Finally, the game is almost here. Paul Zeise is the Pitt beat writer for the Post-Gazette and recently did a chat about this week’s Pitt/NC State matchup. Here are his comments about the impact of crowds at Carter Finley stadium:
Well I suppose Bob Smizik might have been there for that game (the 1988 Pitt game in Raleigh) but he is retired, so unfortunately, no. And from what I understand there is a good crowd expected but, perhaps I am wrong about this, when has anyone ever talked about N.C. State being one of the tough or most hostile road venues around? I mean, in that conference we hear a lot about Virginia Tech, Clemson and FSU as being tough places to play, but I don’t recall ever hearing much about N.C. State. So I don’t think the crowd will be that much of a factor, no more than a normal road game.
I did a quick search about Mr. Zeise and the first thing I found was this:
Please tell me he was kidding and not that out of touch with college football.
Of course you don’t hear about NC State being a tough place to play like @FSU, @VT, and @Clemson. That is because the recent coaching transition led by AD Lee Fowler has produced one of the worst stretches of NC State football in the last 50 years. It has absolutely nothing to do with NC State fans not creating a tough, loud, intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams.
The fact is that the atmosphere at Carter Finley stadium is one of the best in the conference and one of the few SEC-like atmospheres in the league along with FSU, VT, and Clemson. However, the atmosphere at those schools was at least partially created by winning national titles, conference titles and consistently being much, much better than NC State. Often at my tailgates, I look around at all of the people, the grills, the flags, tents, etc…and wonder what it would be like if NC State ever was a consistent top 25 program. Can you imagine?
The writer is absolutely wrong that the crowd won’t have an impact on Saturday. We will certainly do our part like we have for the last decade at Carter Finley. Hopefully, the team can match our efforts and beat Pitt.