Well, the 2015 College Football season is just a few days away, with a pretty big slate (of mostly small schools) on Thursday this week. But a couple of ACC teams do get moving on Thursday, including (16)GT hosting Alcorn State and Wake hosting Elon. Both are viewable on ESPN3.
Oh yeah, the first of what will hopefully be many 2015 Chapel Hill L’s might also come on Thursday, as the Fightin’ Asterisks travel south to Charlotte to meet the Gamecocks in the middle. That one, not surprisingly, is on the Flagship at 6pm. Sadly, I’m not sure the ‘Cocks can “ram” it home in that one. But we can hope.
Following that, (2)TCU hits the road at Minnesota (9pm, ESPN)
‘Cuse tees it up Friday as they play host to Rhode Island, also on ESPN3.
As does (4)Baylor, when they travel to Dallas to face SMU (7pm, ESPN).
Another top five program, (5)Michigan State also starts out on the road on Friday as they travel to Western Michigan (7pm, ESPNU).
(23)Boise State hosts Washington in Friday’s nightcap out west (10:15, ESPN)
But not until Saturday do most of the big boys get rolling.
A handful of the more interesting Saturday games are:
- (21)Stanford at Northwestern (Noon, ESPN)
- Louisville/(6)Auburn in ATL (3:30pm, CBS)
- BYU at Nebraska (3:30pm, ABC)
- (15)Arizona State at Tejas A&M (7pm, ESPN)
- Tejas at (11)Notre Dame (7:30pm, NBC)
- (20)Wisconsin/(3)Bama in Arlington, TX (8pm, ESPN)
There’s even a Sunday game, sort of (Purdue/Marshall).
Then in prime time on Labor Day Monday, the defending Nat’l Champs travel to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies (8pm, ESPN). The Pack will of course have to face the Hokies in a little over a month, so it will be interesting to see how they fare.
Our own Pack of course, opens up the 2015 campaign at home at 6pm on Saturday, as they welcome the Trojans of Troy to the friendly confines of Carter-Finley Stadium.
But rather than talk mostly about the game vs Troy, as there will be plenty of time for that later in the week…not to mention that I’m on the road and bored but am nonetheless currently limited by use of a mobile device and its woefully undersized keyboard, and thus am not gonna sit here and type up a big preview…I’m more interested in folks’ opinions on what they genuinely expect of the Pack this season.
Some opinions of persons that I respect and which command my attention when I hear them, seem to indicate that we might be a year ahead of where I think (thought?) we were. Granted, the soft schedule has at least a bit to do with that I’m sure. But if I’m listening correctly, it is not the entire story they’re trying (not) to tell.
For my own opinion, I expect a floor of 8 wins with this schedule. I’m also fully aware that in the past when I’ve had those sorts of expectations, we’ve struggled to reach that mark more often than not.
Soooo….what is YOUR expectation of this year’s team?
Will we flop? Should we be scouting theeOhioState on Monday as well, expecting a January showdown?
Everyone is still undefeated as of this moment, so there’s no wrong opinion.
Some recent news:
Prized RB recruit Johnny Frasier is likely to redshirt….
NC State’s Frasier will have to wait his turn (CharlotteObserver.com)
N.C. State has enough depth at running back, even with senior Shadrach Thornton’s suspension, that the plan is to redshirt Johnny Frasier this season.
Frasier, a freshman from Princeton, was rated as the top recruit in the state by Scout and in the top 100 nationally by both Scout and ESPN. Frasier (5-10, 230 pounds) ran for 7,100 yards and 99 touchdowns in his prep career and made waves before Signing Day in February when he switched his commitment from Florida State.
But Thornton, junior Matt Dayes, sophomore Dakwa Nichols and freshman Reggie Gallaspy are ahead of Frasier on the depth chart.
Coach Dave Doeren said Frasier, who was practicing earlier in the week with the scout team, will likely redshirt this season but he hasn’t made a final decision.
“If that’s what we end up doing, we will only do it because we think it’s the best thing for him,” Doeren said.
At least in part, if Frazier’s redshirt does come to pass, it will come due to a youthful abundance in the backfield….
NC State May Turn to Stockpiled Frosh RBs Sooner Than Expected (TodaysU.com)
One of the school’s supporters dressed in red waiting in line added some commentary as Doeren signed.
