NC State vs FSU: Let the Season Begin!
Believe it or not, the game between the Wolfpack and the Seminoles on Saturday afternoon is the second ACC showdown game of this season. The first was FSU/Clemson, but to hear most folks talk, this week’s game will be an FSU romp.
Looking for some Wolfpack love, I went to Backing The Pack over at SB Nation. And there I found this from Akula Wolf.
Like most, the esteemed Mr. Wolf feels that the Pack has played no one (sound familiar?) and will be utterly destroyed on Saturday. I beg to differ.
One only needs to look at the history of this series to gain a little perspective. In their last ten matchups, State is 4-6 vs the Noles. The last two times the teams met in Raleigh, the Pack won 17-16 over the #3 team in the nation. NCSU was an 18-point underdog in that one.
Want more? OK, let’s look at the QB position. Of course, Florida State boasts the defending Heisman Trophy winner and national champion signal-caller Jameis Winston. But this year’s version is embroiled in a controversy that cost him an appearance against Clemson. And did you see his coach’s surprise when he showed up fully decked out in uniform at the start of the game? That did not look like a coach and field general who are on the same page.
Of course, quarterbacks on other teams have dealt well with controversy before. But we have never really seen Winston come back after a benching. Can you honestly say this whole issue isn’t inside his head, after the whole standing-on-the-table incident? And that it won’t effect his play? Didn’t think so.
And what about the Wolfpack QB? Jacoby Brissett is not exactly chopped liver. Right now, he leads the conference in QB rating at 166.7. Winston is third at 157.4. Not saying Brisett is better; just that they are on that same plane, whether or not the world has realized it yet.
What about the ground game? State is fifth in the ACC in rushing, FSU 13th (stats do not include Notre Dame). Both Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes are top-ten rushers, in 8th and 10th respectively. Florida State’s Karlos Williams at 18th is their only top-20 ballcarrier.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room: schedule. I will admit that the Seminoles have played the tougher slate, obviously with no one on the Pack’s side of the ledger to compare with Clemson or Oklahoma State. But before we get too hung up on this, consider that NC State has played the same number of non-FBS schools that FSU has: one (Presbyterian, while FSU thrashed The Citadel).
I say all this not to try and convince the nation that NC State can pull this off. That ship has sailed; those minds are made up. No, I instead implore the Wolfpack fans to believe this one more time. Akula Wolf, I am talking to you. Come Saturday, the stadium will be packed with believers, but there are many more Pack fans out there who don’t think we have a prayer in this one.
Wolfpack Nation, there is at least one believer. Join me.