Forget throwing out the records.

Throw out the rules.

Rules, like contracts, were made to be broken. Especially silly, unwritten rules — such as every undefeated Power 5 team must make the College Football Playoff!

Keep that in mind as we celebrate, err, count down to today’s final reveal of the 4-team Playoff. (Farewell, good riddance, and if you still want to hold an emergency meeting and expand to 12 teams today, I’m here for it. Spoiler alert: FSU and Georgia fans won’t object, I promise. Alabama fans? Y’all don’t need to wait ’til next year. This is your year. Roll Tide.)

Obviously all things Playoff are among the 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after a wild Championship Week in and around the SEC.

10. FSU is the exception to the rule … and yes, it’s fair

If the only — heck, even the biggest — reason you believe FSU deserves to be in the College Football Playoff is because every other undefeated Power 5 conference champion made it, this is going to shock you, but: There’s an exception to every rule. Especially dumb, unwritten rules.

FSU is the exception to this particular dumb, unwritten rule because this is nowhere near the same team without its star quarterback and one-time Heisman hopeful Jordan Travis.

Saturday night was just a painful, brutally honest reminder that we’re not talking about replacing an offensive lineman, stud edge rusher or even a bell-cow running back.

We’re talking about the quarterback, the most important position on the field, now more than ever. And we’re talking specifically about FSU’s quarterback, who was their best and most dynamic offensive weapon.

Nothing against Tate Rodemaker and/or Brock Glenn, but they’re obviously not Jordan Travis.

Let’s honor FSU for finding a way to win an ACC title. This Playoff nonsense will all be sorted out at noon today and, thankfully, we’ll never, ever have to debate whether a conference championship is Playoff-worthy again.

This year? The committee will do what the committee wants, but there’s just no way to justify this Noles team as Playoff-worthy other than falling back on a lazy, unwritten rule.

FSU, with Jordan Travis? An absolute Playoff lock and threat to win it all.

FSU, with anybody else? Not even 1 of the 8 best teams in the country … and a damn-near lock to get blown out in the Playoff semifinal.

Sorry, Noles. You had a great season. Hang the banner. You’re above doing this, but if you want to claim a natty like UCF, I’m not going to stop you. (Frankly, UCF in 2017 had a better Playoff case.)

But give me Texas.

9. However, the thought of rewarding Jim Harbaugh is … priceless

Can you imagine if the Playoff committee somehow defied all logic, leaned all-in on the “all undefeated Power 5 teams are created equal” narrative and rewarded FSU with the No. 4 seed?

It’s not going to happen, but if it did, that would mean the Playoff committee just rewarded the NCAA’s Most Wanted Man, Jim Harbaugh, with a gift/relative bye with a Playoff semifinal date with FSU playing with a backup QB.


What I wouldn’t give to be in the NCAA headquarters when that pairing was announced.

On second thought, giving the NCAA what it deserves might be worth hosing Texas for the No. 4 seed.

8. Will Playoff history be made today? Yes. Lots of it

First, the facts:

1: No team that entered the final weekend ranked No. 1 has fallen out of the final Playoff ranking. (Only 2 No. 1 teams — Ohio State in 2019 and Georgia in 2021 — even dropped at all. Georgia in 2021 is the only No. 1 team that lost its conference title game. Those Dawgs fell to No. 3.)

2: No team ranked worse than No. 6 going into Championship Week has climbed into the Playoff field. And the highest any Playoff team has moved in the final ranking was 3 spots — No. 6 Georgia moved up to No. 3 in 2017.

3: Every undefeated Power 5 conference champion has made the Playoff.

Now, the reality:

I think we see all kinds of Playoff history today.

1: Georgia becomes the first No. 1 seed entering Championship Week to fall out of the Playoff field.

2: Alabama makes the biggest final week jump ever, moving from No. 8 to No. 4.

3: And FSU becomes the first unbeaten Power 5 team to be left out.

What a historic way for this thing to end.

7. So, you’re saying injuries impact football games? What a concept

Two years ago, when Georgia started this remarkable run, the Dawgs took advantage of the fact that Alabama lost Jameson Williams in the national title game — after losing John Metchie earlier.

