College Football Predictions – Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2019 College Football Preview
Record – 7-6
ATS – 5-8
The Demon Deacons made a third consecutive bowl game for just the second time in school history and didn’t waste the opportunity to shine. Again. HC Dave Clawson led the team to another bowl win by beating a tough Memphis Tigers team by a score of 37-34 in the Birmingham Bowl. These guys are definitely on the right track.
That makes three winning seasons in a row and let’s see if they have the MINERALS to make it a FOUR-BAGGER.
2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating
Atlantic Division – TBD
ACC – TBD
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2019 Outlook
The Wake Forest offense was a HIDEOUS MESS for a long time but have really got it going lately under the leadership of Dave Clawson and OC William Ruggiero. The Deacons have averaged more than 30 PPG in each of the past two season (32.8 LY) and are almost certain to have another fine season when you look at the talent coming back.
We love the QB situation. There are two solid options in Sam Hartman and Jamie Newman who each do a good job in the THROW GAME whilst providing mobility and a running threat. Seemingly 12th-year senior RB Cade Carney is coming off a 1,000-yard campaign and the WR and TE groups are sound even with the departure of WR (and special teams ace) Greg Dortch. Three starters are back on the offensive line including LT Justin Herron who missed almost the entire 2018 season due to injury. Expect another very good performance out of the offense.
Wake is in a bit of a freefall after allowing 33.3 PPG LY (#12 ACC) and have now regressed significantly in each of the past two years. The Deacons return just five starters to the mix although they have some talent at each level of the defense. The appropriately-named DE Carlos Basham led the team in TFL (11) last year, LB Justin Strnad led the team in tackles and both starting senior CBs are back, including 2nd Team ACC honoree Essang Bassey (15 PBU LY). Wake scooped up a fine DL in transfer Miles Fox (ODU) but he tore his Achilles in the spring.
The Demon Deacons have allowed 450+ YPG in each of the past two seasons. The most we can expect this year in mild improvement, and they most certainly cannot afford any injuries to the small handful of really good players they have on defense.
The kicking game is in really good shape, particularly with the return of ace PK Nico Sciba (19/22 FG LY). The explosive Greg Dortch (2 PR TD LY) will be missed.
Overall – The first half of the slate looks pretty easy and it’s not impossible to think they could have four or five wins at the midpoint of the season. We recommend that they get a lot of wins early because they finish with tough road tests in three of their final four games (at Virginia Tech, at Clemson, at Syracuse).
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Rice (September 7)
The Deacons will be in the unfamiliar role of road chalk and have a tussle with in-state rival North Carolina on deck.
Season Win Total
Over 7 +130
Under 7 -170
LEANAGE to the under. Not crazy about the extra juice, but it would be a surprisingly good regular season if they bagged more than seven wins.
Wake Forest is the sixth-smallest school in the FBS in terms of undergraduate enrollment (Rice, Tulsa, service academies).
The Demon Deacons and Clemson Tigers played in the 1982 MIRAGE BOWL in front of 80,000 fans in Tokyo Japan. Half of the spectators where given orange pom-poms (Clemson) while the other half were issued black and gold so they could cheer for Wake Forest. The Grambling University Band provided the halftime entertainment. Clemson walked away with a 21-17 win. Amaze the BURLY STATE TROOPER with those trivia nuggets next time you get pulled over for speeding.
MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral
It’s good to see the Demon Deacons playing such solid football. This team should provide fans with plenty of excitement this season as the offense won’t have too many problems scoring points. Then, there is that defense. The early schedule is pretty favorable and it wouldn’t surprise us to see them get off to a hot start.
Wake Forest suffered their first ATS losing season of the Dave Clawson era ATS last year (5-8) but they have been profitable overall since he grabbed the reins. They don’t draw a lot of public support and often provide value vs the number. It’s just hard to trust that defense. Taking a neutral view for now.
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Birmingham Bowl – Memphis vs Wake Forest
It’s time for some sweet Birmingham Bowl action Saturday afternoon as Wake Forest takes on Memphis. Get ‘cho popcone. There should be PLENTY of points scored in this contest. Last team with the ball wins? Wake Forest slithered into the bowl season with a 6-6 mark but did manage to take down rivals NC State and Duke (W 59-7) in two of their final three contests. Memphis lost for seemingly the 11th time in the last two years vs UCF and came up short AGAIN in terms of bagging a conference title.
Memphis -3.5 Wake Forest (72.5)
MEGALOCKS LINE – Memphis -2
“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Memphis 38 Wake Forest 34.5
Memphis offense vs Wake Forest defense
Might as well address the elephant in the room, yo. The Tigers will be without superstar RB Darrell Henderson who is off to (hopefully) do some awesome work in the NFL. Henderson finished up this campaign with 1,909 yards rushing and 22 TDs at an impossible 8.9 yards per carry. Good thing they have another (!) 1,000-yard RB in Patrick Taylor who is more than capable of having a big game vs the SOFT UNDERBELLY of the Wake defense. QB Brady White has done some fine work (63%, 25-8 TD to INT) and should be able to do some damage vs a weak Wake secondary. They lose some explosiveness without Henderson but should still be able to get into the high-30s at a minimum. The Deacons have been fairly rotten on defense this year (#116) and only Houston has a worse statistical D among bowlers. Wake will probably go into this contest knowing that they are gonna have to trade scores (and lots of them) to have a shot.
