The countdown's on
Notes from all over the field as the Big Game nears
Posted: Friday January 01, 1999 09:09 PM
His calendar is wide open: Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden is helping his father Bobby prepare for Tennessee Rick Stewart/Allsport|
By John Donovan, CNN/SI
TEMPE, Ariz. (CNN/SI) -- Random notes from the Fiesta Bowl field with about 72 long hours remaining until kickoff:
Peerless Price may be the cockiest player on either side of the line Monday, but the Tennessee receiver may well be the funniest, too. Asked Friday if the Volunteers should change their gameplan because Florida State is so good defensively, Price practically snorted: "We aren't facing the Pittsburgh Steelers' Steel Curtain defense," he said.
Bobby Bowden wouldn't let his players head to downtown Tempe on New Year's Eve for the big Fiesta Bowl Block Party despite earlier proclamations that he would let the kids have fun. Instead, they were allowed to go where all kids go -- to a mall. They got a free pass to downtown Tempe Friday night, if they want it.
Boy, when you put a lot of reporters together at the same event, there are a lot of dumb questions asked. We didn't say these were random revelations -- just random notes.
- One of the dumbest we've heard: To Price, who plays for a 12-0 team ranked No. 1 in the country, one radio reporter asked "Do you think you guys really have a chance?"
This game is huge nationally and promises to pull in some big-time numbers for ABC. But, in the Phoenix metropolitan area, it is the Ed McMahon to the Arizona Cardinals' Johnny Carson. It is a Robin to Jake Plummer's Batman. It is second banana city. And, if the Cardinals beat the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday in Dallas, it'll still be that way, even Monday night.
Quick quiz : Name the lines after "Once I had a girl on Rocky Top/Half bear, other half cat." Answer below.
Less than nine hours after about 150,000 people crowded onto the streets of Tempe for the big New Year's Eve party, the city's main areas downtown looked nearly as pristine as ever. No trash in the streets, no chips in the gutters, no signs of one of the biggest gatherings in the state. They not only know how to put on a party in Tempe. They know how to clean up after themselves.
Florida State free safety Dexter Jackson has dedicated this game to his mom, Lula Lee, whose recovering nicely, he says, after a kidney transplant she underwent on Thanksgiving morning.
Phil Fulmer, Tennessee's coach, is being stuck with a label: He isn't particularly -- how shall we say this? -- flashy. Stuck next to FSU's Bowden, whose down-home ways, contrived or not, have made him a media favorite, Fulmer seems downright dull. It didn't help Thursday when he stood on a podium answering questions during media day with his sweat jacket tucked in to his khakis.
Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden, the son of Florida State's head coach, is helping his father prepare for Tennessee as a kind of unofficial assistant coach. The younger Bowden, who resigned under pressure during the 1998 season, was still at the helm October 3 when the Tigers lost to Tennessee, 17-9.
Florida State fans are wondering whether wideout extraordinaire Peter Warrick will go pro after this game. He says he hasn't made up his mind. "I could be a candidate for the Heisman, win the Biletnikoff," he said in rattling off some reasons he might stay. "I just don't want to make the wrong decision, that's all."
An oldie but goody from the elder Bowden, when asked this week if it bothered him that he's won only one national championship: "No! I keep my job if I can stay in the Top 4. And I like to eat and do things like that."
Quiz answer : "Wild as a mink but sweet as soda pop/I still dream about that." Get used to it.
Sorry, the words to the FSU War Chant were unavailable at deadline.
Around the Fiesta Bowl appears every day through Monday night's big game.