Welcome to a new and briefly-lived feature on the site, where I will argue with myself. Our second topic: NC State football. NC State finished last season playing its best football, knocking the ever-living footballs out of Wake Forest and UNC before beating UCF in the Bitcoin Bowl. Was that a sign of things to come in 2015? I weigh in.
Let me get this straight right off the bat: there is no such thing as momentum, whether we are talking about momentum within a game or across seasons. What in fact you actually have there is your mind assigning meaning where none exists and coincidence proliferates, and we're all guilty of that, but mostly you're guilty of that.
That's right, I'm lookin' at you, guy who thinks NC State is gonna win nine games this year. You don't get to count bowl games, not that you'd want to, you. You are counting on a straight run through non-conference play and a five-win season in league play. Stop doing that.
To me this team's level of success depends on the defensive side of the ball, and as much as I like the secondary, I don't think the overall talent is there yet. Even with veterans T.Y. McGill and Thomas Teal at defensive tackle, NC State was awful against the run, finishing 92nd in S&P+. Maybe a more experienced B.J. Hill to go with a bulked-up Kentavius Street lead to better results, but I'm not counting on it.
There are more components to rush defense than the dudes at tackle, but it's difficult to feel optimistic about the other parts of the front seven, most of which were on hand to play poorly against the run last season.
On the offensive side, there is a lot to like, despite changes at offensive tackle. I wouldn't even worry about those changes much. The thing that's gone nagging this offseason is Jacoby Brissett's five interceptions in 370 attempts. It's just hard to imagine Brissett going another year with an average of 74 attempts between INTs, especially with his penchant for risk-taking (which led to some fumbles that didn't need to happen.)
The receiving corps is back in the same position it was last year, with a whole bunch of possibilities stacked on top of promise, and I don't think the offense is likely to leap forward with the group Brissett has to throw to. State is going to be successful on the ground with its smorgasbord of talent; it's the passing game that will be underwhelming, even though Jaylen Samuels will be awesome.
This is going to be a good team, but it's not talented enough for a breakthrough season, despite Dave Doeren's best efforts. The overall depth isn't good enough, and there are too many questions at key positions. Good team, sure, but nine-win-or-better team? Oh you hush it!