It’s been a divisive question since the inception of the College Football Playoff or, more specifically, the selection committee: Should the four best or most deserving teams make the CFP? Based on what executive director Bill Hancock said to reporters on Tuesday, the answer is emphatic: The best.
Hancock actually went so far as to dismiss the notion that the “most deserving” is a concept the committee even considers. His answer was as brief as it was certain.
“I appreciate your asking that question. It is best. Most deserving is not anything in the committee’s lexicon. They are to rank the best teams in order, and that’s what they do. Just keep that word in mind: best teams,” Hancock said.
While there might not be a “most deserving” directive there are criteria the committee considers that certain skew toward the realm of “deserving,” such as placing a high value on going undefeated and winning conference championships.
However, if the ultimate goal is the four best teams, that could spell trouble for Florida State. The Seminoles are finishing the season without star quarterback Jordan Travis and looked markedly less potent offensively in one game without him.
“It’s pretty obvious, with Jordan Travis not playing and Tate Rodemaker playing, they’re a different team, just as anyone would be if they lost their quarterback in that situation. But they were able to get a win down in Gainesville. They were able to put up 24 points. Defense let up 13. There was a safety. We’re just evaluating it at this point where they are with the body of work throughout the season, while a topic of discussion, as it should be, as injuries should be at this point, and player availability, if you will, it’s a big part of the conversation,” selection committee chair Boo Corrigan said.
Even still, Florida State stayed undefeated and can win the ACC this weekend — certainly the definition of a team that is deserving, and hitting a few key criteria. But the case could be made that a one-loss Alabama, Texas, Oregon, Ohio State or Georgia are currently better teams. And Corrigan’s assessment likely applies more to seeding and placing a one loss team at No. 3 in an eventual CFP ahead of undefeated Florida State at No. 4.
But if Hancock’s statement about it truly being the best holds up, the Seminoles could be in trouble come Sunday.