10 Things I Hate About You: Wake Forest

  1. Once again, we are playing a team that is kind of hard to hate. ND is 4-0 all time against Wake, so there’s no heartbreak to be avenged. I looked up the list of Demon Deacons currently playing in the NFL, and nothing really jumps off the page there, either. I even looked at second-order effects — was there a time Wake Forest beat someone they shouldn’t have and it screwed ND in the long run? Or vice versa? Not as far as I can tell.

    Wake Forest is the gray man of college football, some kind of abstraction. There is nothing really tangible to hate. Only an entity, something illusory. And though they can win four or five games, and you can shake their hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense the teams are probably somewhat comparable, they simply are not there.
  2. You ever wake up? In a forest? That shit is disorienting and scary, especially if you didn’t plan for it. “Wake Forest” is like the worst possible version of a camping trip gone wrong. I don’t want to go there.
  3. Basketball sidebar: when Wake played in Purcell during my time as an undergrad, I heckled the shit out of head coach Danny Manning. Why? Because he dresses like this. Those suits are soooo baggy. So baggy! Dude makes almost two million a year — please get a tailor.
  4. Depending on who you ask, they’re known as a basketball powerhouse of sorts, despite the same number of Final Four appearances as ND, along with zero national championships. They’re the armpit of Tobacco Road.
  5. The program’s all-time wins leader (tied with Jim Grobe) is, naturally, Douglas Clyde “Peahead” Walker, which is a patently ridiculous name. Ole Peahead went 77-51-6 from 1937 to 1950. Jim Grobe also got to 77 wins, but it took him 82 losses to do it. Imagine being worse than a dude who let people call him Peahead. Knute could knever!

    In all seriousness, though, Wake Forest’s coaching lineage is a who’s-who of mediocrity. We’ve got Derek Dooley’s uncle Bill, Jim Caldwell, Al Groh — all dudes basically guaranteed to go exactly .500. This makes us hate Wake, of course, because every Notre Dame assistant coach of the last decade has proceeded to shit the bed and roll in it at their next gig. If you wanna stare into the void today, look up what happened to Charley Molnar after he no longer had the physical gifts of Thomas “Touchdown” Rees at his disposal. There’s nothing we hate more than a person who makes us recognize our own shortcomings! So fuck you, Wake, for reminding us that Bob Diaco went 11-26 at UConn.
  6. Speaking of former ND assistants — thinking about Wake makes me think of Mike Elko, who unceremoniously ditched us after a single season. What a jag.
  7. Speaking of speaking of former ND employees, guess who’s their current university president? Some guy named Nathan Hatch, former ND professor, associate dean, VP, and provost. Sloppy seconds go both ways.
  8. It’s a little bit hilarious that Wikipedia notes that the Demon Deacons “followed [their] success in 2006 with another excellent year and finished the regular season with a record of 8 wins and 4 losses.” That sound you hear is a collective shudder of disgust emanating from Rock’s House.
  9. November 17, 2012. Notre Dame rolls over Wake Forest 38-0. Stanford takes down #2 Oregon. Baylor defeats #1 Kansas State and their “Heisman” “candidate” Collin Klein. All of this meaning that undefeated Notre Dame is atop the BCS standings for the first time ever. An amazing day! Campus was, frankly, lit. We danced atop Stonehenge with beers in hand. I would say I wouldn’t trade that memory for anything in the world…but…I would extremely trade it for a KSU win, which would have kept them at #1, with the Irish sitting pretty at #2. If those rankings were to hold, tell me you aren’t confident that the Irish would be national champions. This is all only vaguely Wake Forest related (they actually perfectly played their part that day), but I’ll never not be upset about it.
  10. Unlike 2012, Wake refused to roll over and die last year, hanging around in the fourth quarter of a game that saw Notre Dame put up 48 points and over 700 yards of offense. ND couldn’t quite step on their throats to put this one away, despite being up 25 points in the fourth quarter, and instead of being relaxed, I was stressed. This stress took years off my life, and now there’s a real chance I’ll be dead before my granddaughter graduates from college because Dave Clawson thinks playing to win is an admirable trait. Thanks a lot, Dave, we hate you, and my granddaughter hates you too.

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