FSU’s dispatching to Orange Bowl fuels dismay

By Bob Ferrante

TALLAHASSEE — Unconquered on the football field. Blemished on the eye test.

In the end, 13-0 wasn’t good enough for Florida State in the view of the College Football Playoff selection committee on Sunday.

Florida State was stunningly out of the four-team CFP field, the first unbeaten Power 5 conference champion in 25 years of creating college football championship games or playoff fields to be left in the dark and in favor of a one-loss team. Instead, the top 4 includes a pair of one-loss teams — Michigan (13-0) vs. Alabama (12-1) and Washington (13-0) vs. Texas (12-1)  — in the semifinals.

FSU finished at No. 5, due to two factors: Jordan Travis’ leg injury and how that impacted the Seminoles’ offense as well as the team’s strength of schedule.

“In the eyes of the committee, Florida State is a different team without Jordan Travis,” CFP chairman and NC State athletics director Boo Corrigan said. “One of the things we do consider is player availability.”

The Seminoles went 12-0 in the regular season and claimed the ACC title with a 16-6 win over Louisville on Saturday. Coach Mike Norvell and players were asked about the CFP outlook postgame and openly campaigned for FSU to be among the top four, citing how the team led the nation with eight wins over Power 5 teams that are bowl-eligible.

Corrigan said strength of schedule was a factor, citing that Alabama’s was “significantly higher” but quickly acknowledged, “You can only play the teams in front of you.”

Norvell and FSU athletics director Michael Alford released strong statements on Sunday rebuking the CFP’s decision.

“I am disgusted and infuriated with the committee’s decision today to have what was earned on the field taken away because a small group of people decided they knew better than the results of the games,” Norvell said. “What is the point of playing games? Do you tell players that it is OK to quit if someone goes down? Do you not play a senior on Senior Day for fear of injury? Where is the motivation to schedule challenging non-conference games?

“We are not only an undefeated P5 conference champion, but we also played two P5 non-conference games away from home and won both of them. I don’t understand how we are supposed to think this is an acceptable way to evaluate a team.”

FSU was the No. 4 team in the CFP standings on Tuesday night, just days before the conference-championship games. Alabama’s win over No. 1 Georgia vaulted the Crimson Tide as well as Texas — which won at Tuscaloosa in the regular season — over the unbeaten Seminoles.

“The consequences of giving in to a narrative of the moment are destructive, far reaching and permanent,” Alford said. “Not just for Florida State, but college football as a whole.”

“The argument of whether a team is the ‘most deserving OR best’ is a false equivalence. It renders the season up to yesterday irrelevant and significantly damages the legitimacy of the College Football Playoff.”

On the ESPN panel that announced the decision earlier Sunday, a number of analysts shared how they understood the committee’s decision. Another spoke out in criticism.

“This is a travesty to our sport,” said ESPN analyst Booger McFarland, who played at LSU.

FSU will instead play in the Orange Bowl against Georgia (12-1) on Dec. 30 at 4 p.m. (ESPN) in a matchup of two teams that have reason to feel slighted by the CFP considering their perfect regular seasons.

“When did you start getting rewarded for losing?” FSU senior safety Renardo Green, a Wekiva High alum, posted on X/Twitter