Bowden has always made a habit of downplaying his long list of individual accolades, preferring to point to team accomplishments as the barometer of success instead. But where Bowden sees a potential distraction, a few of his players see an extra dose of motivation heading into FSU's Saturday showdown against Tommy Bowden-coached Clemson.
"We want to win this one for the man who built the program," said FSU quarterback Chris Rix. "It hurt all of us last year when he lost to his son for the first time."
In that game, a more physical Clemson team muscled their way to a 26-10 victory to give Tommy the win over his father on his 74th birthday. The younger Bowden possibly saved his job at the same time.
The defeat was devastating for FSU, dropping them from their No. 3 AP ranking and a possible shot at the BCS title game.
"There is definitely a revenge factor," senior receiver Dominic Robinson said. "They took our national title away from us last year and they knocked us around. We want to repay them and do to them the same thing they did to us last year."
In contrast, Bobby Bowden finds himself in an oddly similar situation. Tommy is back on the hot seat at Clemson thanks to the Tigers' 1-2 start. Clemson lost to Georgia Tech in the final 11 seconds and was routed 27-6 at Texas A&M last week.
Going into the 2003 upset, Clemson was on the heels of a blowout loss to Wake Forest and sported a 5-4 record.
"I think he definitely would have lost it (his job) last season if I would have won," Bobby said. "I think they already had everything in place for him. This would be a ton of fun if they didn't have to keep score. But unfortunately someone has to lose. Somebody's fixing to get hurt, and it's either me or him."
The Seminoles (1-1) will likely focus on continuing to establish their running game to fortify the still erratic play of Rix. They were successful last time out, rolling up 251 yards on the ground against Alabama-Birmingham.
Though the Tigers rank last in the ACC in rushing defense, they held the Seminoles to just 11 yards on 17 rushes in their last meeting. FSU abandoned the run and was inconsistent with the pass, failing to score a touchdown until 2:14 remained in the game.
Both teams will also look to keep pace in the conference standings. Both must continue to win and hope for losses by ACC frontrunners Miami and Virginia.
"Whoever loses this game is out of the race," said Tommy Bowden in his weekly teleconference. "We've lost twice but it's not time to slit our wrists."
The game is set for a 3:30 kickoff and will be regionally televised on ABC. Terry Bowden is scheduled to provide color commentary during the broadcast.