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Assessing the Opposition - The 2012 Opponent Previews: NC State

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David Amerson is #1 in this photo, #1 in the hearts of NC State fans, and #1 in guys most likely to get burned by Justin Hunter on August 31st. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
David Amerson is #1 in this photo, #1 in the hearts of NC State fans, and #1 in guys most likely to get burned by Justin Hunter on August 31st. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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This is an excerpt from Rocky Top Tennessee 2012 Magazine, on sale now. This is one of three previews (with Mississippi State two days ago and Florida coming tomorrow).. You can probably figure out how many opponent previews are in the magazine. Up today; The Georgia Dome.

Oh, and NC State.

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It's the Georgia Dome. Again. Fortunately, instead of facing Clemson Maryland Virginia Tech LSU Auburn you know, let's not talk about it. The Wolfpack are most notable for being not notable. Last year, they were 54th in scoring offense, 54th in passing offense, 53rd in scoring defense, and 61st in passing defense. There's Tom O'Brien stereotypes, and then there's 2011 NC State.

This isn't exactly an explosive team on either side of the ball, but James Washington (RB, SR) is at least a fair threat. QB Mike Glennon, who threw for 3,054 yards and 31 TDs in 2011, could be one of the best returning QBs in the nation. Leading returning WR Tobias Palmer will need to carry the WR corps, as it's a long way down from Palmer to Bryan Washington, who was sporadically used last year.

Defensively, we'll be treated to a strength vs- strength matchup with the return of Wide Receiver U against a fairly stout NC State secondary. It's led by 2011 first-team all-ACC cornerback David Amerson - likely to get Justin Hunter, so good luck with that, Amerson - with 2011 all-ACC honorable mentions Brandan Bishop and Earl Wolff at the safety positions. Terrell Manning (2011 2nd-team all-ACC) leads the linebacking corps. The defensive line isn't much to write home about. Although Tom O'Brien brought in a ton of defensive line beef in this most recent recruiting class, they won't be ready to do much by August.

As season openers go, this is as close to ideal as you can get for the 2012 Volunteers. NC State at this particular neutral site is a comfortable challenge. The Vols are more talented, but NC State isn't awful. There's a chance the Vols can lose, sure, and there will be a couple of tricky points in the game, but Vol fans should be able to count on a win.
And yes, it's weird to predict a win in the Georgia Dome.

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Get the Rocky Top Tennessee 2012 print edition for $19.99, the Kindle version for $9.99, or the ebook (a downloadable PDF) for $7.99.