FSU Opponent Preview: Wake Forest

WINSTON SALEM, NC – NOVEMBER 19: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons mascot leads the team onto the field on his motorcycle prior to the game against the Maryland Terrapins at BB&T Field on November 19, 2011 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The Demon Deacons defeated the Terrapins 31-10. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

Fool me once, shame on you.

That’s the mantra going forward with this Seminoles squad. Going 0-2 to start the season is, I imagine, not what Seminole nation was anticipating. Heck, I imagine most of College Football wasn’t anticipating this. Despite 2017 being a circumstantial season for the Noles (to say the least), the loss against NC State was simply inexcusable. Despite breaking in a true freshman in QB James Blackman, QB play wasn’t the reason why FSU lost the game. The penalties against Florida State, despite what some fans may think, isn’t the reason why we lost the game. FSU’s defensive performance, the squad that was to be key to Seminole victory at least early on in the season, was perhaps the critical component as to why FSU lost this home opener. The fact that NC State came prepared and fired-up shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the lackluster motivation/urgency on Defense falls squarely on both the players as well as the coaching. Despite some rust, two weeks of preparation and no games in between should of been plenty to prepare against a veteran and hungry Wolfpack.

Ranting over, FSU is just one loss in the ACC. FSU has the talent to beat every team on their schedule. Yes, this includes a surging Clemson squad. But they have two strikes, one loss anticipated, the other not so. Coaching must improve to salvage the season. But it should come as no surprise that FSU can still make the ACC Championship game. Alabama doesn’t count against them in conference, and NC State has a tough slate ahead of them. A loss is entirely possible for the Pack in ACC play. That being said, FSU must play error-free in conference to do so.

At this time, I do not have faith in this squad to do so. Most analysts that I trust that follow Florida State have them, at best, a 8-3 squad (remember, the game against UL Monroe was cancelled, meaning this is an 11 game season). This likely means a loss to Clemson at Clemson, SC. I, personally, am leaning towards FSU being somewhere between a 7-4 and, on my worst of days, even a 6-5 squad.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as an alumnus, I am proud to call myself a Seminole, and am proud of this team regardless. But there is no doubting: Jimbo has a staffing problem that needs rectifying FAST. The message is being lost on the players, and this’ll impact recruiting if Jimbo doesn’t jump ahead of this at the end of the season and make some maneuvers with his staff.

That all being said: FSU and Jimbo can prove us all wrong with a statement win against Wake Forest at Wake Forest.

Wake Forest: 4-0 on the season so far

Wins against Presbyterian (51-7), Boston College (34-10), Utah State (46-10), App State (20-19)

Strengths: QB play, Defensive Line, Dave Clawson Coaching

Weaknesses: Talent vs FSU

The Line: FSU -7.5

Comments: FSU needs a desperate win, and a big one, for me to make any reconsideration on the outlook of the season. I think Dave Clawson is going to have the Deacon’s prepared to defend their home turf against the struggling Seminoles. Fool me once, shame on you. I’m giving FSU one last chance here. I think the talent that FSU has on the field, despite the preparations made by Wake Forest, will be overwhelming for the Deacons. Those four wins came against teams that Wake Forest should of beat. FSU’s losses are, given circumstances, entirely understandable (although not quite excusable). A loss here would be catastrophic for FSU, both for the season and beyond. I don’t see it happening with so much on the line. Wake Forest plays FSU close, and might even lead early on, but I think FSU breaks away by the second half. I think FSU covers the spread 27-14. FSU better cover the spread for the nation to have reconsidered outlooks on the program in Conference, let alone in the national landscape. Wake Forest, in recent history, has played FSU close. I imagine it will be the same in this edition. If Wake Forest breaks the line (or forbid me to say it, beat FSU), you can bet that I’ll lean my outlook on the season towards the 6-5 range (and at risk for a bowl berth).

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