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Why NC State will and will not win each game in 2019

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We’re a week into preseason camp, so why not?

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - North Carolina State v Texas A&M Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

East Carolina - H - Sat, Aug 31, 12:00pm

Why State will win...

ECU won a grand total of nine games over the past three years. New Pirates coach Mike Houston has an entire program rebuild ahead of him, and the first game of his tenure is a bit optimistic to expect results against a program coming off back-to-back nine-win seasons.

Why State will lose...

There’s no real game tape for State to use here - ECU’s roster is more talented than what Houston had at James Madison, and whatever State has from last year’s 58-3 laugher is useless. ECU QB Holton Ahlers is a dual-threat who will test just how improved State’s secondary is, while being able to hurt the Pack D with his legs if the LB group isn’t disciplined.

Prediction...

NC State 34, East Carolina 21


Western Carolina - H - Sat, Sep 7, 12:30pm

Why State will win...

Western is just 12-22 over the last three years, including 3-8 last year. Among those losses were getting smoked by a 3-9 ECU team in 2016, a 3-9 UNC-CH team in 2017, and a 2-9 UNC-CH team in 2018. The closest of those losses was by 23 points (vs UNC-CH, 2018), and this NC State team is far more talented than were any of those teams.

Why State will lose...

Sorry, Catamounts fans - I can’t even think of a reason here. WCU will be breaking in a new QB, and the guy they’re replacing also happened to be last year’s leading rusher.

Prediction...

NC State 54, Western Carolina 10


West Virginia - A - Sat, Sep 14, 12:00pm

Why State will win...

The two teams have a lot of similarities: replacing star QBs and two leading receivers, as well as staff turnover. State, however, is the program of the two with the most continuity, and the players on State’s roster were recruited by the staff and for the system. Advantage: Wolfpack.

Why State will lose...

First-year QB, first road test, hostile environment. State is just 10-9 over the last three years away from Carter-Finley, while WVU is 15-4 at home over that span. The Mountaineers upgraded at the head coach position during the off-season. They also return their top three rushers from last year to help ease in their new starting QB.

Prediction...

West Virginia 28, NC State 23


Ball State - H - Sat, Sep 21, TBA

Why State will win...

Ball State is just 10-26 in three years under Mike Neu with no real reason to believe this year should be that much better. NC State has the talent advantage.

Why State will lose...

This is Year 4 for Neu and that’s typically when programs really start to take off if the coach is good. Plus the Cardinals add a talented transfer RB in Walter Fletcher. This game will be sandwiched between the Wolfpack coming off a tough road contest at West Virginia and heading into another road contest at Florida State. With a young NC State roster, this sets up as a potential trap game.

Prediction...

NC State 38, Ball State 18


Florida State - A - Sat, Sep 28, TBA

Why State will win...

Florida State was your “drunk friend pouring gasoline on a fire” level of bad last year. There’s no reason for the FSU program to be that bad, and while they should be much improved this season, expecting a 180-degree correction in a single year is expecting a lot.

Why State will lose...

Cam Akers returns at RB for the Noles, and with anything even resembling an offensive line in front of him, he should destroy opponents. The roster is also flush with talent, even if it didn’t play at all to that talent level last year. New OC Kendall Briles will have the offense putting up much better numbers, even if the OL isn’t that much improved.

Prediction...

NC State 28, Florida State 27


Syracuse - H - Thurs, Oct 10, 8:00pm

Why State will win...

Thursday night. Carter-Finley Stadium. Not Wake Forest. I shouldn’t have to say more, but I will anyways. Syracuse loses a lot from last year’s team, a team that thrived off of an unsustainable turnover margin. ’Cuse is due to come back down to earth.

Why State will lose...

Dino Babers is a damn good coach and Tommy DeVito is a talented QB. That offense could conceivably be better as Babers starts inserting more and more guys he recruited for that system. Syracuse has to replace a pair of linebackers, but returns basically all of the rest of their defense.

Prediction...

NC State 31, Syracuse 30


Boston College - A - Sat, Oct 19, TBA

Why State will win...

This will be Game #7 for Boston College, which means AJ Dillon will already have over 200 carries on the season and will be wearing down. Plus, it’s not like State will have to deal with any crowd noise advantage from BC. The Eagles lose a lot on both their O-line and D-line, playing into State’s strengths.

Why State will lose...

AJ Dillon. Despite the heavy workload, Dillon is a crazy talented RB and BC will be coming off a bye week, meaning he has time to rest and be even more beastly than usual. Anthony Brown is more talented at QB than he gets credit for and will likely add the running threat back into his arsenal being another year removed from his knee injury. BC has to replace four O-lineman, but if there’s one position that you’d have the most faith in Addazio reloading, it’s the O-line.

Prediction...

Boston College 27, NC State 24


Wake Forest - A - Sat, Nov 2, TBA

Why State will win...

Wake loses their leading pass rusher from last year, and that’s from a team that wasn’t very good at getting to the QB in the first place. They also have to find new wide outs to replace Greg Dortch, and have to replace the entire interior of their O-line. The Deacs return Cade Carney at RB, but he’s not an outside-the-tackles runner.

Why State will lose...

Winston-Salem... I hate that place. This will be Dave Clawson’s most talented team since he’s been at Wake. The Deacs return their leading rusher and have two talented options to choose from at QB. If the defense gives them anything, this team could be scary.

Prediction...

NC State 32, Wake Forest 23


Clemson - H - Sat, Nov 9, TBA

Why State will win...

The game is in Raleigh and State is due to take down the Tigers. Clemson has to replace their entire D-line and will also have to see how they handle playing now that they can’t use the chip-on-the-shoulder national perspective motivation.

Why State will lose...

It’s f***ing Clemson, man. This team is stocked with talent and scary as hell.

Prediction...

Clemson 38, NC State 24


Louisville - H - Sat, Nov 16, TBA

Why State will win...

Welcome to the second team on the list that’s in complete rebuild mode. You know, it’s Louisville’s fault. Bobby Petrino had never stayed at a school for five seasons, but every single time he’s left a school, it took them at least three seasons to turn in another winning record. They should have fired him after 2017.

Why State will lose...

QB Malik Cunningham is as physically gifted as they come, especially with his wheels. Scott Satterfield is also a dang good coach and has former NC State OL Coach Dwayne Ledford to help him scheme for this game.

Prediction...

NC State 41, Louisville 20


Georgia Tech - A - Thur, Nov 21, TBA

Why State will win...

Georgia Tech is transitioning from an option team to a... well, some team that’s going to do more stuff than just run the ball. That takes a while, and the hardest rebuild among that is the O-line. GT’s defense wasn’t a beast last year, either, and they have to replace their top three tacklers plus their top pass rusher.

Why State will lose...

GT will still be able to run the ball, and at Game 11 in the season, things might be clicking enough. Even if things are going brutally bad, new HC Geoff Collins will have the Yellow Jackets playing hard.

Prediction...

NC State 37, Georgia Tech 17


North Carolina - H - Sat, Nov 30, TBA

Why State will win...

UNC-CH might not have the total rebuild that ECU, Louisville, and GT have, but there’s a lot to replace. QB, WR, LT, C. All those need to be replaced, and that’s just on offense. On defense, the Tarheels have to replace three defensive line starters and their best LB.

Why State will lose...

Because Mack Brown is apparently the greatest coach to ever coach the game and his last relevant coaching success was definitely not a decade ago. UNC-CH does have a solid RB corp, so the new QB will be able to lean heavily on that. Plus this is a rivalry game.

Prediction...

NC State 36, UNC-CH 23