Athlon Sports ranked all 128 FBS teams, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons were ranked 64th. Is that an accurate ranking? Where does that place Wake Forest among other ACC teams? Let's take a look.
Wake Forest's ranking of 64, places them of three other ACC teams: Boston College, Virginia, and Syracuse. It puts them 5th in the ACC Atlantic, and puts them just 5 spots behind NC State. Wake is currently ranked 74th in the projected S&P+ ratings from Football Outsiders, so the Athlon Sports projection is actually optimistic compared to some analytical projections.
It's a cop out, but it's not easy to project what the 2016 Wake Forest football team. Wake has won just three games during each of the past two seasons, so it's difficult to say that the team is going to double its win total and make a bowl game. However, while the team is still young, many of the young players have so many reps of experience. Wake graduated just a handful of seniors from last year's roster and now has another recruiting class of depth to rotate in. Young players should get better, but how much better will they get?
Wake's previous two teams have lacked athleticism and explosiveness, but this year promises to be the most explosive yet. Dave Clawson has to figure out the quarterback position early. He rotated in Wolford and Hinton last year almost out of necessity due to injury, but that cannot be the case this season. Whoever the quarterback is, that player is going to need the offensive line to continue to progress and be able to keep the quarterback upright and also create running lanes for the tailbacks.
On the defensive side, Wake's front seven should be fine, but the secondary has to improve. I believe the secondary will be better this year and force more turnovers, but Wake's secondary benefited some last year from opposing teams just running the ball and milking the clock when they had the lead. Wake's offense should be better in 2016, so the secondary may not have that same benefit. Full credit to Bill Connelly for that insight.
Do you all think that 64th is a good ranking? Let us know in the comments section below. Football season is less than 100 days away. Fall camp will be here before we know it.