On the Record – ACC Title Expectations

So, I posted an entry today that had been sitting unfinished in my drafts for almost 8 months in an attempt to make a pretty simple point about the overall state of the NC State Athletics Department by using the “highlights” of the 2004-2005 athletics season.

Some of the conversation around the topic was getting interesting, but unfortunately the entry unleashed a storm of comments unrelated to the topic. As much as many people won’t choose to believe it — I absolutely despise conversations that turn so sour. Therefore, I wanted to carve out all of the crap and open a new entry without all of the negativity.

While I was contemplating this I thought that it would be interesting to have a new category/practice on the blog where we all get to go “on the record” about topics. It would be cool to archive our thoughts and go back to them in the future (like predicting season records, etc) for review and discussion. We might as well start at a macro level for the first installment, especially in light of the day’s previous topic.

So, here is the question —

Over a 5 to 10 year time horizon, where do you think that NC State’s Athletics Department should rank in total number of ACC Championships won? Basically, how many titles do you think that we should have compare to our peers?

Personally, I feel that it would be a fair expectation that over such a time horizon, NC State should generally rank in the middle of the conference in total ACC Titles won by the entire athletics department. Before there were 12 teams we should fall somewhere around 4th or 5th in the ACC. Now that there are 12 teams, perhaps 5th or 6th.

Unlike many of my conclusions, I’m not basing this expectation on anything scientific or on any historical information. Just more of what I think is a fair expectation that graciously allots for the extreme successes of others.

Am I being too lenient by not expecting to be at the top of the ACC? Especially in light of the investment that we have made in facilities in recent years and in light of the attractiveness of Raleigh, NC as one of the best places to live in America?

Or, am I being too harsh with that expectation (for whatever reasons that you think are more important?)

How about going On the Record with your answer and thoughts?


General On the Record

36 Responses to On the Record – ACC Title Expectations

  1. Rick 02/17/2006 at 3:24 PM #

    I think we should be top three.
    We were top two so I am even dumbing down my expectations.
    But I think the administration has far more lenient standards.
    I truly believe championships are not a priority here.

  2. Mr O 02/17/2006 at 3:29 PM #

    In non-revenue sports, the ACC is a tough conference. I don’t know where we should rank because I just don’t know how our resources compare to other ACC schools.

    It would be interesting to compare our athletic budgets to other ACC schools to see where we fit.

  3. class of '74 02/17/2006 at 3:33 PM #

    We should be ahead of : WF, GT, BC, Duke, Clemson, Miami, VPI annually.
    We should be competitive with: UVA, Maryland, UNC amd FSU annually.
    Based on size and resources of the respective schools.

  4. Jim 02/17/2006 at 3:35 PM #

    Maybe this makes me a pig, but I personally don’t give a damn about anything but football and men’s basketball (and to a much lesser degree baseball and men’s soccer). We could fold the rest of the programs and I wouldn’t miss them at all. The “big 2″ are all I care about as championship-gererators. From the positions we are in now at those two programs in a 10 year period I expect to win 2 ACC titles in basketball and 1 in football, minimum. I don’t think that’s unrealistic given our history and how we are positioned currently. In the 90s I don’t think these goals would have been realistic but we have come a long way vis a vis infrastructure, etc . . .. I’m not sure where that would “rank� us relative to the ACC, because as I said I don’t care about the sucess of the vast majority of our programs. I would trade 20 ACC cross country titles for one in men’s basketball, for example, so a gross ranking means nothing to me.

  5. Jeff 02/17/2006 at 3:36 PM #

    Rick, when you say that we “were top two” — is there a particular time frame to which you refer?

    My frame of reference doesn’t really begin until the mid to late 1970s…and it definitely ‘felt’ as though we were pretty competitive in realm of winning titles (wrestling, track, revenue sports, swimming)…but I don’t have any frame of reference from a numbers perspective to draw conclusions.

  6. Jeff 02/17/2006 at 3:38 PM #

    I would trade 20 ACC cross country titles for one in men’s basketball, for example, so a gross ranking means nothing to me.

    I, personally, would do the same. I think most fans feel the exact same way that you do.

    I also think that c/o ’74 does a real good job of segmenting the ACC.

  7. class of '74 02/17/2006 at 3:39 PM #

    ^Tell that to the kids that play golf, tennis, swimming etc… I fully understand popularity but it would be like the engineering grads saying the hell with the ag school, or design school.

  8. Rick 02/17/2006 at 3:45 PM #

    “Rick, when you say that we “were top twoâ€? — is there a particular time frame to which you refer? ”

    I have a one track mind. I was thinking basketball only. It is the one sport I truly love. So I was thinking before the V debacle.

