Giglio: Pack is Pre-Season Atlantic Favorite

Giglio neatly and concisely summarizes 83% of my thinking on the ACC’s Atlantic Division race. You can make a compelling case against all five other teams, but I think one can make a compelling case against State as favorites, too (basically, I think we are a year away from being a serious title contender).

That said, somebody has to win the division. And if somebody puts a gun to your head and makes you pick – why not the team that returns the most exciting offensive and defensive playmakers in the league? Especially when said team is exceptionally well-coached.

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.

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56 Responses to Giglio: Pack is Pre-Season Atlantic Favorite

  1. VaWolf82 05/07/2009 at 5:16 PM #

    State could move to the top…but I wouldn’t bet any money on it.

    At one time last year, State had 7 walk-ons or former walk-ons on the two-deep. It will take some time to build State’s depth to a point where it can stand to lose play-makers to injuries….and injuries in football are a near certainty. It wouldn’t surprise me if State’s season hinges on the health of its starters.

    With that being said, every team in the ACC had serious deficiences at various positions….and most had severe issues at QB. When you add “graduation” losses to those deficiences, it becomes hard to make a convincing case for any team in the ACC.

  2. CStanley 05/07/2009 at 5:24 PM #

    I wouldn’t bet money on it, but this article articulates perfectly why I think we have just as good a shot as anybody. The ACC certainly has not lit the world on fire, and we are strong or getting strong at all the right positions (QB and OL/DL). With a little luck, we’ll be there. And boy are we ever due some good luck. Why not us?

  3. tvp1 05/07/2009 at 5:33 PM #

    BJD: Curious as to why you think we are a year away.

    We are suffering massive graduation losses after this year, chief among them virtually the entire starting offensive and defensive lines. We also may lose Irving to the NFL, and there’s the lingering possibility that Wilson quits to concentrate on baseball.

    We have a great opportunity to make our move this year, but I’ve been a State fan for far too long to predict a division title.

  4. howlie 05/07/2009 at 6:37 PM #

    I always paralyzed when I read those unexpected, logical sports columns in the N&O two or three days out of the year.

    I’ll get back to you when the limbs start working again.

  5. BJD95 05/07/2009 at 7:20 PM #

    Our best players are still young, and the OL should be very, very good next year. I don’t expect to lose Wilson or Irving (thank God he’s short).

  6. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 05/07/2009 at 7:28 PM #

    Injuries will be the key. If State can remain healthy for the most part I don’t see why the team won’t contend for the Atlantic this year. Unfortunately, we know that staying healthy for the Pack has been difficult to do and as stated before the lack of experienced depth could hurt.

    The good news is that regardless of which QB starts, State will have more depth at QB for the first time in many years.

  7. Rufftown Wolf 05/07/2009 at 7:35 PM #

    If Irving stays healthy and can play like he was playing last year. He will be a first round pick for sure, as well as All-ACC.

  8. blpack 05/07/2009 at 7:42 PM #

    Why not us? Our division is the tougher of the two, but we can take it. We need a lot to go our way, but who doesn’t.

  9. Wulfpack 05/07/2009 at 7:47 PM #

    We will contend for the division title, no doubt. And we will contend as long as TOB sticks around. Get ready for what will be a GREAT era of Wolfpack football. I am STOKED!

  10. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 05/07/2009 at 8:04 PM #

    CF will be like this a lot over the next decade.

  11. 61Packer 05/07/2009 at 8:42 PM #

    I agree with CStanley and blpack- why not us? We’ve got an outstanding coach who fully understands the importance of league games, especially the one in Raleigh on November 28. We’ve got 2 good QBs and hopefully no more Harrison Becks on this team. There are 8 home games, travel will be at a minimum. The disruptive midseason Thursday night games are gone, replaced by a Thursday night season-opener that I believe could be the key game on the schedule. We have a defense capable of shutting down a Steve Superior team, and I believe we will. We face a good Pitt team but we’re at home, another plus. The 4 road games are winnable, even in Blacksburg. Wolfpack fans KNOW we can now win on the road, including Tallahassee, and FSU fans know it too. The Seminoles are no longer stomping the league and are in fact now vulnerable even in Doak Campbell. I think our team is going to stay healthy and just get better and better as the season goes on. BJD95 should fasten his seat belt for a serious ride into the Top 20 this season, one that I think will end with this team hoisting a trophy filled with oranges. This school, this coach, these fans, and this team are all way overdue. It’s not just time, it’s our time.

  12. LarryWorsley 05/07/2009 at 10:11 PM #

    61Packer, I like the way you think.

  13. choppack1 05/07/2009 at 10:13 PM #

    Looking at it totally objectively – who should go in front of us? I really don’t think we’ll be at a significant talent deficit vs. anyone we play. The only team that beat us badly was Clemson. We get them at home this year AND they lose some starters. Plus, we were clearly a different team at that time. At the end of last year, we were playing the best football of any in the conference, much less our division. (3 of our last 4 games were double digit wins.)

    The team you saw in the first half of the Rutgers game was a quality football team. The main weakness of the team appears to have been address – back up QB. Depthwise – we’ll be in much better shape than last year – especially at OL and LB.

    I do think the secondary is a bit of the concern, but the way freshmen have stepped up after redshirting for a year under the current staff – I am fairly confident these guys will be ready.

    Some food for thought: At one point last year, we were w/out Alan Michael Cash, Nate Irving AND Clem Johnson…at the end of the year, it was very obvious those were our 3 best defensive players.

