NC State football 2024 schedule: Can’t miss game. Toughest stretch. Intriguing opponent

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The future of ACC football is here. Just look at N.C. State’s 2024 schedule, which the league released on Wednesday.

The Wolfpack plays seven home games, four road games and faces Tennessee at a neutral site. It also features two bye weeks, coming in Week 9 and Week 12.

N.C. State is coming off a 9-4 season, with a loss to Kansas State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl. It finished ACC play 6-2, winning five straight to end the regular season.

This fall, it returns players such as standout wide receiver Kevin “KC” Concepcion, defensive back Aydan White and safety Devon Boykin. Kicker Collin Smith originally entered his name in the portal but withdrew earlier this month.

Head coach Dave Doeren and his staff picked up several big commitments from transfer portal players, including Corey Coley Jr. and Tamarcus Cooley from Maryland, Grayson McCall from Coastal Carolina and wide receiver Noah Rogers from Ohio State.

NC State football transfer tracker: Pack gets Ohio State WR transfer. Who else is moving?

Even with departures from several transfers and graduations, the Wolfpack staff looks to have reloaded with plenty of firepower. After getting close to the 10-win mark in 2023, N.C. State hopes to reach that lofty goal in 2024. And, with the expanded College Football Playoff, it hopes to be in the conversation come December.

Here’s how their schedule stacks up.

Can’t miss game

N.C. State at Clemson, Sept. 21: The Wolfpack opens its ACC slate on the road against the Tigers, and it’ll try to win two straight against Clemson for the first time since 2002-03. Last season, the team’s five-game turnaround started with a 24-17 home victory over Dabo Swinney and his crew. Clemson ultimately finished 9-4 overall and 4-4 in the ACC, far below expectations.

With Doeren’s effective recruiting this offseason — especially in the portal — and Swinney’s lack of it, will this be the year N.C. State wins on the road? Maybe.

Clemson football losing promising freshman to transfer portal

Clemson football losing starting safety to transfer portal, per reports

Toughest stretch

N.C. State ends its season with two straight road games at Georgia Tech and North Carolina, both of which will be a test.

The Yellow Jackets proved in 2023 they can hang with the big dogs, defeating UNC and Miami in stunning fashion. Their most notable loss came to No. 1 Georgia — but only by eight points.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels’ season ended in disappointment but rivalry games are always fun and they’ll seek to end N.C. State’s three-game winning streak.

On a broader scale, the last month could present a challenge for the Wolfpack. It features two separate bye weeks, two consecutive home games and the two road outings. The schedule feels disjointed with both byes taking place at the end of the season, and the lack of consistency will be something to watch.

Easiest stretch

The Wolfpack’s schedule from Sept. 14 through Oct. 12 should be the easiest portion, with the exception of its road game at Clemson. N.C. State plays four games at Carter-Finley Stadium, and it welcomes opponents who combined for 20 wins last fall. Louisiana Tech, Wake Forest and Syracuse all finished below .500, with Louisiana Tech losing six in a row to end the season. Northern Illinois — Doeren’s former program — was the only team with a winning record. The Huskies finished 7-6 overall and 5-3 in the MAC.

Even with changes in each program, the Pack’s home field advantage should be more than enough to get them through those four outings.

Notable non-conference game

N.C. State vs. Tennessee at Duke’s Mayo Classic, Sept. 7: The Wolfpack and Volunteers face off in a must-watch nonconference game Week 2. This will be just the fourth meeting between the two programs, with the last contest taking place in 2012. Prior to that, the Pack and Vols met in 1893 and 1939. Tennessee leads the series, 2-1, winning two straight. This will give fans a chance to see the reloaded Wolfpack roster in a semi-home environment against a top 25 program.

Filled with intrigue

N.C. State at Cal, Oct. 19: This will be N.C. State’s first trip to the West Coast since the ACC expanded and the first meeting between the two programs. Cal finished 6-7 overall and 4-5 in the Pac-12 (may it rest in peace) last season, with all five conference losses coming to ranked teams. The Golden Bears’ offense tested the weak USC defense, falling to Caleb Williams and Co., 50-49.

Cal lost a number of players to the transfer portal, but it’s also brought in new talent. It added quarterback Chandler Rogers from North Texas and wide receiver Tobias Merriweather from Notre Dame. The Golden Bears snagged All-Big Sky cornerback Marcus Harris from Idaho, too. Harris secured a late-game interception during the Vandals’ overtime win against Southern Illinois in the FCS Playoff.

With changes on both rosters and a three-hour time difference, it will be interesting to see how the Wolfpack performs.

N.C. STATE SCHEDULE 2024

Day

Date

Opponent

Thursday

Aug. 29

vs. Western Carolina

Saturday

Sept. 7

vs. Tennessee (at Charlotte)

Saturday

Sept. 14

vs. Louisiana Tech

Saturday

Sept. 21

at Clemson

Saturday

Sept. 28

vs. Northern Illinois

Saturday

Oct. 5

vs. Wake Forest

Saturday

Oct. 12

vs. Syracuse

Saturday

Oct. 19

at Cal

Saturday

Oct. 26

OFF

Saturday

Nov. 2

vs. Stanford

Saturday

Nov. 9

vs. Duke

Saturday

Nov. 16

OFF

Thursday

Nov. 21

at Georgia Tech

Saturday

Nov. 30

at UNC

What is the ACC scheduling model?

The 2024-2030 schedule model will continue with no divisions, feature 17 schools, and will increase the number of annual conference matchups from 56 to 68.

The top two teams based on conference winning percentages will compete in the ACC Football Championship Game on the first Saturday in December at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

The format will continue to have each member institution play eight conference games per season, with all 17 teams playing each other at least twice over the next seven seasons — once at home and once on the road. The current 14 conference teams will play a total of three times each in California over the seven years and none will travel to California in back-to-back seasons.

The new scheduling model protects 16 annual matchups. Of the 16 matchups, 11 are retained from the current 3-5-5 schedule model, two are restored rivalries from the divisional format in Miami-Virginia Tech and NC State-Wake Forest, and the three new schools fill the remaining three. The annual protected matchups are Boston College-Syracuse, Boston College-Pitt, Syracuse-Pitt, North Carolina-Virginia, North Carolina-Duke, North Carolina-N.C. State, N.C. State-Wake Forest, N.C. State-Duke, Duke-Wake Forest, VirginiaTech-Virginia, Florida State-Clemson, Miami-Florida State, Miami-Virginia Tech, Stanford-Cal, Stanford-SMU, and Cal-SMU.