ESPN published Bill Connelly’s preview of the ACC Atlantic yesterday (it’s behind the paywall though), and while Clemson is of course well ahead of any other team in the division, SP+ sees the middle portion of the standings as a mess of toss-up games.
Here, for example, the games on NC State’s schedule where State’s estimated win probability is between 40-60%:
Relative toss-ups: Louisville (57%), at Wake Forest (57%), at Boston College (56%), at Florida State (53%), at Mississippi State (44%)
It’s worth noting, as Connelly does, that SP+ could be undervaluing NC State because it doesn’t take Devin Leary’s injury into account—if Leary improves while also playing a full season, that can make a big difference, and then maybe a couple of these games look more like should-wins.
But that’s a pretty good estimate of which games are going to determine how successful NC State is in 2021. I wish there weren’t quite so many of them on the road, but if the Pack is going to be as good as we all think it can be, that’s neither excuse nor impediment. (And it’s not like we have to worry about the environment at BC or Wake.)