Florida State can still win a national championship and it couldn't be simpler
Hint, it's an old-school path that, though nobody's noticed, hasn't gone away
Here’s the truth.
Playing any quarterback who was never its first choice, I don’t know how Florida State finds a way past Georgia Dec. 30 at the Orange Bowl.
I can’t see it.
Alas, should the Seminoles pull it off, there’s a reasonable chance, maybe a very good chance, they win a national championship.
Seriously. No kidding.
Fans of a certain age might even tell you they’ve got a shot at a national championship with greater credibility than the trophy they’ll be handing out Jan. 8 in Houston.
To be sure, the Seminoles were screwed by the College Football Playoff committee.
They were screwed because that whole thing about it being about choosing the four “best” teams has been a lie every time it’s been uttered and for good reason, too.
Think about it.
Because how is Ohio State not one of the four best? It fell 30-24 to No. 1 Michigan nine days ago in Ann Arbor. Had they played in Columbus, the Buckeyes probably have the top seed, yet we’re supposed to believe there are six better teams than them?
Just as there aren’t five teams better than Georgia, nor, perhaps, one or two
Should they be in the playoff?
Of course they shouldn’t.
They shouldn’t because what the committee’s tried to do since its formation is strike a balance between “best” and “deserving” and they’ve done a pretty fair job of it, too, right up to the moment continuing to do a fair job of it would have required leaving the SEC out of the final four entirely because, well, that was a bridge too far, because hell hath no fury like the most powerful conference in the world scorned.
Yet, fear not, Florida State can still have the last laugh, and if Wikipedia is right, it could be declared national champion not only by the Associated Press poll, but by the coaches’ poll, too.
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The secret nobody appeared to realize Sunday after the playoff committee performed its dereliction of duty?
The polls never went away.
The polls, which determined national champions every year prior to the BCS championship and the CFP continue to award national championship trophies to the team voted No. 1 in each one’s final list.
In fact, as long as it was the BCS championship, prior to the playoff arriving in 2014, the trophy presented on the field, by contractual arrangement, was the coaches’ poll trophy.
When they finally gave us the No. 1 vs. No. 2 game we’d all been waiting for, the folks putting it on made certain at last one of the polls came along with them, because only the polls delivered credibility.
The polls are now free agents.
Could the Seminoles climb to the top of one or both?
Sure they can.
Right now, the media voters in the AP poll have them fourth behind Michigan, Washington and Texas.
The coaches’ have them third behind Michigan and Washington, in front of Alabama and Texas, both tied for fourth.
Thus, should one-loss Alabama claim the playoff and should the no-loss Seminoles top the Bulldogs, they could absolutely rise to the AP’s top spot.
As to the coaches’ poll, all it might take is Florida State becoming the nation’s only unbeaten Power 5 squad, which they would become by topping the Bulldogs in Miami, while Texas or Alabama wins the playoff.
Florida State has something else going for it, too.
Many still believe Georgia to be the nation’s best team.
No, the Dawgs don’t belong in the playoff and don’t deserve to be ranked any higher than where they’re ranked.
They lost their conference title game to Alabama. The committee couldn’t possibly screw two unbeaten Power 5 conference champs, leaving the Dawgs no path.
Nonetheless, good chance, Georgia would still be favored over all four playoff teams, even the Alabama team that just beat it.
In this crazy but very real scenario, though the playoff winner will have won two more games and Florida State only one, given the strength of the opponent, if the Seminoles are the last unbeaten team standing, their ascent to the top would still make all the sense in the world.
The voters might just want it to happen
Nobody knows how hard it is to win over and over and over again, under any circumstances, than the coaches, so why wouldn’t they flex their muscles in the their final poll?
If sports writers have any bias, it’s for the story and what greater story could there be than Florida State claiming a national championship from outside the playoff?
Beginning next year, the field expanded to 12, so crazy an ending could never happen again.
It still can.
Who wouldn’t want that?