Next year’s 12th football game

At the risk of over-stating the obvious – next year is a very important year for the NC State Football program and every single leader with any type of influence over the direction of the football program. Unless the Wolfpack can string together four consecutive wins to close out the 2008 season, the program is heading for a 4th losing season in the last five years – all under the ‘leadership’ of Athletics Director, Lee Fowler.

To offer some historical perspective on this – NC State has experienced four losing seasons in a five year period only three times since the formation of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1953..

-1958 to 1962 (16-31-3)
-1981 to 1985 (19-36)
-1983 to 1987 (21-34-1)

Two of these five year periods were essentially the same era of NC State football – the mid-1980’s under Monte Kiffin and Tom Reed prior to the arrival of Dick Sheridan.

With the improvement we have seen in the last three games of this season and the composition of the freshmen that are currently being redshirted, true hope exists for some success in 2009 (and beyond). Coach Tom O’Brien will return the highest total of starters in our program’s in recent history after two consecutive seasons of returning the fewest combined total of starters in the conference. State will boast a talented quarterback who is leading the conference in passing efficiency to go along with a head coach who has a track record of winning 7-9 games for 80% of his tenure at Boston College. The 7+ win seasons started in his third year at BC after two losing seasons; hopefully a similar streak will start next year after what has been almost an identical start to Coach O’Brien’s tenure at NC State.

Making a bowl next year would go a long ways towards creating the momentum that our athletics department desperately needs right now. The Wolfpack’s schedule won’t be easy next season as we drop Miami from the Coastal Division, but add a game at Virginia Tech. Even Duke returns 23 seniors next year including their quarterback who might be the best player at his position in the conference.

According to this website, we still need to add a 12th game to the schedule next season. Knowing how much our athletic department values home games for revenue, there stands a stronger than average chance that a second game against a 1-AA team (or whatever that division is now called) will complete next year’s schedule.

The rules for bowl eligibility state that you can only count one win vs. a I-AA team per year. It also takes six wins to become bowl eligible, so NC State could essentially schedule ourselves into a situation where we only have eleven games to get those six wins. If we were able to add another Division 1 opponent, then we would have an additional game to get the sixth win to become bowl eligible.

Can revenue next year be more important to the athletics department than not giving our football program the best possible chance to participate in a bowl? It would seem like a smart business decision to do whatever is necessary to avoid at any cost adding another I-AA team to next year’s schedule. If that means writing someone a check to come to Carter Finley, then write the check. If that means going on the road to play a beatable Division 1 opponent, then let’s get ready for a road trip next year.

Looking at next season, here is the schedule:

-Need 1 more game
-Gardner Webb @ home
-USC @ home
-Pitt @ home
-Duke @ home
-VPI away
-UNC @ home
-Wake away
-BC away
-FSU away
-Maryland @ home
-Clemson @ home

This schedule included a trip to Greenville until Lee Fowler allowed Terry Holland to move that game to 2010 when ECU will have an expanded stadium, making it a more difficult environment for us to win. Having beaten ECU the last two season, what was Lee Fowler thinking letting this happen when our program was in this situation of needing a winnable Division 1 game?

NC State could be picked last in the Atlantic Division again next year. If Vegas were putting an over/under on next year’s win total at this point, then it couldn’t be more than 3-5 wins. Maybe winning three of our last four games this season would change the outlook, but at this point we are staring a 2-10, 0-8 season directly in the face.

As far as scheduling this additional game, NC State is the perfect opponent for anyone looking for an additional game. Schools are always looking to add a BCS team that has some type of name recognition (if for only being from a BCS conference) and a home game on top of that. There has to be a dozen or more division 1 teams that would thrilled to add us to their schedule. We wouldn’t want to add Oklahoma, USC or some other traditional power. The idea is to give yourself a good chance at a win and if that means going on the road to play one of the worst Division 1 teams in the nation, then get the game scheduled now. Any lost revenue is surely worth not putting this coaching staff, the NC State fanbase, and the administration through the frustrations of missing a bowl game for the fourth straight season and fifth time in six years.

