Let's take a look at NC State football.
Best / Worst Case Record for :
Remember in 2014 when Georgia Tech went 11-3 and entered 2015 with darkhorse playoff whispers? They flopped to a 3-9 year. In 2018 Syracuse was 10-3 started 2019 in the top 25, and flailed to a 5-7 year. Last season North Carolina disappointed going 6-7 after starting the year in the top 10 following a 2020 8-4 top 20 season. In the last few years, several ACC teams have had high pre-season expectations only to fall way short. NC State you’re up. Following a 9-3 season where the Wolfpack were 6 points from going 11-1, they enter virtually every pre-season poll in the top 20. Head coach Dave Doeren has built a talented, experienced roster on both sides of the ball, and seems to have everything in place to produce a special season in Raleigh. Can NC State live up to the hype? Outside of Clemson few in the ACC have done so in recent years.
Will Go 11-1 (7-1) if:
NC State can handle expectations. There aren’t a lot of glaring holes to point to on this team, and at some positions, they are among not just the ACC’s best, but the nation’s best. Find me more than a couple of programs in the country that you could argue are better at linebacker than the Wolfpack is with Payton Wilson, Drake Thomas, and Isaiah Moore. QB Devin Leary is the pre-season ACC player of the year. NC State still lacks a signature OOC win and fell apart last season against a mediocre Mississippi State team. This season there are tricky games early at East Carolina and Texas Tech. If NC State gets past those two games and runs the ball a bit better, I could easily see a double-digit win regular season.
Will Go 7-5 (4-4) if:
The Wolfpack can’t handle the projections that have them in the top 20 in the majority of pre-season polls. As I said I’m really eyeing the early games with East Carolina and Texas Tech. If NC State loses either or both, doubts will instantly start. Then you play at Clemson, and NC State has a very disappointing 3-2 or 2-3 start those pre-season hopes are history. Wake Forest has beat NC State in 4 of their last 5 matchups, and is a quality team themselves. You finish the season on the road at Louisville and UNC, and those aren’t games NC State can overlook. What if the running game doesn’t develop? It’s hard to see NC State have a great season without a decent rushing attack. It will take a lot to go wrong from NC State not to win at least 9 games, but that’s why they play the games.