As we countdown to kickoff in August, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each Tuesday over the summer. SU will continue its ACC schedule when they host Wake Forest on Nov. 2.
STEADY JOB?: Keeping a coaching position in college sports isn’t always about wins and losses. Take former NC State coach Tom O’Brien, who took his team to four bowl games in six years. He was ousted last year after a 7-5 season, even though the team went to the Music City bowl. Meanwhile, Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe hasn’t had a winning season since 2008, and is coming off a 5-7 season that was filled with injuries and uncharacteristic suspensions. Grobe is just four wins from becoming the winningest coach in Demon Deacons history, but has also gone 19-30 over the past four seasons. Despite this, there is barely any discussion about Grobe being on the hot seat. That may change if Grobe has another middling season.
WHO TO WATCH FOR: Orange fans certainly remember quarterback Tanner Price from the 2011 season opener at the Carrier Dome. Price threw for three touchdowns and 289 years in the overtime thriller. He went on to have an outstanding sophomore campaign, throwing for more than 3000 yards and 20 touchdowns. But last season, Tanner struggled, throwing for just 12 touchdowns and 2300 yards. Part of the reason for that was WR Chris Givens heading to the NFL. Another reason was an offensive line riddled by injury. Grobe has installed a new system this spring, giving Price the opportunity to be more mobile, and that may help open up more opportunities for WR Michael Campanaro, who averaged 7.9 catches a game last year.
PREDICTION: The Deacons will definitely be better this year if they can stay healthy. Offensive linemen Steven Chase (knee) and Antonio Ford (leg) are back and should steady an offensive attack that finished an anemic 114th in the country. In some ways, Wake Forest is in a similar position to Syracuse. They could finish anywhere from four to seven wins, and a bowl bid is definitely possible. SYRACUSE 28, WAKE FOREST 24.