Some things you could not possibly make up because the reality is so sublimely perfect, and one of those is that the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee happens to be a man name Boo Corrigan.
“Boo Corrigan” sounds like a damned good idea to fans of the Florida State Seminoles and Georgia Bulldogs. They have been doing it since Sunday, when the CFP’s final four national championship contenders were revealed and infamously excluded both teams.
Nobody does outrage like a sports fan or team scorned, and FSU is the worldwide leader at the moment in feeling wronged. There is nobody to sue, and no place to put the indignant anger except for weightless bleating on social media.
Seminoles coach Mike Norvell called himself “disgusted and infuriated” by being left out. His athletic director Mike Alford stated dramatically, “The [CFP] committee failed college football today.”
Don’t boo Boo because the playoff committee got it right in announcing its semifinal pairings of No. 1 Michigan (13-0) vs. No. 4 Alabama (12-1) in the Rose Bowl and No. 2 Washington (13-0) vs. No. 3 Texas (12-1) in the Sugar Bowl.
Poor FSU on the outside looking in at 13-0 thus becomes the first undefeated Power 5 conference champion to not make the final four and have a shot at the title.
It is unfortunate, sure, but it isn’t a travesty or a conspiracy against the Tallahassee school or the Atlantic Coast Conference. (Chairman Boo, in fact, is an athletic director in the ACC, at North Carolina State.) Unfortunate and wrong are not synonyms.
No, it was plain terrible luck and circumstance that spelled FSU’s fate. Like everybody’s parent has advised at least once, “Nobody said life was fair..” Or, as the succinct bumper-sticker philosophy teaches us, ‘[expletive] Happens.’
The main bad luck that ruined FSU’s perfect season was twofold:
▪ It was previously No. 8 Alabama beating No. 1 Georgia on Saturday. Bama earned the right to move up into the fab four by beating the top-ranked team. And Georgia relinquished the right to complain about dropping out with a spectacularly ill-timed first loss.
▪ And it was FSU’s star quarterback Jordan Travis being lost to injury after 11 games, turning the Noles into a shell of a team.
“You can lose a running back, you can lose a receiver, but when you lose a quarterback as dynamic as Jordan Travis, it changes their offense in its entirety and that was a really big factor,” Corrigan told ESPN. “They were a different team.”
FSU fans should know that, fair or not, that was a legitimate factor for the CFP to weigh. It is among the guidelines for selection to consider a late change in the “competitiveness” of a team. That could be a key injury like FSU suffered. It also could be Jack Quarterback electing to skip the playoff to avoid risking a major injury and hurting his standing in the NFL Draft.
Georgia was out simply by losing a game it had to win.
Florida State was out because Michigan, Washington, Texas and Bama all winning their conference championships did not leave any opening for the Noles, who likely would have made it even despite Travis’ injury had any of those four lost over the weekend.
As it is, it’s a quality final four starring a Michigan-Alabama Rose Bowl that might as well be renamed the Villain Bowl: Jim Harbaugh vs. Nick Saban!
America outside of Ann Arbor and Tuscaloosa would prefer both coaches lose, Saban on general principle and Harbaugh entangled in Michigan’s cheating scandal and recently suspended three games for it. But one bad guy or the other will win.
(Personally I would have disqualified Michigan from the CFP for the cheating probe still ongoing, which would have created an opening for FSU. But I’m not a voter on Boo’s 13-person committee.)
If Florida State and Georgia are the big losers in all of this — Miami is the clear winner. I mean the city, and the Capital One Orange Bowl.
The 90th annual OB game on December 30 will be the Bitter Bowl: No. 5 FSU vs. No. 6 Georgia, with both looking to make a sad, futile statement that they should have been in the final four but only the winning team earning the right. Other than when it hosts a CFP championship game or semifinal, this is about as delicious a matchup as the Orange could hope for.
Can’t end without a quick mention of the Miami Hurricanes’ Dec. 28 bowl destination on the heel of an improved but not altogether pleasing 7-5 season in Year 2 for Mario Cristobal.
UM itself tweeted out Sunday: “The Miami Hurricanes have been selected to play in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers!”
The exclamation point there might have been a bit much.
A Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium has the veneer of a big-time game, but it’s still an afternoon game ... against Rutgers ... in a bowl sponsored by a lawn mower.
The Hurricanes and Cristobal will have one less excuse next year — actually eight less excuses — to not be in the national-championship mix into December as the College Football Playoff expands exponentially from four teams to 12 in 2024.
Poll voters used to decide who played for the championship. It’s still human beings on the call in the CFP era, at least until the maraud of Artificial Intelligence takes over there, too.
The difference is, nobody will give much of a bleep about the 13th-ranked team that gets left out beginning next season. History instead will forever hold dear Florida State as the final near-miss of the the four-team era and the first and surely last unbeaten Power 5 conference champ so scorned.
The Seminoles’ perfect outrage will thus echo for all time.