The Hodgepodge: Florida State Screwed out of a College Football Playoff Spot, Kyle McCord's Decision to Transfer Adds More Intrigue to Ohio State's Cotton Bowl Matchup with Mizzou

By Garrick Hodge on December 4, 2023 at 1:05 pm
Mike Norvell
Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sunday, the College Football Playoff committee did something I did not think was remotely possible.

They made Florida State a truly sympathetic figure. The same Seminoles that spent the entire offseason telling anyone who would listen they need to bolt the ACC as soon as possible, only not to do so, became the team that was arguably screwed the hardest out of a playoff spot in the entire 10-year history of the four-team College Football Playoff. 

FSU became the first undefeated Power 5 team to miss the CFP, with one-loss Texas and Alabama both getting in over FSU. 

The committee’s rationale was they’d rather die than leave out the mighty SEC, even if it could be warranted. Err, sorry, *ahem,* the rationale was Florida State wouldn’t be competitive in the playoffs following the season-ending injury of quarterback Jordan Travis. And in fairness, it was pretty brutal watching former Ohio State commit Brock Glenn making his first-ever collegiate start in a high-stakes matchup against Louisville in the ACC Championship. 

But if Alabama beat Georgia with a backup quarterback, would it have been left out? You’re telling me a 13-0 Ohio State team would be left out in an alternate reality where it beats Iowa 16-6 with Lincoln Kienholz? Should the NFL have disqualified the Philadelphia Eagles from the playoffs in 2017 when Carson Wentz got hurt? How about Ohio State in 2014 when Cardale Jones took over? 

You get the point. The committee’s decision left FSU so heartbroken Travis himself tweeted out a statement wishing he would have broken his leg EARLIER so the country could have seen Florida State as more than just a quarterback-led team. 

It would be one thing if Alabama was a group of world-beaters that had one loss on a last-second touchdown. But let’s not forget the Crimson Tide: 

  • Lost to Texas by 10 points at home. 
  • Struggled to beat a 6-6 USF team.
  • Beat another underachieving Texas A&M team by six. 
  • Beat a four-win Arkansas squad by three. 
  • They only beat 6-6 Auburn because a prayer was answered on 4th-and-31. 

While it’s probably true that Alabama will give Michigan a better game than FSU would down its starting quarterback, the committee certainly picked an interesting time to suddenly say it wanted “the best teams in” rather than the best resumes. You’re telling me they didn’t think last year’s Crimson Tide squad was better than TCU? Might as well let Vegas determine the CFP field in that case. 

The moral of the story: The committee’s logic will never be consistent, and it will justify its selections however it damn well pleases. This would be worth 1,500 more words if the four-team playoff was continuing next season, but fortunately, the solution to this problem is already here with next year’s 12-team playoff. If you win your conference, you’re in. Simple as that. 

Admittedly, when the whole realignment wave took over college football in the summer, I was on the fence about whether I liked college football’s new world order or not. But after this year, I’m entirely on board. I’d rather expand the field than have Florida State not be able to compete for a championship when it is undefeated, Georgia not get a chance to defend its title after losing one game by three points in a conference championship and Ohio State not even being in the playoff conversation after losing to the No. 1 ranked team on the road by six points.  

Traditionalists will hate it, but we might as well embrace it. 

Kyle McCord transfers, Ohio State draws Missouri in Cotton Bowl matchup

Sunday’s press conference with Ryan Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center just seemed like it had the vibe of a wake. 

With no College Football Playoff contest on the horizon, Day spent a good chunk of his 30-minute-plus press conference hinting plenty of roster attrition was inevitable. He also refused to commit to Kyle McCord starting in the Cotton Bowl, let alone the season opener in 2024. Not even 24 hours later, McCord entered the transfer portal after one season as Ohio State’s starting quarterback. As of this writing, 12 Buckeyes have opted to transfer, more than the amount of OSU players that departed last season (nine) from the fall and spring windows combined. And we’re just on the first day the portal has officially opened! 

