The Virginia Cavaliers travel to Wake Forest, where the Demon Deacons will search for their sixth win of the season after failing to come through the last two weeks. A win here would give Wake Forest a bowl game for the first time since 2011. They made it to the Orange Bowl back in 2006, where they fell to Louisville in a 24-13 final. The Deacons haven’t been a major player in the college football landscape since the mid-2000’s, but it’s definitely not as long ago as people think. The Jim Grobe era at Wake Forest wasn’t too bad, they went to five bowls and found considerable success. Grobe is coaching at Baylor these days following the firing of Art Briles. Dave Clawson will look to steer Wake Forest to a win and bowl game this afternoon against Virginia.
One could say this is an up season for Wake Forest. They’re on the better side of .500, and the Demon Deacons also gave Florida State a run for their money a few weeks ago. Yeah, Florida State probably didn’t give much consideration and preparation into Wake Forest, but I will give credit where credit is due. They have gone through some coaching changes over the years, but the philosophy has largely remained the same at Wake Forest. Defense first, and hopefully the offense can do enough to scrap out some points.
Wake Forest is coming into Saturday with some trouble at quarterback. It’s been trial by error with John Wolford under center. Wolford has thrown just 4 touchdowns while completing passes to the other team 7 times in 2016. He is coming off a 1 touchdown and 3 interception showing against Army last week. If Wake Forest had just an average offense, they would be up there competing for highly regarded bowl games like they did in 2006. Wake Forest do have a couple of nice wins over Indiana and Syracuse this season. They were also able to defeat Duke, 24-14, early in Week 2. They will welcome a 2-6 Virginia team to campus this week.
Virginia Cavaliers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Wake Forest -3(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Virginia vs. Wake Forest Pick:
Virginia started this season out on just an awful note. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall took the job at Virginia after directing BYU to some favorable results. Mendenhall realized that UVA is a pilot project right now, a program who may need a few years to be rebuilt. The cupboard is bare at the moment with talent. Mendenhall didn’t foresee losing to Richmond in his first game as head coach, though. FCS Richmond caught the Cavaliers napping, beating them 37-20 in a lackluster display to open the season. They followed the loss up with a couple more bad losses against Oregon and Connecticut. Getting blown out by this version of the Oregon Ducks isn’t a good look.
The Cavaliers best effort came last week against Louisville, a 32-25 loss which tested Lamar Jackson and Louisville to the max. Virginia brought all to the table, meanwhile Louisville didn’t take them too serious, which is the perfect recipe for a monumental upset. How is last week going to bode on them this week? They go from nearly upsetting Louisville to going on the road to play Wake Forest. No disrespect to the Demon Deacons, but it might be a bit difficult for the Cavs to get up for this one after coming a play or two away from beating a top team.
Wake Forest are 14th in the nation, allowing 18.3 points per game. It’s a pretty impressive figure for a team who plays in the ACC. They held Florida State to just 17 points, but could only muster up 6 points in a losing cause. The Deacons also held a very good Syracuse offense to only 9 points. The Orange aren’t a great team, but they do have a capable offense which isn’t the easiest to contain. Virginia are 103rd defensively, allowing an average of 32.6 points per game. It probably won’t be pretty, but Wake Forest should be able to hit around 27 or 28 points this afternoon. I don’t see how Virginia will be able to pose much of a threat to the Wake Forest defense. I like the Demon Deacons to win at home this afternoon and become bowl eligible for the first time in five years.
PICK: WAKE FOREST -3 (-110)