Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Osborne and Bowden Go Hunting for Elusive Title

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Osborne and Bowden Go Hunting for Elusive Title

Article excerpt

They are not Wile E. Coyote clones, doomed to watching the Roadrunner elude their grasp. They are not personifications of Tantalus, condemned to stand in water that receded when he tried to drink.

Smitten as they may be with corralling the slippery national championship, college football's two most eligible bridesmaids say they are not mesmerized by their quarry.

"I'd like to win it. But what can I do with it? I can't take it with me," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "If we win it, then it would be just like it was for (Miami coach) Dennis Erickson last year: `You've won it once, but can you win it twice?' It never stops."

Nor does Nebraska coach Tom Osborne concede he is haunted by the elusive prize.

"I think sometimes, since we've never won a national championship since I've been here, people feel I'm like Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick and I'm obsessed," Osborne once said. "It isn't that way for me. The pursuit of it is more important than the winning of it."

If that's the case, then Bowden and Osborne can revel in their glorious, if exasperating, chases.

With 228 career victories, Bowden is college football's second-winningest active coach and seventh overall. With 195 career victories, Osborne is third active and 15th overall. If Osborne's Cornhuskers have an average season - Nebraska has had nine wins or more for 24 successive seasons - Osborne will be ninth in career victories at season's end.

But each coach, their badges of excellence and identities as pillars of their communities notwithstanding, has come to be known as much for his ultimate futility.

What more savory plot, then, than Bowden and Osborne meeting in the 1994 Orange Bowl to decide the national championship?

The flashy, folksy Bowden, his arsenal of chicanery and "fast-break" offense vs. the prim, methodical, landlubberly Osborne. Different as their styles may be, they also are intertwined.

Heisman Trophy candidate Charlie Ward of Florida State vs. Heisman Trophy candidate Calvin Jones of Nebraska.

The Seminoles, undefeated in 11 successive bowl games, vs. the 'Huskers, winless in their last six.

Nebraska, propelled through the Big Eight Conference season by a wimpy nonconference season, vs. …

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