I didn't really blink when I first saw the headlines today announcing that Bobby Bowden's retirement at Florida State was official. I've seen enough comments in the Tomahawk Nation Twitter feed this season to know that Seminoles' fans wanted this. A coaching legend retires, everyone breaks out their valedictory speeches, and I yawn and move on to see what wacky shenanigans Tiger Woods is up to now. Everybody's happy.
But then I saw this at the end of the story:
Gator Bowl President Rick Catlett on 1010XL radio in Jacksonville this morning said that if Bobby agrees to coach the bowl game, FSU will be playing WVU on January 1st. There may be some issues with ACC bowl rules, however, and at this time it is not known if those will be worked out.
The official quote from Catlett is, ""We want Florida State. We want Bobby Bowden to end his career in the Gator Bowl." He thinks he can do it, too despite the rule saying you can't pass over an ACC team who has more than one conference win than the team you want. No matter who wins the ACC championship, and if Virginia Tech is selected for the Peach, that will leave either Georgia Tech (7-1) or Clemson (6-2) available for a Gator Bowl bid ahead of FSU (4-4).
Catlett's logic is insane, arguing that because of another rule saying the Gator must take the loser of the ACC Championship game once every four years – the burden! – and they did that in '06, they're in the clear. I think that's a complete crock, but sense has never been a part of the football postseason. I'm sure FSU will get their New Year's Day game.
Make no mistake about it, FSU is the worst bowl team the ACC is putting forth this season. They're 6-6 when everyone else is 8-4 or better,and lost to four of the five other bowl teams they played in conference. But hey, a nice guy is retiring, so go ahead and bump them to the front of the line. Awesome.
This may or may not bump the Heels down from their likely spot in the Music City. With FSU in the Gator, the Champs probably will take the Clemson/Georgia Tech loser. If they choice is Clemson and they're fully wedded to Miami, Clemson falls to the Nashville slot. Otherwise, it could be the Hurricanes. That means Carolina falls to Charlotte, who may choose to pass and relegate the Heels to the Emerald in San Francisco. Which would be a much more entertaining location, but an incredibly dull game.
Even if the Music City is infatuated with a UNC-Kentucky matchup enough to keep the Heels, somebody among Clemson, Miami, or Georgia Tech is getting screwed. (Boston College, of course, is always getting screwed. It's in their charter.) All to put Bobby Bowden on the field in Jacksonville for what will surely be a horrible football game. Welcome to the college football, where the entire season forty-four year career is one long, byzantine playoff.
On the other hand, can we extend this bonus-wins-for-retiring-plan to other sports? And retroactively? Because I'm thnking Dean Smith: 1997 NCAA Championship coach. Lute can get his when he retires.