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Hang Em' Bang Em'

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
August 31, 2023 9:26 pm

Hang Em' Bang Em'

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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August 31, 2023 9:26 pm

On a Thursday Drive, live from Allegacy Stadium for the Wake Forest opener against Elon, Josh gives a stat that points to why Wake should put up major numbers against Elon, tonight, Josh gives his picks for Week 1 of the College Football season, in Graham's Gamblin, Wake Forest AD, John Currie, joins the show to tell whether or not he'd be shocked if the ACC adds Stanford, Cal, and SMU, publisher for Deacons and Devils Illustrated, Conor O'Neill, joins the show to tell the thing he's most interested to watch in Wake Forest against Elon, and Drew Carter, of ACC Network, joins the show to talk college football coming to movie theaters and Larry Munson's "hobnail boot" call.


This is The Drive with Josh Graham Podcast.

We're internet sensations guys! Tune into The Drive weekday afternoons 3 to 7 on WSJS. You are on a Thursday drive. It is WSJS, News Talk Sports for the Triad. And it is a spectacular college football game day in Winston-Salem. We are perched inside a legacy federal credit union stadium. I can hear Wes Durham's voice in my ear right now saying, it's a legacy stadium Josh, just call it that. Where in a few hours, the Wake Forest football team will be facing Wes Durham's mighty Elon Fenix. Looking outside our skybox right now, it is a picturesque scene.

A tick under 80 degrees, very few clouds, and we expect that weather conditions are going to hold up very well throughout the day. So however and wherever you are listening or watching, whether it be at home or in your car or in the tailgate lots, we appreciate you spending time with us. It's not just the Deacs that we're going to be keeping an eye on tonight. NC State has a compelling matchup in West Hartford against UConn. And how about North Carolina A&T? They are in Birmingham to take on UAB in what's going to be Trent Dilfer's collegiate coaching debut.

How about that? But since we are at the stadium, we might as well hit on the game that we have here. Despite all that is new for Wake Forest this year, we know exactly what to expect from them at home tonight.

We know exactly how this is going to go. They're going to win by more than 30 points. Under Dave Claussen, even when they weren't all that good, I'm talking about the 2, 3, and 9 seasons in 14 and 15, Dave Claussen hammers the FCS opponents.

As they should. Wake Forest has beaten FCS teams by an average margin of 33 points per win. Wake's margin of victory in five of the last six FCS games have exceeded 30 points. Has exceeded 30 points. That's what you should expect tonight. And then when you look at the new quarterback that everyone's going to be talking about and has been talking about ad nauseam Mitch Griffiths replacing Sam Hartman, Mitch Griffiths should ball out. And we have a stat line that we could actually measure him up to. 21 of 29 for three touchdowns and no picks.

Why that number? That's what Mitch Griffiths did in last year's season opener against an FCS opponent in VMI. You might remember that's the one game Sam Hartman missed due to his medical episode a year ago.

You should expect something similar from Mitch tonight. That is where you set expectations for something that we've been talking about as being very new for the Deacs. But this is a standard year.

That's what this is. A standard year for Wake Forest that starts tonight and a standard year for Dave Claussen. There are so many changes. But has the program grown so much under Dave that even when you have all the turnover you could still win six or seven games?

Has the program reached that point? Dave Claussen, speaking to the media earlier this week, encouraged people to look past the inexperience and focus on the age of this group. We are inexperienced but we're not young. If you look at the depth chart, there's still only four guys who are starting that are in their third year in the program. There's no first year guys, second year guys. There's four third year guys. The rest of the depth chart is comprised of guys that are in their fourth, fifth, sixth, and even seventh year. So we have players that have waited their time to play.

It's good for them that they're going to get game experience. This starts our growth process that some of these players, I think, will evolve and to be in some of the top players in the ACC. It is a remarkable achievement for anybody that is older than 25 years old or 30 years old who remembers growing up with Wake Forest football and thinking, it's just a good year if you win eight.

It's an amazing year if you win eight. That's now the standard for Wake. We're talking about so much changing in which you learn you lose a quarterback like Sam Hartman and six, seven games.

That's still the expectation. Don't lose sight of how much this program has grown under Dave Claussen who's done a magnificent job with this program. The best coach that this program's ever had with respect to Jiv Grove and P-Head Walker that came before him. A lot to do on today's show. We've got Graham's gambling in less than 10 minutes. Yeah, we're going to be handing out picks while sitting here in the skybox at a Legacy Stadium.

Send me that cash out, family. We've got a great lineup of guests. Wake AD John Curry later this hour. Next hour, we expect visits from the voice of the Deacs, Stan Cotton. Connor O'Neill, Elon graduate, going to join us who covers the Deacs. And in the five o'clock hour, Eric McLean who's going to be broadcasting for the ACC Network's road show from Winston-Salem today. He will be dropping by as well. And who knows who else is going to drop by. Will Dalton, the executive producer of this show, turning the dials back in our Providence Lane studios here in Winston-Salem.

You can watch the show on Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch in addition to tweeting the show at WSJS radio. W.D., while I'm at Elon Wake tonight, your attention's going to shift to high school football that we have on WSJS. What matchup are you going to be focusing on? We've got Paige Mount Tabor.

It's going to be at Paige like five minutes up the road from where I live oddly enough. So make sure you're locked into that. Dave Pulaski and our guy Gray Brindle are going to be on the call for that. While we were focusing, we are focusing on all the college football, I'd be remiss not to bring up that Scott Fitterer, Panthers GM, spoke to the media. Scott Fitterer spoke after the cut down to 53 this week. And you can add him to the list of people who are encouraging some patience with this team.

