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Dave Doeren must be beloved by NC State fans. In two seasons, the head coach turned a 3-9 program into an 8-5 contender. Showing signs that the team might be hitting their tipping point, one can look to last year’s battle with FSU, where NC State held the lead with three minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, only to fall 56-41. The Wolfpack hit a wall after that contest, losing their next four games. Showing signs of character NC State didn’t completely collapse, closing their season with a five game stretch in which they went 4-1.

The five victory difference between 2013 and 2014 was the largest corrected win margin in the ACC during that time. With a senior quarterback at the helm and a running game that has the potential to be the best in the ACC, Doeren and his Wolfpack are geared up to score a lot of points this season. If the defense can pick it up a bit, NC State might be more than just a flash in the pan.

Last Season
ACC (Atlantic)
ATS Record
Points For
Points Against
2015 Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
9/5 Troy -28 1
9/12 Eastern Kentucky -24 1
9/19 @ Old Dominion -10 0.77
9/26 @ South Alabama -14 0.85
10/3 Louisville +3.5 0.39
10/9 @ Virginia Tech +4.5 0.37
10/24 @ Wake Forest -13.5 0.84
10/31 Clemson +10.5 0.21
11/7 @ Boston College PK 0.50
11/14 @ Florida State +14 0.15
11/21 Syracuse -13 0.83
11/28 North Carolina -1.5 0.52
Estimated Wins: 7.43

NC State opens their 2015 season with two soft home games against Troy and Eastern Kentucky. The Wolfpack’s first road game is against Old Dominion, a team they beat 46-34 at home last year. NC State then travels to play South Alabama before returning home to open conference play against the Louisville Cardinals. NC State will be pumped for this contest considering it’s their ACC home opener and this being a pivotal contest in the ACC Atlantic standings. The Wolfpack has two road games slated after that against Virginia Tech and Wake Forest before hosting Clemson. The Tigers embarrassed the Wolfpack to the tune of a 41-0 shutout victory last season. It’s then back on the highway for NC State as they travel to play Boston College and Florida State, two teams that handed the Wolfpack losses last year. NC State wraps things up with two home games against Syracuse and in-state rival UNC, both teams the Wolfpack handled quite easily on the road last season as underdogs.

As I mentioned earlier, NC State collapsed a bit after their meltdown against FSU last season, losing four straight games. This season they have three of the same teams that beat them last year lined up in a row, starting with Clemson and ending with the Seminoles with BC sandwiched between. The Wolfpack’s non-conference slate is rather easy and, aside from playing FSU on the road, the traveling portion of the schedule is somewhat light. NC State went 8-5 ATS last year, and the covers came in bunches, a good sign for a program looking to mature with a coaching staff entering their third year with NC State.

Roster Breakdown

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett will be under center for the Wolfpack as the Florida transfer threw for 2,606 yards and ran for 529 yards, totaling 26 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions. Beloved by Doeren and often referred to by the head coach as the reason for the program’s recent success, Brissett will need to step into a true leadership position both on and off the field if this program has any hope of getting to the next level.

With probably the deepest running game in the ACC, NC State averaged 204.5 yards per game last year, posting the Wolfpack’s highest total since 1992. Running backs Matt Dayes and Shadrach Thorton will be joined by three highly recruited prospects in Johnny Frasier, Nyheim Hines, and Reggie Gallaspy, who might be called upon as early as week one to share the load.

NC State lost two top receivers in Bo Hines and Marquez Valdes-Scantling deciding to transfer.  NC State won’t average many yards per catch this year, but that might not matter if they decide to mold their offensive packages around a power-type mentality. Tight end David J. Grinnage is a senior and he’s a big target, look for him to be a major factor in the Wolfpack’s offense.

The unknown for NC State is what kind of protection they will receive from two new starting offensive tackles. The jobs are currently up for grabs, and if this poses to be a weakness down the road, teams like BC that disguise their blitz and can bring pressure off the edge will probably have success doing so.

Defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable was working on things on the fly last season, looking to establish a base defense without a lot of blitzing. Halfway through the season the coaching staff took off the chains and ramped up the pressure. The results were positive and the signs are good that the program is going in the right direction. With a lot of familiar faces returning, including all five starters in the secondary, this NC State defense could be sneaky-good.

Regular Season Win Total
ACC Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Season Predictions

In the stocks and bonds comparisons sometimes used by sports handicappers, I’m giving the Wolfpack a giant arrow pointing North. NC State has a weak non-conference schedule and two conference games against Wake Forest and Syracuse should be relatively easy wins. Momentum is a funny thing and, all things considered, NC State could be heading into their first conference game with a 4-0 record. This team has uptick written all over them and with senior leadership on both sides of the ball we could be looking at a potential sleeper to win it all in the ACC.

2015 Projections
ACC (Atlantic)
ACC Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
OVER 7.5

I asked some other experts on NC State football what they thought about the Wolf Pack’s upcoming season. Here’s what they had to say.



OVER 7.5 Wins – Tough call for us on this one but we’ll lean slightly to the OVER. Offensively the Pack averaged 30 PPG last year on 409 total yards per game. They should be able to match or even improve that this season. They return QB Brissett, their top three rushers, and five of their top seven pass catchers. The offensive line will start four seniors as well. Defensively this team was all over the map last year. They held WF, Syracuse, and UNC to 17 points or less last year but every other ACC team scored at least 30 on them. The bring back 8 starters on that side of the ball and four of their top five tacklers return. If they are just “OK” on that side of the ball, the offense should do enough to get eight wins. NC State should get off to a fast start as they open with Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, and South Alabama. They should start 4-0 and then they’ll need a .500 ACC mark to get to 8 wins. Again, we think the NC State’s wins land right around this number, probably seven or eight and we’ll lean to eight and the OVER.

Alec Lower

Alec Lower

OVER 7.5 Wins – NC State ended last season with a lot of momentum, winning 4 of its last 5 games. They have quality returning players throughout the offense, especially at quarterback, running back, and the interior of the offensive line. Their potent rushing attack that exploded towards the end of last season should be strong again. While the defensive line will require some remodeling due to departures, the defensive backfield returns a large chunk of last season’s contributors and should only get better. A weak out of conference schedule, coupled with some larger rebuilding efforts in the Atlantic Division, give the Pack an opportunity to produce a win total they haven’t produced in quite some time. My prediction? 9-3 (5-3)

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