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Wake Forest Football: Why September is the Most Important Month of the Season

An early start for the Deacs is critical.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest's 2015 football season is nearly here, and Wake Forest better be prepared to play during September. It's the most important stretch of the season.

I'll go ahead and assume that Wake Forest will beat Elon in its season opener. If they don't, then this season has 0-12 written all over it. Given the schedule, Wake Forest could start the season 4-0. I cannot put "could" in enough italics. At the same time, the Deacs could easily start the season 1-3. Given that Wake Forest is ranked 98th, it's likely that games two through four are all games that have a point spread of one touchdown or fewer, i.e. toss-up games.

This relatively easy start to the season can be both a blessing and a curse for a team as young as the Demon Deacons. On one hand, these games are all quite winnable. Wake could establish some early momentum, ride it through the rest of the season, and somehow become bowl eligible in year two of the Dave Clawson Era. Though it's worth pointing out that even if Wake Forest can start 4-0, bowl eligibility is still not guaranteed.

The counter is that the team is quite young and will presumably be at its worst at the beginning of the season. Yes, older teams also get better as the season goes along, but younger teams get better at a more exponential rate. In that sense, one could make an argument that it would be preferably to play Elon, and then face the Murderer's Row of Louisville, at Notre Dame, and at Clemson.

The most likely scenario is that Wake splits the toss-up games and finishes September 2-2. If that happens, then it's very possible, if not probable, that the Demon Deacons are looking at a 2-10 or 3-9 season. What are the best chances for wins after September? I have the N.C. State and Duke games circled on my calendar. To be honest, I'm far more concerned about how Wake plays in games two through four, as well as our home games against beatable opponents. The Florida State, Notre Dame, and Clemson games are almost irrelevant to me.

Our program is going to be successful by defeating teams such as Syracuse, Boston College, N.C. State, and Duke in recruiting and on the field. For a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2008, it's critical to be very competitive on that tier before we think about beating the conference's elite. That can be the end goal, but this program must go through a process before it can get there. That's why September is the most important month of the 2015 season. As Dave Clawson says, "Young guys are going to have to play old."

Date Opponent Opponent Ranking (out of 128)
9/3 Elon FCS -Unranked
9/12 at Syracuse 99
9/19 at Army 118
9/26 Indiana 75
10/3 Florida State 17
10/10 at Boston College 69
10/17 at North Carolina 48
10/24 N.C. State 45
10/30 Louisville 22
11/14 at Notre Dame 20
11/21 at Clemson 24
11/28 Duke 60