They like the Wolfpack in 2017.
NC State has put together three straight winning seasons and bowl appearances, but the Wolfpack could be in store for bigger things in 2017.
At least, that's what Athlon Sports is thinking. Athlon released a list of 15 teams poised to have breakout seasons in 2017, and NC State was its pick for the ACC.
Here's a partial look at Athlon's analysis of the Wolfpack:
If the Wolfpack had a home in the ACC’s Coastal Division, it’s likely this team would be the preseason favorite over Miami or Virginia Tech. Instead, coach Dave Doeren’s team is in the deep Atlantic Division, featuring three of the nation’s top-10 teams in Florida State and Clemson, along with Louisville. Finishing ahead of those three programs isn’t going to be easy in 2017. However, NC State lost to Clemson in overtime and nearly defeated Florida State (24-20), so the potential is there for a breakthrough year.
The strength of Doeren’s team this fall is a defensive line that features All-America end Bradley Chubb (10.5 sacks in 2016), along with two underrated tackles in B.J. Hill and Justin Jones. This unit gave up only 22.8 points per game last year and returns nearly intact up front, with the secondary expected to feature three new starters...The offensive line returns four starters and should be one of the best in the ACC.
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Even if NC State falls short of finishing in the top three in the Atlantic Division, a spot among the top 25 teams by the end of 2017 is very realistic.
Do you agree with Athlon about NC State?
NC State opens its 2017 season against South Carolina in Charlotte on Saturday, Sept. 2.