As we close in on next Thursday, we are all biding the time before we can watch Wake Forest take the field against Tulane. In an effort to help pass that time and throw even more evaluation onto the year, I have decided to rank the games in terms of difficulty from easiest to hardest.
This has been stated many times before, but it is almost impossible to get an easier schedule than Wake Forest has this year. Not only do they get most of their “toss-up” games at home (aside from arguably Duke and Indiana), but the teams that they were likely to lose to any way on a neutral field are on the road.
It’s not a surprise at all that the easiest six games take place within the Friendly Confines of (what used to be known as) Groves Stadium in Winston-Salem.
Without further ado:
9. @N.C. State
12. @Florida State
Rob wrote a great breakdown back in February when the schedule came out and it holds pretty much true in terms of what Wake needs to do to make a bowl. The way I see it, the schedule breaks down into essentially four pods.
The “must wins”: Delaware, Tulane, Army
The “Need 2⁄3 wins”: Virginia, Boston College, Syracuse
The “Need 1⁄3 wins”: @Duke, @Indiana, @N.C. State
The “Say a Prayer to get a win”: @Louisville, Clemson, @Florida State
Despite those games breaking down into four groups, I think N.C. State is effectively in its own tier. It’s a harder game than Duke and Indiana, but obviously not quite on the level of the any “highly improbable” games to win.
It may not reflect it at the end of the year because of a brutal schedule for the Wolfpack (seriously look at it—-they play Notre Dame, ECU, Miami, and UNC before they even get to Louisville, Clemson, and FSU), but they are a talented team.
As opposed to last year, where I didn’t have as good of a feel for what the schedule was like (although I did get 3⁄4 wins in the easiest four games), I thought this year broke down fairly easily. There can be some debate between Army and Tulane at 2-3, as well as Syracuse and BC at 5-6, before finally Clemson and @FSU at 11-12, but for the most part it is obvious what Wake needs to do to make a bowl game.
Discussion on this is always welcome, so I’d love to hear what I got right, wrong, or in between!