The game this week at BB&T Field is one we've been waiting on for years. Whether you already realized that or not doesn't change the fact that I needed to say it. Saturday's matchup where an undefeated Wake Forest team will have the chance to win its way into the Top 25 against one of the powerhouses of college football is a dream come true. Wake is playing some of its best football of the last decade and is 4-0. Meanwhile, Florida State has lost its last two contests, its Heisman candidate QB, and plenty of practice and game time due to Mother Nature. ESPN/ABC have also elected to show our game in a prime 3:30 time slot where millions of college football fans, media, and recruits will be watching.
The Football Gods have bestowed on us a mashup of variables that could make Saturday an All-Time Wake Forest Football moment. We know the Deacs will put everything into this game for 60 minutes to try and make that a reality, but it's up to us as fans to make sure we do our part as well.
It's not lost on me that traditionally Wake Forest isn't considered a "football school" by most. The combination of a historically stronger basketball team, a previous lack of investment in facilities, and the smallest Power 5 enrollment in the nation haven't done the program any favors in gaining recognition in the area. While the city buzzed around Demon Deacon football during and shortly after the uplifting run to the 2006 Orange Bowl, excitement understandably faded as results reverted back to the mean. This isn't a trend reserved exclusively for Wake Forest football; far from it. Just look at the attendance drops at programs such as Missouri, Cincinnati, and Arizona State in recent years. Very few programs can have multiple middling seasons compared to their average and not suffer an understandable drop in fan support.
But just as drops are expected during down times, subsequent rises in attendance have to accompany periods when expectations, results, and hopes are high. That's exactly what we have right now with a team that has won 5 straight games, has a Top 20 defense in the nation, and features some of the most dynamic playmakers on both sides of the ball we've seen in years. This team deserves a crowd on Saturday that is one of the most electric in college football. We need four quarters of loud, raucous, and packed stands that demonstrate our school and community is fully behind this program and its proud progress.
ACC through four weeks: Wake Forest and Duke perfect, FSU winlesshttps://t.co/Tz5WWIoKn6— Patrick O'Brien (@POBSports) September 27, 2017
Here is why selling out Saturday's matchup and packing BB&T Field is so important:
1. First and foremost, the in-game advantages of having a full crowd of black and gold yelling at the top of their lungs are clear. It fuels the players on the field and just might rattle a true-freshman FSU QB that has four quarters of college football under his belt. In a game that might come down to a few 3rd Down Conversions or momentum-changing mistakes, you want a packed crowd on your side to hopefully swing the likelihood of those going in your favor.
2. Strong fan support is very important for big recruiting weekends, and this one is absolutely massive coming up. The football team is bringing in top 2018 targets DT Shamar Jones and DB Avonta Crim for Official Visits this weekend. With only a couple spots left in this class, the hope is that the staff can land commitments from both of them soon and start focusing more on 2019 prospects going forward. As for basketball, 4* CG target Ayo Dosunmu will be taking his long-awaited OV as well, and with an Illinois visit the only one left after this weekend, the pressure is on to make a good impression. Needless to say, having a sell-out crowd would be huge in letting all three of them see the atmosphere we're capable of here in Winston-Salem.
Wake makes the Lucky Seven for 5-star guard Ayo Dosunmu and are one of three OVs he has set. https://t.co/JC8w5L7qPV— Deacons Illustrated (@WakeRivals) September 20, 2017
3. Finally, I want to feel what its like to sell out this beautiful stadium once again. We have one of the nicest football stadiums in the country, and yet rarely do we ever maximize its potential by bringing a crowd that packs it to the brim. Maybe, just maybe, a massive crowd Saturday can remind everyone just how fun it is when BB&T has a full 31,500 people locked-in and cheering on the Deacs on gameday.
Attendance is a funny thing in that once you hit a certain level of support, going to a game doesn't just become an option for a casual fan, it become THE option. People want to be a part of big crowds, and if a victory in front of a sell out stadium makes folks that much more interested in coming back, then we could be on the verge of developing a really fun atmosphere here for years to come.
I write this article as motivation for us all. If you were on the fence about buying a ticket for the game, pull the trigger. If you already have your seats booked, ask your friends to make sure they have theirs. This game has major implications for our season, for recruiting, and for demonstrating that we and our beloved Deacs belong amongst some of the best. The football team is ready to finally prove it is a legitimate name in college football and is here to stay. As a fanbase that is as loyal as they come, the time is now to show we're ready to take that next step with them.
The Blogger So Dear tailgate is always open to any and all of our readers who want to stop by. Stay tuned to Riley and Jake's Twitter accounts (@BSD_RaJohnston and @BloggerSoDear) for more information about its location on Saturday afternoon. Looking forward to seeing everyone at BB&T in a couple days. Go Deacs!