T. Bowden is ready to tackle Spurrier

After guiding Clemson by dad's Fla. State team, he aims at S. Carolina

ACC notebook

November 16, 2005|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

One week after heaping an embarrassing defeat upon his father, who happens to own the most victories of any coach in college football history, Clemson's Tommy Bowden takes aim at another coaching great.

The rejuvenated Tigers will not have any problems getting up for Saturday night's contest. Fresh off a 35-14 rout of fast-fading Florida State and coach Bobby Bowden, Clemson renews its annual in-state skirmish with South Carolina for the 97th straight year and 103rd time overall.

And this time, it's against coach Steve Spurrier, who has made a triumphant return to the collegiate game after a failed attempt at the NFL with the Washington Redskins. With Southeastern Conference wins over Tennessee and Florida, the 7-3 Gamecocks have vaulted to No. 19 and will be waiting for unranked Clemson in Columbia.

Spurrier has a career record of 149-43-2, with six outright SEC titles and a national championship at Florida. Clemson has beaten South Carolina in seven of their past eight meetings. Each school just beat a ranked team on the same day for the first time.

"I've finally got the job I've always wanted, and the first ones they [South Carolina] hire are two Hall of Famers," said Bowden, referring to former Gamecocks coach Lou Holtz and Spurrier. "You're not going to find two guys who have made my life more difficult.

"[Spurrier] has won a national championship, SEC titles. He's tall, a good golfer, better looking than me, darker hair."

Free fall

After two consecutive losses at N.C. State and at home to Clemson, Florida State looks like a 7-3 squad in free fall.

Blame it on injuries to the offensive line or defensive end Kamerion Wimbley or the youthful mistakes of freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford. Whatever the reasons -- how about they are simply overrated? -- the Seminoles are dealing with their first two-game losing streak in conference play since joining the ACC in 1992.

Before getting blown out by Clemson, Florida State had never lost three ACC games in a season.

The Clemson debacle underscored the regression in a program that was represented in the national championship game five years ago. Florida State is assured of a fifth straight season with at least three losses, which hasn't happened since a six-year stretch from 1981 to '86. And the last time the Seminoles lost three games to unranked teams was in 1976, Bobby Bowden's first year in Tallahassee.

Ups and downs

When it trudged off its home field on Sept. 17 after dropping a 28-17 decision to visiting Florida State, little did Boston College know that defeat would loom so large down the road.

The Eagles reversed a two-game losing streak with an impressive, 30-10 victory over N.C. State on Saturday, the same day Florida State flopped at Clemson.

Boston College can pull even in the Atlantic Division standings with the Seminoles by winning at Maryland this week. But the Seminoles have clinched the divisional title and an appearance in the conference championship game on Dec. 3, by virtue of a tiebreaker advantage they earned with that victory over the Eagles two months ago.

All of which makes the Eagles' two-point loss at North Carolina two weeks ago that much more painful.

"That's why you show up and you play every week, because you never know what's going to happen," Boston College coach Tom O'Brien told the Boston Globe. "This league is something else right now."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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