So I'm not gonna lie to you, Troy Trojans football in 2014 was pretty depressing. Then again, so was Florida State football circa 2009. And look where they ended up! Hope is not lost, Troy fans!
At least I hope not, because just like the ACC needs a powerful Florida State, the Sun Belt needs a powerful Troy.
Pretty similar themes here: proud histories, and legendary coaches that built the program, then stuck around too long and crashed them into a ditch.
Both schools haven't exactly been heavyweights since the beginning of time like Alabama or Ohio State, but they're not the newest of new money like Oregon. They kicked things into high gear in the 1980's and built up major runs of success at their respective levels.
While Florida State was winning national titles and cracking heads with stalwarts Florida, Miami, Nebraska, and Penn State, Troy was winning 1-AA titles and, later on in Larry Blakeney's tenure, dethroning North Texas, obliterating the Sun Belt, and beating the likes of Missouri and Oklahoma State.
Of course, the good times couldn't last forever.
Imagine college football as one big party. Except this party is full of head coaches, which means this is a rollicking shindig full of men who in another life would be politicians, used car salesmen, Type A neurotics, genuinely insane people, or all of the above. What do all of these types of people have in common?
None of them have any damn idea how to leave a party gracefully.
Some coaches who were previously the life of the party make everyone uncomfortable by sticking around well past 5 a.m. while stumbling around and mumbling about how great things were a few hours ago.
A few too many "dadgums" and one turd in the pool later, and some friends are "escorting" him into a cab despite some slurred protestations stating that he's perfectly fine to drive, thank you.
Other coaches may not be the life of the party, but they get a solid group of friends and carve out a niche for themselves. They're legendary among their social circle.
But then they stick around well past the party's climax, slam that one last fateful long island iced tea, black out, and fall onto--and through--the coffee table.
That coffee table had character, man.
Troy's hire of Hal Mumme disciple and air raid aficionado Neal Brown has parallels to the hiring of Jimbo Fisher at FSU.
Both came in needing to inject new blood and excitement into moribund programs. Both coordinators-turned-head-coaches were big names for the respective levels of the programs they were hired at, yet were light on head coaching experience. And both inherited proud programs with fanbases desperate for past successes (although nobody will ever accuse Troy fans of being #FSUTwitter).
Airing it out
FSU set up a pass-first attack around a dynamic quarterback and a running back by committee approach around Jimbo Fisher, and Troy will likely (probably?) be the same. Trojans Quarterback Brandon Silvers was the center of a horizontal, pedestrian at best passing attack in 2014.
From Bill Connelly's Troy preview:
"There were a lot of screen passes. I can thank that, too."
Say this much for Brandon Silvers: he's got a self-deprecating streak. Silvers set an FBS freshman record by completing 71 percent of his passes in 2014, which is impressive for any kind of passes.
A prolific thrower AND a sense of humor? What's not to like? Also, throwing 25 times a game should set him up nicely for learning Neal Brown's air raid.
Do you agree, Troy fans? (Not you, FSU fans; we don't want to wake the #FSUTwitter beast.) Let us know in the comments and vote in our poll below. Read the rest of the series here.