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A Decade of Demon Deacon Sports Part Two: The Best Year of WF Athletics?

Part Two of a Two-Part miniseries that looks at the best years of Wake Forest sports from 2006-2016

Wake Forest v Boston College Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Welcome to Part Two of the Decade of Demon Deacon Sports miniseries! The purpose of this project was to find a way to quantify the overall fan satisfaction for the four biggest Wake Forest sports (Football, Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, and Baseball) over the ten year period of 2006-2016. Yesterday I presented the aggregated stats that I collected to create this formula, explained the individual value and weighting system for each individual statistical category, and compared the success of seasons within each sport over the last decade using the newly named DEAC Score. If you missed Part One, click here to get caught up with the series.

Caught up? Well then it’s time to go over today’s main objectives.

  • Compare individual years of Wake Forest athletics using sum totals of DEAC Scores
  • Assess additional weighting structure to the sports’ DEAC Scores based on fan interest
  • Look at multiple projections for 2016 Wake Forest football and how the season might compare to past seasons

Now that we have all the DEAC Scores calculated for each individual sports season, we can now determine which year was the most successful for Wake Forest sports by totaling the four sums of Football, Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, and Baseball over each 12 month span. All forty yearly DEAC Scores can be combined appropriately to create 10 distinct annual DEAC Scores from 2006-2007 to the most recent 2015-2016 school year. The results are below:

By this method, the 2006-2007 year was the most positive for Wake Forest fans of the last decade by just over 1.0 on the DEAC Score rating. The tremendous run to the Orange Bowl and trip to the College Cup in soccer carried it to the DEAC Score crown with only its successor two years later getting reasonably close. The last few years have been far less satisfying for Wake Forest fans, but the excitement around Men’s Soccer and Baseball this past spring and fall helped 2015-2016 rise high above the rest of the 2010’s.

However, while this is a rather interesting way to look at each individual season, there is one improvement that could really make it an even more accurate depiction of the emotional pulse of the Wake Forest fanbase. You may have already thought about it while looking through the tables: This formula in its current state currently values each sport exactly the same as if fans are as equally invested in how the basketball team does this year as they are in Tom Walter’s Diamond Deacs. While that certainly might be the case for some Wake Forest supporters, it certainly isn’t representative of the entire fanbase, and thus a weighting system has to be created to compensate for the varied interest.

I sent out a form last Sunday night to my Twitter followers about their interest in these four Wake Forest sports programs and kept the survey open for a couple of hours. The survey stated “You have 12 points to allocate your overall Wake Forest fandom to these four sports. Please allocate them in the way that represents your Demon Deacon support.” Each sport had a max allocation of 5 points and a minimum of 0 points, and I received 75 total responses from Deacs across the social networking site.

Below are the final survey results:

Wake Forest Football: 32% of all points allocated

Wake Forest Basketball: 33.3% of all points allocated

Wake Forest Soccer: 17.7% of all points allocated

Wake Forest Baseball: 17% of all points allocated

By subtracting the actual % allocated over the null hypothesis base (25%) and dividing by the null hypothesis for each sport, followed by adding 1 to the final total, we could develop a weighting system that accurately represented the interest of the Wake Forest fan base.

The final weights were:

Wake Forest Football: x1.28

Wake Forest Basketball: x1.33

Wake Forest Soccer: x.704

Wake Forest Baseball: x.680

In conclusion, the contribution Wake Basketball provides to the DEAC Score sum any given year should be worth about twice as much (good or bad) as the contribution Wake Forest baseball makes. With this new weighted system in place, the results look a little different.

