FAMU deserved a playoff berth

FAMU players celebrate winning last Saturday’s Florida Classic. Photo courtesy: tallahassee.com

Despite a 9-2 record and a 9-game winning streak, FCS No. 20 ranked Florida A&M University did not receive an invitation to the 24-team  FCS playoffs.

After closing out the season with a 41-20 win against Bethune-Cookman, FAMU had its eyes set on the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Rattlers were left wondering: Why not us?

The only losses the Rattlers incurred were early in the season opener to Power 5 University of North Carolina —- which is ranked 18 in the BCS — and FCS No. 5 and unbeaten Jackson State.

Both teams performed exceptionally well this season. UNC is a powerhouse with a record of 9-2 and is currently the number one team in its division. Jackson State has an undefeated record and has dominated just about every team this year.

These two schools are not pushovers, so why did FAMU miss the playoffs?

Last season, FAMU managed to make it to the playoffs with the same 9-2 record but lost greatly to Southeastern Louisiana University 38-14.

Many can argue that last year’s loss influenced the call for FAMU this year.

FCS playoff committee chair Jermaine Truax said otherwise.

“FAMU’s strength of schedule and a win over Division II Albany State were the main factors in keeping the program from making the playoffs. FAMU’s strength of schedule was 108th in the nation,” Truax said in a release.

However, FAMU was able to make the playoffs last year with a 9-2 record and a scheduled Division II program against Albany State.

Other schools such as Rhode Island, Austin Peay and Chattanooga were also left out who played Division II programs on their schedule.

The elephant in the room is that FCS voters think that the SWAC is weak and FAMU lacks competitive opponents. But this view is contradictory.

Southeastern Louisiana (SELA) defeated the Rattlers in the playoffs last year, got an automatic spot in the playoffs after winning their conference.

SELA beat McNeese State 28-27. McNeese State lost to Alcorn State 30-19. SELA also beat Northwestern State, 23-7, and Northwestern State lost to Grambling State, 47-21.

Grambling State and Alcorn State are SWAC teams.

FAMU coach Willie Simmons stated, “Unfortunately, we’re still in a situation where we have to be twice as good to get half as much in this country. When you see seven-win teams that finished in the middle half of their conference get an invite and we don’t, that’s baffling and disheartening.”

On Monday, Simmons released a video to Rattler Nation.

“Obviously this is a very disappointing day for our program after getting word that we didn’t get invited to the FCS playoff. Simmons said. “My heart goes out to these young men, they fought for this program, they have done more than we ever asked, and they did what they needed to do on this football field to show that they are deserving of an opportunity to play for a national championship.”

FAMU Nation is not the only one disappointed, HBCU schools across the nation took to social media to voice their dissatisfaction. Jackson State coach Deion Sanders shared words in his Instagram story.

“How is FAMU Football not in the FCS playoffs? Please make me understand why a team that only lost to a Power 5 and 5th-ranked FCS team is not able to get in. Somebody helps me please!!!! #CoachPrime,” Sanders said.

To resolve the neglect from FCS polls, Simmons said that HBCUs should host their own playoff. A four-team playoff system that will crown the top HBCU program in the nation.