Breaking Down the 2008 Football Schedule

Sorry I didn’t have time to blog on this sooner, but the 2008 NC State football schedule is a very interesting one. Let’s take it game by game, and think of how the season might play out:

Aug. 28 at South Carolina (ESPN – Thurs.)

I love being in the national spotlight early. It will be easy for Coach O’Brien to get his players fired up. I particularly like playing a “nothing to lose” game – the players should be looser, and a win would have the nation talking about Tom O’Brien and NC State. Yes, I know that South Carolina had a disappointing year last year, but they are still a Spurrier-coached SEC team playing at home – they will be expected to win easily.

Plus, I have lots of great memories about this series. It is not a “friendly” or “polite” rivalry, but not a violent and unpleasant one either (see Carolina, East). I was in the end zone grass hill (in a sea of Gamecock fans) when Kramer’s Hail Mary on an untimed down silenced the redneck horde. Definitely an awesome childhood memory, screaming and pointing at the blank stares and gaping mouths around me (after about 60 seconds of silence, I did hear someone complain “That’s bullllllshiiiiiiit!” Fun times. The first game my wife attended with me was the “Pre-Floyd Tropical Storm” game, in Holtz’ 1st or 2nd year. She knew I was crazy when I didn’t so much as consider leaving early, but she married me anyway. Tip – in warm weather monsoons, wear swimming trunks and flip-flops. You stay much more comfortable.

Williams/Brice is a very hostile visiting environment, and what a baptism of fire it could be for Russell Wilson or Mike Glennon. I am very curious to see how they would respond.

I’m glad Spurrier wants to play us, and even if we can’t go back to an annual series, there should be at least one home-and-home per decade.

I have a nagging feeling that we get a win here, although I will predict that USC wins a close one.

Sept. 6 William & Mary

This is a nice warmup before ACC action starts. We can build on the effpot against South Carolina, or regain some confidence. Either way, it will be nice knowing we won’t be 0-2 heading into Death Valley.

Sept. 13 at Clemson

Did somebody say “nothing to lose”? This game certainly fits the bill. Most in the media have or will pick the Tiggers to win the Atlantic Division. 80,000 plus will be on hand, wearing that God-awful orange color. The matchup sucks, thanks to Clemson’s abundant speed and tough running game. Still, I believe Clemson is breaking in a new QB. New QBs sometimes make mistakes before they settle in. Bowden’s teams usually drop a handful of games early, including at least one that they shouldn’t. Maybe they also get a big early win against Alabama, and overlook the Pack after last year’s beatdown in Raleigh.

Still, even I can’t be crazy enough to predict a win here.

Sept. 20 East Carolina

We beat these assholes in their “Super Bowl” last year, and it turns my stomach to be playing them 3 years in a row, even more so to consider a loss. Repeat after me, “Coach” Fowler – South Carolina rivalry = good, East Carolina rivalry = likely “Cops” episode. Have to feel good about being no worse than 2-2 after this game.

Sept. 27 South Florida

Please check me on this, but I believe USF loses a ton of key players from last year’s inconsistent (but dangerous) squad. Getting blown out in last year’s Sun Bowl by an injury-depleted Oregon squad that limped across the Pac-10 finish line can’t help their psyche, either. This is likely to be a low-scoring game, in which our kicking game (major question mark heading into spring practice) could determine the outcome. We should have our depth chart and various roles figured out by this game, so the timing is pretty good.

I am pegging this game as the pivotal one of the season – I think it will be the turning point, one way or the other. I don’t see how we miss a bowl game if we beat USF.

Oct. 4 Boston College

Feel the seething hatred! Matt Ryan made 2 unbelievable plays to shift the Eagles’ record from 4-4 to 6-2. But in the re-match of one such game, the Hokies reined supreme and won the ACC title, kicking BC as far down in the bowl pecking order as the ACC rules allowed. Then they barely beat Big Ten also-ran Michigan State (in the only bowl game where I cheered against the ACC team). We’ll see how much fun “Jags” provides the handful of Eagle faithful without a cupboard full of returning Tom O’Brien senior leaders. First to worst in the Atlantic is not out of the question, and I’ll love every minute of it.

