Folks, I’m reluctant to write this article because, outside of your burning hatred for Kansas and your slightly less burning disdain for Iowa State, y’all are pretty friendly folks. In recognition of this fact, I will start this out by saying something nice about NC State.
American Aquarium is an excellent band. Their lead singer, BJ Barham, attended NC State.
There, I did it, and yes, it hurt.
To put things in SAT terms:
K-State : Iowa State :: Clemson : NC State.
K-State and Iowa State have Farmageddon.
Clemson and NC State have The Textile Bowl.
In terms of ACC football; I hate the Wolfpack the most.
When I was at Clemson, at the end of the last century, Chuck “The Chest” Amato paced the Wolfpack sidelines in red patent leather high tops, looking like a T-Rex with his puffed-out chest and bird legs.
Phillip Rivers, and his prodigious progeny production, haunted my dreams. Do you know how emasculating it is to hear about how the opposing quarterback is married and has a kid while he’s beating your ass? I’m sitting in my apartment using a slice of cheese as a hot dog bun, and this dude is intentionally reproducing while playing college football at an All-American level and going to class.
Every broadcast felt like an attack on my character.
“Phillip Rivers delivered his third child, aced his organic chem final, and threw for 300 and 3 touchdowns last week (WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE YOU LAZY S.O.B.)”
*The part in parenthesis was unsaid but clearly implied.
Cucky Chest and Daddy Phil had things cooking in Raleigh. They had a legit shot of playing for the National Championship in 2002 behind a dynamic offense featuring Rivers, running back TA Mclendon, and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. They made it all the way to 10th in the nation and 9-0 before falling flat on their face against an average Georgia Tech team and then spiraling to two more losses before righting the ship and beating the 14th ranked Florida Seminoles to end the season with 10 wins. A win over 11th ranked Notre Dame wrapped up an 11th ‘Pack win, and the most successful season in school history.
Looking back now, I understand why I hate NC State. Their program peaked when I was in college. Their fan base was at their most insufferable during my formative college football years. When I was at Clemson, I kinda wished my team was as good as NC State, and that’s a sick, sick thought.
Now to quickly catch you up to present.
After Rivers graduated, Amato fell apart, went 3-9 in 2006, and got canned.
The Wolfies stayed in conference and poached Tom O’Brien from Boston College. O’Brien was on a heater after 4 years of Matt Ryan. It looked like Tom had things rolling in Raleigh in 2006 with Russell Wilson leading the way, but then Tom decided to roll with Mike “The Neck” Glennon because Wilson wanted to play baseball as well.
Wilson (you may have heard of him) transferred to Wisconsin and then ended up marrying singer Ciara at some point. He also plays professional football. Oddly enough, his current team, the Denver Broncos, are pulling a Tom O’Brien as we speak, with Jarrett Stidham playing the role of Mike Glennon.
Oddly enough, getting rid of a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback for Mike Glennon didn’t work out for Tom O’Brien, and he was shown the door after the 2012 season in favor of Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren.
Dirty Dave was coming off a huge run with the Huskies, ending the 2012 season with a MAC Championship and a 12-2 record. He stumbled out of the gate in his first season, only winning 3 games in 2013, but since then has steadied the ship.
They’ve been consistently mid under Doeren. They’re in that weird place where he’s doing too well to fire him, but he’s sort of just churning out the same season over and over again.
Once again, I’d like you to think back to the S.A.T. for a better understanding of Coach Doeren.
Dave Doeren : NC State :: Matt Campbell : Iowa State
If you needed to win 8 or 9 college football games to save your life, either Dave Doeren or Matt Campbell would be a decent selection.
If you had to win 10 college football games to save your life, and you picked either of the two, you would die.
No matter how close NC State is to getting over the hump with Coach Doeren, they always tumble back down the hill. In 2022 they finally knocked off my beloved Clemson Tigers but then couldn’t handle their business against a 7-5 Miami team and then got knocked out of the ACC Championship game with a 42-45 loss against Wake Forest.
They came back into Death Valley the next season ranked 10th, but got punked out by a mediocre Clemson squad. The game wasn’t as close as the 30-20 score indicated. It was total Tiger domination. They finished the season at an unranked 8-5.
They knocked Clemson off again this year but once again couldn’t parlay that into an ACC Championship game appearance because they dropped early-season games to Duke and Louisville.
NC State is the team that’s always about to do something but never quite does it. They’re not a bad team but they’re not a good team either. I smile every time someone (Dave’s agent perhaps) spreads a rumor that “team X” (at one point the rumor was Tennessee) is looking to steal Doeren away and the ‘Pack panic and sign him to a raise and extension. As a Clemson fan, I know Dave’s ceiling.
He doesn’t scare me.
That brings me to tomorrow.
Tomorrow two partial teams will meet on the field of battle and lay it all on the line for the chance to hoist a trophy featuring a pre-packaged breakfast pastry. I have no idea how things are going to play out.
NC State quarterback Brennan Armstrong has played college football for 12 years and can be good when he’s in rhythm. KC Concepcion is a 5’11, 190-pound freshman problem in the slot. He’s an electric play-maker in space. I’m calling it now. If K-State loses this game it’s because Concepcion goes ham on the ‘Cats. I’ve seen this Kansas State defense victimized by primary receivers with an intact secondary. I don’t think the bailing wire and bubblegum group Coach Klanderman will trot out tomorrow will fare much better.
At the same time, NC State is missing Payton Wilson on defense. He’s another dude that I felt like I’ve heard about for a decade. He led the team in tackles with 138 this season. Fellow linebacker Jalen Scott was second with 72.
Seems like a power run game might exploit a Wolfpack defense missing its heart and soul. I wonder where one might find one of those? Maybe include a 210-pound monster at tailback and an electric playmaker at quarterback. That would probably give this NC State defense some issues.
At the end of the day, this is just a glorified scrimmage. At the same time...PLEASE BEAT NC STATE. I’m begging y’all. I will be decked out in full Wildcat gear. I have a no-bake pop-tart cheesecake chilling in the fridge. I even procured little smokies and will be serving them both in a blanket and swimming in a crockpot of high fructose corn syrup labeled as barbecue sauce.
You know how whenever Iowa State gets mouthy and y’all ask them how many 10-win seasons Matt Campbell has on his resume?
You know how it frustrates the Cyclones to no end because they don’t have a reasonable comeback because their mediocrity is spelled out in black and white in the win/loss column?
NC State has the opportunity to win 10 games for the first time since Chuck The Chest did it in 2002. A win tomorrow would give them their second 10-win season in school history. NC State winning would take away my easiest insult. Granted, they haven’t won an ACC Championship since 1979, and I still have that card to play, but the 10-win thing is both NC State and Doeren specific and it really gets them riled up.
Guys, I don’t want to deal with a cocky NC State football team. I already deal with enough foolishness cheering for a team in the ACC. I don’t need this on my plate as well. Louisville thinks they’re good at football again. That should be enough. I don’t want to deal with two historically mid fan bases ganging up on me next season. Wolfpack fans are mouthy enough without a successful football team to back their play.
They will be insufferable with a 10-win team.
Please, I’m begging y’all.
Do it for me.