2017 Football Preview – ACC – Wolfpack
Looking for 2017 NC State Wolfpack predictions? The Wolfpack had a reasonable 7-6 campaign last year and it was very close to being much better, with a missed 33-yard field goal to narrowly lose at Clemson and a dropped interception away from a win at Florida State. A thorough drubbing of Vanderbilt in the Independence Bowl helped further the narrative that the Wolfpack’s trajectory is pointed upward.
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- 2017-18 College Football Preview – NC State Wolfpack
- Head Coach: Dave Doeren
- 2016 Record: 7-6
- NC State Wolfpack Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +50000
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North Carolina State has some units that can match up with anyone in the ACC, and a year’s experience and perseverance might be just what it takes for the Wolfpack to be on the other end of those close shaves in 2017.
Coach Doeren’s record sits at just under .500 for his time in Raleigh (25-26) but it seems like things could come together more in his fifth year at the helm, even with the multitude of powers at the top of Atlantic Coast Conference.
Veteran QB Ryan Finley should be perfectly comfortable in the offense in 2017, his second year running the system after being a grad transfer from Boise State.
Finley’s described the scheme as a ‘nicely worn-in pair of shoes’, which should augur well for a unit that has a blend of experience and talent.
2017 NC State Wolfpack Predictions: Team Strengths
Steady Transitioning to Spectacular?: Finley, only a junior this season, had 3,059 yards passing to go with 18 TDs and eight picks last year.
The ‘Pack bring back four starting offensive lineman – juniors OT Tyler Jones, C Garrett Bradbury, RT Will Richardson and senior OG Tony Adams – which should allow Finley to run through his progressions and distribute the pigskin effectively.
It’s safe to expect all of Finley’s numbers to take a tick upward this season. It doesn’t hurt that he can chuck the ball to talented options like senior H-back style TE Jaylen Samuels, who caught seven TDs and rushed for another six in 2016.
He’ll be even more involved with workhorse RB Matthew Dayes moving on. Amazingly, Samuels has recorded a touchdown for every seven times he touches the ball. He has to carry the mail for NC State in 2017.
D-Licious D-Line: The defensive line might be the best in the entire ACC, which is saying a ton considering the recruiting factories like Clemson and FSU need to be factored in. The line is led by senior DE Bradley Chubb.
The entire front four is comprised of seniors, joining 11 total returning seniors. Chubb led NC State in tackles for loss (22) and sacks (10.5). He has a promising future ahead of him in the pro ranks.
NC State is also set at defensive tackle, with beefy starters Justin Jones (6’2, 312 lbs) and B.J. Hill (6’4, 315 lbs) being disruptive. On the opposite side, Kentavius Street will get his opportunities simply by capitalizing on the attention drawn elsewhere.
One can see it all comes together with the Wolfpack ranking eighth against the run in the country last season.
2017 NC State Wolfpack Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Suspect Secondary: While the Wolfpack are stacked up front, they must replace three starters in the secondary, in a unit that was only 82nd nationally against the pass in 2016.
There needs to be a significant improvement there for NC State to feature a complete defense. Senior safety Shawn Boone (67 tackles in ’16) returns, but the ‘Pack are relying on CB Nick McCloud and safeties Freddie Phillips and Dexter Wright to step up.
Elsewhere on the field, there will be some hand-wringing about replacing RB Mayes, who was a seventh-round pick of the Cleveland Browns. Likely starter, diminutive junior Nyheim Hines, is certainly a talent, but Mayes was a reliable 1,000-yard threat.
Finally, NC State must make strides in the kicking game, where it made only nine of 17 attempts in 2016.
A few more conversions might have totally changed to trajectory of the Wolfpack’s season. Carson Wise will start at kicker, who is a transfer from Carson-Newman by way of Virginia Tech. The punting will be done by junior A.J. Cole, who averaged 41.3 yards per punt last year.
NC State Wolfpack Prediction: 8-5
Despite looking on the bright side and seeing how close NC State were to beating Clemson and FSU last year, a realist could also observe that the Wolfpack under Coach Doeren are a combined 0-11 versus Clemson, FSU and Louisville.
Putting one on the plus side of the ledger in one of those contest would go a long way to boost the optimism in Raleigh.
If an experienced team can build character from some heartbreaking losses, NC State could break through for a nine or possibly a double-digit win season.
With all the elite talent at the top, though, plus non-conference clashes against South Carolina and Notre Dame, I see a much better team that may only improve by a win or two. Still, the passive observer can see that Doeren and his staff are doing a good job.
2017 NC State Wolfpack Football Schedule
- 9/2/17 TBD S. CAR. (in Charlotte NC)
- 9/9/17 TBD MAR
- 9/16/17 TBD FURM (FCS)
- 9/22/17 TBD at FSU
- 9/30/17 TBD SYR
- 10/5/17 TBD LOU
- 10/14/17 TBD at PITT
- 10/28/17 TBD at ND
- 11/4/17 TBD CLEM
- 11/11/17 TBD at BC
- 11/18/17 TBD at WAKE
- 11/25/17 TBD UNC
What do you think about our 2017 NC State Wolfpack predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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