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Bowden provides rib-tickling tales

Bobby Bowden even had the ladies laughing at his football jokes.He hopes to be laughing too, Saturday night, when his No. 5-rankedFlorida State Seminoles have defeated No. 2 Miami in an epic battleof undefeated football powers.

Bowden was the featured speaker at the Mississippi College WildGame Dinner two weeks ago. He flew into Jackson on private jet andreturned to Tallahassee immediately after the fund-raising banquet.MC has 400 athletes participating in 14 sports on the Clintoncampus. The dinner raised over $61,000 for the athleticdepartment.

Providing a series of humorous stories, Bowden recalled theearly days at Florida State when he arrived on campus in 1976. Thefootball program was in pitiful condition. Attendance averaged17,000 per game, far less than the 40,000 seating capacity at thattime.

Back then, complimentary football tickets were as numerous ascounterfeit $100 bills are in Iraq today. Bowden had 10 comps togive away and he had difficulty doing so. Seems like whoever Bowdenapproached with a free ticket had a conflict of some variety, be itfishing, family reunion, Cub Scout outing, etc.

Finally, Bowden had reduced his comp total to two tickets.

“I decided to go get a haircut at the local mall,” said Bowden.”My plan was to leave two tickets under the windshield wiper of mycar. Surely, someone would come along and take them.”

After receiving his haircut, Bowden returned to his vehicle inthe mall parking lot. Not only were his two tickets still stuckunder the wiper blade, four more had been added to the total.

You’ve come a long way, baby!

Certainly, tickets will be at a premium for Saturday’s showdownwith Miami. Bowden is in his 27th year at FSU. Doak CampbellStadium in Tallahassee is expected to be filled to its 82,000capacity for the Seminoles-Hurricanes showdown.

Meanwhile, Professor Hoopla B.S., was counting his blessings.Hoopla ran out of fingers and toes before losing count. Hepredicted the winners of 23 games last week and got 19 right.

Here’s a preview of this weekend’s games, starting with someThursday night specials.

McLaurin at Wesson: The Cobras are in amust-win situation if they plan on making the state playoffs.Wesson 24-19.

Pearl River at Southwest: Bears almost upsetHinds last week in a homecoming celebration at Summit. TheseWildcats are too offensive to lose in Hurst Stadium. Pearl River21-10.

Terry at Brookhaven: The most popularhomecoming opponent in Region 6-4A invades King Field. Brookhaven47-6.

Brookhaven Academy at Chamberlain-Hunt:Win-starved Cougars find a victory in Port Gibson. BrookhavenAcademy 28-12.

Natchez Cathedral at Enterprise: Green Wave unleashes apotent passing game on Harry Cole Field. Cathedral38-16.

Loyd Star at St. Andrew’s: It’s difficult to win inRidgeland but the Hornets should remain undefeated in seven games.Loyd Star 29-14.

West Lincoln at Salem: Improved Wildcats repaylast year’s loss to the Bears. Salem 30-19.

Hazlehurst at Franklin County: In what could bethe best game of the night, Indians avoid an ambush in Meadville.Hazlehurst 24-21.

Lawrence County at Magee: Cougars can’t affordto overlook the Trojans in this non-region contest. Lawrence County28-18.

In other area games, Jefferson County should edge North Pike19-12, McComb should outscore Jim Hill 30-22, South Pike shouldswamp Wingfield 52-6 and Prentiss should ambush Crystal Springs16-12.

Moving to Saturday’s collegiate scene, Hoopla tells thewinners.

Hinds at Co-Lin: Homecoming could bring out thebest in the Wolves but it won’t be enough. Hinds 24-10.

Arkansas State at Ole Miss: In this mismatch,even Colonel Rebel could quarterback a victory. Ole Miss 42-14.

Memphis at Mississippi State: Former MSUdefensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn returns to Starkville and helpsTigers author an upset. Memphis 22-12.

Southern Miss at Alabama: Crimson Tide regroupsjust in time to avoid a shocking home loss to the Golden Eagles.Alabama 24-14.

In other games involving Magnolia Stateinstitutions of higher learning, Alabama State should edge JacksonState 28-20, Grambling should whip Valley State 38-10, Alcorn Stateshould dump Prairie View 22-12, Centre should stop Millsaps 21-7and Mary Hardin-Baylor should shave Mississippi College 17-14.

Sports editor Tom Goetz can be contacted at The DAILYLEADER, P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailedsports@dailyleader.com