Check out the advanced-stats glossary here. Below, a unique review of last year's team, a unit-by-unit breakdown of this year's roster, the full 2016 schedule with win projections for each game, and more.
1. The long road back
That Dave Clawson and his staff were able to maintain a top-40 defense in his first year was a nice sign, but patience is required when it comes to fixing an offense that was almost too awful for words. That they won a game that was scoreless at the end of regulation -- 6-3 over Virginia Tech in double overtime -- is both apt and misleading; usually when your offense is this bad, the defense gives out.
With only four opponents projected worse than 60th (none after October 1), Wake's win total probably isn't going to improve much. But the defense is experienced enough to maintain form, and the offense has almost no choice to progress. If the Deacs can improve into the 70s or 80s this year, they could be positioned to make the Year 3 surge that Clawson patented in his former jobs.
First things first: Wake Forest's win total did not improve in Clawson's second year. In both seasons, the Demon Deacons took down an FCS opponent (Gardner-Webb in 2014, Elon in 2015), Army (by three points each year), and a similarly offensively challenged ACC opponent (Virginia Tech in 2014, Boston College in 2015). That's impressive symmetry.
You had to squint to see any improvement, but it was there. Clawson's Deacs got blown out less and competed better in conference play -- average ACC score in 2014: Opp 30, Wake 12; in 2015: 27-15. After ranking dead last in Off. S&P+ in 2014, Wake improved to a merely bad 107th.
This is the precise definition of "baby steps," something that matters in the grand scheme but doesn't impress many eyeballs. Still, minor improvement means Wake is still on the Clawson timeline.
Clawson's win percentage (Fordham, Richmond, BGSU) by year:
- Year 1: 0.400 (10-25)
- Year 2: 0.389 (14-22)
- Year 3: 0.529 (18-16)
- Year 4: 0.725 (29-11)
Clawson is a methodical builder. In 2014, he stripped Wake's depth chart down to its freshman-and-sophomore foundation. In 2015, he added a new layer of freshman depth. This fall, he'll have his most experienced lineup yet, and there could still be as few as two seniors starting on offense and five on defense. He's keeping unexpected attrition to a minimum and letting guys develop. He's recruiting incrementally better -- per the 247Sports Composite, his signing class ranked 14th in the ACC in 2014, 12th in 2015, and 11th in 2016.
This is a long road with lots of traffic. Clawson's progress could cease at any moment. But he's proven himself a patient driver, one who resists the urge to take fruitless shortcuts.
I would expect Wake Forest to be rewarded for his patience this year. A bowl bid is likely still a year away, but I would expect to see tangible progress in 2016, of the "more good" variety instead of "slightly less bad."
2015 Schedule & Results
|Record: 3-9 | Adj. Record: 5-7 | Final F/+ Rk: 92 | Final S&P+ Rk: 92|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|10-Oct||at Boston College||70||3-0||W||50%||28%||+16.1||+10.5|
|17-Oct||at North Carolina||24||14-50||L||15%||0%||-32.0||-19.0|
|14-Nov||at Notre Dame||7||7-28||L||31%||2%||+8.1||+6.0|
|Points Per Game||17.4||120||24.6||43|
2. Punching your weight
Wake Forest didn't yet have much athleticism to offer against the good teams on the schedule. Because of a plodding tempo and decent defense, the Demon Deacons were able to keep thing respectable against the best teams; Clemson, Notre Dame, and Florida State only beat them by an average of 28-12.
The trip to UNC resulted in a 50-14 disaster, but the Deacs nearly countered with a home upset of Louisville. (That was one of the oddest games of 2015. Wake completed only nine of 30 passes with four interceptions and four sacks, but two were touchdown bombs of 58 and 78 yards.)
Still, this was a team that punched its weight pretty well. If you're adding heft each year, that's not bad.
- Wake Forest vs. F/+ top 60:
Record: 0-6 | Avg. Percentile Performance: 27% (~top 95) | Yards per play: WF 5.5, Opp 4.6 (+0.9)
- Wake Forest vs. No. 61 and worse:
Record: 3-3 | Avg. Percentile Performance: 56% (~top 55) | Yards per play: Opp 6.5, WF 4.1 (-2.4)
Tempo did favors for Wake's defense and hid some of the offense's progress. And by "progress" in this case, I basically mean that the Deacs were able to move the ball here and there against bad teams. Hey, that counts. Need I remind you of the title of last year's preview?
