Bowden Weighs In

Earlier this week, we had a chance to briefly catch up with former Mountaineer player Terry Bowden to get his take on Monday's Gator Bowl with Georgia Tech.

Bowden, who played at West Virginia from 1976-78, is now a college football analyst for Yahoo! He's also done radio and television work for ABC and ESPN. When we reached Terry, he was in Memphis preparing to cover the Autozone Liberty Bowl between the University of Houston and South Carolina (a game the Gamecocks went on to win).

As for Monday's Toyota Gator Bowl, Bowden feels that West Virginia has the upper hand. One big reason for the Mountaineer advantage, according to Bowden, is the fact that Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball was ruled academically ineligible, and thus will not play in the game.

"People say Georgia Tech hasn't played well the last two games with Reggie Ball, so now that he's gone it doesn't matter. I'm telling you this right now: It does matter because when he's good, they're good," Bowden said. "When they've played well, he's played well. He's gone, and they don't have a backup that's as good as he is. They have not shown the ability to score a lot of points, and if they want to beat West Virginia then they'll have to score a lot of points."

Bowden, who at age 26 became the nation's youngest head coach when Salem College hired him 1983, feels that the Georgia Tech defense will give West Virginia a stiff challenge, but at the end of the day, he says his alma mater has just too much firepower.

"Georgia Tech has a good defense, and John Tenuta will have a great game plan because he's one of the best defensive coordinators in the country," said the former Auburn head coach. "If Tech does a good job, WVU will still score 30-35 points. Because Reggie Ball isn't there, they'll have to play great defensively. If they just play good, then West Virginia will blow them out."

"John Tenuta will do a great job," he repeated. "He'll have a great plan. It wouldn't shock me if they do a good job against West Virginia, but a good job won't be good enough because they won't score enough points."

Though he'll be busy for much of the day covering the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Terry says that he'll be keeping an eye on the Old Gold and Blue.

"I love the Mountaineers," he said without hesitation. "I'm pulling for them all the way."

NOTE: Bowden also has a couple of connections to Georgia Tech. Prior to serving at Auburn, Terry was the head coach at Samford. When he left to coach the Tigers, his replacement at Samford was none other than current GT head coach Chan Gailey.

Also, GT offensive coordinator Patrick Nix was a standout quarterback at Auburn for Bowden.

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