Because it can't be emphasized enough how new everything is. Scott Fitterer, he was back in Seattle about a decade ago seeing how long it took a rookie quarterback, in that case, the undersized Russell Wilson, to figure things out. And for that to blossom into a Super Bowl winner a year after Russ debuted. And probably should have been two if not for the goal line interception against the Patriots the year after that. But this is Scott Fitterer remembering that and referencing that when talking about Bryce Young this time around and how much time it takes for a quarterback to figure things out and for all the new to start gelling and falling into place.

It took a second. I can't remember the game. I think it was Arizona that we played earlier with him. It took six, seven, eight games.

I think it was like we played Buffalo maybe up in Toronto and that's when it just started to really take off. So it's going to take a few weeks. We have a 53-man roster and you have 24 new faces on it and new coaches. It's going to take a little time in the beginning. But this group will come together. I think it's going to be a strong group. So if Carolina loses a couple of division games to open up in a worst-case scenario, they start 0-2.

This is me telling you now the sky is not falling. Wait until November and see what Bryce Young has done at that point. That doesn't mean Carolina can't contend for a division title this year. It doesn't mean they can't have a winning record even. But that requires everything to fall into place perfectly for you to remain healthy, for guys to figure things out quicker than usual for younger players. As he pointed out there, 24 of the 53 were not here last year.

And speaking of last year, he made a point that this team isn't all that much more talented than the team they started with a year ago. Going through it this morning, I sat down with Dan. We went position by position, pulled out the 22 roster to this one. And for the most part, we had mostly positive, a couple of equals, and there was one negative. But overall, I just thought like, you know what, we're making progress. It's where we want to be. Every year, I say our goal is to win the NFC South. And I think even with all the new faces, the new staff, and all the changes that are taking place, that's our goal.

And I think if we played our ability, that's definitely within reach. I'd be interested to see what group he saw that was a drop-off from last year. My guess is probably running back. With all due respect to Miles Sanders, Christian McCaffrey might be the best running back in the NFL, or at least one of the top three or four. So maybe that's the area you're not as good in.

Maybe it's wide receiver now that you don't have DJ Moore. But this is the part that needs to be talked about too. Yes, Carolina can win the division this year, but that's less a compliment, a praise of Carolina's talent, and more an indictment of the state of the NFC South.

You've got to remember that. Just because they say the NFC South's the goal, we can win the NFC South, doesn't mean they're saying you're a Super Bowl contender. It doesn't mean you're in contention to win ten games. It means your division isn't any good this year, and somebody's probably going to win it with nine wins. Who knows, with a tie in there, you could be talking about an eight-win NFC South champ.

Can't rule it out. But getting back to football, college football that is, in the last two days, W.D., I'm going to take you behind the scenes. The card for Graham's gambling has shrinked from 13 to 7 to this steady five that is sitting in front of me right now.

And I'll share those five picks with you next on the Drive. There are a lot of things you can say about me and this radio show as we're broadcasting from a legacy stadium site of Wake Forest, Elon, tonight. One thing you could say about us, W.D., modest. We don't gloat. We don't spike the football when good things happen for us. Modest, humble, hashtag humble. That's what we're about around here.

It's a virtue. So last week, it shouldn't surprise you that we didn't just open up 4-0 because that would be showy. That would be spiking the football.

That would be doing a bit too much. So we started the season a modest 2-2 after last year. That's right. It was week zero. Come on.

That's right. We just got to ease into this a little bit. Last year, we were close to 60%. Best season we ever had. This is our sixth football season as a show. So this week, I think we start to really hit on them. I think maybe we go 5-0 this week.

How's that sound? 5-0. That's what we're going for because I got a card in front of me here with a steady five on it. It's time for this week's Graham's Gambling. And let's start with an ACC midweek game. Though I'm not talking about Wake Forest tonight, I'm not even talking about NC State against UConn. I'm looking at tomorrow night down in Atlanta, Georgia Tech, Louisville, where the home Yellow Jackets are getting more than a touchdown. They're getting 7.5 points. And I'll say, give me that.

Give me that 7.5. Brent Key had Georgia Tech humming at the end of last year, went into Chapel Hill, knocked off the Tar Heels, did enough to take the interim tag off of them. Louisville, I think they're going to be pretty good with the prodigal son. Coach Brom coming back to card to land.

I just don't think it's going to happen right away. They have a transfer coming in at quarterback. It's not all that impressive when you look at the depth chart. So give me the home team that's getting more than a touchdown here. I don't know if Georgia Tech wins the game, but they keep it very tight. We're saying go ACC to start things off with the Yellow Jackets.

Give me that cash out, fam. One of the games that has the most attention on it is Fox's big noon Saturday game between Colorado and TCU. TCU fresh off the playoff appearance, and Colorado, you might have heard, has some guy named Deion Sanders as his coach.

Don't call him a Florida State Seminole. Don't call him that, according to Prime himself. As ridiculous as that is.

But you look at the line, you're like, what? Prime plus 20 and a half? Graham, are you going to do that? No. I'm not going to lay the points either, because that's not generally what we do here. Instead, I'm just expecting some points to be put on the board.

The total is 64. We're going north of that. I don't know if Colorado's reserves can hold up against what Sonny Dykes has, you know, fired up down there in Fort Worth. I don't know if it's going to go well in the second half for them. They might win the game by 17 to 20 points. But I know Colorado's going to score a little bit.

Prime's not going to be on this Prime stage and not put up some points. I think they'll do enough to get north of 64 combined. TCU wins the game comfortably, but we're going with the over here.

