Team: North Carolina State (N.C. State)
Location: Raleigh, N
Total Enrollment: 33,989
Home Stadium: Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583)
Head Coach: Dave Doeren (5th season, 25-26, 9-23 in ACC)
2016 Record: 7-6 (3-5 in ACC)
PPG: 27.0 (75th Nationally)
PAPG: 22.8 (27th Nationally)
Best Win: The best win of the year from both a statistical and overall viewpoint would be a 28-21 win in Chapel Hill in the last weekend of the year. It sent N.C. State to a bowl game where the Pack would go on to defeat Vanderbilt in a romp.
Worst Loss: I’ll go a little bit of a different route here. While it is really difficult to say that a loss on the road to the national champions is a “bad loss”, the Wolfpack were 33 year field goal away from knowing off the No. 3 Clemson Tigers, but Kyle Bambard pushed the kick right. Clemson went on to win in OT and the rest was history.
Vegas Over/Under: 7.5 (Under -130)
There is no doubt that N.C. State will be a better overall team this year, but much like Wake Forest, there is a question as to whether or not that will reflect in the win column. The ACC Atlantic Division is ridiculous, so that makes things difficult to start.
While the fans may not like Doeren a lot and have put him on the hot seat, but it is clear in my opinion that he is moving the Wolfpack in the right directions. Now he just needs the wins to show for it, and this could be the year.
The Pack may have the best defensive line in the country (not joking) to anchor a top 30 defense. With Bradley Chubb, Kentavius Street, and Darian Roseboro all expected back, the run defense should once again be extremely stout and will in all likelihood finish as a top ten rush defense in the country.
The season kicks off with a bang as the Pack will take on South Carolina on opening Saturday in Charlotte, NC. State is a slight favorite to open, but it should be a close game throughout.
Overall the schedule breaks down somewhat favorably, as N.C. State doesn’t have to play Louisville, Clemson, or Florida State in back to back weeks. They get Louisville and Clemson in Raleigh, and travel to Florida State and Notre Dame.
I expect N.C State to make a bowl game this year and finish with around 7-8 wins, but that may be a disappointment for a team that a few people are hyping as a College Football Playoff black horse contender.