Last week I predicted that Wake would lose at Nebraska by 10 or less. Silly me, I forgot that the game was on national TV. A nationally televised game guarantees a WFU embarrassment and that’s what we got. I suspect that at some point the networks will notice this and, but for any games mandated by the ACC TV contract, we won’t see any more Deacon football on national TV.
In a game in which Nebraska’s bad offense made Wake’s mediocre (which, by WFU standards, means “pretty good”) defense look very good for a half, Nebraska spanked the Deacs 31-3. WFU is now 0-2 for the season, with 5 top 25 teams among the 9 games that make up the rest of the season. It’s going to be tough to match last years’ 4-7 record. That’s what losing at home to Vanderbilt will do for you.
Ben Mauk, who was an amazing high school QB but was (maybe not so) curiously not recruited by the big boys, looked absolutely awful (and that’s being kind). Micah Andrews looked OK, but lightning didn’t strike twice (not another 250+ yard game). The special teams looked, well, not very special. If there’s a worse kicking team in America, I don’t know about it. As far as I can tell, we have no WRs.
Here’s my thing: Jim Grobe has been riding the benefits of taking a typically 3-8 team and turning it into a typically 5-6 team for a couple of years now. That’s a fine accomplishment, but at some point Wake needs to actually win some games. Clearly, Bill Callahan made much more effective halftime adjustments than Grobe. I’m still a Grobe fan, because I believe that if anyone can win at Wake, it’s Grobe. But itsy bitsy baby steps and moral victories are no longer enough for me. I want some tangible evidence in the only place where it matters: the won-loss column.
Playing in the ACC, you simply can’t afford to let winnable games slip away. Vanderbilt (at home, no less) was a gimme that Wake lost. Nebraska, who has an anemic offense and struggled with Division I-AA Maine last week, was winnable. Many of the remaining games are simply not winnable absent a major upset. Wake plays better when it has no chance, so expect some close losses (as long as the Deacs are not on national TV).
Some folks will rightly call for Cory Randolph at QB after Mauk’s performance. I can understand that (believe me I can), but Grobe should either stick with Mauk or, if there is a younger QB with potential, maybe give him a shot. This year is over bowl-wise, and Randlolph is a senior. We need to give next year’s QB experience this year. There’s always next year. It’s just that with the Deacs, next year will probably look a lot like this year.
Come join the post-game party on the WFU message board at ACCBoards.Com.