Here is just a sample of Division 1 teams looking for an additional game next year that don’t already have a loaded OOC schedule:

*Washington St (1-7,0-5) Hawaii, ND, open, open (how about a rare trip to the West Coast?)
*Rutgers (2-2, 3-6) at Maryland, at Army, open, open (they need home games badly)
*Texas Christian (5-0, 8-1) Texas St, SMU, open, open (they are even a good team)
*Ohio U (1-3, 2-6) at N. Texas, UConn, at Tenn (let’s go on the road and get a win)
*Minn. (3-1, 7-1) Air Force, Cal, S. Dakota St, open (let’s play in their brand new stadium)
*Kentucky (1-3, 5-3) Louisville, E. Kentucky, open open (decent team, let’s sign a contract)
*E. Michigan (1-4, 2-7) Army, at NW, open open (buy a win or go to their stadium if that is what it takes)

There are several other options as well from that list. Now that WE have done all of the initial leg work for the ‘hard workers’ in Fowler’s Athletics Department, can someone please pick up the phone and see what can be negotiated with some of these teams? This is the perfect opportunity for Lee Fowler to step up and put the football program in a position to succeed next year. But why do I have this suspicion that there is already a plan in place to bring a second I-AA opponent to Carter Finley next year?

'08 Football AD & Department Chuck Amato General NCS Football Stat of the Day Tom O'Brien

47 Responses to Next year’s 12th football game

  1. SEAT.5.F.2 10/29/2008 at 7:18 AM #

    Thinking that I seem to remember Lee and Terry passing notes to each other. Any chance we’re already scheduled in Greensville?

    “same era of NC State football – the mid-1980’s under Monte Kiffin and Tom Reed prior to the arrival of Dick Sheridan.”

    Maybe Noah or others with sports photographic memories can attest to the theory that Kiffin and Reed did not fire bomb a program the way Amato did. It could be that TOB is just recessitating NC State until he gets in on track to a respectable Sheridan type level.

    SFN: Reed & Kiffin only had three years to create an impact. NC State would never push out any coaches in just three years since we gave up on sports in 1990.

    We will get to know alot about this team, it’s potential and heart after this bye week. I think we all remember well that we came out of a bye week last year, went on the road, beat a team who treated it like a super bowl and had Chris Johnson. Then we came home and beat a very respectable UVa.

    Very important to remeber that is was late in the year that we found out that Eugene, Irving, Bowens, Walker (all out at some period, two done all year) had play making ability that got us beleiving that TOB was breaking through with some of Chucks last good recruits.

    Who could it be this year? Maybe a guy like Audie Cole or Jeff Reiskamp on D or one of the young Wideouts. My gut tells me that the most likely candidate is RW since we have seen him make huge strides, especially against teams that don’t have fast athletic defences. Until the rain starting pouring at UMd he was 6-6 on passing attempt and the seventh was dropped. Had it not been such a crap day he may have blown up.

  2. Noah 10/29/2008 at 7:48 AM #

    Maybe Noah or others with sports photographic memories can attest to the theory that Kiffin and Reed did not fire bomb a program the way Amato did.

    Extremely different landscape today compared to the very early 1980s. How’s that for stating the obvious?

    The lingering smell from the Chuck Amato era will ultimately be his disastrous recruiting from his last couple of classes. Tom O’Brien was able to come in and fill a couple of holes along the OL and at LB extremely late in the game with guys like Audie Cole, Thomas Barnes and Jake Vermiglio. They were all serviceable players, none is ever going to be a star (and obviously, one has quit the program), but they were placeholders.

    Amato had a couple of YEARS where he couldn’t get anyone of that caliber. I would really like to ask him exactly what his plan was for linebacker and along the OL.

    If the defense can make the same strides in the offseason that the offense made this year, we’ll be okay. It just sucks that we’re having to spend so much time trying to undo the last two Amato years.

  3. basspacker812 10/29/2008 at 7:49 AM #

    I bet we play in Greenville next season. We should look forward to playing EZU rather than another Gardner Webb. Is our program going in a direction that we fear da Pirates? I hope we see alot of improvement in the second half of the season because I’m tired or hearing and reading how Chuck fire bombed our program. Also tired of “TOB recruiting” needs to be in place. With Cutcliffs success at Duke, are we just looking for excuses for another losing season? There is no way you can convince me Roof left the Duke program in better shape than Amato. Injuries also do not cover the fact that the Duke program is atleast so far on paper leaps and bounds over NCSU football, with much less support and facilities. OK, off my soapbox, but its hard to remain patient when you see so much success and progress in Durham and Chapel Hill.

  4. Alpha Wolf 10/29/2008 at 8:03 AM #

    “I bet we play in Greenville next season.”

    Undoubtedly there is quiet pressure to do just that.

  5. BoKnowsNCS71 10/29/2008 at 8:07 AM #

    I thought they took us off their schedule?

    “The scheduling rearrangement to move the home game with N.C. State to 2010 and to play Appalachian State at Dowdy-Ficklen in 2009 allows us to have six home games in both 2009 and 2010,” Holland added. “The previous schedule would have required us play seven road games in 2010. The non-conference road schedule for 2010 would have been games at N.C. State, at North Carolina and at Virginia Tech with West Virginia at home.”

