Florida State concluded a solid week of practice Thursday with a 15-period workout in shorts, but the No. 3 Seminoles won't know if they're truly ready to play until they take the field Saturday night at No. 5 North Carolina.
One of the keys for FSU will be finding a way to score enough points on UNC's second-ranked defense.
"You can never tell if you're really ready until you do it against the speed of the opponent," FSU offensive coordinator Mark Richt said. "There's no way we can simulate North Carolina's defense."
Although the players and coaches say this week had a big-game feel to it, they haven't gone overboard. "It hasn't been super intense because we geared it down," Richt said. "We always gear it down because we've been going at it for so long."
BUGGED: A flu bug has been running through the team. Among those under the weather are QB Thad Busby, LB Daryl Bush and DE Andre Wadsworth.
DE Greg Spires and NTs Larry Smith and Corey Simon are probable with neck burners. OL Ross Brannon (ankle sprain) returns after missing a week.
WORTH ITS SOD: Coach Bobby Bowden said the game has been designated a sod game. If the Seminoles win, they will tear up a piece of the turf and put it in their sod cemetery next to the practice fields.
The seniors voted for the sod designation because the game is billed as the biggest one in ACC history and because some "experts" have picked UNC to win, although FSU is a seven-point favorite.
_ KEVIN RECORD