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NC State No. 24 in Fox Sports’ way-to-early 2017 college football top 25

There’s something familiar about this ...

NCAA Football: Independence Bowl-North Carolina State vs Vanderbilt Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

What better thing to do on the first day of the college football offseason than to throw out a top 25 for the next season? Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel takes his best guess at how the 2017 season will shape up and has NC State at No. 24.

There’s something familiar about this ... let’s see, State finishes out the season strong with a win over its rival on the road and an impressive bowl game victory. Oh, that’s right! This exact same thing happened two years ago, after State beat UNC in Kenan and then won the Bitcoin Bowl (RIP). And it was Mandel again who was optimistic about the Wolfpack’s future potential.

NC State ended up being, um, not quite a top-25 team in 2015. It does feel different this time around, though my brain likes to get the preseason hype train going early. The 2017 Pack should have a much more reliable defense than the 2015 edition with an offense roughly as good, if not better. This still does not necessarily make NC State a top-25 team next season, but that doesn’t seem totally out of the realm of possibility.

But Dave Doeren’s crew is gonna finally have to pick up a result against FSU/Clemson/Louisville to get there.