February 25, 2024


When the dust settled on Saturday night, the College Football Playoff committee was left with a difficult task. 

Each of the Power 5 conferences had a legitimate case for the final edition of the four-team CFP. 

Alabama holds the SEC Championship trophy

A detailed view as 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 on December 2, 2023, in Atlanta. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Michigan, Washington and Florida State were undefeated conference champions while Alabama and Texas both won their respective leagues while losing just one game. 

The SEC had never missed out on the CFP while an undefeated Power 5 conference champion had also never been left out of the playoff.

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What would the committee do?

By using the four “best teams” approach, the CFP committee left Florida State out in the cold as they selected Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama for the playoff. 

The committee cited the season-ending injury to Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis as to why the Seminoles were not one of the four best teams at the end of the season, despite Mike Norvell’s team defeating in-state rival Florida and then 10-win Louisville in the ACC Championship Game with backup quarterbacks.

“Florida State is a different team without Jordan Travis,” CFP selection committee chair Boo Corrigan said. “One of the things we do consider is player availability, and our job is to rank the best teams, and in the final decision looking at that, it was Alabama at 4 and Florida State at 5.”

Fox Sports college football play-by-play man Tim Brando discussed the selection process of the CFP committee with Fox News Digital in a recent interview, saying that the criteria of selecting the “best teams” left the door open for “corruption.”

“That was the first and foremost area where corruption was going to come in,” Brando said when asked about the committee’s criteria of selecting the four best teams. “And I don’t think corruption is too strong … I really don’t. The combination of four best teams, and if you read through that pretty basic and very nebulous criteria, that last paragraph about the committee can because of key players being out … that is cover basically for, in the end, ‘We can just pick whoever we damn well please.’”

Florida State Seminoles celebrate the ACC title

The Florida State Seminoles celebrate during the trophy presentation after defeating the Louisville Cardinals during the ACC Championship at Bank of America Stadium on December 2, 2023, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)

“And this past week, when dealing with a chaotic situation, how many times did you hear a media member, whether they be on a news-gathering show or one of the studio shows that’s shelf programming for the games themselves, talking about, ‘Well, that is the criteria. Oh, that’s a big deal.’”

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“That was put there so they could pick who they damn well please,” Brando added. “So, that’s where the rub comes, and it is the essential part of the problem. It was never going to work. It was a failed system when they put it in place. You cannot have five power conferences and only four slots. You cannot do that.”

The Seminoles responded harshly to the snub, with Florida State athletic director Michael Alford and head coach Mike Norvell ripping the CFP committee for leaving out the undefeated conference champion. 

“The process is a travesty. The process is the travesty. And media manipulation within the travesty is something that really bothers me greatly,” Brando said when asked about Florida State being left out of the CFP. 

With the 12-team playoff just one year away, the committee will not be put in the position to leave a Power 5 conference champion out of the playoff again. 

As the four-team playoff comes to an end, and with ESPN’s TV deal with the CFP up after the 2025 season, Brando hopes that multiple carriers get involved in the next deal in order to avoid one media company “controlling the narrative of the college football postseason.”

“Full disclosure, I do work for a company that I believe would be interested in the new playoff,” Brando said. “And I sincerely hope that they get it, but if they don’t, I hope somebody else is involved. We don’t need one mega-media company controlling the narrative of the college football postseason. We just don’t need that. We need to have multiple carriers.”

Brando wants to see more transparency when it comes to the committee’s process of selecting teams for the 12-team playoff, something the longtime announcer did not witness on Sunday for the final four-team edition of college football’s postseason.

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Mike Norvell celebrate

Florida State coach Mike Norvell lifts the trophy after the team’s win over Louisville in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Erik Verduzco)

“Whoever is involved moving forward with a new television contract, in my … opinion, should find a way to preserve transparency in the selection process,” Brando told Fox News Digital. “Whether it be cameras in that room or specific multiple spokespersons from that room detailing what the decision-making process really was.”

Brando took issue with the lack of transparency by the selection committee and the chair of the selection committee, Boo Corrigan, who Brando expressed great respect for. 

“There was no transparency,” Brando told Fox News Digital. “At no point did he [Coorigan] actually tell anyone who asked a question what really the conversation was all about,” Brando said. 

“We all know that if Georgia had beaten Alabama, it would have been Georgia one, Michigan two, Washington three, Florida State four. It would have been,” Brando continued. “But the moment Alabama beat Georgia, they [the committee] were in a pickle because part of their criteria is head-to-head. And you could not take Alabama without taking Texas. And that meant Florida State was out. Just say that. How hard is that? Just say it.”

“The committee was put in this position because they felt the pressure of having an SEC team in at all costs. That they could not have this event, they could not hold this event, in their minds – in good conscience – without having a Southeastern conference team in the final four. And that meant Florida State had to be out. Just say it. How hard is that?”

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Brando admitted that Alabama facing Michigan is a better matchup, but he continued to point to what the Seminoles did with their schedule. 

“Jordan Travis was out for three weeks. What did they do after they lost him? They won all their games,” Brando said. “And they beat Florida at The Swamp. OK, it’s not a great Florida team, but it’s an SEC team. And it was a rival game, and they beat them. And then they beat a Louisville team that everyone was ballyhooing when they beat Notre Dame and should have been motivated after losing to their rival Kentucky the week before. 

Jordan Travis is taken off the field

Quarterback Jordan Travis of the Florida State Seminoles is carted off the field after an ankle jury during the game against the North Alabama Lions on Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 18, 2023, in Tallahassee, Florida. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

“It might not have been as pretty aesthetically as what Alabama did to Georgia. And I’m not questioning that Alabama, that their roster isn’t stronger to give Michigan a better matchup, if not win the game. That’s not all that’s at work here. Florida State lined up and beat every team they played as a Power 5 team.”

Brando took issue with Florida State being compared to last year’s TCU team, which was blown out, 65-7, by Georgia in the national championship game, and Cincinnati, which lost to Alabama in the 2021 CFP semifinals. 

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“It’s college football, and occasionally you’re going to have a game get emotionally out of sorts and a team gets boat raced, as happened in that title game. But connecting Florida State to TCU and, by extension, to Cincinnati, which also happened, by comparing Florida State to a Group of Five Cincinnati was highly unfair at best and despicable, in my opinion. For anyone to do.” 

“That was a 13-0 Power 5 champion. And in the past, not one Power 5 champion that was undefeated had ever been left out. And I just thought they deserved more dignity and to be treated with more integrity, and they were not. Integrity was lost and that is where the College Football Playoff committee gets it wrong and consistently does so with a system that is put in place to reward the big brands that bring the biggest revenue.”

“And that’s not lost on fans anymore. We’ve got sophisticated enough people to know that the SEC is of greater value than the ACC is. And when we get it to that point, and the conversation devolves into that, then we’re allowing that peak behind the curtain at what, in my opinion, has been at least during the BCS and the four-team playoff, absolute complete corruption in the selection process.”



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