The Florida State Seminoles football team was left out of the College Football Playoff despite being undefeated conference champions.
The Florida State Seminoles football team was left out of the College Football Playoff despite being undefeated conference champions.
Photo Credit: CNN

College Football Playoffs Spark Controversy

On December 3, 2023, the College Football Playoff line-up was released after the major division championship games had been played the day before. University of Michigan won the Big 10 championship, University of Alabama won the SEC championship, University of Texas won the Big 12 championship, University of Washington won the PAC 12 championship and Florida State University won the ACC championship. Michigan, Washington, and Florida State were all undefeated. The rest of the teams had one loss. The undefeated teams Michigan and FSU were expected to make the playoff  on Sunday. However, when the College Football Playoff was announced, the teams that made it were in ranking order –Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama. 

The exclusion of FSU sparked major backlash. The outrage came from fans, the players, the coaches, the ACC commissioner and Florida politicians Rick Scott and Ron Desantis. The College Football Playoff committee claimed they made this decision because at a recent game against North Alabama, FSU’s main quarterback, Jordan Travis, received an injury that would take him out of the game for the rest of the season. However, even after this injury, FSU still maintained their winning streak and went on to win the ACC championship. 

Associate College Counseling Director and former FSU Admissions Counselor Lisa Kolar says “I think that leaving out an undefeated team from a power 5 conference for the first time ever because one player was hurt is not acceptable. It breeds a culture of teaching players to hurt other players in order to get their team into the playoffs. Our team won multiple times without our first string quarterback and we could have done it again given the chance.” 

The controversy has been majorly affected by the economic viewpoint. College Football gets its money from television. The SEC (Southeastern Conference)  is a major conference with huge numbers of fans and these fans bring in money. The SEC have also had constant appearances in the Playoffs, leading many to point out that Alabama is the safe choice.  Many have pointed out that it seems like the College Football Playoffs put Alabama in to get more money. FSU alumni English teacher Jennifer Probst says “I think the quote from the new best-selling t-shirt created by Smack Apparel says most of it —’If you can’t beat us, cheat.’  It seems unfair to punish an entire team, including coaching staff, for an injury in Game 11 that couldn’t have been predicted. The team still went on, with two different back-up quarterbacks, to finish the season 13-0. For the CFP to make this type of decision, it seems evident that the “politics” of football go far beyond what we see on the field. To finish in the top 4 and undefeated, FSU deserves the chance to show their talent in the Playoffs.”

Alabama fans on the other hand feel their entry in the playoffs is well deserved. They beat the University of Georgia, the number 1 ranked team and won their conference championship. They also have not had major injuries to star players like FSU had. Biology teacher Callie Taylor simple says “Roll Tide”, when asked for a comment, in recognition of her support for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.


The University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team were the SEC champions but they had one loss, to the University of Texas and made it into the playoffs over undefeated FSU. (Photo Credit: UA News Center)

Winsome Storm, alumni from the Class of 2023 who attends University of Florida although her and her family are major FSU fans says, “It’s absolutely criminal that FSU was left out of the playoffs, since they had an undefeated record this season and consistently ranked high. Even with Jordan Travis and Tate Rodemaker out, FSU still won the ACC championship proving that they are an all-around strong team and not just defined by Travis, and excluding them from the playoffs feels like a diss towards the other players like Keon Coleman and Lawrence Toafili. In the meantime, I am proud of the results of this season as a lifelong FSU fan and can’t wait to watch them play in the Orange Bowl, which will hopefully be fun to watch amidst the robbery FSU has faced. Here’s to hoping that the 12-team bracket next year instead of the playoff committee will prevent more snubbery, and Jordan Travis for the Heisman.”


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