Let me say this: Florida State doesn’t belong in the current four-team College Football Playoff National Championship tournament.
My opinion isn’t based on quarterback Jordan Travis’ gruesome broken leg suffered against North Alabama. It’s because the injury came in another easy game in a schedule stocked with easy opponents.
Every team on the Seminoles’ schedule lost at least three games this season, and only four of 12 opponents finished with a winning record. Only one opponent, Louisiana State, was ranked in the Top 25 during the regular season.
Granted, schedules are made years in advance. There’s no way the FSU Athletics Department knew the Atlantic Coast Conference would have such a down year.
Louisville proved to be the second-best team in the conference and will play the Seminoles on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the ACC Championship. The Cardinals are coming off a home loss to a 7-5 Kentucky team last Saturday.
Florida State’s signature victory was a 45-24 win against LSU, a team that wound up third in the SEC West.
Last Saturday, Florida State used a backup quarterback to beat Florida (who hasn’t?) 24-15, to improve this season’s record to 12-0.
I know fans are tired of hearing the Seminoles didn’t play anyone. All you can do is line up and play the team on the other side of the ball. But I know your pain. I’m a Central Florida graduate and ardent fan of the Knights’ football team, and we heard the same comments in 2017 and 2018 – many from FSU fans.
The culmination of the 2017 campaign was a 34-27 win against Auburn in the Peach Bowl that made the Knights the only undefeated team – 13-0 – in the nation. All Auburn did that year was beat Alabama, 26-14, and Georgia, 40-17. They certainly weren’t considered a nobody back then.
The Knights were rewarded with a sixth-place finish in the final poll.
The following year, UCF was 12-0 before losing 40-32 to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl to snap a 25-game winning streak. That year, UCF finished 11th in the final polls.
Quarterback McKenzie Milton suffered a catastrophic leg injury against rival South Florida a month earlier. His right knee was only attached by his skin. The hit severed nerves, bones, muscles and arteries. Doctors considered amputating his leg, but they saved it with five surgeries.
Florida State, does this scenario suddenly sound familiar?
Here’s the rub: UCF won nine games in 2017 against teams that finished with winning records. Three of the opponents that year finished ranked in the Top 25.
In 2018, they won six games against teams that finished with a winning record, and two were Top 25.
Including conference championship games in 2017 and 2018, four UCF wins came against Mike Norvell’s Memphis Tigers. Norvell now leads Florida State.
So, who belongs in the football playoffs? Certainly, Georgia and Michigan. After that, it could get a little dicey.
An expansion to a 12-team playoff will satisfy most of us next year, but the No. 13 team will feel left out. So would the top teams from the Group of Five conferences. That’s the emotional nature of college football. Adding four teams would only add one extra week of games, and it would be a great way to level the playing field for every deserving team.
If Alabama beats Georgia in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, both teams deserve to advance. Alabama probably will be dropped to the Bowl Championship Series if the Bulldogs win and extend their winning streak to 30.
Michigan should easily throttle Iowa for a spot. Ohio State shouldn’t go because it didn’t qualify for a conference championship. As I said, all you can do is line up and beat the team on the other side of the ball. You can’t do that if you’re not on the field or at home watching television.
The winner of the Washington-Oregon Pac-12 championship game will advance. And 11-1 Texas, which won at Alabama this year, could get in if it wins the Big 12 championship game.
No matter what happens, many fan bases will be upset their teams won’t be part of the national championship picture. It happens every season because a fan’s rationality is usually clouded by their demonstrative ties to a program.
It happened to a deserving Central Florida team. Get ready, Seminoles.