Without their top 2 weapons, the Tide fell flat in the 2nd half and Georgia rallied to win the national championship. Georgia fans didn’t want to hear it.

Fast forward to Saturday, where the Dawgs might as well have been without their top 2 weapons. Brock Bowers and Ladd McConkey played — but only because a Playoff berth was at stake. Both were obviously limited. Now the Dawgs want to make excuses?

Injuries matter.

They mattered to Alabama in 2021.

And they matter to Georgia — and even more so to FSU — in 2023.

6. Remember, Georgia, you did this to yourself …

At the risk of repeating myself, you could see this coming in August.

I’ve written it several times, but it’s worth one, final reminder: Georgia’s strength of schedule was by far the worst of the contenders. Its best win was against Missouri.

It chose not to replace the Oklahoma game when it had the time and resources to do so. They created this “13-0 or bust” predicament they’re in.

Does it suck that the Dawgs, who are fully capable of beating anybody in the country and winning a historic 3rd consecutive national title, probably won’t get a shot to make history? Yes, it does.

But they, alone, chose this route.

They had to be perfect — or rely on others teams faltering. Other teams didn’t.

5. 5 worst decisions in Playoff history

Let’s hope we don’t need to expand this list by 1 or 2 after today …

1. Snubbing 2014 TCU: The Horned Frogs lost 1 game — by 3, in a wild 61-58 shootout at No. 5 Baylor. The Horned Frogs also beat No. 4 Oklahoma by 4, No. 15 Oklahoma State by 33, No. 20 West Virginia by 1 and No. 7 Kansas State by 21. They were ranked No. 3 going into the final day — and dropped 3 spots to No. 6 after blowing out Iowa State 55-3. The fact that Ohio State moved up 1 spot to No. 4 and won the national championship didn’t prove the committee got it right; it immediately proved the lunacy of only having a 4-team format.

2. Including 2014 Florida State: The Noles lived off their 2013 BCS championship glory. True, they finished 13-0 with an ACC title in 2014, but if you watched them like I did, you saw the flaws. They won 4 games by 1 score. They lost* to Notre Dame — except a horrible offensive pass interference call wiped out what would have been a game-winning Notre Dame touchdown in the final seconds. A year after FSU QB Jameis Winston won natty and the Heisman, he turned into a turnover machine. Worse, seemingly every week, he made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Playoff committee ignored the warts and warning signs and rewarded the Noles with the No. 3 seed. Oregon promptly destroyed them 59-20 in the semifinal — the most lopsided semifinal margin and 2nd-biggest blowout in Playoff history.

3. Including 2016 Ohio State: Ohio State entered Championship Week ranked No. 2 on the strength of an 11-1 season that included a pair of OT wins against the 2 best teams it faced. Their lone blemish? A 24-21 loss at Penn State that knocked them out of the B1G championship. That game became the exception to the rule that head-to-head games matter. Penn State went on to win the Big Ten championship but did not make the Playoff field. The Buckeyes were promptly blown out 31-0 by Clemson in the semifinal.

4. Including 2015 Michigan State: Again, if you watched the Spartans, it was obvious that they weren’t 1 of the 4 best teams in America — no matter what their 12-1 record said. Sure, they were 4-0 against ranked teams, but they won by 3, 4, 3 and 3 points. They averaged just 29.8 points per game — 60th in the country that season. They had zero chance to exchange blows with a good offense — or impose their will against a good defense. Alabama’s subsequent 38-0 blowout in the Cotton Bowl was the most routine and predictable outcome in semifinal history.

5. Including 2020 Notre Dame: The Irish lived off their double-OT upset of No. 1-ranked Clemson — even though Trevor Lawrence didn’t even play in that game. They rode into the ACC Championship Game at 10-0. And then Lawrence and the Tigers exposed them in an emphatic 34-10 beatdown. No matter, the committee still rewarded the Irish with a Playoff date with Alabama. The Tide cruised to a 17-point win. The reality is the committee chose the Irish over 8-1 Texas A&M for the No. 4 spot, in large part because Alabama blew out the Aggies by 28 in Week 2 — and they wanted to avoid a repeat scenario.

