Dadgummit, just when some of us were wondering if Bobby Bowden had run out of football miracles at Florida State, along comes the dadgum news that the ol' boy is getting a second wind.
A story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, headlined, "FSU Dynasty ‘Is Not Over Yet,''' says the 72-year-old Bowden figures he's going to have a pretty good 2002 team.
The reason people in these parts have a special interest in what Bowden is saying about his team is that Iowa State plays Florida State in the Eddie Robinson Classic on Aug. 24 at Kansas City.
Naturally, Cyclone fans were hoping the Seminoles, who had an 8-4 record last season, wouldn't be thinking in terms of national championships anytime soon.
But, dadgummit, Bowden says his team, with a few breaks, could be right back in the national championship hunt.
"Oh, yeah, we definitely have a chance,'' Bowden is quoted in the newspaper. "We had plenty of talent last year, but it was inexperienced. Now it's experienced. And our guys are hungry again."
"If we play our best, I would bet on us every dadgum Saturday.''
Bowden, master of the "dadgum,'' is said to look "tan, rested and 20 pounds lighter thanks to a new low-carb diet.''
He didn't lose the weight for cosmetic reasons. Bowden said he did it because he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year.
"I had to give up cookies and cakes, and goodness knows I love them'' he said.
Cookies and cakes weren't the only things Bowden gave up. He also, reluctantly, gave up his good times on the football field.
The paper said, "With 14 consecutive years of 10 or more wins, Florida State entered the 2001 season as the closest thing college football had to the Roman Empire. But youth, injuries and tragedy all combined to give the Seminoles their worst record since 1986.''
In retrospect, said quarterback Chris Rix, "it was almost like we were doomed from the beginning.''
On Feb. 26, 2001, linebacker Devaughn Darling collapsed and died during off-season conditioning workouts.
"Some guys just wanted to leave and go home after that,'' Rix told the paper. "It took a lot of convincing of some guys that [quitting] was not what Devaughn would have wanted.''
Rix said of Florida State's program that "Rome wasn't built in a day, but it wasn't taken down in a day, either. This dynasty is not over yet.''
To that, Bowden added a cautiously-optimistic, "Amen.''
Florida State feels ready to reclaim the Atlantic Coast Conference title that was won by Maryland last season. Bowden will celebrate his 50th year in coaching, and his first victory in the upcoming season will be his 324th, which would pass Bear Bryant for No. 2 on the all-time list behind Penn State's Joe Paterno.
Obviously, Iowa State fans are hoping Bobby's 324th victory will come in the game after Florida State plays the Cyclones.
"Sometimes I don't understand why I still want to coach,'' Bowden said. "I'm 72 and people say I should be out of here. But I'm just as excited about this season as any I've ever had in coaching.''
Palmer Method Pays Off With No. 1 Vote
Marty Gallagher has an interesting project started on his IowaSportsOpinions web page.
He's having selected voters cast ballots for the best in a number of sports categories, and calling it the IowaSportsOpinions.com Hall of Fame.
His first top five is out, and it was for teams.
Named the No. 1 team in Iowa was the Palmer boys' basketball squad that won a state-record 103 consecutive games from 1985 through 1989.
No. 2 was the Iowa basketball team that made it to the 1980 NCAA Final Four.
No. 3 was the 2000 Iowa State basketball team that finished 32-5.
No. 4 was the 1985 Iowa football team that was, for a while, ranked No. 1 nationally.
No. 5 was the 1969 Drake basketball team that made it to the Final Four and narrowly missed beating John Wooden's UCLA team. The Bulldogs, who finished 26-5, were my choice as the best in the voting.
The website plans voting on athletes, coaches, broadcasters, sportswriters and at-large fields in coming weeks.
Only One Word for It—Hopeless
Alive in Clive, not his real name, has some input after reading the column I wrote last week about whether the Iowa Cubs' Bruce Kimm might be the next Chicago Cubs' manager.
I wrote that Kimm's chances of succeeding Don Baylor weren't good. Why? Because it makes too much sense, and when was the last time the Cubs—the Chicago version—made any sense?
"In reading your latest, you hit the nail on the head,'' Alive in Clive says. "Major league teams do not bring up from within. They recycle managers.
"Baseball is now a venue for money-grabbing owners, players and their unions to get more money. A guy working an average job can't afford to take his kids to a major league game.
"The team you were describing at the end of your article sounds like the Cubs always sound to me—hopeless.''
Notre Dame's Kevin White ‘Besieged'
Jim Feld of West Des Moines e-mailed a copy of an interesting South Bend Tribune article on Kevin White, Notre Dame's athletic director.
White spent his early years as the athletic director at Loras College in Dubuque before graduating to Tulane, Arizona State and now Notre Dame.
It was White who fired Fighting Irish football coach Bob Davie last year, then got caught in the middle of the George O'Leary mess.
White had hired O'Leary as Davie's successor, but it was quickly learned that O'Leary had fabrications in his resume. O'Leary suddenly quit, and is now a Minnesota Vikings assistant coach.
Tyrone Willingham of Stanford is now Notre Dame's coach, and even though White kept his job as athletic director, the article says he is "a changed man.''
It describes him as being "besieged.'' It also says White has not read the 13-page Sports Illustrated article on the O'Leary debacle. "I don't know if I have a good reason why I haven't read it,'' White explained. "I guess it's because we've all tried to move on.''
I always have my doubts when coaches and athletic directors say they haven't read newspaper or magazine articles about them—especially controversial articles.
But if White says he hasn't read the SI piece, then I guess he hasn't read it. The South Bend article says White now "has fewer opinions that he is willing to share aloud…This is not the first time I have felt besieged. You do this for a living, and that's part of the life cycle. Nobody enjoys it….''
It wasn't always this way for White. "Since his days at Loras, this is a man who blended candor with confidence, sincerity with distance so naturally,'' the article said. "He left a trail of gushing admirers at every administrative stop.
"He could schmooze with the BCS brass as easily as the janitors (at Notre Dame). He seemed to be everywhere and everything….'' Now White "measures his words noticeably.''