  9. Jeff 02/17/2006 at 3:49 PM #

    c/o of ’74…I’m not saying that we should fold up the other programs…I’m just saying that success in those programs doesn’t mean as much to me as it does in basketball & football.

    To use your example — I was a business major. So, I would easily trade the success of the design school and CHASS for the success of the College of Management. That is just where my heart lies…it doesn’t mean that I think that they should shudder the design school or CHASS.

  10. class of '74 02/17/2006 at 3:55 PM #

    You guys were too quick for my response. Sorry but I was responcing to Jim’s comments but since you mentioned. I truly love football and basketball and of course they mean the most but I played golf and I love golf too. Therefore it would be hard for me to say the heck with the other sports. We have so many great resources at our school and we should just try and be competitive that’s all. But I’m not that much different than the majority of fans I believe.

  11. RickJ 02/17/2006 at 4:28 PM #

    Just FYI – The ACC crowns champions in 11 Men’s sports & 12 Women. We field teams in every Men’s sport except Lacrosse and every Women’s sports except Field Hockey, Lacrosse & Rowing. We also have Men & Women’s Rifle & Women’s gymnastics. I’m guessing there is a some historical reason for the Rifle teams. I think Turner may have had a daughter interested in gymnastics and that explains this team but don’t quote me on that. Does anybody think we should try to field a team in every ACC sport or field even fewer but put more resources into these?

    I believe the hierarchy Class of 74 listed above would match up pretty well with the schools offering the most sports. I’m almost positive UNC Chapel Hill fields a team in every ACC sport and is probably the only one.

  12. Jeff 02/17/2006 at 4:56 PM #

    ^ That is great to know. Very key information. Thanks for sharing

  13. Jeff 02/17/2006 at 5:05 PM #

    I appreciated the following comments from JSIMON on the other thread, so I am just moving them here for consolidation:

    In terms of championships I don’t know that I’d put a hard number on it. What I want is for all of our sports — especially those that are funded at a scholarship level that competes with other ACC programs (which is most of them) — to be in the top quarter of the league standings consistently. That means year in and year out. That type of success would certainly translate into postseason opportunities and, ultimately, give us a chance at National Championships. Some of our Olympic sports in particular haven’t even consistently gone to the postseason and that is unacceptable. It also makes it hard to even take a guess at what’s a fair number of championships per decade.

    But, what everyone wants is championships in football and basketball. Once again, is we’re consistent in the top 1/4 of the league standings we’ll go to the NCAA Tournament and, generally, a really good bowl game. Hopefully, that type of consistent success would translate into an ACC Championship or two over the course of a decade. Consistency is truly the mark of a great athletics department.

  14. Kingfish 02/17/2006 at 7:08 PM #

    Top four. No excuses for not winning any championship in football and basketball combined in the 90’s or this decade to date. The non-revenue sports are equally disappointing considering that our rivals down the street continuously win championships in those sports as well. It starts at the top. The leadership does not even talk championships nor does it even expect them. This rationale would never be acceptable from any business. One’s own innate drive would demand more so why does a major university accept less? It is truly disheartening considering I grew up in a time when championships were won not necessarily consistently but enough to not to have think…..when was the last time we ……..

  15. JeremyHyatt 02/17/2006 at 8:59 PM #

    In terms of the Athletic Department do you think this has anything to do with the emphasis moreso on the student part of the student-athlete? Jeff, why do you think the expectations are low then (given that we agree that they are)? I don’t think I read it in this article but there have been past pieces that lead to the point of Lee Fowler not driving for excellence, and is where the problem starts, and he is not going anywhere, so we are stuck with him. Therefore we will continue to have mediocre results from the Athletics programs. Is this what this stream of thought eventually leads to or is there something more?

  16. BJD95 02/18/2006 at 9:13 AM #

    Although my emphasis is definitely on mens’ basketball and football, I do get some satisfaction from the occasional non-revenue title. I would like to at least be in the middle quadrant (i.e., 5th through 8th) in overall championships. Anything less is embarrassing, I don’t like my alma mater to be embarrassed.

    Mens’ basketball – I expect at least 7-8 NCAA bids over a 10-year period, with at least 4 Sweet 16s, and at least 1 Final Four. Plus 1-2 ACCT championships. That’s more than reasonable, IMHO.

