First off, I want to say kudos to Riley for him going through the schedule so far and the sections are pretty accurate. Earlier today he went through what could be viewed as a “Murderers’ Row.”
Now to begin, do I believe that Wake will take every single game in that stretch and go undefeated this season? Absolutely not. That would be the worst take I’ve had since I said two years ago all the Sixers needed was a shooting guard and they’d be fine.
What I do think is that Wake has a chance, and it’s honestly not that far-fetched.
Being a fan of a small private school team, you have to temper expectations. Winning an ACC championship once every 10 years is a milestone. For teams like Clemson, FSU and Miami, they’re ready to burn it all to the ground if it goes past a couple of years, but is it wrong to think that David beats Goliath?
Now I’m not gonna go into a full schedule breakdown (stay tuned for that) I just want to give a little more insight into a few games.
When looking at the front half of Wake’s schedule, it starts off reasonably well and then falls off a cliff. Regardless of the miscues that happened in last year’s contest against BC, I fully expect Wake to win that game, Utah State, Presbyterian, and App State and be 4-0.
It’s not that hard of a beginning stretch, and if Clawson and the Deacs want to prove last year’s bowl season wasn’t a fluke then it starts right there with those 4 games.
The week after App State, the Deacs welcome Florida State to town. If you look at ESPN’s FPI ratings, you see that they give Wake a 9% chance of winning that game.
Which is honestly astounding to me.
Last year I watched the Deacs throw away a game due to penalties (one that called back a touchdown and led to a 14 point swing) and turnovers from, at the time, the second string QB. And yet, the game never got too out of hand.
In 2015 I watched on Parent’s Weekend as the Deacs pushed FSU to the brink in a hard fought loss. Outside of 1 huge run by Dalvin Cook for 94 yards (other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?), FSU had 17 rushes for 47. Kendall Hinton threw for over 200 yards and a TD against the NUMBER 4 PASSING DEFENSE IN THE COUNTRY (the person who he threw the TD to is still on the team by the way, Cam Serigne.)
Now let’s look on the other side: FSU flat out has a glaring weakness where the Deacs have probably their biggest strength. Florida State’s OL is flat out devastated. 2 left for the NFL and their right guard has an ACL tear. Their only returning starter has been working with the second team.
That doesn’t inspire confidence. Meanwhile, even with losing Marquel Lee to the Oakland Raiders, Wake still boasts one of the better front sevens in the ACC if not country with the likes of: Duke Ejiofor, Jaboree Williams, Wendell Dunn and the return of Zeek Rodney. Not to mention the stellar defensive recruits Wake has picked up in the past two recruiting cycles in Mike Allen, Sulaiman Kamara, Jeffery Burley, and Chase Monroe.
With a peek at Florida State’s schedule, it isn’t pretty. They begin the season with a titanic battle with Alabama on a neutral site. After a walk over game with Louisiana Monroe, things get a bit interesting.
They get a home matchup with Miami in what is Miami’s biggest game on their schedule. Deandre Francois is still a QB with flaws and Miami is a perfect storm of athleticism, and has, in my honest opinion, a top five front 7 and has a very good chance of knocking off the Seminoles in a primetime, nationally broadcast game(even over Clemson-Lousiville).
FSU is replacing a lot of talent in their skill positions and young players in big game scenarios isn’t always what you want, especially trying to replace the likes of Dalvin Cook and Travis Rudolph.
After that, the Noles get NC State, who absolutely choked last year against FSU and Clemson, and should be even better this year. NC state is another dark horse in the ACC, not quite as good as Miami in my eyes, but will beat a top ACC team this year.
From a very realistic standpoint, FSU could come to Winston-Salem 2-2 in a daze. Worst case, 1-3. Like I said, I’m not saying Wake will win come week 5. What i’m saying is that Wake is in a reasonable position to take down a big team this year, and FSU is one of the big targets.
I could bring up Louisville or even Notre Dame, one who is coming off of being exposed towards the end of last year, and the latter being downright awful the entire season.
With Florida State I see a lot of the factors that go into brewing the perfect storm. One team has a schedule that could allow them to get into a great groove, the other has a schedule that could end their dreams before they even start.
As previously stated, being a smaller school, you have to temper your expectations but it’s not too crazy to think that a win is brewing in the near future.
What are your thoughts on looking into the future?
As always Go Deacs!