Week 6 – Wake Forest at Maryland

Posted Oct 3, 2012

Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction – Wake Forest at Maryland

Wake Forest (3-2) at Maryland (2-2) Oct. 6, 3:30, ESPNU

Here's The Deal: Neither Wake Forest nor Maryland is winning the ACC Atlantic in 2012, but both programs do still have dreams of qualifying for a bonus game to be played in December. This week's meeting in College Park will go a long way to determining who bowls at the end of the regular season and who misses the six-win cut. The Demon Deacons are off to a chaotic start, trading promising efforts with back-to-the-drawing-board losses. Last weekend, for instance. Playing in Winston-Salem—and against a Duke team it'd owned for the past 12 years—Wake Forest fell to Duke, 34-27. Maryland returns to work after sitting out last weekend on a bye. Even at .500, the Terrapins have exceeded expectations, showing signs of life even in recent close losses to Connecticut and West Virginia. Young and saddled with a plethora of injuries, the program has made the most of its time away from the field.

Why Wake Forest Might Win: At the most important position on the field—quarterback—the Demon Deacons will enjoy a significant edge on Saturday afternoon. The Terps have Perry Hills, a promising player, but also a true freshman who is getting little protection from his O-line. Wake Forest, on the other hand, has veteran starter Tanner Price. The lefty has gotten decent support from his blockers, and a ton of help from favorite target Michael Campanaro. Unfortunately, Campanaro broke his hand last week, and could miss a month. The Deacons are also getting back disruptive DT Nikita Whitlock, a potential handful for a sketchy Maryland front wall that ranks 116th nationally in sacks allowed.

Why Maryland Might Win: The ballyhooed West Virginia offense that scored 70 points in regulation versus Baylor last week? Yeah, the Terps held it to less than half that output two weeks ago. Maryland is sporting a vastly underrated D, especially now that LB Kenny Tate and S Matt Robinson are getting closer to full strength. Wake Forest isn't so potent that'll have an easy time with the likes of linemen Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, and linebackers Demetrius Hartsfield and Cole Farrand. The Terrapins are quietly eighth nationally in total D, and have been stingy in the red zone.

What To Watch Out For: Maryland would love to start running the ball with a little more effectiveness, taking pressure off Hillis. It's been a problem, but this might be the week to finally start popping off some quality gains between the tackles. Wake Forest was beaten like an egg at times in September, which ought to entice head coach Randy Edsall to mine a hot hand, whether it's redshirt freshman Brandon Ross, sophomore Justus Pickett or one of the rookies, Wes Brown or Albert Reid. The Terps need to establish some ground presence if the offense is going to escape neutral.

What Will Happen: If Edsall can foster even mild progress on offense, Maryland will be a plucky team in the second half of the year. In the meantime, the Terps will continue to lean on a defense that's so much tougher than many assume. Short on pop and playmakers, especially with Campanaro out, Wake Forest will do plenty of punting at Byrd Stadium. Maryland, in the meantime, will manufacture points by using turnovers and special teamers to gain an edge in field position. It won't be high-scoring or especially well played, but the Terps have the necessary D and confidence to pull out a squeaker.

CFN Prediction: Maryland 23 … Wake Forest 21
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Maryland -5.5 O/U: 50.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Master, 1 – Trouble with the Curve): 2