After each weekend, I have been keeping track of how our future opponents' seasons are unfolding while also keeping track of how past opponents react to not having us to kick around anymore.
How to read the post: A capsule for each Pack opponent, including the team's record and most recent result, is listed under the heading "Week 1," "Week 2," "Week 3," etc. based on what week during the season that the Pack plays that opponent. The future/past opponent is listed in bold.
Like the weekend result in Miami, this regular feature is depressing. N. C. State has a narrow win over a UConn team that looks a little worse each week, a win over a first-year FBS program that is one of the worst teams in that division, and a win over an FCS team. Against two "name" programs that are good these days in name only, they are oh-fer.
Week 1: #5 Georgia (5-0) 51, Tennessee (3-2) 44
Tyler Bray continued to struggle against good competition, barely completing 50% of his passes and tossing 3 picks as the Volunteers fell short against the Bulldogs despite a defensive score and a surprisingly effective run game. After dropping 2 of 3, Mr. Orange Pants is back on the hot seat and desperately needs a win this weekend on the road at #20 Mississippi State.
Week 2: UCONN (3-2) 24, Buffalo (1-3) 17
Buffalo actually outgained UConn by a yard in this one, but the Huskies managed to hang on. With each passing week it is harder and harder to look at State's win over UConn as meaningful.
Week 3: Troy (3-2) 31, South Alabama (1-4) 10
The mighty Trojans of Troy handed SOAL its first Sun Belt loss in blowout fashion. Horrendous quarterbacking was once again the Achilles heel for the Jaguars. C. J. Bennett and Ross Metheny combined for 59 yards passing on 20 attempts. That's less than 3 yards per attempt! And they were each picked off once. At least Bennett was the team's leading rusher, gaining 79 yards with a long of 50.
Week 4: Chattanooga (2-3) 28, The Citadel (3-2) 10
Nooga outrushed The Citadel, and when The Citadel gets outrushed, you can pretty much chalk one up in the loss column. The Bulldogs have come crashing to earth hard since their surprise 3-0 start, and their loss to the Mocs, a perennial SoCon doormat, just makes State's win over The Citadel look that much less impressive.
Week 5: Miami 44 (4-1, 3-0) 44, N. C. State (3-2, 0-1) 37
The last time I drank so much that I blacked out was in high school. That all changed Saturday. Thank you, #ncstateshit.
Week 6: #4 Florida State (5-0, 2-0) 30, South Florida (2-3) 17
South Florida scored first in this one and was within 3 points until E. J. Manuel hit Kevin Haplea for a one-yard score with 5:09 to play in the third quarter. And the Bulls managed to stay in the game despite losing the turnover battle 0-3. So if State takes care of the ball, limits big plays, and...oh nevermind.
Week 7: Merciful bye week to bury the dead and heal the wounded after FSU game.
Week 8: Maryland (2-2)
The Fighting Edsalls had the weekend off.
Week 9: North Carolina (3-2, 0-1) 66, Idaho (0-5) 0
Italian Stallion Giovani Benard had 2 carries. Italian Stallion Giovani Benard had 2 touchdowns. And the rout was on in the matchup of Cheaters vs. Vandals. It's hard to know what to make of the Tarheels. They have destroyed lesser opponents, but they were Grobed and lost to a good but not great Louisville team in their only games against BCS competition. I'll say this: whatever fans have not jumped the Goodship TOB after Saturday's debacle will likely do so if State doesn't make it 6 straight in this series.
Week 10: Louisiana Tech (4-0) 44, Virginia (2-3, 01) 38
The Hoos did their best N. C. State impression in this one, rolling up 625 yards of total offense only to lose to the Bulldogs anyway. Thanks in large part to Mike Rocco's generosity, La. Tech scored 34 unanswered points to erase an early two-score deficit. Rocco tossed 3 picks in the game before being benched (again, and perhaps this time for good). UVA added to its N. C. State-like self-inflicted misery by getting flagged 16 times for 145 yards. The Hoos have now dropped 3 straight.
Week 11: Duke (4-1, 1-0) 34 Wake Forest (3-2, 1-2) 27
The Blue Devils have won themselves an ACC road game, and David Cutcliffe controls his own destiny in the quest for his first mythical state championship. More and more it's looking like this is a 7 or 8-win, bowl-bound Duke team, though an injury to Sean Renfree's throwing elbow threatens to shatter the dream.
Week 12: #17 Clemson (4-1, 1-1) 45, Boston College (1-3, 0-2) 31
Clemson's defense made it difficult for the Tigers to enjoy a laugher in this one; BC actually led 21-17 until Tajh Boyd found Brandon Ford for a score 23 seconds before intermission. There is certainly nothing wrong with the Tiger O. Boyd threw for 367 yards and 3 scores and Andre Ellington added 132 on the ground.
Week 13: #17 Clemson (4-1, 1-1) 45, Boston College (1-3, 0-2) 31
It never ceases to amaze me how a team can transform so completely from one season to the next. The Eagles have gone from a bruising defensive squad that can't score points to a pass-happy, fairly effective offensive team that can't stop anybody. Chase Rettig threw for 341 yards and Bobby Swigert added a 28-yard pass on some trickeration. This game is nearly two months away but I already see Rettig carving up State's regressing secondary to spoil the Pack's bid to finish 6-6 and "earn" a berth in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.