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Friday, July 24, 2009
Preseason predictions: Wake Forest

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

WAKE FOREST

1. The Demon Deacons will have one of the best offenses in the ACC.
There's no reason they shouldn't, really. Even though they graduated receiver D.J. Boldin, Wake Forest found more depth and speed at the position this spring. And quarterback Riley Skinner is a proven veteran who will be working with a much improved offensive line. Last year it was hindered by injuries and inexperience. This year, with the return of Chris DeGeare from an academic suspension, the entire offense should flow more smoothly and they'll have what they need to line up and run the ball.

2. Wake Forest will be the most prepared team to play Georgia Tech this season.
Call it a hunch. Or look at Jim Grobe's experience at Air Force coaching against that kind of offense. Add in the fact Grobe beat Navy in the bowl game (after falling in a trap game against the Middies during the regular season), and the fact that the Deacs play Navy two weeks before they travel to Georgia Tech, and you've got the recipe for an upset in Atlanta on Nov. 7.

3. The Deacs will continue their takeaway tradition.
Interceptions, stripping the ball -- they're tactics the coaching staff preaches at every practice. Wake Forest had 37 takeaways last year, the most in the FBS and its third straight season of over 30. This team wins the turnover battle, and in turn wins football games. Even with the loss of standout cornerback Alphonso Smith, and linebacker Aaron Curry, Wake will still find a way to get to the ball and force quarterbacks into mistakes. They've got to find playmakers, but Wake still has six fifth-year seniors on defense, so they know the rules -- get the ball.