Add New York Jets defensive end Jermaine Johnson to the list of disgruntled Florida State football fans after seeing the 13-0 Seminoles out of the College Football Playoffs’ final four teams.
Johnson is far removed from his days as a top prospect with Florida State, where he spent his final year of college after two seasons at Georgia before becoming a first-round draft choice by the Jets.
Reporters asked Johnson on Monday about the selection committee’s decision to put the SEC champion Alabama Crimson Tide in at No. 4 instead of the undefeated Seminoles for a chance to play for the national title. Alabama lost to No. 3 Texas earlier in the season, bringing their record to 12-1.
Johnson was very detailed about his thoughts on it all.
“Personally, I think it’s bad for the sport to not put those guys in the playoff, and I’m just not just speaking as a salty alumni,” he began via SNY. “I think it’s bad for the sport [because] since we were kids we’re taught to win. That’s why you prepare week in and week out. It’s to win. That’s the most important thing and, I mean, when you turn around and tell a group of young men that all you did is win and didn’t lose and you still don’t get rewarded, what do you say after that? What else is there to chase?”
“It almost attacks the epitome of what is, in essence, football. If winning doesn’t get rewarded, perfection doesn’t get rewarded, I’m not quite sure what is then. I think it’s just not good for the sport of football to punish a group of kids that did nothing but win and punish a program that did nothing but turn around, fight off all that adversity and win.”
Many others have voiced their opinions on Florida State being left out despite winning the ACC Championship over Louisville on Saturday to maintain their stellar 13-0 perfect record heading into bowl season.
It wasn’t expected that Florida State would end up in this position, especially after losing their star quarterback Jordan Travis for the season. But between backups Tate Rodemaker and Brock Glenn, the Seminoles got the offense they needed and relied on their prolific defense to finish off the rest of their opponents.
However, in the eyes of the selection committee, FSU’s strength of schedule factored into the decision to be left out.
“It’s a factor, and it’s part of our protocol as we look at it,” selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan said on a post-reveal teleconference. “And again, Alabama’s strength of schedule was significantly higher than Florida State’s, but again, it’s two really good teams. You can only play the teams in front of you, etc.”
“But at the end of it, just a difference in their offense and defense is wonderful, their special teams, the job that Coach Norvell’s done this year, it’s very admirable. Everyone’s got great respect for the job that he’s done, but we ended up at Alabama at four and Florida State at 5.”
That decision was the first time in the College Football Playoff’s history that an undefeated Power Five conference champion was left out of the top four. Corrigan also stated that Travis’ injury did factor into the decision to move Alabama in.
“Looking at the player availability was really important to what’s going on, and I think someone said it there, you can lose a running back, you can lose a wide receiver, but a quarterback as dynamic as Jordan Travis, it changes their offense in its entirety. That was really a big factor with the committee as we went through everything,” Corrigan said.
Now, Florida State will be taking on Georgia, the No. 1 team in the CFP until their loss to the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game, in the Orange Bowl as part of the annual New Year’s Six games.
Meanwhile, the new No. 1 Michigan will take on Alabama while No. 2 Washington will go head-to-head with No. 3 Texas.
But Johnson and so many others believe that the Seminoles, despite playing the schedule they were given and losing Travis, should’ve had their shot at competing for a national championship.