Saturday’s Inevitable Purple Tide

At noon on Saturday, NC State will play East Carolina – in a game we were not forced to schedule by the legislature. SFN’s original discussion of Lee Fowler adding this game and grabbing his ankles for Terry Holland yet again is here. Search our archive under “Terry Holland” for much more, if you’re a glutton for punishment.

As we have have said many times, this is ECU’s Super Bowl, every year. This is especially true when the Pirates are favored, and even more so when favored and playing in their favorite place to riot, Carter Finley Stadium. Nine out of ten NC State fans don’t give a rat’s ass about the game, other than a little schadenfreude when the hillbillies go home disappointed. We don’t remember any Wolfpack tears shed when then-AD Jim Valvano cancelled the series and pledged never to renew it. You see, Valavano – like most thinking people – didn’t see the logic in scheduling games that mean the world to your opponent, and nothing to your own institution (other than the significant chance of serious property damage).

This also creates perverse incentives. A quick trip to StubHub finds that State/ECU is the toughest ticket on the Pack’s schedule, with bad seats going for over $100 per, and average ones going for double that. All the good seats have been taken. What does this mean?

Naturally, C-F will be very purple on Saturday. It’s basic economics at work. For your typical NC State fan (especially families with kids) – it’s a game against a C-USA opponent at an undesirable time (especially if you have tix on the sunny side of the stadium). You know that if the Pack is behind, you will have to leave early to avoid the rioting. No matter what, your blood pressure will be elevated by the vulgar, drunken Pirate horde. Sounds great, huh?

Or, you can sell your tickets for a hefty sum and watch the game at home. This allows you to avoid heavy aggravation, recoup some of the costs associated with the LTR process, and save “points” with your spouse for games you will actually enjoy attending.

One of my twin daughters is having an MRI Friday night (migraines, thanks to my genetic material), and the meds might make her a bit goofy for up to 24 hours. I was already thinking about bagging the game, and this made it a no-brainer. So, I drafted a description of the tickets, and had my wife put them on craigslist Tuesday afternoon. She was deluged with e-mails, and the offers escalated to ridiculous levels. I sold them to a guy who had a client desperate to go to the game, for cash and 4 really good tickets to 2 December NC State basketball games (including, ironically, against ECU).

I did not ask him if his client was a State fan or not. I really don’t care – I made the best deal for my family. My three daughters enjoy the basketball games, and I can now take them in style, twice. I also understand that ticket buyers pledging to be State fans will lie, or re-sell the tickets for a profit. For those who sell high for this game and feel guilty, you can (as I did) donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund – there are some folks in Texas who could really use the help.

You can call me a “bad fan” – and maybe you’re right. But I feel that I’ve sacrificed plenty for NC State athletics, with very little return on my investment. So this week, I’m cashing out. A half-way intelligent athletic director would see the Purple Tide and realize that these games should not be scheduled. Maybe one day, we’ll have one of those again.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

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79 Responses to Saturday’s Inevitable Purple Tide

  1. Dr. BadgerPack 09/18/2008 at 11:00 AM #

    Well maybe you can make up for being a “bad fan” with some good old fashioned in game blogging. 🙂

  2. old13 09/18/2008 at 11:12 AM #

    Until the good-ol’-boys are rooted out from the BOT and administration, and competent managers installed, there is no hope for NCSU athletics IMHO. Under a competent administration/BOT, Foulup wouldn’t even be an issue (or an employee of NCSU!)

  3. Daily Update 09/18/2008 at 11:15 AM #

    Saying this is ECU’s super bowl after having played Virginia Tech and W. Virginia this year is giving us way, way, way too much credit.

    We are at best the 4th biggest game on their schedule this year. They play two ACC teams and a Big East team this year OOC. I would say that there are several conference games bigger than ours as well as winning Conference USA is their biggest goal this season.

    The away trip to Greenville was one of the best away games I have been to in the last several years. It helped that we won, but the ECU fans were great before and after the game. The entire day was a blast and my group didn’t know a single ECU fan in Greenville.

