ORLANDO, Fla. - After an undefeated season culminating in a conference championship win, Florida State was snubbed by the College Football Playoff Committee in a move that has left the country – and lots of people right here in Florida – wondering why.
Some Floridians, though, have seen this film before – after undefeated UCF found itself in a similar position just a few years ago. They even declared themselves national champions on the back of a win over now-head coach Gus Malzahn, whose Auburn Tigers fell to the Knights in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in 2018, 34-27.
Now, Malzahn is the latest to blast the College Football Playoff for its decision to leave FSU out of the equation. He reacted to the snub during a press conference Tuesday ahead of UCF's upcoming Gasparilla Bowl matchup against Georgia Tech on Dec. 22.
"I mean, I was real disappointed. You know, what football really is, is finding a way to overcome obstacles. … I mean, their third quarterback in and that team finds a way. Defense played their best game against a top 20 offense, and they win, and they don't get rewarded," Malzahn said of FSU's ACC Championship win over Louisville. "I think that's a bad look for football."
Malzahn, who went on to jokingly clarify that he's not a Florida State fan by any means, said "they should be in."
"I think they need to take a serious look at how they evaluate," Malzahn said of the CFP Committee, adding that he's confused how Georgia was left out of the playoff, too, after only losing by three points to Alabama on the heels of three undefeated seasons.
This year marks the last year of the four-team playoff model, however – a move that Malzahn said will hopefully change the game.
"The good thing is that it's going to 12 (teams), and so this is probably the last year you'll have that," he said. "But, I don't know – undefeated team in a Power 5 conference, wins their conference championship, they leave them out? And they use the excuse their quarterback's hurt? Nah, I don't go for that."
Malzahn is, of course, referring to the injury of standout QB Jordan Travis, who suffered a college career-ending injury when he was hit in the first half of FSU's matchup against North Alabama.
The CFP Committee takes injuries like this into consideration when determining the top four teams, according to selection protocol.
That, however, wasn't a good enough explanation for Florida leaders like Sen. Rick Scott, who sent a letter to Chairman Boo Corrigan about FSU's ouster.
"There are countless other concerns and arguments that could be voiced here, but the main issue is the justified perception of an unfair system that has wrongly disregarded the known strengths of an undefeated team over the speculated impact of losing a single player," Scott wrote in the letter.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis weighed in, too.
"What we learned today is that you can go undefeated and win your conference championship game, but the College Football Playoff committee will ignore these results," he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Florida State was ranked No. 5 in the final CFP rankings and will face No. 6 Georgia in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.