A Season to Remember

Russell Wilson

NC State closed out the 2008 regular season with a convincing 38-28 win over Miami. The team that (for September and most of October) looked as if it could be one of the all-time worst Wolfpack squads turned out to be one of the most memorable. Clemson’s thumping of South Carolina means that 10 ACC teams will be eligible for 9 bowl slots. That said, it’s unfathomable that no bowl would want this NC State team.    We’ve already read that the EaglesBank bowl in DC is considering the Pack, and they had to leave Carter-Finley Stadium impressed with the Wolfpack team that they saw.

Consider the following:

  • NC State became the first team in ACC history to start 0-4 in conference play, and finish at .500. The 4 game ACC winning streak is the Pack’s longest since 1992.
  • Russell Wilson’s freshman season stats: 16 TDs passing, 4 TDs rushing, 1 INT. If justice is done, he is your ACC offensive POY. It would be a travesty if Wilson is not 1st team all-ACC. If he doesn’t win conference ROY, there should be a Congressional investigation. I am now ready to say, without reservations, that Russell Wilson is a better college QB than Philip Rivers. He is an absolute sensation. I’d take him over Tim Tebow right now. If we can hold back the MLB scouts, we are absolutely looking at a future Heisman candidate.
  • In its last four games, NC State has won three blowout/convincing victories (the Duke and Miami games looked closer in the box score due to a late garbage time TD, cutting the final margin to 10.
  • IIRC, NC State still has 5 current or former walk-ons in the two-deep, including today’s starter at safety (for the injured Clem Johnson). How many BCS conference teams (even of the 2-10 or worse variety) can say that?
  • Nate Irving is an absolute beast. He has transformed an awful defense into a espectable one. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a single player mean so much to a defensive unit. You could say he’s the defense’s Russell Wilson. If not for the injury time, he would be your ACC defensive POY.  Look for Nate to play in the NFL.
  • Tom O’Brien gets my vote for ACC Coach of the Year. I would have been impressed if he had just managed to keep the Wolfpack playing hard all year, and he got us bowl eligible against a very difficult schedule. He is the right man at the right time for NC State.
  • NC State will finish no more than one game behind the participants in the ACC title game. Don’t be surprised if the Pack is playing in the first week of December next year, or in 2010.

Add it all up, and this is a team that any bowl would be lucky to have. For all the tweaking we give him, ACC Commish Swofford actually does a good job making sure our eligible teams get bowl slots, especially the ones that hold up their end of the bargain and sell tickets. I am strangely confident that he will help find a very nice game for NC State.

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.

'08 Football Fans Tom O'Brien

100 Responses to A Season to Remember

  1. gopack1975 11/29/2008 at 6:09 PM #

    What a season! I can’t wait to see who we play in our bowl game. TOB should be coach of the year and RW should be ACC POY and 1st team All ACC. Anything less is a travesty. Great job Pack!

  2. LRM 11/29/2008 at 6:15 PM #

    Russell Wilson is an absolute machine, a steamroller. He’s exciting to watch, he’s smart, he makes very few mistakes, and he’s rallied a team that was dead in the water just a month ago. He should absolutely be — at least — the All ACC first team QB, but I think his rough September hurt his realistic chances at ACC POY, even if he is probably the outright most dominant player in the conference at the end of the season.

    But he’s no Philip Rivers (I’ll grant you Tebow, however).

  3. gopack1975 11/29/2008 at 6:19 PM #

    I agree LRM. He is no Philip Rivers. We’re talking about 2 entirely different QB’s. Rivers is a gunslinger and RW is a playmaker. It’s comparing apples to oranges. But both are exciting to watch. (I’ll give you Tebow as well).

  4. LRM 11/29/2008 at 6:22 PM #

    But, I’ve been flat-out amazed by RW for the past month, and I keep waiting for him to disappoint. I don’t mind waiting a little longer.

  5. wesley 11/29/2008 at 6:50 PM #

    I just watched Wilson’s post game interview and I am just blown away. He is such a great leader and representative of NC State, I am so excited about his future and leadership with this football program.

    When I think about what you want in a starting QB, from the athletic qualities to the intangibles, I just can’t figure out anything that he lacks. Great year Rus, and great team play from this wolfpack squad.