Send me that cash out, fam. I feel so bad doing this one here. Tennessee, Virginia. Virginia's going to be so bad this year. I hope I'm wrong, because I'm married to a Virginia grad, and it was so terrible what happened to them at the end of last year. But prior to that, the football team wasn't good, and there's not much reason to believe they're going to be good this year either. One of the picks we gave out at the start of the year in terms of futures was Virginia minus three and a half wins.

Rocky Top, you'll always be home, sweet home to me. Yeah, I'm not going to go with the full lay the 28, but in the first half I think Heiple's going to want to put it on them. I think Joe Milton, wanting to start a Heisman campaign, going to do the same thing. This game's in Nashville, man. That's right in Tennessee's backyard. Rocky Top lay the 14 and a half first half, because, again, you don't want to lay it on Virginia in their first game after the tragedy and all of that. We do hope that they are respectable and can hold up a little bit in the second half. But I think in the first half, I think Tennessee's going to get up big. Vols minus 14 and a half first half.

See what they cash out, fam. I have this written down from last year, W.D. Bet at least one team that played in week zero against a team that had not played yet in week one, and the team I have written down for this week, I can't believe I'm doing this. UMass, Minutemen, fresh off their first FBS win in years, the first time they opened the season with an FBS win since 1984. We're going Minutemen plus 35 at Auburn. They're on the planes.

We're going Minutemen. I think it's an advantage that they've played, and last week, again, they won. You have the Clemson transfer, Famicon, who's at quarterback. So the offense actually looked pretty decent. I think they're going to move the ball a little bit.

I think they're going to score. Obviously, they're not going to win the game, but a lot is new if you freeze now there in Auburn. UMass covers 35. They cover five touchdowns out at Auburn. See what they cash out, fam.

And this one's gross, but it's personal for me, the last one. North Texas is getting six and a half. They're facing Cal, future ACC team Cal. Why is North Texas personal for me? Do you know where North Texas is located, WD? No. A town called Denton in North Texas. You know what their mascot is?

No. The Mean Green. The Mean Joe Green. Mean Joe Green went to North Texas.

This is personal for me. North Texas is the pick, plus six and a half. They're at home. You've got a team coming from Berkeley that's going to be playing in what feels like 100 degree temperatures out on that turf field in Denton, Texas. We're going with the Mean Green to perhaps win this game outright. I don't think a lot of points are going to be scored in this game. North Texas plus six and a half, our final pick of Graham's gambling this week.

See what they cash out, fam. So in review, we have in the ACC tomorrow night, Georgia Tech plus a touchdown against Louisville. TCU, Colorado going over 64. First half, Tennessee minus 14 and a half against the Wahoos of Virginia.

UMass plus five touchdowns against Auburn out of the plains and North Texas in Denton, plus six and a half against Cal. Fire it up. That looks like a 5 and 0 slate to me.

That's what it looks like to me. Let me tell you what I'm looking at right now. WD, we've got bands practicing.

Elon's band was just out there. See, that is one thing. People do ask me, hey, do you like college or pro? Which of the two do you prefer more? And I always say college and the reasons I go for it. And again, I love NFL football.

I watch it and cover it. But college, you have cities like Winston-Salem. You have cities like Blacksburg, Virginia.

Like you fill in the blank that you only know because of the college that's within it. Would I know Denton, Texas? Yeah. Would you know where Clemson, South Carolina is if it wasn't for the Tigers? No shot. Probably not. Would you know, would people on the West Coast know where Chapel Hill, North Carolina is if not for the Tar Heels?

Probably not. So it puts cities on the map to otherwise wouldn't it be there in pro football? Charlotte's going to be a great city regardless if the Panthers are good or not. So you have that, the college town aspect, the college fan aspect, a variation of style. There's no triple option being run in the NFL. Everybody's trying to essentially do the same thing. So there's some variation of that.

But there's one thing that in college, I never really factored into that arithmetic, but I think does apply as I'm thinking about it right now. Bands. That's it. College, you got the band. You don't have the band in the NFL. You got bands in college.

And we love a band. Someone actually asked me that once. Why aren't the halftime short? Like they were talking about the new rule changes in college. Hey, you're trying to shorten it by five to seven plays. Why don't you just cut down on the halftime like the NFL does? Well, the NFL doesn't have to worry about getting bands out on the field.

You can't shorten halftime in college or else you're going to be shortening the band. And I know there are a lot of folks in HBCU communities listening right now who love HBCUs as we do. Winston-Salem State, shout out to you talking about the Red Sea that they have when the band comes to play. Like those bands are that's almost as good as the football game. Maybe even better than the football game. Watching the HBCU bands take the field.

Well, I'm thinking about it as well. A shout out to our friends at PDQ. Hooked us up with lunch today. WD and I. They have a partnership with our radio stations and that was fantastic. And I introduced because it's a Winston-Salem centric day with us being away. I introduced WD to the Texas Pete doused tenders that they have. Yeah, because I had had the spicy tenders before and I thought that was kind of going to be similar to what I got last time. Not at all.

These things took it up 10 times. It's fantastic. It's their handmade barbecue sauce mixed with Texas Pete. Yes.

And you could tell the handmade aspect of it. It's outstanding. So shout out to Jim Crenshaw and company and all the folks there at PDQ off Stratford and Winston-Salem.

Appreciate lunch. Wake Forest director of athletics John Curry going to join us just a few minutes from now. There's a lot going on at game day. You know, you see I look out our perch right now at a legacy stadium and I see the tailgate lots starting to fill up. And one of the cool things about this game is that it's a sellout that we're talking about in Winston-Salem as we'll have you sit right here. John Curry is joining our set and what a perfect transition to what I wanted to get to here. This is a sellout crowd that we're talking about for an FCS opponent in a midweek night game. John Curry, you know it better than I do.

