Nov. 5, 1999
By RICHARD ROSENBLATT
AP Football Writer
TALAHASSEE, Fla. – Bobby Bowden is set for the 70s.
No, Florida State’s happy-go-lucky coach isn’t turning back the clock. He’s
simply turning 70 years old on Monday.
When Bowden wakes up to start the week, his Seminoles still will be No. 1,
still be undefeated and still have a chance to win a second national title by
completing the first perfect season in school history.
In his 24th season at Florida State, his 34th as a head coach, Bowden knows
exactly why he’s still hanging around the sideline.
“It’s the fact that we’ve had success in my latter years,” he said. “A
lack of success would probably have made me say I had enough. Being successful
– that makes you not want to get out.”
One more thing: “You have to have good health. I’ve been blessed with that
and I hope I get to stay that way.”
He also hopes his players can stay out of trouble for the rest of the
season. In the Seminoles annual run at a national title, there have been quite
a few bumps – and bruises – along the way:
– A last-minute schedule change was needed when Auburn, after Terry Bowden
resigned last season, bought its way out of the season-opener against Florida
– Heisman Trophy favorite Peter Warrick was suspended for two games after
being charged with theft for underpaying for clothes at a department store.
Fellow wide receiver Laveranues Coles, also involved in the scam, was kicked
off the team. Both players recently issued written apologies.
– Cornerback Tay Cody was suspended for last week’s game against Virginia
after he was arrested Oct. 26 on marijuana charges. He is scheduled to play
next Saturday against Maryland.
– Todd Williams, a redshirt freshman, was recently arrested after security
cameras caught him smashing an ATM with a chair. The bank did not press
Bowden knows trouble is inevitable. He just deals with it.
“It’s the way life is nowadays,” he says. “You’ve got to do what the law
does. Punish the offenders and go on about your life. You can’t stick your head
in a hole and ignore it. It’s there. You can’t cut your throat over it,
In the middle of all this tumult, Bowden escaped his son Tommy’s upset bid
as Poppa Bowden’s Seminoles rallied for a 17-14 win over Clemson on Oct. 23.
Maryland visits Florida State next Saturday before the Nov. 20 showdown
against No. 4 Florida at The Swamp. Despite all the off-the-field woes, the
on-the-field Seminoles are a far-from-perfect perfect team.
Chris Weinke, who has thrown for 2,536 yards and 18 touchdowns, has 12
interceptions, Florida State needed rallies to win its last four games, and
Bowden’s boys lead the ACC with 92 penalties for 752 yards (that’s 10.2
penalties for 83.5 yards a game).
“This team seems like a team that does whatever it takes to win,” Bowden
said. “This team is a team that doesn’t seem to get alarmed until we are
“And those dadgummed penalties. We’ve got to get better on that or a good
team will get us.”
Maryland might not, but Florida could.
Two years ago in Gainesville, the Seminoles were 11-0 when they arrived.
They left 11-1.
Three seasons ago, in the 1997 Sugar Bowl, the Seminoles were 11-0 when they
arrived for a rematch with the Gators. Florida State left New Orleans 11-1.