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||34.7%||119||Succ. Rt. +||89.1||110|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||29.0||48||Def. FP+||27.2||20|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||3.5||118||Redzone S&P+||91.9||106|
|Q1 Rk||119||1st Down Rk||111|
|Q2 Rk||79||2nd Down Rk||110|
|Q3 Rk||116||3rd Down Rk||79|
3. Balance doesn't mean rushing and passing for equal yards
Offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero was handed an impossible task. Ruggiero has been a coordinator at different levels for 20 years and served in the same role for Clawson at Bowling Green.
Ruggiero has proven adaptable, but in 2014 he was handed a set of personnel that had absolutely no chance. His quarterback was a true freshman. His top two running backs were freshmen. He had one experienced lineman and two experienced receivers. And for the most part, these players were not only young, but also less touted as recruits. There was no natural athleticism advantage.
The 2014 was unfathomably bad.
In 2015, it was ... fathomably bad. Progress! There were two new freshmen at tailback, freshmen started 25 games on the offensive line, and there were three freshmen and a sophomore among the top five receivers. We got to see some semblance of an identity.
This fall, all of these recent freshmen and sophomores will be sophomores and juniors.
At BGSU in 2013, Ruggiero's offense was balanced, rushing and passing at normal rates and playing at an average pace. One assumes he's trying to do the same thing, but with a miserable run game and only half-miserable passing game, he was still forced to lean on the pass.
Balance doesn't have to mean running and passing at normal rates, of course. It means being able to do whichever you need to do. Most of all, to me, it means being able to move the ball on standard downs. Passing downs are "somebody please make a play" situations, but on standard downs, you can implement a game plan of realistic ways to move the ball.
Perhaps it's encouraging that Wake was downright mediocre on passing downs (78th in Passing Downs Success Rate+), especially with a sophomore quarterback and a freshman backup throwing the passes. Perhaps it's also encouraging that, per the per-quarter numbers above, Wake improved as a half wore on. Ruggiero was able to find tweaks and adjustments.
But Ruggiero was still unable to find balance on standard downs (113th in Standard Downs Success Rate+). Until he does so, Wake's offense will continue to struggle.
Note: players in bold below are 2016 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|John Wolford||6'1, 200||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8435||142||234||1791||9||11||60.7%||22||8.6%||6.2|
|Kendall Hinton||6'0, 195||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8528||93||178||929||4||5||52.2%||17||8.7%||4.3|
|Kyle Kearns||6'2, 195||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8677|
|Jamie Newman||6'4, 220||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8585|
|Tyler Bell||TB||5'11, 215||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8013||131||446||1||3.4||4.2||24.4%||1||1|
|Kendall Hinton||QB||6'0, 195||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8528||76||478||7||6.3||5.7||48.7%||4||2|
|Matt Colburn||TB||5'10, 200||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8321||66||239||1||3.6||4.6||22.7%||1||1|
|John Wolford||QB||6'1, 200||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8435||51||261||3||5.1||6.2||37.3%||5||1|
|Isaiah Robinson||TB||5'10, 225||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8308||39||120||0||3.1||3.0||25.6%||0||0|
|Dezmond Wortham||TB||6'0, 200||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8391||9||21||0||2.3||0.9||22.2%||0||0|
|Rocky Reid||TB||6'0, 220||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8643|
|Cade Carney||RB||5'11, 215||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8457|
|Arkeem Byrd||RB||6'1, 190||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8453|
4. Can anybody here gain five yards?
In 2014, freshmen Isaiah Robinson and Dezmond Wortham took on the lion's share of Wake Forest carries. And in a combined 15 carries per game, they gained five yards on just 22.5 percent of those carries, about 3 per game. That is mind-numbingly awful.
Last fall, things improved! With Robinson and Wortham combining for just 48 carries, a new pair of freshmen -- Tyler Bell and Matt Colburn -- rushed 16 times per game and gained five yards on 24 percent of their carries, about four per game!
Okay, that's still miserable. But quarterback Kendall Hinton, also a freshman last year, was able to add some pop to the run game, producing above-average rates in both efficiency (49 percent opportunity rate) and explosiveness (5.7 highlight yards per opportunity). The problem: He's not a very good passer. Or at least, he wasn't last year. Meanwhile, John Wolford completed a decent 61 percent of his passes but wasn't nearly as efficient (or as frequent) a runner.
