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Bobby Bowden Under Fire

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Worst. Disguise. Ever.
Florida State has dominated the ACC ever since joining over a decade ago. But over the past six years their firm grip has been slipping as their offense sputters. This year the Noles find themselves at 4-3 and dead last in the ACC Atlantic division with a 2-3 conference record. Head coach Bobby Bowden is coming under fire and calls for him to retire are growing.

Penn State fans can relate to this. After one winning season in five years, many fans wished Joe Paterno would hang it up. It became serious enough that after Penn State's final game of the 2004 season athletic director Tim Curly and university president Graham Spanier paid a Sunday morning visit to Paterno's house to discuss his future. Paterno convinced the pair that Penn State was on the verge of some great things, and he was right as Penn State went on to go 11-1 in 2006 and beat Bobby Bowden's Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl and finished the season ranked #3 in the country.

While Paterno took a lot of heat in 2004, most of it came from crackpots that set up websites like www.firejoepaterno.com and the media jumped on these sites trying to add fuel to the fire and make a good story. FSU fans have their fair share of crackpots too, but things are really starting to get ugly in Tallahassee. Now boosters are petitioning the university to force Bowden into retirement. As David Jones points out, this never happened at Penn State.

(ESPN Insider columnist Joe) Schad had a good idea. He wanted to see if any Penn State boosters who'd called for Joe Paterno's head two years ago felt sorry about it now. He knew president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley weren't going to talk about how they strolled up the Paternos' walkway in November 2004, knocked on the door and asked for the coach's resignation. So he thought maybe there was a parallel with a major Penn State donor.

I had to laugh. Call it The Penn State Way or whatever you like. But I needed to explain to Joe about that certain pious decorum that envelops Dear Ol' State and its guardians. Though a lot of major donors no doubt felt it was time for Paterno to step down -- and probably still do -- if they'd ever say so in a public domain, indeed deliberately draw attention to themselves by doing so, it would be unforgivably gauche.

Never in a million years. They'd sooner be caught shopping at Pick-n-Save.

Sure there were the joemustgo.com websites. Fans griped about it at the tailgate parties and in the bars. Maybe season ticket sales and donations dropped, but no booster ever publicly called for Joe's head on a platter like they are doing in Talahassee. That's what leads me to believe change is in the air at Florida State.

Personally, I think Bowden seems like a nice guy. Don't get me wrong, I would like to see Bowden retire so Joe can have the all time wins record. I think he deserves it more than Bobby. Like I told some other bloggers, numerous coaches model their program after Joe Paterno and Penn State. No offense to Florida State or coach Bowden, but twenty years from now I can't see anyone modeling their football program after his. Bowden is a nice guy. Joe is a classy guy. But whatever happens happens in my book. I don't care one way or the other, but I'll be watching with interest.