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Bowdens could do without their Bowl

At first, Bobby Bowden enjoyed the novelty. No other father and son had opposed each other as head coaches in major-college football.

But after five games against Clemson and son Tommy, the sixth so-called "Bowden Bowl" on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium has gotten old for the old man.

"For the family, it's just not fun," Bobby said.

"I hate it," his wife, Ann, said.

The game has taken on added significance of late. Tommy essentially needed a win last year to save his job and, despite a new deal and huge buyout clause, he could use an upset to quell some of the grumbling about a disappointing 1-2 start.

Bobby's team can't afford another loss if it wants to remain in the race for the ACC title, let alone a shot at the BCS finale; it lost the latter last season because of the upset at Clemson. Then there's Jeff Bowden, the embattled FSU offensive coordinator, who needs a win with style points to ease the criticism.

"It's a game that both of us need to win and one of us is not going to win it," Bobby said. "It's tough on the family no matter what happens."

That's the last thing the Bowdens need at this time. They still are dealing with the car accident that claimed the lives of John Madden, a former Bowden son-in-law, and his son, Bowden Madden, and three hurricanes that hit the state.

The senior Bowden has talked about regaining a "perspective" on what's important, and football is not at the top of the list. Faith and family are Nos. 1 and 2. That's a sentiment Tommy echoed.

"Being a coach here at Clemson, you never like to even insinuate that football is not important because thousands of people attend the games every week and it generates millions of dollars for the university; it's a very important job," he said. "But again, with what's happened to me and my family, it reintroduces you to your priorities."

RULE CHANGE: Safety Pat Watkins drew a 15-yard penalty when he jumped to block a field-goal attempt and landed on an Alabama-Birmingham player, thanks to a new rule the FSU coaches don't particularly like. But do coaches need to do anything differently in practice?

"We try to teach them, don't cross the line of scrimmage," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "The problem was contact was made by the center who crossed the line of scrimmage and contact was made on our side of the ball."

So, that would be a no.

LOOKING FOR ANOTHER FIRST: FSU women's soccer, ranked No. 5 by Soccer Buzz and off to its best start in history, has beaten every team in the perennial powerful ACC except one: Virginia. The Seminoles are 0-10-1 against the Cavaliers, but look to end that streak Friday night at home in a game televised at 7 by Sunshine.

"There's been some tremendous firsts and there's still a couple left out there and one of them is trying to beat Virginia somehow, some way," coach Patrick Baker said.

A key for the Seminoles (7-1, 1-0) against the Cavaliers (8-0, 1-0) could be the health of star forward Leah Gallegos. She bruised her right knee Friday against Clemson and played only a few minutes Sunday against FIU. She's the lone, true target player, capable of holding the ball as well as taking on defenders herself. If she can't play, look for junior Alli Ferreri to start.

ANOTHER HONOR: Sophomore defender Kelly Rowland was named to Soccer Buzz's elite team of the week, making it an FSU-record six times she has been named to either the Buzz team or the Soccer America team of the week.

DAUNTING ROAD: The volleyball team (7-3) opens ACC play tonight at Virginia Tech and then at Miami on Friday, a difficult travel schedule to say the least. The team will leave Blacksburg at 6 a.m. and play the Hurricanes 13 hours later.

"It's going to be tough, we realize that, but when you look at the win-loss column, there's not going to be an asterisk next to any of the matches that says, "Well they had to travel early in the morning,"' coach Todd Kress said. "Every team has challenges when they go on the road and this will be a big one for us."