Wake Forest has found themselves ranked for the first time since the 2019 season that had so much promise before injuries ravaged the team and the season ended with a whimper.
Coming off of a win where Wake dominated Virginia in every aspect of the game: the offense didn’t punt until late in the game, the defense held on goal to go situations twice while grabbing two turnovers, and Nick Sciba is Nick Sciba, it was touch and go on whether or not Wake would find themselves ranked.
Well, the Deacs find themselves 24th in the AP Poll and 25th in the Coaches Poll. This feels eerily reminiscent of the 2019 season, as this week Wake Forest takes on Louisville to continue their winning ways.
This isn’t a prognostication of Wake Forest transporting back to 2006 and winning an ACC championship, but this team just looks like Dave Clawson’s best team. They’ve had some kinks to work out on both sides of the ball. The offense still could sputter out at a moment's notice, the defense has bent and given up some explosive plays, Ivan Mora still kicking the ball out of bounds. However, Friday’s game showed that they could clean those things up. Giving up 17 points to an offense that’s at worst top 30 in the country is a statement, not punting until 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter is a statement.
This is a team that has looked to have fixed what has plagued them year after year: there’s more than two receivers that can turn a game on its’ head. The defense has multiple guys who can get to the quarterback, which takes so much pressure off the linebackers and secondary. Sam Hartman looks genuinely like a solid ACC quarterback and not a JAG(Just a guy.)
Now the next step in the season labeled as wanting to go from “Good to Great” continues with a stretch of 4 games that Wake should at worst be 5 point favorites in, half on the road, half at home.
Let’s see how great this team can actually be.