Decades of playing in a relatively stable conference can create some interesting trends and history between programs. While rivalries are often born of geographic location, alumni interaction and annual ‘game importance’, other secondary rivalries are often born of other trends and experiences.
The N&O had an article today that focused on the scheduling of NC State’s final game. It rehashes the same point that the SFN community discusses at the end of every season – the ACC office needs to figure out how to schedule more ‘traditionally’ at the end of the season and find some ‘structure’ for the conference, and NC State.
What is secondary in the article is some of the supporting information of how the Maryland Terrapins football program has evolved into NC State ‘nemesis’ during the Ralph Friedgen era. For whatever reason, Friedgen and the Terps have found ways to break the hearts of NC State fans at the end of multiple seasons over the last ten years.
In addition to the 2001 game discussed below, horrible memories of Philip Rivers’ senior day in 2003 and the end of Tom O’Brien’s first season in Raleigh in 2007 (0-37) linger for NC State fans. Hopefully, today is the day that NC State can find a way to right our ship against our Atlantic Division ‘nemesis’.
That Nov. 17, 2001 Maryland and N.C. State meeting in Raleigh rivaled today’s game in terms of importance.
The 23-19 win by Ralph Friedgen’s first team clinched the ACC championship for Maryland. At 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the league, the Terps were the surprise team in the nation before getting routed (56-23) by Florida in the Orange Bowl.
But Maryland indirectly owed its title to Chuck Amato, N.C. quarterback Philip Rivers and the Wolfpack.
The Terps had lost (52-31) to Florida State on Oct. 27. But a week before facing Maryland, the Wolfpack went to Tallahassee, Fla., and pulled off a 38-24 stunner that put Maryland in control of the race.
Florida State finished 6-2 but had to settle for the Gator Bowl, where it defeated Virginia Tech 30-17, after the loss to N.C. State.
Amato and his players didn’t make an issue of it, but there was a letdown against Maryland the following week. N.C. State recovered to beat Ohio and finished 4-4 in the league and 7-5 overall after losing to Pittsburgh in the Tangerine Bowl.
For N.C. State, the many finales against Maryland have never been an ideal fit. The fact that today’s game falls a week after an emotionally charged game at North Carolina could work against the Pack.
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