Since Jimbo Fisher took over the Florida State Seminoles, he has returned the program to national relevance. This season, the Noles are a perfect 6-0 and No. 2 in the initial BCS rankings following a complete dismantling of the Clemson Tigers last week. The win was their first in Death Valley since 2001 but they’ve got another monkey to get off their back this week when they take on the NC State Wolfpack. NC State is the only ACC program with a winning record against Fisher and will look to once again be FSU’s stumbling block towards a national title this Saturday.
Fisher took over the Noles in 2010 and has gone just 1-2 against the Wolfpack over the last three seasons. Last year’s game may have been the most painful of the losses as FSU had risen to No. 3 after the first five weeks of the season before blowing a 16-0 halftime lead to lose 17-16. It was the first loss of the 2012 season for the Noles and effectively ended their shot at playing for the national championship last season. Fast forward to this season: FSU is ranked No. 3 again (in the AP and Coaches Polls) with a serious opportunity to make a national title run.
This team remembers what happened to them last season and Fisher is using it to motivate his team. He wants them to focus on the Wolfpack this week and avoid complacency from their big win over Clemson last week and keep them from looking ahead to their showdown with the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes next week.
“Feel that pain. Pain is preparation. You want that pain again? Don’t prepare. You want to eliminate that pain? Prepare and take care of your business.”
NC State head coach Dave Doeren knows that the challenge will be a tall one to pull off the upset. He describes them as “dominating” when he watched them on film and expects their best game when the Wolfpack come to Tallahassee on Saturday. He hopes to rely on the experience of his roster who have “played well against them” to lead the way but he’ll need more out of them then they’ve shown this season. The Wolfpack are 0-3 in ACC play this season so far and have yet to score more than 14 points against a conference opponent.
That won’t get it done against FSU, the No. 3 scoring offense in college football but it may be all they get against the No. 3 scoring defense in the country. Florida State has allowed more than 14 points just once this season while scoring 41 points or more in every game. While the Wolfpack are hoping for another magical rally like last year, it’s more likely they’ll have flashbacks to 2011. That was the last time NC State was in Tallahassee and got dominated in a 34-0 beatdown.
Is home cooking (and arguably the most talented team in the country) enough to get Jimbo Fisher back to .500 against NC State or will the Wolfpack force another FSU stumble on their way to a national championship?