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Adam Gold

NC State: Good, just not good enough

Posted November 5, 2012

Americans are going to the polls Tuesday, to make their decision on the direction they'd like to see the country move over the next four years. Here at home, in a state that leans red, those that bleed it for NC State have likely already made theirs as it relates to the state of the football program. After six years, it's readily apparent that they're in search of real change. The only question is will they get what they want.

Tom O'Brien is a good football coach with an excellent track record of winning games, putting players into the national football league and running a program of which his university can be proud. In his 16 years as a head coach -- the first ten spent at Boston College -- O'Brien has led his team to a post season bowl game in 11, and with another win this year that total will rise to 12. Plus, O'Brien's pattern is that once his program establishes roots it cranks out 8- and 9-win seasons like a BizHub.  Virginia vs. NC State Cavs dump NC State, 33-6

However, in today's college football world, making it to a bowl game is about as difficult as waking up in the morning, so that isn't the true measure of a football program. The litmus test is, in a way, similar to one of the leading economic indicators we hear about on a weekly basis: consumer confidence. How confident are consumers of NC State football that the current administration will have the program heading in the right direction.  In other words is it competing for Atlantic Division titles on at least a semi-regular basis? If the answer to that question is "not very", then it would appear that the program is on the "wrong track" and the likelihood of a regime change in Raleigh is strong. When this season's epitaph is written, it is likely to read 'Seven wins, a third straight year of a .500 or better record in the ACC and a Bowl appearance for the fourth time in the last five seasons.' For a middle of the pack program it would be hard to term that anything other than a successful run. But, that depends on how you view NC State football's potential.

I don't think there's a soul who believes that NC State should be beating down the Atlantic Division door on a yearly basis. No one is expecting a 10-win season streak the likes of which we've seen in Blacksburg or Tallahassee. But, I do think, given the resources, facilities and support, the Wolfpack should be good enough, consistently, to keep themselves in the mix in the division race into November. In truth, that's what appeared to be happening this year, until Giovani Bernard streaked down the right sideline, in the final seconds of the final Saturday in October.

Michigan State would hardly be considered a Big Ten powerhouse. No one expects the Spartans to consistently beat out Ohio State, or Penn State or Wisconsin or Michigan, etc., but they were co-champions of the league two years ago and two years before that they played for a share of the conference title in the regular season finale. You could say the same about life in South Carolina where the Gamecocks aren't anyone's idea of an SEC stalwart, or Kansas State and Oklahoma State in the Big 12. NC State has the potential to be any of those programs -- or one of the many like them -- and that should always be the focus in Raleigh.

Let's be honest about the state of State; it's a good program, capable of beating very good teams as evidenced by the win over Florida State a few weeks ago and their convincing win over ACC Champion Clemson last year. However, as evidenced by the dreadful performance in Saturday's homecoming game against Virginia, the opposite is also true and the numbers bear that out. Take away the eight games against teams from the 1-AA level and, in Tom O'Brien's tenure, NC State is just 30-34 overall. However, against the better competition on NC State's schedule, those ranked in the nation's top 25, the Pack have won 8 of 12 games and are 2-1 in three bowl appearances. And right there, in a nutshell, you have NC State's football program as it's developed under Tom O'Brien, just good enough to be dangerous. However, at the same time, not good enough overall. {{ambed href="page-3368784"}}

Team of the Week

As much as you might not want to admit it, the ACC is still in very good shape to place two teams into the Bowl Championship Series. Florida State is on track to win the conference for the first time since 2005 and Clemson would be very much in the mix if they were able to finish the season with an 11-1 record featuring a win over arch-nemesis South Carolina. After that, with the sanctions against North Carolina and the possibility that Miami, with their own pending NCAA punishment on the horizon, might recuse themselves from bowl-eligibility for a second consecutive season, the number of teams headed for the post season is a dwindling number. Therefore, Wake Forest's solid, 28-14 win over Boston College was about as good a result as the league could have seen this week. The Demon Deacons need just one more win to reach the magic number, though the road will be difficult with trips to NC State and Notre Dame followed by the season finale at home against Vanderbilt.

