Focus on Football

We’ve got some solid football items to digest today.

  • Heather Dinich has ranked the ACC Bowl games in order of most entertaining.  The Wolfpack vs the Scarlet Knights is a strong second on the list.  It’s interesting a bowl that is not an official ACC Bowl and includes the ACC’s 10th team is ranked so highly.  It says a lot for how well the Wolfpack is playing.  (Click here)

NC State vs. Rutgers: Football fans should be more excited about this game than they probably are. It’s going to feature two interesting quarterbacks in Mike Teel and Russell Wilson, who have both been the difference for their respective teams down the stretch. For ACC fans who have spent the whole season watching standout defenses, this should be a refreshing game.


  • Speaking of bowl lists, you really have to give J.P. Giglio at the ACCNow a lot of credit for the way that he covered the evolving bowl landscape.  Giglio was clearly a step ahead of everyone all week.  Last Tuesday Giglio nailed the key domino in the ACC by reporting the Champs Bowl’s preference to take FSU, thereby opening the path to send UNC-CH to Charlotte; he was right almost a week early.  It was funny to watch other news outlets like WRAL follow Giglio’s reports and piggyback his analysis with stories that referred to “reports” of UNC-CH going to the Meineke Bowl but never citing the sourceof the ‘reports’.  If you read Giglio’s projections closely you would note that he did not report that UNC-CH was going to the Meineke Bowl; what he did was  (accurately) analyze the ACC’s Bowl situation based on his sources. In the end, Giglio correctly projected 31 of 34 bowls for a fantastic success rate.  (Click here)


  • Somehow Dr. Saturday’s fantastic piece about Russell Wilson “Resurrecting NC State” flew under the radar on the internet.  The following chart and quote are from the article.   (Click here)

Most of college football took one look at the debacle at South Carolina and wrote off the Pack as lame ducks for the year. I’m pretty sure I wondered at some point if they would score an offensive touchdown all season.


  • has a very interesting expose about Rutgers football.  It’s long and it’s detailed and it’s good.  It also reminds me of the enhanced of attention that is applied to burgeoning programs by local media looking to make a name for themselves with ‘investigative journalism’’   (Click here)

For a decade now, Rutgers University has pushed hard to become a college football powerhouse.  But in trying to play with the big boys, New Jersey’s state university picked up some of their bad habits.

Two weeks ago a special university commission concluded the athletics department had been allowed to operate like a rogue agent, making secret deals and spending recklessly with little oversight. An internal audit concluded much the same.

After months of revelations of hidden spending, no-bid contracts and growing funding problems with a costly stadium expansion project, Rutgers now is at a crossroad. Later this week, the university’s governing board is to meet over what to do about the stadium, and discuss how to rein in its athletics department.

Meanwhile, a six-month Star-Ledger investigation of Rutgers athletics — including a new review of public records the university fought to keep confidential — shows big-time college football has come at a greater price than the school has yet disclosed and still refuses to fully document.

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook

'08 Football General

73 Responses to Focus on Football

  1. Alpha Wolf 12/09/2008 at 10:12 AM #

    It also reminds me of the enhanced of attention that is applied to burgeoning programs by local media looking to make a name for themselves with ‘investigative journalism’’

    See: Jim Valvano, News and Observer, Claude Sitton.

    We’ve had that before, thanks very much. The problem with a lot of journalistic entities “tying to make a name for itself” is that they have agenda-driven reporting that often ventures into fiction.

    The N&O’s tactic was to print allegations on the front page, and when they were contradicted by the facts, the correction was put in the third section of the newspaper, near the obituaries.

    It created a legacy that TO THIS DAY NC STATE SUFFERS FROM.

    Sitton told me to my face that he “was going to get Valvano.” Add in some cowardly administrators and pointy-head athletics-hating academics, and there you go…and NC State hoops program that has spent nearly twenty years trying to recover.

    All so the N&O could “make a name for itself.”

