Bowden's Last Stand May Come at ‘Canes' Expense

Car care! How very fitting for a 6-6 team.

Hey, remember that time in the year 2000, when Miami beat Florida State head to head and was ranked higher in both human polls, but the lovely BCS system sent the Seminoles and not the Hurricanes to the National Championship, and they lost 13-2 to Oklahoma while Miami crushed the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl, and the slight was so obvious and egregious they revamped the whole BCS system?

This isn't like that.

But it feels like that, and the BCS clearly didn't vamp itself far enough: it looks like the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville will choose a 6-6 Florida State team (4-4 in the ACC) over Miami, who's 9-3 overall (the second-best record in the entire conference) and 5-3 in the ACC.

Why? Because Bobby Bowden wants his last game to be in Florida.

He probably also wants pudding and for you kids to get off his lawn, but what it means for Miami is that they'll be relegated to a bowl far less prestigious than the one they earned: the Music City Bowl in Nashville if they're lucky, or all the way down the scale to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.


There's a few things that especially sting about it all: while Miami knocked itself out of BCS Bowl eligibility, making a bowl just a bowl, they did earn a place in Florida. That's important for the bowl experience, with most fans in easy driving distance of Jacksonville or Orlando, and important for the many players whose families could make an in-state bowl but not fly to Tennessee or North Carolina.

Unfortunately, the ACC didn't work any real rules into its contract with the Gator, so they're legally free to chose whom they will so long as Virginia Tech is taken elsewhere (which they will be).

It's also a bit disengenuous on the part of hard-lobbying Florida State, who fired Bowden without so much as an explanation and sent two bewildered players out to face the press while the athletic director and university president hid. No, really, they hid (maybe even behind that backdrop, hilariously creased to spell "seniles"). And now, when it's convenient to give the coach a fitting send-off, it's time to activate the old boy's network and who cares who gets shoved aside.

Thirdly, it's frustrating that the bowls are not about rank after all, but about money. We knew this, because that's what the whole BCS system (and America, and Earth, and the Milky Way, and...) is based on, but it's disheartening for kids whose fine season will end in a place in which you'll hear a pin drop.

Miami will find out Sunday where they'll end up, but it's near-certain it won't be the Gator. On the bright side, they'll have the upper hand of Bobby Bowden forever, so we suppose spotting him on meaningless bowl won't hurt that long.

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