Wake Forest offense vs Memphis defense
The good news for Wake is that QB Jamie Newman has been playing really well down the stetch (7 TD, 0 INT vs NC St and Duke). Newman will definitely miss the services of star WR Greg Dortch in this one (1,078, 8 TD) (!) but the WR group is deep and Memphis can be smoked through the air. It’s going to be up to the OL and rock solid RB corps led by 14th year senior Cade Carney (954, 5.4, 8 TD) to keep the chains moving and ALSO let the defense get some rest. Memphis is probably not going to provide much resistance (#84 total defense) and will have to try and create some turnovers and negative plays. We expect Newman to have a really good game.
Trends, Intangibles and More!
Wake is looking to bag their 3rd (!) consecutive winning season under the watchful eye of HC Dave Clawson…….The Deacons finished the last two bowl seasons with wins (Temple, Texas A&M)….Memphis HC Mike Norvell is 0-2 in bowl games with Memphis (WKU, Iowa St).
It’s hard to call out either team as a tasty wagering opportunity given how poorly these squads play defense. Memphis will be without one of the best offensive players in college football. Wake is definitely gonna miss DORTCH THE TORCH when they attempt to MATRICULATE the ball down the field in the passing game. It’s gonna come down to the defense that can actually make a big play or two. Seems pretty random. We lean to taking the points and will probably just throw some pizza money on Wake ML.
Official play: None.
Side: Lean to Wake Forest.
Total: No leanage to report.
‘Lean’ implies we are comfortable suggesting ‘small potatoes’ on the game. Nothing more. < but always stay tuned for updates >
‘Slight lean’ implies we are almost certain to avoid the game and/or total from a betting standpoint even for ‘small potatoes’. We give an opinion for those who need to get down and want advice.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2016 NCAA Football Preview
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
Atlantic Coast Conference – Atlantic Division
2015 Record – 3-9
ATS – 6-6
2016 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating
Atlantic Division #6
It was another tough season for HC Dave Clawson and the Demon Deacons. They won two of their first three games against Army and FCS foe Elon, but subsequent to those wins, were only able to taste victory one more time in an EPIC battle for the ages vs Boston College. Final score – 3-0. It was a great case study in what happens when you have a really young team and an offensive line that cannot block anybody. Things are looking up this season as the experience gained by the young players starts to pay dividends.
Wake Forest has ranked 12th and 14th in the ACC in total offense the past two seasons. The offensive line was young and consistently overmatched. This season they return four starters to the line that has some size to go with experience. After giving up a mind-boggling 48 sacks last season (ranked 122nd in FBS sacks allowed per game) and averaging only 105 yards rushing per contest – the Demon Deacons should show significant improvement in 2016.
There appears to be two options for the starting QB role. MEGALOCKS WAKE FOREST INSIDERS note that both John Wolford and Kendall Hinton are still in position to win the job. They both had significant playing time in 2015 and will improve with better offensive line play. Wake Forest has a lot of young talent in the backfield and at WR so if the pass protection is at least average there should be decent passing numbers. The QB also gets the benefit of a fine target in TE Cam Serigne who had 100 catches and 9 TDs in his first two seasons. Overall, we see a lot of potential for improvement in the offense but need to see the offensive line perform a lot better before feeling confident.
The unit was ranked a respectable 7th in total defense in the ACC last season. The Demon Deacons lose leading tackler and 1st Team ACC performer LB Brandon Chubb and recently learned that Zeek Rodney (300 pound starting DT) will miss the season. That knocks the returning starter tally down to six. The defense should still be pretty good against the run and CB Brad Watson led the ACC in passes defended in 2015. A primary concern is putting pressure on opposing QBs. They have not tallied more than 28 sacks in the past five seasons. Overall, we see a group that will play hard but probably not improve much from a statistical standpoint.
This could be a problem area. The return game was hideous last season and needs someone to step up. They will feature a freshman punter in 2016 and a PK that was only 1/6 from 40+ yards last season. This unit must surprise to the upside if they plan on making a bowl game this season.
MEGALOCKS ATS Value Rating (10) 7.0
There is definite improvement brewing in Winston-Salem. The roster has a lot more experience and the schedule should help them get off to a good start. There are also three very winnable games at the back end of the docket which makes us cautiously optimistic that they are capable of hitting the magical 6-win plateau for bowl eligibility.
Overall, we give the DEMON DEACONS a 7.0 ATS Value Rating (Good) this season. Wake has taken some lumps in Dave Clawson’s first two seasons but it just might be time that the Demon Deacons start cashing in some chips. It hinges a great deal on the offensive line actually “blocking” in the run game and preventing their QBs from getting “pulverized”. Wake is 12-12 ATS the past two seasons despite having no offense to speak of and finishing a combined (-15) in turnover margin. Wake Forest promises to be a decent play in most games in 2016.
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