It’s clear Day believes Ohio State can – and must – have better production out of his quarterback moving forward. It’s all but certain the Buckeyes take a good look at the transfer portal market, with some intriguing options already available. 

In the interim, it makes a Cotton Bowl matchup with Missouri far more interesting than it was when the matchup was initially announced. While Ohio State will be evaluating its options in the transfer portal for next season, it’ll also use the bowl practices and the bowl game itself to evaluate its in-house options for the 2024 season. It wouldn’t be surprising for both Devin Brown and Lincoln Kienholz to get reps against the Tigers, something that Day didn’t rule out Sunday. 

On a personal note, while a majority of Ohio State fans aren’t necessarily thrilled about a matchup with the Tigers, yours truly is going to be the butt of many jokes in Eleven Warriors’ Slack now. 

I spent a year covering Mizzou as a columnist in Drew Lock’s final season at Mizzou, and that somehow led to the Missouri Alumni Association consistently texting me for years asking for donations to the journalism program. No, seriously, Mizzou truly thinks I’m an alumnus for some reason, and I never once set foot in a classroom on campus (proud Western Illinois Leatherneck over here), and I have the receipts to prove it. 

Every time I get a text from the alumni association, I put it in our Slack channel, which has led to Mizzou being infamously dubbed as my “alma mater.” As you could guess, the jokes were off the charts on Sunday.

Only a month of this to go.

If next year’s format was a year early

It’s pretty amazing how different the vibe would be in Columbus if this were one season from now. 

Instead of talking about a slew of transfers, Ohio State would be preparing to host a home playoff game. If OSU won two games, we’re likely not talking about McCord transferring until the spring window, or even at all. I think we’re just fully underestimating how much the landscape and how we view teams is going to change once the field expands to 12.

We’ve gone over what a welcome change the expanded playoff could be ad nauseam, but think of how fun this slate of games would be in two and a half weeks based on today’s CFP rankings.

  • No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 9 Missouri, with the winner playing No. 1 Michigan
  • No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Ole Miss, with the winner playing No. 2 Washington
  • No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 11 Penn State, with the winner playing No. 3 Texas
  • No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 12 Liberty, with the winner playing No. 4 Alabama

Eleven games in the postseason with high stakes and (presumably) no opt-outs? I’m in.

What was fun and what was wacky about Championship Week

Championship Week had a lot of things that were fun

  • Texas runs a goal line play designed for defensive tackle T'Vondre Sweat to catch a touchdown, complete with Sweat striking a Heisman pose after the catch. Damn it, the Longhorns are fun.
  • Yeah, alright, Texas is really fun.
  • Sweat did grace us with a big man touchdown this weekend, but we very nearly had two in one weekend. It will haunt my dreams forever this didn’t end up counting. 


  • Oh, hell yeah, we’ve got Boise State scoring on a flea flicker in the Mountain West Championship.
  • Michael Penix is so fun to watch. Dude just chucks bombs every other play. I’m rooting for good things for Washington.
  • Every youth, high school and college coach is going to show their players this clip enough to the point where they’re sick of it, but Iowa’s Koen Entringer showcased the definition of never quitting on a play. 
  • Liberty’s Kaidon Salter made the most impressive play of the day in the Conference USA title game, improvising on a broken play and eventually running 30-plus yards for a game-sealing touchdown.
  • This had nothing to do with anything that happened on the field this weekend, but I love new Indiana coach Curt Cignetti unapologetically hyping up his fanbase with words that will inevitably be used against him in a year. College football is supposed to be fun first and foremost, and he’s leaning into it.
  • Another edition of JUST HOW THEY DREW IT UP. 
  • Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe is going to give Michigan problems.

