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Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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College Football Playoff drama? Blame Florida State

The most intriguing selection in the College Football Playoff's illustrious, storied history will take place today.

The committee will have to choose between Alabama and Ohio State (or USC, theoretically) as the fourth team in the playoff. Whatever decision the committee makes will offend a large, passionate fan base, spurn a team that has a recent national title and shun one of the best coaches in the game.

And it's Florida State's fault.

Remember when 'Bama played FSU in September, at Atlanta's new palace? It was No. 1 'Bama and No. 3 FSU. A clash of the titans. The Greatest Opener of All-Time. A possible title game preview, at a stadium that will host the national championship in January.

That, obviously, didn't happen.

The easiest explanation – and one Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban was touting – is that the Seminoles lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois that game. That's accurate, but it's also far too simplistic to explain FSU's slide from expected Playoff contender to mediocre. Francois doesn't explain the disappointing defense, leaky offensive line or iffy receivers.

The Seminoles' 6-6 record hurts 'Bama, probably a lot. Florida State wasn't even the best FSU non-conference team the Tide faced; that would be Jeff Tedford's Fresno State Bulldogs, who finished 9-4 and advanced to the Mountain West title game.

If FSU had been a top-10 team, we probably wouldn't be having the Ohio State/Alabama debate. The Tide would be in, thanks to one fewer loss, zero Iowa beatdowns and a great non-conference team.

But FSU is not a top-10 team. Not even close. So if Saban misses out on the Playoff, he can blame his old assistant, Jimbo Fisher. The one he'll be facing annually in the SEC West.

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