Our friend Paul Myerberg of Pre-Snap Read and the NY Times is continuing his tremendous preview series. Yesterday, he tackled N.C. State.
FSU killed the Wolfpack last season 34-0. I've been told that there is no way N.C. State can beat the Noles after what happened last year. Those people apparently forget that Florida State blasted Wake Forest 31-0 in Tallahassee in the '10 season and then dropped a game last year to Wake 35-31.
The bottom line is that this game is not a lock. FSU doesn't project to be a double-digit favorite. And if there was a team last year that had as many injuries in disadvantageous spots as Florida State, it was the Wolfpack.
The game is in Relaigh and will be coming off two majorly emotional games in Clemson and at USF. FSU should be expected to win, but you need to check out this preview. Here's a snippet.
In a nutshell Tom O'Brien's kingdom for a true, consistent running game - and for some help at defensive tackle and at linebacker. It's the little things that separate an eight-win team from a conference and national title contender; for N.C. State, it's the little things that will prevent it from leapfrogging from four A.C.C. wins to the top of the Atlantic division, ahead of Florida State and Clemson. When it comes to the Seminoles, as noted earlier, it's hard to take the Wolfpack's chances seriously when this offense tends to be far too one-dimensional - Florida State's defense feasts on pass-first offenses just as it does against run-heavy teams, and as good as Glennon is, he can't go it alone. It's a different story against Clemson, which gets the Wolfpack at home, but the Tigers will be entering their second season running Chad Morris' dynamic offense; the Tigers should also be motivated to avenge last season's ugly, disinterested loss.
So N.C. State is headed to a third-place finish in the Atlantic, in my opinion. But that doesn't mean that this team can't make a run towards nine wins, should it find a bit more balance on offense. What should help is this experienced offensive line, which along with another backfield option in Greene should lead to at least a slightly more productive running game. That will help this offense as a whole, seeing that Glennon is only going to be better as a second-year starter. What about this defense? The Wolfpack can overcome some issues along the front seven if the secondary continues to force turnovers in bunches. But if Amerson, Bishop and company don't match last season's total it will reveal some significant personnel issues: N.C. State lacks options at tackle and is more inexperienced than any B.C.S. conference team in the country when it comes to linebacker. Again, the little things make the difference. Thanks to a wonderful quarterback and a dangerous secondary, N.C. State will win eight games in the regular season. But the Seminoles and Tigers rule the roost in the Atlantic division.
Dream season The Wolfpack get off on the right foot with a nationally televised victory over Tennessee. Florida State proves too tough to handle and Wake Forest notches an upset, but N.C. State wins 10 games in the regular season for only the second time in school history.
Nightmare season This would be disappointing: N.C. State starts 0-2 and finishes 3-5 in A.C.C. play to slide back out of bowl play. Yes, that would be extremely disappointing.
Now go check out the whole thing.