2012 ACC Previews: Wake Forest with Blogger So Dear
We’re previewing the upcoming season with help from SBNation.com Today, Jake from Blogger So Dear breaks down Wake Forest and makes a bold upset prediction.
Jim Grobe enters his 12th season at Wake Forest and the Demon Deacons are looking to make back-to-back postseason appearances in 2012. Wake kicks off the season against Liberty this weekend before a tough stretch with North Carolina (Sept. 8) and at Florida State (Sept. 15). Other road matchups include trips to Virginia, North Carolina State and Notre Dame.
2011 Record: 6-7
2011 Bowl: Music City Bowl vs. Mississippi State, 17-23
2012 Bowl Projections:
Orland Bowl History:
Q&A with Jake from Blogger So Dear
Describe the 2011 season in two words.
With so many new offensive starters, who needs to step up most for Tanner Price to thrive?
The obvious answer here is the offensive line. Quite frankly, it is a bit scary as Wake enters the season. Center Garrick Williams and right tackle Colin Summers are the only members of the unit with significant game experience. The most experience after these two is Antonio Ford, who played a total of eight snaps last year. As a result, the key to the Deacs’ entire season will be for new offensive line coach Jonathan Himebauch to get this unit to gel quickly and give Tanner Price some time to make big plays. Wake goes into the season with an impressive trio of skill players in Price, running back Josh Harris and receiver Mike Campanaro, so if the line comes together the Deacs can make some noise in the ACC.
Which game this year has the recipe for the kind of upset that has become a trademark for Jim Grobe’s teams?
Even though Wake Forest has had Florida State’s number over the last seven or eight years, I am going to go with the Clemson game this season. The game against the Tigers is an ESPN Thursday night game, so the players will be more amped than ever and the atmosphere at BB&T Field should be pretty electric. Wake gave up a large lead and missed a short field goal in Death Valley last year that would have sent the Deacs to the ACC Championship Game, so there may be a bit of revenge on their minds as well.
On paper, what looks like the toughest game this season?
Definitely the Florida State game in Tallahassee. The Seminoles have the best defensive line in the nation, which will not be a welcome sight for the inexperienced Wake Forest offensive line in the third week of the season. It will take a really strong defensive effort by the Demon Deacons to keep them within striking distance for the 4th quarter. At the end of the day the Wake coaching staff may be pleased if Tanner Price leaves Florida in one piece.
Best case/worst case scenario for the postseason.
I would say the absolute best case for the season would be a 9-3 finish and a trip to the ACC Championship Game with a shot at the Orange Bowl. The best scenario for Wake in general is when the Atlantic division beats up on itself and a team with three or four conference losses wins the division, which we have seen a couple times since the ACC went to its new championship format.
At worst, the Deacs finish 4-8 after injuries and inexperience on the OL fail to give the offense a chance to thrive and the defense alone cannot give Wake enough to bring home W’s.
One Question In The Other Direction
As the smallest BCS school it is often tough for Wake Forest to get chosen to participate in the higher tier ACC bowls even when the Deacs have a better record than some of their better traveling conference foes. When your bowl chooses its participants is getting a different ACC team in your game given heavy consideration or does it always come down to the perceived size of the fan bases?
Answered by Director of Digital Media Matt Repchak
Truthfully it doesn’t come down to either. Fan passion is an important component of our selection committee’s process, as is the possibility of new and compelling matchups. But neither are the foundation of what gets a team to Orlando. That starts with what happens on the field, and when one team is far and away the best choice (whether in ACC record by the term of the contract, or in actual resume), they set themselves apart. When there isn’t a clear-cut choice from looking at team performance, then we get into some additional criteria like their last appearance in Orlando, recent bowl trips and how interested their fans are in our bowl game. Wake’s smaller size relative to other ACC teams is not a secret, but it’s not a scarlet letter, either; the Deacs have been on our board a lot during their recent run of success.