Player of the Week Clemson overwhelms Duke, 56-20 Clemson overwhelms Duke, 56-20

For the second straight week, Clemson QB Tahj Boyd threw five touchdown passes. In the 56-20 win over Duke, Boyd accounted for 416 of the Tigers' 718 yards of total offense. Boyd was 16 of 23 passing for 344 yards and five scores, four of which were longer than 30 yards. Now, that could very easily be more about Duke's inability to cover receivers down the field, but we'll give Boyd and the Tigers the benefit of the doubt considering they received no recognition last week. 

How did that happen of the Week

I sure hope the Florida State coaching staff was stuck in those long, early voting lines all day Saturday. Because if Jimbo Fisher or any of his staff was in front of the tube for the Virginia mauling of NC State and didn't contemplate a career change, I'd be surprised. I mean, how could anyone connected with the Seminoles not be wondering how it was possible that they lost to the Wolfpack.

Okay, that's over…of the Week

Don't let the last two weeks take the shine off Duke's remarkable football season. The truth is that even though the Blue Devils lost by a combined 104-27 to Florida State and Clemson, we knew going in that they had little, if any, chance of stopping either the Seminoles or the Tigers on offense. Nearly a mile of total yards allowed later, the Devils are 6-4, and they still have a great chance of winning the right to represent the Coastal Division in Charlotte -- where they'll likely be pummeled again by the Noles. A win at Georgia Tech sets up a Coastal Showdown with Miami the final Saturday of the season in Durham.

Top to Bottom of the Week

1-Florida State (8-1)…No really, Jimbo, how did you lose to NC State?
2-Clemson (8-1)…That offense is keeping the Tigers very much in the BCS at-large conversation.
3-North Carolina (6-3)…I really hope they bring out the Navy against the Jackets.
4-Miami (5-4)…Could the Hurricanes really be opting out of another Bowl to limit future sanctions?
5-Duke (6-4)…Hard to believe that a team beaten by a combined 77 points the last two weeks be 5th. Such is the ACC.
6-NC State (5-4)…Harder to believe that a team shut out on its home field by a 3-win football team is 6th.
7-Virginia Tech (4-5)…Should Hokies lose to FSU it would be the first 6-loss season since 1992 for Frank Beamer.
8-Georgia Tech (4-5)…Next two opponents (UNC and Duke) will each have had week off prior to facing the Jackets.
9-Wake Forest (5-4)…Now's as good a time as any to point out that this has been an awful season for the ACC.
10-Maryland (4-5)…Sean Petty is still listed as a linebacker on Maryland's roster even though he started at quarterback.
11-Virginia (3-6)…Could the blue helmets mean that the commonwealth will stay blue on Tuesday?
12-Boston College (2-7)…It's almost over.

Three to watch of the Week

3) Georgia Tech at North Carolina, 12:30/WRAL-TV…Looking to see if the league's 3rd best team can continue the push even though there's nothing left to play for.
2) Wake Forest at NC State, 3:00/FS-South…Curious as to what type of crowd shows up at Carter-Finley. Those offering support, or those offering use of their truck to help a certain coach move.
1) Florida State at Virginia Tech, 7:30 (Thurs)/ESPN…You just know the Hokies are going to do something stupid. You just know it. Man, I hope there's a good NBA game on that night.

54 Comments

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  • ncsu4me Nov 7, 4:46 p.m.

    people said the same thing about getting rid of Lowe...and looky what happened, first year with new coach- sweet 16! AMEN,AMEN..they played with intensity,desire,and hustle..Can you say this about the current TOB teams..Fans will support their team if they try hard and fail but when they just dress up for the game and coaches just can't make any adjustments ...For get it..All ACC coaches have figured out state plays same plays over and over...Sort of like herbie the sendeck.

  • duane11 Nov 7, 4:38 p.m.

