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#89: Wake Forest Program Going Through Growing Pains

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Our countdown takes a trip down Tobacco Road to Winston-Salem, NC, where Wake Forest tries to pick itself up after a woeful season. Despite 16 returning starters, will the Demon Deacons’ relative inexperience haunt them again?

2010 Record: 3-9

2010 Skinny: Wake Forest started the season with two straight wins (Presbyterian and Duke) and ended the campaign with a triumph over lowly Vanderbilt. In between? Nine straight losses. There were blowout losses against tough competition (at Florida State, at Stanford), and there were close losses (vs. Georgia Tech, vs. Navy). Yes, injuries and inexperience were a factor - but the Demon Deacons constantly came up short just four seasons removed from a trip to the Orange Bowl.

Returning Starters: 16

Coach: Jim Grobe (11th season, 62-60)

Key Players: QB Tanner Price, RB Josh Harris, LB Kyle Wilber, DE Tristan Dorty

2011 Schedule:

Sept. 3 @ Syracuse
Sept. 10 vs. N.C. State
Sept. 17 vs. Gardner-Webb
Oct. 1 @ Boston College
Oct. 8 vs. Florida State
Oct. 15 vs. Virginia Tech
Oct. 22 @ Duke
Oct. 29 @ North Carolina
Nov. 5 vs. Notre Dame
Nov. 12 @ Clemson
Nov. 19 vs. Maryland
Nov. 26 vs. Vanderbilt

Anthony’s Take: Grobe’s tenure at Wake Forest has been one of the most successful in school history despite a record barely over .500. That being said, he has his hands full with this version of the Demon Deacons. They are a young team but, more importantly, have not instilled hope that the roster has promise once it does collectively grow up. Their defense was 11th in the ACC overall and 12th in scoring. Price should be a steadier hand under center thanks to his game experience from last year. But the ACC isn’t kind to clubs going through growing pains - Wake Forest will face nine bowl teams from last season. Expect a slight improvement, but contention for a bowl bid is the best they’ll do.

Jim’s Take: And people wonder why coaches bolt lowly programs right when they see success? After being one of the hottest names in coaching in 2006, Grobe has seen the Wake Forest program face plant. If things don’t get better this year, he might be out of a job. Once considered a defensive guru, Grobe’s defense last season gave up 68 points to Stanford, 52 points to Virginia Tech and 62 points to Maryland. With almost everyone back and no great teams in the ACC aside from possibly Florida State, the Demons could get to .500. Will that be enough for Grobe to stay put?

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College Football’s FBS 120 Countdown

#120: New Mexico

#119: Memphis

#118: San Jose State

#117: Akron

#116: New Mexico State

#115: Buffalo

#114: UNLV

#113: Western Kentucky

#112: North Texas

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#98: Louisiana-Monroe

#97: Wyoming

#96: Marshall

#95: Indiana

#94: Kansas

#93: Louisiana Tech

#92: Vanderbilt

#91: Minnesota

#90: Washington State

 
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