Story Poster
Photo by Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M Football

Around CFB: Does Travis' injury have the one-loss buzzards circling?

November 21, 2023

The gruesome injury that has ended the season of Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis has brought out college football’s one-loss buzzards.

Louisville, Texas, Oregon and Alabama watch from their perch, waiting for what they hope is an inevitable Seminoles loss. Then, they can swoop in and fight over Florida State’s place in the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State, Michigan, Washington and even Georgia could ultimately join the frenzy.

That’s how it is in college football.

Heading into the last week of the regular season, eight teams — including Florida State — still have hopes of reaching the four-team playoff.

Until last week it seemed the playoff foursome was obvious.

Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Washington and Florida State are all unbeaten.

But Michigan and Ohio State play this weekend, so the loser would be eliminated.

But then Travis appeared to suffer a broken leg in a victory over Northern Alabama. Suddenly, the outlook for one or more one-loss teams doesn’t seem unlikely.

Of course, if Florida State can beat Florida in the regular season and Louisville in the ACC Championship Game, all this is moot. The buzzards will scatter and/or hope for monumental upsets involving other unbeaten teams.

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch
Saturday will be the third consecutive meeting between Michigan and Ohio State as top-five teams. The Wolverines have won the last two.

Anything’s possible. But it’s highly unlikely Iowa will beat either Michigan or Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

As unbeaten teams, Georgia and Washington control their own playoff destiny. Just keep winning. Georgia has in its last 28 consecutive games.

So, here’s a look at the one-loss buzzards and what they need to get into the playoff.

Ohio State-Michigan loser: Provided that game is reasonably close, the loser may be get in the playoff anyway. Ohio State did last year. The Buckeyes already have impressive victories over Notre Dame and Penn State. Michigan might have to hold its breath if it loses. The Wolverines have one impressive win. Also, the committee may be less forgiving of the Wolverines because of the sign-stealing scandal.

Louisville: The Cardinals must defeat state-rival Kentucky and Florida State in the ACC title game. Even if that happens, they could be dismissed because a victory over Travis-less Florida State might not carry as much weight. That’s too bad. Louisville has beaten Notre Dame and Duke. That’s probably not enough to offset a heinous 38-21 loss to Pitt (3-8).

Texas: The Longhorns have been living dangerously. They’ve eked out close wins over Houston, Kansas State and TCU. They cling to a 34-24 victory over Alabama in Week Two. They must beat Texas Tech, win the Big 12 championship and hope Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC title game.

Alabama: The Crimson Tide faces a daunting challenge. A second loss would eliminate Alabama. That means the Tide has to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Then, the Tide must hope the committee will forgive the early loss to Texas (or hope the Horns stumble). Oh yeah, Alabama also has to win the Iron Bowl. But Auburn lost to New Mexico State, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Oregon: The Ducks must beat Oregon State on Saturday. That won’t be easy. Then, they must beat Washington in the Pac-12 Championship game. A one-loss Oregon will be tough to ignore. They would have a good win over Oregon State and would have avenged their only loss (36-33 to Washington).

Who’d get in?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Bo Nix and the Ducks appear to be soaring toward a rematch with Washington in Las Vegas next week.

Well … Oregon is the highest-rated among the current one-loss teams. It’s hard to think the Ducks would fall after posting two big wins.

But what could impress the committee more than Alabama ending Georgia’s winning streak?

But if the records are the same, how does the committee justify taking Alabama over Texas?

And would a one-loss Ohio State or Michigan really be excluded?

The committee probably hopes Florida State still finishes unbeaten and the buzzards just fly away.

Heisman Watch (If my ballot was due today)

1. Jayden Daniels, LSU, QB: It’s becoming clearer and clearer no player is more outstanding. Daniels continues to lead the nation in total offense with 4,591 yards — that’s almost 900 more than anyone else. He has passed for 3,577 and a nation-leading 36 touchdowns. He has rushed for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last week, Daniels passed for 413 yards and six touchdowns in a 56-14 victory over Georgia State. He also rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

2. Bo Nix, Oregon, QB: The former Auburn quarterback is third in the nation in passing and fourth in total offense. He has thrown for 3,539 yards and 35 touchdowns. He has rushed for 128 yards and five scores. Last week, Nix passed for 404 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-13 victory over Arizona State.

3. Michael Penix Jr., Washington, QB: Though the Huskies remain unbeaten, Penix’s production has lagged of late. In three of the last five games, Penix has passed for fewer than 300 yards. Last week, he passed for only 162 yards and two touchdowns in a 22-20 win over Oregon State. He still leads the nation in passing with 3,695 yards. He has thrown for 30 touchdowns.

4. Malik Nabers, LSU, QB: The nation’s leading receiver has been on a torrid pace of late. He has had at least 121 receiving yards in each of the last four games. He has also caught five touchdown passes in that span. Nabers has exceeded 100 receiving yards in eight games. Overall, he’s averaging almost 18 yards on catch on 80 receptions for 1,424 yards. He has caught 12 touchdown passes.

5. Jordan Travis, Florida, QB: Travis’ long-shot hopes came to a tragic halt with a heinous season-ending injury in last week’s 58-13 victory over Northern Alabama. He sustained a severe leg injury early in that game. That doesn’t take away all he accomplished in leading the Seminoles to an unbeaten record. Travis passed for 2,756 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also rushed for 176 yards and seven touchdowns.

Predicted Playoff Participants

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
After thumping Tennessee 38-10, Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs have now won 28 straight.

1. Georgia: About a month ago, doubters started to surface. Then the Bulldogs posted three consecutive victories over ranked opponents — all by two scores. There are few, if any, doubters now.

2. Ohio State: The Buckeyes have outscored their last three opponents 110-22. Also, now-healthy TreVeyon Henderson has rushed for 499 yards in the last four games.

3. Michigan: Did a seven-point victory over Maryland last week show chinks in the armor? Or were the Wolverines just looking ahead to facing Ohio State?

4. Florida State: Is the defense good enough to carry the Seminoles to victories over Florida and Louisville? Probably.

Games to Watch

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 3 Michigan: A de facto Big Ten title game. Does anyone think Iowa stands a chance in Indianapolis? The real question is whether the loser still gets into the playoffs.

No. 15 Oregon State at No. 6 Oregon: The Ducks are rolling and tough to beat in Autzen. But weird things tend to happen in The Civil War.

No. 5 Florida State at Florida: The Seminoles look to their defense — and backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker — to keep their championship hopes alive. Florida can qualify for a bowl game with a win. But the Gators are also counting on a backup quarterback — Max Brown.

BYU at Oklahoma State: Already holding victories over Kansas State and Oklahoma, Oklahoma State should clinch a place in the Big 12 championship game with a win. But it’s the Big 12, so who really knows?

Texas Tech at No. 7 Texas: The Longhorns eked out close wins over Houston, Kansas State, TCU and even Iowa State last week to keep their CFP hopes intact. You know the Red Raiders — and Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark — would love to see those hopes dashed. Yormark even said so.

Editor’s note: This story was written and published before Tuesday night’s release of the fourth College Football Playoff rankings. Rankings in this story are from the latest AP Poll.

Discussion from...

Around CFB: Does Travis' injury have the one-loss buzzards circling?

3,575 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by Lake08
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Wow, LSU has 2 QB's up for Heisman.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Just not sure how you have two teams with the same record who played each other and justify ranking the team that lost ahead of the team that beat them on the road.

Referring to Alabama and tu if they both win out.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
We are obviously biased on tu, but if bama beats Georgia (which ain't happening ), bama is in. Texas has played no one and the Big 12 is laughable. Bama is a different team now
Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.