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- A Reddit user found that Florida State should not have made a bowl game this season.
- Florida State should have been deemed ineligible based on the scholarship status of their FCS opponent this season.
- Had the NCAA noticed the error in time, FSU would not have been designated as bowl eligible, and their streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances – the longest such streak in college football – would have come to an end.
Florida State the season as the third-ranked team in the nation, but had a nightmare year. However, they were able to rack up enough wins in the end to become eligible for a bowl game.
Or so it seemed.
While Florida State will still play in the Independence Bowl against Southern Mississippi, it turns out that the team never should have been invited in the first place. As Reddit user bakonydraco explained in a detailed post, Florida State’s win over Delaware State should not have counted towards their bowl eligibility according to NCAA rules.
Delaware State is an FCS school, and NCAA rules state that an FBS team’s win over an FCS school can only count towards their bowl eligibility if that FCS school has “awarded at least 90% of the FCS scholarship limit.” After reaching out to Delaware State, bakonydraco did the math and found that the school was only using 87% of their allotted 63 scholarships – short of the threshold necessary for Florida State’s win to count.
Without the win, Florida States’ record in games that went towards bowl eligibility would have dropped to 5-6. Florida State, who holds the longest active streak of making a bowl game in college football with 35 consecutive appearances, should have been watching from home this holiday season.
Instead, three teams that qualified for a bowl game – Buffalo, Western Michigan, and UTSA – were left out of the action when one of them should have been in the Seminoles spot.
Unfortunately for the teams that weren’t invited, the discovery was made a bit too late to make any changes, and FSU will still play in the Independence Bowl. As one source told college football writer Brett McMurphy, “This monumental error should have been caught at three levels: the school, conference and NCAA. It’s too late to do anything now, they’ll still play in the game. If it was funny, it would be a comedy of errors.”
For the Seminoles it’s a stroke of luck that will allow them to continue their bowl streak, albeit with an asterisk. And for the three teams that missed their shot at an extra game due to a glorified accounting error, best of luck next year.