The media picked Bowden's team to win - nothing new there, except for the first time ever it was Clemson's Tommy Bowden and not his father. Both of Florida's in-state ACC rivals are rebuilding, but observers don't seem to be buying the progress yet.
Bobby Bowden's FSU squad is projected to finish third in the Atlantic division, behind the Tigers and Wake Forest. Miami's Randy Shannon finds his squad picked third in the Coastal, behind defending conference champions Virginia Tech and former Miami coach Butch Davis's North Carolina squad.
Bowden appeared to be energetic and in good spirits Monday, and made clear that he feels people should not be viewing this season as his final one.
"This is my 33rd year of coaching at Florida State, and I can't tell the difference." said Bowden. "I was excited then, and I'm excited now."
Bowden claims the naming of Jimbo Fisher as his successor has made a major difference in FSU's recruiting.
"Instead of me having to try to prove to them that I'm going to be there when I'm 83 - that's a lie, I ain't going to be there til I'm 83 - I can say this is the guy who will follow me. They ate that up."
Drew Weatherford is currently FSU's starting quarterback, but Bowden made clear that he would be competing for the job with redshirt sophomore Christian Ponder.
"The question is whether Drew has too much experience for the others." said Bowden. "It might be that he has. It'll be Jimbo Fisher's call."
Weatherford missed time in the spring with a knee injury but is healthy for fall practice.
Randy Shannon still doesn't seem particularly comfortable in his role as the public face of Miami's program. His main focus was the change in attitude from last year's team to this season's edition. Shannon anticipates progress from the young players he and his staff have brought in, although it might come slower than he'd prefer. Some of Shannon's latest recruiting class my not make it in to the school this year - six of them are still tied up with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
No matter which of the four possible quarterback options Shannon selects to run Miami's offense, the Hurricanes will be starting someone who's never taken a snap in college football. Redshirt freshman Robert Marve is the most likely starter right now, but Shannon expects to be pay two quarterbacks early in the season.
Miami's Shannon predicted big things as a first year coach but downplayed expectations for the Hurricanes this season. As for FSU, even Bobby Bowden appears to believe their run as a top dog in the ACC has passed for good.
Bowden's closing remark as he left was, "We ain't never going to have it like we used to have it. The conference got too good, men."
Consdering the ACC hasn't won a BCS game this decade, one suspects Bowden was only half right. It looks like this will be another unsatisfying year in Tallahassee and Coral Gables.
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