Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis (13) hugs Florida State Seminoles quarterback Brock Glenn (11) Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis (13) hugs Florida State Seminoles quarterback Brock Glenn (11) as the team celebrates defeating the Louisville Cardinals 16-6 to claim the ACC Championship title in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat )

According to Florida State’s head coach, Mike Norvell, there should be no debate regarding his Seminoles’ inclusion in the College Football Playoff.

Even without their star quarterback, Jordan Travis, Florida State managed to secure a 16-6 victory over Louisville during Saturday’s ACC Championship game. As a result, not only are the Seminoles conference champions, but they also finished the season with a perfect record of 13-0, which was only made possible by a near-perfect performance from their defense.

Although the fate of some teams has been decided, there are still some uncertainties. Michigan and Washington have almost guaranteed their spots in the dance, while Florida State’s playoff destiny is uncertain. The decision is left to the members of the College Football Playoff committee to determine if playing the games actually matters.

Following Saturday’s game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, Joe Tessitore and Jesse Palmer, who were on the call for the broadcast of the game, offered some nuanced thoughts on FSU, the SEC and the Playoff.

“We’re such a quarterback-centric sports society, yet let’s look to the other side and size them,” said Tessitore, as the camera panned to true freshman Brock Glenn, who started Saturday’s game for the Seminoles and went 8-of-21 for 55 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. “Because would you not stack up this (Florida State) defense against anybody who you either know is already in (Michigan and Washington), or is politicking to get in (Alabama and Georgia) when you have (Jared) Verse and (Patrick) Payton off the edge. When you have (Braden) Fiske and (Fabien) Lovett and (Joshua) Farmer in the middle; these linebackers, those defensive backs.”

Palmer believes that Florida State has enough talent to compete in the playoffs, even without the top NFL draft picks.

“Joe, I just think from an eye test standpoint, if you just look at Florida State’s roster, it’s a playoff-caliber roster,” said Palmer. “I don’t know if they have as many first-round picks as Georgia or Alabama — we’ll find out in April — but I’ll tell you, they got as many starters on this team that are gonna go play on Sundays in the NFL.”

“And maybe that point is proven best by that roster being able to win without the quarterbacks the past couple of weeks,” added Tessitore.

Palmer suggests that the College Football Playoff committee could potentially take into account the SEC’s nonconference struggles when evaluating teams, which could break the conference’s playoff streak.

“I think another thing that the committee’s gonna talk about because there is the possibility that an SEC team may not make the playoff for the very first time,” Palmer said. “I know the SEC has been the most dominant conference since 2006 — easily. This year, though, does feel a little bit different and it started in nonconference games earlier this year. The SEC was 7-9 this year against nonconference Power Five opposition, not as dominant as we’re used to them being. And so I wonder if that’s something the committee takes into account as well.”

Tessitore noted that the ACC had six wins against the SEC and four against the Big Ten, while the rest of FBS football had a combined record of 10-47 against the SEC and Big Ten.

“It’s a funny year too, right? Because you got three Power Five unbeatens, and if you’re Alabama, the team that you’re being compared to is a team that beat you by 10 points in Tuscaloosa,” added Palmer.

Tessitore argued that the Alabama team that lost 34-24 to Texas is not the same team that finished the season.

“That Week 2 Alabama team, with Jalen Milore, who, listen, was benched the next week — and now you look at the quarterback and you look at the team against Georgia and came up huge,” Tessitore said. “A Texas team that was shining bright. And now this Florida State team that found a way with defense, with all the sacks, with all the TFLs, and their fifth ACC Championship.”

Tessitore and Palmer were both seemingly impressed by the resilience of Florida State, which has overcome significant challenges to reach its goals. However, will that resilience be enough to secure a spot in the playoffs? Only time will tell.

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.