What precedent for that is there? Well, Josh, this is I think the sixth or seventh sellout. Georgia Tech will be our seventh or eighth. We're closing in on a Vanderbilt.

So, you know, whether there's precedent or not, this is the way it ought to be, right? When you got a fan base like Wake Forest when you have a community like the Triad with 1.3 million people and I just ran up the steps and I'm out of breath. Okay, so let me do some talking so you can get your breath real quick.

You're not kidding. You're sprinting up the stairs. Stan Cotton was texting me. Man, John Curry, you might want to book his 40 time.

He probably could run like a sub.45-40. I remember, though, like the way you're speaking, John, you don't maybe recognize it, but it's different than the way you were speaking when you first arrived here where when you were talking about season tickets and getting people excited, it was always with, hey, look who we're playing. We're playing Clemson. We're playing NC State. We're playing Duke. The tone has shifted from, hey, come watch who we're playing versus come watch the Deacs. Well, we did establish the opening night theme in 2019. In fact, I got a note from Mike Odom, who's now the senior associate AD at Creighton, and we established that opening night and that's been our theme and it was our theme last year and the year before, but part of the opening night theme is exactly what you're talking about where, hey, August 31st, it's opening night. Well, who are you playing?

It doesn't matter. It's opening night. You're going to see the Deacs, right? If you were going to go see the Cubs on opening day of Major League Baseball, you wouldn't say, who are they playing? You'd say it's opening night or opening day. So it's opening night at a Legacy Family Credit Union Stadium, but we do have an excellent Elon University team that's here to play.

Yeah, when you look at, see, last time we were chatting with you, you were talking about the idea of Wake Forest brand and you pushed back against some of the perceptions and narratives that were out there. Those were two words I've been thinking a lot the last week when Sam Hartman has the big game he has against Notre Dame and the reaction from a lot of people is, whoa, Sam Hartman, he's pretty good. This guy. And I'm like, wait a minute.

We watched this guy for four years do that. Why is this surprising to anybody? And also there's this idea, oh, Wake Forest must be upset at no end that this guy is no longer in Winston-Salem and that couldn't be further from the troop, I don't think. Well, I mean, we all appreciate Sam and everything he did for the program and he's always going to be a Deacon that's fondly remembered and will be part of the program. We have a lot of great football players at Wake Forest and Will Pantages was telling me they're actually checking to make sure, but there's somewhere in the three to four or five most players in the NFL in the ACC from Wake Forest.

Wow. So think about that. We may, and again, we need to, they're double checking it, but the third most or fourth most or fifth most highest players in the NFL on active day rosters that just got cut down the other day in the ACC are Wake Forest, right? And so I think there's a couple of things to think about that.

One, people don't expect that. There's some comments made by commentators about the kind of players that Sam gets to play with now at Notre Dame versus the kind of players he got to play with here at Wake Forest. I can tell you that they're receivers at Notre Dame, probably not going to be better than the ones they had at Winston-Salem.

There's some pretty good players at both places, right? But so much about it is just kind of the way it always has been and your expectations of what it was going to be. And you can't control what it used to be, right?

You can control what you are today and you can control what you're doing to be ready to be for your tomorrow. And Wake Forest and the tribe community and the city of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, we've embraced that. We're moving forward. What's happened in this community in downtown Winston-Salem and the Innovation Corridor area over the last 20 something years, the Winston-Salem Open, which is a great event internationally televised here.

They just concluded last weekend. So there's some major demolition that had to happen or deconstruction on the east side of the stadium just over the last week. We're moving forward and we're moving forward with incredible passion.

Like I said earlier, when I was out of breath up the stairs, 1.3 million people. This is the seventh highest rated ESPN market in the country. There's huge sports interest here. Our state is the third fastest growing state in the country. We're the number one state in the union and for business according to CNBC. And then right in the middle of it, you've got Wake Forest, a top 30 university, but you've got an athletics program that wins in pretty much everything and 10 national championships and all that kind of stuff.

So it's all good. To second the point that you're making about football, though, and guys making rosters. I was talking about this with a front office member I think just a few days ago about Blake Whiteheart who made the Arizona Cardinals 53-man roster and it just seems to be two or three guys who don't get drafted end up on NFL teams. It's a testament to the staff that they always, coaches and front office members, always do the same thing about Wake players. They understand NFL schemes. They are so well coached. They're so bright, which you expect with a top 30 education. But just from a football IQ standpoint, it isn't a surprise that they make that transition because of the quality of coaching staff that you have. Our coaching staff does a great job from even age 15 in terms of evaluating students who are going to appreciate the Wake Forest experience and grow from the Wake Forest experience and be invested in the Wake Forest experience. And that's really across the board. And that's why 70% of the student athletes at Wake Forest made the ACC honor roll this past year. 70% of 400 students. And Wake Forest, as anyone knows, the work is rigorous.

The academic load is rigorous. And we're uncompromising and embracing the fact that we're still going to be a college athletics program. I love the way Dave Claussen said that in July at the ACC media days. We're still going to run a college football program at Wake Forest. And the value that is extracted by our student athletes from the Wake Forest experience from those great classes with our incredible teacher scholars, professors, and Provost Gillespie. I think that answer was in response to something where they were talking about the direction that college football is heading in and Wake Forest is always going to have a program.

We are three hours and five minutes from kickoff time, which means we're three hours and five minutes from the ACC season kicking off. And we still don't have clarity on what exactly is going to happen. What decision the university presidents are going to make with expansion. Are you surprised that we don't know one way or the other at this point?

31 years, 14 years as a power five AD, including my eight years in the Big 12. Nothing surprises me. But the ACC is in a really enviable position. And you know that old FDR or Churchill, you know the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, right?

