N.C. State ranked 96th nationally in pass defense last season. The permanent losses of cornerback Dominique Ellis and safety Jimmaul Simmons, and the temporary loss of linebacker Nate Irving, do not help that cause.
But if you're going to have a weakness in the ACC, pass defense is the first bullet you'd bite.
How many ACC offenses ranked in the top 50 in passing?
The answers are: none, none and one. In the case of the latter, unless he transfers, State doesn't have to worry about facing the one (Russell Wilson).
The point of the quiz? State's deficiencies on pass defense are not a reason to give up on the '09 season. If the Wolfpack moved to a quarterback-happy conference like the Big 12, then maybe, but even with the experience returning at quarterback in the ACC, the league title will not be won by the secondary.
Wilson (41) was the only ACC quarterback ranked in the top 50 in efficiency and was the highest-ranked ACC player in total offense (60).
Of the seven other ACC quarterbacks ranked in the top 100 in efficiency, three (58, Cullen Harper, Clemson; 94, Marc Verica, UVa; 97, Robert Marve, Miami) are either no longer starting or no longer in the league.
Yeah, but there must be great receivers in the ACC, right? Well, there was one in UNC's Hakeem Nicks, but he's in the NFL. Nicks ranked 12th nationally in receiving yardage in '08. The other three receivers ranked in the top 100 are out of eligibility.
So, in short, State doesn't have to face the best quarterback in the league and there isn't a single receiver of statistical importance in the entire league.
Yep, State fan, it's time to jump off the ship because a corner transferred and a backup safety went home.
Passing offense (NCAA rank)
65. N.C. State
87. Wake Forest
Passing efficiency (NCAA rank)
41. Russell Wilson, State
58. Cullen Harper, Clem
59. Riley Skinner, Wake
64. Thad Lewis, Duke
74. Chris Turner, Md
86. Christian Ponder, FSU
94. Marc Verica, UVa
97. Robert Marve, Miami
Not ranked in the top 100: Tyrod Taylor, VT; Chris Crane, BC; T.J. Yates, UNC (didn't play in enough games); Josh Nesbitt, GT