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Published Oct. 14, 2008

Calling it the "nature" of big-time college football, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said he wasn't overly surprised that his son Tommy was forced out Monday at Clemson.

The unranked Tigers are 3-3 after opening the season in the top 10 of some national polls.

"That's the way this profession works," Bobby Bowden said, adding that Tommy called him early Monday and said he expected to get fired. "There ain't but one answer, and that's winning. ... At least I don't have to worry about him beating me again."

On Monday, Tommy Bowden told athletic director Terry Don Phillips he would step aside for the future of the program. Phillips said he had planned a candid talk with Bowden about the team. So Phillips was surprised when Bowden offered to walk away. Phillips said he wasn't fired.

"There wasn't a gun to his head," Phillips said. "He put it on the table for the sake of the program. I agreed."

Bowden, 54, will be paid through the end of the season, then get a $3.5-million buyout.

"I wish them nothing but success, and I will be their biggest fan on Saturday" against Georgia Tech, Bowden said, then left without taking questions.

Receivers coach Dabo Swinney will be the interim coach.

Tommy was the final remaining Bowden son in coaching. Terry Bowden last coached at Auburn in 1998 and has done mostly TV work since, and Jeff Bowden resigned as FSU's offensive coordinator two years ago.

The eldest Bowden said Tommy probably won't rush back into coaching: "Tommy wasn't going to coach forever. Tommy's not like me; he was one of those guys that was thinking a couple of years down the road anyways."

Clemson was 72-45 (43-32 ACC) and made eight bowl appearances under Tommy Bowden, who was ACC coach of the year in 1999 and 2003.

The news hit several FSU assistants hard.

"It's a shame," said offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who worked with Tommy Bowden on Terry's staff at Auburn. "I hate it for him because Tommy's a heck of a football coach, a great person. I don't know all the circumstances, but the patience in this world is gone."

Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper, who was benched after a loss last week, was quoted on as saying Bowden got "what he deserved" but later said that was taken out of context.

Harper's father, Jeff, said that Bowden had a habit of unfairly putting the blame on players: "You don't throw 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds under the bus. But he's been good at that, and I think it finally caught up to him."

UK's Lyons finished

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Dicky Lyons, Kentucky's best receiver and a kick returner, had his college career ended by two torn ligaments in his right knee, sustained Saturday.

The Wildcats, who face Florida on Oct. 25, have been struggling on offense.

Lyons finishes with 141 catches for 1,752 yards and 18 touchdowns. The past two seasons against the Gators he had a combined 15 receptions for 174 yards and three TDs.

QUESTIONING RODRIGUEZ: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said his first season has been rougher than he expected. Michigan (2-4, 1-1 Big Ten) has its worst record through six games since 1967, its last losing season.

"I think it's fair for everybody to question it," Rodriguez said. "I think they've questioned everything I've done since I've been here, the last eight, nine months."

One of those questioning him is USF coach Jim Leavitt, who in July said USF should schedule Michigan after beating Rodriguez's West Virginia teams two years in a row. On Monday, Leavitt had another comment, talking about how upsets, like USF's loss to Pitt and Michigan's to Toledo, can happen anywhere.

"Who would have thought Toledo would go in and beat Michigan, with Rich Rodriguez and all his infamous wisdom, whatever it is there?" Leavitt said. "You've got to be ready at any time to play. It doesn't matter if Michigan is putting in a new offense or not, you would think the talent level would be a little bit different. It showed Toledo played with so much heart and desire and all that. The days of one team that's going to completely dominate the Earth are probably gone."

VANDERBILT: The Commodores are switching quarterbacks for Saturday's game against Georgia. Mackenzi Adams, who came off the bench and rallied Vandy past Auburn on Oct. 4, will replace Chris Nickson.

Washington State: Starting quarterback Marshall Lobbestael tore knee ligaments against Oregon State and is out for the season. There was no word who will start against USC on Saturday, but former starter Kevin Lopina had recovered enough from a broken bone in his back to practice Sunday.


UNC-TEXAS TALKS: A marquee matchup could soon be coming to the Dallas Cowboys' new $1.1-billion stadium in Arlington. Officials from Texas and North Carolina are in serious discussions with the Cowboys for a game that would pit the two national powers early next season at the new stadium, the Dallas Morning News reported.

A likely date would be Dec. 19, 2009, the paper reported, as part of a home-and-home agreement. Texas and North Carolina would also meet in the 2010-11 season.

NEW TOURNAMENT: ESPN and the University of Hawaii announced a new eight-team, holiday men's tournament starting in 2009. The Diamond Head Classic will feature 12 games played over three days, around the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl football game. No teams were announced.

Times staff writer Greg Auman and correspondent Ira Schoffel contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires. For news on other sports from our instate colleges, go to and click on More Sports.

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