    Football – I expect at least 8 bowl bids every 10 years (since overall .500 is all you need), with at least 4 of these being significant. I would take .500 bowl record, since I place more emphasis on getting into good games than beating the worst team playing in a bowl (Kansas in 2003, USF in 2005) – as long as we win SOME of the quality games. At least 2-3 division titles (with regular challenging for division titles), and 1-2 ACC titles or at-large BCS bids. Again, more than reasonable.

    We have the raw materials (facilities) and institutional advantages (major state university, decent geographical location, etc.) to achieve this, with the right coaching.

  17. class of '74 02/18/2006 at 9:52 AM #

    ^Wouldn’t just love to hear our adminstration come out and say this is in no uncertain terms? They will not ever do it because it would make them do something when they can otherwise duck and divert.

  18. JSIMON 02/18/2006 at 10:25 AM #

    Don’t take this the wrong way … I am certainly not defending or promoting mediocrity or not striving for championships. But I think it’s not “reasonable” to assume that 1-2 ACC Tournament Championships and 1-2 ACC football titles or BCS bids are within grasp or could be regular occurrences every decade. As history has shown it’s hard to break through and win those. And doing so regularly is even harder. That doesn’t make me a loser. Just a realist who’s looking at the history of our athletics programs.

    NC State’s last ACC Tournament title was 1987. Since then, only five schools have won the ACC Tournament in 18 years. Those schools — UNC, Duke, Wake, GT and Maryland. That means in 18 years no titles for UVa, NC State, Clemson and, since expansion, FSU, Miami, VaTech and, now, BC. Having more teams in the league also lowers the possibility that we’ll win a championship (or at least makes it mathematically more difficult).

    And let’s look at regular-season champs in the same time period. Since 1987, all eight pre-expansion teams have won (or had a share of) the regular season title. UVa got a share of one in 1995 (along with Md, WF, UNC). During that time period UNC’s had (or shared) five times and Duke nine. Like it or not, Duke and UNC have been dominant in league titles.

    In football, since FSU joined the league in 1992 only four other teams have won a league title (UVa, Ga Tech, Va Tech and Maryland). NC State hasn’t been atop the league standings since 1979! Our other first-place finishes — 1973, 1968, 1964, 1957. And, once again, now there’s more teams in the league for that one championship spot.

    So, what’s my point? My point is this — championships are one measure of success. Consistency is another. Until you’re consistently in the top *now* 1/4 of the league standings you aren’t even giving yourself a chance to compete for a championship. I think you could look at other conferences and see similar levels of dominance in league standings in various sports. I’m thinking of Ohio St, Michigan in the Big 10; Florida, Tenn and Ga in the SEC; Oklahoma, Kansas in the Big 12; UConn and Syracuse in the Big East; and on down the line.

    With where our programs are now … that level of consistency is what we should be striving for our programs. That’s what great programs have. It’s telling that the only “consistent” programs that we have that immediately come to my mind are men’s basketball (however you slice it five straight trips to the NCAA Tournament is consistency) men’s and women’s cross country (truly a dominant historic program) and, probably, men’s golf. Go back and look at our performance across all sports in the mid-to-late 1980’s. That was consistency and excellence in the athletics department. But, we all know that the landscape of college athletics has also changed dramatically since that time.

    So, to wrap up my ramble, that’s why when we do finish in the top three of the conference standings or go to the Sweet 16 or beat Notre Dame in a lower top-tier bowl I do think those are things we should be celebrating. Would I like to do those things every year? Certainly. And that’s when my expectations would change and I’d be realistic in expecting ACC Tournament titles and planning for parades down Hillsborough St.

  19. class of '74 02/18/2006 at 10:41 AM #

    ^But we don’t hear even this from our athletic admin. The closest they will come is we want to be “competitive”. Mediocrity can be labeled “competitive”.

  20. VaWolf82 02/18/2006 at 10:57 AM #

    Nitpick alert:

    Consistency is truly the mark of a great athletics department.

    Consistent excellence is the mark of a great athletics department. Top half or third in the conference with no championships is not consistent excellence. It’s just stuck on pretty good.

    There should also be a balance between conference and national success. In 2002, the FB team was Top 15 nationally, but fourth in the conference. Several years ago, the baseball team was Top 10 nationally, but third in the conference. Both qualify as excellent seasons….on their own and especially in comparison to the historic performance of both programs.

    One’s own innate drive would demand more so why does a major university accept less?

    Money. Ask Les what happens if the books don’t balance.

  21. VaWolf82 02/18/2006 at 11:07 AM #

    Until you’re consistently in the top now 1/4 of the league standings you aren’t even giving yourself a chance to compete for a championship.

