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Wake Forest

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Wake Forest got out to a quick start in 2016 due to a favorable non-conference slate and that eventually led to seven wins including a bowl victory. Still, the Demon Deacons didn’t have enough to beat any of the good teams in the ACC and that’s something they’ll look to change this season.

That’s made possible because the Deacons return most of their offensive starters from a year ago, even if they only scored 20.4 points per game. Experience returns all around with quarterback Kendall Hinton back from injury, as he’ll likely replace John Wolford, who finished with nine touchdowns and 10 picks a year ago. Matt Colburn (626 yards, 2 TDs) and Cade Carney (589 yards, 6 TDs) return in the backfield with all major receivers back from Tabari Hines and Cortez Lewis to stud tight end Cam Serigne. The line was young last year and returns enough experience to see this group jump a level. In fact, if this offense doesn't improve, it’d be a major disappointment, especially with Hinton at quarterback.

Still, improving as a team means the Wake defense can’t drop off much after allowing only 21.8 points per game last season. The defense was the only reason it won any games and even stayed competitive against Florida State. The Deacons lose a lot of their top tacklers from a year ago and need guys like safety Jessie Bates and end Duke Ejiofor to play even better in 2017. They lose a lot of talent at linebacker with Jaboree Williams and Grant Dawson being relied upon more this time around. It’s going to be tough for them to match last year’s numbers, but as long as they don’t completely fall apart, that may be enough.

Reaching a bowl game won’t be easy this season, especially with road games at Appalachian State and Notre Dame standing out. Their opening ACC slate isn’t much easier with three of their first four on the road, including one at Clemson, which is preceded by a meeting with Florida State. The path to a bowl game looks tough and it’s almost a must that Wake Forest gets at least three non-conference wins again. If not, they’ll likely have to win two on the road in ACC play and that’s never anything to bet on.

The Demon Deacons are tied with three other teams for the worst odds to win the ACC (+10000 at 5Dimes Sportsbook) and it makes sense. They’d like to reach four conference wins this season, but a tough schedule may not allow that unless Hinton is the real deal at quarterback.


2017 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Presbyterian
Sept. 9 at Boston College
Sept. 16 vs. Utah State
Sept. 23 at Appalachian State

Sept. 30 vs. Florida State
Oct. 7 at Clemson
Oct. 21 at Georgia Tech

Oct. 28 vs. Louisville
Nov. 4 at Notre Dame
Nov. 11 at Syracuse
Nov. 18 vs. NC State
Nov. 25 vs. Duke

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