The Wolfpack finished the 2014 season by winning its last three games, two of them in blowout fashion. That was impressive to some degree, and sure, we all had a good time, but it must still be too soon to attempt to project anything forward, right? No? Okay.
As Tampa-Pack pointed out yesterday, there are early 2015 top 25s already popping up, and NC State actually made it into one of them. Stewart Mandel from Fox Sports has the Pack at No. 25:
25) NC State Wolfpack (8-5)
QB Jacoby Brissett quietly posted a tremendous season, including a 23-to-5 TD-to-INT ratio. He's back for his senior year, as is RB Shadrach Thornton. DE Mike Rose is the best of an underrated defensive line. The Wolfpack should take a step forward in coach Dave Doeren's third season.
Whoa whoa whoa whoa hang on hang on whoa whoa hang on. At this rate, Dave Doeren's gonna have some preseason all-conference players to work with. This is a nice try but nobody can get me excited about the next football season during the January prior--it is a dead zone. From an emotional standpoint, the only thing I can feel is basketball, and that's quite enough, thank you kindly.
With that said, how nuts is it to think State could be a top 25 team in 2015? Is it all nuts? Just partially? The Pack closed out 2014 ranked 46th overall in the F/+ ratings, with the nation's 33rd-best offense, 68th-best defense, and 34th-best special teams.
Assuming decline for the special teams (since we'll have a new kicker, punter, and longsnapper; can't forget the trusty longsnapper), the Pack will have to make the leap entirely with offense and defense. Which I guess is possible--I mean, it is the offseason; all things are possible.
While I could buy modest improvement on the offensive side even though State has to replace both tackles, it's hard to imagine the defense making the jump necessary to turn this into a bona fide top 25 team.
What do you think?