Well, the Deacs didn’t do so great this weekend. Wake’s first conference loss of the season was a pretty ugly beat down by the Clemson Tigers on the road in South Carolina. Wake will have to bounce back quickly, as next week’s game against Boston College will be for the Atlantic Division crown. As always, it’s time to completely overreact to everything we saw in the Wake game and the rest of college football this weekend. Please keep in mind that these are just the opinions of a fan who doesn’t really know that much about the sport of football and likes to complain.
The Deacs aren’t on that level, yet. Wake Forest is having an unbelievably great season. The Deacs were a top 10 team in the playoff rankings and were undefeated in the conference heading into Saturday. There is a difference, however, in having a great season and being a football powerhouse. Wake just isn’t yet to the level where they can waltz into some big time football program’s house—like Clemson—and play an average game and come out with a win. Clemson isn’t the same behemoth as they have been in the last few years, but they are still Clemson—an 8-3 team with 10 5-star and 40 4-star players on the current roster. Recruiting rankings aren’t the end all be all of talent, but on the road, it was going to take perfect preparation, perfect execution, and a probably some luck to win this game. Wake simply does not have the talent to overcome a 10 yard quarter and 2 turnovers inside their own 20 yard line against a team like Clemson. Not yet, anyways.
The Deacs may be the worst tackling team in the nation. The defense cannot tackle anyone. One of the reason the Deacs have given up 300+ rushing yards in 4 of their last 6 games is because they simply cannot bring down the ball carrier when they have the chance. I don’t play football and I obviously have no idea the best way to go about tackling someone running full speed right at me, but often times it seems Wake just runs into guys with their shoulders and hopes they fall down. That works fine against teams like Duke or Old Dominion, but bigger 4 and 5 star players—like DJ Uiagalelei or Will Shipley—are just going to bounce right off of that hit and keep right on running. I really don’t know whose fault that is or how to go about fixing it, but it is a problem.
Quinton Cooley will be the next great Wake Forest running back. Assuming he doesn’t transfer due to lack of playing time, Quinton Cooley is going to be good. I know he only had 8 carries for 39 yards against Clemson, but he definitely looked like the best running back on the team on Saturday.
The fact that 7-3 Clemson wasn’t ranked is kind of silly. I don’t know if the committee is mad at Dabo or something, but Clemson is easily a top 25 team. The Tigers only had 3 losses, 1 being to the best team in the nation and the other 2 being to top 25 teams. That’s pretty similar to Wisconsin, who is sitting at #15. I don’t know how a 6-4 Mississippi State team is better than Clemson.
I’m now more worried about the coaching carousel. Sure, the Deacs aren’t going to the playoff, but it seems like everyday, another power 5 job is opening up. I wouldn’t be shocked if by the end of the week Texas was looking for a new coach. Do I think Clawson is going to be offered a job at Florida or LSU or USC? No. Do I think he would take a job at VT? Absolutely not. But the blue blood programs are going to have to get coaches from somewhere, and that leaves coaching vacancies in the tier below, and that is what worries me. Personally, my absolute worst case scenario is someone offers Brian Kelly a ridiculous offer that he can’t refuse, and suddenly the Notre Dame job is open. Whether it’s reasonable or not, I will be nervous for the entire offseason.
Those are my takes from Week 11 of the college football season. Feel free to leave some of yours below.