Conference Title Drought

With the heat wave that has been in the Raleigh area as well as most places in the Southeast over the last week or so, it brought up another area where a major drought is occurring. Now that baseball is down to the College World Series, all conference tournaments have been completed in all sports for the 2010-2011 academic year. We can now include the academic year with previous years.

In a recent interview with NC State’s athletic director Debbie Yow, Pack Pride touched on several topics, including asking the following question:

Are there any plans to introduce any other sports at NC State such as lacrosse, field hockey, or maybe ice hockey?

After she said that no new sports are being added, she included this interesting quote:

In my office we refer to the Big Four and they are football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and baseball. They need to be taken care of. They are at the top of the list in terms of meeting needs and wants.

Yow’s statement parallels my beliefs for a long time. These are the four revenue sports. I know that in reality football and men’s basketball are THE revenue sports, but women’s basketball and baseball are also revenue sports. In some places, they are major revenue sports. How much money does Tennessee women’s basketball or LSU baseball generate? Millions of dollars.

If these are the four most important sports in our athletic director’s eyes, then we need to do some analysis on our success (or lack of) in these sports. The main questions I am curious about are the following:

1. What years and who should I use to begin this analysis?
2. How do we compare with the other ACC schools in terms of number of conference titles in the four sports?
3. How do we compare with the other BCS schools in terms of number of conference titles in the four sports?
4. Who has the most conference titles?
5. Who has the least conference titles?

Let’s answer the questions.

1. What years and who should I use to begin this analysis?

This can be very arbritary and can change the outcome of the analysis. I have chosen the beginning of Lee Fowler’s tenure as athletic director. The academic year of 2000-2001 is where this analysis begins. What schools to use was a bit easier. I only have interest in comparing like schools, so I will only look at BCS schools.

Note: Conference champions are considered to be the winner of the conference tournament or the football championship game. For the Pac-10, Big 10, and Big East, since they do not have a football championship game, any school that had a share of the conference title was awarded as much.

2. How do we compare with the other ACC schools in terms of number of conference titles in the four sports?

Here are the number of conference titles for each ACC school since 2000-01.

Note: The number of titles for Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech include titles won in both the Big East and ACC, as they have been in both conferences during the time span of the analysis.

3. How do we compare with the other BCS schools in terms of number of conference titles in the four sports?

The average number of conference titles in the four major sports since 2000-2001 per BCS team is 4.22. 26 schools won at least 5 conference titles, while 15 schools won no more than one conference title during that time span.

Obviously, we are below the mean and are at the bottom of the list. Are there any other teams? That is investigated in another question.

4. Who has the most conference titles?

The team that has won the most conference titles for this analysis has been in the news much of the past month, albeit with very negative media attention. Ohio State has won 19 conference titles. They are the only BCS school that has won at least one conference title in each of the four sports, impressively winning at least four titles in each sport (7 in football). Of the schools that have won double digits worth of conference titles, all had won in at least 3 sports, except for Duke, who has won 14 titles between just men’s and women’s basketball. Here is a list of the top six schools:

5. Who has the least conference titles?

We can see in the table showing the ACC schools that NC State has won 0 conference titles. Are there any other schools that have not won any conference titles in that time span? Yes, there are 3 other schools. They are:

    Texas Tech
    South Florida

Each of these schools does have a caveat that the Wolfpack doesn’t. Arkansas has won two division football titles while Texas Tech has won one. And South Florida didn’t join the Big East until 2005.

NC State doesn’t have any such caveats.

Here is a list of the schools that have won no more than one conference title in this time span:

So what are the takeaways from this, besides that the Wolfpack are definitely title starved? While there are some universities that have a high number of titles, the majority of schools have somewhere between 2 and 7. This indicates that yearly revenue sport championships are not expected at the overwhelming majority of BCS schools; however, expecting to have some championship hardware in 11 years is a Mendoza line that should be attainable.

As we discussed in question 5, we are at the bottom of the list, with no caveats…the ONLY school without a caveat. It is no stretch to say that the Wolfpack has been the least successful athletic program in terms of conference championships in the four revenue sports since 2000-2001.

Here is one final statistic and comment:

As discussed a couple of years ago:

[since] the beginning of the 1992-1993 season there is one full-time BCS school that has not won a single conference title in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball or baseball:

NC State

This drought has now spanned four athletic directors. The last revenue conference title was won under Todd Turner. No revenue conference titles were won under Les Robinson nor Lee Fowler. Debbie Yow has only been director for one year, but it is her goal, and Wolfpack Nation’s goal, to end this truly embarrasing drought. Yow seems to be on the right track to get this addressed. The administration and fanbase hope this ends in the 2011-2012 year.

