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The best (and the worst) part of NC State’s 2019 football schedule

NC State takes the field before game against Florida State

Watch as coach Dave Doeren leads the NC State football team onto the field before the Wolfpack's game against Florida State at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018.
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Watch as coach Dave Doeren leads the NC State football team onto the field before the Wolfpack's game against Florida State at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018.

N.C. State’s football team hits the reset button in 2019 with a new quarterback, overhauled offense and new faces on Dave Doeren’s coaching staff.

The remodeled Wolfpack will face five teams in 2019 with new coaches including the opener against East Carolina (Aug. 31) and the regular-season finale against rival North Carolina (Nov. 30).

West Virginia, Georgia Tech and Louisville are the other teams with first-year coaches on N.C. State’s schedule.

The Wolfpack has seven home games scheduled highlighted by a visit from Clemson (Nov. 9), the 2018 national champions. The Tigers have been tested in their two most recent visits to Carter-Finley Stadium but won last year’s game handily (41-7) in Death Valley.

N.C. State, off of back-to-back 9-win seasons, also has two Thursday night dates. The Wolfpack hosts Syracuse on Oct. 10 and travels to Georgia Tech on Nov. 21.

One early complaint from fans: Only one home game in October and it’s not on a Saturday.

The breakdown:

Best game

at West Virginia, Sept. 14

Finally? Weather-permitting, West Virginia and N.C. State will get together in Morgantown. Last year’s meeting in Raleigh was scotched by Hurricane Florence. The Mountaineers are in “rebuild mode” after coach Dana Holgorsen exited for Houston and quarterback Will Grier is off to the NFL.

Toughest stretch

There’s some built-in prep time, since this is a season with two open dates (14 weeks to play 12 games), but the Syracuse-Boston College-Wake Forest-Clemson run from Oct. 10 through Nov. 9 is something. Syracuse loses quarterback Eric Dungey but will still have a high-flying offense. The road games at BC and Wake are almost always land mines.

What else can you say about Clemson? The Tigers’ defense will be different but the offense, in Year 2 of Trevor Lawrence, will be downright terrifying.

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N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren talks with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney before N.C. State’s game against Clemson at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

Must win

at Georgia Tech, Nov. 21 (Thursday)

The Wolfpack travels to Atlanta for an ACC game with Georgia Tech for the first time since 2010.

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N.C. State’s Russell Wilson (16) avoids Georgia Tech defenders as he gains yards during the Wolfpack’s victory over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta in 2010. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

It could be a bumpy transition for the Yellow Jackets from Paul Johnson’s option offense to a new scheme under coach Geoff Collins.

N.C. State’s bowl math likely needs to include a road win. Given the Wolfpack’s historic problems at Wake Forest and Boston College, the most logical option is against the Jackets.

One to skip

Western Carolina, Sept. 7

There are three directional Carolinas on N.C. State’s schedule. The date with Western Carolina might be a good weekend for a late summer beach trip.

The Catamounts were outscored 114 to 36 by two pretty bad UNC teams in 2017 and ‘18 and lost to a weak ECU team, 52-7 in 2016.

Schedule

Aug. 31 East Carolina

Sept. 7 Western Carolina

Sept. 14 at West Virginia

Sept. 21 Ball State

Sept. 28 at Florida State

Oct. 5 OPEN

Oct. 10 Syracuse (Thursday)

Oct. 19 at Boston College

Oct. 26 OPEN

Nov. 2 at Wake Forest

Nov. 9 Clemson

Nov. 16 Louisville

Nov. 21 at Georgia Tech (Thursday)

Nov. 30 North Carolina

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