So sometimes we kind of like work ourselves up into a little frenzy about fear type stuff. But the reality of it is the ACC doesn't have to do anything right now. The ACC has an excellent long term contract, which is especially with ESPN, which is especially important right now because you got to remember, I mean all you got to do is read the newspaper or the CNBC ticker or whatever or whatever and see all the challenges and how disrupted the whole media enterprise and landscape. I mean, you know that better than anybody, right?

Than anybody. So the streamers are having trouble making money and Netflix, you know, all this kind of stuff. There's a huge disruption in what values are. So having a long term contract when there's disruption is good. Do you think that because of the season starting that's an issue that could be put on the back burner though?

Like that that's something that might you now look at and say we're going to pause and put this on the shelf? Well, the first of all, it never ends, right? It's been going on since the University of Chicago left the Big Ten, you know, and whatever that 1938 or whatever. I believe that that it's there is a moment right now because of the dissolution or that the Pac 12 upheaval a few weeks ago that I think there is a desire to have some some bit of certainty and, you know, different institutions have to make their own decisions and all that kind of stuff. And I trust President Wintie and our board.

Jim Ryan is the president at at Virginia, who's providing great leadership along with Commissioner Phillips. And it may be that and there are really good reasons to look at expansion. And there's really good potential. You know, you read any article you want.

I'm not telling anything you hadn't heard. There are really good potential fits for our league. Ultimately, though, the ACC is really important to the state of North Carolina, right? Especially there's no state in the union where the conference like the ACC is so important, right? So if you think about the investment of the of the state of North Carolina in keeping the headquarters of the ACC in Charlotte, you think about what's happening. It happened in Cary over the years with the scary soccer complex and how that fits into the ACC. The ACC football championship game, you know, Birmingham, Alabama, Chicago, Illinois, and for Arlington, Texas or Irving, Texas, you know, Dallas, Texas and Charlotte. Those are the four anchors of big time college athletics, right?

And so certainly strengthening the ACC, strengthening the long-term viability of the ACC, strengthening the long-term optionality of the ACC is good for our state and it's good for all the institutions in our state. All right, let's go. Oh, I'm so excited. And three, two, one, go. Back to the drive with Josh Graham. Connor O'Neill, mighty Elon grad, covers Wake Forest, Deacon Illustrated, joining us from a legacy stadium. How conflicting is tonight for you?

It's not. I mean, the only time Wake really had, I thought, had a chance against Elon, I was here, and that was 2009. That was a really good Elon team. It was right when those Wake teams started to fall off a little bit under Jim Grove. That was a playoff. That was Elon's first playoff team in school history. Of course, they only moved to Division I in the late 90s. It's not like it had been a 60-year drought or anything like that, but I think the score was like 35-7. I think that gives you an example of how mismatched these schools are.

Right. So Wake's going to win big, and Mitch Griffiths is going to put up a great stat line like he did against VMI last year. What makes tonight interesting for you? It's all about seeing the guys that are in bigger roles. Like, we barely saw Demond Claiborne last year on the field for Wake Forest. Now he's running back number two.

What's he going to do? I can't imagine Justice Ellison gets more than 12 to 15 handoffs. So Demond Claiborne is going to be in there often. Whether he has a big game or not, we'll see. Like, Tate Carney is another one in the running back room. We need to see Horatio Fields on the field for the first time since the spring 22 because he blew out his ACL before last season. That's always this game to me, is how many players can you get on the field and how many guys are you looking at who haven't done much for you that are going to get in there and either be able to perform under the bright lights or who are going to be consumed by them? Let's look at what we have in front of us on the field here.

Already starting to see some Wake Forest players pour out from warm-ups. And literally in the last 30 seconds or so, team buses have rolled by from Elon that just arrived here. In addition, looking around the stadium at what's new.

You might be listening in the parking lot. We're riding into the stadium right now. You have, for the first time, I've been told, you have railings between sections for safety purposes.

You have some stairs that are here near the hill that makes the hill a little bit more accessible. I've been told about the LED lights that they've installed that you see at a lot of pro stadiums and college stadiums across the country. So expect some light shows with it being a night game tonight. Just a few things to expect that's different here at a legacy federal credit union stadium, Connor O'Neill. Tomorrow there's going to be a university president's call, according to Andrea Adelson, with expansion being the topic.

She said, still uncertain if they have the votes. Do you believe that? I kind of do. You don't think this is inevitable? I don't.

I was on 52 North driving in when you had John on. And I completely agree with John. This feels like a move just to make a move. This feels, you know, adding these three schools or two of the three or one of the three even doesn't convince Florida State it's not worth leaving in a couple of years if they want to leave in a couple of years.

You all know they want to do. He actually quoted FDR in saying there's nothing to fear but fear itself. And that's exactly what this is. It's a move that's made out of fear, fear that Florida State might leave. And to your point, the board of trustees have already said, what's this going to give us, these success initiatives, $6 million, $7 million?

We're talking about being $30 million short. So whatever you do in adding these schools and how you share the money, probably not going to be enough to make them happy or those who are unhappy about the financial situation happy. And the other thing that's driven off fear is we're going to only have 14 schools while the others have 16 and 18. What's going to save us from the next round of poaching? Not Cal and Stanford.

No. And I know every single one of these decisions and discussion points and everything about it is driven by football. But if you want to talk about the state of ACC basketball and how to get it back to where it was three or four years ago, you need to minimize conference games. You don't need to be adding three more schools and make it so that the only repeat opponent you have is one. So you get two versions of Duke Carolina, two versions of maybe Wake State.