Note: I have the other BCS conferences’ tables of conference titles from 2000-2001 to the present below for comparison.

About ruffles31

1996 NC State graduate who is still waiting on his first ACC conference championship in any of the four main revenue sports (football, men's basketball, women's basketball, and baseball) since enrolling. All I want is a ACC Champions t-shirt.

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30 Responses to Conference Title Drought

  1. Plz2BStateFan 06/14/2011 at 6:37 AM #

    Its things like this that bring out the conspiracy theorist in me. How is this even possible for such a long period of time?

  2. albunde6 06/14/2011 at 7:14 AM #

    The wrong coaches recruit the wrong players. “You have horses, what you need are thoroughbreds”. We have failed to win the state of NC in recruiting. If you don’t win your state, then you will not win titles.

  3. OldWuf 06/14/2011 at 7:19 AM #

    The truth hurts

  4. OldWuf 06/14/2011 at 7:22 AM #

    I don’t think we have a championship in a non-revenue sport during that time, unless bass fishing or an individual golf championship count.

  5. GAWolf 06/14/2011 at 7:47 AM #

    We’re Texas Tech…..that’s about right, sadly.

  6. Master 06/14/2011 at 7:49 AM #

    If the point of this exercise was to prove how poorly we’ve done, it wasn’t necessary unless it was to poor salt in the wound.

  7. Wulfpack 06/14/2011 at 7:54 AM #

    ^I disagree. It’s an excellent “here’s exactly where we stand” analysis that many Wolfpackers gloss over. We have A LOT of ground to make up.

  8. PackHowler 06/14/2011 at 7:58 AM #

    ^, both the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams have been very successful during that span. The Men have won six titles (01, 02, 03, 04, 06, 09) and the Women have won four titles (00, 01, 02, 06).

    Gymnastics regularly competes in the NCAAs (made regionals 10 of the 11 years sampled) and has won two EAGL titles (a gymnastics only conference also home to ACC members UNC and UMD). They average over 1,500-2,000 spectators per meet, which is probably comparable to baseball for what it’s worth. (Of course, there are also much fewer gymnastics meets than baseball games per year.)

    I feel like softball and wrestling have also each won a single ACC title during that time.

    Note that I’m not trying to justify our shoddy performance in the aforementioned Big Four in recent years, just saying the facts. If the Big Four (read: Men’s Basketball) can pick it up, start selling more tickets, and making more money, the effects will be felt throughout the whole of the athletics programs.

  9. ganymebe 06/14/2011 at 8:03 AM #

    It’s funny to see what constitutes a revenue sport as you move around the country. I live out in Utah now and the University of Utah has a women’s gymnastics team that is always in the top 5 in the country. For a big meet, they will draw 15,000+ spectators. For championships, it gets even bigger.

    It really does get old showing up at the bottom of almost any set of sports statistics. I hope our new AD can reshape our programs.

  10. TOBtime 06/14/2011 at 9:08 AM #

    Good points in the analysis. MOST SEC baseball stadiums rival that of Double or Triple-A farm teams. We blew a major chance when we let Doak become what it is instead of what it should have become. And I DO like the field. However, it isn’t representative of a flagship state university in D-1 baseball. We came oh, so close last year in Greensboro to winning a conference championship. It’s time to get over that hump and if it means the bus driver gets replace so be it.

  11. newt 06/14/2011 at 9:09 AM #

    Speaking of gymnastics, that’s one of our few bright spots. We have won some EAGL championships I believe. Mark Stevenson is one of the best coaches NC State has ever had in any sport.

  12. blpack 06/14/2011 at 9:30 AM #

    We are still paying for Turner and Monteith de-emphasizing athletics. Their actions should have told us their plans. We have a lot to do to catch up. However it is possible, just going to take some time.

  13. Sam92 06/14/2011 at 9:36 AM #

    good article, although very sobering – we have sometimes asked on this site what it would take for the ACC to rise to the level of the other power conferences — just improving NCSU’s performance would go along way toward raising the entire conference

  14. bradleyb123 06/14/2011 at 9:46 AM #

    Seems like we had a football season (during the FSU glory years) where we finished second to the Noles in the conference (back when we had nine teams). If I’m remembering that correctly, then that was a conference title if not for the ACC inviting a perennial football power to join the league just before it.

    In football, we’ve had VT and FSU dominating the championships. In men’s basketball, it’s been Carolina and Duke (and we’ve played for a handful of championships over the years, too). Haven’t followed women’s basketball as closely, but we’ve also been behind Carolina and Duke in that sport.

