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Bowden, Stoops know chances abound for turmoil off the field

Last year about this time, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden came under fire for not suspending kicker Sebastian Janikowski for breaking curfew as he ushered in the new year along New Orleans' famous Bourbon Street.

Can he imagine what it would have been like for him had Janikowski scuffled with Virginia Tech players, as was the case Wednesday night between perhaps a dozen Florida and Miami players?

"Nasty," Bowden said Friday.

Yet he said that incident in New Orleans underscores what he said so often. "It happens to other people besides us, you know," he said, adding this one was "probably overblown."

Bowden said it is easier for players to run into each other in New Orleans than Miami, jokingly asking if there was a Bourbon Street here, and if there were, it would be off limits.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, a former Florida defensive coordinator, said he didn't talk to his players about how they comport themselves in light of the New Orleans incident.

"We speak often about how to conduct yourself in public," he said. "And you know, I'm sure Miami and Florida do as well. In fact, I know they do. And I'm sure Florida State does. So we don't have to do anything in particular. Our players will handle and conduct themselves as gentlemen as they always do and are respectful of women and children as well as other players. That would surprise me (if they didn't). I'm sure it surprised those two programs that that happened."

MOTIVATIONAL TOOL?: Although his undefeated and top-ranked team is a double-digit underdog, Stoops sees no reason to use that to motivate his players.

"Come on. Why? We're competing for the national championship," he said.

GETTING READY: FSU senior tight end Nick Franklin, a former Osceola High standout, has gone through two contact practices and appears almost ready to play for the first time in more than two months.

Franklin, who missed most of last season after injuring his left knee and undergoing reconstructive surgery, injured his right knee against Virginia on Oct. 21.

"It's a little sore, but I'll be able to go," he said Friday morning. "I wouldn't miss this game."

_ BRIAN LANDMAN

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