Thrill is gone: Bowden needs to do FSU big favor

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Bobby Bowden and Florida State is a love story, but that doesn’t mean it’s a happy story. Bowden and the football program he created aren’t headed for happily ever after. They’re headed for Romeo and Juliet. Or Fatal Attraction.

You see, Bobby loves FSU football to death.

As in, he’s killing the program.

And that’s the tragedy, or irony, or whatever word you want to call Bobby Bowden’s relationship with and Florida State. He loves FSU football so much that he can’t bear to leave it in disrepair — so he stays on, one tough year after the next, trying to fix things and only making them worse. FSU football was still a luxury car in 2004, underperforming at 9-3 but just one year removed from a BCS bowl bid. What FSU needed in 2004 was an oil change, maybe a tire rotation. Five years later Bowden is still under the hood, surrounded by some sheet metal, three tires and a bag of nuts and bolts. FSU football is screwed.

Bowden can’t see it, but maybe he could hear it Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, where his team does what it always does against Florida. His team lost, the Seminoles’ sixth straight loss to the Gators. The last three games have been blowouts, this 37-10 score coming on the heels of 45-15 and 45-12 routs for Florida. The series is so uncompetitive that the vibe at The Swamp was almost surreal. Thirty minutes before the game, the Seminoles jogged off the field and into the locker room for their final pep talk. The crowd watched FSU leave in silence, not bothering to boo. FSU football wasn’t worth the energy. A few minutes later, though, the FSU band strutted onto the field and that had the Florida fans in a tizzy.

The FSU band was booed.

The FSU football team was ignored.

Says it all, doesn’t it?