"I'm kicking myself in the butt a lot of times when I watch film," says Weinke. "I watch him get open and wonder, Why didn't I see that? Against Miami there were a couple of situations where I could have gone to him and gotten touchdowns."
Though Minnis became a first-team All-America, his greatest honor came from receivers coach Jeff Bowden (son of head coach Bobby). Midway through the season Bowden instituted the Snoop Rule. "If Snoop isn't tired, he ain't coming out," Richt says. On a team that prides itself on frequent substitutions to wear down an opponent, that's high praise.
Oklahoma has an advantage in the kicking game with Tim Duncan, who made II of 15 field goals inside 40 yards. Though Miami may have stopped Florida State on the ground, the real reason the Seminoles lost was that the coaches had so little confidence in their kickers. Twice in the first quarter Florida State drove into the Hurricanes' red zone and refused to try a field goal. Both times the Seminoles failed to convert on fourth down. One could argue that Matt Munyon validated that lack of confidence by missing two field goal attempts in the second half, including a 49-yarder as time expired. "Our thinking was wrong," says Richt. "We may try four field goals [against Oklahoma] and miss all four, but we're going to try them." The good news for Florida State is that freshman Brett Cimorelli, one of the two kickers who took over for Munyon after the Miami game, proved to be more reliable, making six of nine field goal attempts in the Seminoles' final four games.
The Sooners are the only undefeated team in the nation. Their bodies are resilient—no starter has missed significant time because of injury—and so are their minds. When they had to come back against Nebraska and Texas A&M, they did. When they had to hold off Kansas State, twice, they did. Those strengths should help overcome the willies that will attack them in the Orange Bowl.
Florida State, however, has eight starters and 34 lettermen making their third consecutive trip to a national championship game. The Seminoles are nearly a two-touchdown favorite, a testament to the oddsmakers' faith in the public's willingness to support a familiar face. The guess here is that it will be closer than that—say, Florida State 31, Oklahoma 24.