Look, we've got three months of no IU athletics, so let's take this time to preview the Hoosiers' opponents for this upcoming football season. Each week until the season, we'll be going through the opponents one by one and looking at whatever we find interesting and/or hilarious about them. And as always, the kick was good. This week: #STAYWAKE.
GAME 3: WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
Last year's record: 3-9
2015 Final F/+ Ranking: 92
Head Coach: Dave Clawson
Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
When: September 24, TBA
1. This game could be a referendum on the IU defense
Despite his offensive background, Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson has found more success on the defensive side of the ball during his two seasons in Winston-Salem. Last season, Clawson's team finished 107th in offensive S&P, while coming in 22nd in S&P for all of FBS on the defensive side of the ball. And during Clawson's tenure, the Demon Deacons have come out on the winning side of two of the most hilariously low-scoring college football games in recent memory. The first, in 2014, was a 6-3 double-OT victory over Virginia Tech, a game that featured zero points in regulation. Our buddies at EDSBS, as part of their Erase This Game series, chronicled this game in intricate detail. The second one took place at Boston College last year, and one Wake field goal was enough to make the difference, as the Deacons held the Eagles off, 3-0. The game was so memorable that Wake once again achieved Erase This Game notoriety this offseason.
Thus, with the Wake offense being a struggle bus in recent years, the Indiana defense has a great chance to prove itself in its third and final nonconference game. As you know, the Hoosiers have a new defensive coordinator in Tom Allen, and this will be his first Power 5 opponent at IU. Last season, Indiana held a 31-10 lead on Wake late in the game, but the Demon Deacons rallied and had the ball down 31-24 on the final possession, but couldn't get another score. Regardless, the 24 points were the most that Wake scored against an FBS opponent all last season, so if Indiana can avoid another fourth quarter swoon, they'll have a good chance to raise the victory flag before an epic Michigan State/Ohio State/Nebraska three-game stretch begins.
2. The Hoosiers will have two weeks to prepare for this one
For the second time in three seasons, Indiana has a September bye week. But unlike in 2014, they won't get another week off later in the season. Nope, this is it - the Hoosiers take off week 3, which would be on Saturday, Sept. 17, then play ten straight games starting with Wake Forest. It's a lopsided schedule and could be cause for concern. Last year's bye week came on Halloween weekend, right after two straight disheartening fourth quarter collapse, and the Hoosiers ended the season with four of their best performances of the year (despite one-possession losses to both Iowa and Michigan), which was enough to get them to their first bowl game in eight years. Since they won't be afforded that luxury this fall, Indiana will have to make this bye week count.
3. The Wake Forest/Purdue comparisons are uncanny
Both schools have black and gold color schemes.
Both have somewhat unnerving and creepy mascots.
Both are more known as basketball schools and are located in basketball states.
And both even made BCS games in the 2000s, thanks to coaches who were the last to achieve sustained success at their respective schools (Jim Grobe for Wake, Joe Tiller for Purdue).
So basically, Wake Forest is Purdue, but if Purdue Pete said he was going out for cigarettes and never returned. So if you needed a reason to build up some hate for this seemingly random ACC opponent, there you go.
Also, it's a good thing that IU and Wake totally did not compete in any other sports last year. Especially not basketball. Or soccer.
4. Let's hear from our readers
We asked you guys what you thought of Wake. Here were your best thoughts:
@crimsonquarry More like Asleep Forest, amirite— Catherine Page (@StoatCat) June 20, 2016
@crimsonquarry more like sleeping forest— Lucas Rubey (@Lrubey) June 20, 2016
@crimsonquarry why aren't they woke forest— JCSourwine (@JCSourwine) June 20, 2016
So if Indiana falls to Wake Forest, and no one witnesses it, does it even count in the loss column?
@crimsonquarry pic.twitter.com/8ExXptFYcx— Joe Gralak (@Graylack) June 20, 2016
After the game, these three are heading to Foot Locker to purchase Curry 2 Lows.
@crimsonquarry we'll beat them by 4— Jacob Carson (@jacob_carson18) June 20, 2016
Works for me! Official CQ prediction: Hoosiers win, 21-17.
The CQ Summer Preview Series will run every week, focusing on a different 2016 Indiana Football opponent each time. Next up: Michigan State