BCS title game: Jimbo Fisher has Florida St. back at Bobby Bowden level

Coach Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles, who play for BCS title Monday, are 13-0 and look very much like they did during Bowden dynasty years.

In December 2006, Bobby Bowden blew off an interview with a Los Angeles reporter who was in Tallahassee, Fla., to preview Florida State's upcoming Emerald Bowl game with UCLA.

The reporter was me.

Bowden had no time to explain as he rushed out of Doak Campbell Stadium on his way to a waiting plane.

He said he'd give me all the time I wanted if I could stay an extra day (and he graciously did), but this was a pressing issue concerning the future of the program.

Neither of us could have imagined that trip would lead to Florida State playing Auburn on Monday night in the last Bowl Championship Series title game.

It was, pardon the pun, a Seminole moment.

Bowden left that day in hot pursuit of Jimbo Fisher, then the offensive coordinator at Louisiana State.

Fisher joined the staff the next month and was named Bowden's successor in waiting.

The transition was messier than it should have been, as Florida State forced Bowden out a year before he wanted to go, but it all worked out in the Rose Bowl end zone.

Fisher took over for Bowden in 2010 and led Florida State on a steady climb back to the top.

Seasons of 10-4, 9-4 and 12-2 preceded this year's 13-0 romp to the Rose Bowl.

Florida State is back in the BCS title game for the first time since 2000, when a 13-2 loss to Oklahoma foreshadowed the decline of the Bowden dynasty.

It feels like old times again, when Bowden's teams ran roughshod through a watered-down Atlantic Coast Conference to win national titles in 1993 and 1999.

Fisher has answered the question so many of us asked: "What happens to FSU after Bowden is gone?"

Could the school's stunning football success be sustained, or was it all a one-man Bowden band?

Florida State was an ink blot in 1976, a former women's college that went 1-10 and 3-8 under Darrell Mudra in the two seasons before Bowden arrived.

Bowden, in 34 seasons, produced unprecedented results with only heartbreaking losses to Miami preventing Florida State from winning four, or five, national titles.

His most impressive accomplishment was leading Florida State to 14 straight top-five finishes in the final Associated Press poll.

Fisher has answered the question: Florida State IS a program, not a man.

Fisher is not Bowden, though, but an amalgam of all his experiences in 22 years as an assistant coach. He was lucky enough to work five years under Nick Saban at LSU and three years under Bowden.