That said, we will be playing our 6th game on October 4, without any bye weeks (and only one cupcake) to rest any nagging injuries. Depth will still be an issue for the 2008 Wolfpack. Still, no way do I bet against Tom O’Brien here. After this week, we could be 3-3, or as high as 5-1. The schedule does lay out nicely if we are able to play to our maximum potential early, and get better QB and OL play. The “toss-up” or “slight favorite” games are all at home up to this point.

Oct. 16 Florida State (ESPN – Thurs.)

The Pack gets 11 days to prepare for the Seminoles, in a home Thursday night matchup. Carter-Finley will be raucous and highly inebriated, especially if the Pack comes in at 4-2 or 5-1. Can emotion and prep time overcome FSU’s sizeable speed and athleticism advantage? Probably not. But it sure would be nice to give Amato yet another loss in front of the home crowd. His last game in Raleigh was a loss, and I want it to stay that way, damn it.

Oct. 25 at Maryland

State gets a few extra days prior to the trip to College Park. Historically, this is the kind of game that NC State never, ever wins. I will go out on a limb and predict that we will win this game if we lose to FSU, and lose if we are coming off a win. I would be very satisfied to exit this contest at 2-2 in the ACC.

Nov. 8 at Duke

If there’s one opponent (other than Bill and Mary) that doesn’t require an extra week of prep time, it’s Duke. But it does allow sufficient time to craft an A+ game plan, to make sure Cutcliffe’s charges don’t pull off an emotional upset. The stands will be 75% red, and I have to think that pulls us through even on an off-day. Like the USC series, I have lots of good memeories of high octane State/Duke games from the 1980s.

Nov. 15 Wake Forest

Very, very glad to have this game at home, and late in the season. I would very much rather have the bye week before this one, though. Riley Skinner will test the Pack defense, but the Pack should be playing with more confidence by mid-November. I expect both teams will be playing for bowl position, and NC State could be a spolier for Wake’s title hopes (Wake gets Clemson at home). This is a classic trap game – for the Deacons. But Wake likely prevails anyway.

Nov. 22 at North Carolina

Love playing the hated Tarheels late. It’s another chance for a “home away from home” game, as UNC folks will already be in full hoops mode. This is another key game for NC State to stay in bowl contention, and to get above .500 in conference play heading into the home finale. A win might also have the added benefit of knocking UNC out of the bowl picture. Again, I can’t predict O’Brien to lose to Butch. Just can’t. May his run be Sheridan-like.

Nov. 29 Miami

Again, I think this game is placed favorably on the schedule. If one is going to play the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s best to do so at home against an opponent that has to travel a long distance. We don’t have to worry about any visiting fans making the trip, either. I expect this game to mean far more for Wolfpack players than Miami’s, but the speed and athleticism might be too much. Like the South Carolina game, this is one that I have a feeling about, but the brain says no.

Predicted Record: 7-5 (4-4)

This result would make me very happy, and all of you should feel likewise. And this prediction is 100% contingent upon the starting QB not being Daniel Evans.

Oppotunity Games: at South Carolina, vs. Florida State, vs. Wake Forest

A win from this list would be a sign of a possible breakout season. Two wins would be a near-certain indicator.

Firewall Games: vs. East Carolina, vs. Boston College

Lose one of these, and it could be a long season. Lose both, and it looks like a history-making terrible season.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

'08 Football Tom O'Brien

81 Responses to Breaking Down the 2008 Football Schedule

  1. b 02/18/2008 at 4:49 PM #

    I tend to agree with you guys, it is a challenging schedule, but not without opportunities. 7-5 would be great and if we are 5-7 but not blown out quite as often it would still be acceptable. Especially considering we have a first year starter (god willing) at QB.

  2. Noah 02/18/2008 at 4:58 PM #

    Not to be a pedant…but the 1999 game wasn’t during Hurricane Fran. Fran was in 1996. It wasn’t Hurricane Floyd either…that was the following week.

    This was the tropical storm that had broken up over the southeast and dumped about 12 inches of rain on us. It set the table for Floyd’s flood by completely saturating the ground and putting the rivers and streams at their flood-stage.


  3. Noah 02/18/2008 at 4:59 PM #

    As far as the season goes, I think if we can stay healthy and get a good year out of whoever our QB is, 6-6 is definitely possible.

