FSU football was defeated by the Georgia Bulldogs in the Capital Bowl Orange Bowl by a commanding score of 63-3. The Seminoles had several opt-outs coming in the game and it seemed as though it would be an uphill battle for head football coach Mike Norvell and company to overcome.
Some fans even suggested that Florida State should have elected to forfeit the bowl game after the Seminoles were snubbed by the College Football Playoff committee after being an undefeated Power Five conference champion.
Norvell was asked in his post-game conference if the thought of not playing the bowl game had been a possibility. He responded by stating the following:
""No. It was a hard choice for a lot of the young men that were on our team. We were hurt. When you do the things that these guys did throughout the year, the way that they responded, the way that they fought, and just pulling together. It hurt when we weren't selected, and it was the most challenging month that I have ever had in my coaching career because you feel for your players. There were tough choices that individuals made. I talked to them about the opportunity. Guys like Kalen (DeLoach) came out and gave all they had through the finish.""- Mike Norvell on potentially opting out
This is an amazing culture that Norvell has built throughout his four-year tenure at Florida State. He just wanted his players to go out and compete on the biggest stage. The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year winner knew how important it was to get his younger players the opportunity to gain valuable reps within a game.
It is one thing to compete against your fellow teammates in practice, but it is another to battle the two-time defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs that consistently finishes with top-five recruiting classes. That is where Florida State aspires to be in the next step as a program. As it pertains to opting out of the bowl game, I believe that it would have been silly.
These are valuable reps for players such as Brock Glenn, Caziah Holmes, Hykeem Williams, Destyn Hill, Daniel Lyons, Darrell Jackson Jr. (first appearance of the season), Blake Nichelson, Omar Graham Jr., Conrad Hussey, Quindarrius Jones, among others.
The college football landscape is filled with opt-outs for a variety of reasons whether it be injuries that they suffered throughout the season, entering the transfer portal, or even declarations to the NFL Draft. Nonetheless, I know it was difficult to sit through the majority of the Orange Bowl (even after the 42-3 deficit at halftime). But this football team will bounce back in a huge way.
Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell has set the foundation for the program. Now, he has to find a way to sustain that success, learn from the difficult circumstances, and move forward.