The Wolfpacker

July-August 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 21 of 59

22 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER he offseason buzz started immediately. Hours after Georgia won the 2021 national cham- pionship, the "way-too- early" versions of top 25 polls started being released. NC State found itself not just in the top 25, but within the top 10. The Pack, fresh off a 9-3 finish in a season that had been cut a game short when UCLA withdrew in the last hour, literally, before the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, was No. 9 on The Athletic's list compiled by Stew- art Mandel. Mark Schlabach of ESPN had the Wolfpack one spot higher in his first version. When winter turned to spring, the hype seemed to grow greater still. In a post-spring reassessment of his way- too-early top 25, Schlabach bumped the Pack up a ranking to No. 7. "With so many starters coming back, there weren't many areas of concern for the Wolfpack this spring," Schlabach wrote. Prior to spring practice, USA Today's writers did not have NC State ranked T AIMING HIGH AIMING HIGH NC State Is Embracing Lofty Expectations This Fall

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