Following the release of the final four teams selected for the 2024 College Football Playoff, two squads were left feeling especially miffed: the 12-1 Georgia Bulldogs and the undefeated Florida State Seminoles. In a head coach video call interview between Georgia’s Kirby Smart and the Seminoles’ Mike Norvell, both coaches seemed to be fired up that their teams were left out of the final CFP field. However, both vowed to rise to the occasion when the two excellent squads clash at Hard Rock Stadium for the 2023 Orange Bowl. Indeed, while Florida State finished the year undefeated, the big question mark for the Seminoles is how they can hang with an elite opponent without the services of All-American quarterback Jordan Travis who was injured before the ACC Championship.
For this report, SBS will be taking a look at each team, along with selecting a predicted winner and adding more notes about college football betting.
Quarterback Carson Beck has been outstanding this year for the Bulldogs, racking up 3,738 passing yards to go along with 22 touchdown scores. However, the big question mark for Georgia is if star tight end Brock Bowers decides to suit up. Plagued by an injury this season, the All–American was able to make it back for the SEC title game but might opt to sit out of the bowl game with the CFP not in the picture anymore. While the Bulldogs fell short against the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship, they still are perhaps the most punishing squad in college football as the back-to-back national champions.
The Bulldogs ran roughshod over the competition this year, scoring wins over ranked conference foes Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. With perhaps the most menacing defense in the country (the Bulldogs are top-ten in points allowed per game), Georgia should be able to stifle Florida State without their star quarterback. Defensive back Tykee Smith leads the team in tackles (68) and interceptions (four). Moreover, the Bulldogs racked up 29 sacks this season and will look for more against the Seminoles.
Similar to the Bulldogs, the Seminoles were jilted by the CFP Committee, but unlike Georgia, they finished their season at a perfect 13-0. However, as noted above, the biggest question mark for Florida State is at the quarterback position where Heisman contender Jordan Travis will not be available for the game due to injury. Instead, the Seminoles will have to tweak their offense with running back Trey Benson (905 rushing yards and 14 scores this year) leading the way. Moreover, wide receiver Keon Coleman (11 touchdowns this year) will most likely see some more action as well as being the safety net for presumed fill-in Tate Rodemaker.
Linebacker Kalen DeLoach has been a game-wrecker at times for the ‘Noles as evidenced by his seven sacks this season. Moreover, defensive lineman Braden Fiske has been a disruptive force for Florida State, racking up six sacks of his own. Another fantastic unit, the Seminoles only allowed a sensational 15.9 points per game this season, compared to their offensive average of 36.5 ppg. However, the subtraction of Travis will weigh heavily on this matchup.
Prediction: The big question in this game will be how hard each team steps on the gas with the CFP no longer in the picture. However, that should not be an issue with the hyper-competitive groups and with Travis out of the picture, the Bulldogs will have the edge.
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