  6. choppack1 10/29/2008 at 8:07 AM #

    I’m going to take a contrarian view and say that we need to schedule the worst Division 1A team possible. We have two very respectable non-conference opponents in USC and Pitt. We could be a decent team and go 0-2 against them.

    I don’t think it will matter where we play this team – but we need to play the worst Division 1A team possible. (So, we don’t play Minnesota)…If I was Lee and TOB, I’d be scanning UW’s roster to see what they have returning. If they have decent younger talent – I wouldn’t play them. If OTOH, they don’t have a lot on their 2 deep – and are losing lots of Seniors, I’d sign them up.

  7. burnbarn 10/29/2008 at 8:08 AM #

    ^ We play in GVegas in 2010.

    I agree with Noah, I wish someone could ask CTC what his plan was for OL and LB…

  8. SEAT.5.F.2 10/29/2008 at 8:37 AM #

    There is the notion that Amato went after some big name talent in the fashion Coach Lowe seems to want to install for basketball.

    “Hey, look young man. I think you’re great and the position you play is completely void so you’ll start when you feel up to it.”

    True freshman and JC players were brought in to start, not compete on a performance based system, IMO. Differ that with Maddux, and JC players that TOB has HAD to emply right away to field anything.

  9. Daily Update 10/29/2008 at 8:39 AM #

    Choppack: That isn’t a contrarian view at all. I totally agree with you. I say we go to Eastern Michigan and don’t even make them return that game to Carter Finley. Ohio University is another good option. Washington State and Rutgers would also be perfect matchups for us. I listed Minnesota because they have been bad for many years though you are correct that they are better this season.

    I would argue that Duke does have more talent than us. They also didn’t have a dozen starters miss football games including their best WR, best LB, best DL, and QB. They also have a ton of experience which is making the difference for Duke this year:

    Starters by class:
    10 seniors
    11 jrs
    1 freshman

    Ted Roof had been redshirting everyone and was building towards this season. This is exactly why Roof thought he got a raw deal and why Cutcliffe has been set up to win his first year at Duke. Not to mention he has arguably the best QB in the league.

    Behind those 21 junior/senior starters, Duke has 14 more juniors and seniors on the two deep chart.

    Next year, Duke will have 23 seniors on the team. We have about 10 this year that were actually recruited players. If Cutcliffe can get the UT job this year, then he should take it.

  10. Daily Update 10/29/2008 at 8:41 AM #

    And as far as allowing ECU out of next year’s trip to Greenville, considering the situation we face needing a 12th winnable division 1 game, allowing them out of the contract and adding a division 1-AA home game should be grounds for dismissal.

    IMO, this could end up being the stupidest scheduling move of his tenure.

  11. stormin norman 10/29/2008 at 8:47 AM #

    Ignorance must be bliss. Throw Amato under the bus if you would like but lets look at his last 2 full classes. His last class he was fired in Nov. – 2 full months of recruiting left. OL – Crouch, Williams, Palmer (didn’t qualify), Barbee, McCuller, Kline. QBs – Burke, Wilson. RBs – Eugene Baker, Brown. WRs – Bowens, Bond, Davis, Spencer, James. TE- Phillips. NOT TO BAD, huh? In his last partial class – he signed Bryan,Howard, Lawson, Ellis, Wilson, Byers, Sweezey, Golder, Linney, Simmons, and Smith. By the way on defense – DLs: Augustin, Kushner, Larsen, Young. LBs (his weakness): Maybe, just maybe, it is a cultural change from the style of defense we use to run to now. On offense, we are starting his recruit at QB and chased off Burke.

    It seems to me like our recruiting in football is taking less highly rated players now and coach them up to win. Interesting – we will see how that works out.

  12. choppack1 10/29/2008 at 8:48 AM #

    Daily – I’m w/ you…no good reason for a second D1AA opponent. It’s the kind of thing that would get us awful publicity on Sportscenter – they’d ignore the 2 games against BCS conference teams and say, “look at this schedule TWO DAA football teams in one season. Should this even be allowed?”

    Daily – we may have a better QB than Duke :). Good point about the experience though. Unfortunately, I think Cutcliffe is recruiting very well.

  13. Daily Update 10/29/2008 at 8:51 AM #

    stormin norman: I also have noticed the difference in the players we are recruiting in terms of ranking. But remember it is tough to take into account things like intelligence, coachability, character, etc…attributes TOB was very successful with in 10 years at BC.

  14. cWOhLFrPAiCKs 10/29/2008 at 8:55 AM #


    “I’m tired or hearing and reading how Chuck fire bombed our program. Also tired of “TOB recruiting” needs to be in place. With Cutcliffs success at Duke, are we just looking for excuses for another losing season? There is no way you can convince me Roof left the Duke program in better shape than Amato. Injuries also do not cover the fact that the Duke program is atleast so far on paper leaps and bounds over NCSU football, with much less support and facilities.”

