Bobby Bowden in unusual position of being run-of-the-pack

GREENSBORO, Ga. | Dadgummit, ol' Bobby Bowden ain't finished yet.

And for that matter, he doesn't think his Florida State Seminoles are either, although for the first time since the school joined up with the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992 they're not a preseason favorite.

"I still think we can do it," Bowden said. "I'm trying to get some good things going."

However, writers and broadcasters on Monday picked the Seminoles to finish third in the Atlantic Division — behind Clemson and Wake Forest — during the ACC's annual football preseason media festivities.

And while Bowden is as sunny and optimistic as he's always been, wins are coming harder for the coach who has two national titles and the most wins (373) of any major college coach —albeit by only one over Penn State's Joe Paterno — headed into the 2008 season.

"The one thing you can't do in this business is look back," said Bowden, who is entering his 33rd season at Florida State. "You always have to look ahead."

But Bowden, who will turn 79 during the season, can't turn back the clock and is on a one-year rollover agreement that includes options for a maximum of three years.

"Nobody knows how long they're going to live," added Bowden, who has always pointed to former Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's death shortly after he coached his last game.

Bowden also doesn't want to leave after successive 7-6 seasons, but conceded a losing season would likely be the end for him.

Bowden's son Tommy, whose Clemson team is the preseason favorite to win the ACC, said he won't be coaching when he reaches his daddy's age "or even 68 for that matter."

"I enjoy the beach, counting the waves, sitting there reading and walking with my wife," said the younger Bowden, 54. "He don't like fishing."

Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, who turns 62 in October, said he'd wouldn't rule out coaching another 10 years if his health remains good and the Hokies remain successful.

"There's a lot of difference in this business when you're winning and when you're not winning," said Beamer, whose 209 victories rank third among active coaches behind Bowden and Paterno.

And no one understands that better than Bobby Bowden.