CFP committee makes history with 3 unprecedented decisions
The final year of the four-team College Football Playoff will arguably be the most memorable as the committee made history Sunday with numerous decisions we never expected to witness.
This year's race for the four spots presented some unique challenges for the committee, from more Power 5 teams remaining undefeated longer into the season than ever before to Florida State losing star quarterback Jordan Travis with two games to play.
Here are three unprecedented moves from the committee that have led to a final four of Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama.
Undefeated Power 5 champ left out
Florida State went 13-0 in a Power 5 conference, won the title, and had two nonconference victories over SEC schools LSU and Florida but was rewarded with an omission from the semis in a landmark moment. The Seminoles became the first unbeaten Power 5 champs to miss out in the four-team format. Florida State has every right to be angry, as the decision essentially came down to how the team performed without Travis. Florida State started Travis in 10 games against FBS competition this season and was without him for the last two.
|Points per game
|Yards per play
|Passing yards per game
|Margin of victory
|Rush yards per game
|Yards per game
While the statistical drop-off is staggering, the most important statistic - or so we thought - was that Florida State suffered the same number of losses with Travis as it did without. However, the committee deemed the offensive performance unworthy of a playoff spot.
The semifinal between Michigan and Alabama will likely be much more competitive than it would have been with Tate Rodemaker starting at quarterback for the Seminoles. However, making that assumption instead of rewarding Florida State for an unblemished record leaves a dark cloud over this season. Head coach Mike Norvell was understandably hot at his team's omission.
The 12-team playoff format begins next season and cannot get here soon enough.
Team outside top 6 made semis
Entering the 2023 season, no team ranked outside the top six in the penultimate CFP rankings had ever jumped into the semifinals based on the final week of action. It didn't just happen once Sunday, as both Texas and Alabama rose from No. 7 and No. 8 to qualify at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
Those two teams have been linked together for the entirety of the season after the Longhorns shocked the Crimson Tide with a 10-point road win in Tuscaloosa in Week 2. That became a massive data point for Texas, with a very sound argument that the one-loss Longhorns could not finish behind one-loss Alabama in the rankings.
That held true following Saturday's results with Texas pounding Oklahoma State and Alabama shocking Georgia in the SEC championship. The committee deemed those results strong enough to jump those teams ahead of a wounded Florida State.
No. 1 team dropped out
Sometimes in college football, it's not about if you have a loss, but when you suffer that setback. That's certainly the case for Georgia this year. The Bulldogs entered Saturday's SEC title game on a 29-game winning streak and holding the No. 1 spot in the previous CFP rankings. However, an Alabama upset banished Georgia from playoff contention and into the Orange Bowl against an equally disappointed Florida State. The committee's decision to drop Georgia from No. 1 to No. 6 after a close loss to the Tide marked the first time that a top seed in the penultimate rankings didn't make the playoff.
The Bulldogs have dominated the sport over the past two seasons and once again looked like the most formidable team in the nation this time around. They came into Saturday's contest having won their last three games by an average of 23 points and beat ranked opponents in three of their last four contests on the schedule. However, none of that mattered once the clock hit zeroes in Atlanta and the Crimson Tide rushed the field in celebration.
Texas locked in the No. 3 slot despite opening the month of October with a rivalry loss to Oklahoma. Alabama snagged the No. 4 position despite suffering the worst home loss of Nick Saban's tenure in Week 2 at the hands of the Longhorns. Both those teams were able to overcome a loss due to when it happened. Georgia lost the SEC title game in 2021 and still made the playoff, which eventually resulted in Kirby Smart's first national title. No such luck this time around, as the Bulldogs' season will be officially over by the time the first semifinal kicks off on New Year's Day.
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