NC State vs Clemson ::In a top-ranked battle of the Carolinas, the No. 16 N.C. State Wolfpack head south to face the No. 3 Clemson Tigers in a high-profile ACC showdown. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET with the game being televised on ESPN.This is a great NC State team. Clemson is going to show it really does have the talent to be a national championship-caliber team to all but close down the Atlantic.
Broadcast how to watch
NC State vs Clemson
Date: Saturday, October 20
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Only eight undefeated teams remain in the FBS — and two of them face off Saturday in a game that could decide the ACC’s Atlantic Division. No. 3 Clemson will host a showdown against No. 16 North Carolina State in a battle for dominion over the Carolinas and a potential spot in the College Football Playoff.
The Tigers have been the circled date on every opponent’s calendar as they fight toward their fourth-straight appearance in college football’s final four. Clemson lost the 2016 National Championship Game, won the 2017 edition, and then fell short in last year’s Sugar Bowl to the eventual champion, Alabama.
Dabo Swinney’s team is on track for another appearance in the games that matter most, but the Tigers have taken a rocky road to get there. Clemson escaped a pair of upset bids against Texas A&M and Syracuse earlier in the season to throw their championship credentials into question. Now the team will face its toughest test of the season — no team left on the 2018 Tiger schedule is currently ranked — and the difference between a win and a loss Saturday could also be the difference between playing for a national title and just a New Year’s bowl.
Clemson hasn’t exactly overwhelmed in 2018 given their preseason expectations, but the Tigers are still the No. 2 team in this week’s S&P+ Rankings. The Wolfpack, despite a 6-0 start, are stuck back at No. 19. But Clemson is vulnerable, and may have only avoided last week’s wacky slate of upsets because it was their bye. The preseason predictor pegged this as a 21-point win for the home team — but let’s get weird and throw things back to 2011, when NC State beat No. 7 Clemson at home.
Saturday marks NC State’s biggest opportunity yet to change the perception surrounding its program.
Dave Doeren has slowly and meticulously constructed a contender at NC State. With each passing year his teams have become more talented. They’ve become deeper and they’ve become better, even if the record didn’t always reflect it. Now they are a top-25 program. NC State is undefeated and has won 16 of its last 20 games. Things are coming together.
Nobody cares though. Nobody cares because NC State still hasn’t given anyone a reason to. Should they care? Well, yes, because NC State is good. But at each key point on its line, it’s failed. With four separate opportunities in 2017 for a big win on a national stage, State only grabbed one of them, and it didn’t hold up for anything.