Georgia’s Kirby Smart Says Uptick in CFB Bowl Game Opt-Outs ‘Needs to Be Fixed’

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Georgia’s Kirby Smart Says Uptick in CFB Bowl Game Opt-Outs ‘Needs to Be Fixed’

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 30: Georgia head coach Kirby Smart watches the players warm up on the field before the Capital One Orange Bowl college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida State Seminoles on December 30, 2023 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A showdown between Georgia and Florida State would be appointment viewing in the regular season, but that was far from the case when they faced each other in a non-College Football Playoff bowl game on Saturday.

Georgia won 63-3, which was a testament both to the Bulldogs’ overall talent and the sheer number of players missing for the Seminoles.

“People need to see what happened tonight, and they need to fix this,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said, per ESPN’s David Hale. “It needs to be fixed. It’s very unfortunate that they have a good football team and a good football program and they’re in the position they’re in.”

Hale noted Florida State was down 29 scholarship players because of injuries, opt outs and transfer portal decisions, including their top two quarterbacks, top two running backs, top two receivers, starting tight end, three starting defensive linemen, two of three starting linebackers and three starting defensive backs.

While other teams weren’t missing quite as much as Florida State, so many absences for bowl games has become a theme in college football with the portal and players opting out to focus on their future NFL careers.

Top programs in supposedly high-profile games have been far from immune, with Penn State and Ohio State among those teams missing notable players in this season’s New Year’s Six games.

Former Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who opted out of the Rose Bowl during his college career, weighed in on the developments:

Garrett Wilson @GarrettWilson_V

Bowl games suck. Used to mean something

From Florida State’s perspective, motivation likely was a factor after it was left out of the CFP despite an undefeated record. The team on the field against Georgia was far from the one that went through the campaign unblemished on the way to an ACC crown.

And it showed in the final score.

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