Wake Forest Football Preview: The 2014 Schedule
Happy July. Or rather, happy "one month until August," when football season starts.
That's right: We're just 68 days away from Week 1 kickoff. So why not start the countdown with a preview of each regular-season game?
Here's a preview of all 12 games this fall, complete with some way-too-early predictions to boot.
Aug. 28 at Louisiana-Monroe
ULM narrowly beat the Deacs in Winston-Salem last year, escaping with a 21-19 victory.
This time Wake will travel to Monroe, but the Warhawks will be without all-purpose quarterback Kolton Browning, who graduated. Look for the defenses to control the game in the first contest of the year.
Prediction: Wake Forest wins 16-14
Sept. 6 vs. Gardner-Webb
FCS school Gardner-Webb comes to Winston-Salem for the home opener, and the Deacs will have a week-plus to work out the kinks for their Thursday night opener.
This may be the only game of the year in which Wake Forest will have a clear edge in both talent and depth. The offense should make progress here before gearing up for stiffer competition.
Prediction: Wake Forest wins 31-14
Sept. 13 at Utah State
The Demon Deacons will make the long flight to Logan, Utah to face the Aggies, a team that won 10 games and went to the Poinsettia Bowl last year.
In what will be the toughest non-conference game this year, Wake must find a way to put up points against a team that only allowed 17.1 points per game last year.
Prediction: Wake Forest wins 17-16
Sept. 20 vs. Army
The running attack from Army will be tough to stop, but if Wake can limit the damage inside, Ryan Janvion and Company should be able to lock down the Black Knights' receivers.
The Deacs are also more athletic on the edges, so speedy Orville Reynolds and E.J. Scott will be primed for big games.
Prediction: Wake Forest wins 28-17
Sept. 27 at Louisville
With a surprising 4-0 start in hand, the Deacs will travel to Louisville for their first conference test.
Unfortunately, there's simply not enough talent on the line to keep up with the Cardinals on either side, and Bobby Petrino's balanced attack and experienced O-line will wear down the Demon Deacons as the game progresses.
Prediction: Wake Forest loses 38-17
Oct. 4 at Florida State
I tend to pull for the Demon Deacons and hope for the best, but the image above says it all.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is back along with 11 other starters from the team that won the national championship last year. This one won't be close, but at least Tallahassee might not be as muggy by October.
Prediction: Wake Forest loses 52-10
Oct. 18 vs. Syracuse
The Deacs should be well-rested coming off a much-needed bye week, but the Orange will have a prolific passing attack with Terrell Hunt under center and a trio of talented receivers.
Despite the strength of the Wake secondary, the offense won't have enough firepower to win the game at the end.
Prediction: Wake Forest loses 30-28
Oct. 25 vs. Boston College
Boston College will likewise be looking for offense in 2014 with the departure of Heisman finalist Andre Williams.
A defensive battle means Wake Forest will have to capitalize on chances and look for opportunities on special teams. If they manage to do so, they'll get back on the winning track with a fifth win.
Prediction: Wake Forest wins 16-14
Nov. 6 vs. Clemson
Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins are getting paid to play in the NFL, but the Tigers have retooled with both talent and depth.
Clemson will have one of the conference's best defensive lines, so the Deacons will be hard-pressed for time in the passing game. This one will get away from the Deacs in the second half.
Prediction: Wake Forest loses 37-9
Nov. 15 at NC State
The Wolfpack went winless in the ACC last year, but they return six starters on defense and should be improved on offense as well.
The Deacs will look to expose an inexperienced D-line though and should be able to stay with NC State on the O-line as well.
This one will go down to the wire, but the Deacs will get a big play in crunch time to become bowl-eligible in Dave Clawson's first year.
Prediction: Wake Forest wins 28-27
Nov. 22 vs. Virginia Tech
If Wake Forest wants to lay claim to the conference's best secondary, they'll have to contend with a Virginia Tech unit that returns all four starters.
Downfield passes will be hard to come by in this one, so Wake will have to lock down a physical Tech offense if it hopes to keep things close.
Prediction: Wake Forest loses 31-14
Nov. 29 at Duke
The Demon Deacons narrowly missed out on a victory against cross-state foe Duke last season, so motivation won't be an issue.
The Blue Devils were not a one-hit wonder last year, though, as they return talent at almost every offensive position.
This game will mirror the last one between the two, as the Deacs fail to close the gap in a close contest. Still, no one will be disappointed with 6-6, as Wake go bowling earlier than most expected under Dave Clawson.
Prediction: Wake Forest loses 28-20