Suddenly, ‘06-’07 has been dethroned by a 2008-2009 year that benefits from the heavier weights assigned to above-average football and basketball teams. 2008-2009 featured the #1 year in basketball, #2 year in soccer, and #3 year in football over the last decade, which totaled do more than enough to surpass an Orange Bowl inspired 21.92 DEAC Score at the start of the decade. The weights based on the fan preferential survey had a net difference of -2.45 DEAC Score on ‘06-’07, which combined with a +.88Δ DEAC Score for ‘08-’09 leaves us with a worthy new “Peak Year” of the decade. Needless to say, if you graduated from Mother So Dear in 2009 or 2010, you had a couple of pretty damn good years supporting the Deacs in your backyard.

In other news, the 2015-2016 season doesn’t look as strong as it did in the table before, mainly because the negatives of a 3-9 football season and 11-20 basketball season were amplified, while baseball and Men’s Soccer’s postseason success were simultaneously diluted. Its drop off of -6.84 in value from the weighting system was the largest of any year.

This has become somewhat of a trend recently as four straight years of negative ratings in basketball and football have really dampened some soccer and baseball success. However, due to the formers’ heavier weights, that could change dramatically in 2016-17 with simply average performances.

Speaking of average, a standard mediocre year for Wake Forest sports should fall in the range of 7.0-9.0 in the rating system depending on the number of bonuses each team can pick up through draft picks, top 25 wins, and potential tournament/bowl appearances.

The most average year possible assuming...

  • An overall average record around .500 for all programs (Compensating of course for basketball and baseball’s tendency for a weak non-conference schedule)
  • A .500 record against all rivals in all sports
  • A dead middle finish in the ACC standings across all sports
  • A 0% change in attendance or recruiting from the selected years
  • And an average amount of draft picks, top 25 wins, and chances of a tournament appearance (Obviously higher for a football team at 6-6 than a basketball or soccer team hovering around .500)

...leaves us with a weighted DEAC Score of 8.00.

That rating is something that Wake Forest sports hasn’t reached since 2010, but it could potentially be reached in 2016-2017 with a little bit of improvement.

Let’s have a look at what a strong football season could potentially do to set up the other three sports for eclipsing this 8.00 DEAC Score mark later in the year.

I’ve set up three types of projections for how the 2016 football season could go based on the strength of schedule, overall talent, and other miscellaneous factors. I don’t think I’m really going out on a limb here by saying a best case scenario is 7-5, worst case scenario is 4-8, and a 6-6 bowl game appearance is the most likely finish.

How would these results perform in the DEAC Score formula? Two of them will put the Deacs on pace for an above-average year, while the third would force basketball to make up a lot of ground this winter. (Note: The .500 or above projections of course do not take into account the potential bowl game result, which would sway the final value by .165 in either direction.)

There aren’t many Top 25 victories available considering the likely only other ranked opponent not named Clemson or FSU would come in the form of Louisville on the road. This prevents WF football from getting a large boost in that category, while the draft class also might not be more than 3 deep realistically. Regardless of record, attendance figures would be hard-pressed to surpass the 30,222 average of the previous 10 years and thus will likely lead to some negatives in that department, while the recruiting percent +/- really depends if the staff adds anyone else in the class.

Overall, a 6-6 season for Coach Clawson and co. would put Wake Forest on a solid path to being above 8.0 in the system for the year between these four sports given that basketball and baseball should be about average and soccer is projected to be a top five team in the nation once again.

Well, that concludes the two-part series of A Decade of Demon Deacon Sports for now. I hope you enjoyed the project and if it helps you win an argument with a fellow Deac or simply reflect on some seasons you haven’t thought of in a while that’s all I was really hoping for.

I’d like to make one final note that the rankings above are strictly to help see the last 10 years from potentially a different perspective, and I’m sure there are various personal perceptions of the last decade due to different preferences for sports or emotional connections to individual teams that lead to alternate conclusions.

With that being said, feel free to ask questions about formulas, statistics, or whatever else is on your mind in the comments below. I’d love to hear where fans personally rank the years based on their own experience.

Lastly, you can follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3 for more Wake Forest statistics and news. Looking forward to seeing you all in two weeks when yet another exciting year of Demon Deacon sports is upon us.