On Sunday, the College Football world lost one of the greatest coaches of all-time in former West Virginia and Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden. Less than one month after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Bowden lost his life at 91 years old.
Bowden will be remembered as one of the most successful coaches on-and-off the field football in the sport of American Football. With an overall record of 357-129-4, Bowden is currently second all-time in overall wins in the FBS, just behind Penn State head coach Joe Paterno’s 409 wins. Bowden brought two national championships to the Florida State Seminoles in 1993 and 1999. He has also developed some of college football’s most dominant players and coaches while head coach.
His determination to win and developing consistent championship contenders made it difficult for teams like the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Hokies have an extensive history playing against the legendary teams of Bobby Bowden.
Their first matchup against coach Bowden was in his final third year at West Virginia Mountaineers from 1973 to 1975. Bowden was 3-0 versus the Hokies with an average win-margin of six points.
The rivalry of Bowden versus the Hokies would only grow as he would become the head coach of the Seminoles in 1976. In the time with Bowden as the head coach of the Seminoles from 1976 to 2009, the Hokies accumulated a 1-13 record versus Bowden’s Seminoles. The Hokies’ lone victory over Bowden and the Seminoles was on November 10th, 2007, when the Hokies won 40-21. This was the second-to-last matchup of Bowden versus Hokies great head coach Frank Beamer.
In the time that Bowden has been the head coach at West Virginia (1970-1975) and Florida State (1976-2009), the Hokies have been through five different head coaches. Overall, the Hokies are 1-16 when facing off against coach Bowden. Coach Beamer was 1-8 overall against coach Bowden.
Coach Beamer and Coach Bowden had legendary moments throughout their matchups on the field. One of their most legendary matchups was in the 2000 Sugar Bowl (BCS National Championship Game). This would be their fifth-ever matchup as head coaches and the first in the postseason. The championship game featured two epic performances from Hokies star quarterback and the eventual first overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft in Michael Vick and Seminoles’ star quarterback and 2000 Heisman Trophy winner in Chris Weinke. Despite the talent of the Hokies on both sides of the ball, the Seminoles won 46-29.
In Beamer’s lone victory versus Bowden in 2007, it was the talent of the Hokies on both sides of the ball that prevailed Virginia Tech to a win. Hokies dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 204 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception on ten completions (out of 15 attempts). He also rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 17 rushes.
It was through the tough losses from Bowden that the Hokies learned that same will to win and to develop. These losses propelled coach Beamer and the Hokies program to create more determination in the recruiting field and their development on the field. The Hokies would eventually win the ACC Conference Championship in 2007, 2008, and 2010.
A legendary coach like Bowden develops his teams and his rivals. The Hokies, especially under Beamer, had a rivalry with the Seminoles under Bowden. Bowden inspired many teams, players, and coaches to develop themselves to be consistent championship contenders. The Hokies were on the negative side of those matchups with the Hall of Fame coach. It was these losses, however, that helped propelled them to conference championship contention every year.