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February 26, 2013

A look at Wake's football schedule

The Atlantic Coast Conference released the 2013 football schedules of its 14 members Monday, Feb. 25.

Wake Forest's slate of games starts very favorably for the Demon Deacons, beginning with a visit from Presbyterian (2-9 in 2012) of the FCS level Thursday, Aug. 29.

The Deacs then travel to Chestnut Hill to kickoff conference play with Boston College Friday, Sept. 6. After a tumultuous 2-10 record last season the Eagles replaced Frank Spaziani with Steve Addazio from Temple as its next head coach. Addazio comes from Urban Meyer's coaching tree.

Following its meeting with BC Wake will return home for a date with Louisiana-Monroe Saturday, Sept. 14. The Warhawks finished 8-5 last season, upset Arkansas (34-31 OT) and nearly brought down Auburn (31-28 OT) and Baylor (47-42), and made an appearance in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.

The Demon Deacons then make the trek to West Point for a meeting with Army Saturday, Sept. 21. Wake Forest defeated the Black Knights 49-37 in Winston-Salem last season. Army finished 2-10 in 2012.

It is very possible the Deacs are 4-0 when they step back into ACC competition Saturday, Sept. 28 with a trip to Death Valley to face a talented Clemson team. The Demon Deacons are winless against Dabo Swinney-coached teams.

Clemson defeated Wake Forest 42-13 at BB&T Field last season on its way to an 11-2 record that included a 25-24 win over then No. 8 LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Wake then hosts NC State (7-6 and made it to the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in 2012) Saturday, Oct. 5. The Wolfpack beat the Deacs 37-6 in Raleigh last season. NC State replaced Tom O'Brien with Dave Doeren from Northern Illinois as its head coach.

The combination of the coaching change, learning a new offense and defense, and replacing quarterback Mike Glennon may just be what Wake Forest needs to get the redemption it wants so badly wants.

After the Demon Deacons entertain the Pack they will have a much needed open date Saturday, Oct. 12 before jumping back into ACC play with a visit from Big Ten-destined Maryland (4-8 in 2012) Saturday, Oct. 19. The Terps beat Wake 19-14 in College Park last season.

In a perfect world and best-case scenario Wake Forest may already be bowl-eligible following its game with the Terps before going down to Coral Gables to play Miami Saturday, Oct. 26.

The Hurricanes have imposed bowl bans on themselves in hopes the NCAA will not hand down additional sanctions for rules violations. This will be the first time the Deacs have faced Miami since Al Golden has been head coach of the Canes.

Next, Wake goes to Syracuse for a date with the Orange, which will be in its first season as a member of the ACC.

It would be ideal if Wake Forest could take one of those two road games before returning home Saturday, Nov. 9 to entertain Florida State. The Seminoles defeated the Demon Deacons 52-0 on their way to a 12-2 finish, including the ACC Championship crown and a 31-10 win over then No. 15 Northern Illinois in the Discover Orange Bowl.

FSU lost some key players to graduation and as early departures for the NFL Draft, but return a solid nucleus of talent ready to compete for the ACC Championship and a shot at a BCS bowl.

Wake gets another timely open date Saturday, Nov. 16 before its final two regular season games, a visit from Duke Saturday, Nov. 23 and a trip to Nashville for a date with Vanderbilt Saturday, Nov. 30.

The Blue Devils are coming off a 6-7 record and an appearance in the Belk Bowl, which was their first time making it to the postseason since 1994. Duke beat Wake Forest in Winston-Salem 34-27, which is the first time the Deacs have lost to the Devils during Jim Grobe's head-coaching tenure.
Vandy, which went 9-4 and won the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl last season, has not been kind to Wake in recent years. The Commodores have won the last two meetings by a combined score of 96-28.

Duke and Vanderbilt both have significant voids to fill, which make the opportunity for the Demon Deacons to finish strong even greater.

Wake Forest has the talent at the skill positions, but questions remain about the offensive line and the team's overall quality of depth on both sides of the ball.

The first month of the season will reveal much about Wake.


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