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FSU, undefeated with one of nation’s best resumes, has better odds than Alabama to make playoff

Seminoles have three wins over current top 25 teams

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

It wouldn’t be a College Football Playoff Selection Sunday without a little drama.

No. 2 Michigan, having easily slid by No. 16 Iowa 26-0, and No. 3 Washington, beating No. 5 Oregon for the second time this season in a thriller, are locks for the 2023 College Football Playoff — with Florida State having also secured an undefeated season and conference title, you’d think that would take care of three spots, but the It Just Means More narrative has started running like wildfire ahead of the final rankings.

After Alabama upset No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship, the calls for the Crimson Tide to jump from No. 8 to the top four have reached a fever pitch — this even though the team that handed Alabama its loss, No. 7 Texas, also secured a conference title with an emphatic 49-21 win over No. 18 Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.

While some talking heads have lobbed out the idea of both Texas and Alabama jumping the undefeated Seminoles, according to DraftKings, FSU sits at -170 to make the 2023 College Football Playoff while the Longhorns hold -600 odds and the Crimson Tide at -110.

FSU has the most wins (eight) over bowl-eligible Power 5 teams and is currently No. 3 in ESPN’s Strength of Record rankings (which reflects the chance that an average Top 25 team would have team’s record or better, given the schedule).

“You sit back and you look, since the BCS was created and the history of this, there’s never been an undefeated Power 5 team that was denied an opportunity to play for a national championship over a one-loss team,” FSU head coach Mike Norvell said after the team’s 16-6 win over Louisville.

“There’s a reason. Because you have to earn it on the field. I don’t care how much talent you have. I don’t care what it looks like on a game or in a moment. You’ve got to get it done, and if you have all that ability, well, go finish. That’s what this team has done. This team has showed up week in and week out and they’ve worked for it.”

The final 2023 College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Sunday, December 3, with a special starting on ESPN at 12 p.m. ET.

Game notes from Florida State’s win over Louisville, via FSU Sports Info

  • No. 4 Florida State won its 16th ACC championship and improved to 5-1 in the ACC Championship Game with a 16-6 win over No. 14 Louisville Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Florida State leads the all-time series with Louisville 18-6.
  • The 16 ACC championships are the most among all ACC programs since Florida State joined the league in 1992.
  • The Seminoles improved to 13-0 overall with eight wins over bowl-eligible Power 5 teams, the most in the nation. FSU has won 13 games for the third time in program history (14-0 in 2013, 13-1 in 2014).
  • Saturday was the first time since Nov. 28, 2015, vs. Florida (W, 27-2) that Florida State has held a ranked opponent to under 10 points.
  • FSU is now 27-6 all-time when ranked No. 4 in the AP poll, including 9-0 this year. FSU is 157-29 when ranked in the top 5 with a 12-0 mark in 2023.
  • Florida State’s 19-game win streak is the 2nd-longest active streak nationally, the 2nd-longest in FSU history and 3rd-longest in ACC history. During its current win streak, Florida State has outscored its opponents 734-316.
  • Florida State is now 2-0 in neutral site games in 2023 and has won four straight over the past two years (2023 vs. LSU in Orlando, 2022 vs. Oklahoma in Orlando and vs. LSU in New Orleans).
  • FSU is 42-13 in NFL stadiums over the past 40 seasons with four straight wins (2023 at Pitt, 2022 at Miami and vs. LSU in New Orleans).
  • Louisville came into Saturday’s game averaging 33.0 points per game and had scored 30 or more points in their last four games and 8 of 12 this season. The Cardinals were averaging 438.6 yards per game (188 in ACCCG) and 6.57 yards per play (2.7 in ACCCG).
  • Florida State’s 7.0 sacks, 14.0 TFLs and 10 PBUs were all season highs.
  • For the second consecutive game, FSU held its opponent to negative yardage in the fourth quarter (-15 at Florida, -23 vs. Louisville).
  • Defensive tackle Braden Fiske had a career night with 9 total tackles, 3.0 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, all career highs. His sacks and TFLs are season-highs for any Nole, and his tackles are the second-most for a Nole.
  • Running back and game MVP Lawrance Toafili took snaps as the wildcat quarterback Saturday and ran for a career-high 118 yards, including a 73-yard run in the third quarter that was his longest of the season. It was the second-longest run in ACC Championship Game history.
  • Toafili’s 73-yard run tied his career high from his freshman season and came on the Noles’ first play after the Cardinals tied the game. It was Toafili’s third career 100-yard game.
  • Florida State held Louisville to 69 total yards, 4-for-14 passing, 1-for-8 on third down and had 6.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and 3 PBU in the first half. FSU’s last first-half shutout was a 44-14 win vs. Boston College last season.
  • Louisville’s six points were tied for the second-fewest points scored in ACC Championship Game history. The only other first-half shutouts in the ACC Championship were Clemson vs. Miami in 2017 and FSU vs. Duke in 2013.
  • Defensive end Jared Verse finished the game with 2.0 sacks and 3.0 TFL’s. He leads FSU with 9.0 sacks and 12.5 TFLs this year. Verse also surpassed 30 career sacks and 50 career TFLs during Saturday’s game.
  • With a PBU in the fourth quarter, Patrick Payton joins Christian Wilkins (Clemson, 2016) as the only two ACC defensive linemen to record 10 or more pass breakups in a single season.
  • Payton tied his career high with seven total tackles. Payton ended the night with seven total tackles, 1.0 sack, 2.0 TFLs and one PBU.
  • Linebacker DJ Lundy picked up his sixth TFL on Saturday which is his most in a single season.
  • Linebacker Kalen DeLoach deflected a pass on 4th down, his second PBU of the year. Louisville was 0-for-5 on third down in the first quarter and 0-for-1 on 4th down.
  • Kicker Ryan Fitzgerald scored 10 points, including a career-high 3 made field goals. He ranks 9th in FSU history with 296 career points, passing Dalvin Cook (288, 2014-16) and Warrick Dunn (294, 1993-96). His 112 points are tied for 11th in a season at FSU.
  • Fitzgerald is 4th in FSU history with 58 made PAT this year.
  • Azareye’h Thomas forced his first career fumble. The play resulted in a four-yard loss, giving him 4.5 TFL on the season.
  • Every member of FSU’s starting offensive line has at least 36 career starts, and the five have combined for 212 in their careers.
  • Linebacker Tatum Bethune intercepted his first pass as a Seminole and third of his career. FSU has a takeaway in 12 of 13 games this season.
  • Florida State’s 16 points tonight moved them to 6th all-time for total points in a single season with 481.
  • Defensive back Renardo Green tied his career high with three PBUs.
  • Keon Coleman surpassed 1,500 receiving yards in his career with four catches for 19 yards.
  • FSU’s defense has not allowed 30 points in a game this season. The 13-game streak is the longest active in the ACC and 3rd-longest in the country. The last time Florida State held at least 13 consecutive opponents below 30 points was a 22-game streak from 2003-05.
  • FSU entered the week leading the nation in completion percentage allowed this season (47.6) and pass breakups (67). FSU held Louisville to 39% completions and earned a season-high 10 pass breakups.
  • FSU entered the week ranked 5th nationally in 3rd-down defense (28.5%) and held Louisville to just 3-for-18 (16.6%) on third down.
  • Quarterback Brock Glenn is the only true freshman quarterbacks to make his first career start in a P5 conference championship game in the last 20 years.
  • Redshirt sophomore running back CJ Campbell Jr. also earned his first career start.
  • Defensively, seven players have started all 13 games this season and all 11 starters have started at least nine games in 2023.