After a long wait by the conference the schedules are finally here for the ACC. First of all, let's take a look at the Deacs and their schedule. I will go ahead and say that we need to get our wins early because they are for the most part easy and in Winston-Salem. It is also one of the easier breakdowns for the Deacs that I can remember in quite some time:
Sept. 1- Liberty
Sept. 8.- UNC
Sept. 15- @FSU
Sept. 22- Army
Sept. 29- Duke
Oct. 6th- @Maryland
Oct. 13th- BYE
Oct. 20th- @UVA
Oct. 25th (Thurs)- Clemson
Nov. 3rd- Boston College
Nov. 10th- @ N.C. State
Nov. 17th- @ Notre Dame
Nov. 24th- Vanderbilt
Some quick analysis after the jump.
Honestly, this is one of the best schedules that we could ever hope for. We start the year off with our FCS team in Liberty. That will give us time to get into a little bit and work on some stuff before UNC comes to town the next week.
The third week of the year is a HUGE one because the Deacs travel to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles. FSU has their West Virginia make-up game with Savannah State the week before, so that will definitely be a tough one. If Wake has aspirations to win the Atlantic this year (definitely doable in my opinion), this game will be a huge one to circle on the calendar.
Army and Duke follow the game @FSU and I know the team would love to get two more wins there. These are probably the two easiest FBS games we will play all season and they are both at home, so that's great for us.
Next up is a game @Maryland (assuming they can still field a team), followed by a bye. With the game against a resurgent team last year in Virginia the week after the bye, the Deacs should be well rested and have a great shot against the Wahoos in a potential under-the-radar big game for determining bowls and conference champions.
Wake finally gets another Thursday night game, once again taking on the Clemson Tigers. The benefit of that game is huge obviously because of the exposure and the big crowd that it will draw. The downsides are obviously getting only 5 days of practice after the UVA game for what should be one of the biggest games of the year against the Tigers. I want that revenge from last year more than anything.
Two sneaky tough games follow the Clemson game. The Deacs have the Eagles of Boston College in Winston before travelling to Raleigh to take on the Wolfpack in a road game. Two wins would be nice there, but I think State might have something for us in Raleigh this year, who knows though at this juncture.
On November 17th,Wake Forest will travel to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. I never thought I would say those words. Obviously this is the biggest game of the year in terms of tradition even though it is OOC due to the Fighting Irish and their national prestige. That will be a must-attend game for all Wake fans that can make the trip.
Finally the Deacs wrap up their schedule with Vanderbilt. I only hope that we put on a better performance than we did last year. This is a "rivalry" game so we need to act like it is and not go through the motions. Coach Grobe should have us ready to play and I think it will be a good one for both teams.
Overall I believe the schedule is very, very manageable. I'm not going to go way out on a limb and start predicting an Orange Bowl berth because we are way too far away from that occurring to even speculate. I will say that this breaks down very favorably for us. We have our bye at the right time in the year and also have our tough games spread out.
The beginning of the year should do a lot for our confidence if we can get 3-4 wins out of the first 5. That will serve as a springboard for the rest of the year and should catapult us into contention for the Atlantic crown.
I think the team can feasibly get 7-8 wins and if they get lucky maybe more. I will be looking forward to this year more than I have in a lonnnng time.
Coach Grobe also finds the schedule advantageous to the Deacs:
"I really like our schedule," said head coach Jim Grobe. "I like the way it breaks out. We’ve got an open date right in the middle of the schedule which is good for us. We get to play on Thursday night (against Clemson) which will be really cool for our players and our fans. I think it’s a really good schedule for us, just a lot of good football teams on this schedule. We’re going to have to play hard every week."
With Spring Football just around the corner it is time to start shifting once again to football as the basketball season winds down and I am pumped!
We will have another post this week about the ACC schedule overall and what the big games are. I wanted to focus solely on the Deacs for this one. Comments are always welcome!