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NC State Football on the Rise

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This is a return of clown blogging, bro.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Real life has precluded the clown blogging for a while, not that any of you noticed with all the good work Steven does (not to mention the wonderful weekly features like the #goacc Moment of the Week). Alas, the NC State football team's impressive close to the 2014 campaign (and a much needed vacation from the real job) has inspired a comeback of sorts.

Numbers, as we all know, is bullshit, unless they support your narrative. Below you will find a chart filled with numbers that support a couple of storylines we all can get behind. N.C. State, with the third youngest football team in the FBS, made the most improvement of any ACC team this season according to the Football Outsiders, jumping 43 spots, and that jump does not include the numbers from the bowl win. The offense's stout performance--the Pack averaged 6.3 yards per play, a full two yards better than what UCF had allowed coming in--against the highly regarded Knights' defense will likely help the Pack climb a few more spots in the final rankings. (The D wasn't too shabby either, holding UCF to half a yard less than its seasonal average per play.)

Team

F+ Change

2014 W-L

2014 F+

2013 W-L

2013 F+

Florida State

-7

13-0

8

14-0

1

Louisville*

-4

9-3

16

12-1

12

Clemson

+2

9-3

14

11-2

16

Virginia Tech

-5

6-6

32

8-5

27

Georgia Tech

+24

10-3

10

7-6

34

Miami

+12

6-6

24

9-4

36

North Carolina

-36

6-7

74

7-6

38

Duke

+13

9-3

28

10-4

41

Pittsburgh

+15

6-6

39

7-6

54

Boston College

+36

7-5

29

7-6

65

Syracuse

-7

3-9

82

7-6

75

Virginia

+42

5-7

37

2-10

79

Wake Forest

-6

2-9

87

4-8

81

NC State

+43

8-5

49

3-9

92

*first year in ACC

The second storyline that's easy to get behind is the precipitous fall of our not-rivals in Chapel Hill. In year three of their fancy new coach, UNC fell 36 spots in the F+ rankings, the fourth worst drop of a P5 school (Vanderbilt -61, OK State -55, USC-East -46). Rutgers' dismantling of the Heels should ensure that they drop even further in the final rankings. Provided he doesn't opt to take his chances in the NFL draft, the Heels do have Marquise Williams back for another year, and they only lose 10 seniors. They will also replace the defensive coordinator who piloted the nation's 108th ranked defense and presumably can only improve on that side of the ball. But even if they bounce back, it's hard not to feel like another sustained winning streak is on the horizon for the Pack against the Heels, and that's before we consider that the NCAA may not be done handing down sanctions in light of the Wainstein report.

State's rise of 43 spots, in case you were wondering (and you know you were), was the second best jump of any P5 program behind only Arkansas (+67). Overall it was a very good year for the ACC, with Florida State going unbeaten again (so far), newcomer Louisville remaining among the nation's top 20 teams, Clemson largely avoiding Clemsoning, and Georgia Tech rising 24 spots to the top 10. Boston College (+36) and Virginia (+42) posted mediocre records but get some FO respect thanks to their scheduling. In all, seven teams made a jump of at least 12 spots with only UNC (haha) dropping by more than seven spots. Eleven teams in the top 50 is downright SEC like.

But, to temper our enthusiasm for next year, let's remember that N.C. State is 11th of those 14 ACC teams. The Pack will likely need to climb another 30 spots in the F+ rankings to compete with Clemson, FSU, and Louisville for the Atlantic crown, and they could conceivably continue to get better on the field without it showing up in the W-L record. But State will get Clemson and the Ville at home while FSU will be breaking in a new QB, so, by all means, dream a little dream with me: 15-0 in ‘15!