Optimism abounds in Raleigh, after NC State beats UCF in St. Petersburg Bowl.


If you’re a NC State fan it really doesn’t get a lot better than what happened on Friday. Your biggest rival North Carolina, got thumped in their bowl game and looks like a program in total disarray. Your team went to the St. Petersburg bowl to battle a solid Central Florida team. NC State beat UCF 34-27, playing their most complete game of the season to finish the season 8-5.

Optimism abounds in Raleigh.

NC State didn’t  have to win their bowl game for Wolfpack fans to feel positive about the direction of their program, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Back in August I said NC State could be a surprise team in the ACC and they proved me right.  When you look at the season as a whole, you have to feel even better about the future of this program. 4 of the 5 losses were to teams that are currently ranked in the top 25 (FSU, Clemson, Louisville, and Georgia Tech). You won’t  find anyone that would say those weren’t the four best teams in the ACC this year.

Only the 30-14 home defeat to Boston College seems out of place, but that can be forgiven because by the end of the year NC State was playing top 25 caliber football. The Wolfpack crushed Wake Forest 42-13, stomped rival UNC on the road 35-7, and then had the bowl win over UCF.

What you really have to like about NC State is how such a young team started to come together as the season progressed. Jacoby Brissett is only a junior, and is likely to return for his senior season. At times this year, he looked unstoppable. There was some inconsistency, but after sitting out a year, head coach NC State could not have really asked for more. He was the kind of playmaker that kept defenses honest, and should be better in 2015. Talented RB Shadrach Thornton should return for senior year. Bo Hines is a good looking young receiver.

Next season NC State won’t sneak up anyone, and expectations will be higher. I’m sure that’s just fine with 2nd year Head Coach Dave Doeren who has given NC State something they haven’t had in years… hope. Going forward in the ACC Atlantic, FSU, Clemson, and Louisville will be tough. Boston College is in good hands with Steve Addazio. Now you can add NC State to that list of schools that could make the ACC Atlantic potentially one of the better football divisions in the country.

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