A Family Affair: Clemson's Tommy Bowden Blogs about the Tiger versus Seminole Rivalry
By: Tommy Bowden
This is always a hectic week for the Bowden family, although it is not as hectic as it was for the first Bowden Bowl in 1999. Any time you have the first of anything it will bring a lot of attention and that was the case for our game in 1999, the first time father and son have ever coached against each other in Division I history.
We had the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times cover that game. The game brought media to our campus who had not been here since Clemson won the National Championship in 1981.
The game was nationally televised by ESPN and over 86,000 fans jammed into Death Valley, a number that will probably always be the record crowd here because they have a different fire marshal now.
I even remember doing a teleconference with about 25 writers 10 days prior to the game. That was odd and I really didn't like doing it just two days before we were to play Maryland, but we did win that game. When I finished that teleconference my mother did one. I think she talked longer than I did, in fact I know she did.
Daddy beat us 17-14, but it was the perfect ending for my mother. It didn't deprive Florida State at a shot at the national championship, and it gave our program credibility. That was the closest Florida State came to losing in their national championship season of 1999. Daddy won his 300th game as a head coach that day against me. Then last year I won my 50th against him. Odd how those things happen sometimes.
The next year there was a big game also because both of us were in the top 10 in the nation entering the game, but Florida State beat us 54-7.
The father vs. son angle has died down since that first game. In fact, when I did a teleconference this past Sunday, no one asked me about coaching against my dad. It didn't occur to me until after the teleconference was over.
We have won two of the last three so I would like to think it’s turning into a good rivalry. It should be one of the best rivalries in the country based on the tradition and fan interest of the two schools.
It’s a trying but exhilarating day for all of us in the family because going in someone has to lose. It is the worst day of the year for my mother because either her son (Jeff, offensive coordinator at Florida State) and husband are going to lose or another son is going to lose. There was a point last year when she wasn't going to come to the game. But she did make the trip after all.
We won the game 35-14, but Florida State went on to win the ACC Championship. So we both had something to brag about at the family summer vacation.