Wake Forest Football Predictions

The 2013 season marked the end of an era in Winston-Salem, as 13-year head coach Jim Grobe called it quits after the Wake Forest Demon Deacons concluded a disappointing 4-8 season. Grobe was responsible of leading Wake Forest to 5 of the school’s 10 bowl games, including the 2006 Orange Bowl.

Replacing Grobe will be Dave Clawson, who spent the previous 5 years as the head coach at Bowling Green. This is not an easy job to step into, as Wake Forest is the smallest BCS school and due to it being a private school it makes it that much harder to recruit in the talent needed to compete in the ACC. With that said, the Demon Deacons did managed to land the 60th ranked recruiting class in 2014, which is slightly above their 5-year average of 68th.

Last Season
ACC (Atlantic)
ATS Record
Points For
Points Against
2014 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
8/28 @ ULM
9/6 Gardner-Webb
9/13 @ Utah State
9/20 Army
9/27 @ Louisville
10/4 @ Florida State
10/18 Syracuse
10/25 Boston College
11/6 Clemson
11/15 @ NC State
11/22 Virginia Tech
11/29 @ Duke
Estimated Wins: 4.14

The problem facing Clawson in his first year on the job, is that Wake Forest has just 10 starters returning (5 offense, 5 defense) from last year and must replace the school’s No. 2 all-time passer in Tanner Price (4-year starter) and No. 3 all-time receiver in Michael Campanaro (7th round draft pick).

The good news is that it won’t take a whole lot improve on the offensive numbers from last year. Wake Forest only averaged 18.3 ppg and a mere 291 ypg. They had one of their worst rushing seasons in over a decade (94 ypg) and the quarterback play wasn’t great. The Demon Deacons only completed 52.9% of their attempts and had just 13 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.

Something else to keep in mind is that Wake Forest wasn’t as bad as their record would indicate last year. The Demon Deacons were a miserable 0-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less, which essentially means they were 4 plays away from being an 8-4 team. They also could have easily won on the road at Boston College (10-24) and Syracuse (0-13).

Unfortunately for Wake Forest the schedule gets a lot tougher in 2014. For starters, the Demon Deacons draw Virginia Tech at home and Duke on the road out of the Coastal. As for the rest of the conference schedule, the Demon Deacons best chances of winning will likely come in their two home games against Syracuse and Boston College. While they have a couple of favorable non-conference games at home against Gardner-Webb and Army, they have to travel to take on both ULM and Utah State.

Regular Season Win Total
ACC Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
250 to 1
2000 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Season Predictions

There’s no denying that things aren’t looking great with a new coach and limited starters coming back, but I have a difficult time believing that Wake Forest’s win total would be 3.5 had they played up to their potential and won 8+ games in 2013. The key thing to keep in mind is that it’s not going to take a lot to improve on last year’s offensive numbers. I’m being cautious and taking the Demon Deacons to go 4-8, thanks to a 3-1 non-conference record, but there’s clearly the potential for more than one conference win.

Due to the fact that the Demon Deacons are getting zero respect coming into this season, I look for them to be a solid team to back against the spread, starting with their season opener against ULM, who is in a lot worse shape after losing their all-time leading passer in Kolton Browning. Not to mention Wake Forest will be out for revenge after losing at home to ULM 19-21 last year. If the offense can improve under Clawson, Wake Forest is going to show a nice profit in 2014.

2014 Projections
ACC (Atlantic)
ACC Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
OVER 3.5



UNDER 3.5 Wins – This is a tough call but we’ll push slightly to the UNDER. Wake finished 3-9 a year ago and while they should be improved as a whole, their record may not show it. This team was horrendous offensively a year ago. They averaged only 14 PPG on 216 total yards per game. They could not run the ball at all (40 YPG rushing). Two of their three wins last year came by 3 point margins. Their lone “easy” win was against Gardner Webb, a 23-7 final. Every loss but two came by double digits. Dave Clawson is a solid coach in our opinion, however he had almost nothing to work with when he took over. This is still a very young team with only 6 seniors on their entire team. We think Wake will get better under Clawson, but it will take at least another year. We’ll call for another 3-9 campaign and take the UNDER here.

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