Tomahawk Nation is setting up preview pages for each of Florida State's football opponents. This is the page for N.C. State. Florida State travels to N.C. State on September 27. The Seminoles have not won in Raleigh since Bert Reed took a bubble screen to the house in 2008. It is the longest current road losing streak at a road stadium of a conference opponent.
My early take? I agree with both Bill Connelly and Paul Myerberg that state is a potential bounce back team, but that it is very young and 2015 should be a lot better. I think N.C. State can make a bowl. But as for the game against Florida State, the only worry is some hangover after Clemson the week prior. FSU should be favored by three or more touchdowns.
8/12 Update: N.C. State has lost its middle linebacker, M.J. Salahuddin.
Here's Connelly. As always, please click and read both pieces in full.
In theory, NC State has a lot of pieces needed for a sudden, second-year breakthrough. The Wolfpack were lit up by injuries last year and return a pretty solid base of experience. They are also sprinkling in a solid number of exciting, athletic newcomers. Freshmen and sophomores could plump up the receiving corps and defensive line while veterans do good things at running back and in the secondary.
If Jacoby Brissett is indeed a keeper at quarterback (something they very much did not have in 2013) and stays healthy -- well, if NC State just has better injuries luck all around -- then there's plenty of potential for improvement from 92nd in the F/+ rankings into at least the top 50 or 60.
This isn't a given, of course. But it does bear mentioning that the Wolfpack play seven teams projected 67th or worse in 2014. Throw in a home game against Georgia Tech, and that's eight relatively winnable games. Take six of them, and you're bowling. Trips to Clemson, Louisville, and UNC are out of reach, as is a visit from Florida State, but if State turns experience into solid close-game execution, 6-6 is certainly on the table, and considering how awful October and November were last year, that would be cause for celebration.
This two-deep is still pretty fragile, though. It wouldn't take a ridiculous number of injuries to make this roster terribly young and uncertain all over again.
Here is Myerberg's conclusion:
What's funny about this team is this: N.C. State isn't good - no, not good - but don't be surprised if the Wolfpack sneak into bowl eligibility. Thank the schedule, which should leave the Wolfpack no worse than 3-1 heading into ACC play and could - thanks to home games against Boston College and Wake Forest - yield two or three additional wins during conference action. The end result could be one of the flimsiest, least impressive six-win teams in all of college football ... and that'd be cool, wouldn't it? I mean, all six wins aren't created equal; that doesn't mean Raleigh wouldn't smile all winter after a six-win finish.
But that's probably not going to happen: N.C. State should win five games with this schedule, but this team has no discernable strengths whatsoever. What you see is potential, however, and at several key positions in particular. Quarterback is certainly one. Another is the offensive line, which could develop into something special during the next two years; likewise with the secondary. There are several weak links: N.C. State's offense remains unbalanced, due to a faulty ground game, and the defense as a whole is sorely lacking in proven production. This is far from a complete team, to put it mildly, and as such should make little noise in the ACC.
Let's revisit one key point. Doeren didn't inherit a good situation: N.C. State's previous staff did him no favors whatsoever, meaning Doeren and this staff must quickly rebuild this roster on the recruiting trail - paying close attention to today, of course, but also keep one eye on tomorrow. I really think it's going to take this season and next for the Wolfpack to adequately stock this roster with the talent and depth needed to challenge for eight wins in this conference. This team has the schedule to eke out five wins, but that shouldn't cloud the work that remains to be done before NCSU is a viable contender.