We’ve seen all types of reactions to Alabama getting into the college football playoff over Florida State, But the College Football Playoff Committee Finally got it right.
I understand the reaction from people saying Florida State was screwed, to a point. The people going on TV yelling and screaming seem a bit too bothered by it, but they see an opportunity to get clicks by standing up for the “little guy,” so I get it. Mike Greenberg said that college football is now “figure skating”, saying it’s subjectively graded and the objectivity has been removed. I’m not sure what Greeny was doing last year when TCU got in despite a bad SOS and losing their conference championship game, but I’m assuming he missed the national title game which was over in the first seven minutes. And if he likes watching blowouts in the biggest college football game of the year, that’s odd. I don’t. The CFP has always been objective, and it has provided us with bad football games on the biggest stage.
— ESPN Radio (@ESPNRadio) December 4, 2023
The CFP Committee has finally gotten it right. They finally considered the fans and the quality of the matchups and put the best teams at this point in the season into the top four. We’ve seen complaints about SEC bias from people saying many fear SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Nick Saban. But it’s much simpler than that. FSU is not a top-four team. Alabama is.
The History of Blowouts in the College Football Playoff
Everyone upset by Florida State getting jumped by Alabama continued to reference that the CFP Committee has always considered a Power 5 undefeated champion a lock for the final four. And in most years, I would agree to this notion, barring any major injury that completely changed the makeup of a team. We also heard much talk about how the CFP would always nod to the “most deserving” resumes and teams instead of what some considered the “best teams” any given year. But what has that gotten us? What has that done for the quality of the CFP semi-finals and national championship game? Well, it’s led to a ton of blowouts. Big-time lopsided blowouts.
The average scoring differential in a College Football Playoff game is 19 points. Teams are winning in the semi-finals and national championship games by an average score of almost three TDs. That is ideal for absolutely no one. We’re all getting robbed of seeing excellent games. Let’s take a look at some of these historic blowouts.
It all started with the first-ever CFP game when 12-1 Oregon matched up with, you guessed it, a 13-0 ACC Champion, Florida State. Marcus Marriota ran circles around the ‘Noles en route to a 59-20 Rose Bowl drubbing. And this was just a sign of what we could expect more often than not in the CFP. Non-competitive games. The following year, Michigan State was a surprise CFP team as they secured last-minute wins over Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa to get in. And what was their prize? Derrick Henry and the Alabama Crimson Tide thrashed the Spartans 38-0. And the list goes on. Since 2014, we’ve seen 17 games decided by 17 points or more in the CFP.
- 2019 Peach Bowl: LSU 63, Oklahoma 28
- 2016 Fiesta Bowl: Clemson 31, Ohio State 0
- 2019 National Championship: Alabama 44, Clemson 16
- 2021 National Championship: Alabama 52, Ohio State 24
- 2018 Cotton Bowl: Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3
- 2021 Orange Bowl: Georgia 34, Michigan 11
- 2015 National Championship: Ohio State 42, Oregon 20
- 2023 National Championship: Georgia 65, TCU 7
For absolutely no reason whatsoever I just feel like posting the biggest blowouts in CFP History. Take it as you will 🤷🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/o9RVn2EVaU
— The 4 Horsemen Podcast (@HorsemenPod) August 3, 2022
Addressing The SEC Bias, Historically
Everyone not associated with the SEC, especially those associated with another college football conference, loves referencing the “SEC bias.” The idea is that the SEC gets special treatment for one reason or another, which allows their teams to be pushed into the CFP. People say it’s about TV ratings or that people fear SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. But I’d really love to see those same people dispute these facts.
For starters, the SEC has lost one CFP semi-final game. ONE. And that was their first ever CFP semi-final game in 2014-2015 when Ohio State beat Alabama 42-35 in an absolute thriller. Since then, the SEC has been a perfect 10-0 in the CFP semi-finals. This means we’ve had an SEC team in every national title game since 2015. The SEC has beaten the SEC in the same amount of CFP games as every other conference combined has beaten the SEC in CFP games.