The two quarterbacks split reps with the first string in spring practice, and the draw for each is obvious. Wolford has now started for most of two years and was able to mostly improve his averages -- completion rate (from 58 percent to 61), yards per completion (from 9.5 to 12.6), sack rate (from 13 percent to 8.6) -- despite a drastically young receiving corps.
Hinton is a legitimately strong runner, though, and "legitimately strong" is not something you can apply to much of this offense. With a more seasoned line and now four runners who are at least semi-experienced, playing Hinton more might result in something approximating a decent run game. It would just come with an aerial cost.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Targets||Catches||Yards||Catch Rate||Target
|Cortez Lewis||WR-X||6'1, 200||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8107||91||47||611||51.6%||23.5%||6.7||51.6%||36.3%||1.76|
|Cam Serigne||TE||6'3, 240||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7938||70||46||562||65.7%||18.0%||8.0||57.1%||47.1%||1.52|
|Tabari Hines||FL||5'10, 165||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8347||51||32||366||62.7%||13.1%||7.2||52.9%||39.2%||1.77|
|Chuck Wade||FL||6'0, 195||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8251||47||33||348||70.2%||12.1%||7.4||48.9%||46.8%||1.39|
|Jared Crump (2014)||WR||6'3, 205||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8162||46||26||280||56.5%||14.4%||6.1||39.1%||N/A||N/A|
|Tyler Bell||RB||5'11, 215||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8013||24||18||127||75.0%||6.2%||5.3||70.8%||37.5%||1.20|
|Isaiah Robinson||TB||5'10, 225||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8308||7||6||57||85.7%||1.8%||8.1||42.9%||42.9%||1.58|
|Alex Bachman||SLOT||6'0, 180||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8035||5||1||8||20.0%||1.3%||1.6||60.0%||20.0%||0.53|
|Jalen Latter||WR||6'0, 195||Sr.||2 stars (5.2)||0.8086|
|Devin Pike||TE||6'6, 255||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8422|
|Nick Luedeke||TE||6'5, 255||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8119|
|Steven Claude||WR||6'2, 190||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8631|
|Scotty Washington||WR||6'5, 215||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8544|
|Brandon Chapman||TE||6'5, 250||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8432|
|LaRonde' Liverpool||TE||6'3, 225||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8416|
|Jeremiah Brown||WR||6'2, 175||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8246|
5. A strong 2017 receiving corps
Cortez Lewis averaged a decent 13 yards per catch as a freshman No. 1 target in a major conference. Tight end Cam Serigne averaged 8 yards per target as a sophomore. Two freshman flankers (Tabari Hines, Chuck Wade) combined for a 66 percent catch rate.
None of these stats are incredible, but all are decent considering the level of experience and responsibility. Plus, Wade and redshirt freshman Scotty Washington were standouts in spring ball. Converted cornerback Jalen Latter had his moments in March and April, too.
Of all the names mentioned above, everyone but Latter will be back in 2017, and everyone but Latter and Serigne will be back in 2018. After significant growing pains at both QB and WR, it's not hard to see a good receiving corps emerging here. It just might not happen for another year. But especially if Wolford wins the quarterback job, expect a few more bright spots this fall, even if accompanied by more inconsistency. This unit has a nice combination of size, speed, and variety. It just needs a little more seasoning.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||2015 Starts||Career Starts||Honors/Notes|
|Josh Harris||C||6'4, 300||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8131||12||24|
|Tyler Hayworth||LG||6'4, 330||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8191||12||21|
|Justin Herron||LT||6'5, 310||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8472||12||12|
|Phil Haynes||RT||6'4, 300||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7859||9||9|
|A'Lique Terry||C||6'1, 295||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8316||0||7|
|Ryan Anderson||RT||6'6, 290||So.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7000||4||4|
|Patrick Osterhage||RG||6'4, 285||So.||2 stars (5.4)||NR||0||0|
|Cameron Gardner||OL||6'5, 275||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7892||0||0|
|Taylor Chambers||OL||6'8, 300||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8170||0||0|
|Nathan Gilliam||OL||6'5, 295||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8519|
|T.J. Haney||OL||6'6, 315||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8414|
|Taleni Suhren||OL||6'5, 290||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8615|
|Je'Vionte' Nash||OL||6'3, 295||Fr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8317|
|FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||39.9%||55||Succ. Rt. +||103.2||52|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||26.9||118||Off. FP+||28.0||100|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||4.3||56||Redzone S&P+||110.8||28|
|Q1 Rk||81||1st Down Rk||37|
|Q2 Rk||55||2nd Down Rk||48|
|Q3 Rk||20||3rd Down Rk||33|
6. Playing into your hands
One benefit to having a bad offense: Opponents might be more inclined to run the ball quite a bit and take fewer offensive risks, especially when they have even the smallest of leads. This worked out pretty well for Wake Forest in 2015 because the Demon Deacons had a stout run defense.
