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Emma Bowman

Undefeated Florida State is left out of 4-team College Football Playoff

Florida State coach Mike Norvell watches during the second half of the team's Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Louisville on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (Erik Verduzco/AP)

The last year of the four-team College Football Playoff format might be the most dramatic one yet.

Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama were picked on Sunday. Notably, Florida State was excluded, becoming the first undefeated power conference champion to ever miss out on the field.

After FSU lost star quarterback Jordan Travis to a serious leg injury last month, speculation that the playoff selection committee would snub the Seminoles proved accurate.

CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan explained the decision on ESPN: "Florida State is a different team than they were the first 11 weeks," he said. "If you look at who they are as a team right now, without Jordan Travis, without the offensive dynamic that he brings to it, they are a different team. And the committee voted Alabama four and Florida State five."

Corrigan is also the athletic director at North Carolina State, Florida State's Atlantic Coast Conference rival, noted The Associated Press.

Florida State coach Mike Norvell said in a statement that his team was cheated. "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. What is the point of playing games?" he said.

Travis said he was "devastated" by the outcome. "I wish my leg broke earlier in the season so y'all could see this team is much more than the quarterback," he tweeted.

Team selection is based on polls and computerized rankings, in addition to strength of schedule, head‐to‐head competition and championships won. As part of its selection criteria, the committee also considers the "unavailability of key players."

Alabama rose to No. 4 following its Southeastern Conference championship game win over No. 6 Georgia, bumping Florida State to No. 5 despite a 13-0 record and ACC title win over Louisville, according to CBS Sports.

Michigan wasn't happy either, knowing it would have to play Alabama instead. People who posted videos of the team reactions on social media said groans were heard from the Wolverines when Crimson Tide was announced.

Asked whether his team deserved to make the cut, University of Alabama coach Nick Saban said, "If you really want the four best teams in the playoff, then I think our team deserves to be one of those four teams."

On Jan. 1, University of Michigan will play University of Alabama at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. University of Washington will play University of Texas-Austin Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The winners of each game will play for the national championship in Houston on Jan. 8.

Hopefully, the expanded playoff field set for 2024 will invite less drama, when there will no longer be just a few spots to fight for: Next season, the CFP will grow from a four-team to a 12-team tournament.

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