The Florida State Seminoles will play in the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day. With a record of six wins and six losses, they don’t deserve to be there.
But longtime coach Bobby Bowden announced recently that he would be tossing in the towel at the end of this season — and requested that his last sideline experience be at a bowl in the Sunshine State.
The Gator Bowl obliged and even matched up Bowden’s team of 34 years with the one he previously coached, West Virginia. Tickets for all 77,474 seats in Jacksonville Stadium sold within two hours. Selling tickets is what bowl sponsors are about.
There is some irony in this event, however. Bowden, the fine Baptist layman and exemplary gentleman, has long preached to his players about proper priorities. Yet, in this case, he has put himself first.
Coaches and players from teams that have outperformed Bowden and the Seminoles this season are relegated to lesser bowls in order for his swan song. This is true for Clemson, Boston College and Miami.
Just so you’ll know, none of these is a favorite of mine. My favored team will be in the prestigious Orange Bowl on Jan. 5.
But I would like to have seen good ol’ Bobby and the Seminoles go to a bowl more appropriate for a .500 team — and then attend a big retirement party in Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
Coach Bowden certainly deserves a fine farewell. It just doesn’t seem like him to plan his own party — especially at the expense of others. But then we all can get blinded by the spotlight at times, dadgumit.