2010: 9-4 overall, 5-3 ACC
Home: GT, UNC, Clemson, Maryland
Away: Wake, UVa, FSU, BC
Avoid in ACC: Virginia Tech, Miami, Duke
Nonconference: Liberty, South Alabama, Central Michigan, @ Cincinnati
Best-case: 10-2 overall (4-0, 6-2 split)
Worst-case: 6-6 overall (3-1, 3-5 split)
Analysis: There's no sizzle to the nonconference schedule with two games against I-AA teams and the best of the ragged bunch on the road (a Thursday night game at Cincinnati on Sept. 22).
The only redeemable parts of the home schedule are dates with UNC and Clemson.
A soft schedule is a good news/bad news scenario. State should be able to build on last year's 9-4 record and top 25 ranking. With just marginal development of quarterback Mike Glennon, State can win eight games and go to a second straight bowl.
If Glennon is half as good as Matt Ryan or Russell Wilson, State will be 4-0 when Georgia Tech comes to Carter-Finley on Oct. 1. If Glennon is as good as Tom O'Brien's previous success stories at QB, State will be 6-0, coming off an open date, when it has to travel to Virginia on Oct. 22.
The four-game stretch with three road games (Virginia, FSU and BC) and the home game with UNC will ultimately determine the success of O'Brien's fifth season.