    Let’s just name the starters next year who are solid:
    Russell Wilson
    Jamaal Eugene
    Owen Spencer
    Jarvis Williams
    Julian Williams
    Jerail McCullers
    Jake Vermiglio
    Ted Larson
    George Bryant

    Alan Michael-Cash
    Willie Young
    Ray Michelle
    Nate Irving
    Clem Johnson

    That’s off the top of my head – and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that most of those guys are all-conference calibre. The DL has some good depth w/ McKean, Kuhn, Burgess(?), and Rieskamp.

    Cross your fingers – we haven’t had this kind of returning talent since the 2003 season.

  14. tvp1 05/07/2009 at 11:24 PM #

    The key games, to me, are the mid-season games at Wake and BC. Most of us probably aren’t thinking about those games, but those two teams won the last three division titles and we’ve had zero recent success on the road against those teams. Both seem to be on the decline. We need to win one of those two. Assuming a win over Duke, that would put us at 2-1 in the ACC heading into the bye week. Beat both Wake and BC and we can start thinking seriously about the division title.

    If we do win the division, we’ll probably need to beat UNC in the last game to clinch it. Can you imagine how huge a State-UNC game, with both teams going bowling and both maybe even with a shot at their division titles, on the last game of the season would be?

  15. Cosmo96 05/07/2009 at 11:41 PM #

    I don’t know how I feel about this. I’m usually not that superstitious, and I hate it when people feel like they have to inject negativity any time there is something positive going on. However, every time in recent memory that one of our teams has been predicted, before the season, to do something great, they’ve fallen flat on their faces for some reason. I really hope that this isn’t the case this year, but I can’t help but have that thought in the back of my mind.

  16. wolfwarrior 05/08/2009 at 3:33 AM #

    Listen real close, it’s the distant sound of the wolf’s howl…..

    Go Wolfpack!

  17. johnwolfpack2003 05/08/2009 at 5:35 AM #

    Cosmo, the last time we were predicted to do something “great” we were coached by The Chest. 1. I have total faith that TOB and co. will have this team prepared to take care of business. 2. The players know that they can be a contender this year, and they are hungry (see recent Mike Archer interview). Just a little bit of confidence goes a long way for these kids.

    BTW, love the avatar.

    MRS.ARMSTRONG: He transcends time and space.

    MR. ARMSTRONG: He sickens me.

    MRS.ARMSTRONG: I love it.

    MR. ARMSTRONG: Me too.

  18. Daily Update 05/08/2009 at 7:30 AM #

    IMO, FSU and Clemson have to be picked ahead of us just because.

  19. CTPack 05/08/2009 at 7:39 AM #

    This year we cannot start slow. It all has to start the Thurs. nite game vs. USuC. We have to have C-F rocking from before the kickoff to the end.

    One key are going to be how the OL shakes out and comes together. We have good talent, but they have to gel quickly. Last TOB said was there was a lot of work to do.

    The other key is the secondary play. We have some serious question marks with Walker’s status looming large. Overall, our safety play last year was horrendous. Guys have to step up. And someone has to step up at corner. Against a Spurrier team, your secondary has to be ready.

    The positives are USuC’s OL couldn’t block us last year until we got tired. They lost a couple guys, so I expect our front seven to shut down their running game. Prior to the RW injury, they only hurt us with some short screen pass gadget stuff. If we get some 1st downs and rest, the D should be OK.

    Their D lost a lot of key players and talent, and they haven’t seen the late season RW. I like our guy’s chances.

  20. Daily Update 05/08/2009 at 7:58 AM #

    CTPACK: There is no doubt CF will be rocking for the USC game. How long would we have to go back to a game at CF that really meant something and the parking lots and stadium were like days of P. Rivers?

    Maybe the Wake game in Amato’s last year after beating FSU and BC to get back to 3-2. It has been a long time…

  21. SMD 05/08/2009 at 7:59 AM #

    Cosmo 96 said –

    “However, every time in recent memory that one of our teams has been predicted, before the season, to do something great, they’ve fallen flat on their faces for some reason. I really hope that this isn’t the case this year, but I can’t help but have that thought in the back of my mind.”

    I nominate this for post of the day. I am not being doom and gloom at all, but I refuse to have any fixed expectations. I will enjoy the ride and see what happens.

  22. Packman02 05/08/2009 at 8:05 AM #

    ^^ “How long would we have to go back to a game at CF that really meant something and the parking lots and stadium were like days of P. Rivers?”

    The Miami game (and respective tailgate scene) last year was actually pretty rocking, IMO – even the cold weather couldn’t tone things down (coming off of 41-10, playing for bowl eligibility, etc.). I catch your drift, though – ‘a game that really MEANT something’ (outside of a lower-tier bowl)…we would have to go back quite a ways for that one…maybe the Gameday game (vs. Miami).

    I still have Devin Hester nightmares…

  23. Sam92 05/08/2009 at 8:22 AM #

    too right – we will know early on what our season is going to be like. if we can beat USC, we could easily win 9 games and the division title. if they beat us up, probably another mediocre year

  24. LKNpackfan 05/08/2009 at 8:31 AM #

    I don’t see how Giglio can so easily discount Clemson and FSU. Even with their dysfunctions, they’re still heavy favorites. I disagree with whoever said we don’t have a talent deficient. State lines up respectably, but when you consider our lack of depth and the question marks at OL, DB’s (not named Clem), and LB’s (not named Nate)… the scale tips dramatically.

  25. Red_Terrors 05/08/2009 at 8:39 AM #

    I haven’t seen anyone comment on how we stack up against Pitt. Are they better or worse than last years squad? I know it won’t have anything to do with our race for the division title. However, my in-laws went to Pitt and I’d love to put the beat down on the Panthers.

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