Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

2010 Gator Bowl Recap Bennett Style


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(Note from NoleCC: This is a guest post submitted to ScalpEm.com by Bennett. Check him out on Twitter http://twitter.com/ben_nett where he comments on tons of stuff from FSU sports to Pop Culture.)

2010 Gator Bowl

The 2010 Gator Bowl created memories for thousands of people. Including me. It has created a new memory for the most of the 84,129 fans that made the trip from all across the nation to see this game. And we all know the reason that they came from everywhere: the man that recruited them and made them known in the football world, the man who after his last game has won an ourstanding 389 games in his career, the man that built Florida State University: Bobby Bowden. Those are just a few of the many accomphishments he has achieved in his career, one that if any other people have a chance to have a better one than him, you can count them on one hand.

Every single person, the City of Jacksonville, the people putting the Gator Bowl on, the fans, the current players of Florida State, the former players of Florida State (over 300 who played under Coach Bowden) and even West Virginia University. Every single one of these people made this moment special. First, the city of Jacksonville. Before the game, the group I was with for the game arrived at the stadium. As most who went to the game expirienced, it was a little too rainy and cold to stand outside and enjoy being there for 4 hours. So we made the walk from the stadium over to downtown Jacksonville to camp out in the Hyatt for a little just to warm up and get organized before going into the stadium (unfortunatally, it was the West Virginia hotel, so I was surrounded by Mountaineers!) Everything went fine, though. But that’s not how the city of Jacksonville helped make the day of Bobby Bowden’s final game special.

As I walked from the stadium to the Hyatt, there were alot of buildings and businesses that lined the streets. And I would say 90% of them had some sort of banner, sign, or gesture to thank Coach Bowden. I thought this was great. Probably most of the owners who put the various signs up had no affiliation with the team, the university, or anything about the Florida State Seminoles. But they all realized how much of an impact Bowden had on so many things, and they put those signs up because they knew that. Some of them probably didn’t want to, some of them might of even been a fan of another team that made them strongly dislike the Noles. But they still knew that it was the right thing to do for this great man, and for that they deserve a congratulations.

For obvious reasons, the people who put on the Gator Bowl made this a special day. Before the game I bought the program that they were selling, but I didn’t even get a chance to look at it until after the game. And that’s when I realized how good of a job they did of thanking Bobby Bowden for all his accomplishments in the program. And I still haven’t looked through the whole thing. And obviously, they came through in the pregame ceremony by showing the cool look-back at Bobby Bowden’s career and pulling some strings with the local Jacksonville car dealership to give him a brand new car (although they probably could have done better than a Camry. Haha!) But all in all the Gator Bowl did a good job of fulfilling Bowden’s wish by having his last bowl game in Florida vs his former team, West Virginia. And they did a great job of making the game for Bowden memorable.

I can’t say enough about the fans. They went above and beyond on getting to this game. And when they got there, they weren’t grumpy or anxious for the game or only came for the game then left. They were in the parking lot early in the morning, many showing up for the Bobby Bowden walk-in to the stadium, many tailgating, and all if them being very nice to each other. We were waiting in a huge line to get into the stadium (before we found a shorter one) and while we were waiting an FSU tailgater offered us free access to all of their food and drinks! I also loved all the signs people made having phrases for the letters CBS, or just signs that were saying how much they love Coach Bowden. My favorite was the one of the ones with phrases for the letters CBS, and they had it hung on a fence before the game. At the top it said “Going Out…” And then for the letters CBS it said “Coach Bowden Style.” I thought that was really cool.

But beyond how nice they were, the effort they put in to show their appreciation, the most important thing that they did was simple: they went to the game. The total attendance for the game was 84,129; Looking at the croud, I would say 65,000+ were supporting Florida State. The fact that so many came to Jacksonville from everywhere and had the whole stadium looking mainly garnet was a salute to Bobby Bowden in a way many people didn’t think was. It was nice to see so many fans, after the struggles to put people in the stands for the last two home games of the season for FSU, show up and stay to watch Bobby Bowden walk off the field, address the crowd, and recieve the Gator Bowl trophy after the game. That made me feel very good as a Seminole fan seeing all the fans do that.

The current players at Florida State were one of the biggest roles in making Bobby Bowden’s last game special, and they pulled through big time. The team indeed played great in the BYU game, but given the circumstances that were on the Gator Bowl and all the pressure that the players probably felt was resting on their back, I have no doubt or regrets in saying that this was by far the best performance by the Seminoles this season. If every team played like their record-setting coach who built their university was coaching his last game, there would be 30 undefeated teams in college football. And it was a complete team effort. Every single player on the team had somewhat of a contribution to the win. But there are three main players who really left every single thing on the field, gave their all and more, and each knew at the beginning of the game they weren’t going to let Coach Bowden lose his last game.

