July 26, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Once again Florida State football was the ACC Football Kickoff media’s choice to win the Atlantic Division and advance to the league championship game.
The Seminoles garnered 78 first place votes from a record 98 votiers at the Grandover Resort. Monday’s announcement marked the 18th time in 19 seasons of Atlantic Coast Conference membership that Florida State was selected to win either the division or outright league title.
Florida State senior quarterback Christian Ponder was the runaway winner in preseason balloting for ACC Player of the Year honors. Ponder collected 45 votes and easily out-distanced Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams (16).
“It’s all expectation and it creates a different perspective on how you deal with having success,” first-year coach FSU Jimbo Fisher said of the media vote. “I guess we’re always going to be there. I don’t put a lot of stock in [preseason polls] all the time because each team has its own personality.”
Fisher said he does appreciate the fact that the Seminoles enter the 2010 season as the divisional favorite, despite coming off a 7-6 season.
“I think that’s good,” Fisher said. “Some people say, `Well, that high expectations.’ That’s what you want. You want expectations. You can’t run from expectations, but you learn how to deal with it and remember that expectation doesn’t win a game. It’s what you do on the field, how you play and how you prepare to play. That’s the message I still want to make sure we send; that we prepare to have success and we follow the process the results will be there.”
Virginia Tech was selected as both the favorite to win the Coastal Division and defeat Florida State at the December 4 ACC Championship game, which will be played in Charlotte, N.C. for the first time.
Ponder said winning an ACC championship is something he expected to do – more than once – in his Florida State career.
“It is where we want to be,” Ponder said. “Our whole goal is to reach that ACC Championship game and win it all. That’s why I’m here at Florida State, to win it all.”
The Colleyville, Texas native admitted he was a bit surprised to be tabbed as a heavy favorite to capture Player of the Year honors. Quarterback Chris Weinke was the last FSU player to claim the honor at the conclusion of the 2000 season.
“I was a little surprised with all the great players in the ACC, especially at quarterback,” said Ponder. “I definitely have to prove it. That’s going to be extra motivation, that all these people have high expectations. I have high expectations myself. I just have to make sure I prepare myself and work hard to fulfill those expectations.”
Fisher echoed Ponder’s feelings.
“I think it’s a great tribute to him and a well-deserved one,” Fisher said. “That’s another stepping stone and learning tool for him: How do you deal with expectation? You were not supposed to be the guy and you went out and developed into the guy. Now, `How do I deal with having high expectations for being a great player?’ I think he’ll keep it in perspective and just play. If the team wins, he’ll get those awards.”