Before you know it he will be gone. We will speak his name in reverence along with the names of Paul "Bear" Bryant, Eddie Robinson, Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, and Glenn "Pop" Warner. On January 1, 2010, the college football world will bid farewell to Coach Bobby Bowden.
Fittingly, the last two schools he coached, the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Florida State Seminoles, will face off in the sold-out Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL. Along with Coach Bowden, defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews will also call his last game in the Gator Bowl for he announced his retirement earlier in the season.
The question that must be asked is: Does anyone care outside of the state of West Virginia that the Mountaineers are playing in this game?
Seriously, if the Seminoles were facing a local Jacksonville high school team, one could argue that the Gator Bowl would still sell-out. Is that a good or a bad thing? Both.
It's a good thing because the college football world truly understands what it is losing. Frankly, I was unimpressed with the way FSU's administration handled Coach Bowden's departure, but that's besides the point. We are losing a great coach, a great leader, and a great representative of the sport.
Some may argue that Bowden's legacy at FSU was riddled with controversy, maybe so, but when you analyze the man's body of work and the few bruises it's taken over the past 33 years, there's not much to hold against him.
The bad thing about all this is West Virginia is at best an afterthought. This season, they have a 9-3 record in the Big East and have a very prolific running back in Noel Devine. Devine is averaging just over 108 yards/game rushing and 5.76 yards/carry.
Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the Mountaineers come in to the "Bowden Bowl" with a chip on their shoulder.
Emotions will be running high on that day; that's for sure. Will FSU be geared to win one last game for Coach Bowden, or will West Virginia be focused on reminding the world they are a force to be reckoned with in this game?
Tune in on New Year's Day, it will be an exciting match up, if not historical.