    Personally, I think this game makes a lot of sense for NC State and NC. ECU has a good program and we should beat them more often than not. The game is interesting rivalry with many mixed families and friendships here in the State. Not using your tickets because there are going to be some ECU fans in CF doesn’t make a lot of sense because you are likely only going to make the problem worse. I understand for family or personal reasons, but I still can’t imagine myself not going to the game.

  4. partialqualifier 09/18/2008 at 11:15 AM #

    A Bad Fan? Au Contraire….

    The best fans understand that sometimes we all must send messages of disapproval to the administration/coaches/players. If we had a top notch administration and product on the field there would be no massive selling of tickets.

    Unfortunately, the one’s I feel bad for are the players. When the players run out of that tunnel at home in front of sea of purple and gold it can’t do much for the morale of the team/program.

  5. choppack1 09/18/2008 at 11:19 AM #

    BJD – I’d do the same thing, but my wife is an ECU grad.

    I was told that because of our little one, I’d have to miss at least one game, this would have been ideal. South Florida was a premier candidate before the kickoff time was a “fun” 7:30 PM.

    For the record, I don’t mind playing ECU every once in a while. I’ll even play them at a nuetral site. I just don’t think the game should be on the regular rotation – nor do I think we should be forced to play in Greenville. The NC State game is so critical for ECU – in terms of recruiting, enthusiasm for the sport, alumni interest etc. – that we do them a favor by playing them. For us, the game rarely has the same benefits.

  6. Daily Update 09/18/2008 at 11:19 AM #

    How could there be a bunch of ECU fans in CF if NC State fans actually went to the game? If we don’t want them there, then it isn’t that difficult to keep them out.

  7. Elrod 09/18/2008 at 11:21 AM #

    Why not just exclude the NC State – ectc tickets from sale? Play the game to an empty stadium, including no press. Let Lee sit in VT by himself admiring his kingdom, since he’s the only one that seemingly wants this game.

  8. Wolf Dog 09/18/2008 at 11:23 AM #

    If we going to play ECU. I wish we would do it in Charlotte. ECU travels real well. The VT-ECU game in Charlotte was a huge success for both schools. Bowl game type environment, great exposure, recruiting benefits galore, and a financial reward for both schools. The game does not have to be a home game for ordering season tickets for either school.

    VT has made great inroads in the Western part of NC and Charlotte area. You see as many people walking around with VT shirts as you do NCSU. They got a great line with kids parents. In 3 hours you can be at VT watching your son play. Blacksburg just as close as Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Best HS football talent in the state in the Charlotte area. I wish Fowler would get with it. Les Robinson was proactive and understood keeping a presence in the Western part of the State. Tenn already strong in Western NC, we got SC, clemson and VT hitting it hard also. It great to see Sidney coming to Charlotte, he gets it!

  9. VaWolf82 09/18/2008 at 11:37 AM #

    One of my twin daughters is having an MRI Friday night (migraines, thanks to my genetic material), and the meds might make her a bit goofy for up to 24 hours.

    To heck with the game, be sure and let us know how your daughter is doing.

  10. Wolf Dog 09/18/2008 at 11:40 AM #

    oh by the way, I like the ECU game! A great passionate game that has at times attracked the largest audience in attendance combined with TV viewers and radio listeners in NC than any other sporting event including the duke/Unc b ball game, according to one writer at the CO.

    NCSU has a great reputation and respect throughout the State cause we have played the App. states, the Westerns, and ECUs in football and basketball. Helping those schools revenues like our own. We haven’t turned our nose up to our sister institutions like they did/have over in Chapel Hill for years. And you won’t hear scores of Appt State, Weatern, etc from Woody Durham like you will on the Wolfpack radio network. This helps up extremely with recruiting and good will throughout the State.

    Holtz commented on a couple of kids he had earmarked that choose State over ECU. If we played the majority of any other Conference USA team, do you think it would be on TV? NC is our TOP recruiting base. It is where we need to play and the ECU game is a great environment. Keep your tickets, throw something at an ECU fan, have a ball, root for the home team, and quit being such a P—-!

