CFP Semifinals set: Michigan v Bama, Wash. vs. Texas; Unbeaten FSU No. 5
The dastardly deed is done. Knowing a precedent would be set and at least two schools would be irate, the College Football Selection committee slotted Michigan at No. 1 (13-0, Big Ten Champion), Washington No. 2 (13-0, Pac-12's final champion), Texas No. 3 (12-1 Big 12 Champion) and -- at the point of contention -- Alabama No. 4 (12-1, SEC champion) into the playoff battle for a national championship.
Michigan is the top seed after running through the Big Ten unbeaten, including victories against Ohio State and Iowa to close out the season. It's the third consecutive appearance for the Wolverines, who overcame two separate suspensions of three games each to coach Jim Harbaugh.
No. 2 seed Washington won its way into the field with a second defeat of Oregon. After beating the Ducks in the regular season, the Huskies did it again in dramatic fashion in the Pac-12 title game to secure their second spot in the playoff. Their last time in was 2016, which was also the only other appearance for the Pac-12 in the 10 years of the four-team system.
The challenge came with the final two spots. Texas and Alabama were one-loss champions of the Big 12 and SEC, respectively. The Longhorns had the edge on the Crimson Tide due to a road victory in Tuscaloosa in Week 2. The committee took both of them, and Florida State became the first unbeaten team in the Power Five left out of the semifinals. The Seminoles were hurt by the loss of quarterback Jordan Travis with a season-ending injury.
"Florida State is a different team than it was the first 11 weeks," CFP selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan told ESPN. "As you look at who they are as a team right now, without Jordan Travis, without the offensive dynamic he brings, they are a different team and the committee voted Alabama four and Florida State five. That was the decision with Alabama at four.
Georgia fell from No. 1 to No. 6 after its loss to Alabama ended its 29-game winning streak.
The quarterback injuries forced coach Mike Norvell to go with freshman Brock Glenn in the ACC title game Saturday -- a win over Louisville in which the Seminoles' defense led the way.
"The 2023 Florida State Seminoles are the epitome of a total TEAM," Alford said in his statement. "To eliminate them from a chance to compete for a national championship is an unwarranted injustice that shows complete disregard and disrespect for their performance and accomplishments. It is unforgiveable.
"The fact that this team has continued to close out victories in dominant fashion facing our current quarterback situation should have ENHANCED our case to get a playoff berth EARNED on the field. Instead, the committee decided to elevate themselves and 'make history' today by departing from what makes this sport great by excluding an undefeated Power 5 conference champion for the first time since the advent of the BCS/CFP era that began 25 years ago. This ridiculous decision is a departure from the competitive expectations that have stood the test of time in college football."
Florida State was No. 4 in the previous CFP rankings and, prior to Sunday's selections, no team ranked outside the top six of the second-to-last CFP rankings had ever jumped into the final four. Alabama and Texas both accomplished that feat Sunday.
There will be more said. Count on it.