  4. SMD 02/18/2008 at 5:06 PM #

    ^That Noah, ever the optimist. (I kid… 😉 )

  5. PAPacker 02/18/2008 at 5:10 PM #

    Thanks Noah, you give me hope we’ll go undefeated.

  6. Dr. BadgerPack 02/18/2008 at 5:11 PM #

    ^Noah, you got the year on Fran right. I remember that night, as I was in Lee hall and every 20 bloody minutes the fire alarm went off so idiots could go slide down the muddy hill!

    BJD- Excellent analysis. As far as USF is concerned, word down here in Fl. is that they will be VERY young this year. Still, it should be a tough game. Looking over the roster, their are a significant number of “R-” players (redshirts) and we all know of a team down the road that has used this formula to success.

  7. CStanley 02/18/2008 at 5:22 PM #

    I’m tired of losing to f’ing Wake Forest.

    I’d be happy with 7-5 (4-4). Let’s make it happen, we need to go to another bowl and build on a great 1st TOB recruiting class.

  8. choppack1 02/18/2008 at 5:30 PM #

    I’m excited about football next year. It should be very interesting. I haven’t look forward to spring football so much in 6 years.

  9. golf76 02/18/2008 at 5:31 PM #

    May be wishful thinking but I never underestimate basic fundamentals in winning football games. If there is one thing T-O-bie and staff do well, it’s teaching fundamentals. Good analysis. Let’s hope we’re all surprised!

  10. ChuckAllYall 02/18/2008 at 5:31 PM #

    BJD, thanks for this timely diversion from the current dismal state of Pack hoops. This 2008 schedule sets up well for us, with nearly all of our home games being “winnable”. I think this may be a nice momentum year for us. I know it’s still early, but in 2 or 3 years, we may have a pretty damn good football team.

  11. BJD95 02/18/2008 at 5:47 PM #

    My prediction is probably as optimistic as is reasonably possible. I certainly don’t want to set this up as an expectation for Coach O’Brien. I won’t question whether he’s the right man for the job unless we go 0-12.

    I meant to say Floyd, but sounds like I was wrong there, too.

  12. CarnifeX 02/18/2008 at 6:01 PM #

    Dennis was the double whammy storm that came onshore around Myrtle Beach to turn offshore north of wilmington and then stalled offshore of Hatteras only to turn back toward Greenville and Raleigh; drenching the eastern part of our great state and as Noah said, setting the table for Floyd to come through and flood the hell out of us. (Our lack of hurricanes in the past couple years may have something to do with the drought situation)

    /meteorological rant

  13. Greywolf 02/18/2008 at 6:42 PM #

    Feb 18th, 2008 at 5:47 pm
    My prediction is probably as optimistic as is reasonably possible. I certainly don’t want to set this up as an expectation for Coach O’Brien. I won’t question whether he’s the right man for the job unless we go 0-12.

    bJD, Thanks for the analysis.
    Wasn’t that Kramer desparation throw to Danny Peebles, a local, in the west corner of the end zone in the North end?
    How can I find SFN email? I know it’s in here somewhere.

  14. VaWolf82 02/18/2008 at 7:33 PM #

    My prediction is probably as optimistic as is reasonably possible.

    I would agree with this assesment of the prediction; but I don’t really agree with the prediction itself. I’ll continue with my position from the last several years….hope for 6-6 and won’t be surprised with a losing season.

  15. Sw0rdf1sh 02/18/2008 at 7:42 PM #

    Good optimistic analysis.

    However, I understand the (sometimes constant) disagreement with playing ECU in football, and I have to take the opposite stance.

    I think it is a healthy in state rivalry, even though they shouldn’t be holding our jocks. I like the fact that they hate us and want to be a key rival.

    We should accept it and take it to them each time.

  16. john of sparta 02/18/2008 at 7:50 PM #

    wasn’t that : Eduardo? you know, the tropical storm?
    anyway….7 and 5? do you have any more of the Kool-Aid left?
    LOTS of questions and DE is not the QB answer.

  17. beowolf 02/18/2008 at 8:19 PM #

    What socked us that night was the tropical storm remnants of Hurricane Dennis.

    And BJD, is Boston College going to be that bad next year?

  18. RAWFS 02/18/2008 at 9:08 PM #

    I am always prone to optimism this time of the year, so I will say that this is a realistic projection and hope for better.

