NC State spent time in the top 25 this season and will no doubt receive some preseason votes in the 2021 polls, despite how the Wolfpack closed out its season in the Gator Bowl. At CBS Sports, Dennis Dodd published his super-early top 25 for next season and has NC State at No. 22:
The bowl game loss to Kentucky left a sour taste but an eight-win season was Dave Doeren’s third in the last four years. Despite the loss of quarterback Bailey Hockman and two offensive line starters, a 6-0 start is possible.
Clemson, UNC, and Miami are also in Dodd’s poll—and all three are on NC State’s 2021 schedule. (Though the schedule isn’t set in terms of which league games are played when, so I don’t know where he’s getting this “potential 6-0 start” business.)
I don’t know if State will be a top 25 team next year or not, but it should definitely be better. It’d be tough not to improve with all the starting experience returning. And just imagine what might happen if Devin Leary plays an entire season! It’s still hard to believe the Pack did what it did with Leary playing just four (well, more like three-and-a-half) games in 2020.