TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Jimbo Fisher goes after his first Atlantic Coast Conference championship Saturday when 13th-ranked Florida State takes on unranked Georgia Tech.
Both teams will need to shake off disappointing losses to state rivals.
The Seminoles (10-2, 7-1 ACC) opened the week as a two-touchdown favorite against the Yellow Jacket team (6-6, 5-3), who were shellacked by archrival Georgia 42-10 last weekend. Florida State was beaten 37-26 by fifth-ranked Florida.
Fisher, who is 29-10 in his three seasons at Florida State, led the Seminoles to the 2010 ACC title game where they lost to Virginia Tech.
A win in Fisher's second try this weekend would net the 47-year-old coach his first ACC title and BCS bowl berth. The winner of Saturday's ACC title game advances to the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day, possibly against the Big East champion.
"We still have a great opportunity to do some things," Fisher said Monday. "We can win a conference championship."
And it's been in games where the Seminoles are double-digit favorites that have dogged Fisher during Florida State tenure.
Both of Florida State's losses this season resulted from blowing leads in the second half, a 16-point advantage at North Carolina State and a touchdown lead, 20-13, Saturday against archrival Florida.
Georgia Tech also has a two-game winning streak against Florida State.
The Yellow Jackets beat the Seminoles in 2008 and 2009 — Bobby Bowden's final two seasons at Florida State.
"When you play good teams, it's a game on inches," Fisher said in a last look back at his first loss to the Gators in three meetings. And there was no argument Monday that Florida was the best team the Seminoles faced this season.
"That was the first game we have lost to an SEC opponent," Fisher noted, pointing to wins over Florida in 2010 and 2011 and a 2010 bowl win over South Carolina. "We're Florida State, we'll be right there with them ... line up and play with them every week. You can bank on it."
Fisher also dismissed reports about considering other coaching opportunities the day after a handful of coaches were fired across the country, including Gene Chizik at Auburn where Fisher spent a half dozen seasons as an assistant coach in the 1990s.
"I plan on being here a long time," Fisher told reporters. "I'm very happy, I'm very content here."
Fisher, who is paid $2.7 million annually, said his agent hadn't been contacted by any other schools.
"This is where I want to be," Fisher reiterated. "I plan on being here a long time. There's still a lot more we can do."