In arguably the biggest game in NC State football history - and certainly the biggest in the program’s recent history - the 10th-ranked Wolfpack head down to South Carolina to take on the 5th-ranked Clemson Tigers in the primetime game of the week. With ESPN’s College Gameday in town to provide an even higher level of visibility than the game was already going to receive, the college football world’s eyes will be on upstate this weekend.
For the Wolfpack, the matchup will start a daunting three-game run against divisional foes which are all currently undefeated. State’s defense has been fantastic this year in living up to the preseason hype it garnered; however, the Pack’s offense has been lackluster and will need to provide a better effort than has been put out for much of the year if it hopes to improve NC State’s record to 5-8 against Top 10 Clemson teams.
The Tigers, meanwhile, captured a two-overtime offensive-oriented victory against Wake Forest last week with QB D.J. Uiagalelei silencing even his most ardent critics with his efforts. The Clemson defense, meanwhile, allowed an opponent to top 30 points for the first time in 17 games. That’s as much a testament to Dave Clawson’s Wake Forest offense as it is an indication of problems with the Tigers’ defense, although Pack fans certainly hope it’s a sign of problems that will sustain for at least one more week.
With division, conference, and national implications on the line, will the Wolfpack pull out yet another win over a Top 10 Clemson squad? Or will the Tigers continue their recent offensive success, regain their defensive fortitude, and cement themselves yet again in the driver’s seat of the ACC Atlantic Division?
Each BTP contributor provides their score prediction below, plus a quick blurb on their predicted outcome. Here we go!
Prediction: 23-27 (L)
Comment: “beep boop“
Prediction: 20-27 (L)
Comment: “Prove me wrong, Pack. Prove me wrong.”
Prediction: 13-31 (L)
Comment: “Just not a big believer in this offense right now. I think the defense does enough to keep State in the game for a long time, but eventually State starts to force things and the dam breaks.“
Why is this so hard?
Prediction: 27-24 (W)
Comment: “We are ready for the moment. Right?“
Prediction: 18-27 (L)
Comment: “Frustratingly low scoring game with drives settling for field goals. Clemson chips away and scores enough to pull away. Pack tries with heart but will come up short.”
Prediction: 21-24 (L)
Comment: “This will be a Giant task for State, and while I have truthfully had next to no nerves about this game (probably not till I am surrounded by Clemson fans) I’d pick us if we were at home, but I think DJ makes just enough plays to win“
Prediction: 17-20 (L)
Comment: “I think this is a matchup of two ‘okay’ offenses going against two elite defenses and special teams is going to be the deciding factor. What’s that? The Pack’s kicker got banged up while running a fake FG against UConn? Cool. Cool cool cool.“
Prediction: 38-27 (W)
Comment: “Screw it, I’m all in. Pack never trails.“
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 22-26 (L)
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!