Florida State holds a unique distinction, though it’s not one the school is particularly fond of. The Seminoles are the only Power 5 school to have an undefeated regular season (including the conference championship game) and not make it to the College Football Playoff. The school took that news poorly, of course, and one of the most critical was head coach Mike Norvell.
Norvell considered taking the job at Alabama after Nick Saban abruptly retired. After former Washington coach Kalen DeBoer got the gig instead, Norvell ultimately decided to stay at Florida State.
Of course, being paid more than nearly every other college football coach probably aided in that decision. Florida State gave Norvell an eight-year contract extension worth more than $10 million per season. The new deal propels Norvell into the top five highest-paid coaches in the sport in terms of annual salary.
Norvell’s first season was in 2020, and life in Tallahassee was kind of a mess. Florida State had fired Willie Taggart after a 9-12 record across a season and a half, and the school still owed him more than $18 million to go away. The Seminoles went 3-6 during the Covid-19-shortened 2020 season. Then, in 2021, Florida State started 0-4, and fans wondered if Norvell might be fired just as quickly as Taggart was.
Yet the school remained patient. Norvell and the Seminoles went 5-3 over the last eight games in 2021, then put up a 10-3 record in 2022, finishing 10th in the final Coaches Poll of the year. This season, the Seminoles started 13-0 and won the ACC title.
Unfortunately, starting quarterback Jordan Travis got hurt toward the end of the season, and the College Football Playoff committee believed the Seminoles couldn’t overcome that injury. The committee sent the Seminoles to the Orange Bowl to play against the Georgia Bulldogs, a school that also had a legitimate gripe with the way the playoff decision shook out. More than 20 Florida State players opted out of playing in the Orange Bowl, and the Seminoles got trounced 63-3, wrapping up their year at 13-1.
Despite the tough end to the year, Norvell is undeterred. He said the school is “just getting started” on its journey. With this new contract, it’s going to be a much more lucrative journey.