    But it’s true. We haven’t had many championship caliber teams. We’ve had some “pretty good” teams that could have won some championships with a little luck. Even HWSNBN should have won a championship for us. We built a 15 point lead against Duke that game, and then Reddick simply would not miss after Duke fell behind. That’s the heart of a champion winning them a championship. I still believe with a different coach, we’d have bagged that one. That particular coach of ours would never call a time out until our leads and momentum had left the building. But it is what it is. We’ve needed better “management” (administration), better AD’s, better coaches, and better “horses” on the teams. There’s really no magic bullet. But this is why I’m more optimistic than I have been since the late 80’s right now. I believe we have an administration that will push coaches to perform. They will hire the best coaches we can get, and the coaches we have seem to be bringing in some horses now. TOB could improve recruiting a little, but he seems to be doing a pretty good job of turning lower-rated players into horses. I finally feel pretty good about our chances going forward.

  15. bradleyb123 06/14/2011 at 9:51 AM #

    In some cases, we’ve been a victim of bad timing. I still believe the Wake Forest team that won a football championship was just a “pretty good” team that happened to be pretty good when the rest of the league was not. If that had been one of Amato’s good years with Rivers, we’d have hoisted that trophy, not Wake. Unfortunately, during that 11-win season, we had great Maryland, FSU and GT teams to contend with. That Wake Forest championship team (wasn’t it 2003?) would have been mauled in the conference in our 11-win season.

    But again, it is what it is. I’m not trying to say we should have won championships. But we have had a few teams that were every bit as good or better than some other teams that have won championships. We just had those teams at times when there were other teams that were even better. Bad timing.

  16. hoop 06/14/2011 at 10:16 AM #


    FSU’s first year in the ACC was 1992. They did win the ACC title that year and finished 2nd in the nation. The team that finished second in the ACC that year was none other than NC State. We would have won an ACC title in 1992 if not for FSU. Dangit.

  17. BJD95 06/14/2011 at 10:27 AM #

    We suck by pretty much any possible metric. Quantitatively and qualitatively. To think otherwise is to be delusional.

    Of course, we’re also the kind of athletic department that would hire (and then not fire for an insane length of time) people like Todd Turner, Les Robinson, Mike O’Cain, Lee Fowler, Chuck Amato, and Sidney Lowe. Find any other high D-1 school who has a personnel record that freaking shitty.

    I have always believed (and still do) that baseball and womens’ hoops are their own category – “high profile non-revenue” sports. I don’t believe any baseball or womens’ hoops team in the ACC makes or is remotely capable of making a profit. But they certainly have a higher profile than other non-revs. So they should have elevated status, but are in no way equivalent to mens’ hoops and football.

  18. tjfoose1 06/14/2011 at 11:22 AM #

    One of only 4 schools without a title, and the only one without a caveat?

    So we are the nation’s best at being the worst. Excellent.

  19. HPWolf 06/14/2011 at 11:33 AM #

    This is like reminding your neighbor that his wife is fat and ugly. He already knows.

    Thanks ruffles

  20. GAWolf 06/14/2011 at 12:04 PM #

    Man… I hope I don’t live beside HPWolf.

  21. travelwolf 06/14/2011 at 1:06 PM #

    at least we are #1 in something:(

  22. HPWolf 06/14/2011 at 5:35 PM #

    It really is good work ruffles. It just hurts to see it.

    Our two NCAA titles in mens BB is impressive even if it has been decades ago. We just need one good year to put us back on the map and I have to say I feel really good about our head coaches in football, mens and womens BB and even mens soccer.

    Next year in Football is shaping up to be one hell of a team. It could be our year with MG as a senior QB, veteran oline and improving defence. ACC title?

  23. mak4dpak 06/14/2011 at 6:16 PM #

    Let’s trust that a bright future for our athletic teams are ahead, especially in the major sports. We will all know if Debbie Yow, backs what she talks. I believe she will, as I have corresponded with her by email, on my concerns, and she has responded to me in a quite professional manner. That impressed me. Again I believe better days for State Fans Nation are ahead, and we will be able to turn alot of our negativity into positive comments. Go Pack!

  24. john of sparta 06/14/2011 at 6:53 PM #

    +1 GaWolf. TT and NCSU are tied in the nation’s eyes.

  25. 87stategrad 06/14/2011 at 6:58 PM #

    Maybe this goes back to that generational split again. I grew up as a huge State fan in the 60’s and 70’s. I lived in Greensboro in ’74 and went to the Coliseum for the first National Championship. I was a student for the ’83 Championship. THAT is my image of NC State athletics. I feel like I’ve just been in a bad dream since 1990, and any minute now I’m going to wake up and it will be back to normal.

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