This year has been a good year if you are part of Wolfpack Nation. A bowl win, Men’s Sweet 16, and a Super Regional all occurred this year. Only Baylor and Florida could say the same thing. This is the best set of results for the major sports in one single academic year in a long time. But it could have been even better. More good times are coming we all hope and feel.
But one major issue still lingers over the athletic department. The dry spell of the lack of a conference championship in the four major sports has now reached an infathomable 20 years. After investigating the number of conference titles won by BCS schools from 2000-2011 in great detail last year, I was really hoping that I would not have to update my spreadsheet again this year. Well, unfortunately I needed to update through the 2011-2012 academic year.
For a quick reminder, here is what we are looking at for the analysis. The basis for the article is the following quote.
In an interview last year with Pack Pride, NC State’s athletic director Debbie Yow stated the following:
In my office we refer to the Big Four and they are football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and baseball. They need to be taken care of. They are at the top of the list in terms of meeting needs and wants.
Yow’s statement parallels my beliefs for a long time. If these are the four revenue sports in her eyes, then that is good enough for me. I know that in reality football and men’s basketball are THE revenue sports, but women’s basketball and baseball are also revenue sports. In some places, they are major revenue sports.
Since these are the four most important sports in our athletic director’s eyes, what is the drought that AD Yow and the respective coaching staffs are trying to end?
1. What years and who should I use to begin this analysis?
This can be very arbritary and can change the outcome of the analysis. I have chosen the beginning of Lee Fowler’s tenure as athletic director. The academic year of 2000-2001 is where this analysis begins. What schools to use was a bit easier. I only have interest in comparing like schools, so I will only look at BCS schools.
Note: Conference champions are considered to be the winner of the conference tournament or the football championship game. For the Pac-12 and Big 10, since they did not have a football championship game until 2011, any school that had a share of the conference title was awarded as much. For the Big East, as they do not have a football championship game, any school that had a share of the conference title was awarded as much.
2. How do we compare with the other ACC schools in terms of number of conference titles in the four sports?
Here are the number of conference titles for each ACC school since 2000-01.
Note: The number of titles for Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech include titles won in both the Big East and ACC, as they have been in both conferences during the time span of the analysis.
3. For those interested, here are the tables for the other BCS conferences:
4. Who has the least conference titles?
We can see in the table showing the ACC schools that NC State has won 0 conference titles. Are there any other schools that have not won any conference titles in that time span? Yes, there are 4 other schools. They are:
Each of these schools does have a caveat that the Wolfpack doesn’t. Arkansas has won two division football titles while Texas Tech has won one. South Florida didn’t join the Big East until 2005. Utah did not join the Pac-12 until 2011 (and the Utes even won two BCS bowl games in that past decade).
NC State doesn’t have any such caveats.
A couple of more discouraging statistics need to be stated. It is no stretch to say that the Wolfpack has been the least successful athletic program in terms of conference championships in the four revenue sports since 2000-2001.
Here is one utterly unbelievable statistic and comment:
As discussed a couple of years ago:
[since] the beginning of the 1992-1993 season there is one full-time BCS school that has not won a single conference title in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball or baseball:
This isn’t limited to a drought of just conference titles. In the Fowler era of ineptitude:
Since Lee Fowler became NC State’s Athletics Director, the Wolfpack is the only ACC athletics programs to have failed to participate in at least a Frozen Four, a College World Series, a BCS Bowl, or a National Basketball Championship game.
Did you know that half of the Atlantic Coast Conference has now participated in the College World Series since 2006? Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia have all found a way to make the CWS at least once in the last [seven] seasons with Carolina appearing four years in a row. Unfortunately, even with an all-important renovated ‘fuhcility’, NC State is not amongst the group.
But what does the future hold? In my opinion, I am more optimistic now than ever before. Yow is transforming the athletic department into a better athletic department from bottom to top. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will the Wolfpack come out of the abyss of the past 20 years in 2 years. The foundation though is being laid with better financial arrangements, higher expectations on the coaches, and a no-nonsense approach to running an athletic department.
Specifically, if you look at the these four major sports, reasonable people will say that the Wolfpack is the favorite (or one of the top 2) in both men’s basketball and baseball. The football team will have an excellent opportunity to compete and capture a division title to get a chance to win that first ACC championship since 1979. Women’s basketball seemed to make strides late in the season, punctuating it with a win over top-seeded Duke in the ACC Tournament.
The future looks bright. I anticipate NOT having to write this article next year.