No. 13 Seminoles look to rebound in ACC title game


No. 13 Seminoles look to rebound in ACC title game

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) 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.''

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4 things to watch in Caps vs. Canucks

NBC Sports Washington

4 things to watch in Caps vs. Canucks

It’s going to be a late night. The Caps are in Vancouver to take on the Canucks (10 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus) for the first of a four-game swing through Canada. Grab your coffee, here are four things you need to watch.

Offensive firepower

Washington enters Monday’s game with the top offense in the NHL with 4.14 goals per game. Vancouver had one of the worst defenses in the league last year. They have looked much improved at the start of this season, but they are still giving up 3.00 goals per game. Washington’s high-powered superstars should be able to take advantage and get some points on the board.

Adjusted lines

The fact that Washington has the top offense in the NHL is surprising considering how much their depth forwards have struggled to produce. Prior to Friday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the Caps had gotten only two goals from the bottom six and both had come in the season-opener. After seeing his team go down 4-1 against Florida, head coach Todd Reirden shuffled up the lines and it seemed to create a spark for the offense.

Reirden indicated Sunday he will stick with those lines and he kept them together for Monday’s morning skate:

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Devante Smith-Pelly
Chandler Stephenson – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly
Dmitrij Jaskin – Nic Dowd – Andre Burakovsky

Vrana, Connolly and Smith-Pelly all scored after the change. Per the Caps’ PR team, the third line of Vrana, Eller and Connolly produced two goals, eight shot attempts and allowed just three shot attempts in over six minutes of five-on-five play.

Special teams

In addition to having the top offense in the NHL, the Caps also boast the top power play. With the extra man, the Caps are producing on 38.5-percent of their opportunities. That is most likely not a sustainable number, but it does show the power play is as good as ever.

The Canucks come into this game ranked eighth on the penalty kill at 83.9-percent and they will be the latest team to try and slow down a power play that is really starting to click with John Carlson seemingly developing into one of the top blue liners in the NHL.

Remember me?

Vancouver’s star rookie Elias Pettersson is still in concussion protocol and will not play in Monday’s game, but there is another talented youngster who will the Caps will need to watch out for in Brock Boeser.

Boeser was in a dead heat with New York Islanders forward Matt Barzal for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year last season before an injury forced him to miss the last month of the season.

In two career games against Washington, Boeser has recorded three assists. He has had a bit of a slower start to the season with five points thus far, but he is a dynamic talent who the Caps’ defense will have to account for.


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Hey Wizards - don't fall for this CJ McCollum crossover

Hey Wizards - don't fall for this CJ McCollum crossover

Here's an important thing for the Wizards to avoid when facing off against Portland on Monday night: This CJ McCollum crossover.

As seen in this video by our friends at NBC Sports Northwest, the Trail Blazers' player sent a Spurs defender flying - much to the delight of the Portland bench - with the move.


"It wasn't even one of my better crossovers," he said after his team's win. "Honestly, he just reacted."