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The End of an Era

December 3, 2009 - Al Stephenson
Bobby Bowden has one more game to coach at Florida State University. He will walk the sidelines in a bowl game, preferably in the state of Florida and quite possibly against West Virgina where he also coached.

The last few years have brought out the critics of Coach Bowden. Many cite his age (he is afterall 80), but the biggest problem, as it always is in these cases, was the win-loss record. The second winningest coach (behind JoPa) in major college football history has compiled a record of 47-25 since 2000. This includes a conference mark of just .500 (16-16) in the last four years.

The 47-25 mark would be pretty good at some schools, but not others. Florida State was accustomed to much more. Bobby Bowden became a victim of the expectations that he brought on himself. Check out these statistics.

Florida State won at least 10 games per season and finished no worse than fifth in the nation for 14 consecutive seasons. That phenomenal streak came to an end in 2000. From 1992-2000 Bowden's teams went 70-2 winning all nine conference championships and two national titles.

With those kinds of numbers come expectations. You don't rebuild, you reload. To expect national title aspirations every year is probably not practical, but when you compete for that top spot every year for over a decade, well you get spoiled.

Bowden's players had some off the field issues over the years, but then name an institution that has not had those problems. His early success made his mediocrity of late unacceptable and he has been "somewhat" forced into retirement.

Fair or not, that is the way of life for big time college football coaches.

The view from my seat (wishing Jimbo Fisher luck in replacing a legend) suggests that we admire Bobby Bowden for his 34 years of coaching greatness at Florida State.

That's the way it should be.


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