The final regular weekend of NCAA football is over, and the College Football Playoff matchups are set. One team was legitimately screwed by the selection process — an undefeated Power 5 conference champion at that. We’ll get into the reasons behind this most unkind slight to Florida State University.
At the outset, let me declare that I haven’t a dog in this fight. I am an alumnus of the University of South Carolina, a team which has won multiple national championships in sports other than football. South Carolina’s football team was ranked No. 2 at one point late in an undefeated season back in the 1980s, then proceeded to lose the very next week to Navy. Go Cocks.
Back to this horrible snub — FSU played a 13-game undefeated season and won the ACC championship. They managed to keep winning without their starting quarterback, and without their backup. If that doesn’t show true grit, mettle and team spirit, I’m not sure what does. FSU earned the right to one of those final four slots.
The College Football Playoff selection committee felt differently. This closed-door committee, made up of 13 administrators, former players and coaches, and former sportswriters, totally ignored FSU’s undefeated season and awarded playoff berths to two one-loss teams: Texas and Alabama.
Mike Norvell, the coach at Florida State, said, “What happened today goes against everything that is true and right in college football. A team that overcame tremendous adversity and found a way to win doing whatever it took on the field was cheated today. It’s a sad day for college football.”
As much as I can understand Texas being chosen, I’m having such a hard time with Alabama’s berth. They lost to Texas by 10 points. They struggled against South Florida and Arkansas. Without a miracle, they would have lost to Auburn. And yet they got a playoff berth over an undefeated Florida State. But Alabama coach Nick Satan seems to have some special power over the selection committee — oops! I meant Nick Saban. Satan was just the other party to the deal.
Winning games matters less than potential TV matchups. As ESPN writer David Hale so eloquently put it, “Turns out, all of that was a charade. None of it mattered. The games are pointless. What happens on the field is less important than what a committee thinks might happen in a future matchup.” Hale added, “It is an absolute slap in the face to every player who has ever put on a helmet, laced up cleats and marched onto the field to battle for a victory, because a bunch of folks in a conference room in Texas decided their sacrifice was not as important as the Las Vegas line on a potential playoff matchup.”
I couldn’t agree more. The Seminoles were most definitely screwed, and this will likely go down as one of the worst events in NCAA football history. Next year, when the playoffs are expanded to 12 teams (to increase TV revenue even more), an injustice of this magnitude probably won’t happen. As for this year, Florida State earned and deserved the chance to play for the national championship. Whoever is crowned the 2023 National Champion should have an asterisk placed beside their name in the record books because of the flawed process of a really bad selection committee.
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A sad note — one of my favorite Florida authors passed away last week. Tim Dorsey, the author of “Florida Roadkill” and a series of books starring the two lovable degenerates Serge Storms and Coleman, left us at the far too young age of 62. A former crime beat reporter for the Tampa Tribune, Dorsey combined real-life stories with his love of Florida and its colorful history (and strange people) into quasi-fictional novels that were simply hilarious. Dorsey was in the same league as Carl Hiaasen and Dave Berry, and he will be missed. All I can say is thanks for loving Florida the way so many of us do.
– John’s Perpetual Island Tour stops this Wednesday at Dockside, Thursday at Sparky’s Landing, and Sundays at Skipjack Tiki Bar. Check out John’s music anywhere you stream or download your music! Or point your browser to: johnbartus.hearnow.com