But otherwise, everybody just plays each other once. Again, I know it's all football is king. And I know on opening night, it's probably not the best time to criticize the football is king kind of theory that's taken over college athletics. But man, ACC basketball will suffer greatly if these three are added. Basketball schedule is set to come out in the next two weeks.

So we'll see what those look like. Connor O'Neill hanging out with us also covers Duke. We'll be carrying Duke Clemson on Monday. I'll be out at that game at Wallace Wade. That looks like a game that could be a sellout.

It does. We were just talking about Duke has a lot of momentum coming off of nine wins. Once you get into the nuance of it, you get into, yeah, they didn't beat a team that was bowl worthy until the last game of the regular season. And that team's from Winston-Salem, that Wake Forest team. Yeah, and then won the bowl game. Look, it's a really experienced Duke team.

They get Clemson in game one of a new starting quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. I know that Clemson won the national championship back on January 13th when they hired little Lincoln Riley. But hey, you better be careful when you talk about the Riley name around me. I'm glad you're heeding Ovious's advice, or Jillio, whichever one of the Joes told you you should embrace the defense of the Riley name. Yeah, we should probably have a Lincoln Riley picture plastered on this glass wall that's behind you here for those watching on YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch. It could go next to your Boston College face. Boston College. Boston College.

But here's the thing. My mind, this entire summer, everybody's talking about, this is going to be a close game. Watch out for Duke and all this. My mind's telling me it's going to be close.

But my body. No, my heart is actually telling me that it's my gut, I should say, is telling me that Clemson is going to jump out and we're going to see a lot offensively from these skill guys because this is the best group of skill position players that Clemson's had since it was T. Higgins and Justin Ross and Travis Etienne with Shipley back and Antonio Williams who's throwing the ball to Bo Collins and others. How many minutes are you away from having EMAC join you up here? 5.30. 35? Yeah. I would ask him about the offensive line at Clemson.

I will. I think the offensive line at Clemson has been pretty bad. At least compared to where they want to be. I'm sure there are some teams in the ACC that would gladly trade for their offensive line in the last couple of years, but you've got as much breaking down of receivers and quarterbacks and we lather ourselves up into who has the fastest 40s and the quick twitches. The games start and you always get reminded when the games start that football comes down to two things basically. It's whoever's big guys can move the other team's big guys out of the way more often and whoever's defensive players can get the other team's ball carriers on the ground. It is still blocking and tackling that determine how good your football team is. Now, if you have receivers like Clemson had back when it was T. Higgins and Justin Ross, when it was Mike Williams, you can go back to Sammy Watkins, I don't think I've had anybody on those levels for three years.

And that's where I kind of think DJU took some unmitigated criticisms because everybody's looking at him like, what's wrong with you? It's like, oh, he's not throwing to NFL receivers. And that O line isn't as good as it was when EMAC was on it.

Exactly. So, those are the things I want to know about Clemson's offense. Look, their defense is going to be good. Their defense has kind of been the one constant over the last couple of years when they haven't been a national championship contender.

They've still had a defense that is able to shut teams down. And that's where the true test I think is for Duke. You have an offensive line in Duke that is really good one through five.

There's not much depth there. And then you have a quarterback, everybody wants to see Riley Leonard against a real good team and a real good defense. We're going to see it, you know, there's no easing into it. There's no temple team that has a new coach that you're going to see him be able to excel against early. This is trial by fire for this Duke team.

It's the drive with Josh Graham WSJS. Our friend Drew Carter going to drop by in just a little bit. He is calling the game tonight on the ACC network where the college football season is going to begin for the ACC. Very exciting. And Drew Carter has a special tie to the city of Winston Salem that we'll get to momentarily as well.

W.D. prioritizing tonight's action. There's no Orioles baseball, so I don't have to pull up the Orioles in the press box here right after tonight's game wraps up or right after the show wraps up as the games are getting set to start. But while I have two screens in front of me, I have to prioritize. I assume Wake Forest, Elon, that's going to be over by the end of the first quarter at the latest by halftime. Safe bet.

What am I putting on my screen? Is it NC State UConn automatically or am I looking at what Matt rules doing at Nebraska? Am I looking at what Matt rules going to debut with against Minnesota or possibly can I interest you in some Utah versus Florida? See, for me, it'd be or even North Carolina A&T facing Trent Dilfer in UAB tonight. For me, it'd be NC State. I'm fascinated. I'm fascinated by what they're going to do.

Yes. So there is a lot of college football tonight. But if you're watching from home, Wake Forest tonight, Drew Carter is going to be on the call from ACC. And he's got his chart ready to go as he's joining us.

If you're watching on Twitter, Twitch or YouTube, you can see it. It's multi-sided. Is it ready to go, Drew? Are we getting some last second things filled in here by hand?

Josh, that's why I brought my pen for this, because whatever you tell me is going straight on the board and thus straight on the TV broadcast. But it's good to see you, man. Thanks for having me. It's good to see you as well.

And I tease this a bit. You do have a tie to the city of Winston-Salem because the first time I met you, you were being crowned the Jim Nantz Award winner for the best collegiate sportscaster at the NSMA here a few years ago. That was a pretty cool weekend, man. That was pretty cool. It feels like a long time ago, but even still, I can't believe it. Four years later, that was pretty crazy. I was speaking in front of all my heroes and sweating profusely. Tony Kornheiser came up to me after the speech and was like, great job. We're going to see on TV one day. I'm like, are you kidding me?

That was just like totally blew my mind. But yeah, I think that was the first time I ever came to this area. It's only good memories here in the triad. Let's hope that for Wake Forest's sake, kind of like all the other FCS games they've played, things go well for them. In the second half of this game, if things are going south, what are some things you've had circled already that you're like, oh, I can't wait to put this in on the broadcast tonight? Like if things are going south? Like if things are going well for Wake Forest is what I'm saying.