    As is the case the past five years, OL and QB play will make the difference in our season. We saw some glimmers of hope on the OL front, and if we can get some good play from the starters and decent depth play, we’ll be fine there. And I will say at this point in time that Eugene is my preferred starter. Baker would come next, and Brown third. I put him there because he has yet to learn how to run north and south and get the four tough yards that move the chain instead of trying to hit a home run every single play.

    On the QB, you will not be able to gauge my disappointment if Dan Evans is the starter next year. He cannot put three good games in a row together, and his progress is always one step forward one step back. If this is going to be a 7-5 year, I want the coaches to invest in the future and get a new QB some real playing time. Beck won’t cut it unless he gets a mentality transplant and I don’t think the coaches have enough faith in Burke to put him in for a meaningful series. That leaves a R-F Russell Wilson, who will be Glennon’s backup over the long haul.

  19. howlie 02/18/2008 at 9:27 PM #

    1) A wonderful breakdown [with great timing]

    2) An absurdly optimistic record presumed. I DREAM that a baby Wilson or Glennon can have a ‘Rivers-type-frosh-year’, but even Philip couldn’t turn in the kind of optimism shown here.

    I think we will growing pains this year, with some splendor mixed in. The transition to the 3-4 will happen in the midst of the season, and the results will be like Sidney breaking in a third string freshman PG.
    b) Speaking of PG’s, our new QB has to be educated. On the field. With mean opponents. And it will mean [at the very least] minor injuries and–like basketball–a mid-season change in QB’s to “start all over again” with a 2nd freshman QB. Think about that…..

  20. wufpup76 02/18/2008 at 9:33 PM #

    7-5 is REALLY optimistic IMO, but it’s good to see some optimism here on sfn rather than more head-banging after another bball loss 😉

    i won’t be surprised or disappointed if we finish .500 or below (unless we win 0-2 games total)

    7-5 would be a really good season in my mind w/ the possibility of an inexperienced QB (or d evans) under center, a new placekicker … heck, a lot of new and/or ineperienced people in key positions

    go wolfpack 🙂

  21. BJD95 02/18/2008 at 9:42 PM #

    Yes. And Peebles got away with a pushoff, too. Naturally, the joy of the memory is tempered by the fact that EK hurt his ankle on the play, and said injury cost us the ACC title. Life as a State fan.

    (Post in response to Greywolf)

  22. BJD95 02/18/2008 at 9:46 PM #

    If I were to psychoanalyze myself, despondency over basketball probably prodded the overdose of football optimism. The brain is wired to find something to look forward to!

    Another way to look at the prediction of 7-5 – it’s the best case reasonably plausible scenario. The ACC is a jumbled mess, so anything is possible.

  23. ruffles31 02/18/2008 at 10:25 PM #

    BJD, Clemson’s QB, Harper, is only a junior so he will be back next year. That makes the Clemson game much more difficult. I will be shocked if we keep that game very close after what I witnessed this past year. We still haven’t tackled Davis or Spiller yet.

    I would love 7-5. I really think that the timing of the Miami game could be very beneficial for us. If Miami is struggling to get into a bowl game or is looking at going to Boise, then I feel as if we can really lay down the hammer to them. Miami sometimes has problems getting motivated to play teams not named Florida or Florida State. And if the Canes QB plays like Freeman did last year, then I feel VERY good about that game. Snow two days after Thanksgiving wouldn’t hurt, either. 🙂

  24. Tau837 02/18/2008 at 11:46 PM #

    BJD said: “Naturally, the joy of the memory is tempered by the fact that EK hurt his ankle on the play, and said injury cost us the ACC title. Life as a State fan.”

    Actually, Kramer hurt his ankle earlier in the second half while we were leading, not on the last play.

    Still arguably the best game I’ve ever been to in person.

    BJD: Did he aggravate it on the last play? I could swear that I saw him get hit low as he released the ball.

  25. 66pack 02/19/2008 at 7:54 AM #

    noah not optmistic about ncs sports for a good of summer of 2007 were very optimistic until the season began.after a few games it was “can’t wait to bb”.after a few games it was “can’t wait till fb”. and noah should be an optimist in face of reality.

Leave a Reply