Yes, I’ve finally had enough caffeine and motivation/shame to force myself to sit down and do this. For a chance (Added Note: I am omitting 2013, when Doeren simply had no chance, so much so that I had blacked it out and forgotten he had been here 3 years instead of 2, getting old is a bitch and a half), Doeren isn’t squarely behind the 8 ball in how the schedule flows, as I will elaborate below…
William & Mary (Thur 1 Sep, 7:30 – ESPN3)
Huzzah, we get the opener right. 9 days to correct the mistakes before a more formidable foe. A Thursday night kickoff that can’t be moved to noon by the Swoffy cabal to torture season ticket holders (and anyone else nuts enough to show up). The open questions we hope and need to see answered here – 1) can the OL be something other than a dumpster fire? and 2) can we identify a credible, good starting QB? For “ok” will not do, NC State never has and in my opinion, never will be any good without good QB play. For reference, look at the post-Philip Rivers side that boasted the most wolven defensive talent (at least in terms of NFL draft assets) ever…6-5.
Win probability – 99%
at Pitt County Community College and Battery Tossing Academy (Sat 10 Sep, Noon – ESPNU)
This is really stretching the “U” by ESPN, but oh well. Full confession, my oldest kid will be at this game as a freshman, cheering for the bad people. She asked me if I wanted to come, to which I said “hell no” (other expletives omitted). But if you are to play this stupid game, which offers zero strategic benefit to NC State and great value to the opposition (especially played at their dirt track racing arena)…this is the ideal time. It will always be EZU’s Super Bowl, but at least it won’t be watered down by coming in the middle of, or God help us, AFTER the ACC schedule. It will be the first legitimate opponent, the first “hostile crowd” test, and that will help our guys be up for it. And unlike 2014 and 2015, we get out first taste of “game speed” at the same time as our opposition, rather than being hopelessly behind the curve (which cost us at least the VPI game last year). Hiding your weaknesses never helps you. Get out there and play football. Hit somebody, see what you are made of. The kids want that.
Win probability – 55%
Old Dominion (Sat 17 Sep, 6:00 – ESPN3)
I probably find this fixture a bit trickier than most. But we could be a bit beat up after the road trip, or feeling a bit too good about ourselves. But in the end, it’s still a home game that we should win. Good scheduling, as it is a step up from the cupcake of the opener.
Win probability – 85%
The bye comes here, at a pretty good time, in my view. Three very different games for the coaches to analyze and make corrections. None of the possible losses would ruin or define the season.
Wake Forest (Sat 1 Oct, TBA)
Getting the Deacs at home off the bye…manna from heaven. Doeren starts 1-0 in ACC play this go ’round, without question.
Win probability – 95%
Notre Dame (Sat 8 Oct, TBA)
Time for shit to get real, yes? And again, the timing is perfect. Confidence should be high, the line should have gelled if ever it will. National pundits have written State off here, noting that under Doeren, “State has never beaten anyone of stature” (paraphrased). Yeah, but let me ‘splain. First, he inherited a vast talent gap. Year
ThreeFour is the first time you can really start grading him with a red pen. Second, the teams that NC State has gotten blitzed by are the same that ND struggles with – speed teams. When the other guy can just run past you and score at will…that’s a limiting reagent. The Irish don’t have that, and have mudded around with much lesser sides than NC State, in much less hostile venues. Their record has been padded again and again by playing the dregs of the B1G and other slow, slow programs. NC State gets up for statement-type games, and this will qualify. I thought of this as a 30-35% shot going in, but once I saw the schedule layout, I am upgrading it further…
Win probability – 40%
at Clemson (Sat 15 Oct, TBA)
There are games I am optimistic about, and then there is going into Death Valley the week after playing Notre Dame. Cover your rectal orifices, boys.
Win probability – 10%
at Louisville (Sat 22 Oct, TBA)
Hey, this is a challenging little stretch here, eh? That said, we seem to play the Cardinals tough, and they don’t have the overwhelming personnel advantage that Clemson does. Still, the Fighting Petrinos are the best-coached side in the ACC, and will be a tough hill to climb.
Win probability – 25%
Boston College (Sat 29 Oct, TBA)
Isn’t it nice that Boston College is still in the league? Like having a second, colder Wake Forest. Still, they might have a defense, and our charges might be a wee bit beat up by this point. Not going to be arrogant with this one.
Win probability – 85%
Florida State (Sat 5 Nov, TBA)
A little birdie told me that we get the Criminoles right after they play Clemson at home (without a bye in between). That is indeed the case. Jimbo Fisher still can’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag, so you know they will come in arrogant, or feeling like they threw their season away. It will be a matter of (i) is their talent advantage so great that these factors don’t matter; and (ii) is State too beat up by this point in the season to take advantage? There is always the chance of magic when we play Florida State, so keep some hope alive.
Win probability – 30%
at Syracuse (Sat 12 Nov, TBA)
Damn the anthropomorphic Orange for not playing outdoors, and denying us the chance of Glorious Snow Footy. Will they still be bad? Almost surely. Will NC State have their patented FSU hangover? Almost surely. Will this game be unwatchable dreck that sets a season commenting high due to the raw angst of Glorious Wolven Proletariat? You know the answer…
Win probability – 65%
Miami (Sat 19 Nov, TBA)
This game could be vital for Da U, in terms of winning the Coastal Division. In fact, State’s performance in our last two fixtures could decide the fate of who loses to FSU/Clemson/Louisville in Charlotte on 3 Dec. Feel the excite!!! Can we just rest our starters for next week?
Win probability – 40%
at Trump University Fraudulent Diploma Mill – Orange County, NC Branch (Fri 25 Nov, Noon or 3:30, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2)
Insert all the bad words you know, everything dirty George Carlin and Jim Jefferies have ever said, and multiply it by about 10,000. As long as the Pack shows up reasonably healthy, I think we have enough to ruin a season and add some Schadenfruede to the post-turkey and pie haze of glory. Doeren seems to get the fire and brimstone aspect of our rivalry, and we will want this one…bad.
Win probability – 55%
Adding up the probabilities you get an expected win total of…
6.84. No cheating, I didn’t mess with the numbers to get them to equal what I predicted earlier (7-5), it just worked out that way. You can always try this exercise yourself.