Things got interesting in the ACC last weekend as the Florida State quarterback suffered a season-ending leg injury. The injury is absolutely gut-wrenching for Jordan Travis and Florida State especially with that being his final college football play. The injury however makes for an interesting discussion for the playoff committee.
A similar situation happened with Ohio State when they lost Braxton Miller and JT Barrett in the same season. Cardale Jones came in for the Big Ten championship game and helped dominate Wisconsin helping the Buckeyes jump into the playoff and eventually win a national title. We’ve seen it go the other way in basketball with Cincinnati losing Kenyon Martin to a broken leg in 2000 and the committee punishing a team that would’ve been a top seed by seeding them as a lower two seed because Martin was injured.
When the teams face off on Saturday, they will both be without their starting quarterbacks as Florida’s Graham Mertz suffered a collarbone injury that will cost him the rest of his season. The fate of Florida State’s season will land on Tate Rodemaker’s shoulders. The Redshirt Junior was impressive in replacing Travis passing 13-23 for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns.
While the Gators aren’t world beaters, they are a step up in talent for an injured Florida State team compared to North Alabama. The Gators are looking for a win to finish the season at .500 and earn a bowl game. Billy Napier may start worrying about his job should the team finish 5-7. The Gators will likely lean on running backs Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne who each have 710 yards rushing and combine for 12 touchdowns. When Quarterback Max Brown is forced to throw, he’ll have a solid option in wide receiver Ricky Pearsall who’s 948 yards lead the team.
The key for Florida will be limiting mistakes, the Seminoles will be in their first test without Jordan Travis and will have all the pressure of winning big to prevent their team from falling out of the playoffs. I’d expect the Gators to run the ball early and often as their two-headed monster can provide plenty of problems for the Florida State defense.
A Florida State loss would be devastating for the Seminoles given the circumstances. If the Seminoles do run the table it’ll be interesting to see what statement the committee decides to take. For Alabama Football, the need is for the Seminoles to find a loss against Florida or Louisville in order for the Tide to jump its way into the top four.