GA Tech-FSU Preview
Tallahassee, FL - It will be interesting to see what kind of reception legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden gets when he runs out onto the field Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Georgia Tech knows what kind of response it's expecting from the struggling Seminoles.
With the head of Florida State's trustees calling for his job, Bowden will try to cap a tumultuous week by avoiding a third straight loss when the Seminoles welcome the No. 22 Yellow Jackets to Tallahassee.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made Florida State –2.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 53% of bets for this game have been placed on Florida State –2.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Florida State (2-3, 0-2 ACC) has lost consecutive games and has also started 0-2 in the ACC for the first time. The Seminoles are off to their worst start since Bowden's first year in 1976, when they lost their first three games and finished 5-6 for their last losing season.
The chairman of the Florida State University trustees - Jim Smith - wants Bowden, second to Penn State's Joe Paterno in career wins with 380, to retire at the end of this season.
Smith said Monday the arrangement with Bowden as head coach and his successor, Jimbo Fisher, as offensive coordinator isn't working.
"We've got too many bosses out there," Smith said.
"Jimbo is in a very, very tough situation where people assume he has a whole lot more authority than he really has. He's getting blamed for a lot of things that's just not his fault."
When Bowden was questioned about his future after last Saturday's 28-21 loss at Boston College, the 79-year-old was defiant in his response.
"What would I gain by stepping down?" he said. "What would you do, fire everyone and bring in an entire coaching staff? What would you gain by that?
"I'll evaluate myself."
The school's trustees don't have immediate authority over coaches, but they have significant influence since they are in effect the boss of university president T.K. Wetherell, who makes such hiring and firing decisions.
Georgia Tech (4-1, 2-1) is expecting a big response from Florida State, which is 6-0 at home all-time against the Yellow Jackets. Bowden was 12-0 against Georgia Tech before a 31-28 loss last season.
"I think they'll come together and I fully expect to get their best effort of the year," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said.
Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in last year's win for Georgia Tech. Dwyer is off to a strong start with 409 yards on the ground this year - the third-best mark in the conference with quarterback Josh Nesbitt fourth with 363 to spearhead the Yellow Jackets' option attack.
That could be a problem for a Seminoles' defense that ranks 98th in yards allowed with 405.6 per game.
"It's one of those offenses that is completely different from what you're seeing every week and they run it fast so we are going to have to practice against guys that can't run it that fast," Bowden said. "I think normally it will rip you early and then you begin to get the feel of it and you better."
The status of the Seminoles' running game is up in the air after Jermaine Thomas took over for Ty Jones last Saturday and finished with 21 yards on 10 carries. Thomas' best effort came as a freshman in last year's loss to Georgia Tech with 130 yards on nine carries.
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder leads the ACC in passing yards (1,423) and has thrown just one interception. He threw for a career-high 341 yards last week, but did not have a touchdown.
Georgia Tech took a break from conference play last week and won 42-31 at Mississippi State. Nesbitt threw for a career-high 266 yards and one touchdown while Dwyer carried 16 times for 83 yards and one score.
The Yellow Jackets are one of three ranked teams in the ACC's Coastal division while Florida State is in last place in the Atlantic division, which has no team in the Top 25. Georgia Tech, though, is wary of the Seminoles.
"You're never going to underestimate Florida State," Johnson said. "For all the people talking and all the moaning and groaning, I think it has been since 1973 since they had a losing season. That's pretty impressive, and the last time I checked I don't think Georgia Tech has even won in Tallahassee, so we've got a big challenge."
Posted: 10/6/09 9:41PM ET