n Sunday, the college football world lost a legend.
Bobby Bowden, the legendary coach who led the Florida State Seminoles for 33 years and the West Virginia Mountaineers for five, died at the age of 91.
During his successful career, Bowden, who was born in Birmingham, Alabama, won two national titles.
He also led Florida State to 12 ACC titles and consistently ranked among the nation’s best schools.
Bowden’s Seminoles faced the Tennessee Vols in the first BCS national championship game in early 1999.
At the time, Tennessee was widely regarded as the best team in the country.
In the contentious BCS rankings, Florida State was ranked second.
Kansas State was ranked No. 2 heading into the last weekend of the season, but they fell to No. 10 Texas A&M by a single game.
Going into the last weekend, Florida State was ranked No. 5. The Seminoles moved ahead of Texas A&M, UCLA (who also lost), and Florida after beating Florida.
Bowden’s Florida State team lost to an unranked NC State team early in the season.
As you would expect, Kansas State was irritated about losing out on the opportunity to face the Vols.
Bowden seemed to concur with Kansas State’s point of view.
Despite the fact that his team benefited from the BCS rankings, he became an early proponent of a playoff system.
Before facing the Vols in 1999, Bowden remarked
“Tennessee came in through the front door” (via the NY Times). “We entered via the rear door.”
“It’s possible that some other teams deserve it more than we do. “I believe a four-team playoff would be a good idea,” Bowden said.
After Kansas State and UCLA lost to earn FSU a place in the title game
, Bowden quipped, “I’ve never achieved so much doing nothing and just sitting on the sofa.”
Bowden was, without a doubt, a decent guy.
It’s difficult to envision many coaches reaping the benefits of a broken system while also having the courage to acknowledge that other teams deserved it more.
Bobby Bowden, rest in peace. On Sunday, the world lost a wonderful one.