These are only my guesses, but now is as good a time as any to make them. Remember, these are predictions, not hopes or best case scenarios. I wouldn’t be shocked by anything between 4 and 7 regular season wins. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
Game 1: vs. Central Florida (Win; 75% confidence) – This game scares the hell out of me. UCF has a good coach, and they are a veteran team coming off a very disappointing season. O’Leary would love to beat an ACC team, and his kids will be loaded for bear. I just don’t see Tom O’Brien losing his first game as head coach.
Game 2: at Boston College (Loss; 85% confidence) – I really wanted to pick a win here, but that’s not logical (just an emotional reaction to BC fan smack-talk in the offseason). BC returns more starters than we do, and was significantly better than us last year (despite the somewhat fluky loss head-to-head). I don’t like the scrimmage reports on our QB situation, and an early road game will likely exacerbate that problem. Enjoy your gloating, Eagle fans – it will be clear after 3 seasons who won this particular coaching shuffle.
Game 3: vs. Wofford (Win; 99% confidence) – We may not be good this year, but we won’t lose to Wofford. Even under Amato, I would feel good about that (he probably would have gone 2-10, beating Wofford and FSU).
Game 4: vs. Clemson (Loss; 70% confidence) – The Tiggers should be able to dominate the Pack physically (and run hog wild against our LBs), but their coach is one of two Bowdens on the hot seat, and a complete team meltdown is not out of the question.
Game 5: vs. Louisville (Loss; 80% confidence) – Louisville might be the best opponent on NC State’s schedule, but we’ll see how much they miss Bobby Petrino. I like our chances for a huge upset if this is a night game.
Game 6: at Florida State (Loss; 90% confidence) – Again, we should be dominated physically, and our non-existent depth should be giving us trouble against deep, athletic teams by this point in the season. To borrow from my BC thoughts – enjoy your gloating, few remaining members of the “Cult of Chuck” – it will be clear after 3 seasons who won this particular coaching shuffle.
Game 7: at East Carolina (Win; 55% confidence) – Here is the game where I believe Coach O’Brien will get us a win we wouldn’t have been able to achieve without him. With an off week to get healthy and prepare, I expect the Wolfpack to do some riot prevention against the Pirates. You’re welcome, Greenville Police Department.
Game 8: vs. Virginia (Win; 60% confidence) – I expect the Cavs to be in full free-fall mode at this point, as Al Groh prepares for the firing squad. It would be much better for the game to be a week later (UVA historically sucks in November), but late October will have to do. Should be nice weather for this game, so allow for extra tailgating time.
Game 9: at Miami (Loss; 85% confidence) – This is pretty much a repeat of the FSU prediction, but the Canes are slightly less imposing physically (and sans the Amato drama).
Game 10: vs. UNC (Win; 95% confidence) – Because TOB promised us. And the alternative is unthinkable.
Game 11: at Wake Forest (Loss; 80% confidence) – Many people will predict a win here, and I agree that the Deacs won’t likely repeat their stirring title run. However, their rushing attack is a particularly bad matchup for our linebacking corps.
Game 12: vs. Maryland (Loss; 55% confidence) – I think the Pack comes very, very close to winning this game and attaining bowl eligibility, but falls just short. A lack of depth catches up with you at season’s end, and we will be coming off a bruising, physical game against Wake. The timing absolutely sucks for us.
Predicted Record: 5-7 (2-6); Mathematical Median: 5.39 wins
BJD95, on the record.