I needed a couple of days.
I say that because, had I put words to paper in the immediate aftermath of Wake Forest’s 27-20 over Virginia on Saturday, I may have had the hyperbole machine running on nitrous. Wins and losses not involving the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t mattered to me a whole lot over the last few years because life’s too short, you know, and my kindergartner has replaced sportsball as a priority (thank goodness).
But as Jessie Bates hit the end zone with the game-winning score last weekend I was, at 45, jumping on my bed with my fist in the air. My better half, a Texas native, looked at me quizzically and was likely pondering her getaway. Before she could ask what the hell was wrong with me, I just said:
“Because this is important.”
It’s important because this group of Demon Deacons have helped lift the football program out of the doldrums and on the road to respectability.
It’s important because the upperclassmen who were forced to play two years ago when the talent cupboard was all but barren will finally get a postseason reward.
It’s important because Dave Clawson delivered. Forget about the way the schedule was set up. Forget about quality of opponents. Remember that we are nine games into the season and the Deacs have three conference wins. And while you are remembering, take a look at the depth chart and see how young this team is.
It’s important because the win over Virginia came a week after a very, very “Wake Forest” loss to Army on freaking Homecoming. Historically, that’s a potential white-flag moment for Deacon sports. Instead, the “one-game season” mantra prevailed, and the Deacs were 1-0 after facing adversity.
It’s important (mostly to me) that the Deacs are going bowling and the 3-6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are likely not. The Irish are booty and their fans are in a tizzy. This makes people (read: me) very happy. That’s not a very journalistic thing to say but … like, I’m not alone here, right? Anyway.
It’s important because of sheer joy. After weeks of batting away questions about bowl eligibility, Clawson finally talked about it in his postgame interview on the ACC Network. But more telling than that were the numerous postgame locker room videos that showed a Wake Forest football team acting like they just knocked off Ohio State for the national championship.
It’s also important because there are three games left to play. Never mind that two of them are against Louisville and Clemson and their respective video game-like quarterbacks. There are three games left and not a soul in Tie Dye Nation has to worry about sneaking into the postseason by winning the dreaded Saturday after Thanksgiving Game.
There will be no sneaking this year. Leftovers will be eaten in peace that Saturday, as we watch the dominos fall and plan our holiday football trips.
Shreveport? Nashville? New York? Is the destination important?
It’s important because, this year, the postseason destination isn’t…home.