SFN has been hearing from a variety of sources that Boston College head man Tom O’Brien has emerged as a serious contender for the NC State job. As you may know, O’Brien has taken some heat from the Eagle faithful for not being able to get BC over the proverbial hump. While we agree that O’Brien may have maxed out what he is able to accomplish in Beantown, we do not believe that his ceiling would necessarily be limited at NC State.
O’Brien is supposedly willing to make a move because Boston is a pro sports town, almost exclusively. BC also has a small alumni base, which has led to good Eagle teams getting subpar bowl bids. The argument is that better bowls would lead to more recruiting momentum, as would a thriving, college-town environment – and ultimately, a chance at more success at NC State.
Of course, you might note that you could say the same thing about Paul Johnson. There is some truth to that. However, we believe that Tom O’Brien has some clear advantages over PJ – (i) BCS conference experience; (ii) has recruited at least some premium athletes; (iii) less potential to be negatively recruited against successfully; and (iv) a stronger staff (with pretty remarkable continuity).
O’Brien is no spring chicken, but young enough (58) to have a good ten year run at NC State. Plus, we already know his likely “floor” – 7-9 win seasons, which would at least get NC State into good bowl games periodically. We also think that it is reasonable to hope for greater success (contention for ACC titles) with a fresh start and a different environment to work in. Is it guaranteed? No. But nobody is going to be a sure thing here. SFN thinks that O’Brien would be a very good choice.