Remembering Bobby Bowden: Former FSU coach wanted a playoff after his team reached 1998 BCS title game

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The college football world lost a legend on Sunday. Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden, who spent 33 years leading the Florida State Seminoles and 5 years leading the West Virginia Mountaineers, gave up the ghost at the age of 91. Bowden, who was born in Birmingham, AL, won two national championships during his illustrious career. He also won 12 ACC championships and routinely had Florida State among the highest programs within the nation.

In early 1999, Bowden’s Seminoles played the Tennessee Vols within the inaugural BCS national championship game. Tennessee was the consensus No. 1 team within the nation at the time. Florida State ended up being ranked No. 2 within the controversial BCS rankings. Kansas State was ranked No. 2 going into the ultimate weekend of the season, but they dropped a game to No. 10 Texas A&M.

Florida State was ranked No. 5 going into the ultimate weekend. After a win against Florida, the Seminoles leapfrogged Texas A&M, UCLA (who also lost), and Florida. Bowden’s Florida State squad lost early within the season to an unranked NC State squad. As you’ll imagine, Kansas State wasn’t too happy about missing out on the prospect to play the Vols. Bowden appeared to accept as true with Kansas State. And he became an early proponent of a playoff system, despite his team taking advantage of the BCS rankings.

“Tennessee came in through the front entrance,” said Bowden before playing the Vols in 1999 (via the NY Times). “We came within the back door.” “There are other teams that perhaps deserve this quite us. i feel maybe we should always have a four-team playoff,” added Bowden. “I’ve never accomplished such a lot doing nothing and just sitting on the couch,” joked Bowden after Kansas State and UCLA lost to offer FSU a spot within the championship game. There’s little question Bowden was an honest man. It’s hard to imagine many coaches benefitting from a flawed system and having the character to admit that other teams deserved it more. RIP Bobby Bowden. the planet lost an excellent one on Sunday.

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