To ensure playoffs, FSU must keep winning

by Gary Shelton on October 30, 2023

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

If you are a Florida State fan, you can finally exhale.

The hand-wringing in over. The polls agree. Even the critics concur.

Everyone seems to agree. The Seminoles are among the top four teams in the nation. Whew.

Except for this: There was really nothing to worry about.

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Oh, I know. There are a thousand opinions out there, most of them self-serving thoughts designed to draw attention from those who agree and outrage from those who do not. Even now, there are five major unbeaten teams left in America, and there are four playoff spots, so fans want to envision a game of musical chairs.

But that’s only true if all five teams finish undefeated. Which they won’t. In fact, I’d guess there will be no more than three, but that’s just a guess.

Will FSU finish in the top four? Depends on how they do against Miami, and against Florida, and  in the ACC title game. If FSU can run the table, they won’t get any argument over whether they belong in the playoffs. Not with wins over LSU, Clemson and Duke on their resume.

Win and they’re in. All five of the unbeatens can’t say that, because Michigan and Ohio State play against each other. The way the polls work, the loser will likely fall behind a lot of one-win teams (Oregon, Texas, Alabama, Penn State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Louisville and Missouri).

In other words, there are of planes circling the airport. And here’s a silly thought: At least one one-win team will get into the post-season.

Look, Michigan has to beat Penn State, Ohio State and then play the winner of the Big 10 West (probably Iowa) if it’s going to finish unbeaten.

Ohio State, on the other hand, plays Michigan State and then possibly Iowa.

Georgia, the No. 1 team in the nation,  has to face Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee and, in the SEC title game, Alabama.

Washington, the first team on the left-out list this week, has to play USC, Utah and Oregon State and then the Pac-12 title game.

In other words, the odds are against every team going unbeaten. Which is going to create a loud, long argument among the one-loss teams.

FSU, like the rest of the teams, has only won a slight edge so far. To survive, they have to win. You can say the same about Georgia, about Michigan and about Ohio State.

If this year is like others, it will end up with three solid picks and one who survives the arguments.

Will FSU be one of them?

Only if it wins.

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