Bobby Bowden Returns to Florida State Univ. Campus for First Time

Bobby BowdenLSU will have a tough time beating Alabama
twice in the same season, former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said
Tuesday night during his first visit back on campus since his departure
two years ago.


Bowden knows something
about rematches of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams. His 1996 club lost the
national championship to rival Florida in a rematch at the Sugar Bowl
just five weeks after the Seminoles had won the regular-season game.

“We got beat pretty doggoned good that second game,” Bowden said.

“It
wouldn’t surprise me for LSU to win, they are good as you’ve seen, but
to me Alabama has the same advantage that Florida had on us,” Bowden
said. “They got beat and they’re mad as you know what. They’re as made
as a wet hen. And if you’re not careful, your guys are satisfied.”

Bowden
attended the game Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala, where LSU defeated the
host Crimson Tide 9-6 in overtime. He said they were the two best teams
he saw this year and are deserving of a rematch for the national title.

“Defense
wins championships,” Bowden said. “Alabama and LSU this year are kind
of a different breed, their defenses are devastating.”

His
Seminoles won national championships in 1993 and 1999 and went 14
straight seasons between 1987-2000 with 10 wins or more. He retired as
major college football’s second-most winning coach behind only former
Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

Bowden’s teams
won 389 games on the field although the NCAA stripped him of a dozen
victories for an academic scandal that encompassed 10 sports at the
school.

The 82-year-old Bowden did get in a quip about his departure though during his talk to the Tallahassee Quarterback Club.

“Bernie Sliger, my favorite president, put that down,” Bowden said. “He let me stay here by the way.”

Although
Stanley Marshall was Florida State’s president when Bowden was hired in
1976, Sliger took over soon afterward and is given credit for keeping
him at Florida State despite coaching overtures from several schools
between 1979 and the early `90s that included both LSU and Alabama.

Bowden
wanted to coach the Seminoles in 2010, but after nearly a decade of
mediocrity and a decline in recruiting, he was replaced by offensive
coordinator and “coach-in-waiting” Jimbo Fisher.

Although both men claim their relationship is good, Fisher and Bowden haven’t spoken since.

“He knows where I live,” Bowden said Tuesday night. “He knows my phone number if he never needs it.”

Florida State has gone 18-8 under Fisher and is headed to the Champs Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando.

Bowden
had often proclaimed during his heyday that he would retire if he ever
had more than a season or two of three or four losses.

After
four losses in 2001 and five in 2002, Bowden said he wanted to get the
Seminoles back on top. Then he announced he would like to reach 400
victories. Bowden, like Paterno, wasn’t about to retire voluntarily and
Florida State alumni were growing weary of waiting while the program
sagged.

Bowden stays busy, averaging between
two and five speaking engagements a week and a bit more time on the golf
course. And he still watches a lot of football games.

“I enjoy watching `em at home,” he said. “I don’t have to fight traffic.”

Source: Brent Kallestad, The Associated Press