Head to Head: Should Florida State have made the College Football Playoffs?

On Dec. 3, the final college football playoff rankings selected Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama as the four teams to make the playoffs. This upset Florida State fans who thought they should have made the playoffs as they were 13-0 and ACC Champions. Editors Farris Duwayri and Henry Moye discuss this controversial decision
The College Football Playoff selection committee raised many eyebrows when they decided to exclude Florida State University from the playoffs. This was a shock to many as FSU was undefeated through the season and were ACC champions.
The College Football Playoff selection committee raised many eyebrows when they decided to exclude Florida State University from the playoffs. This was a shock to many as FSU was undefeated through the season and were ACC champions.
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College Football Playoff ranking decision is justified, based on level of play rather than record

Florida State’s level of skill simply does not compare with the other semifinalist schools. Even though other semifinalists like Alabama and Texas both had a worse record of 12-1, the argument that Florida State should’ve made it in their place is unjustifiable based on their level of play.

A significant factor taken into consideration when ranking teams came down to FSU’s star quarterback, Jordan Travis, getting injured in their eleventh game against North Alabama, while their backup quarterback, Tate Rodemaker, was also injured. Immediately following Travis’ injury, the effects of missing their key player could be observed, as their level of play as well as their energy dropped. Travis was one of the best quarterbacks in the league, so not having him most definitely had an effect on the committee’s decision.

Most of FSU’s wins were with Travis, such as their early victory against No. 5 LSU. With one of their star players missing late into their schedule, they did not have much time or experience to adjust and find a new playing style. According to Boo Corrigan, one of the chairs on the College Football Playoff Committee, “Florida State was a different team than they were in the first 11 weeks.”

FSU’s absence of their star quarterback directly contributed to the team being unprepared to face some of the best schools in the nation, thus showing why the College Football Committee’s decision was undoubtedly fair.

Further, if FSU made it into the playoffs, it would have snubbed a team that is much more deserving of the spot. Michigan and Washington both had 13-0 records and also maintained their high level of play throughout the season, securing their spot in the playoffs. 

Even though Texas and Alabama were 12-1, they were still more deserving of a spot because they both had strong teams that accomplished massive feats throughout the season. In the SEC Championship game, Alabama beat Georgia who was ranked No. 1, while Texas beat Alabama earlier in the season. These two victories were evidence that Texas and Alabama presented themselves as the more fitting teams in the playoffs. 

FSU not making it into the playoffs marks the first time in history an undefeated Power Five conference team was excluded from the playoffs. This progressive transition to playoffs being evaluated on the level of play as compared to record is extremely important, as it creates a more unprejudiced and professional league.

Developing a just college football league is essential to raising the quality of play throughout the nation and giving equal opportunities to all teams. This monumental change, indicated by FSU’s exclusion, symbolizes that the playoff selection is becoming more similar to that of the National Basketball Association, one that is based on the contemporary abilities of the teams. 

Furthermore, if college football playoffs were based truly on skill, then schools not in the Power Five conferences would get the opportunity to showcase their skills to the world. Power Five teams almost always get a spot before schools outside of these conferences, even when these schools may be better. An example of this occurred in the 2009 selection when Boise State went undefeated but was snubbed of the playoff spot because the team was in the Western Athletic Conference.

Ultimately, creating a college football league based on skill, not record, is what matters most today. The College Football Committee’s decision to leave out FSU in the playoffs is completely warranted, and this choice only marks a transition to a professional league that provides fair opportunities for all teams.

 

Undefeated ACC champs Florida State deserved to make playoffs over teams with losses

The decision that the College Football playoff selection committee made to exclude Florida State from the playoffs enraged many college football fans who felt that as one of three Power Five undefeated schools and the Atlantic Coast Conference champions, they deserved to be in the playoffs, and they were right to feel this way.

FSU being left out of the playoffs marks the first time in CFP history that an undefeated Power Five conference team is left out of the playoffs. The playoffs are meant to include the top four ranked teams in college football and according to the AP and AFCA poll, Florida State was a top-four team. However, the CFP rankings put them below both Texas and Alabama who each had one loss. 

The reason for this, many claim, is that Florida State lost their star quarterback Jordan Travis to injury late in the season. According to CFP committee chairman Boo Corrigan, this made Florida State “a different team than they were the first 11 weeks.” But this is unfair to the rest of the Florida State team and coaching staff. In almost any sport with an elimination-style playoff format, the teams with the best records make the playoffs. But because of a factor out of their control, Florida State should not make the playoffs? 

Florida State has been a powerhouse since the beginning of the year on both offense and defense. They allowed less than 16 points per game while scoring 37 a game. In the 11 quarters they’ve played since losing Travis, the Seminoles scored 95 points. They displayed that they don’t need to rely on their passing attack in their game against Florida, where Trey Benson rushed for three touchdowns. The Seminoles then showed off their defensive ability by holding #15 Louisville to just 188 yards and six points in the ACC championship game. This showing against Louisville, who before that game had averaged 33 points and over 430 yards per game over the season, displayed that Florida State is not just about Jordan Travis and deserves to be in the playoffs.

And if it’s about the strength of the teams, the committee should be questioning other teams in the playoffs. Washington won a majority of its games by only one score including barely beating unranked teams like Arizona State and Utah. Texas lost to Oklahoma and barely beat teams like TCU, Kansas State, and Houston. Alabama lost to Texas and they struggled to beat unranked teams like Auburn, Arkansas, and Texas A&M. Strength of conferences is also not a valid argument as ACC schools like Florida State had a winning record against teams in the SEC, which displays the strength of teams that the ACC has and the ACC champion should certainly be in the playoffs. Overall, it is unfair to say that these teams haven’t had hiccups like Florida State.

Not only did this selection highlight a mistake that the CFP selection committee made, but it also displays why the upcoming move to a 12-team playoff format is absolutely necessary. Teams like Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, and Oregon all had a case for possibly making the playoffs but they were ultimately left out. The 12-team format is the right move for college football and it opens it up to more teams and a more exciting playoff with a greater chance for upsets.

Overall, Florida State is most definitely one of the four most deserving teams in college football. As undefeated ACC champions, not selecting them for the college football playoffs is completely unfair. Especially not over teams who lost games like Alabama and Texas.

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About the Contributors
Farris Duwayri, News Associate Managing Editor
Farris Duwayri is a junior and this is his third year on the staff. He enjoys playing Midtown's football team and debate team. He likes cars and hanging out with friends
Henry Moye, Comment Section Editor
Henry is a sophomore that is very excited for his second year on the Southerner. Aside from working on the paper, Henry plays on the Midtown soccer team and competes with the Midtown debate team.

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