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Beating Florida helped Jimbo Fisher build Florida State. Can he do the same with Texas A&M?

Jimbo Fisher went 7-1 against the Gators as the Seminoles' head coach. He reflects on some memories as he prepares to coach against UF again Saturday.
Jimbo Fisher went 7-1 against the Gators when he was at Florida State.
Jimbo Fisher went 7-1 against the Gators when he was at Florida State.
Published Oct. 8, 2020

A win Saturday over No. 4 Florida would go a long way in helping Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher bring his No. 21 Aggies back to national prominence.

At least that’s what happened at Florida State.

Fisher’s Seminoles had lost six in a row to UF when he took over FSU in 2010. The No. 22 'Noles blew out the Gators 31-7 as UF sputtered at the end of the Urban Meyer era.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher watched his Seminoles knock off the Gators in 2010, in his first taste of the rivalry as a head coach.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher watched his Seminoles knock off the Gators in 2010, in his first taste of the rivalry as a head coach. [ STEVE CANNON | Associated Press ]

“It was big to get that win against them,” Fisher said Wednesday. “It really helped in things we were doing in the state recruiting, things of that nature.”

Recruiting is too simplistic to boil down into one game, but the numbers back Fisher up.

Related: Five midweek thoughts on Florida-Texas A&M

In 2010, the Gators had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, with 10 blue-chip signees from the state and five of Florida’s top 10 prospects. FSU’s eighth-ranked class had seven blue-chip prospects from Florida and four of its top 10 players.

The next year, after Fisher’s triumph in Tallahassee? FSU signed the country’s No. 2 class with 12 blue-chip Florida prospects and four of the state’s top 10 recruits. UF fell to 11th with nine blue-chippers from the state and only one of its top 10 players.

The win shifted the balance in the series. Fisher won six of the next seven meetings, only losing in 2012 in a top-10 home matchup.

There were other memorable UF-FSU games for Fisher, too, like the 37-7 rout in Gainesville during the national title year. The last one also sticks out — a 38-22 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in 2017 that ended up being his last game at FSU before he bolted for Texas A&M. We’ll have more on that game this week, but three years later, the memory is bittersweet to Fisher.

Jimbo Fisher's last game for Florida State was a win over the Gators in The Swamp in 2017.
Jimbo Fisher's last game for Florida State was a win over the Gators in The Swamp in 2017.

“Sad…” Fisher said. “Wasn’t planning on it being your last game at that particular time, but it ended up being. Still just a very good memory that you went out on a winning note and did things the right way, and you played Florida, and you were successful against Florida. That’s very important when you’re at Florida State.”

Related: Florida Gators' Kyle Trask says he was named after Texas A&M’s Kyle Field

And it could be just as important to his rebuilding project at A&M.