South in terms of the competitiveness of the game. Correct. Well, Josh, I'm glad you asked because believe it or not, we're prepared for that, you know, just in case, you know, no offense to Elon, but the line is upon last check about 31 or 32. There are a lot of words on this chart. Yes. Yeah.

There are a lot of small print words. I think what I'm most excited for tonight, Josh, is the slow mesh. Yeah, it's dead. It's not branded as the slow mesh anymore. It's the pace in space, pace in space. But what I'm most excited to say on national TV is the hang and bang, hang and bang, hang and bang, because it's not it's it's not slow mesh. You hang it when you keep it in your running backs belly, then you pull and then you bang it. So hopefully I won't get fired tonight because I plan to say the words hang and bang on ACC Network at least like 25 times. W.D., I want to put something in front of you. I want to test your production skills.

We have take it to the house in like 15 minutes. You've got I want you to find the two lane former two lane announcer Todd graphic Nene's call during a NCAA tournament. Hang them, bang them. If you please. It's one of my favorite play by play calls ever. And I know Drew Carter would appreciate it. If you type in two lane radio, hang them, bang them.

You will find perhaps the greatest homer announcer out there who's now the voice of the Pelicans, by the way, calling a two lane home run. So now hang them, bang them. It's the hang and bang offense that we're looking at for Wake Forest. It's pace and space. Space and space. It's hang and bang.

Hang and bang. It just flows a little bit better than the slow mesh, right? I think the coaching staff here and they told us this week that they run the slow mesh on maybe 5 to 10 percent of their plays.

But because it's so distinct, it's so unique. That's what everyone sees when they close their eyes and they think of the Wake Forest offense. They see the slow mesh.

So they call it that. But I think there's a perception, especially in recruiting, that the slow mesh is almost gimmicky a little bit, sort of how people used to think about the air raid, right? 15 to 20 years ago, they're like, I don't want my quarterback to go play in the air raid because if he does, no one's going to want to draft him in the NFL. That's why people think that Sam Hartman, to a degree, wanted to go to Notre Dame.

Yes. Because you can't say that I'm not doing this in a traditional offense if I'm doing it in South Bend. The thing is, Wake Forest probably runs as many or more pro concepts as any other team in the ACC. I mean, Coach Ruggiero was telling us about the run and shoot concepts, the outside zone.

It's not just slow mesh. So they're rebranding it as pace and space. They're all big NBA fans in that quarterback room. So pace and space is the kind of term that you've heard to describe small ball for a long time in the NBA.

So it makes sense. We're going to drop that rebrand today, and hopefully everybody buys in. We were expecting a massive ACC headline this week, and we got the massive ACC headline that we were all looking forward to, and that is ACC football coming to theaters near you.

So I just have, as somebody who's calling ACC football games, how does it hit you? Like, are your parents already hitting you up saying, I can't wait to go to the local movie theater and watch my son call Pitt, Syracuse? Has that happened yet? Do you think this game is going to be in theaters nationwide? Not yet. Not yet?

I don't think so. I've heard that the turnaround is a little tough because it was week one, but in all honesty, like LSU, Florida State, Sunday night, if that was showing in a movie theater near me, I'd be in that movie theater. I'm buying a ticket. I'm in. I'm going solo to the theater. Have you seen Barbie?

I'm going to sneak. Oh, I have. I've seen Barbie once and Oppenheimer twice. Did you go solo or did you go with the misses? I went with my wife, but I would have gone by myself.

Did you go by yourself? No, I'm about to, though. I'm about to. When? Maybe next week, actually. Okay.

Maybe next week in Boston. Did you watch Oppenheimer? Not yet. Okay, so you're going to watch Barbie.

WD and I actually have seen Oppenheimer twice in IMAX. Together? Yeah.

We went together twice. That's chemistry right there. That's what I'm saying.

Radio chemistry. That's what it's all about. Did you have any success with finding this home run call, by the way? I'm still working. I'm still working. Okay, he's still working on it. Well, that's again, testing his production work.

We'll see how quick the turnaround is going to be on that. So you're telling me this game isn't in theaters? Like, so I got to scrap everything that I had planned because my initial line coming on the air was going to be in a world. No, I thought, in a world, I thought you were going to go Nicole Kidman at AMC theaters being like, this is where magic happens.

Right before like Louisville takes on BC. This is where the magic happens. The unbelievable becomes the believable.

No, it is, it is a great concept. I'd sneak, I'd sneak some like gummy worms in my pockets into the theater. What kind of gummy worms? I sour, of course.

Duh. Any other kind? I mean, I guess you got the chewy like. I mean, there are certain kind of gummy worms.

I don't know if they're a little down here. Oh, understood. Yeah, I catch I catch the drift now about the extra sour.

You know, that's the extra sour gummy worms. Yes, of course. I am. Oh, so the hang and bang we can expect on the broadcast tonight. Any other I don't want to call it blowout material, but any other extra preparatory material that you have that might make its way into the broadcast. Well, I'm just excited to see which freshmen play because this is not a program that relies on true freshmen very much. They typically redshirt about 80 to 85 percent of guys who come through. But I think in a game like this, you'll probably see multiple true freshmen playing, including Carrington Lee on the defensive end. I would love to see Deuce Alexander suit up at wide receiver and play. I know Wake Forest fans would be pretty excited about that, right? If we see 81, but I don't know. Meaningful snaps might not be in his future immediately, maybe later on in the season.

But in a game like tonight, you never know. I mean, I was here two years ago, Josh. My first ever assignment for ESPN was Wake Forest Old Dominion in 2021. And after talking with the ODU coaches, I was there last year in FCS.

