Ron Wellman's Column

Feb. 26, 2010

By now, most Wake Forest fans have seen the 2010 football schedule which was recently released by the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Deacons will play six home games including ACC contests against Duke, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Clemson and non-conference games with Navy and Presbyterian.

Originally we were to play Tulane at home this year as the second game of our series with them (we played at Tulane in 1995). However, late this fall Tulane contacted us and requested that we move the game that had been scheduled for Oct. 2. In the world of college football scheduling, a few months is actually a very short period of time. We wanted to cooperate with Tulane and grant its request but that also left us short one non-conference game. We were able to agree to a one-game contract with Presbyterian College. We will now play Tulane at home in 2016 and 2020 and travel to Tulane to play in New Orleans in 2018.

Because the Labor Day weekend is traditionally the final weekend of summer, we decided to schedule the game for Thursday night, Sept. 2 in order to accommodate our fans who might have other plans for the long weekend. When we have played on Thursday night before the Labor Day weekend in previous years, we have drawn well and it's a good way to open the season. By opening our season on Thursday, it also gives us two extra days of preparation for our game the next Saturday against Duke.

Presbyterian is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA. The Blue Hose play in the Big South Conference. They will also play Clemson this year.

While we would have liked to open with BCS-level opponent, the fact is that our starting quarterback will be somebody other than Riley Skinner next year. Coach Grobe will be the first to tell you that we have been very blessed over the last four years to have one of the best quarterbacks in our history leading our team. Whomever becomes our starting quarterback this fall, the Presbyterian game will serve as their first collegiate start. It will be a great opportunity for our fans to watch a new era start for our team under the leadership of a new quarterback.

Should we beat Presbyterian, the game would count towards the six wins needed to become bowl-eligible.

The remainder of the schedule will be challenging. We will face triple option teams in consecutive weeks on Oct. 2 and Oct. 9 when we host Georgia Tech and then Navy. Our five-game stretch that includes contests at Stanford, at Florida State, home with Georgia Tech and Navy and then an Oct. 16 game at Virginia Tech, will provide opportunities to play and beat some of the best programs in the country. All but Navy spent at least one week in the Top 25 during the 2009 season and the Midshipmen were 8-4 with a win at Notre Dame.

Our philosophy is to schedule non-conference games with football opponents that have similar values and academic ambitions as Wake Forest. That philosophy is responsible for our games this year with Stanford, Navy and Vanderbilt.

In the future, we will continue the series with Vanderbilt as the final regular season game of the year. It is a home-and-home series scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year through 2015.

We will also continue to schedule games with the service academies. While the series with Navy will conclude following this year's game, we will face Air Force in 2011 and Army each year from 2012 through 2015. We have a home-and-home series scheduled with Rice in 2013-14 and Indiana in 2015-16.

Among the other opponents on the future schedule are games at Syracuse in 2011, at Notre Dame in 2012 and a home game with Northern Illinois in 2014. We are currently negotiating with other schools who would be attractive nonconference opponents for us.

Season tickets will go on sale in the near future and we hope that you will be able to once again join us at BB&T Field this fall. 2010 promises to be another exciting year for the Demon Deacons!

Go Deacs!

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