Johnson: Six Games, Six Predictions

Yesterday, we looked back at what has happened over the first half of the 2008 season and what we've learned about this iteration of the Wolfpack. Today we look forward, throwing out six predictions for the final six games.

1. NC State will finish 5-7 for the second straight year.
Which means a 3-3 close over the final six games for those of you who don't like that tricky addition and subtraction. Much like last season, the team will show improvement over the final few weeks, maybe catch a nice little hot streak on the road against Maryland and Duke. But they'll come up one win shy of a bowl once again, leaving everyone to question what this team might have been if it had been blessed with a little better health.

2. Russell Wilson will have the best statistical season of any Pack quarterback since Phillip Rivers.
This is not setting the bar particularly high, we know. The chart below shows the 'best' quarterback from each of the seasons in the post-Rivers era. Only one of them, Marcus Stone, managed to throw more touchdowns than interceptions but he managed just over 1000 yards passing because he played only half of the season. The final line is what you get if you take Wilson's per-game numbers (for the purposes of this exercise we don't count the USC start) and extrapolate them over six more games. He pretty clearly wins at his current pace.



Passing Yards




Jay Davis





Marcus Stone





Daniel Evans





Daniel Evans




2008 (Actual)

Russell Wilson




2008 (Projected)

Russell Wilson




3. NC State will actually get healthier.
We're calling it right now, the injury plague is officially over at NC State. No more season-ending injuries for the best player at ever position on the field (seriously, that's basically what's happened this year). Bad luck only last so long, even for the Pack, and its run its course of the last two years. I'm not saying everyone on the two-deep stays healthy from here on out, but the worst is behind the Pack.

4. T.J. Graham isn't going to see a lot of kickoffs come his way anymore.
Graham's ability to return the ball is officially public knowledge now. He spent the first few weeks of the season getting better and better, and after the ECU game anyone watching knew the speedy freshman was going to break one sometime this season. But after a 60-yard return that could have easily been a touchdown and a 100-yard return that was one, teams are going to start treating him with respect. Which is a shame for Pack fans, because Graham is fun to watch.

5. USF and BC will be the low point for the defense.
With a Saturday off and a little more time to prepare for Florida State, the key for the defense this week obviously has to be stopping the four-and-five wide sets that South Florida and Boston College used to pick apart the Pack defense. With a concentrated focus on that area you have to assume the young Pack linebackers and thin secondary will get better. Add in the possible returns of Nate Irving and possibly Alan-Michael Cash and its hard to imagine the defense getting any worse than it was the last two weekends.

6. George Bryan will lead the team in receptions.
Bryan has gone from third on the depth chart to a star in the making, catching the game-tying pass against East Carolina. He's shown some incredible hands and an ability to get open, and he only trails the team leader in receptions, Owen Spencer, by two right now. Yes, he'll lose some playing time to Anthony Hill now that he's back from injury, but Bryan will still be a major weapon for the Pack offense over the last half of the season.

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