Toughest three-game stretch: Wake Forest

We're wrapping up our look at the toughest stretches for each of the ACC's teams in 2015 with Wednesday's final installment: Wake Forest.


  • Nov. 14 at Notre Dame

  • Nov. 21 at Clemson

  • Nov. 28 vs. Duke

Why it's tough: Two road games against teams that could be challenging for the playoff is tough for anyone, but at Wake Forest -- winless on the road a year ago and just 5-24 away from Winston-Salem in the past five years -- it's an enormous mountain to climb. Then the season wraps up with Duke, a team that has beaten the Deacons three straight years, and it's easy to see why Wake will need to take a lot of major strides before the final three-game stretch of its 2015 campaign.

Odds for success: 20 percent. Wake actually has a manageable start to its schedule with games against Elon, Syracuse, Army and Indiana. It's probably asking a lot for the Deacons to pull the sweep there, but Dave Clawson's crew won't be completely outclassed in any of those games. So let's say Wake does start 4-0, then manages to pull another upset in October -- perhaps on the road at Boston College or home vs. North Carolina State. Now all Wake needs for a bowl bid is a single win in this final three-game stretch. Could that happen? Again, the odds are slim that the Deacs see anything other than 0-3 here, but given the fight they showed throughout last year's struggles and the strides they've made already, it's entirely possible the team we see in November 2015 looks a lot different than the one we saw in November 2014. And if Clawson can keep building toward that moment while picking up a few surprises along the way, even a 1-2 finish could mean a major success for Wake Forest this year. Besides, was anyone predicting last year's Wake would pull off a late-season upset of Virginia Tech?