With the 2013 college football season rapidly approaching, fans are craving any and every taste of what is to come in what should be an invigorating year. As we inch closer to the action kicking off on August 29, I'll release schedule analysis for a new ACC school every other day. For now, let's take a look at the Wake Forest Demon Deacons:
Sept. 6—at Boston College
Sept. 14— Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 21—at Army
Sept. 28—at Clemson
Oct. 5—NC State
Oct. 26—at Miami
Nov. 2—at Syracuse
Nov. 9—Florida State
Nov. 30—at Vanderbilt
Schedule obtained from the official website of Wake Forest athletics
Only seven years separate Wake Forest from its last ACC Championship, but that 11-3 season has become a distant memory in Winston-Salem. The last winning season for the Demon Deacons came in 2008, and while the real fury of the fanbase is directed toward the basketball program, people aren't exactly doing backflips over the state of the football program.
Believe it or not, Jim Grobe is actually the most tenured coach in the ACC other than Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer. While he is in no real trouble of losing his job, Wake fans are tired of losing seasons and ready for another big year.
Wake Forest plays one of the more rigorous schedules of anyone in the Atlantic Division, which hurts when you consider that the Deacons aren't championship contenders in the first place. But while there won't be any kind of magical run like in '06, don't bet against the Gold and Black to put together their best season in five years.
After fielding dreadful scoring offenses for the better part of the last decade, Grobe reverts back to the run game that yielded him success in his early years at Wake. Although running back Josh Harris was recently ruled ineligible for his senior season, the newly added schemes catch the opposition off guard and lead to some early wins for Grobe's team.
Tanner Price enters his fourth season as the starting quarterback, and Michael Campanaro is one of the best pass-catchers in the conference. That duo, combined with the rushing attack and a defense that returns eight starters, drives the team to a 4-0 record to start off 2013.
Heading into the year with a whopping 31-10 record against in-state opponents, the Deacs continue that trend with wins over NC State and Duke. As the experience on defense pushes Wake Forest to the right side of the turnover ratio, Grobe's squad accumulates eight wins and finds itself finishing in the top half of the division.
Unable to get a head start against mediocre competition early on, the Demon Deacons face an ugly season from beginning to end. Without Harris in the backfield, the offense is unable to get anything done on the ground.
With no running backs to open up the passing game, Price's stats continue to drop from the level they were at during his impressive sophomore year.
The good news going into the season was that the defense returned a lot of contributors. The bad news during the year is that those players weren't all that great before, and they show little improvement over the course of 12 games.
Spring injuries linger into the fall. Clemson, Miami, Florida State and Vanderbilt abuse Wake, while more evenly matched teams also have their way with the Deacs.
The animosity toward the basketball team spills over to the gridiron after a 3-9 season in 2013.
This is a tough schedule. It's hard to imagine the Deacons stealing even one game between Clemson, Florida State, Miami and Vanderbilt—and a road trip to Boston College will by no means be a given.
On the positive end, Wake Forest hosts matchups against NC State, Duke and Maryland, and it's not at all a stretch to believe that all three of those could be wins. Presbyterian is the cupcake, and Army and Syracuse simply don't have a lot of talent.
If Grobe's team wins the games it should win, then look for Wake to surpass the .500 mark.
Also check out:
Schedule analysis for NC State
Schedule analysis for Maryland
Schedule analysis for Syracuse
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