Florida State Seminoles: Demetrius Hartsfield

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A win at Maryland is all that stands between Jimbo Fisher and his second ACC championship appearance in three years. Regardless of lofty preseason expectations, that alone represents an accomplishment.

"It’s important with what we want to do and it’s always on our goals at the beginning of the year, to be the ACC champion," Fisher said. "But to get there we need to focus on Maryland and play a great game against Maryland. That’s the only team in America right now."

It's the familiar refrain of Florida State's 2012 campaign, and it's a particularly resonant one this week.

Indeed, Maryland is all that stands in the way of the ACC championship game, and it would be easy for the Seminoles to take the 4-6 Terrapins lightly. After all, Maryland is down four quarterbacks already, and converted linebacker Shawn Petty will get his third start at QB on Saturday. Add a host of other injuries, including an ACL tear for top linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, and Florida State will be a heavy favorite for good reason.

But the road hasn't been particularly kind to the Seminoles, and regardless of any offensive shortcomings, Maryland might be the best defense FSU has faced this season. So Fisher has been quick to remind his players once again that looking ahead opens the door to failure, even if the Terrapins appear to be an easy adversary just a week ahead of a top-10 matchup against rival Florida.

"We just have to go out and prepare for Maryland," EJ Manuel said. "They have a great defense. I know they have some injuries on offense but we can’t look down upon them just because of that, they want to win. They are going to have their home crowd just like Virginia Tech did. I’m sure it is going to be cold, and we just have to go out there and be ready to play.”

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Looking forward to real, live football, NoleNation takes a run through Florida State’s 2012 schedule, going game-by-game to find the best storylines and matchups of the upcoming season.


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