Key stretch: Oct. 1-Oct. 15 (at Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech)
Analysis: It doesn’t get much more difficult than this for the Deacs -- or for anyone else, for that matter. A road trip to Chestnut Hill, followed by back-to-back games against the defending division champs will make for a daunting start to October. Those within Wake’s program have insisted this team is better than last year’s, which finished 3-9, but this stretch could be a significant setback for the Deacs early. The good news is that they’ve got a bye week to prepare for the Eagles, and two of the toughest opponents on their schedule -- Florida State and Virginia Tech -- are home games. This stretch is definitely worth watching because it will feature some of the best running backs in the ACC, including Wake Forest running back Josh Harris. Not only will the Deacs need him healthy and churning out the yards, but they’ll also be challenged to stop the run against the likes of BC’s Montel Harris, FSU’s Chris Thompson, and Virginia Tech’s David Wilson.
Prediction: The Deacs’ best shot at a win is actually on the road against the Eagles, but this looks like an oh-fer stretch. I believe coach Jim Grobe when he says his team is better, but I don’t think it has closed the gap enough with the ACC’s best teams to come out of this stretch with a winning record. The Deacs will play a fairly evenly matched game against BC, but the Eagles’ defense will be the difference and force Tanner Price into a few mistakes. Facing FSU and Virginia Tech in back-to-back weeks is a challenge for any team in the country, but it’s one Wake Forest isn’t quite ready to overcome yet.