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Bill Connelly’s NC State preview is not helping me talk myself into a Wolfpack rebound

NCAA Football: Western Carolina at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Connelly’s 2020 ACC Atlantic Division preview is live over at ESPN dot com. Does anyone know if this is bad?

The Wolfpack played six bowl teams and went 0-6 with an average score of 42-15. Their No. 94 SP+ ranking was their worst since 1971.

If you needed to put last year’s cratering into perspective, that’ll definitely do it. I guess, you know, in a way, we witnessed history—and isn’t that something, to have witnessed history. You can look back later and be like, “dang, history, what a thing.”

I continue to actively attempt talking myself into a turnaround in 2020—or rather, 2021, when we actually will get tackle football back—and I manage to go in circles for the most part, too scared to genuinely consider how significantly the odds stack against Dave Doeren’s program at this point.

Still, even Bill’s computatin’ machine offers a glimmer:

A 6-6 projection with bowl odds of 63% is not bad, and I would take that tomorrow. Part of me feels like if State can just weather this year with a modest show of progress—any bowl trip qualifies—then it can get back to building in earnest once again, both on the field and on the recruiting trail, and really put 2019 to bed. But just the opposite outcome feels like the better bet.

History tells me that NC State needs exceptional quarterback play to have reasonably successful (7-8 win) seasons, because only exceptional quarterback play can account for and overcome the wide variety of holes that tend to exist on any given NC State football roster. (Imagine how DOA Tom O’Brien’s tenure would have been without Russell Wilson.)

Exceptional play from anybody in NC State’s current quarterback room is a fantasy. The offense’s supporting cast is decent but can’t thrive without expert help to put it in a position to succeed, and State isn’t going to have that. So where does that leave the Pack?

Again, I’m trying not to think about it.