The bandwagon for N.C. State’s preseason hype hit a welcomed bump in the road on Thursday.
The Wolfpack did not crack the preseason USA Today top 25, as voted on by a panel of 65 coaches. N.C. State did come in under “others receiving votes” with 39 points — 70 short of Utah in the No. 25 slot.
Five ACC teams made the initial top 25: Florida State (3), Clemson (5), Louisville (17), Miami (18) and Virginia Tech (22).
Pitt (45 points), Georgia Tech (10 points), North Carolina (8 points) and Syracuse (3 points) were the other ACC teams receiving votes.
N.C. State coach Dave Doeren, UNC coach Larry Fedora are among the seven ACC coaches on the voting panel.
The offseason hype for the N.C. State, 7-6 a year ago, had picked up some steam in July with one ESPN analyst projecting the Pack to make the College Football Playoff and another tabbing the Pack as a potential CFP darkhorse.
“We appreciate the love but that’s not what we play for,” senior guard Tony Adams said.
Smart move. The Wolfpack hasn’t been ranked in the preseason often, but when it is, the season almost never goes according to plan.
Going back to 1975, N.C. State has been ranked in the preseason AP poll four times and finished each of those seasons unranked. The AP’s preseason poll, consisting of a media panel, will be released on Aug. 21.
The Wolfpack was last ranked in the preseason by the coaches in 2003, after a school-best 11-3 finish in 2002. With Philip Rivers, a four-year starter at quarterback, N.C. State opened the ’03 ranked No. 14 but lost two of its first three games, finished 8-5 and out of the rankings.
The last time N.C. State started and finished the season in the rankings was 1974. Lou Holtz actually turned the trick twice – in 1973 and again in ’74.
The ’73 N.C. State team opened at No. 17 in the AP poll and then went 9-3 and finished at No. 16. The ’74 team opened the season at No. 18 and then posted a 9-2-1 record to finish No. 11 – the highest final ranking in school history.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8939, @jwgiglio