1. Is the fact that both you and Joe are coaching into your late 70s indicative of a national trend of more people working later into their lives?
It is amazing. Bobby always figured he would get out of coaching at 60. Then, he got to 60 and decided to go to 65 and so on. He has no desire to quit, but he doesn't know what makes him that way. He enjoys working with young men and that keeps him excited about coaching.
2. What do you remember about the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl?
Bobby remembers the game vividly and talking with Joe before and after the game. It was unique. Bobby first met Joe in 1962 and went to West Virginia in 1966, Joe's first year as head coach at Penn State.
Bobby has always looked up to Joe and followed his successes. He can't believe they're getting to play each other again.
3. Joe Paterno has been trying to downplay the coaching angle while you seem more willing to talk about it.
Joe is probably right that it's more about Penn State vs. Florida State, but Bobby also knows that it will be hard for the media not to look at the coaching matchup.
4. How nice was it for you to see Penn State return to prominence this year?
It was very important. Florida State has come under a lot of criticism this year, but Bobby can point to Penn State and show that you can have a bad year or a bad series of years, but that's not the end. You can come back and win again.
5. Talk about how your team went from having to play a bowl game right after Christmas to one of this magnitude in one night?
Bobby has a hard time believing what's happened. His team had lost three games in a row, had fallen from grace, and now they're going to a BCS bowl. He feels good for his players and assistant coaches that they were able to make this happen. He feels very lucky to be in this situation and can hardly believe it.
1. Are you aware of the criticsm that Coach Bowden has received and what's your take on it?
Joe is not aware of the criticism so he couldn't comment on it, but he thinks Bobby Bowden is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, head coach in college football history. Any criticism he has gotten would probably be out of line.
2. Did you ever think that you would have a chance to play Bobby Bowden and one of his teams again?
Joe remembers the last time the teams played very well. The game was decided by a punt return for touchdown by Terrell Buckley.
Joe has a tremendous amount of respect for Bobby and he and Sue have been good friends with the Bowdens for many years. Having said that, he hopes that it can come to the point where people are talking about Penn State vs. Florida State, not Joe Paterno vs. Bobby Bowden.
3. Over the years when looking for a bowl opponent, did you always go for the highest ranked team possible or how did you handle it?
Coaches used to have more say over where the team went to a bowl in the old days. Joe has made no secret of the fact that he is not a fan of the BCS. They call it the Bowl Championship Series. It's not a series. It's a championship game, but that's fine.
Joe always looked for the best matchup when trying to set up a bowl opponent. They have a great matchup here with Florida State. Joe was surprised that Florida State beat Virginia Tech because, going into that game, he felt Virginia Tech was one of the three or four best teams in the country. The Seminoles' victory proves that they are a very good team as well.
4. What would you like to see instead of the BCS?
Joe would like to see a playoff. Come up with eight teams, get it down to four teams, then go to two and have a true champion. The university presidents and the conference commissioners have their own agenda, so it won't happen.
5. What stood out about Florida State's performance last night to you?
Joe didn't see the whole game because he was entertaining recruits and their parents. He tried to keep one eye on the game while making sure he paid the proper attention to the recruits. Florida State came into that game with an attitude and they did it. They played a good, tough football game. They had lost three in a row and were embarrassed by what happened at Florida. They're better than that, so they came after that game last night with a vengeance.
That's the team that Penn State will have to play, not the one that lost three in a row.
6. You're playing a team that has been inconsistent this season. Do you think your players will be mentally ready for this game like they would have been against a stronger opponent?
The team will meet tomorrow at 3:30 to discuss Florida State for the first time. Joe didn't know the opponent until today, so he saw no reason to take up the players' time until he knew where they were going.
All of a sudden people are talking about this not being a good matchup. Florida State is one heck of a tradition, one heck of a coaching staff. Bobby Bowden is a great coach. Florida State will bring a lot of fans to the game. Penn State will be playing in Florida, which will be like a road game for the Lions.
After he talks to the players about all those things, he's pretty sure that he will have their attention and that they'll understand they have a big challenge ahead of them.