This isn’t your father’s Wake Forest – the Demon Deacons are 6-4 and bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. In that year they lost to Mississippi State 23-17 in the Music City Bowl under head coach Jim Grobe (now at Baylor). Dave Clawson’s rebuilding project is a year ahead of schedule as he is almost through his third year at Wake Forest., The Deacons have played Florida State and Louisville close, and should not be overlooked by fans.

Any temptation the Tigers would have had to overlook the Demon Deacons evaporated last Saturday as the Tigers lost to Pittsburgh on a last second field goal, 43-42. While Wake Forest is 6-4, they are on a 2-4 streak with wins against Syracuse and Virginia while losing to NC State, FSU, Army, and Louisville.

Statistically, Wake Forest is not as impressive as their 6-4 record looks. Their defense is more formidable, holding teams to 21 points a game, four yards a rush, and opposing quarterbacks throwing only 12 touchdowns as opposed to 11 interceptions on the year.

Junior defensive end Duke Ejiofor has nine sacks on the year, and the team has 32 sacks combined (3.2 per game). Freshman strong safety Jessie Bates has five interceptions through ten games, and is also the leading tackler with 76 tackles (54 solo).

On the offensive side of the ball, sophomore quarterback John Wolford will start the game. Wolford has only thrown five touchdowns to accompany seven picks, and he averages slightly under 150 yards per game through the air.

Freshman running back Cade Carney is the starter, but sophomore Matt Colburn is the team’s leading rusher. Both are on the depth chart, making this look like a 1A-1B running back committee.

Wake Forest is an underdog at their house, but they simply don’t have the combination of talent, creativity, or experience to compete with Clemson. Pittsburgh had more talent and creativity than this Wake Forest team does, and their offense cannot overcome the depth of Clemson defense.

Of course anything can happen in college football, but the added focus that the Tigers will have combined with playing a lesser opponent than last week will leave the Tigers making a statement and securing a trip to Orlando for the ACC Championship Game.

Prediction: Clemson 42 – Wake Forest 6