The Case For and Against Florida State in the College Football Playoffs

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For the first time in the College Football Playoffs (CFP) era, an undefeated Power 5 conference champion will not get a chance to play for the title. Leaving out Florida State was a controversial decision by the CFP selection committee, and perhaps the most controversial in their 10 years in existence. 

Two teams are in the final four with one loss each, so how do you leave out a team with no losses?

The biggest thing that worked against FSU was the loss of quarterback Jordan Travis for the remainder of the season. The team was immediately seen as “less than” with him on the sidelines, and the results did show it. Florida State beat Florida and Louisville without Travis, but their offense was a struggle.

Then there is the perception of the ACC as a Power 5 conference. A one-loss Alabama made it into the CFP, as did a one-loss Texas. But the SEC is king, and the Big 12 also had a team in the CFP just a year ago. Outside of Clemson three years ago, the national stage has been lacking ACC powers.

In the final rankings of the College Football Playoff selection committee, 12 of the top 13 teams will all play in the SEC or Big Ten next year. The Power 5 is becoming a Power 2, and teams like Florida State are being left out.

FSU Beat the SEC Straight Up

College football bettors remember back to the first week of the college football season and one of the most anticipated games of the early schedule — LSU and Florida State playing in Orlando. The Seminoles beat the Tigers, 45-24, and set themselves on the path to a great season.

LSU went on to win nine games, received a New Year’s Day bowl against Wisconsin, and have quarterback Jayden Daniels as a Heisman Trophy finalist. Louisiana sports fans looking to place a wager on Daniels before Saturday’s announcement have a large selection of online sportsbooks to choose from.

Bookending Florida State’s opening week win over LSU — a team that beat 10-win Missouri and put up 49 points on Mississippi — was their traditional final game against Florida, a 24-15 win. This is when the offense was without their starting quarterback. But they still won on the road by nine points against a team that nearly knocked off Missouri the week before.

That made Florida State 2-0 against the SEC this season, and overall, the ACC had a winning record against the SEC.

Florida State Would Have Been a Huge Underdog

The major case against Florida State is that they would have been an underdog to each of the four teams that made it into the playoffs, and in some cases, a big underdog. If the goal is to put in the four best teams, then FSU doesn’t qualify.

According to hypothetical point spreads released by ESPN BET, had Florida State gotten in as the fourth seed (most likely) they would have been 12.5-point underdogs to Michigan in the semifinals. Had they been matched with Alabama, they would be 12-point underdogs. Against Texas, the Longhorns would be favored by 9.5, and against Washington, the Huskies would be favored by six points.

Florida State is slated to play Georgia in the Orange Bowl, and has the Bulldogs as 14-point favorites.

The Seminoles are clearly one of the top four most-deserving teams to be in the College Football Playoff. But they are also clearly outside the best four teams in the country without their star quarterback.

As for which of the four remaining teams will still be standing at the end, has made Michigan the favorite:

Michigan (+175)

Alabama (+185)

Texas (+285)

Washington (+700)

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