  11. b 09/18/2008 at 11:42 AM #

    With all the facilities improvements, LF can’t afford to give a home game away. If ECU wants their home game in Charlotte it would benefit them as it nearly doubles their capacity.

  12. basspacker812 09/18/2008 at 11:43 AM #

    The ECU/State game is one of the games me and my family look forward to more than any. Say what you want, but we have nobody but ourselves to blame if the stands are Purple and Gold. I will be at the game cheering for MY school NCSU. My brother and his family will be at the game cheering for HIS school ECU. Over the years meetings, it has meant a rare Saturday spend together tailgating with family and friends, be it in Raleigh, Greenville or Charlotte.

    My brother had no problem getting tickets to the game for his family of four. Two from the ECU alumni, one from ECU student who attends ECU and one from a LTR seller on Craigslist. By the way, ECU only got 100 student tickets and limited visitor tickets for its alumni so that leaves alot of so called faithful NCSU fans desserting their team and seats to purple and gold. I will be in my LTR seats and my NCSU student daughter will be there with her pass, hopefully along with every possible NCSU student, cheering for the Red & White win or lose.

    I think we could learn alot from ECU Pirate fans. Since my brother is an alumni of ECU, I have gone to several games at Greenville with him. And when ECU was struggling with twice 2-8, 3-6 or 1-10 records under coaches like John Thompson, the stands were still full of purple and gold.

  13. Grumpy Llama 09/18/2008 at 12:08 PM #

    I think VaWolf hit upon the only really important part of this whole thing.

    I hope all goes well with your daughter, BJD.

  14. Wolfman300 09/18/2008 at 12:30 PM #

    First off, BJD – I will say a prayer for your daughter. I also have migraines and pray that I didn’t pass that on to my 11 month old son.

    Second,Basspacker812 – I have to disagree. I think NCSU fans have been extremely supportive of our teams (Football especially) over the past few years when the product on the field has not given us much of a reason to be supportive. (other than our love for NCSU and what we know it can be if it only had the right leadership) I believe the fan support was one of the things that prompted Coach O’Brien to come to NCSU. I jump on any opportunity to support the Wolfpack, but I also understand that when it appears the powers that be do not place a priority on giving all they can for the team, fans priorities will eventually shift also.

  15. Trip 09/18/2008 at 12:33 PM #

    Hope all is well with your Daughter, medicine has advanced a LOT in the last 10 years with diagnosing and treating migraines, so she’s in good hands.

    I’ll be at home watching the game, I probably will miss the first half though due to school meetings. A lot of my friends from ECU have been hounding me for student tickets but I wouldn’t give them out to them, just couldn’t bring myself to it.

  16. LKNpackfan 09/18/2008 at 12:34 PM #

    ECU fans are drunken, obnoxious lunatics. No, not all of them, but for 98% this is true. Having a hammered Pirate fan screaming obscenities in front your kid is no way to watch a football (especially when the home team is down). I’m taking College Buddy to this one and I’d advise everyone with children to leave them at home.

  17. BJD95 09/18/2008 at 12:48 PM #

    Uh, playing other in-state schools (from App through ECU) has given us a great reputation throughout the state? That’s why the high school coaches always steer their kids away from “snotty” UNC and to us instead, right? And our history of playing App and WCU certainly was the key factor forcing the legislature to strong arm UNC’s scheduling instead of NC State’s, yes?

    It doesn’t matter if we are good or if we suck – the Pirates still value beating NC State more than any other foe.

    For the record, I like playing App and WCU just fine. They understand they do it on our terms (in Raleigh only). They also don’t compete with us for recruits. Most importantly, their fans don’t destroy our stadium and take swings at police officers during their stay.

  18. BJD95 09/18/2008 at 12:52 PM #

    Oh, and thanks for all the well wishes for my kid. Her migraines aren’t debilitating or anything, and the MRI is just to be cautious given family history. I’m thankful that my migraines have turned into milder “migrainous” headaches as I’ve grown older, and that I don’t still get the killer ones like my mom and sister.

