Lail: A New Era Begins

On Saturday, weather - or rather Hurricane Frances - permitting, a new era in NC State football begins. For the Wolfpack, Saturday's game against the Richmond Spiders is the first day of the rest of its life; it's the PP ("Post-Philip") Era, if you will.

A couple of things you can count on:
- It's a State home opener, so bring your poncho;
- The Pack crowd, much like the electorate, will be completed divided in half: one side will leave the game ecstatic, and the other will be itching to get on the talk radio shows and message boards and begin expressing their displeasure (with the Pack's new adidas uniforms, of course).

Oh, there will be some discussion about the performance of Jay Davis at quarterback and if whether the 'D' is actually upgraded and how stacked the backfield is. And many folks will just be glad that it's finally time to hit the drive-thru at Bojangles, tailgate, smuggle airplane bottles into Carter-Finley (which Pack Pride does not condone, by the way), get soaked and leave early as the Pack nurses a big lead.

But the real football discussion won't begin until probably Sunday morning, when the previous evening's events have had time to sink in. Then, Pack fans will prepare themselves for the next opponent (and I don't have to mention who that is). All of a sudden, just how fabulous - or heinous - uniforms look is frivolous. After all, that team from Ohio doesn't care whether or not their opponent is wearing adidas or Nike.

And as for the Wolfpack, payback can make cosmetic concerns, such as how the new uniforms look, seem extremely trivial.

Preseason ACC Standings

1. Miami: Until their in-state rival manages to knock them off, the Hurricanes should consider themselves the cream of the New ACC crop.
2. Florida State: After the 1992 season, Coach Dick Sheridan joked that his Wolfpack, which finished second in the league in FSU's first season in the ACC, had won the "old ACC." Well, this time around, Bobby Bowden may be making that joke. Of course, he'll preface it with "Daggumit."
3. Maryland: No reason to pick the Terps low until the Fridge gives me a reason to. (And sorry, saying "Maryland is a team of thugs" is not enough reason.)
4. Virginia: Perhaps the biggest "X-Factor" team in the league this year. UVa is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in high expectations.
5. NC State: Sure, QB is a question-mark; but there are enough weapons all around to take the pressure off. And having a defensive coordinator will make a difference.
6. Clemson: The Tigers are the '04 version of the'03 Wolfpack. Great QB, huge, momentum-building wins over "name" programs to end the season, and unbelievable expectations.
7. Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer did a tremendous job building up the VPI program into a Big East power. He now has to take the program up another notch in the ACC, and that won't be easy.
8. (tie) Georgia Tech and Wake Forest: This is not to say that both teams won't be extremely tough outs for anybody in the upper divisions of the ACC.
10. North Carolina: UNC was in a lot of games last year but fell just short. With their offensive weapons, expect the Heels to continue to be competitive. The only problem is the ACC will be more competitive.
11. Duke: Will the momentum that Ted Roof brought to the program as coach continue? My magic eight ball says no.

This Week's Games

Richmond at NC State:
This one won't be quite the blowout people will expect. But it will be a perfect game for State's new signal-caller(s) to get some game experience and build up some confidence. The Team With The Three Stripes 38, Spiders 17

Virginia at Temple:
The Wahoos get the season off on a very good - and high-scoring - note. UVa 47, Temple 14

Samford at Georgia Tech:
I believe Samford is Bobby Bowden's alma mater. I also believe that that is all I know about Samford. Georgia Tech 27, Samford 7

William and Mary at North Carolina:
There are a lot of question marks in Chapel Hill. While this game won't answer them all, it will show that this won't be a winless campaign for the Heels. Stuart Scott's alma mater 36, Jon Stewart's alma mater 10

Wake Forest at Clemson:
Two years ago, the Demon Deacons came inches away from stunning the Tigers in Death Valley. It could happen again ... but it won't. Mark Packer's alma mater 42, Billy Packer's alma mater 24

Duke at Navy:
The Middies could very well have a winning season. That's not an option for the Blue Devils. Navy 24, Duke 21

Northern Illinois at Maryland:
You think the Terps are ready to offer a warm glass of payback to NIU? Maryland 38, NIU 17

Prognostication Record So Far ...

Perfect, at 0-0! Isn't this time of year great?

Pack Pride Top Stories