Bowden on the Hot Seat? Get Real.

"I don't think they're ready to push the button yet," Bobby Bowden said this week in reference to Tommy Bowden being on the hot seat, "but I think they're the type of school that might do something like that." In case you didn't know, nothing could damage the state of Clemson football any more than losing Tommy Bowden.

A quick look at the facts suggests that Tommy Bowden has whole-heartedly begun the turnaround of a potential sleeping giant in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

After all, he is a respectable 22-14 in his first three seasons, with each of those years ending in a bowl game. And perhaps even more importantly, he is 2-1 against archrival Lou Holtz and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

But his record on the football field at Clemson University is only half the tale. It's what he's been able to accomplish off the field that should keep Clemson fans talking about the positive outlook of the football program.

Consider the consensus top 10 recruiting class he helped bring in two years ago, or the top 20 class he signed this past season. Tommy Bowden has put together a winning team when it comes to recruiting, whether he gets his guys instate or out of state- he's been successful.

And like it or not, it all starts with recruiting in college football, and that is the one area that he has excelled in more than any other coach in recent memory to roam the sidelines in Death Valley.

Sure, expectations were raised once Clemson bolted out of the gates 8-0 two years ago. And even though the Tigers lost 3 out of their last 4 games that season, do you think that Tommy West could have led that team to such a start? I think not- especially considering the personel available at the time.

"By that happening, there was negative parts because it showed maybe we accomplished a little bit too much too early," Bowden said in a recent interview. "But also it showed, hey, that's how far away you are."

Indeed Tommy Bowden is correct in that statement. Convincing wins over the Missouri's and Wake Forest's of the world shouldn't exactly spark talk of a national championship. And the Tigers lack of quality talent has been evident in two of the last three NFL drafts, as no one to wear a Clemson uniform has been chosen in the first seven rounds.

Aside from that, to hear Clemson fans talk about this year becoming a make or break season for Tommy Bowden is borderline ludicrous.

Offensively, Bowden has ressurected an offense that was stuck in the mid 1980's under Tommy West and Ken Hatfield. He implemented his fast-paced offense which not only helped generate an enormous amount of interest in the program, it also helped lure the likes of athletes like Roscoe Crosby, Airese Currie, and Tymere Zimmerman.

Defensively, he inherited what he thought was a proven defensive coordinator from the Tommy West regime. Three years later, he has taken action where action has been needed, and the results are yet to be determined.

Playing in a conference that is quickly improving, Bowden has also revived interest in a Clemson football program, which has in turn helped coordinate facility upgrades and enhancements. Simply put, he's laid the foundation for long term success at Clemson University.

What else could you ask for out of your head coach at this point in his career? Well, in just three seasons- not a whole lot.

It has been proven time and time again in college athletics that long term head coaching stability is one of the fundamental ingredients to building teams that consistently compete for championships.

Some of the top college coaches of the last 10-15 years, Bobby Bowden, Frank Beamer, Dean Smith, and Mike Krzyzewski didn't exactly storm out of the gates to start their legendary coaching careers. As young coaches, each struggled in some shape or form in establishing their winning tradition.

Tommy Bowden is at that very same point in his career- yet he already has an undefeated season to his credit at Tulane. He already has coached on championship caliber teams as an assistant at some of the top football schools in the country.

Aside from that, who else would Clemson University be able to hire that could even come close to his resume as a football coach? Realistically, no one.

Tommy Bowden has laid the foundation for a successful program after inheriting a team that lacked heart and focus at the end of a 3-8 season in 1998. The overall improvement of this team has been steady, and even though a 7-5 season last year may be a disapointment to some, it's just a bump in a road in the grand scheme of things.

Tommy Bowden is the future of Clemson football, and by sticking by him through some of the so called, "tough times," it will only make the end result that much sweeter. Top Stories