Alabama bumps Florida State for controversial last spot in CFP

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For the first time in College Football Playoff history, an undefeated Power Five conference champion was denied a spot, as the selection committee chose 12-1 Alabama over 13-0 Florida State.

Supporters of the Seminoles, who lost starting quarterback Jordan Travis to a season-ending injury, will ask: Why even play the games?

The Crimson Tide rose from No. 8 in the rankings on the momentum of a 27-24 victory over No. 1 Georgia, the two-time defending national champions, on Saturday night in the SEC championship game.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian leads his players to the field before a game against Kansas State on Nov. 4.

(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

The committee’s decision set up a titanic matchup of blue-blood programs in the Rose Bowl, where No. 1 Michigan and No. 4 Alabama will meet in a CFP semifinal on New Year’s Day.

The Wolverines, 13-0 and the Big Ten champions, will be looking for their first playoff victory after losing in the semifinals the last two seasons, to Georgia and Texas Christian.

The Crimson Tide will be eyeing their fourth national championship in the CFP era.

In the Sugar Bowl, No. 2 Washington, 13-0 and the Pac-12 champion, will play No. 3 Texas, 12-1 and the Big 12 champion. The Longhorns, led by former USC and Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian, are making their first CFP appearance.

The winners will play Jan. 8 in Houston in the last CFP championship game before the playoff expands to 12 teams next season.

Florida State lost Travis to a leg injury against North Alabama on Nov. 18. The Seminoles won at Florida and against Louisville in the ACC championship game Saturday night 16-6, with two different backup quarterbacks, putting them in position for a playoff spot and giving the committee its hardest decision since the format was established in 2014.

“Florida State is a different team than they were through the first 11 weeks,” CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan said during the ESPN selection show. “Coach [Mike] Norvell, their players, their fans, an incredible season, but as you look at who they are right now as a team without Jordan Travis, without the offensive dynamic that he brings to it, they are a different team.”

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