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The NC State football schedule in tiers

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Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation's Bill Connelly recently power-ranked all 128 FBS teams, and went a step farther by grouping them in tiers; "these teams are most likely to contend for the title;" "these teams can contend with a few breaks'" etc. Based on Bill's rankings and tiers, we can get a straightforward picture of how NC State's schedule sorts out.

Below, each team's ranking in Connelly's estimation, with spaces indicating a shift to a lower tier. NC State's ranking is No. 45.

17. Florida State

22. Louisville
24. Clemson
25. Virginia Tech

48. North Carolina

69. Boston College

86. Old Dominion
89. South Alabama

98. Wake Forest
99. Syracuse

119. Troy

Is Florida State going to be the best team NC State faces this season? The Seminoles' addition of Everett Golson addressed a lot of lingering issues, but it's difficult not to think Clemson is underrated, assuming Deshaun Watson stays healthy. In any case, there's no doubting that the Pack is faced with four really tough games this season; aside from the Atlantic heavyweights, there is the inter-division game on the road against Virginia Tech, which will all kinds of difficult. It doesn't feel like a stretch at all to imagine all four in the top 25.

I don't care where South Alabama and Old Dominion are ranked; those games are terrifying. When you go on the road with little-to-nothing to gain, it's frightening, and we're in that spot not once but twice. NC State's going to handle business, but we might do some sweating in the meantime.

October sets up well--at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, home against Louisville and Clemson--if the team is willing to cooperate. Losing yet another game in Winston-Salem would be a disastrous setback, but if the Pack can shake that silly pretend-voodoo and grab at least one from VT/Clemson/Louisville, it's gonna be in great shape heading down the stretch.