Clemson and FSU first played in 1970, predating Florida State's membership in the ACC. The actual rivalry started to emerge in 1988 when the No. 3 Clemson Tigers hosted the No. 10 Seminoles in a grueling match-up, that was ultimately decided by Leroy Butler's 78-yard "puntrooskie" run, costing Clemson the victory and dashing their national title hopes. Clemson avenged the loss in 1989, with a dominating 34–23 victory in Tallahassee, marked by a 73-yard scoring run by Terry Allen and a 73-yard interception return by Wayne Simmons. The Seminoles and Tigers finished the 1989 season with 10–2 records, and ranked No. 3 and No. 12 in the final AP poll, respectively. Prior to FSU's arrival, Clemson was a dominant team in the ACC winning six of the past 11 ACC titles from 1981–91. However, after the departure of Clemson's national championship winning coach Danny Ford in 1989, the 1991 ACC title would be their last until 2011, as Florida State's success continued for much of the 1990s, with less consistent opposition in the conference. The rivalry picked up, however, when Tommy Bowden, son of FSU coach Bobby Bowden was hired at Clemson University in 1999, in an attempt to help rebuild the program.
When Tommy Bowden was named head coach of Clemson on December 2, 1998, the opportunity arose for the first ever meeting between a father and his son as opposing head coaches on the football field. This became known as "The Bowden Bowl". Florida State and Clemson have faced each other on a yearly basis since Florida State joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992. In 2005, when the ACC expanded to twelve teams, Clemson and Florida State were placed together in the Atlantic Division; this allowed the teams to continue to face each other without interruption. The first meeting in 1999 was the largest crowd ever to watch a game at Memorial Stadium at Clemson University with an attendance of 86,200. Bobby won the all-time series, with five wins and four losses. Tommy Bowden's first win came in 2003 on his father's birthday, defeating then third-ranked FSU, damaging their prospects for a national championship. The Bowden vs Bowden editions of the series ended when Tommy resigned as head coach six games into the 2008 football season.
The rivalry lives on past the departure of Tommy Bowden, who was replaced mid-season by Wide Receivers and Interim Head Coach Dabo Swinney in 2008. The games in 2008 and 2009 both came down to the 4th quarter with the home teams winning respectively, and influencing the Atlantic Division standings. In 2009, Clemson went on to clench the Atlantic Division after a 40–24 win in Death Valley, while similarly, Florida State won the division after a 16–13 decision the following year. In 2011, Clemson brought the ACC Championship back to the Atlantic Division with a dominating win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. In the last decade, the series is evenly split, with each team winning 5. At the end of the 2009 season Bobby Bowden retired from Florida State University leaving his Offensive Coordinator and Head Coach in Waiting Jimbo Fisher as head coach of the team. Fisher is currently 3–1 vs Dabo Swinney and Clemson, while Swinney is 2–3 as head coach vs the Seminoles. Both teams were once again ranked in the Top 10 in their 2012 meeting. In 2013, after 4 Clemson turnovers, FSU went on to win 51-14 in Death Valley for the first time since 2001. Their 2013 meeting marked the first time both teams were ranked simultaneously in the Top 5.