The College Football Playoff committee has selected the four teams to vie for the national championship this year… and to the surprise of nobody, there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding it.
This was always going to happen given that, going into Selection Sunday, there were six teams vying for four spots in the playoffs — something which won’t be a problem next year when the playoff field triples to include 12 teams.
According to ESPN, the four teams that made it are (by seeding):
The University of Michigan Wolverines
The University of Washington Huskies
The University of Texas Longhorns
The University of Alabama Crimson Tide
The two teams that didn’t make it are the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida State University Seminoles.
In regards to the Bulldogs, there’s certainly some controversy regarding the team’s exclusion, given that they are a 1-loss two-time defending national champion vying for a three-peat.
But the Bulldogs lost to the Crimson Tide on Saturday in the SEC championship game, and as unfair as it may be, recency bias absolutely plays a factor in the College Football Playoff selection.
(Fair or not, it’s always been the case in college football that an early loss is vastly preferable to a later loss, in terms of vying for postseason/Bowl play.)
Bulldogs fans are surely disappointed that their team won’t be competing for a third straight national championship, but outside of Georgia, most fans seem to understand the ramifications of a late-season loss.
The omission of FSU, however, is sparking much stronger emotions because the case against the Seminoles can’t be nearly as neatly wrapped up as “they shouldn’t have lost their final game.”
And that’s because FSU didn’t lose their final game — or any, for that matter — after finishing the season 13-0 and winning the ACC championship.
That’s historic because, as ESPN points out, Florida State became the first unbeaten Power 5 conference champion to miss out on the CFP, ever.
“It’s unfathomable that Florida State, an undefeated Power Five conference champion, was left out of the College Football Playoff,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement Sunday.
He further excoriated the decision, stopping just short of questioning the integrity of the selection committee: “Their exclusion calls into question the selection process and whether the Committee’s own guidelines were followed, including the significant importance of being an undefeated Power Five conference champion. My heart breaks for the talented FSU student-athletes and coaches and their passionate and loyal fans. Florida State deserved better. College football deserved better.”
A glance at social media found similar fury. In fact, even a number of University of Miami fans, the sworn blood rivals of the Seminoles, on social media have been calling it a robbery that FSU was snubbed.
As to why FSU was snubbed, the answer assuredly involves the loss of star quarterback Jordan Travis, whom the team lost in mid-November to a season-ending injury.
Perhaps reinforcing that line of thought, take a look at the audible disappointment that top-seeded Michigan exhibited when it learned it would be facing Alabama, and not a Travis-less FSU, in the opening round of the playoffs:
Michigan reacts to Alabama being selected at No. 4. Wolverines and Crimson Tide in the CFP semi. pic.twitter.com/V2mrgLQA3W
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 3, 2023
Michigan will face Alabama in the Rose Bowl, while Texas will play Washington in the Sugar Bowl. Both games will take place on New Year’s Day.
The actual CFP National Championship will be played a week later, on Monday, Jan. 8.
All games will be televised on ESPN.
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