TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -Bobby Bowden isn't sure his 24th-ranked Florida State team deserves that rating yet but expects he'll find out Saturday against No. 18 Wake Forest.
Bowden's young Seminoles climbed into The Associated Press poll at No. 24 after scoring 115 points in overwhelming Championship Subdivision foes Chattanooga and Western Carolina to start their season.
``I was surprised we even broke the Top 25,'' Bowden said. ``We're not ready for that yet.''
And Wake Forest?
``Ain't nobody laughing at Wake Forest now,'' Bowden said about the one-time Atlantic Coast Conference patsy that has won 22 of its last 29 games while Florida State is 16-13 over the same period.
Florida State and Wake Forest have met 26 times through the years, but Saturday will be the first time both teams are ranked when they match 2-0 records.
layers,'' Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. ``This is one of those deals where the motivation will kind of take care of itself.''
Wake Forest, which has won the last two meetings with the Seminoles, is at No. 18 on the strength of wins over Baylor and Mississippi, extending its winning streak to five games dating back to last year
And Bowden, who shares the lead in all-time major college coaching wins at 375 with Penn State's Joe Paterno, worries that his inexperienced club may not be up to Saturday's challenge.
``Their maturity level and ours are nearly at opposite ends,'' said Bowden.
He'll get all-purpose receiver Preston Parker and defensive tackle Budd Thacker back from suspensions. The Seminioles, though, will remain shorthanded with several players, including some starters, suspended until next week for their parts in an academic cheating scandal.
Florida State will have three freshmen and a pair of sophomores starting on the offensive line against Grobe's veteran defense.
``That scares me to death,'' Bowden said.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Ponder makes his third start for Florida State with the highest quarterback efficiency rating in the ACC while Wake Forest's Riley Skinner, a three-year starter from Jacksonville, has a 70.1 career completion percentage, the best in league history.
tate star Anquan Boldin. Another former Pahokee High School star from South Florida, Alphonso Smith, is generally regarded as the league's best defensive back.
Right off the bat it would seem the Demon Deacons have an advantage in the kicking game with Sam Swank, a Jacksonville kid who is perfect on his field goal and extra point kicks as he goes after the ACC's all-time scoring record. Florida State's situation remains unsettled with veteran kicker Graham Gano down with an injury.
And for the first time Florida State will be playing someone of its own caliber.
``It's going to tell you something,'' Bowden said.
``You'd feel a lot better going into this game if you'd played a biggie and won,'' Bowden said. ``But I'd have hated to play a biggie and lost.''
Now the biggie is here.

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