    Not only did Amato fire bomb the program from a recruiting standpoint, but the consistency in his assistant coaching staff made the guys that were here change the terminology every off-season. So imagine having to do that ONE MORE TIME when O’Brien shows up. Not only that, but Duke plays a MUCH easier schedule this year and I would consider there success much more surprising than our failures.

    I’m happy to see the team improving each and every week. I too have faith that we will see some big changes after the bye week and I really hope we go to Duke and stick it to them. Maybe Maddox will make the leap so many players were able to make last year during the bye! I think if we can win a couple of these last games, it will be a huge building step for next season (assuming we don’t fall flat on our faces for the last two games like last season).

  15. Texpack 10/29/2008 at 9:02 AM #

    My 12 year-old’s room is way more organized than Monte Kiffin ever looked to be at NC State. You absolutely could not enjoy NC State football without alcohol under Kiffin. The first year of Tom Reed wasn’t any better. I was fortunate enough to graduate and move to Texas where I didn’t have to see Reed’s last two years.

  16. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 10/29/2008 at 9:47 AM #

    After watching Duke this year I’m beginning to think you really only need to give a ‘great’ coach one year to turn around a program. Apparently a great coach like Cutcliffe is able to get the most out of his young men.

    Maybe the difference is his players have been told they aren’t good enough and are proving people otherwise. While NC State’s under-performing team is living large at the Murphy Center.

    I would like to See TOB ban NC State football team from the Murphy Center until they deserve to return. Maybe they can throw medicine balls, to each other until they learn how to fight again. I would like to see something like Bear Bryant’s early training program put in place next summer.

  17. ruffles31 10/29/2008 at 9:48 AM #

    I would prefer that we either go for Kentucky or Washington State. Kentucky for the Archer angle (and personally half my family went to UK). The Washington State game is good for two reasons:

    1. They maybe the worst BCS team ever this year. They have given up over 60 points to at least 4 conference teams this year…and the Pac-10 isn’t that good.

    2. More importantly, our AD can find him some cougars.

  18. packattack95 10/29/2008 at 10:24 AM #

    There are rumblings that Lee Fowler is one of the finalists for the AD position at Indiana, anybody else heard this?

  19. ruffles31 10/29/2008 at 10:27 AM #

    packattack95, Indiana just hired an AD. He is an alum, a notable civic leader, and a lawyer. Fred Glass.

  20. SEAT.5.F.2 10/29/2008 at 10:48 AM #


    I skim through terse comments real fast and thought you wrote,

    “He is an alum, a notable civic leader, and a lawyer. Fed Grass.”

    They sure do grow them well in Indiana.

  21. SEAT.5.F.2 10/29/2008 at 10:57 AM #

    “*Rutgers (2-2, 3-6) at Maryland”

    What does that mean?

    Why not ND? TOB has fun with that one. Maybe if we worked out an Ohio U. one home/home, it could benefit in recruiting an area where we want to stay strong. Is Ohio U anywhere near Cincy, probably not.

  22. basspacker812 10/29/2008 at 11:03 AM #

    “After watching Duke this year I’m beginning to think you really only need to give a ‘great’ coach one year to turn around a program. Apparently a great coach like Cutcliffe is able to get the most out of his young men.”

    Well said. I wouldn’t say Duke(Cutcliffe) has an easier schedule, maybe easier OOC if you throw out Vandy, but overall, Dook schedule equal to State. Cutcliffe is making good with what hes got, though I will agree the test of the schedule is yet to come. Maybe he does give the Duke players the perception they are better in return, they are playing better.

  23. CStanley 10/29/2008 at 11:22 AM #

    Why not Marshall or someone similar? Fairly safe opponent, good name recog. and not 1-AA.

  24. BoKnowsNCS71 10/29/2008 at 11:44 AM #

    Really no comparison. Cutcliffe was left with a team with players who had a lot of playing time and experience. They are healthy and he put in a better weight program. He also has a great offensive background (just look at TN when he was there). Yes his schedule is easier too. Coach C won’t be at Duke long. Someone will grab him — maybe TN.

    Yeah play Marshall. They tore up Houston last night. Houston destroyed ECU.

  25. redfred2 10/29/2008 at 11:49 AM #

    I’m not hip on playing Washington St at all. If there is any chance of gaining ANY recruiting exposure from scheduling a game like we’re talking about, it ain’t going to happen by playing WSU. At least choose a program where we might have a decent shot at some future recruits out of the area.

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