  2. wufpup76 12/09/2008 at 10:21 AM #

    Related to the N&O’s favorite team:

    “The only thing teams can control is their record. UNC finished 8-4, “and a couple more points here and there, we could have been 11-1,” said Williams, who at safety has 58 tackles and two interceptions.”

    Classic Holes … “We’re BETTER than our record!!! I SWEAR!!! We didn’t REALLY lose those games – we beat ourselves!!!”


  3. TOBtime 12/09/2008 at 10:29 AM #

    I guess we were the “1” in the 11-1.

    Silly holes.

  4. harrisek 12/09/2008 at 10:42 AM #

    “But in trying to play with the big boys, New Jersey’s state university picked up some of their bad habits.”

    The “big boys” tend to be very organized, that’s why they are the big boys. They generally have their ducks in a row before starting improvement projects.

  5. BJD95 12/09/2008 at 10:42 AM #

    I made fun of the “but we’re 15 points away from being undefeated!” in our Gator Bowl year, so I have moral standing to laugh at the Holes here.

    Just as with State that year, UNC is also a handful of plays away from being 6-6.

  6. old13 12/09/2008 at 10:43 AM #

    While the N&O has certainly made a name for itself (but not the one they had hoped!), the stench it created (as opposed to “reported”) has hung over Wolfpack athletics for 20+ years because NCSU’s own “leadership” has done nothing to erase it. And the current administration/BOT/AD is no exception!

  7. Gene 12/09/2008 at 11:17 AM #

    There’s no comparing what’s happening at Rutgers to what happened at NCSU 20 years ago. Valvano had some issues with the program and probably should never have been basketball coach and AD, at the same time. The perception of impropriety, which lingered at NCSU because of the Shakelford’s and Washburn’s, plus a history of less than stellar graduation rates going back before Valvano was hired, helped create enough doubt about V’s integrity to substantiate any “authenticated” rumors in the minds of the public.

    Rutgers is facing a crisis in management of their overall athletics department. So far no one is claiming they are allowing players to play, who have no business meeting academic requirements or are involved in point shaving.

    The people running the athletics department are doing a bad job in making sure they can pay for their expansions. As much as a detest Lee, he’s managed our budget much better than the guys at Rutgers are doing. Say what you want about Les as a coach, he did a great job in getting the athletics budget straightened out as AD and for that we should all be greatful.

    Unlike NCSU, no Rutgers sports team has had a history of success, so there’s not a strong tie between the Rutger’s alumni and their association with their school’s athletics, which I think makes fundraising more difficult.

    At Rutgers the AD’s head will probably roll, but as long as they get their budget issues straightened out and can make sure they don’t overspend, this “scandal” should be behind them.

    I don’t think anyone’s going to take away scholarships from the football program or fire the football coach or put the university in a position for self-imposed sanctions or put it in probation for a couple of years.

  8. Alpha Wolf 12/09/2008 at 11:30 AM #

    Gene — you’re missing the point. It’s not comparing Rutgers to the old scandal. It’s comparing reporting-driven journalism versus agenda driven journalism. Me, I don’t want to have another newspaper “trying to make a name for itself” orbiting over the university. Whatever Valvano’s faults (and yes, he had some,) many of the accusations that were printed were designed to look as bad as they possibly could, sell papers, create press and make money — all this prior to quiet retractions.

    That the managing editor of the newspaper was on a vendetta and not shy about saying so to a then-twentysomething friend of his son is quite revealing to me.

  9. Gene 12/09/2008 at 11:39 AM #

    I get your point, Alpha Wolf. It’ll be interesting to see if Rutgers football program slips due to any financing related issues.

    I just think the damage control on this issue would be a lot easier, since you just need to sack who ever’s in charge of the athletics budget and maybe the AD and be more careful with the financing and demand more accountability in handing out contracts.

    I just can’t see it blowing up like it did at NCSU, even if the reporting is agenda driven, for one big reason. College sports in New Jersey, and the Northeast, in general, are not as big a deal as they are in North Carolina. Pro-sports, whether the New York teams or Philadelphia teams, dominate the sports discussions in New Jersey, with the Devils getting some attention in hockey.

