Ex-Florida State president says CFP snub shows need to leave ACC
Former Florida State President John Thrasher believes the Seminoles’ exclusion from the College Football Playoff shows the school needs to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Thrasher also believes the CFP committee caved in to pressure from ESPN and the Southeastern Conference when it announced its four playoff teams Sunday.
Undefeated ACC Champion FSU (13-0) was the odd team out of the CFP behind unbeatens Michigan and Washington and one-loss teams Texas and Alabama.
The Seminoles’ controversial omission sent shockwaves through college football, calling into question the integrity of the system and pecking order of Power Five Conferences.
‘It gives me hope the leadership at FSU will look at other places to be. I think it shows we are a secondary-level conference,’ Thrasher said.
FSU indicated last August it would have to consider leaving the league unless there is change to its revenue distribution. The ACC in September added Stanford, Cal and SMU starting next season, bringing the conference to 18 members, with 17 playing football.
ESPN exclusive rights holder to College Football Playoff
Thrasher, who retired from FSU in 2021 after nearly seven years as the university’s president, also pointed to the power that ESPN and the SEC wields in college football.
‘I believe the committee caved into pressure from a couple different levels – with ESPN and the SEC the two levels they caved to,’ Thrasher said. ‘I’ve been in those management meetings. …. The SEC has incredible power.’
ESPN, which is set to enter into an exclusive broadcasting deal with the SEC in 2024, is the exclusive rights holder of the College Football Playoff.
The SEC has also been represented in the playoffs the past 10 years. Saturday, SEC Commissioner SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said during an interview on ESPN ‘GameDay’ the thought of his league being left out of the four-team College Football Playoff isn’t the ‘real world.’
Alabama, the SEC Champion after its upset win over then-ranked No. 1 Georgia, jumped from No. 8 to No. 4 in the final CFP ranking. Texas, the Big 12 champion who is headed to the SEC next season with Oklahoma, went from No. 7 to No. 3.
The first CFP ranking Oct. 31 featured Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan and FSU as its top four teams.
Ohio State tumbled from No. 1 to No. 6 following its defeat to Michigan two weeks ago. FSU fell out of the top-four twice during the six-week cycle, to No. 5 following its win against North Alabama and last Sunday. It had returned to No. 4 following its win over Florida to end the regular season. Georgia was ranked No. 2 two weeks, No. 1 three weeks and ended at No. 6 following its loss to the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship.
The CFP expands to 12 teams in 2024.
FSU’s omission from College Football Playoff a historic footnote
FSU is the first undefeated team from a major Power Five conference to be excluded from the playoffs since its inception in 2014.
The Seminoles’ omission also has financial implications.
A potential $6 million ACC payout had the Seminoles been included drops to $4 million as FSU plays No. 6 Georgia in the Orange Bowl Dec. 30. The exclusion also nixed expected revenue generated from the chance to compete for a national title and bumped other ACC teams in the bowl lineup. An educated guess is the CFP committee’s decision cost FSU around $30 million.
It could also impact FSU recruiting. Don’t believe for a second rival coaches won’t remind Seminole recruits that FSU and the ACC didn’t have the juice to secure a playoff berth for an undefeated conference champion. There’s a chance even some current FSU players feel the same way.
Though the Seminoles went undefeated, they were judged by the committee by injuries at the quarterback position.
Star Jordan Travis was lost last month to a broken left leg.
Backup Tage Rodemaker suffered a concussion late in the Seminoles’ regular-season finale victory at Florida. That led to true freshman Brock Glenn, the third-stringer, starting in the ACC title game win over Louisville Saturday.
“You won your conference and you are going to be left out because of one player who got hurt?” Thrasher said. “And you are going to say this team wasn’t going to get better between now and Dec. 30? It’s wrong on so many levels.
‘My heart breaks for those kids.”
FSU has drawn support from within the state and across the country.
Critics of the CFP, which is tasked with deciding the best teams in the nation using a number of factors, are demanding more transparency from the 13-member committee. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he wants to set aside $1 million for “any litigation expenses that may come as a result of this really, really poor decision by the College Football Playoff” to snub the Seminoles.
Thrasher believes FSU’s options for recourse are limited at best.
“As much as I hate it, I think they have to move on,” Thrasher said.
“I was disappointed as anybody. They deserved to be in the playoffs. The committee should have been fighting over Texas and Alabama.