If the BCS system were still in the place, the Florida State Seminoles would be preparing to play in the National Championship game after their 37-35 victory over Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the ACC Championship Game.
Instead, an undefeated Florida State squad now has to sweat it out as the College Football Playoff committee decides the team’s fate.
A 13-0 record used to automatically equate into being one of the best teams in college football. Yet there is very little faith in this year’s Seminoles.
Seven of the team’s games this season were decided by six points or less. Even the ACC Championship Game was a little too close for comfort as the Yellow Jackets drove the ball 97 yards in just over a minute to get within two points.
Florida State looked stellar on offense, though.
Quarterback Jameis Winston played arguably his best game of the season. Winston was 21-of-30 passing for 309 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, the redshirt sophomore didn’t make any mistakes. All season Winston was prone to throwing poor passes. The quarterback didn’t have a turnover against the Yellow Jackets.
Freshman running back Dalvin Cook also performed tremendously well. The young workhorse ran the ball 31 times for 177 yards with Florida State’s offensive line dominating up front.
However, the defense was another story.
Georgia Tech scored a touchdown on its first three possessions. And Florida State’s defense struggled to stop Paul Johnson‘s triple-option offense. The Yellow Jackets amassed a whopping 331 rushing yards.
Despite another close call and a lackluster performance on defense, Florida State emerged as the victor. The program continued to do so in each and every game this season.
The Seminoles haven’t lost a game since the 2012 season. That should carry some weight with the playoff committee.
What remains uncertain is exactly how the committee will eventually decide to decipher the best four teams.
Saturday’s outcomes were exactly helpful for Florida State.
The No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes absolutely demolished the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes are playing like one of the elite programs in the nation at this very moment.
The No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs entered the weekend ranked higher than Florida State and easily whipped an inferior Iowa State Cyclones Squad.
And the No. 6 Baylor Bears may have completed the most impressive victory by beating the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats by 11 points.
It should be almost impossible for the playoff committee to keep Florida State out of a semifinal game, but the possibility still exists. An undefeated record and an ACC Championship should be enough to squeeze Florida State into the inaugural College Football Playoff. It’s just not a certainty.
Everyone will find out at 12:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday.