Better Know a ACC Opponent: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons

And he's got a hat and everything. - Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

A private school in a state-school dominated conference, wearing black and gold colors, with football programs that lag behind their basketball legacies, and an old white guy as a mascot? When Vandy and Wake Forest play on Saturday, there can only be one.

The School: Wake Forest University

Record: 4-7 (2-6 in the ACC, 5-7 in 2012)

Ranking: The formulas have Wake Forest rated 93rd in the Real Time RPI (behind three I-AA programs) and 88th in Warren Nolan's rankings.

Mascot: The Demon Deacons. Finally, the NCAA has produced an older, whiter mascot than Mr. C.

Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Conference: Wake Forest is a founding member of the ACC. Over time, the ACC added Miami (3-8 all-time), Virginia Tech (11-24-1), and Florida State (6-25-1), to Wake's conference schedule. It has not worked out well for the Demon Deacons.

All-time vs. Vanderbilt: 6-9

In the Last 10 Years vs. Vanderbilt: 3-3. Vanderbilt beat Wake once under Bobby Johnson, but lost to the Demon Deacons in three straight contests before James Franklin took over.

The Last Time We Saw These Guys: Vanderbilt 55, Wake Forest 21. One of those touchdowns came when Jordan Matthews picked off his own quarterback and ran it in for six points:

In two games against Wake, Franklin's Vanderbilt teams have beaten the DDs by a combined score of 96-28.

Most Potent Offensive Threat: Tanner Price. Price has been bad lately. Like, three-interceptions in four pass attempts against Florida State bad (a passer rating of -118!). However, he's still a stable quarterback who rolled up over 3,000 yards as a sophomore and now brings a veteran presence behind center for the Demon Deacons. He's been hamstrung now that he's lost leading WR Michael Campanaro to injury, but he'll be the toughest weapon for a depleted Wake offense on Saturday. He hasn't had much success against the Commodores in the past (339 combined passing yards in two games), but he'll be the guy that Franklin and the Wild Dogs along the defensive line will be keyed in on this weekend.

Most Potent Defensive Threat: Nikita Whitlock. Nose tackles aren't supposed to be 5'11" or weigh just 250 pounds, but here's Whitlock; built like a Weeble and playing like one of the best defensive linemen in the country. He's recorded 17 tackles for loss this season, and that includes nine sacks. He's also blocked two kicks so far this season. The stout tackle is strong and explosive, and that gives him the ability to drive blockers off the line and disrupt plays in the backfield. Expect Austyn Carta-Samuels to get acquainted with Whitlock early on Saturday.

Matchup to Watch: Kevin Johnson vs. Jordan Matthews. Johnson has proven to be a solid cornerback as a junior, but he'll be facing his toughest test of the season on Saturday against All-American Matthews. The one advantage that Johnson will have is that Wake should fully understand just how much Vanderbilt has relied on Matthews to haul in screen passes in the recent weeks. If Johnson can jump one of those routes it could create a game-changing turnover for the Deacons.

Interesting Fact: In the seminal USA Network series La Femme Nikita, Nikita, played by the inimitable Peta Wilson, racked up 31 kills in the first season. For comparison, Nikita Whitlock has racked up 18.5 quarterback kills (sacks) in his Wake Forest career. Additionally, this may be one of the dumbest "interesting facts" I've come up with in this column.

Bonus Fact!: Old guy mascot? Beautiful southern campus? Black and gold school colors? Football attendance hovering somewhere around 30,000 people? Wake Forest and Vanderbilt are basically the same place.

If Wake Forest wins, we: scratch our heads and move on. A loss in the season finale would break James Franklin's November winning streak and eliminate the chance to match last year's 9-4 record, but it wouldn't do much to hinder this team's selection of bowl games. Plus, Vandy beat Tennessee last week, so things are pretty, pretttay, preeeetttttttttaaaayyyyyy good.

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