  6. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 11/29/2008 at 7:10 PM #

    Rivers is a tall strong QB that can stand in the pocket and he has a rifle for an arm. Wilson is a stocky strong QB that can stand in the pocket or run with a rifle for an arm. Who is better? Time will tell but I know State is lucky to have both to play for them.

    I will never forget Rivers calling his own number twice to run up the middled against OSU on 3rd and 4th down when he had a great arm and State had TA.

  7. haze 11/29/2008 at 7:18 PM #

    So, it’s all over and there are 4 ACC teams with 5 wins (VT, BC, FSU, GT) and 6 @ 4-4 (CU, WF, MD, State, Miami, UNC). According to ACC rules, overall record means nothing and, within conference, a 5-3 can be skipped for a 4-4. Therefore, everyone is eligible for everything, except the BCS, obviously. The only odd rules are the following…
    1) Champs must get the championship loser once every 4 years.
    2) The championship loser cannot drop farther than MusicCity.
    3) Simultaneous submission of top-3 by Music/Meineke/Emerald bowls to see if all can be satisfied (i.e. negotiation).

    So, here’s my SWAG. No waffling allowed (except for BCS)…

    If VT>BC
    BCS: VT
    Peach: GT (local fav)
    Gator: FSU (local fav, champ loser has already been here)
    Champs: UNC (oddity #1 goes unfulfilled b/c BC doesn’t travel, UNC benefits via 8-4 record)
    MusicCity: BC (fulfills oddity #2)
    Meineke: State (oddity #3 negotiation puts NC team in Charlotte)
    Emerald: Miami (recognizable to SF/PAC-10 fans)
    Smurf: Clemson (delivers fans but much uncertainty)
    DC: MD (local fav)
    TBD: Wake (no travel)

    If BC>VT
    BCS: BC
    Peach: GT (local fav)
    Gator: FSU (local fav, champ loser has already been here)
    Champs: VT (oddity #1 happily fulfilled)
    MusicCity: MD
    Meineke: UNC (oddity #3 negotiation for NC team)
    Emerald: Miami (recognizable to SF/PAC-10 fans)
    Smurf: Clemson (cache for WAC, no buzz relative to UNC/State)
    DC: State
    TBD: Wake (no travel)

  8. NCSUgator 11/29/2008 at 7:21 PM #

    I believe NCSU also has the longest current conference win streak at 4 games.

  9. buttPACKer 11/29/2008 at 7:21 PM #

    i give full props to Phillip Rivers, but what I;ve seen in RW thus far, I cannot remember Rivers ever being as slippery and smart as our FRESHMAN phenom!!–not to say PR didn’t have an amazing gun, just not nearly as wiley and versatile as Wilson. . .

    He’s bloody amazing, and I think, too, a future Heisman in the making–I pray!

    Beautiful TEAMwork fellas, well done!–the whole team.

    ”He was definitely the best quarterback we’ve played this year,” Miami freshman defensive lineman Marcus Forston said of Wilson.–Miami Herald

  10. howlie 11/29/2008 at 7:30 PM #

    “10 teams are now eligible for 9 bowl game slots…”

    I hope TOB knows the history of Swofford’s backroom dealing with NC State when bowl selection happens. If Tom is depending upon our useless AD to campaign for one of those spots, we’ll be sitting at home watching all the other teams play during the holidays.

  11. Alpha Wolf 11/29/2008 at 7:36 PM #

    I understand 100% where you are coming from, but let’s not forget it was Lee Fowler’s salesmanship that got us into the Gator Bowl the year we beat Notre Dame there.

    State is a lot more attractive than some of the other ACC teams as far as bowls go, simply because the fanbase has a reputation of traveling well.

    Also, can’t a bowl move “down” a team if it is only one loss behind the slotted pick team?

    Swofford is no fool and he understands that interest within NC State’s fanbase is very high and people are starting to hear about Russel Wilson all around the country. Should Wilson get picked for All ACC or even better, POY (name one more deserving) then it would be illogical to not put State somewhere.

    I just hope it isn’t Boise. I would like to go to Charlotte and if not there, then DC.

  12. b 11/29/2008 at 7:49 PM #

    A very memorable November, and a solid foundation for the TOB era.

    I was not surprised they were playing better in November, but I was pleasantly surprised they were the best team in the conference the last month. This is the kind of stretch that defines a team, and I was proud of our seniors. They could have easily mailed it in. But they accpeted the coaching (which was great) and they led the cubs (who are gonna be great) to a solid year all things considered. Any who doubted the coaches are exposed as fools, IMO.

