CFP semifinal matchups (Credit: ESPN)

In the aftermath of Florida State being left out of the College Football Playoff, angry fans have directed their frustration toward ESPN. Kirk Herbstreit has seen himself as the target of criticism from Seminoles fans, as he has repeatedly defended his CFP opinions.

Fans of FSU are upset with ESPN’s coverage of their team’s playoff exclusion, which has highlighted the fact that the ACC will always play second fiddle to the SEC for the network. An undefeated conference champion was left out of the playoffs in favor of a one-loss SEC team — Alabama — and we may never hear the end of it.

While FSU fans are likely still up in arms over the ordeal that’s primarily overshadowed bowl season, Saturday saw ESPN commentators try to distance themselves from the controversy, albeit cleverly.

During the first half of the Myrtle Beach Bowl between Georgia Southern and Ohio, play-by-play announcer Drew Carter and analyst Dustin Fox looked at the college football look ahead. With a break in the action and the Bobcats up 17-0 with 21 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the broadcast looked at the CFP semifinals on New Year’s Day.

“Hopefully, no Florida State fans are watching,” quipped Carter. “It’s not our fault. We didn’t pick these four teams, but we’ve got some good matchups. Michigan and Alabama, (Jim) Harbaugh versus (Nick) Saban. And then Washington-Texas; I think they played in the bowl game last year.”

They did, and Fox called last year’s Alamo Bowl (a.k.a. The Steve Sarkisian Bowl) on the radio. But that’s beside the point here. It’s hard to envision that unless you’re a college football die-hard, that many — if any — Florida State fans were watching an 11 a.m. bowl game between a 6-6 team from the Sun Belt Conference and a 9-3 team from the Mid-American Conference (MAC), but, hey, everybody has their vices.

At the same time, it’s funny to see the ESPN broadcasters remove themselves from the line of fire, as they’ve seen others at the network take hit after hit from the Florida State faithful. That’s not to say Carter or Fox believe that FSU should be in the CFP; they were simply the messenger(s) here and didn’t want to be in the line of fire for merely bringing up what’s ahead for college football.

Carter and Fox remind us that even with controversy, college football rolls on, even though FSU fans may still be licking their wounds. Just don’t expect to see too many Seminoles tuning in to mid-morning bowl games anytime soon.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.