“Sure hope you can get that Bryce Love kid,” he said, referring to the then-Wake Forest High senior that was a Rivals.com four-star prospect ranked the No. 6 running back in the nation.
Doeren, who is known for speaking in a flat tone with the media, didn’t display stress over the recruiting battle for local talent or irritation at the question. He didn’t lift his head as he kept signing, stating in an even tone, “There are a lot of good running backs in the area.”
And Doeren landed three of them.
Although Love committed with Stanford, three other nearby four-star running backs that signed with NC State: Garner’s Nyheim Hines (No. 2 all-purpose back in the nation), Princeton’s Johnny Frasier (No. 24 RB in the nation) and Greensboro Southern Guilford’s Reggie Gallaspy (No. 28 RB in the nation). Frasier had committed early to Florida State before de-committing to stay closer to home.
Luke DeCock, who incidentally is NOT one of the aforementioned opinions I referred to above, seems to think our O/U is in the 9 win range….
Nine wins well within reach for Wolfpack (CharlotteObserver.com)
RALEIGH – It took Tom O’Brien four years to win nine games at N.C. State, and it took Chuck Amato three years, and it took Mike O’Cain two. As Dave Doeren enters his third season at N.C. State, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t get there as well, in roughly the same time frame as his three predecessors.
That’s where the bar is set for the Wolfpack this season: Nine wins, at a minimum, with third place in the Atlantic Division eminently attainable. Ten wins and a solid, attractive bowl game are within reach – and with an upset or two and some help elsewhere, perhaps even a very slim shot at the division title.
Either way, with what should be four guaranteed nonconference wins to open the season against Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion and South Alabama – which sounds like the roster of teams at a low-grade holiday basketball tournament in some wind-blown beach town otherwise shut down for the winter – N.C. State is in prime position to make another leap forward in the win column.
And a couple of other preview type thingys from Sammy Batten and JPG, respectively….
N.C. State football: Season preview (FayObserver.com)
Five players to watch
Leader of the Pack: Jacoby Brissett
About Brissett: Jacoby was one of three Power of Five conference players to pass for 2,000 yards, rush for 300 throw for 20 or more touchdowns and have five or fewer interceptions last season. He capped the year by earning MVP honors in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl when he piled up 293 yards of total offense.
The Target: David Grinnage
Position: Tight end
About Grinnage: At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Grinnage looks like a prototypical tight end. But he’s much more, having emerged as a deep threat and consistent pass receiver as a sophomore. Grinnage led the Wolfpack with five touchdown receptions in 2014, including a 45-yarder against Florida State. He made 27 catches on the year for 358 yards.
The Rookie: Nyheim Hines
Position: Running back-receiver
About Hines: One of the most versatile athletes on N.C. State’s roster, Hines will see action at running back, slot receiver and returning kicks this season. If he touches the ball as much as we expect, Hines should be a strong contender for ACC Rookie of the Year honors.
The Veteran: Mike Rose
Position: Defensive end
About Rose: Mike is one of the most experienced players on N.C. State’s roster with 36 games played in his career. He was one of the ACC’s top defenders in 2014 when he made 46 tackles, a team-best 15 tackles for loss and five sacks. Rose also paced the Wolfpack with five quarterback hurries.
The Hammer: Shadrach Thornton
Position: Running back
About Thornton: Despite starting just two games in 2014, Thornton led N.C. State in rushing with 907 yards. He was at his best down the stretch, racking up 367 yards over the final three games. Thornton enters his junior year 10th on the Wolfpack’s career rushing list with 2,369 yards. He’ll miss the first two games of the season for a team violation.
NC State football: What you need to know (NewsObserver.com)
Best-case scenario: The defense picks up where it left off, the key new parts on the offensive line merge with the old and Brissett leads them to a split with Clemson and Florida State and N.C. State’s first Atlantic Division title.
Worst-case scenario: The defense reverts to early 2014 form, the offense stalls and the special teams are a mess with a freshman kicker and freshman punter. South Alabama bites them in late September, the division road woes continue and a home loss to UNC keeps them out of a bowl.
Bottom line: There’s a chance here for N.C. State to make a move. A division title might be down the road for Doeren but there are 10 wins available (including the bowl) on this schedule.
So, less than six days until the Pack’s 2015 Season gets rolling.
I’m all goose-pimply in anticipation of the end of the summer doldrums.