2012 North Carolina State Wolfpack Football Preview
2011 Record: 8-5 (4-4 ACC)
Head Coach: Tom O’Brien, sixth season (33-30 at North Carolina State) (108-75 overall)
Projected Returning Starters: 16
Spring Game: April 21st (Black 32 White 7)
Notes: The Wolfpack had the tough task of replacing Russell Wilson last season. Many projected the Wolfpack to take a step back in 2011, even to the extent of not making the post-season. I agreed with a number of those people, having the Wolfpack at 6-6 (but two of the six wins being over FCS opponents). NC State clearly surprised me with a nice win over Virginia, but had unexplained losses to Wake Forest and Boston College, by a combined 11 points. With that said, Coach O’Brien has done a great job of turning around N.C. State. His years at Boston College, primarily in the Big East, proved he was capable of leading the Wolfpack.
BVTSB Take: N.C. State was 2-3 following back-to-back losses to Cincinnati (by 30) and Georgia Tech (by 10). It looked like the Wolfpack would not make back-to-back bowl games. N.C. State was 6-2 down the stretch, including 4-0 at home. Quarterback Mike Glennon returns for his senior season. Known as quite the thrower, Glennon passed for over 3000 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2011. Running back James Washington also returns for his final year, as he rushed for nearly 900 yards, accounting for seven of the ten rushing touchdowns. Glennon loses his top wide out, T.J. Graham, to the Buffalo Bills, and the all important tight end, George Bryan, to the Dallas Cowboys, but his second leading receiver, Tobais Palmer, returns. Palmer caught nearly 500 yards worth of passes and accounted for the second most receiving touchdowns – five – for the Wolfpack. Last season, N.C. State faced Liberty, South Alabama, Central Michigan, and Cincinnati in non-conference. The Wolfpack beat the first three – all of which were at home – and lost at Cincinnati. This year, N.C. State opens with two games away from Raleigh – Tennessee at Atlanta and at Connecticut. The two remaining non-conference games are South Alabama and The Citadel. The Wolfpack have a great shot at opening the season 4-0, or at least 3-1, prior to a trip to Miami Gardens to take on the Hurricanes. Overall, the Wolfpack have a pretty favorable conference schedule, avoiding Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, and hosting Florida State, but they do play Clemson on the road. Assuming N.C. State can get by Clemson and beat Florida State at home, there is no reason why N.C. State cannot represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Title. I think they will fall short of the ACC Title, but should improve their conference record in 2012.
2012 Early Projection: 8-4
To see the 2012 ACC composite schedule, click here.
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