    She’s definitely a “Daddy’s Girl” – so she’ll probably sit with me on the coach whilst I watch and live blog. Given the opponent, I will apologize in advance for the rampant profanity.

  19. Par Shooter 09/18/2008 at 1:09 PM #

    We had this happen at the game a couple of years ago. My buddie brought his young son and we got treated to quite a few f-bombs early. About 3 of us turned around and threatened to whip the little buckeroo’s ass and he spent the next hour apologizing. He moved after halftime.

  20. Classof89 09/18/2008 at 1:18 PM #

    As a native of Eastern North Carolina and an NC State graduate and season ticket holder, I also look forward to the game, and certainly would place it ahead of W&M, South Florida (proof that even the crappiest universities can gain admission into the “big football” club if they are (a) located in a big city and (b) are willing to admit criminals and the cognitively impaired), and alien ACC opponent Boston College in terms of my own internal interest level this season. It’s good for the state and good for our athletics program (since, after all, if we want to be the best football program in NC, we have to actually PLAY the best football programs in NC…)

  21. wolfprof 09/18/2008 at 1:29 PM #

    Enough of the ECU bashing–it diminishes the critic. Face it, ECU has the strongest team in NC and they are now recruiting head-to-head with us. The old image of drunken, brawling ECU fans is just that–old (and tired). For those of us fortunate enough to see the game live this weekend, I recommend trying to enjoy it, along with a great college football rivalry.

  22. BJD95 09/18/2008 at 1:35 PM #

    ^ You say that like ECU recruiting with us head-to-head is a GOOD thing. Anything we do to elevate their program or give it more credibility is a poor strategic decision.

    Of course, when we lent our stadium to ECU for the Hurricane-makeup game against Miami, and they tore it up AGAIN, about half of the Pirate fans booed the rioters. I guess that is some progress from the 1980s rioting.

    Playing ACC teams (especially State and UNC) gives ECU another selling point for recruiting. What is the reciprocal benefit for us? NOTHING.

  23. wolfprof 09/18/2008 at 1:42 PM #

    The point I was trying to make is this: it is a fact that ECU is now recruiting players we would like to have. I don’t know that we can attract these players if we do not play–and in the future defeat–the Pirates. I don’t believe anything is gained by shunning them.
    As national media darlings, they already HAVE creds.

  24. wufpup76 09/18/2008 at 1:51 PM #

    Sorry to hear about your daughter, BJD – hope everything goes well Friday … Hopefully everything is great and in the future the only migraines suffered will be as a result of NC State athletics 😉 … Seriously, best wishes and prayers

    I don’t mind playing ECU, though don’t wish for it to be an ‘every year’ game … I don’t want to “bend over” to have to play them, but I actually think seeing them on the schedule every so often is cool … I would hope that what happened in the ’80’s can be let go (as much as possible) and all can act civil – but of course there’s always going to be idiots on both sides (I think they have a lot fewer idiots than they used to – at least I hope so)

    Either way, Go Pack! 🙂 You know a loss to us would seriously derail their season … If they can go undefeated, then who knows? … BUT, a loss to lowly ACC NC State and the best the Pirates can hope for is a C-USA title and a trip to what? – the Emerald Bowl? Bowl? … Beating ECU and/or Chapel Hole would make this season a resounding success for me 🙂

  25. Dr. BadgerPack 09/18/2008 at 2:01 PM #

    “I don’t know that we can attract these players if we do not play–and in the future defeat–the Pirates.”

    That would be easy enough to accomplish with the following: would you rather play Marshall, Tulane, Rice, etc. or Florida State, Clemson, UNC, VT, etc.? We don’t have to play them to get that point across.

    The single biggest recruiting edge is simply being in the ACC. Kids love “stuff”. Well, 7 wins at State pretty much assures you a free vacation to a bowl game, and about $500 worth of “stuff.” 7 wins in C-USA gets you a different kind of vacation- one far away from football.

    TOB was able to parlay his success at BC into some good foundation-building recruiting classes, so he should be able to reach the “bowl trip a year” level in the near future.

    And if all else fails, Lee can tell the kids about all the cougars…

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