    If a reporter really wanted to make a name for himself reporting on college sports, in New Jersey, he’s going to have to try super hard to make this into bigger than life scandal, in order to get anyone’s attention.

  10. SuperStuff 12/09/2008 at 12:01 PM #

    All people know is that the NCAA came to Raleigh during Valvano’s tenure. What they found was insignificant. When I point out that Valvano called them in to look over the program they always look surprised by that. When I tell them that the lead investigator wrote a letter telling Valvano that if he had a son that he wished he could play for him they are even more surprised. Does that sound like a bad person? Hell no, but the damn N&O & the university itself killed our basketball program.

    Sorry for the rant…. back to football. I think NC State vs. Rutgers is one of the best bowl match-ups and deserving of 2nd on her list.

  11. wufpup76 12/09/2008 at 12:02 PM #

    ” made fun of the “but we’re 15 points away from being undefeated!” in our Gator Bowl year, so I have moral standing to laugh at the Holes here.

    Just as with State that year, UNC is also a handful of plays away from being 6-6.”

    Very true … I would hope someone would take our fans (or in this case, a player or players) to task whenever we start playing the “what if???” game … It is what it is – no more, no less

    I’ve been guilty of it in the past, but bare no ill will towards anyone who rightfully points out the futility of dealing in hypotheticals – particularly when it comes to sports

    So, in this case I have no problem in having a hearty laugh at one of our arch rival player’s statements 🙂

  12. Girlfriend in a Coma 12/09/2008 at 12:21 PM #

    The Heels were only 32 points from beating us at their place this year.

  13. Clarksa 12/09/2008 at 12:39 PM #

    “Two weeks ago a special university commission concluded the athletics department had been allowed to operate like a rogue agent, making secret deals and spending recklessly with little oversight. An internal audit concluded much the same.”

    Sounds like they need a good dose of Todd Turner to get their house in order…and I believe he isn’t doing much of anything at the moment.

  14. RedTerror29 12/09/2008 at 12:45 PM #

    If the Scarlet Knights need an AD who can manage facility improvements well, I know a guy.

  15. Noah 12/09/2008 at 1:13 PM #

    A paper in New Jersey has written a series of articles that are well-sourced, sound in logic, and thorough. The articles detail mismanagement of funds at a public university. Yes, how awful. Truly disgraceful when the media reports things that are true. And being reported by special commissions. And are detailed in public records. Why can’t they just mind their own business when it comes to pesky little minor things like….laws…and tax dollars.

    I hate to tell you, but the Star-Ledger is one of the best papers on the east coast. They aren’t “trying to make a name for themselves.” They’re doing what ever paper ought to do — report the truth. I’d say that all of their allegations seem to be well-supported by the special commission.

    Whatever problems the N&O and NC State had during the end of Valvano’s run, they have nothing to do and in are in no way similar to what the Star-Ledger and Rutgers have done.

  16. WolftownVA81 12/09/2008 at 1:17 PM #

    I just don’t like how they imply that being big means your program is dirty.

  17. StateFans 12/09/2008 at 2:03 PM #

    Just to clarify — I agree with Noah’s comments here.

    I only commented about how success brings attention. I didn’t criticize the attention or the media’s work re: Rutgers.

  18. SEAT.5.F.2 12/09/2008 at 2:12 PM #

    And back to the teams that play in the Papa John’s…..

    Going back to more then the six game win streak looks impressive for RU. A 13-10 loss to Cincy and a four point loss to WVU in Morgantown is far better to the performance they displyed week 2 againt UNC.

    The QB looks like the real deal and they have the frisbie catching dawg’s to boot. TOB and Archer will be as straight forward as possible dealing with them,STOP THE RUN, play your gaps on D and expect the secondary to wrap up every thing in front of them.

    I really like the confidence of having TOB as a HC going into the Bowl season. Some might critique his success as a product of playing average competition but let us not forget that it wasn’t like he was bringing power house teams to bowls.

