The North Carolina State Wolfpack, after a much-needed week of rest, return to the gridiron this week to face Boston College in Chestnut Hill. This game begins a journey which is obviously important because the Wolfpack have a legitimate shot at winning the ACC football championship for the first time since 1979. In a wide-open ACC, anything seems possible right now (well, other than Syracuse and Duke meeting in the ACC Championship Game…), and North Carolina State is in a position to capitalize on the chaos.
If North Carolina State does win the ACC, it would make its first New Year’s Six (BCS/Bowl Alliance/Bowl Coalition/New Year’s Day) bowl in school history. It’s the transformative, transcendent moment Wolfpack fans have long hoped for.
Connected to the big goal, however, is an important and symbolically important goal: to make the win over Clemson mean as much as humanly possible.
We won’t know how big the Clemson win is until the ACC season plays out. It’s up to North Carolina State to make that win count by capturing the ACC Atlantic Division and its first-ever spot in the ACC Championship Game. Saturday’s test against Boston College is the first in a series of prove-it moments for Dave Doeren and Company. The next month must, at the very least, enable North Carolina State to enter the Nov. 13 game at Wake Forest with a “win-and-in” or “win-and-control-one’s-fate” scenario on the table. If the Pack are two games behind Wake or if they fall behind Clemson in the Atlantic before the Wake game, the next month will have failed.
The Boston College game is so deeply critical for State because a loss in Chestnut Hill removes all margin for error the next three weeks before the Wake Forest game.
This is everything North Carolina State could have wanted, everything it could have hoped for. The table is set. Let’s see if the Wolfpack feast.