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'Canes starting to crank up intensity

The top-ranked Hurricanes practiced for two hours in shorts and pads in preparation for Saturday's game against No. 14 Syracuse.

"We had an excellent practice, but a very physical practice," coach Larry Coker said. "We're in good shape physically as we've got some people back this week, including (defensive end) Andrew Williams, (running back) Willis McGahee and (receiver) Daryl Jones. All three of those guys are working out and are ready to play."

TUBE TIME: ESPN's GameDay will broadcast from Miami on Saturday. The program will air live from Lot W4 at the Orange Bowl beginning at 10:30 a.m.

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On the road

TAMPA _ After Wednesday's two-hour workout, seven assistant coaches prepared to hit the recruiting trail throughout Florida. The Bulls have a bye and play their season finale Nov. 24 against Utah State.

"We'll have seven coaches out all over Florida and each one will probably hit about eight schools (today) and Friday," coach Jim Leavitt said. "So that would be 56 schools across the state. And it may really be about 60. We're going to cover the state."

Leavitt said he was pleased with the workout. The team will run through sprints today, before getting the rest of the weekend off.

"A lot of the guys will head home for the weekend," Leavitt said. "They won't be able to do that for Thanksgiving because we have a game that week and we'll have a practice Thanksgiving morning. So this will be their opportunity to get home."

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Weather clears up

ORLANDO _ A day after conducting what coach Mike Kruczek characterized as a worthless practice, he and the Knights got a break from the weather and headed outside. UCF worked out inside the school's basketball arena on Tuesday.

"It's always better when you can go outside," Kruczek said after the 90-minute workout. "The weather was conducive to a good practice. It was nice and cool and there was no way you could get tired."

Rains flooded the practice field Tuesday, but the weather subsided in time for Wednesday's practice.

"The fields held up a lot better with the rain the last two days than I thought they would so I thought we had some productivity out there today," Kruczek said. "Hopefully tomorrow we'll have no more rain and we'll be able to go out again."

The Knights are off this week, and close their season Nov. 24 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

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Rested and ready

TALLAHASSEE _ Florida A&M, which has lost two of its past four games, was off last weekend. Coach Billy Joe thinks that will help as the Rattlers prepare for the Florida Classic against Bethune-Cookman.

A win Saturday by Florida A&M (6-3, 6-1) would give the Rattlers the MEAC title outright and put them in line for their sixth Division I-AA playoff appearance in a row.

"That (week off) gave us some time to catch up with ourselves and rest a little," Joe said. "Penalties and turnovers have been killing us and we're trying to become more fundamentally sound."

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A game with meaning

DAYTONA BEACH _ If Bethune-Cookman can beat rival Florida A&M in the Florida Classic on Saturday in Orlando, the MEAC race comes down to North Carolina A&T and the Wildcats. If the Aggies win their final two games, they win the conference but a loss would give the Wildcats the title.

"I said before the season began that the conference championship should be decided at the Florida Classic and it's going to be that way," said Bethune-Cookman coach Alvin Wyatt, who has not beaten the Rattlers in six seasons.

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