'Nole Your Opponent: Bill Connelly Previews Wake Forest

SB Nation football research genius and expert analyst Bill Connelly is previewing the ACC this week.

FSU hosts Wake Forest September 15 at Noon. Here's an excerpt from 2012 Wake Forest Football Preview: 2012 Wake Forest Football Preview: Bowls And Contradictions:

Defining Success

I would say that the "success or not" line for 2012 is the same as it typically is for Wake Forest: bowls are good. And home games versus Liberty, Army and Duke should get the Demon Deacons halfway there. And while the Football Outsiders Almanac 2012 actually likes Boston College a bit, I'm going to assume Wake fans are assuming that one is a win (which makes sense, considering Wake's 27-19 win at B.C. last year). But finding two more wins will either require home upsets (remaining home schedule: North Carolina, Clemson, Vanderbilt) or strong road performances (at Maryland, at Virginia, at N.C. State). It is a reasonable goal, but certainly not a slam dunk.


The lack of experience on the offensive line is a concern, whether or not last year's line was any good. The lack of size on the defensive line is a clear hindrance, whether or not Nikita Whitlock can make some plays behind the line of scrimmage. The losses of players like Chris Givens and both starting safeties removes some of the safety net, and Wake has almost no choice but to rely on some newcomers to get back to a bowl.

But I've learned to assume that Wake is probably going to produce more than I think they are going to. And with playmakers like Tanner Price, Josh Harris, Michael Campanaro, Whitlock, Justin Jackson, Mike Olson, Merrill Noel, etc., there's a decent chance that the Deacs will be disruptive enough to steal six wins somewhere. And as long as that's enough for Wake fans, then it's enough for me, too.

This Wake preview is way better than what you'll get almost anywhere else. Make sure to read the other sections!

Wake did beat Florida State last year, thanks to a calamity of offensive errors including five turnovers and a safety. The game sparked much debate and it pretty quickly exposed who don't understand football and the value of field position. Let's put this thing to bed: the vast majority of the blame should be placed squarely on the offense. Period. But the defense was not blameless. Got it?

In 2012, Wake comes to Tallahassee. The game should be extremely hot at noon. It's a nice step up for FSU, coming off two 1-AA games. And it's a nice prep before Clemson, as Wake does run a lot of misdirection, like Clemson (though not in the same fashion).

Wake lost four offensive linemen with 20+ career starts. Two new tackles, two new guards, and only two of the four newbies have anything resembling game experience. FSU has the best defensive line and possibly the best defense in the country. Good luck with that.

This is certainly a lookahead game with Clemson on deck, but I don't think that'll help Wake Forest enough. We could see a repeat of 31-0 from 2010:

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