Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wake could be headed toward 0-16

Wake Forest bottomed out in the ACC Tournament again last year and then in the NCAAs, prompting athletics director Ron Wellman to fire Dino Gaudio and hire Jeff Bzdelik. Given Wellman’s brilliant hiring record, it was easy to assume he saw much beyond the 36-58 record he had as the head coach of Colorado for three years.
Bzdelik did not inherit the ’74 Wolfpack by any means, but the disaster unfolding in Winston-Salem is beyond expectations. Wake fans who saw the team early shook their heads at the talent on the floor, and what has unfolded meets those concerns. The Deacons are now 0-5 in ACC play and 7-13 overall, and the only surprise from their 83-59 loss to Duke Saturday in Winston-Salem is they kept the game as close as they did.
All of this could point to a winless ACC mark for Wake, which has happened only five times in league history. Here are those previous five:
1987: Maryland 0-14, 9-17
1986: Wake Forest 0-14, 8-21
1981: Ga. Tech 0-14, 4-23
1955: Clemson 0-14, 2-21
1954: Clemson 0-14, 5-18
Note team has ever gone 0-16 in conference play, which Wake has a shot at this season.
The question has been raised as to whether Wake could be the worst team ever in the ACC, and the answer to that is a definitive no. Clemson’s lousy records in the league’s early years speak for themselves, and the ’55 squad allowed 73.7 points per game and allowed 93.3. The 1981 Tech team was truly terrible at a time when the league featured giants at UNC and Virginia. Tech scored 55.7 points and allowed 71.5 in an era in which teams often slowed the pace.
The view here is Wake Forest’s Wellman remains the best athletics director in the ACC, and his ability to turn around the football program and develop nonrevenue sports is remarkable. But Wellman rushed the decision to hire Gaudio after the death of Skip Prosser, and so far, the hiring of Bzdelik is off to an ominous start.

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