4. The 4 Playoff teams are …

The Playoff field will be revealed (at some point) during today’s Selection Show, which starts at noon, ET, but there’s no need to wait for the announcement.

These are the 4 best teams in the country and this is how the committee will line it up:

1. Michigan, 2. Washington, 3. Texas, 4. Alabama.

Honestly, I don’t even see the need to debate it. Four Power 5 conference champions, all healthy, all with statement performances on Championship Weekend. Isn’t that what we want?

At any rate, guess what that lineup also sets up?

Texas vs. Alabama, The Rematch, in the national title game.

And we know how Nick Saban is in rematches.

Roll Tide.

Honestly, I’m not sure how the Tide pulled this off. From benching a potential Heisman Trophy finalist (Jalen Milroe) for absolutely no good reason to running the table, ending a rival’s dynasty bid and earning a spot in the Playoff … what a remarkable and unlikely journey.

The funny thing is, after writing in Weeks 5-13, often emphatically, that Alabama was going to beat Georgia in the SEC title game, last week I hedged and said for the first time all season I thought Georgia would win.

3. If the Heisman was Bo Nix’s to win … he lost

Stats are stats, and there’s no denying Jayden Daniels had one of the greatest seasons by a quarterback in college football history.

His team also lost 3 games — and he wasn’t able to do enough late in the game in any of them. Bo Nix’s numbers were close enough to Daniels’ that he had a chance to win the Heisman if he had a big game and won the Pac-12 Championship.

Nix played well, not great, and Oregon lost another 3-point game to Washington on Friday night.

Nix had his chance, but he didn’t do enough.

Daniels deserves the Heisman Trophy — and I don’t want to rain on The Kid’s year, but I do want to provide a little bit of context as to why this was an open debate until clock struck zero on Nix’s bid.

Numbers sometimes lie. Remember, Joe Burrow’s numbers were historic in 2019, but the separator was the fact that seemingly every time LSU fell behind, Burrow made plays to win the game. Every game.

Daniels did a lot, but he didn’t do that.

Against FSU, for instance: In the second half, after FSU tied the score at 17, LSU’s next 4 possessions went: punt, interception, punt, turnover on downs. Daniels went 10-for-14 for just 84 yards. FSU, meanwhile, answered every LSU drive by scoring a TD, turning a 17-17 game into a 45-17 route. In the final minute, Daniels threw a 75-yard TD pass to make the final numbers look much, much better than in real time. Without that pass, Daniels was a pedestrian 21-of-36 for 269 yards, 0 TD passes and 1 INT. But you had to have watched the game to grasp the context. Voters don’t watch games. They watch highlights and scan box scores.

Against Ole Miss, in a game neither side could stop the other, Daniels was stopped 3 times on LSU’s final 4 possessions. Ole Miss scored TDs on 3 of its final 4 drives to steal the win.

Against Alabama, LSU was outscored 21-7 in the 2nd half. Daniels struggled, relatively speaking, before being knocked out of the game.

Again, I’m not taking anything away from Daniels, who if he plays in the bowl game will become just the 3rd QB in college football history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.

But let’s not pretend like the Heisman was a done deal.

Bo Nix absolutely had a chance to win it. Until Washington denied him. Again.

2. How can anybody think this is not better?

Imagine a world in which conference championship games actually meant more than Week 2 regular-season games.

I know, it’s such a mind-boggling concept.

After 13 weeks and 5 conference championships, we’re still debating about who the best 4 teams are. (Well, some of you are.)

Thank goodness, this is the last time. Next year, college football joins to real world and will crown its first, honest to goodness, legitimate national champion.

Until then, enjoy the final rankings release. Set good examples for the children.

Don’t break your TV. Or walk off the set.

And, again, decision-makers, it’s never too late to huddle up and expand now.

1. How can anybody think the “Big Ten on CBS” will be better?

Play the music, one more time, a final toast to the only perfect partnership in college sports.