Miami Gardens, Fla. — The two top-ranked teams out of the College Football Playoff clashed in the Capital One Orange Bowl, but only sixth-seeded Georgia made the cut Saturday — leading to some frustration from Bulldogs head coach Kirby. smart
Georgia beat No. 5 Florida State 63-3, the largest in bowl history, and the Dawgs' 58-point win over TCU in last season's national championship game. But the unsuccessful score was, at least in part, responsible for several departures and injuries for the Seminoles.
“People need to look at what happened tonight and they need to fix this,” Smart said, lamenting the deluge of waivers and portal entries on teams playing in non-playoff bowl games. “That needs to be fixed. It's unfortunate that they have a good football team and a good football program, and they're in the position they're in.”
The Seminoles were without their top two quarterbacks, top two running backs, top two receivers, starting tight end, three starting defensive linemen, two of their three starting linebackers and three starting defensive backs. They were 29 fewer scholarship players overall.
The College Football Playoff committee's decision to eliminate the 13-0 Seminoles from the playoff in favor of both Texas and Alabama was strongly heralded by FSU head coach Mike Norvell. outs.
Florida State beat the Louisville Cardinals 16-6 in the ACC Championship Game with third-string QB Brock Glenn leading a sluggish offense, and the team used that performance — and an injury to star quarterback Jordan Travis — as reason to keep an undefeated Power 5 team out of the playoffs.
“Every situation is different,” Norvell said. “Ours was unique, something that hasn't happened in college football. In the end, I think there were a lot of things that made it more challenging. [ACC] Championship game, it could have been a little different.
“It was a tough pick for a lot of the guys on our team. We were hurt. … When you do the things our guys have done all year, the way they responded, the way they fought, the way they pulled together, it hurt when we didn't get picked.”
Florida State defensive tackle Braden Fiske, who missed the game with a foot injury he said will try to rehab through December, said the Seminoles were invested in the Orange Bowl and didn't expect it to blow out. But the production missing from a team that went 13-0 in the regular season can't be ignored.
For his part, Smart said the impact of the waivers is significant, and even with an expanded playoff next year, bowls outside the playoffs risk turning into glory fights.
“You can say it's their fault and they have to solve their own problem,” Smart said. “We had our guys and they didn't have their guys. College football has to decide what they want. I know things are changing. But there's still going to be bowl games outside of that. People have to decide what they want. What they want to get out of it, because It was very unfortunate for the kids on that side who had to play in that game and didn't have their full arsenal. And it affected the game, 100%.”
Smart praised his own team's buy-in, including the decisions of several key seniors to play. Georgia had no official waivers, although several stars, including tight end Bragg Bowers, missed the game due to injury.
“When you're a contender, every game is important — every opportunity to go out there and play the people you love,” Georgia defensive end Kamari Lassiter said.
Norvell took responsibility for not fully preparing his team to play Georgia, but he also acknowledged that with so many inexperienced players on the field, FSU suffered from several communication problems and had serious problems with fundamentals and technique.
How the Seminoles would have been different with Fiske, Jared Vers, Keon Coleman, Trey Benson and others is debatable, but Norvell said he doesn't want the final score of the Orange Bowl to be what defines this FSU team. .
“At the end of the day, this team did everything I asked of them and they're always champions,” Norvell said. “We've gone 13 weeks through the season, and it's been a physical task, especially with what we've faced and overcoming each one, guys that have been hurt, guys that have played through every different adversity that can be thrown at them. .
“When you break it down and there's a little bit more — there's still the frustration of not being able to compete with all of that, and I think that definitely affected our situation some.”