Florida State Ponders Future of the Program After Losing Starting QB for Season

Chris WhitmoreCorrespondent INovember 9, 2009

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - OCTOBER 03:  Christian Ponder #7 of the Florida State Seminoles looks to pass the first half against the Boston College Eagles on October 3, 2009 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

It seems only fitting that the decline the Florida State football team has suffered will end on the note that it did during the fourth quarter at Clemson in 2009.

Throwing his fourth interception of the game, FSU's Christian Ponder went to make the tackle on Clemson's DeAndre McDaniel. 

That hit separated Ponder's shoulder, and a few days later, FSU head coach Bobby Bowden confirmed that Ponder will require season-ending surgery.

Coming into the game with bruised ribs, anyone could notice Ponder was not himself. He was wearing a mold around his ribs that he said made him feel uncomfortable, and anytime he threw a vertical pass, it was obvious he was not able to gain the velocity he normally throws with. 

A decade that began with FSU playing in the BCS National Championship Game will end with the Seminoles possibly missing their first bowl game in 27 years. The Noles will need to win two of their final three games, and with Wake Forest, Maryland, and Florida left, it could seem likely they will stay home after their final game in Gainesville against Florida.

FSU has to turn to redshirt freshman E.J. Manuel, who has only taken less than a handful of snaps in his time at FSU, all in times when the game was decided. 

Like the trend has been since 2006, FSU is spending November hoping to be able to have enough wins to make it to a bowl. When it comes down to it, pride is going to be the thing this team is fighting for now.

No one wants to be on the FSU football team that did not reach a bowl for the first time in over 27 years. They don't want to be the first losing Seminole team since 1976. No one certainly wants to lose to Wake Forest for a fourth straight year. 

This is a decade where Seminole fans heard from the coaches every year, "this is a young team and they're a year away...." Every year, they're a year away. When one side of the ball was sound, the other side was in shambles. 

Now the fans are beginning to question if the Seminole football isn't a year away from becoming a contender in the ACC, but a coaching staff away from being a contender in the ACC.