So this Saturday, the Deacs take the field against one of college football's most iconic programs. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are almost synonymous with the game of college football, and Wake Forest at least theoretically has a chance to beat them in their own stadium. It would be the greatest victory in Wake football history, but in my opinion, the sad reality is that it will hardly matter.
Allow me to preface this article by saying that I want nothing more than the Deacs to win on Saturday. I'm pretty sure I'd give up bowls for the next three years if it meant Wake Forest defeating a top 5, undefeated, legendary program this late in the season in their own stadium. Heck, it would mean that Wake Forest, of all schools, could have serious implications in the National Championship Game. Read that sentence. Okay, now think about it. Now read it again. I will now allow my readers a chance to recover from their brains threatening to seep out their ears. We good now? Excellent, moving on.
Allow me to also say that I do believe we have some tremendous talent on the team. I think Michael Campanaro is one of the finest receivers not only in the ACC, but possibly in the nation. Nikita Whitlock is an absolute monster. Kevin Johnson has been playing his heart out, Tanner Price has had a bit of a rough go this year, but I still believe he's a good player who has flashes of brilliance. I also don't want to downplay the amount that this team has had to fight its way through injuries and off-the-field struggles.
I also believe that if this team managed to pull off an absolute miracle and top the Irish in South Bend, it would be, bar none, the greatest victory in Wake history and could have positive implications for the program for years to come. Recruiting would go through the roof, Jim Grobe would be immortalized, and everyone could see Wake Forest, little Wake Forest, topple a titanic football program that appears to be back on the rise. It might not be an upset that would turn Wake Forest into a power, but it might come pretty close.
The problem comes in when I acknowledge that I just don't see the miracle happening. The offensive line is decimated, Wake has only really played well in a couple games this year. I will say I do believe that Notre Dame this year is very overrated, and that it's only a matter of time before they get exposed, I just don't think that Wake will be the team to do it. Tanner is running for his life, when he does get the ball away his receivers rarely do him any favors, and the defense is coached so conservatively that teams with even decent athletes absolutely carve our defense up like a Thanksgiving turkey.
I want to believe that this team could go into South Bend and shock the college football world. But sadly, I don't see the fire from this team necessary to accomplish it. Let me be clear: I don't blame the team one bit for being as discouraged as they seem to be. They're decimated by injuries, barely clinging to bowl hopes, and they probably feel more than anyone like they haven't been playing up to their potential. But the sad truth is I can't think of a scenario wherein the Deacs unlock the fire necessary to pull off this monumental upset. Frankly, I think they've pretty much given up.
I will say this much, though. I wouldn't have seen 30-0 in Tallahassee coming a few years ago either. That, and college football is a funny thing. There's always a game or two every year that leaves people talking for years to come. Who knows, maybe this Saturday will be one of those. Prove me wrong, fellas. Come out with that fire. Play to win. Shock the world. I'd never be happier to be wrong.