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The Pac-12 Should have a Team in the College Football Playoff Before the ACC

The title says it all. The Pac-12 should have a team in the College Football Playoff, and its top team, Washington, should be ranked ahead of Florida State.

As of Week 12, the Pac-12 (five) has the second-most teams ranked in the AP Top 25 out of any conference, only ranking behind the SEC, which has six. Out of the other Power Five conferences, the Big XII has four ranked teams, while the ACC and Big Ten both have only three ranked teams (though a fourth Big Ten team, Iowa, is the first team on the outside of the top 25 in terms of votes).

The last two seasons, the ACC has been by far the weakest of the Power Five conferences, and yet, somehow, Florida State is ranked fourth in the country (albeit with an undefeated record) ahead of teams like Washington, Oregon, Texas, and Alabama, who seem like equally good if not objectively better teams. Florida State has only played two ranked teams this season (LSU and Duke), and, even then, LSU is not as good of a team as people expected them to be. Duke also lost their starting quarterback, Riley Leonard, during the game against Florida State and has not been nearly as good ever since. The only chance Florida State has to play a ranked team would be in the ACC Championship Game, presumably against Louisville, who is currently ranked ninth in the country.

Meanwhile, Washington has played (and beaten) three ranked teams, and beat a fourth (Arizona) who wasn't ranked at the time but now are recognized as a much better team than they were at the start of the season. Washington is playing closer games than Florida State, but they are playing objectively better teams than Florida State is; the Huskies haven't won any of their last six games by more than ten points, but their ten point win was on the road against USC, who was ranked 20th at the time.

Florida State, meanwhile, hasn't played any good teams outside of LSU and Duke, and, while they did beat the two of them handily, in recent weeks, they have been playing close games against inferior competition to Washington. Since the win against Duke, the best team the Seminoles have played is Miami, who aren't exactly a bad team, but Florida State arguably should have lost against Miami. The game was far closer than a team as good as Florida State is should be having against a team like Miami.

Journalists are continuing to say that Washington is not deserving of a playoff spot at the moment, and are using their continuous close games and the idea of playing down to competition to support the idea that they are the worst of the five remaining undefeated teams among Power Five conferences (Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State, and Washington), while completely ignoring the fact that Florida State is doing the same exact thing against inferior competition to Washington's.

If Florida State goes undefeated in their final two games (against North Alabama and Florida, both are games the Seminoles should win) and goes on to win the ACC Championship, they will most certainly make the College Football Playoff, and they will promptly get slaughtered by whatever team they face. Any of the four teams behind them in the AP Poll and CFP Poll (those being Washington, Oregon, Texas, and Alabama) would be able to put up a better fight against any other team in the playoff than Florida State will be able to.

This isn't to say that Florida State is a bad team, because they are not. They are just not one of the top five teams in college football, and they don't deserve to keep being treated as one, especially to the detriment of the overall college football landscape. If only the College Football Playoff was expanding to 12 teams this year.


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