June 13, 2024


The College Football Playoff is set, and not everyone is pleased. 

Florida State became the first undefeated Power 5 conference champion to be snubbed from the CFP after quarterback Jordan Travis suffered a season-ending injury in Week 12. 

Florida State celebrates

Mike Norvell of the Florida State Seminoles holds up the trophy after the Florida State Seminoles defeat the Louisville Cardinals 16-6 in the ACC championship at Bank of America Stadium Dec. 2, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)

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.”

The committee selected Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama as the four playoff teams, setting up two phenomenal matchups on New Year’s Day. 

WHAT WAS LEARNED FROM CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND: THE 12-TEAM PLAYOFF CANNOT COME FAST ENOUGH 

Michigan and Alabama will square off in the Rose Bowl, while Washington and Texas will play in the Sugar Bowl. 

Let’s take a look at the current national championship odds, according to Caesars Sportsbook. 

Michigan Wolverines +185

Jim Harbaugh returned to the sidelines, and the Wolverines kept rolling. 

After his three-game suspension from the Big Ten due to a sign-stealing scandal, Harbaugh was on the field as Michigan laid the wood on Iowa in the Big Ten championship game. 

Harbaugh became the first coach in Big Ten history to win three straight outright conference championships, according to The Associated Press. 

“It made me feel super great,” Harbaugh said of the feat. “I’ve got one question for the Michigan Nation: Who’s got a better team than us?” 

Mike Sainristil holds the Big Ten trophy

Michigan Wolverines defensive back Mike Sainristil (0) raises the Big Ten Most Valuable Player trophy during the Big Ten championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Iowa Hawkeyes Dec. 2, 2023, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.   (Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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For the second consecutive year, Michigan will enter the CFP undefeated after going 13-0. This time around, the Wolverines will try to avoid an upset with a matchup against the red-hot Alabama Crimson Tide. 

“Michigan has been at the top for most of the season. They had those huge results,” Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading at Caesars, told Fox News Digital. 

“They’re just blowing teams out left and right. Obviously, they had a few close games in the remaining three games of the season. All won by single digits. Penn State, Maryland and Ohio State. Once Georgia lost, that further cemented them as the definite No. 1.”

Alabama Crimson Tide +200

After the second week of the 2023 college football season, the Alabama Crimson Tide were deemed too flawed to make a run at the CFP as discussions about Nick Saban’s retirement began. 

None of it was accurate. 

Since losing to Texas in early September, Alabama has ripped off 11 straight wins, including an impressive victory over No.1 Georgia in the SEC title game. 

The Crimson Tide were selected over Florida State as the fourth and final playoff team, setting off a massive debate over the past several days. 

“This is just one of those years where — and there have been other years like this — where somebody that may have been deserving got left out,” Saban said on Sunday, according to CBS Sports. “Florida State, certainly, going undefeated did everything they could to get into the playoffs. Unfortunately, probably because of the injury to their quarterback, are not going to have that opportunity.”

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While many feel that FSU should have been in the CFP over Alabama, the Crimson Tide are not the same team that lost to Texas in Week 2. 

Alabama holds the SEC Championship trophy

The Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate with the SEC championship trophy after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 27-24 in the SEC championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Dec. 2, 2023. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

After that loss, Jalen Milroe did not play against South Florida as Saban gave Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner a shot under center. Following a less-than-impressive win, Saban turned back to Milroe, who turned himself into a player who has had odds of winning the Heisman at times this season. 

In the final 11 weeks of the season, Milroe was brilliant, accounting for 28 touchdowns and throwing just four interceptions since the September loss to Texas. 

“We won 11 games in a row and beat the No. 1 team in the country, so we’re not the same team that we were when we played Texas earlier in the season,” Saban said. “We were kinda in transition at the quarterback position. It was unsettling. I think it affected our team.”

Alabama was rewarded with a matchup against No. 1 Michigan in what will be a game between two traditional college football powers at the most storied venue in the sport.

