgia loses to woeful Auburn next week, the Gators will win the SEC East.

While Muschamp has had the quickest turnaround in the tougher conference, Jimbo has coached longer and has the stat that matters most: Winning percentage.

Fisher is 27-9 at Florida State with a .750 winning percentage, while Muschamp's Gators are 15-7 for a .682 winning percentage.

Winner: Fisher

So there you have it! Fisher wins the bout 2-0-1. Of course, Thanksgiving will determine a shift in some of these categories, but the Seminoles can say (for now) they got the better of Nick Saban's half from the 2003 LSU national championship team.