And they are: EJ Manuel. He had already started three games for the Noles, but I would put money on thinking this kid was nervous out if his mind before the game. But he stayed cool throughout the game, made big plays, and was the leader of this team to bring them to victory. He was awarded the Gator Bowl’s Most Outstanding Player award, and he deserved it, but I think that there were two other players that might have deserved it more:

Jarmon Fortson. He had 3 or 4 great catches that were OK throws by Manuel, but he caught them with pure effort. He also caught one or two short balls, and made something out of him because he put the effort into it. I’m pretty sure we’ll all remember his one handed catch as one of the best catches we’ve seen, especially if you were there. That ball was way overthrown, and was on its way to being intercepted. But he went up and changed people’s couple of words on him from “Can’t catch a ball” to “Did you see that great catch he made?” And deservingly so. Me and the people by us were freaking out, jumping up and down looking at each other think “Did you see that?” and “I can’t believe he caught that!” As we screamed just by impulse “Oooh!!! Oohhh!!!” Some people were probably saying the catch was luck or something ridiculous like that, but honestly, if Coach Bowden wasn’t coaching his last game, I don’t think Fortson would have made that catch. And if you believe that, it’s great to know that the Seminoles players cared about Bobby Bowden so much that they can make plays for him that they hadn’t made at any other time in the season.

And last but definitely not least, Greg Reid. After the game he played, I don’t think anybody would have been surprised if they gave him the MVP of the Gator Bowl to him. Greg Reid played as good of a game, and probably better, than any Seminole has played in the last 3 years. He was given very few oppurtunities to make a play or help his team, and every single oppurtunity he got he ceased. Most of the time the West Virginia kicker kicked the ball away from him or the Mountaineer punter punted the ball away from him. But every time the ball did come to him, he made something out of it. He took two within 20 yards of a touchdown! Heck, one of the ones he took inside the 20 was off of a squib kick! And he played great on defense too. He made a huge play in the 4th quarter by getting to the quarterback and knocking the ball down. And after everything, Greg Reid has NFL talent, and if he wanted to, he could enter the NFL Draft this season and be picked in the 1st round. But hopefully for Florida State, he’ll stay in Tallahassee and go to school, because they could no doubt use his big plays for the next three years. Great job Greg, great job.

The fans definitely did a great job of getting a ton of fans to the game, but all the former players of Bobby Bowden who came to the game might of gave them a run for their money on which group had a better turnout. 300 plus players- wow. That’s great. You see how much Bowden did to people who had never even been coached by him, which is the majority of us. And look how much we care about him. These guys obviously thought he was a great coach (which he obviously was) and- there’s really not much to say about this. The fact that 300 and more of them came to this game should say enough.

And last but not least, probably the only people who pulled out the short end of the stick in Bowden’s finale, West Virginia University. If I was on their team and I knew how much everyone on the opposing side was anticipating this game and how hungry the players were to send Coach Bowden out on a win, I would not go into the game with the mindset that WVU will win. But they accepted the invitation to play in the bowl, and they came. Bobby Bowden couldn’t have gone out on a win, obviously, if the Noles didn’t have an opponent to beat. And West Virginia fans, you probably feel like you didn’t have anything to do with Bobby Bowden’s last game being special, but you did. Bowden even kind of said it when he said he was nostalgic when he heard WVU’s fight song. Thanks for coming to play FSU and everything else you did. Plus, I liked the thank you page you put in the Gator Bowl program to Bobby Bowden!

This article was a thank you to Bobby Bowden, but mostly, everyone. Thanks for the memories, 2010 Gator Bowl, and everyone who helped make them. Go Noles.



5 Responses to “2010 Gator Bowl Recap Bennett Style”
  1. Anonymous says:

    “and every single oppurtunity he got he ceased”

    and every single opportunity he got he seized*

    do you not proof read or are you just slow

    • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

      Geez Anon give Bennett a break. It’s his first post.

      Plus, isn’t proofread ONE word? Just sayin’.

    • Luvunoles says:

      Your name says it all!
      The most difficult process is to proofread your own work.
      Are YOU so SLOW that you cannot either ignore the error or hold back the personal attack?

  2. Luvunoles says:

    Happy New Year!
    I enjoyed your article.
    Many of the fans were unable to attend the game, so it is gracious of you and others who attended, to give us another view besides CBS.

  3. 4NolesNo Gravatar says:

    Amen Luvunoles! Anonymous is out of it…