PREVIEW: NC State hosts #11 North Carolina Tarheels


Just how good is North Carolina?

On Saturday we’ll find out as NC State (7-4-3-4) hosts #11 North Carolina at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The Tarheels are 10-1 and 7-0 in conference play.  They are on a 10-game win streak after losing their season opener to South Carolina in Charlotte.  However, someone with a critical eye would speak the obvious:  Carolina is the beneficiary of a weaker ACC Coastal Division.

For a team that hasn’t played #1 Clemson, #14 Florida State or a good Louisville team (all Wolfpack losses) and who ARE in the Atlantic Division, one has to ask, should UNC be getting this much attention and credit?  While they are 7-0 in conference play, preseason favorites Georgia Tech, Miami or Virginia Tech have not been much to write home about.  Each team began this season with high Top 25 and division championship hopes.  Today, none of them are ranked or have better than a 7-4 record while two of the three have only 5 wins or less.

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Win or lose tomorrow, UNC has already secured itself a place in the ACC Championship game and will return to Charlotte against #1 ranked Clemson on December 5th.

So, North Carolina will have an out either way.  Should the Wolfpack win, some will say that the Tarheels were looking ahead to the Clemson match-up.  Win, and they will have an 11-win regular season.

Nov 21, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack receiver Jumichael Ramos. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is for certain, the motivation should be there in ample quantities for both sides.   After last season’s near shut-out of the Tarheels 35-7 in Chapel Hill, the Pack should be brimming with confidence.  North Carolina should still be fuming and want to return the favor.  The way I see it, NC State should probably have the most upside.

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The Pack is probably sick and tired of hearing about the Tarheel successes.  The Wolfpack was supposed to be the dark horse to challenge Clemson and Florida State for the ACC crown remember?  After disappointing defeats to Virginia Tech, Louisville, Clemson and Florida State coupled with the losses of Shadrach  Thornton and Matt Dayes, the bloom has long since been off the rose.  There remains, but two chances to salvage a high-expectation season for the Wolfpack.  The first is knocking off a suspect arch-rival at your home on senior day.  The second would be to culminate a long season with Dave Doeren’s 2nd straight bowl victory at NC State.


Where:  Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC

Time:   3:30 pm

TV:    ABC