If Minnis's career was stalled by the presence of an All-America at his position, Cody's was nearly killed by his immaturity. After starting 13 games as a sophomore in 1998, Cody was arrested for marijuana possession last season and served a one-game suspension in late October. He was warned that another such transgression could mean the end of his career. "I needed to grow up," Cody says. "That made me realize it." He has a crude tattoo on the left side of his chest, the words THUG LIFE in bold, block letters. "I got that when I was in ninth grade, back in the Tupac era, and I thought it made me a man," Cody says. "I'm going to get it removed soon."
Last spring Cody became the first person in his family to earn a college degree, with a major in political science. In the dying moments of Saturday's victory, Minnis and Cody, who is now a graduate student studying sports management, found each other behind the Florida State bench. While many in the stadium-record crowd of 83,042 war-chanted and tomahawk-chopped in the 40� chill, Minnis grabbed Cody and shouted in his ear, "I'm going to miss you!" Cody shouted back in kind, and the two embraced.
Moments later in the locker room Florida State coach Bobby Bowden gave a brief speech. "I'm proud of you men," he said, according to several players. "You should be proud of yourselves." His words were significant as much for what they didn't address as for what they did. Bowden didn't promise his 11-1 Seminoles that they'd have a chance to defend their national title in the Orange Bowl, because the issue is far too complex for simple speech-making. Florida State passed Miami to move into the No. 2 spot in this week's Bowl Championship Series rankings. However, Miami plays its regular-season finale on Saturday at home against Boston College and could jump back over the Seminoles with a convincing win.
The situation is replete with the kind of passion that tests common sense. Miami supporters argue that the Hurricanes should be ranked ahead of Florida State because they beat the Seminoles 27-24 on Oct. 7. That logic, however, would dictate that Washington, fourth in the BCS ratings, be placed ahead of Miami because the Huskies beat the Hurricanes 34-29 on Sept. 9 and each has only one loss. Top-ranked Oklahoma still must play Oklahoma State this week before going to the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 2—against Kansas State. Several one-loss teams could end up fighting for two spots or for one spot opposite Oklahoma.
For the first time in the three-year history of the BCS, it could get ugly. Bowden knows it. "See you at the Orange Bowl," a locker room visitor shouted at Bowden in the small hours of Sunday morning. "I hope so," Bowden yelled back. "All I can do now is hope."