The sky above the Orange Bowl has opened, rain coming in sheets from the night clouds. At the end of the narrow tunnel that leads from the stadium to the parking lot, three buses sit idling, awaiting the Seminoles. Dunn is nearly the last, shuffling aboard. Wilson follows, stopping to shake hands with his father—the two old earthmovers—and to embrace his mother. The Seminoles' season is full of promise, and soon they'll begin to catch whiffs of Nov. 30 and a Tallahassee showdown with the Florida Gators, currently ranked No. 1 in the land. It's safe to dream of a national title.
The last to exit is Bowden, hustling down the narrow corridor alongside Florida state trooper Major Billy Smith, his personal escort. Bobby's wife, Ann, jumps from behind a metal barrier and hugs him so hard that the blood leaves her hands. Bobby hugs her back and then jumps into one of four Highway Patrol cars for the 20-minute ride to the Miami airport. Lights begin flashing, sirens briefly pierce the night, as the cars roll away. The buses follow, leaving behind the Orange Bowl. Girders, grass and paint. Nothing more.