Undefeated Florida State Left Out Of College Football Playoff | Not A Popular Choice, But The Selection Committee Got It Right

Championship weekend lived up to the hype in college football, and in the end the Michigan Wolverines, Washington Huskies, Texas Longhorns and Alabama Crimson Tide were all selected as this year’s participants in the College Football Playoff. Left out were the two-time defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs who had their 29-game win streak snapped by the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship game. 

The bigger surprise has to be the ACC champion Florida State Seminoles who became the first undefeated Power Five conference champion to not make the playoffs since the inception of it in 2014. Much to the chagrin of the Seminoles administration, coaches, players and fan base, and a lot of the media, the ’Noles were left out in favor of Texas and Alabama, two one-loss conference champions. 

But why? 

Committee Got It Right

For the bulk of the season FSU looked like a college football playoff contender, and winning the ACC, a Power Five conference, with an undefeated record was thought to be enough to get in. But the loss of star quarterback Jordan Travis, a preseason Heisman candidate a couple weeks ago, was definitely taken into account. The committee factors in injuries, and the Travis’ injury was glaring despite the Seminoles winning. In two games without Travis they passed for just 189 yards, including just 55 in the ACC championship game win versus Louisville. 

Committee chair Boo Corrigan explained how the committee came to the decision of Alabama over FSU in an interview on ESPN following the announcement.

“Florida State is a different team than they were the first 11 weeks. Coach Norvell, their players, their fans, had an incredible season. But if you look at who they are as a team, right now, without Jordan Travis, without the offensive dynamic that he brings to it, they are a different team. And the committee voted Alabama four and Florida State five.”

Part of the committee’s criteria that they’ve always lived by is injuries to important players play a role in the decision-making process of what four teams make the playoffs. FSU lost the heart and soul of their offense in Travis and that’s why they’re not in, and Alabama, who beat No. 1 Georgia, is. 

The Crimson Tide have been trending upward since a Week 2 home loss to No. 3 Texas, and the eye test says they’d beat a wounded FSU squad on a neutral field. 

SEC Sneaks In

All week the belief was Georgia needed to and would beat Alabama to have an SEC representative. That was the case even after Saturday’s SEC Championship, because with the Crimson Tide at No. 8 at the start of the day, a move to the top four didn’t seem likely. In fact, no team that’s been No. 1 at the time of championship Saturday has missed the CFP. That changed with the Bulldogs out of it and finishing sixth. 

Only one team at the No. 6 spot had ever climbed into the top four, and that was the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes, who made an impression on the committee with a 59-0 Big Ten championship game win with a third-string quarterback. They’d go on to upset Alabama and Oregon to win the title. 

Playoffs Expand To 12 Teams Next Season

In a move that’s been needed since its inception, the playoff field will expand to 12 teams next season. That means the five Power Five conference champions and seven at-large bids. That will eliminate the chaos which ensued on Sunday and showed FSU head coach Mike Norvell consoling his team after the announcement 

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips took things a little further with the committee’s decision, saying, “It’s unfathomable.”

Maybe it is, and that’s exactly why it’s imperative to go to a 12-team field. 

The playoffs take place on New Year’s Day:

Rose Bowl (Michigan vs. Alabama)

Sugar Bowl (Washington vs. Texas)

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