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If Florida State has a beef it’s with Texas, not Alabama

The ‘Noles and furious pundits are barking up the wrong tree.

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship-Louisville at Florida State Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

What would college football be without some good controversy?

As you undoubtedly know by now, Alabama beat Georgia in the SEC Championship and was subsequently awarded a berth to the College Football Playoff. In the process, some dubious history was made, as undefeated ACC Champion Florida State was left by the wayside, marking the first time in CFP history that an unbeaten Power Five team failed to make the field. Florida State’s administration, and fanbase, is downright furious, and the debate has been endless. Nobody is arguing that they are actually one of the “best” 4 teams in the country, but plenty are arguing that precedent should have prevailed. Florida lawmakers are even talking about organizing some sort of protest.

Look, it’s impossible not to have empathy for their plight. Had their starting QB not gone down, there is little chance that they would have missed the playoff despite a mediocre strength of schedule. That kid, Jordan Travis, now feels that he bears responsibility for it which is wholly unfair to him. By the way, Jordan is a class act.

I get it. There isn’t a fanbase in America that wouldn’t feel ripped off if they won their league, went undefeated and won what is purportedly a Power Five conference, and still missed the playoff. That doesn’t mean it was the wrong choice, but I understand it.

The problem is that most of the conversation centers around Alabama making the field over Florida State both in Tallahassee and across college football media, and those folks are barking up the wrong tree.

Georgia came into Saturday’s game ranked #1 in the nation. The SEC, by not only the committee’s ranking which includes five SEC teams in the top 13 but also most every rating system out there, was unquestionably the strongest league in America this year. Had Georgia won, there would have been no debate about the top three spots. The debate would have been a binary one, between Florida State and Texas.

Alabama had other plans, and when they knocked off Georgia, they stole the SEC Championship. Alabama’s resume was one that should never have been questioned: they won the best league in America, and had one loss to a team that was squarely in the playoff conversation. They ended the season with the most top 15 wins among the final contenders with three, and tied with Washington for the most top 25 wins with four. The spot that Alabama took was the one that Georgia would have owned, and needed no justification.

Texas, on the other hand, won a decidedly lesser league. Their loss came to an Oklahoma team that wasn’t near the playoff discussion, and in fact lost to an Oklahoma State squad that was taken to the woodshed by both South Alabama and UCF. Texas had fewer top 15 wins than Alabama, and fewer top 25 wins.

What did they have? A win over Alabama. When two contenders play, there is inevitably going to be a winner and a loser. Make no mistake, the ‘Horns were better than Alabama on that night, but it wasn’t like the game was a whitewashing. Alabama led in the fourth quarter before ultimately losing by ten, and that win was apparently enough to knock out an unbeaten ACC champion.

Florida State’s resume matches up much better with Texas’ than Alabama’s. Based on the committee’s rankings the Seminoles match Texas’ one top 15 win, they have three top 25 wins to Texas’ two, and of course don’t have the loss to #12 Oklahoma to answer for. According to the committee, beating Alabama was such an accomplishment that it, on its own merit, entitled Texas to a playoff spot.

So why aren’t the Seminoles focusing their ire on Texas?

If it’s because they agree with the notion that the win over Alabama trumps an otherwise thin resume, that’s perhaps the most effective argument yet that Alabama is one of the four best teams and should be in the playoff, isn’t it?

To be clear, I believe that the committee got it right. Florida State, as currently constructed, would almost assuredly not have navigated their own 55th ranked schedule undefeated, let alone go 12-1 against Alabama’s or Texas’.

But if there is an argument to be made by the ‘Noles, they are making the wrong one.