    I’m in on the bowl game. Just hope it doesn’t turn out to be Boise.

  13. LRM 11/29/2008 at 7:49 PM #

    There seems to be some interest by Boise to pair Boise State with Ball State and release the ACC to Mobile, btw.

  14. highstick 11/29/2008 at 7:54 PM #

    Who is Phillip Rivers????

  15. gopack1975 11/29/2008 at 7:57 PM #

    RW has played great so far, but hold on before you crown him better than Rivers.
    *PR’s first season was 8-4
    *Played in 5 bowl games and was mvp in 4 of those
    *51 college starts
    *13,484 passing yards
    RW has played great so far, but it is too early to compare the two.
    PR is a classic in the pocket prototypical quarterback, and RW is a option spread formation type QB.
    Two entirely different styles!
    If you go by the numbers, then PR’s is head and shoulders above RW. Look at both freshman campaigns. (BTW RW is a redshirt freshman, PR was a true freshman)

  16. Alpha Wolf 11/29/2008 at 8:06 PM #

    ^ Agreed.

    Philip Rivers is the best QB NC State has ever had, Roman Gabriel included.

    Russell Wilson is his own man, and will make his own mark on the NC State record books. Right now, serious comparisons other than “reminds me of” are probably premature.

  17. FullMoonRising 11/29/2008 at 8:14 PM #

    I love what TOB is doing here at NCSU. But I don’t see how Paul Johnson doesn’t get ACC COY. He’s done an amazing job down there running a completely new offensive scheme and winning more games than anyone thought possible.

  18. haze 11/29/2008 at 8:15 PM #

    Russell doesn’t remind me of ANY NC State QB, though Jamie Barnette is clearly the nearest to him.

    Forced to pick a better likeness, I’d go with Joe Hamilton or Charlie Ward.

  19. cowdog 11/29/2008 at 8:19 PM #

    Thing I’ve been most impressed with over this run is that I get the feeling we as supporters care more for this team than our own egos about our school/life. It has often not been the case. We wanted this squad to enjoy and understand what we as perhaps the most astute ( at least on this blog )get.

    They did and I’m so much more happy for them than us.

    Which makes Me very happy.

  20. choppack1 11/29/2008 at 8:22 PM #

    I think I’ve read somewhere that any team w/ a winning record is guaranteed one of the 9 slots. I think this makes us the odd man out since we’re the only team (I think) w/ a 6 win season.

    I just hope we get a bowl game this year. 4-4 regular season from this year is beyond expectations.

    Also, FYI – I think we won 4 ACC games in a row in 2002.

  21. gopack1975 11/29/2008 at 8:23 PM #

    I totally agree Alpha Wolf. RW will make his own mark, but PR is NC State’s greatest QB ever and also one of NCAA’s greatest QB’s.
    In saying that, I love watching RW play. He is like Barnette with more speed and much better knees. I hope he stays around, but MLB may come calling…if so we still have a beast waiting in the wings…Glennon.
    I think we have the best coach in the ACC. Gotta love TOB!

  22. LRM 11/29/2008 at 8:27 PM #

    According to the postgame today, State is the first ACC team to ever start 0-4 and finish 4-4.

    And Choppack, we did start 4-0 in 2002, then lost 3 in a row (GT, UVa, Md), then beat FSU to finish 5-3.

  23. choppack1 11/29/2008 at 8:41 PM #

    LRM – Yes, I remember that season well. What could have – and maybe should have been.

    Oh well, today’s game was very special and a big moment for a team and staff that needed to redeem itself after laying an egg in a similar situation last year. Pull for Vandy hard tonight folks.

  24. highstick 11/29/2008 at 8:48 PM #

    That was a “tongue in cheek” comment about “who is Phillip Rivers”! Granted, RW has not faced the quality of teams that PR did and suceededed in winning, but he darned sure impressed me after having thought “he might never play” again after getting knocked out in Columbia.

    Hope you people pulling for Clempson today may have had an unintended result by screwing us. 10 teams eligible with 9 slots doesn’t work!

  25. Clarksa 11/29/2008 at 9:18 PM #

    “I will never forget Rivers calling his own number twice to run up the middled against OSU on 3rd and 4th down when he had a great arm and State had TA.”

    I seem to remember an interview which stated Philip was supposed to call the sneak when he saw that formation and it worked 80% of the time…

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