2018 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 8-5
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 6.5*
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Under'
After slogging through back-to-back three-win seasons during a rebuild, Dave Clawson has gotten this Wake Forest program going. The Demon Deacons won seven games in 2016 and eight last year. And with 14 starters back and a favorable home schedule, the Deacons are hoping to do more than take up space in this year's ACC race.
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The Deacons have a solid foundation on offense. It starts up front with five returning starters on the offensive line. Four of those guys are seniors, and three of them have been starting for at least three years. Wake has its top running back and top two receivers, including a difference-maker in Greg Dortch, ready to step up. This group was No. 17 in total offense and No. 21 in scoring last season.
Unfortunately, Wake has to replace starting quarterback John Wolford. He threw for nearly 3,200 yards and 29 touchdown passes last season but has exhausted his eligibility. That means the pressure falls on junior Kendall Hinton to take the reigns. As he goes, so goes the Wake offense.
Clawson fielded his worst defense in four seasons last year, giving up 28.3 points per game. They have to make headway on that side of the ball. And they will have to do it without the benefit of any top-end talent or highly-ranked recruits.
Wake Forest has months to prepare for the option offense that they will see in the opener at Tulane. After that road game they won't leave Winston-Salem until Oct. 20. In that homestand they will host Notre Dame and Clemson as well as a key game against Boston College to open league play.
Closing the year with four of six on the road is not optimum. But they do get Syracuse and Pitt, two of the ACC's weaker teams, both at home.
The Demon Deacons hit four wins in league play for just the third time in 10 years last season. But if you scan back through their efforts over the last five years you'll see that this team really just beat some bad opponents. They haven't been anything more than a nuisance against the better teams on their schedule.
This team was tough last year. But the program has hit seven regular-season wins only twice in the last 10 seasons. And both instances they hit exactly seven. If they aren't 4-2 heading into their Oct. 13 bye then they have almost no shot to get to seven. As it is I think it is a stretch, so I will play Wake to go 6-6 and sneak into a fourth-tier bowl.
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