Championship Week had a lot of whacky things too

  • Between Mike Norvell and Kirby Smart, you tell me who looks more depressed they have to be participating in the Orange Bowl coach's press conference via Zoom.
  • Listen, as bad as Ohio State’s special teams were this offseason, at least it never did anything as horrendous as this.
  • I’ll give Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz this. He knows his audience. 
  • X-Golf in Cedar Rapids, Iowa had a promotion on Saturday night where they’d serve free draft beer until Iowa scores in the Big Ten Championship Game, provided you booked one of their bays. Their customers must have been falling down drunk by 10 p.m.
  • This hurdle could have gone better for Louisville running back Jawhar Jordan.
  • Whatever they’re paying Troy head coach Jon Sumrall’s “get back” guy, it’s not enough.
  • College kickers strike again.
  • Pretty rough day on special teams for Toledo.
  • Sooner or later, the turf monster comes for us all.

Nepotism tracker 

How did our pal Brian Ferentz spend his final Big Ten game ever on Saturday? 

By getting shutout for the second time this year but following up by going freakin’ nuts after this was called a fumble and getting a penalty while he's at it.

We’ve only got one game left with our content god before he moves on to his next phase in life as an offensive line coach at a school to be named later, so let’s appreciate him while we’ve got him.

Last game: Michigan 26, Iowa 0. 

Points tallied this season: 216.

If the season ended today: Iowa finished averaging 16.6 points per game. The only teams that averaged fewer points per game nationally were Akron, Michigan State and Kent State. But all the Hawkeyes need to do to meet Brian’s contractual goal of averaging 25 points per game is score 134 points in its bowl game. Oh well. Maybe if they drew USC.

Up next: Iowa faces Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1. 

Hodgepodge team classifiers after Championship Week

CFP bound: Michigan, Washington, Texas

Why are they CFP bound?: Alabama

Rightfully pissed: Florida State

Finally lost a game: Georgia 

Who's playing QB in the bowl game?: Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon State

Who's playing WR in the bowl game?: Notre Dame

Other New Year’s Six Bowl teams: Mizzou, Ole Miss, Liberty, Penn State, Oregon

B1G West Champions but shut out twice: Iowa

We really have to see these teams play one more time: USC, Clemson

How did Jerry Kill win 10 games?: New Mexico State

You’ll see these teams in bowl games in the next few weeks: Oklahoma State, Utah, Boston College, Rutgers, Tennessee, North Carolina, Miami, Kansas State, Kansas, UCLA, SMU, Memphis, Fresno State, UNLV, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Troy, Duke, Arizona, Air Force, North Carolina, LSU, Wyoming, Kentucky, UTSA, Coastal Carolina, Texas State, West Virginia, North Carolina State, Bowling Green, Maryland, Iowa State, South Alabama, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Auburn, San Jose State, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, Utah State, Northern Illinois, UCF, Cal, Rice, Old Dominion, Syracuse, Louisiana, Marshall, Virginia Tech, South Florida

The lame 5-7 APR pity bowl bid team: Minnesota

Fired coaches club: Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Syracuse, Michigan State, Boise State, Indiana, Houston, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico, UTEP, Middle Tennessee

Retired coaches club: San Diego State

Our beloved G5 heroes that got justice served and will be going bowling after all: James Madison, Jacksonville State

Keeping their coach, and I’m not really sure why: Arkansas, Baylor, Florida

Not great, Bob: Virginia, Purdue, Arizona State, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt

September champions, October and November busts: Colorado

A quick programming note

I wanted to give a quick thanks to all of you guys who followed along throughout the first year of this weekly Monday column throughout the season. I can tell you all that the support certainly meant a lot. Some have asked, and yes, I plan on bringing this column back next season, with a few tweaks here and there, I’m sure. 

In the meantime, within the next couple of weeks, I hope to write a few different columns, ranging from ranking the best bowl matchups from worst to best, grading the offseason coaching hires, and maybe one last Hodgepodge in this format once a national champion is crowned and we take a look back at main storylines from the 2023 season but mainly make a big compilation of the most fun/whacky things from the year. 

And, of course, the transfer portal just opened and National Signing Day is 16 days away, so we’ll have no shortage of content on 11W between now and Ohio State's matchup with Mizzou in the Cotton Bowl.

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