Well, here we are, the season finale!! NC State finds itself on the precipice of a historic 10 win season. All they have to do is beat a very stout Kansas State Wildcats team missing starting QB Will Howard (and some supporting players). Kansas State comes in at 8-4 (6-3 Big 12). They are 0-1 against AP Top 25 opponents, a three point loss to then #7 Texas. They had a close three point loss to Mizzou, close two point loss to Big 12 runner-up Oklahoma State, and also beat Kansas (then ranked 25th in the Playoff Top 25 poll) by four. The Wildcats currently find themselves 25th in that poll.
All advanced metrics seem to be pointing to a KSU win. There have been several key players for the Wildcats sitting out the bowl due to being in the portal, however, including Howard. The Pack are missing CJ Clark, but most importantly Payton Wilson. Losing the nation's best defender leaves a massive black hole in a Wolfpack defense that (thankfully) hasn't had to spend too much time without #11, as this has been his healthiest season to date. It makes perfect sense for him to sit out to prepare for the NFL draft. Many before him have done the same, such as Bradley Chubb, and it is usually in the player's best interest. Nobody will begrudge him for sitting out after all that he's sacrificed for this team.
Now apparently, the mascot will be switched out for an edible version at the end of the game, for the enjoyment of the winning team. Wouldn't it be just grand to see Dave Doeren chomp down on this in celebration? As long as it's toasted, of course.
Okay, let's see how the panel thinks this game will turn out:
Preferred Pop Tarts Preparation
Hot Fudge Sundae
Raw Pop-Tarts for everyone!
Toasted (because it's right)
Frosted Cupcake (it's basically funfetti)
Fluky (flukey?) things keep happening every year for the Pack in bowl games. Even without their starting QB, KSU will still likely be stout. NC State hasn't had to play without Payton Wilson all year, so the middle of the field might provide openings for the Wildcats can take advantage. I've got a bad feeling the Pack will be seeing the Cats eat the (toasted) Pop Tarts and falling short of win 10.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon
The offense found its stride at the end of the regular season. Will they keep the momentum going against a depleted K-State team? No Payton Wilson will hurt.
A hungry Wolfpack with a rejuvenated offense will be too much for a declawed Wildcat team. Even without Payton we have the momentum and the confidence to end this the right way. The incredible success of Wolfpack football will just keep rolling.
So, what do you think will happen in the Pack's final game of 2023?? Let us know in the comments below, along with your favorite Pop Tarts flavors and preferred preparation style, and respond in the poll with your pick!