You have but one choice for Thursday night FBS football, in the form of No. 14 Clemson at Wake Forest. We’re sure you have so many questions.
• Why? What else are you gonna do, watch baseball? Of course you’re not gonna watch baseball. Besides, this might be fun. Clemson holds a three-game win streak over Wake Forest, but the Tigers have been a touch snakebit in this particular slot, going 1-9 in Thursday primetime ESPN ball since 1998. The last time they played Wake in such a game, the Demon Deacons won 12-7 and Tommy Bowden was fired within days. Basically, Halloween is coming right up, and one of these teams has “Demon” in its name, and you never really know what hexes are put on night games. So watch.
• What even is a Demon Deacon? Wake Forest will gladly explain this for you, but we’d like to sum it up with our favorite quote from the school’s reading material on the subject: “And while there are any number of ways to dress a Tiger, there is only one way to dress a Demon Deacon — with distinction.”
• What information do I, the discerning consumer, require in order to consume this game? The Tigers and Demon Deacons kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on BB&T Field at Groves Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN and streamed on WatchESPN.
• What’s at stake here? Clemson is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in ACC play. That one loss came to Florida State, but the ‘Noles are carrying an L as well, and the Tigers could take the Atlantic if they win out and FSU stumbles just one more time.
• Why haven’t we heard more from Sammy Watkins this season? Clemson’s offense is clicking just fine, averaging a little fewer than 500 yards of offense per game. As a known quantity this season, Watkins has been drawing double teams, but while he’s been muffled, Nuke Hopkins has blossomed in his stead. Hopkins currently ranks second in the nation in receiving yards per game, averaging more than 120. The Tigers are also getting good work out of Andre Ellington (averaging 99 yards on the ground), Tajh Boyd (top 20 in pass efficiency) and kicker Chandler Catanzaro. The Tigers’ defense, well … Can you prove Brent Venables wasn’t hired for his blinding smile? We cannot prove he was not.
• Anything we need to know about Wake Forest’s offense? Receiver Michael Campanaro returns to action after missing two games with a fractured hand. A wide receiver playing on a broken hand? Oh, but this isn’t just any wide receiver.
• Has Tanner Price been at Wake Forest since the dawn of time, or does it just seem like that? Having a predecessor named “Riley Skinner” helps to create an air of seamlessness at this position. This may be a unique ACC trait. (See also: Renner, Brynn.)