IMO a lot of our fans are underrating this season’s performance. By multiple rankings, we played a top 20 schedule: #10, #13, #19. To go 8-4 against that schedule, and being in every game but one until the end is impressive… especially for NC State, considering the past 15 years of on field results.
This was DD’s first team where the entire roster was his. It seems that recruiting is on an upward trend. Those things make it seem unlikely we will see a significant regression going forward.
On offense, we definitely lose 3 starters: Adams, Samuels, and Cook. Those players will be missed, but, if Finley returns, we should have a great offense. If he goes pro, I will be less optimistic.
Defense will definitely be more of a challenge, but it seems unlikely that our LBs and defensive backfield will be significantly worse than this year, and they could actually be better. DL will not be as good, but, barring unexpected underclassmen departures, I expect it will still be solid. A possible improvement over Hux could also help to offset the player loss.
And hopefully any regression in defense will be at least partly offset by improved special teams (read: placekicking).
I don’t expect 8-4/6-2 next season, but I don’t expect much worse than that.