Week 8 - Wake Forest at Virginia

Posted Oct 19, 2012

Week 8 Fearless Prediction – Wake Forest at Virginia

Wake Forest (3-3) at Virginia (2-5) Oct. 20, 12:30, ACC Network

Here's The Deal: Wake Forest and Virginia have plenty in common as the second half of the season goes into full gear. Both are skidding, having lost most recently to Maryland, and both need a victory this weekend to bolster their chances of participating in a second-tier postseason game. The Demon Deacons are in a slightly better position, losers of only two straight games, and one step closer to bowl eligibility. They're also coming off a welcomed bye week that could provide a pick-me-up for those players who were injured or suspended two weeks ago. The Cavaliers are by their longest losing streak in three years, a five-game slide that has affected everyone associated with the young program. Head coach Mike London has begun to experiment with his personnel on both sides of the ball, a trend that's expected to continue over the final five games of the campaign.

Why Wake Forest Might Win: The Deacons return to action to face a sloppy Virginia team that turns the ball over too much, has just four takeaways and simply cannot get any pressure on the quarterback. Wake Forest will attempt to capitalize with the passing of Tanner Price, who has now had time to adjust to the injury to top receiver Michael Campanaro. He'll instead look in the direction of Sherman Ragland and Terence Davis in an attempt to exploit a Cavaliers team that has allowed 14 touchdown passes, yet picked off just one.

Why Virginia Might Win: Injuries and suspensions that head coach Jim Grobe have yet to lift have really taken its toll on visiting Wake Forest. The team is simply light in both depth and overall talent, which provides a glint of hope that Virginia's losing streak might be coming to an end. The Cavaliers will go back to the basics, employing its two best weapons, backs Perry Jones and Kevin Parks, to soften the interior of the Deacons defense. Parks bulled his way to 129 yards a week ago against a Maryland defense that's tougher than the one he'll see this week.

What To Watch Out For: One of the young Cavaliers who is getting an expanded role from London is DE Eli Harold. The blue-chip recruit from the 2012 class is coming off his best game of the year, making three stops behind the line, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the loss to the Terrapins. He'll be looking to pick up where he left off against a struggling and reshuffled Wake Forest offensive line. If Harold continues to blossom, he'll become a symbol of hope for the future around Charlottesville.

What Will Happen: Who wants it more? Neither team is playing well at this stage of the season, so a well-played game on either side of the field is doubtful. Wake Forest may be well-rested, but Virginia will actually have more healthy bodies at their disposal this weekend. The Cavaliers will grind out a streak-snapping win, getting a decent game on the ground from Jones and Parks. The D will have to contend with the passing of Price, but not much else from the watered-down Deacons offense.

CFN Prediction: Virginia 26 … Wake Forest 21
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Virginia -3.5 O/U: 53
Must Watch Rating (5 – Seven Psychopaths, 1 – Here Comes the Boom): 1.5