Time to tame some wolves (this allusion would be more appropriate if we were bulldogs, but whatever).
Like most people not from Raleigh, I believe that we will beat NC State. Why, you ask? Below are three reasons.
(1) While our offense will not blow anyone's mind, we will protect the ball. Spurrier will call this this one relatively conservatively as he gives Tommy Beecher and Co. time to settle into their roles, and while our offensive line will not play great, they will keep the pressure off Beecher so that he won't be forced into high-turnover situations. We won't put up lots of points, probably scoring in the 20-30 range. Spurrier knows that this will be enough if we can protect the ball, though, because he knows that our defense will shut down NC State and that thus turning the ball over would give State their best chance to win.
(2) As said, our defense will be lights out. State actually has a decent crop of ball carriers with experienced returning RBs in Jamelle Eugene and Andre Brown and speedy QB Russell Wilson, but they have some questions at offensive line. We will see the virtues of the Ellis Johnson hire and the decision to move Eric Norwood to linebacker after we exploit State's protection problems and hold State to less than 100 yards on the ground. As most people know, State has had its problems settling on a QB and probably won't test us much in the air, but if they do, they'll see why experts think we have one of the best secondaries in the SEC. I predict that we will hold State to under 15 points.
(3) Our special teams unit will play a good, clean game. Ray Rychleski has worked to train our guys to get more yards on returns and to protect the ball by eliminating the punt protection problems that killed us against Florida and Clemson last year (well, actually, a number of things killed us against Florida). The special teams units will not make any mistakes that will jeapordize the solid performances of the offense and defense.
Final score prediction: USC 27, NC State 10. By the way, I should say that if we don't do the three things listed above, we're in trouble.
Fun fact: Winning this game will allow us to even up our all-time record against the Wolfpack to 26-26-4.