Opponents ran the ball five percent more than average on standard downs and seven percent more on passing downs. Defensive coordinator Mike Elko's defense flowed to the ball well, preventing big-play opportunities while making few plays behind the line.
It's not hard to expect more of the same in 2016. Linebackers Brandon Chubb and Hunter Williams are gone, which could hurt -- they combined for 13.5 non-sack tackles for loss on a defense that could have stood to make a few more TFLs. But with the return of nearly every lineman, plus middle linebacker Marquel Lee, it's fair to assume another strong run defense. The line dealt with a few injuries -- end Duke Ejiofor and tackles Josh Banks and Shelldon Lewinson combined to miss 12 games -- which gave more players reps. That has created a deep line.
The main question, then, is what happens if opponents pass more? In theory, an improved Wake offense could make opponent leads both less frequent and less safe, meaning the Deacs could face more passes after ranking just 85th in Passing S&P+ last year.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Wendell Dunn||DROP||6'3, 250||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8367||12||26.5||4.1%||7.5||1.0||0||0||1||0|
|Duke Ejiofor||DE||6'4, 270||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8200||7||20.5||3.2%||7.5||4.5||0||0||0||0|
|Josh Banks||DT||6'4, 280||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8192||9||17.5||2.7%||2.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Chris Calhoun||DROP||6'4, 240||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8423||12||15.5||2.4%||4.0||0.0||1||1||0||0|
|Zeek Rodney||NT||6'1, 300||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8735||12||14.5||2.3%||2.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Chris Stewart||DT||6'3, 275||So.||2 stars (5.2)||NR||12||12.0||1.9%||1.5||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Shelldon Lewinson||NT||6'2, 260||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8087||8||10.0||1.6%||0.5||0.5||0||1||0||0|
|Willie Yarbary||DT||6'2, 280||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8152||12||7.5||1.2%||0.5||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Julian Jackson||DE||6'4, 240||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7700||11||4.0||0.6%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Ali Lamot||DE||6'2, 275||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8191|
|Rashawn Shaw||DE||6'3, 245||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8578|
|Paris Black||DE||6'3, 255||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8420|
|Elontae Bateman||DT||6'2, 285||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8032|
|Sulaiman Kamara||DT||6'2, 290||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8797|
|Emmanuel Walker||DE||6'4, 220||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8504|
|Zander Zimmer||DE||6'4, 220||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8487|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Marquel Lee||MIKE||6'3, 240||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8013||12||54.0||8.4%||10.0||3.0||0||1||0||0|
|Demetrius Kemp||ROV||6'1, 215||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8210||12||14.5||2.3%||2.0||0.0||1||0||0||0|
|Grant Dawson||MIKE||6'1, 230||Jr.||NR||NR||12||11.0||1.7%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Jaboree Williams||BUCK||6'0, 235||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8178||12||9.5||1.5%||1.0||0.0||0||1||0||0|
|Zack Wary||LB||6'4, 230||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8448||8||9.5||1.5%||0.5||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Kalin McNeil||LB||6'1, 225||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8185||6||2.0||0.3%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Justin Strnad||LB||6'2, 215||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8067|
|Nate Mays||LB||6'1, 220||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8029|
7. The pass rush could be key
How infrequently did opponents pass? Wake Forest ranked 33rd in Adj. Sack Rate but featured just one player with more than three sacks. Ejiofor managed 4.5 in just seven games, which is encouraging. Lee added three more.