They're now up at FBS. I was kind of drinking the Kool-Aid a little bit. I think ODU's got a shot in this game. Fast forward to the second quarter.

It's like 42 to nothing. I remember having dinner with you the night before that. And I remember you telling me, watch out for ODU. And I'm like, oh. Yeah, right. And here's the thing. In our profession, you know how it is. Yeah.

We try to sell it. So, I mean, tune in. ACC Network, 7 o'clock. It could be a close game. But I believe enough in Wake Forest. I know this program well enough at this point to think that they will handle business tonight. And we might see some of the second and third stringers. Aside from the game that you're calling tonight, what ACC game are you most intrigued to watch this weekend? Or maybe we can even expand it beyond ACC. But even though the two most intriguing matchups seem to be ACC-SEC matchups. You know, the easy answer, of course, is LSU-FSU.

And I'm stoked to watch that. Maybe the two most experienced quarterbacks in America, right? And those two guys? What are you smiling at? You see something in the chat?

I see WD smiling. Does he have it? Does he have it? I have it. Oh, baby. Are you ready? I think my answer can wait. You got to play this.

All right. This is, again, to set it up. This is Todd Grafagnini in honor of the hang and bang offense that Wake has set the run that Drew Carter just introduced us to. Maybe giving us the best homer baseball call from Tulane in an NCAA tournament baseball game.

We can ball through the deep left. Way, way back. Get out of here. It's gone. It's gone. It's gone. It's gone. It's gone. It's gone.

It's gone. Home run, Rogers. Home run, Jake Rogers, over the bullpen, asking he shall receive deep, deep, deep into the Oxford afternoon. Hang a bag of baby.

There you go. Hang a bag of baby. So fast forward a few years after that. I'm at a Winston-Salem Dash baseball game.

And Jake Rogers is in the Fayetteville system playing against the Dash. And right before a pitch was delivered, I yelled out, hang a bag of baby. And after his at bat, he looked up and he pointed at me. He knew exactly what was up. That is epic.

Now, is that a better homer call than Munson, the guy from Georgia? Oh. We stepped on their face with a lead pipe shoot. Or whatever it is. It's a nail. A nail, yeah. Nail toe. It was something violent. Toe and nail were, no, a boot.

There was a boot involved in this. WD. WD, how good are you? I'm good, but I don't know if I'm this good.

Can you send this to me right now? I mean, I'm sure if you want, it's a hobnail boot. A hobnail boot.

What even is that? I don't know what a hobnail boot is, but he is probably the greatest homer announcer of all time. I remember. So I worked in Alabama for two years. Covering the Crimson Tide. No kidding. And one of the funniest moments, really, in college football radio broadcasting history, is when they couldn't pronounce Tua's name in the second half of the national championship.

Didn't even bother trying. Like, actually made a joke out of it for the entire second half. And then they're like, we got him. We got him.

Second and twit, we got him. And then listening to the call of the game winning touchdown pass is just gold. It's like, you know in South Park, where Cartman is drinking tears from his enemies? That's how Alabama fans felt about Montana. Scott Tetterman's tears, specifically, for those keeping score at home. What was great is the next day, too, all the national media that doesn't follow college football day to day trying to pronounce Tua's name, too.

Tua Tagovailoa. That's me doing a Stephen A. Impressive. That wasn't the national media, Josh. That was the southern media.

Yeah. There are a lot of teams around, cities around us that are engaged in this game. You got Winston-Salem, obviously. You got Greensboro. And in between the two is a town called Kernersville that we're quite fond of. And Stephen A, he's quite fond of that. I've been to a Chick-fil-A in Kernersville. Wait, what was that Chick-fil-A again?

Kernersville. That's exactly right, Stephen A. By the way, you should know, I have the Larry Munson.

He has the Larry Munson sound cued up? I have it. That took like 45 seconds. Dude, he's ready. Let's play it. And there's our game.

We got it. We threw it to Haynes. We just dumped it with five seconds left.

My God almighty, did you see what he did? David Green just straightened up and we snuck the fullback over. Haynes is keeping the ball.

Haynes has come running all the way across to the bench. We just dumped it over 26 to 24. We just stepped on their face with a hot shot. We just got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. The video stream, no simulcast on YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch.

Then have that in addition to the radio. How many times did he say we in that call? Like enough planning. We got him.

We got to attack below. That's what he and the guy from Tulane haven't come. I was thinking about speaking of quarterbacks in college having their names mispronounced because they're from Hawaii and no one has ever seen that name before. Remember Marcus Mario's first game ever at Oregon.

Tough. And the announcers said it's pronounced Mario Ta. The emphasis is on the last syllable. And how do we know that because his mom called in.

What does that even mean, by the way? His mom called in. Called into the TV broadcast and said it's Mario Ta. It was not Mario Ta.

It wasn't. Malik Mustafa. Malik, I've got that. Yep.

I just put the phonetic pronunciations on here. So Malik Mustafa. We got a lot of good stuff on that guy. Mitch Griffith says he looks like a Nike mannequin and he's a missile. He was on Bruce Feldman's freaks list if you subscribe to The Athletic.

I mean, everyone around here knows this, I'm sure, but I didn't realize it. He tore his ACL in the bowl game in 2021 and was back next August. That's him. That's like Adrian Peterson stuff.

So he is a freak show. You're on the college announcers freak list. I'm putting it together for next year. Drew Carter, thanks for spending the time. I hope to see you throughout the season, my friend. You want to go to beat ups tonight? Beat ups.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-31 23:23:20 / 2023-08-31 23:49:49 / 26

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