PINEHURST, N.C. — Jimbo Fisher’s second season at Florida State is expected to end where his first one did: In Charlotte for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
Only this year, the Seminoles are supposed to win it.
High expectations have become commonplace at Florida State, which has won or shared 12 ACC titles under Bobby Bowden in the two decades since joining the conference. That hasn’t changed since Bowden retired, and the school dropped the “coach-in-waiting” tag from Fisher’s title and gave him control of the program.
“We embrace it. That’s why I want to be the coach at Florida State and that’s why players come to Florida State ... to win championships,” Fisher said Monday during the ACC’s preseason media day. “We have to understand that expectations don’t win games.
“We have to prepare. We have to be very detail-oriented, create great habits because the habits you create become you, and when pressure comes, your habits come straight to the surface,” he added. “So from that standpoint, we’re learning to look forward and build our new history.”
In voting results announced Monday, Florida State and Virginia Tech were the preseason picks to meet in the ACC title game, with the Seminoles favored to win their first league title since 2005.
“I’d vote for them too,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said.
It’s the third straight year Florida State and the Hokies were picked to win their divisions, following a vote of 71 media members in attendance. The Seminoles — who were selected first overall on 50 ballots, with 18 votes going to the Hokies — return 17 starters from last year’s team.
That group beat rival Florida, used a late three-game winning streak to claim a spot in the ACC title game and closed out a 10-4 season by beating South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Florida State was the overwhelming pick to win the Atlantic Division with 65 first-place votes. Four went to Clemson and two went to Boston College. The Hokies were voted first in the Coastal on 66 ballots, with Miami receiving four first-place votes and Georgia Tech receiving one.
Virginia Tech beat Florida State 44-33 last year to claim its third ACC title since 2007 and fourth since joining the conference in 2004. The Hokies and Seminoles have been the preseason picks to win their divisions in five of the seven years since the ACC split into divisions in 2005.
BC running back Montel Harris is the preseason player of the year with 26 votes, with Manuel receiving 14 and Boston College teammate Luke Kuechly receiving 12. Harris enters his final season with 3,600 yards rushing — the most by any ACC player after his junior year — and is 1,002 yards shy of Ted Brown’s 33-year-old ACC career record.
The bottoms of the divisions have a familiar look, too.
Duke, picked to finish last in the Coastal, has been a preseason pick to finish last either in its division or overall every year from 2000-09.
Wake Forest received the fewest votes (80) of any team. The Demon Deacons were chosen last in the Atlantic for the first time since 2006 — the year they won the league — but only once have they been picked higher than fourth in the division.
“I don’t have a problem with” being chosen last, Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. “This is probably where we should start the season, but I’m certainly hopeful that that’s not where we end up.”
Preseason champion, votes:
Florida State, 50; Virginia Tech, 18; Clemson, 2; Boston College, 1;
Florida State (65), 420
Clemson (4), 286
North Carolina State, 270
Boston College (2), 224
Wake Forest, 80
Virginia Tech (66), 421
Miami (4), 328
North Carolina, 287
Georgia Tech (1), 226
Player of the year
Montel Harris, Boston College, 26
E.J. Manuel, Florida State, 14
Luke Kuechly, Boston College, 12
David Wilson, Virginia Tech, 8
Danny O’Brien, Maryland, 4
Andre Ellington, Clemson, 3
Lamar Miller, Miami, 2
Sean Spence, Miami, 1
(tie) Brandon Jenkins, Florida State, 1