The pass rush could be key for what was a reasonably high-risk, high-reward pair of cornerbacks. Brad Watson and Dionte Austin combined for 4.5 TFLs and 23 passes defensed (mostly from Watson) last year. If quarterbacks are under pressure, this duo could thrive.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Brad Watson||CB||6'0, 200||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8069||12||59.5||9.3%||2.5||1||2||16||1||0|
|Ryan Janvion||WHIP||5'11, 195||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8116||11||54.0||8.4%||1||0||0||1||1||0|
|Cameron Glenn||WHIP||6'1, 200||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8289||10||31.0||4.8%||0.5||0||1||1||0||0|
|Thomas Brown||STUD||6'3, 225||Sr.||NR||NR||10||20.0||3.1%||3||2||0||1||0||0|
|Dionte Austin||CB||6'0, 165||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8675||12||19.0||3.0%||2||1||0||5||0||0|
|Josh Okonye||S||6'0, 200||Jr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7992||12||13.5||2.1%||1.5||1||0||0||0||0|
|John Armstrong||CB||5'9, 165||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8116|
|Thomas Dillon||CB||5'10, 175||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8104|
|Amari Henderson||CB||6'1, 175||RSFr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8256|
|Jessie Bates||S||6'2, 190||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8129|
|Traveon Redd||DB||6'0, 190||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8478|
8. Now to stop good passing games
When the defense wasn't making a havoc play, QBs were finding plenty of open options. Opponents completed 62 percent of their passes, and since only two of Watson's and Austin's passes defensed were interceptions, that bailed passers out a bit and resulted in some negative turnovers luck for WF.
One other problem: Wake safeties weren't very disruptive. They were decent at cleaning up messes, as evidenced by opponents' 12.2 yards per completion average. But you have to make some plays, too, and they didn't, at least not really.
One other problem: Wake could only really stop bad pass offenses. Against teams ranked outside of the F/+ top 60, the Deacs limited quarterbacks to a 123.8 passer rating -- not amazing, but pretty good. Against top-60 opponents: 150.5. The run defense was good against most, and the pass defense was decent against some.
Experience and continuity will help the pass defense, and Watson is a particularly strong piece. But as the Wake offense improves, the Wake defense will be asked to prove that it has shored up a weakness.
|Mike Weaver||6'1, 195||Jr.||44||62.3||20||2||45.5%|
|Mike Weaver||6'1, 195||Jr.||24-25||10-12||83.3%||1-6||16.7%|
|Chuck Wade||KR||6'0, 195||So.||17||18.5||0|
|Matt Colburn||KR||5'10, 200||So.||4||16.0||0|
|Tabari Hines||PR||5'10, 165||So.||23||4.0||0|
|Special Teams S&P+||96|
|Field Goal Efficiency||110|
|Punt Return Success Rate||106|
|Kick Return Success Rate||127|
|Punt Success Rate||12|
|Kickoff Success Rate||61|
9. The one strong piece is gone
A good special teams unit can be such a boon for a rebuilding team. It was not for Wake Forest. The Deacs had one of the least effective return units in the country, and while place-kicker Mike Weaver was decent on kickoffs and fine inside of 40 yards, Wake's offense needed all the help he could get, and Weaver's range ended around the 40-yard mark.
Punter Alexander Kinal, however, was a legitimate strength, particularly for a team that punted so much. Kinal punted more than six times per game and was remarkably consistent. He will be missed, not only because he was good but because the rest of the unit wasn't. Of course, if Weaver is kicking off a bit more, that won't be as much of a problem.
2016 Schedule & Projection Factors
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Probability|
|1-Oct||at N.C. State||40||-10.3||28%|
|15-Oct||at Florida State||5||-22.6||10%|
|Projected wins: 5.5|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||-17.0% (96)|
|2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk||58 / 62|
|2015 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin*||-13 / -6.7|
|2015 TO Luck/Game||-2.6|
|Returning Production (Off. / Def.)||84% (89%, 79%)|
|2015 Second-order wins (difference)||3.3 (-0.3)|
Our WF blog
Our WF blog
10. Home field advantage
The Clawson Plan is two stagnant years followed by breakthroughs in years three and four. As long as we're defining "breakthrough" conservatively, I see the trend holding here. So does S&P+, which projects a No. 74 ranking and 5.5 wins.
The schedule helps out. Wake's home slate includes visits from Tulane, Delaware, Syracuse, Army, Virginia, and Boston College; the Deacs are given at least a 46 percent chance of winning in each of those games. Go 5-1 and steal a road win somewhere, and you're bowling.
My guess is that the postseason is still another year away, but after a couple of years defined by decent defense and absurdly bad offense, we should get a pretty clear vision of what Clawson is building this year.