For the last decade every Sunday after championship weekend, fans, players and coaches alike have gathered in anticipation of the announcement of the top four teams. Those teams that have earned a spot in the College Football Playoff to contend for a national championship.
There have been several controversial decisions handed down from the CFP committee in the past. However, the latest takes the cake. For the first time in CFP history, the committee has left out an undefeated conference champion. What fuels the controversy is that two one loss teams, Texas and Alabama, got in over Florida State.
Now, no one seems to have an issue with Texas getting in. The Longhorns have been very good this year. Their only loss came at the hands of a number 12 ranked Oklahoma and Texas beat the other four top 25 teams they played this year, including SEC Champion Alabama, who they took down in Tuscaloosa. No one has a problem with the Longhorns.
Where the controversy lies is with the Tide. Alabama has had an up and down season by their standards. They lost to Texas by ten at home, needed a miracle to beat a poor Auburn team and beat Georgia by just three. Somehow the committee saw this as a reason to boost Alabama four spots and rank them ahead of Florida State, who dropped the number five and is now set to take on Georgia in the Orange Bowl.
This Seminoles team may be without their best player in Jordan Travis. But, backup QB Tate Rodemaker proved he is more than capable as he played well in a rivalry win against Florida. Many have argued that without Jordan Travis, the Noles can’t win a national championship so, they should be out. That could be a valid argument, however, the CFP committee did not hold Travis’ injury against Florida State after it initially happened, instead choosing to keep the Noles ranked in the top four after beating the Gators. Furthermore, teams have won the CFP without their week one QB before. The best example is Ohio State in 2014. Cardale Jones made his first start with Ohio State in the Big 10 conference championship game in 2014. He led the Buckeyes to a win in that game and went on to lead the them past Alabama in the first round of the playoffs and then to a 42-20 victory over Oregon in the championship game.
Adding to Florida State’s case is, that they are the undefeated ACC Champions and they won that title with the best defense in the country and their third string quarterback.
In and article by ESPN’s David Hale, he illustrated what the committee chose to see in the ACC title game. It was Brock Glenn, who would not have played in the CFP, and his 55 passing yards in the entire game.
“Here are the stats it ignored,” wrote Hale. “Seven sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 10 passes defended, 189 rushing yards against a stacked box, a 10-point win over a top-15 team with a QB making his first career start.”
In all actuality, what likely happened is the committee was scared to leave out an SEC team, worrying more about TV ratings than following their own guidelines. With Alabama defeating Georgia in the SEC title game, the Bulldogs were booted and Alabama was the SEC’s only route to the CFP.
So, that leaves fans cringing in their seats on Sunday afternoon as the CFP committee left an undefeated conference champion out of the College Football Playoffs for the first time since the four team playoff’s inception. The powers that be chose to ignore their own policies and rules in favor of what they believed would be a better match up for TV, ignoring the sacrifices that young college athletes have given through 13 victories only to be told that they weren’t good enough.
Media outlets, fans, athletic directors, coaches and players alike are now crying out at the CFP committee, wondering if wins and results even matter anymore.
“I thought results mattered,” tweeted injured FSU QB Jordan Travis. “13-0 and a roster that matches up across any team in those top 4 rankings. I am so sorry. Go Noles!”
“The consequences of giving in to a narrative of the moment are destructive, far reaching and permanent,” said FSU athletic Director Michael Alford. He went on the call the committee’s decision “an unwarranted injustice”.
Big time media personalities have also jumped in to support the Noles with ESPN’s Booger McFarland calling it “a travesty to the sport” and former NFL Richard Sherman taking to Undisputed on FS1 to say “This is what’s wrong with college sports” and adding to that by saying, “It’s nothing but politics.”