“You see Alabama a close second choice of two to one. Michigan’s plus-185. But the line says it right there,” Pullen continued. “The game is almost a pick’em game. Michigan is a small favorite. It just shows you that those two teams are very close in the ratings. Even though it is a one and four matchup. You’ve gotta throw the seeding out the window when you get to this stage.” 

Texas Longhorns +270

Texas is back. 

Those three words can finally be said with certainty after head coach Steve Sarkisian led the Longhorns to their first Big 12 title since 2009 and the school’s first-ever appearance in the CFP. 

They did so by blowing the doors off of Oklahoma State in their final Big 12 game. 

Sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers set a Big 12 title game passing record, throwing for 452 yards and passing Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford on the list. 

Texas put it on Oklahoma State early and often, heading into halftime with a 35-14 lead. The Longhorns’ offense had the most yards in any half of a Big 12 title game over the past 20 seasons, and Ewers became the first player to throw for four touchdowns in a half of the championship game, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

Quinn Ewers celebrates a touchdown

Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) and offensive lineman Jake Majors (65) celebrate a touchdown during the Big 12 championship game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys Dec. 2, 2023, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

DEION SANDERS, WHO STARRED AT FLORIDA STATE IN COLLEGE, WON’T FRET ABOUT CFP SNUB: ‘I CAN’T BE UPSET’

Texas now faces Washington in the Sugar Bowl, a rematch of last year’s Alamo Bowl, where the Huskies went home with the victory. 

“It plays into it a little bit. Obviously, everybody sees what they last saw,” Pullen said when asked if the way Washington and Texas won their conference championships plays a role in the odds. 

“To me, the Big 12 wasn’t as strong, but they definitely closed it out with a big win, winning against Oklahoma State. A lot of people were hoping to see another Texas-OU [Oklahoma] rematch, which didn’t occur. But, look, Texas handled their business. Their only loss was that close loss to Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. They’ve proven themselves over the year.”

The matchup is also a familiar one for Sarkisian, who coached Washington from 2009-2013. 

“Kind of ironic, I think, in the sense of Washington still holds a special place for me,” Sarkisian said, per On3. “I got my first head coaching opportunity there and had five tremendous years in trying to rebuild that program. And, ironically, we played them in the Alamo Bowl a year ago, and I think there’s some familiarity there.”

Washington Huskies +750

Washington entered Friday’s Pac-12 championship game with Oregon as the underdog despite going undefeated during the regular season and defeating the Ducks in Week 7. 

They left Las Vegas as conference champions and a lock for the CFP.

The Huskies were selected as the No. 2 team in the country, snapping a six-year playoff drought for the Pac-12, and became the first Pac-12 team to go 13-0 heading into the bowl season. 

“It is sad to see it happen and that be the last football game there,” Washington coach Kalen DeBoer said, according to ESPN. “But I think the other part is just understanding how strong the conference was this year.

Kalen DeBoer hosts the trophy

Washington Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer hoists the PAC-12 championship trophy after defeating the Oregon Ducks 34-31 in the PAC-12 championship game Dec. 1, 2023, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.  (Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“There were eight teams [from the Pac-12] at one point, I believe, that were ranked in the Top 25, and we played the best ones, and we played one of them twice. I don’t think there’s anyone else in the country that’s gone through what we went through.”

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Washington will be an underdog again as it prepare sto play in its second CFP. 

“We’re going to face a great football team in Texas. We need to be at our best in all areas,” DeBoer said, per 247 Sports. “I’ve caught a little bit throughout the year. But the familiarity comes from the Alamo Bowl a year ago when we played them at the end of the season. Coach Sark (has) just done a great job, continuing to grow the team in year three. 

“Last year, we didn’t see everyone. There’s been additions to their roster, additions to our roster. But there is an understanding that it’s going to be a physical football game. They’re going to be well coached. There’s playmakers in all areas that they’ll put on the football field. It’s going to be a great battle, one we’re really excited for.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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