2017 season: 9-4, 6-2 in the ACC (2nd in the Atlantic Division)
Head coach: Dave Doeren (6th season)
The Wolfpack begin 2018 with about as tough a task as any: replacing arguably the best defensive line in the nation.
All of N.C. State's front four, led by All-American and No. 5 pick Bradley Chubb, were taken in the first four rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft, meaning there will be plenty of new starters on the N.C. State defense when they open up Sept. 1 vs. James Madison. But the Wolfpack will have their most important offensive starter back under center in redshirt senior Ryan Finley.
Finley, who transferred from Boise State after three academic years and two on-field seasons, is already fifth in all-time N.C. State passing yards. And his 63.0 completion percentage is second in program history, trailing only seven-time Pro-Bowler Philip Rivers.
Add in the return of Finley's top five wideouts—including upperclassmen Kelvin Harmon, Jakobi Meyers and Stephen Louis—and the Wolfpack offense has a chance to build on a season in which it finished fourth in the ACC in both scoring and yardage.
Although N.C. State's nonconference schedule is not the toughest of tests, the Wolfpack's home matchup with West Virginia in Week 3 should show whether head coach Dave Doeren's squad is trending up or down. N.C. State will also need to show it can win away from Raleigh—the Wolfpack went just 3-2 on the road in 2017—as it has ACC contests at No. 2 Clemson and Louisville.
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A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak."