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NC State Football Top 10 Countdown! #1: The fan base (and their expectations)

We’re ready

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Clemson at NC State Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Football is just around the corner, folks, can’t you feel it!? We figured what better way to get us all ready than counting down the top storylines heading into this season. Here’s the wrinkle: These are all things we’re either excited or worried about. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with the team receiving their highest preseason ranking in program history. We know that dreaded SSUPO wants to rear its ugly head, so while we’re mostly gaga over this team, there will be a few areas that are still question marks. Alec and Essad will break down the top 10 topics their thinking about as kickoff fast approaches.

And with that, let’s finish this countdown with a very important topic:

#1. The fanbase deserves a winner, but what's everyone's collective expectations?

Excited or Worried? Excited for everyone to experience happiness and joy and just be able to smile.

Essad: I hope everyone is keeping up with their homework and watching every episode of All Access with the NC State Football. Watching all this behind the scenes access has given me a great level of confidence into how ready this team is.

The main point of today’s post is to talk about the fanbase. Everyone has earned the right to have a fun and enjoyable year. It’s been a long time coming to be able to sit back and experience continuous happiness. Expecting to see great crowds with their usual energy and fervor. The fan base will cheer for every victory, of which there are likely to be plentiful. And yet I’m worried they’ll freak out at the first loss without keeping the long season in perspective.

If you're looking at this year as "championship or bust" you may be setting yourself up for a challenging time. I don’t personally believe in “be all, end all” type seasons. The cyclical nature of the sport along with the improved posture of the program would lead me to believe a similar title shot wouldn’t take as long to come back around. Especially with the ACC (finally) removing divisions. Now if they’d just done it this year I’d feel better, but that’s #goacc for you.

I’m of two minds about this season. On the one hand, a 10-2 record and second place finish in Atlantic to an undefeated CFP bound Clemson with an Orange Bowl appearance would be an outright amazing season. Historic even. Although if it’s 10-2 and Clemson is also 10-2 and has the tiebreaker that would be harder to swallow, though 10 wins is 10 wins.

On the one hand, you’d have to look at that potential outcome as a successful year. But there would still remain that piece of “what if?” thinking about what could have been. It’s been 18 years and I still think about 3 individual plays that could have changed Philip Rivers final regular season from 7-5 to 10-2. Since you asked, they’re the (double) QB sneak in 2OT at #3 tOSU, a tipped pass to Cotchery when driving in 2OT at #13 FSU, and TA’s fumble after gaining a sure first down to seal Rivers final home game vs [redacted].

I think about those plays a LOT, like an unhealthy amount. I’m ready to replace thinking about what could have been with what is been..what has been..what is been’ing.. I don’t know you get it.

So does this mean the floor for expectations is 10 wins? That seems awfully steep given program history. Is 9 wins considered a disappointment? I don’t know, I always hated seeing other fans turn their noses up at a 9 win year, but here we are. NC State fans have been patient for a long long loooong time, a year with loftier expectations is acceptable. When I look at the schedule, I struggle to find two or more teams that definitely outclass the Wolfpack, but history has taught me to not be too overconfident.

Let’s just all remember that it’s a long season, one play, one drive, or one game is not indicative of the whole year. You can’t fire Dave Doeren if he loses a game or two (or hopefully not more), but also you can’t fire Dave Doeren at all. The one thing we can do is enjoy the journey this year, as it’s shaping up to be a good one.

Alec: This is an ACC Title season. I’m not going to say it’s that or bust necessarily, because 10 wins and an orange bowl berth would be pretty sweet, but there’s no question what the goal is here. State isn’t as talented as Clemson, it’s not as prolific on offense as Wake Forest, it doesn’t have Pitt’s pass rush, but it has a more complete and arguably deeper roster than all of those teams (and a better quarterback than all of them too).

State has some potential shortcomings on offense but as a whole team, it has fewer question marks than any other team in the league. That’s the basis for the expectations here. What game is a bad matchup for State? This isn’t 2018 where any solid downfield passer created major matchup issues. There are certainly good teams that can beat NC State, and the Pack will have to win some close contests to win the Atlantic, but it’s equipped to beat everyone. That hasn’t been true in many many years.

And there you have it, folks!! 10 posts up, 10 posts down and we are ready for some football. Let’s ride with the Pack. And after it’s all said and done, let’s light it red (can’t wait to see this light up in person):

What did you think of this series? Is this something you’d like to see more of? And what are all y’all’s expectations for this season??