    This sounds good…but I’m not convinced. Let’s go back to men’s basketball and look at programs other than UNC and Duke over the last few years:

    WF – ACC Regular Season Title
    – 1 Sweet 16

    MD – ACC Tourney Championship
    ACC Regular Season Championship
    Two Final Fours with one National Championship

    GT – Final Four and Title Game Appearance

    State has performed more “consistently” (depending on your individual definition) than any of these programs, but has far less to show for it. I do not see that consistently “good” is necessarily a precursor to ever being “great”.

  22. VaWolf82 02/18/2006 at 11:26 AM #

    There are two different schools that always come to my mind when the subject of consistent success is discussed.

    UMD and Gary Williams…consistent success that finally broke through the two consecutive Final Four Appearances and a national championship.

    Purdue and Gene Keady….years and years of consistent success but only 2 E-8’s and 3 S-16’s in 17 NCAAT appearances.

    These are examples from the past, not predictors of the future. Never confuse the two like is so often done on message boards.

    I think too many people read too much into the old Bobby Bowden progression….lose by a little, win by a lilttle, win by a lot. It’s cute and describes the way FSU FB was built. It is not a repeatable blue print for achieving greatness.

  23. Jeff 02/18/2006 at 11:29 AM #


    While I think that a lot of your points have general merit and are expressed very well, I very much disagree with a lot of your conclusions.

    You effectively are saying that NC State shouldn’t expect to win ACC Basketball Championships (to the tune of just 1 or 2 every 10 years) simply because WE have mis-managed ourselves to the tune of not winning any since 1987? I don’t understand the logic that, “because we have created a situation whereby we suck, that we have to continue to suck”….especially since our long term history proves that we have reason not to suck and since we have invested so heavily in facilities that we have been told are so important to building a program.

    Using the exact logic of how the future should mirror the most recent past (ie – we haven’t won since 1987 so we shouldn’t expect to win every now and then), then what about the events since 1987? If we go back to that year, that logic would indicate that we would still be the all-time winner of ACC Championships and Duke should have never been able to rise above where they were prior to 1987. But, things don’t just change on their own. You must have catalysts, proactive and prudent management, and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.


    I think that the past should provide a nice gauge of what can and should be expected of a program, but just because we have sucked since 1987 doesn’t mean that we have to continue to suck. If we weren’t going to expect to win a couple of ACC Titles every decade, I wish the lifetime rights holders would have been told before they wrote their checks.

    I completely agree with VaWolf’s clarification of “consistency”…and I think that statements like, Until you’re consistently in the top now 1/4 of the league standings you aren’t even giving yourself a chance to compete for a championship.” are as baseless as the ludicrous mantra that there is some ridiculous correllation between how long it takes to build a program and how long the program will remain successful.

    Question — how often has Carolina bee in the top 25% of the league standings in the last 5 years? Yet, they have won a friggin NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP?

    I generally agree with the logic that the more times that you are good, then the more opportunities that you have to succeed on a higher level and break through. But, the “consistency” cheer has become another code for “competitive” and “mediocrity” at NC State.

    Question — how consistent were we being last year when we finised in 7th place and with a 7-9 record? Considering that our basketball program has ONE ACC Tournament seed better than 4th in the last nine years — then we have failed to make the top 1/4 of the conference in 8 of 9 years.

    State’s performance has therefore been nowhere close to the consistency that you hold up as so virtuous, yet you are fine with the performance?

  24. Jeff 02/18/2006 at 11:49 AM #

    An interesting observation that the 1987 time-market leads me to note:

    Since 1987…every single ACC program has won ACC Tournament Championships at almost same rate or BETTER than their historical average EXCEPT for NC State.

    Since 1987 —

    Duke has improved it’s share by 8 percentage points.
    Carolina has remained constant.
    Maryland has remained constant.
    Wake has improved by almost 2 percentage points.
    Virginia has remained constant (down only 1%)
    Georgia Tech has risen 3%
    …and NC State has fallen 10%

    Since history is such a key driver in what can be expected of the future, how is it that every single ACC program has been able to improve its performance as measured against its history EXCEPT for NC State who has fallen off massively?

    By the way….for those of you who are so fixated on Herb Sendek and can’t think about anything else in the world…this has almost NOTHING to do with Herb Sendek. It is about the way we choose to manage our programs and accept performance that other schools simply don’t accept even if they have far less reason to expect titles than we do.

  25. class of '74 02/18/2006 at 11:54 AM #

    ^This is the direct result of the Monteith administration and all the impediments they laid down.

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