2018 NC State Wolfpack Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 9-4
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.5
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Under'
I know that N.C. State won't ever be anything better than a second-tier football program. But that's been good enough over the last four years as the Wolfpack have posted four straight winning seasons and gone four straight bowl games (winning three).
So maybe Dave Doeren does know what he's doing?
North Carolina State won nine games last year, including Top 20 upsets of Florida State and Louisville. The Wolfpack climbed as high as No. 14 in the country after a six-game winning streak. But back-to-back losses to Notre Dame and Clemson tamped down enthusiasm in an otherwise stellar season.
Where do the Wolfpack go from here? They are clearly in a rebuilding season with just nine total starters back. But one of those starters is quarterback Ryan Finley. Finley, a transfer from Boise State, is an excellent veteran signal caller that threw for 3,516 yards with a 3-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Finley has some weapons to work with. No. 2 running back Reggie Gallaspy, and highly-touted freshman Ricky Person will offer support in the backfield. They have three offensive starting linemen in the fold. And Finley, who spreads the ball around in the passing game, has three of his top four targets from last year. So the offense should move the ball and come close to matching last year's 32 points per game.
The biggest issue this season will be the defense. Last year's team was bailed out by a bevy of turnovers, and their plus-eight differential put them in the Top 25 in the country. But they were No. 103 against the pass. So when the only three returning starters on this side of the ball are in the secondary it is tough to tell if that's good news or bad news. They have only two of their top nine tacklers back, and this unit is going to be a work in progress.
Opening games against James Madison and Georgia State should help the Wolfpack ease into things. But the defense is going to be tested in Week 3 against West Virginia.
N.C. State starts the year with five home games in its first six weeks. And the lone road trip is against Marshall. But any gains made in the first half of the year are going to be tough to sustain after their Oct. 13 bye. N.C. State closes with four of their final six games on the road, with one of the home games against Florida State.
If anything happens to Finley then this quickly becomes a four-win team. And as it stands I don't see this team any better than a six-win squad. And maybe they hit seven wins if Finley plays out of his mind. But I would be stunned if they were able to get to eight victories. This is an easy 'under' for me.
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