CLEMSON, SC -- Someone tell Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler that the Tigers’ game against Florida State is, if truth be told, bigger than any other game Clemson has played this year.
He’s spending too much time and energy trying to convince everyone, including himself apparently, that it’s just another game.
According to Dantzler, it’s crazy that tickets are going for seven times face value. It doesn’t make any sense that fifty newspapers have called Clemson coach Tommy Bowden’s brother – the one that never coached football.
“It’s just another game,” he said. “We’re treating this like just another game and not get involved in the hype. It’s just another ACC game that we need to get under our belt.”
The more Dantzler is pressed, the more he protests. He’ll admit Florida State is good, but he acts disappointed that Bowden doesn’t take the same stoic approach.
“He wears his emotions on his sleeve, anyway,” said Dantzler.
Dantzler has his marching orders, but good luck convincing anyone, including Bobby Bowden, that it’s just another game.
“To be honest with you, this game has nearly gone to the magnitude of when we play Florida and when we play Miami,” said Bobby Bowden. “To me there’s that special feeling with the big crowd and the crowd being fired up and wild. I find myself concerned about winning more than other games.”
He doesn’t blame Dantzler for taking the stance he does. He’s told his players the same thing. “This is Clemson and FSU and nothing else,” he said. “I don’t want anybody thinking about Bobby Bowden. Not how many wins. And Tommy Bowden is the same way.”
Bobby is going for win No. 300. He’s talked about this game for nearly a year – since Tommy was hired at Clemson. He said he’s happy the game is here, but not so he can get it over with and then get on with life. He isn’t trying to treat it like another game, if for no other reason than the game means plenty to his wife, Ann.
“This will be one of the highlights of her life, looking out there and seeing so many children on both sides of the ball,” he said.
Jeff Bowden another of the Bowden children coaches wide receivers for Florida State. Another son Steve, who doesn’t coach (“the black sheep of the family,” said Bowden), will be on the Clemson sideline with Tommy.
“Don’t let me forget to strike him from the will,” said Bobby.
Steve laughs at the prospect of being written out of the will. “He forgets that I handle his finances,” he said
Steve claims he’s not taking sides, despite his geographic location during the game. “My attitude toward the game is that the team that plays the best is going to win,” he said. “I guess the die has been cast in terms of my standing on the Clemson sideline.”
The die has been cast – it’s a big game. Dantzler will admit it one day.