    If you fire TOB, will the grass be greener on the other side with a new coach in town? It's easy... View More

    — Posted by Zany

    people said the same thing about getting rid of Lowe...and looky what happened, first year with new coach- sweet 16!

  • ncsu4me Nov 7, 4:33 p.m.

    For the first time since 1964 I refuse to go to see another poor demonstration of the game "called football from ncstate"...Others are not going to the WF game because the players can't show up. TOB just stands and marthes up and down the sidelines and has no intervention with the players when enough is enough..For once, I hope State does not get a bowl bid because they have not earned it nor deserved it..As time goes on TOB says the "players should not listen to the fans", but last time I looked at the books the revenue came from the fans..You just don't bark demands and the soldiers go out and perform and then you say we trained them.

  • bbcoach9596 Nov 6, 11:41 p.m.

    Oh come on peckers.Keep tob now that UNC is on their way back up while moo u is on their way back to the bottom.UNC is on their way to a 10 game winning streak or more agaist moo u.As u peckers know 5 games is nothing when u have been losing to UNC after all these year and are too scare to see the bottom ine .UNC is 64-32 -8 agaist moou peckers.

  • snapjack Nov 6, 5:10 p.m.

    This is supposed to be a Pack forum, so here's an idea: Let's ignore the idiotic posts from... View More

    — Posted by Gr8FunMan

    Since when? OH you mean because this is WRAL and they're ABC?

  • wjuliang Nov 6, 5:01 p.m.

    FYI to rlewis2 and all. The Wolfpack beat FSU 28-24 in October 28, 2010 the Saturday before the... View More

    — Posted by wallpak

    You should be nicer to the Heels. UNC was depleted and Hunter Furr actually had to play at RB we were so thin. And UNC beating FSU that year actually helped State keep first place in their division. Then, well you know what happened at MD.

  • wallpak Nov 6, 4:04 p.m.

    FYI to rlewis2 and all. The Wolfpack beat FSU 28-24 in October 28, 2010 the Saturday before the trap game where UNC beat them. It turns out State has a very good record against FSU if not the best in the last 12 games played against FSU.
    Go PACK!! signed Wallpak of VA

  • Gr8FunMan Nov 6, 4:03 p.m.

    This is supposed to be a Pack forum, so here's an idea: Let's ignore the idiotic posts from people who want only to see us fail, and have Pack fans talk to Pack fans about the state of things. Most of the haters seem to be illiterate and mean-spirited, so let's stop being like them. Lord knows we have plenty with which to concern ourselves.

  • wallpak Nov 6, 3:45 p.m.

    This guy is just showing his turtle colors, being a UM graduate in the research triangle hearing nothing but news of wolfpack, tarheels, or blue devils 24 hours a day. His comments are nothing but sour grapes for the NCSU program here. It is so obvious, his issues are over NCSU beating UM in recent years and losing Debbie Yow to NCSU earlier. Their loss is NCSU's gain. NCSU has clearly surpassed the turtles (not saying much) in both football and basketball. UM a program that fired their football coach the year he won ACC Coach of the Year. Then Gary Williams leaving the BBall program under questionable circumstances and the UM athletic program deficit scandal causing them to cut out several sports. What Gold spews from his mouth is just BS and jealously due to his disappointing UM circumstances. However, I greatly respect both new UM football and basketball coaches, as they are on the up swing and look to turn their programs around we all hope. Not all but some UM grads in this case are so transparent and full of hatred for those doing well in Research Triangle. I am sorry for his rotten attitude, the sky is not falling and the majority of people don't see it his way, thank God. At NCSU we know that it is a process that takes time to build a sustainable solid program and we are willing to support our team and staff while having a grateful attitude instead of downing other conference teams in a sad attempt to make ourselves feel better. Go Wolfpack!!! signed Wallpak of VA

  • Zany Nov 6, 1:15 p.m.

    If you fire TOB, will the grass be greener on the other side with a new coach in town? It's easy to fire a coach; it's a lot harder to find and replace a coach. What current winning division 1A coach would jump ship to take the helms of the NCSU Football Program? Good luck with that one Yow....................

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