When I say that the title was the concluding sentence of a State football preview, I’m sure that some of our younger readers will be left scratching their heads. But before we get to that, here’s how I got to that line:
My first exposure to techsideline.com came in 2004 after State beat VT in B’burg. A co-worker printed out their review of State’s 10-sack performance and gave it to me. I was impressed with the level of detail that was put into analyzing what had to be a frustrating defeat for Hokie fans. Each sack was broken down by number of blitzers and time to sack. The “blame” for the sack was then given to Randall or the OL based on how much time each sack took. (The other thing that I find interesting about TSL is that they are a pay-site that is not connected with the University, Rivals, or Scout.)
So with such a positive first impression, I took the time to read their short preview of NC State. Here are a few of the more choice lines:
Tom O’Brien is entering his second year at NC State. He did a very good job in his first year, coming within one game of getting the Wolfpack to a bowl game. He did that despite having quarterbacks that threw the ball to the other team a lot more than they did to their own receivers….
Despite having three good runners, yards will probably be hard to come by. NC State has major weaknesses at pretty much every other position on offense. Their quarterbacks aren’t good, the offensive line isn’t particularly talented, and they lost both of their starting wide receivers from last year’s team…
…2008 will most likely be a don’t-look-Ethel kind of season.
It was interesting that I read that preview a minutes after reading an article from yahoo titled “Six Packs: 6 Teams Destined to Disappoint”
Look who we see at #3:
3) VIRGINIA TECH—Coach Frank Beamer’s Hokies have earned the respect they get in the preseason, but if you put a different name on this team’s resume, it probably wouldn’t be favored to reach the ACC title game. Tech returns only 10 starters and said goodbye to its leading rusher and four top pass catchers from last year. There are no obvious replacements. The top three tacklers on defense? Also gone. In fact most of last year’s typical tough D will be playing on Sundays this season. Rebuilding year, anyone?
The difference in these two reviews highlight my biggest complaint about most pre-season previews…losing a starter doesn’t necessarily mean that a team is going to stink at that position. It does mean that it is a major question mark for the next season. Every year, kids step up and perform beyond what was expected. Every year, some returning star gets hurt and misses the season or has some nagging injury that limits his performance. College football is as much about having quality depth as it is about having stars.
Bottom line: It takes alot of work to do a meaningful preseason review of a single team and even more to do an assessment of the whole conference. Anytime I see a preview without that type of work put into it, I rarely take the time to finish reading it. Even if you disagree with TSLs projection for State, at least they took the time to gather up some real facts about the team before drawing a conclusion….and VT doesn’t even play State this year. Don’t you wish national media outlets put as much effort into their articles?
VT fans should obviously be worried about the rotating QB situation and how that will affect those two young men. They should be worried about running back, since a crippled Brandon Ore was their best option last year. But until proven otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about Bud Foster’s defense until some weakness has been shown on the field. Given the pitiful state of offenses in the ACC, VT could easily be “down” on defense and still have enough to compete for the ACC title game. Even if they don’t make the title game, I find it doubtful that their season will be so bad as to qualify as disappointing.
Unfortunately for State fans, most of the negative comments about the upcoming season are based on the play of the returning starters. The question marks on new players simply compounds what is already a pretty bleak outlook. If you still want more, then I always like reading the team reviews from College Football News. I don’t remember CFN being associated with Scout last year, but it still has more facts (usually with a few errors) and less opinion than many of the other pre-season articles that you will find.
Putting as much positive spin as possible, CFN defines a successful season for State by:
The season will be a success if … the Pack reaches .500. There are no delusions of grandeur here, as NC State attempts to create momentum under O’Brien and his staff. A bowl game would be fantastic, but not the only measure of success for the program. If the Pack can improve on last year while being more competitive against the ACC’s better schools, it’ll qualify as something to build on for 2009.
I almost forgot…..for anyone that missed the significance of the title….Google “The Streak”.