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Kirby Smart deplores FSU withdrawals after Orange Bowl rout in Georgia

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The two highest-ranked teams outside of the College Football Playoff faced off in the Capital One Orange Bowl, but only sixth-ranked Georgia came close Saturday – leading to some frustration from Bulldogs head coach Kirby. Clever.

Georgia demolished No. 5 Florida State 63-3 in what was the largest margin of victory in bowl history, surpassing the Dawgs’ 58-point victory over TCU in the national championship game of last season. But the lopsided score was due, at least in part, to a slew of opt-outs and injuries for the Seminoles.

“People need to see what happened tonight, and they need to fix this,” Smart said, lamenting the flood of unsubscribes and portal entries from teams participating in non-playoff bowl games playoffs. “This needs to be fixed. It’s very unfortunate that they have a good football team and a good football program, and they’re in the position they’re in.”

The Seminoles played without their top two quarterbacks, their top two running backs, their top two receivers, their starting tight end, three starting defensive linemen, two of three starting linebackers and three starting defensive backs. They lost 29 scholarship holders in total.

FSU head coach Mike Norvell strongly implied the College Football Playoff committee’s decision to leave a 13-0 Seminoles team out of the playoffs in favor of two one-loss teams – Texas and Alabama – motivated a significant number of his team’s picks. exits.

Florida State beat the Louisville Cardinals 16-6 in the ACC Championship Game with third-string quarterback Brock Glenn leading a lackluster offense, and the committee used that performance – and the injury to star quarterback Jordan Travis that preceded it — as justification for keeping an undefeated Power 5 team out of the playoffs.

“Every situation is different,” Norvell said. “Ours was unique, something that has never happened in college football. Ultimately, I think there are a lot of things that made this extremely difficult. I firmly believe that if we had failed in the championship game (ACC), it would have been it could have been a little different.

“It was a tough choice for a lot of young men that were on our team. We were hurt. … When you do the things that our guys did all year long and the way they did reacted, the way they fought, the way they pulled themselves together, it hurt when we weren’t selected.

Florida State defensive tackle Braden Fiske, who missed the game with a foot injury and said he tried to rehab throughout December, said the Seminoles were invested in the Orange Bowl and didn’t expect to be eliminated. But it was impossible to ignore the amount of production missing from a team that went 13-0 in the regular season.

For his part, Smart said the impact of the opt-outs was notable, and even with an expanded playoffs next year, non-playoff bowls risk becoming glorified scrimmages.

“You can say it’s their fault and they need to solve their own problem,” Smart said. “We had our guys, and they didn’t have their guys. College football has to decide what it wants. I know things change. But there will always be bowl games outside of those. people have to decide what they want and what they want to get out of it, because it’s really unfortunate for these kids on the sidelines who had to play in this game and didn’t have their full arsenal. affected the game 100%.

Smart praised his own team’s buy-in, which included the decision of a number of key seniors to play. Georgia had no official waivers, although several stars, including tight end Brock Bowers, missed the game due to injury.

“The game just mattered because if you’re a competitor, then every game matters – every opportunity you get to go out there and play with people you love,” Georgia defensive back Kamari Lassiter said.

Norvell took responsibility for not fully preparing his team to face Georgia, but he also acknowledged that with so many inexperienced players on the field, FSU suffered from numerous communication problems and had serious problems with fundamentals and of technique.

There’s some debate about how different things would have been for the Seminoles with Fiske, Jared Verse, Keon Coleman, Trey Benson and others, but Norvell said he didn’t want the final score of the Orange Bowl is what defines this FSU team. .

“At the end of the day, this team did everything I asked them to do, and they are champions forever,” Norvell said. “We’ve gone 13 weeks through this season, and it’s a physical task, especially with what we’ve faced and winning every one of them and getting up, guys who have been playing injured, guys who faced all the different adversities that could be thrown at them. .

“When you get over that and you still have a little bit – still the disappointment of not being able to compete for all of that, I think that definitely affected some of our situation.”

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