Wake Fans Expect Wins

Every year, people that wear orange and white and purple expect the Clemson football team to compete for a division and conference championship. In the span of less than two years, Wake Forest fans have come to expect the same and now even Jim Grobe isn't immune to criticism.

The situation at Wake Forest perfectly sums up the passion surrounding college football. No longer are the fans content going to a bowl game every five years or so. They expect and are demanding more.

Winning an ACC Championship will do that to you.

That's why so many Demon Deacon fans were upset at their team's 17-16 loss last week to Virginia. Fans questioned the play calling, much in the same fashion they have at Clemson and every other winning program in the ACC and across the nation.

"People have good points," Grobe said in reference the armchair quarterbacks. "You look back, it's always easy to do in hindsight, but when you're on the sideline making decisions, you have to try to make decisions that give your kids a chance to win, and that's what we try to do.

"We try to never make decisions that might please anybody but our players. We want to give our kids a chance to win, and every decision we make is with that in mind."

Winning breeds more fans, and the more fans there are the more chances there are of some of them getting upset. Most outsiders believe Wake Forest is a better team that the Cavaliers, and so when the Demon Deacons have problems scoring points, fans begin to look at the head coach for answers.

It's a situation that Grobe actually likes because it means the fans care and that he has gotten the program to a level where people anticipate his team to win.

"We had a great chance to win," he said. "There's no one more ticked off than the coaches and the players. I know our fans expect to win. That's a good thing. It's good when you have expectations from the fans. And no one feels worse than we do, and we especially feel worse for our players.

"If our fans feel bad about a loss and they're upset for our players, we're 10 ten times most upset for our players. We've got good kids. We want to give them a chance to win. And so when we don't get it done, we don't just blame the players. We look at our coaching staff probably harder than we do the players."

Despite the loss to Virginia, the Demon Deacons in the thick of the fray for the Atlantic Division title for the second the straight year. Wake Forest has to win out in the league and have Clemson beat Boston College, both of which could easily happen. In addition, B.C. would have to lose on the road at Maryland this weekend or lose at home to Miami later this month.

"(Florida State's win over the Eagles) kind of keeps the door open a little bit, but it's also very discouraging because we had a great opportunity up at Virginia," Grobe said. "We'd be in a great position right now if we'd won up in Charlottesville. It's a tough league. Every Saturday, it's really tough. We're not playing anybody that isn't capable of beating us, and we're capable of beating them. It's a real gut-check."

And the fans wouldn't have it any other way.

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