There have been nine College Football Playoffs under the new format. The SEC has won six of them, including the last four straight. The average margin of victory for the SEC in those previous four CFP national championship games has been 29.5 points. Please reread that last sentence and tell me about the “SEC bias.” I hate breaking this to you if you don’t like the SEC, but they’re great at winning football games. The numbers and the facts back it up. And I know what you may argue here. “The history of the CFP should have no bearing on this year’s selection.” Ok. Let’s look at the SEC this year.
Addressing The SEC Bias, This Season
The SEC finished with five teams in the top 15. 1/3 of the top 15 teams in the country played an SEC schedule. And yes, Florida State did beat LSU and Florida. The LSU win is a great win, but it’s Florida State’s best win. And Alabama and Georgia’s third-best win. Many pundits say they had two great wins over SEC teams, but that win over Florida is a win over a 3-5 SEC, 5-7 overall Florida squad. They finished 9th overall in the SEC and lost their last five straight games. The SEC also had a team on a 29-game win streak. A team that has won the two previous national titles and was going for a historic third straight national title. They won’t get that chance because they suffered a three-point loss on a neutral field in a conference championship game. But that also displays the strength of the SEC. The SEC had four teams with two losses or less. The ACC had one.
The final CFP Top 25 of the season is officially in 🙌
Did your team make the list? pic.twitter.com/56LsvRGpTD
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 3, 2023
Florida State’s Resume And the ACC
Florida State had an excellent year. They did all they could do; they won every game. What more can be asked of them? I hear that argument, and I totally get it. As much as I hate to penalize an entire team due to the injury of their best player, as a college football fan who wants to see competitive CFP games, I have no choice after watching the ACC title game. And first, Jared Verse may be my favorite player in the country. The FSU DE is an absolute game-wrecker, and watching his relentless effort on the defensive side of the ball is exciting and jaw-dropping. I would never argue that this FSU defense isn’t elite. They absolutely are.
But the reality is that they threw for 55 yards in the ACC Title game. 55 yards. Losing Jordan Travis completely dismantled this team offensively. And everyone has the right to argue that they still deserve a chance to prove themselves. Just like others have the freedom to say that we’re not interested in watching a repeat of Michigan and Iowa, another offensively challenged team with an elite defense that was a laugher in the Big Ten title game. Michigan beat Iowa 26-0 in one of the year’s most boring college football games. Iowa had seven first downs. They ran for 35 total yards. Threw for 120. They punted seven times and fumbled three. It sucked. As a fan, knowing the game was over when Michigan led 10-0 in the second quarter was a waste of time. I would love to see Jordan Travis lead FSU against this Michigan squad. But putting this FSU team in this game without an elite-level QB is a waste of time.
Florida State had ranked wins over two teams. Alabama had ranked wins over four teams. Florida State’s best win over LSU was Alabama’s third-best win. Florida State had a strength of schedule of 55, and Alabama had a strength of schedule of 5.
It May Not Be Fair, But It Gives Us The Best Semifinal
I would be livid if I were a Florida State player, coach, alumni, or fan. 100%. I wouldn’t even listen to an argument for any other alternative to the fact that this is unjust and unfair, and many aren’t. Unfortunately for them, I’m just a football fan. A college football fan who is sick of what is “fair” and teams that are “deserving.” If you believe that the SEC is not “deserving” of having a team in the college football playoff based on this season and their history in the CFP, you just have an issue with facts and reality. And that is going to happen when emotions are so high like this.
But I personally love the matchups in this year’s CFP. I would argue that UGA got a raw deal and that we left out a team that could win the national title, but the four we have were the only options for the CFP. And while I can’t wait for next year’s 12-team tournament, we will inevitably have these same arguments about teams 8-12, but I don’t think a national title contender will be left out after this year. I’m happy the CFP at least showed they care about the quality of the matchups, for once. Florida State is an excellent football team that had an incredible season. But without Jordan Travis, they are not one of the top four teams in the country. Period.
It’s all love between Jordan Travis and Jalen Milroe after Alabama jumped FSU for the No. 4 spot in the CFP pic.twitter.com/vck5J8Rj52
— Touchdown Alabama (@TDAlabamaMag) December 4, 2023