    The key is that none of his teams came into the games looking ragged from the lay off, and in just a short time while being at State we have seen just how profiencient he has been on bye weeks and Spring sessions (new offensive system).

  19. vtpackfan 12/09/2008 at 2:19 PM #

    “making secret deals and spending recklessly with little oversight.”

    Shocked that a NJ mode of operation would be villified.

  20. vtpackfan 12/09/2008 at 2:29 PM #

    The stat line for Teel for the Pitt game is..ah..different. 14 completions, six TD’s.

    One interesting thing about him is his yards rushing look miniscule, like sacks only. I imagine that he can move around the pocket well enough but atleast you won’t have to take someone out of coverage to shadow him. YOU ARE RU!!!

  21. Noah 12/09/2008 at 2:54 PM #

    I just don’t like how they imply that being big means your program is dirty.

    The Star-Ledger is implying that being dirty means your program is dirty.

  22. Gene 12/09/2008 at 2:59 PM #

    “I just don’t like how they imply that being big means your program is dirty.”

    I think it’s more what programs have to do to compete with the truly large “flagship” programs, who have incredibly deep pockets and doing this, while running a tight financial ship, isn’t always done.

    New Jersey has (had) been the stomping ground for Penn State’s recruiting machine for decades and with Penn State’s entry into the Big Ten, Michigan and Ohio State have expanded recruitment aggresively into Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

    A school like Rutgers, in order scale up in basketball and football, has to make sure they get top in-state talent. Unfortunately to do that they need the budget to compete with some of the wealthiest and best funded athletics departments around.

    NCSU has a couple of New Jersey stand outs on their roster – Brandon Costner and Dennis Horner – and had another commitment from another NJ standout, Werner, before Sendek resigned and he went to Florida.

  23. Jon 12/09/2008 at 3:11 PM #


    I am a Rutgers fan checking out this site.

    I am not familiar at all with the details of what happened with Valvano. However, I can assure all of you that, for the most part, the Ledger reports are a complete hackjob. The linked piece here spends several paragraphs explaining why they went to press with a story that was factually inaccurate. The entire story is a summary of their previous pieces, and is highly slanted and misleading.

    The internal audit is still up at the athletic department website. I urge anyone curious to take a look, because it is not very light, and Rutgers is not accused of any wrongdoing.

    In truth, what’s really happening at Rutgers is that there is a feud between a member of the board of governors and the athletic director. The former is trying to get the A.D. fired by leaking information to two writers at the Ledger.

  24. LRM 12/09/2008 at 3:20 PM #

    Get their AD fired, huh?

    Someone take notes, in case it works.

  25. ADVENTUROO 12/09/2008 at 3:21 PM #

    Not to hijact the topic….BUT Alhpa makes a VALID point. I have talked to media (all types) over the years and lamented that NCSU needs to “bury the hatchet” and give Jimmy V. credit for what he accomplished and also honor him for the FAVORABLE publicity that he brought to the University. When you watch the NCAA promos, WHO do you see? When you watch ESPN, who do you hear discussed? When they talk about BB savvy and coaching ability, whom do they compare X to?

    Having said all that, the media (in camera) state that the Faculty and Administration will NEVER give Jimmy V an honor. They state that the younger ones, in 1983, are the same ones in positions of power and control now. They were Brainwashed by WHAT they read…not the facts.

    There needs to be a boycott of NCSU athletics by every NCSU grad and/or fan that supports V….maybe THEN, they would listen….but I doubt it…

    I DO admit that we have had THREE stellar BB coaches and to raise V above the others would be difficult…BUT his national championship also transcended BB. The ’83 team gave hope to the underdog and the V-man’s fight against cancer (which COULD have been the direct result of stress….Sitton, please ask the Devil to turn the heat up in your furnace…) was also an inspiration.

    It is difficult to understand why Rutger’s has wall sized photos of the V man and we hardly have a mention of him….

    GOING TO ALABAM….Ain’t going to be no heebie jeebies (or Rutgers fans) hangin’ round….


Leave a Reply