In a controversial selection on Sunday, the College Football Playoff committee chose one-loss Alabama over undefeated Florida State for the fourth and final spot in this year’s playoff. The move sparked immediate backlash, with Florida State players, coaches and fans expressing anger and disbelief over the snub.
Florida State Completes Historic Season but Misses Playoff
Florida State entered the final College Football Playoff rankings undefeated at 10-0, having won their first ACC championship since 2014. Led by dynamic quarterback Jordan Travis, the Seminoles had victories over three ranked opponents and an average margin of victory of 26.2 points per game.
Expectations were that if Florida State defeated North Carolina in the ACC Championship game, they would earn a playoff spot. The Seminoles did just that, routing the Tar Heels 45-38 to capture the conference crown.
Florida State’s Final Regular Season Stats
|Avg Margin of Victory
|Wins vs Ranked Opponents
However, when the final CFP rankings were unveiled, Florida State found itself fifth behind 12-1 Alabama, who claimed the final playoff spot to face undefeated and #1 seed Michigan.
Playoff Committee Favors Alabama’s "Full Body of Work"
CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan defended the decision by stating Alabama had a stronger resume andSchedule according to their criteria. Corrigan cited Alabama’s big wins over ranked teams like Texas and Mississippi State as pushing them into the playoff.
"When you look at Alabama, with their full body of work and two wins over teams in the top 13, the committee felt Alabama was a better team," Corrigan said.
Other committee members echoed this sentiment, suggesting Alabama "passed the eye test" more convincingly than Florida State over the full season.
Florida State Supporters Outraged Over Decision
Florida State coaches, players and fans universally expressed anger and disbelief at being left out. FSU athletic director Michael Alford called it a "sham" and "one of the greatest injustices in college football history."
Meanwhile, FSU quarterback Jordan Travis, who accounted for 35 total touchdowns on the year, tweeted he was "DISGUSTED" over what he called an "unjust" decision prompted by bias.
Head coach Mike Norvell also blasted the committee, saying his undefeated team proved themselves on the field week after week more than Alabama.
"You look at the body of work of our team versus [Alabama’s] body of work, it’s not even close. We’ve gone out there and dominated the opposition."
Even college football analysts typically supportive of the committee process slammed the choice, calling it indefensible and solely based on Alabama’s "brand name" rather than actual performance.
Reactions to Florida State Missing Playoff
|FSU AD Michael Alford
|Called it a "sham" and injustice
|QB Jordan Travis
|Tweeted he was "disgusted" by an "unjust bias"
|HC Mike Norvell
|"[Our] body of work…not even close [to Alabama’s]"
|Indefensible choice based on Bama’s "brand name"
What’s Next for Florida State and Alabama
By missing the playoff, Florida State is left to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game instead as ACC champions. They await their ultimate bowl assignment and opponent.
Alabama must regroup quickly from this week’s SEC Championship loss to face Michigan, the #2 overall seed, in the Fiesta Bowl national semifinal on December 31st. The Wolverines are heavy favorites, leaving Alabama’s playoff stay potentially a short one.
The CFP championship is January 9th at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Bigger Impacts and Reforms Demanded
Beyond this single season, anger over leaving an undefeated Power 5 champion out of the playoff will likely accelerate demands for CFP expansion already gaining momentum. Many point to this perceived injustice as proof four teams is inadequate and biases creep into decisions.
Incoming Big Ten commissioner Jim Phillipssummarize the sentiments of many:
”[The CFP has] never been really open to newcomers. Is that really a national championship? Maybe we need to look broader.”
Congress may also apply pressure, with politicians citing a broken system and need for accountability. Florida’s governor in particular blasted the rankings as unjust.
So while Alabama controversially claims the CFP’s fourth spot for now, larger forces may push definitive changes sooner than later. For Florida State, the only recourse is trying again next season.
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