Dare to Dream – Making the Pitch For NC State in the SEC

A few weeks ago, the college sports internets were all aflame with talk of SEC expansion and what it would mean for everyone left in its wake. Just when things calmed down a bit, Texas A&M is in the news again.

Whether anything is imminent with the SEC and the Aggies, it’s clear that Texas A&M isn’t going to lay back and quietly take the “most favored nation” status that the Big Twelve granted their arch-rival, in order to keep Texas in the fold. And they don’t really care who they piss off in the process.

Good for them.

It’s highly unlikely that the SEC goes to 13, even temporarily, without #14 slotting into place in short order (with 15 and 16 not far behind). In my humble opinion, whoever is that #14 will be in the last “first class” seat on the expansion train. You don’t want to be in the mad scramble for the two “coach” seats – or far worse, left behind at the airport. NC State needs to do everything it possibly can to be #14.

Please note that I’m not saying that NC State is the best fit, or if the SEC would even be interested. But I do think NC State brings something(s) to the table. We are not located in a state with a pre-existing SEC team (apparently an absolute prerequisite). We bring a large alumni base, and add the 10th largest state in the nation, population-wise (with two Top-30 TV markets). We also are a nice counterbalance to bring in along-side A&M – an engineering/technical land grant university, with an appetite for football who’s well-motivated to get out of the shadows. I think this is at least enough to get the SEC to hear our pitch. Now, here’s why we need to give it, post-haste.

First, dissenting voices may argue “this is all about football and money, and ignores history and tradition.” But at a higher level, this is how we need to look at things. College Football = Money. Money = Survival. More about the post-expansion landscape later. But we have no need to even feel the slightest bit apologetic about wanting to survive. And we should care as much about Carolina and Duke as they care about us.

Indeed, this is all about football, because that’s where the money is. But frankly, I don’t see how this hurts NC State basketball in any event (for the record, I would still support joining the SEC regardless). Right now, we play in a league where all that matters is Duke-Carolina. The rest of the league has been abyssmal since Gary Williams got complacent, and the powers-that-be are fine with the status quo. Yes, the ACC has great tradition – but that’s all. And it’s increasingly irrelevant in the modern college sports world.

Look at the coaching staff we have – it’s perfectly designed to be a respectable SEC middle-echelon program. One that goes to the NCAAT with reasonable regualarity, enough to not lead to embarrassing attendance in our way too big arena. And it does so at a budget-friendly salary, allowing us to focus long-term on what we should focus on – football.

As I’ve harped on many times – NC State has shit all over its brand identity, to the extent that the old one can never come back (IMHO). So, we need to be reborn as something else, unless we want to be an ACC also-ran forever. Joining the SEC gives us our one and only decent shot at this re-birth.

The second objection goes like this – if we can’t rule the ACC, wouldn’t we be destined to go 6-6 or worse every year? Hell no. We will never be Florida, Alabama, or LSU. I totally understand that. But why can’t we be South Carolina? Despite their woeful first 70+ years of existence, their last two decades or so would represent an all-time high water mark for NC State football. And we would have a key advantage in recruiting NC/VA/MD – the only Mid-Atlantic program that offers a chance to play in the SEC. We would also be the most urban-centered program in the league (other than Vandy – but come on, they hardly count). We would offer kids the chance to live in a real city, without the quasi-Confederate local climate that can’t ultimately be that attractive to a lot of young black athletes.

I would also much rather be ahead of the stampede to become teams 15 and 16. There’s no doubt that even the marginally intuitive athletic directors and chancellors will see the writing on the wall as they watch the SEC’s expansion press conference. Hey, I had better get in on this, or we’re totally fucked. Now you have a stampede for the last 2 SEC slots, and for teams out west, the next 4 Pac-16 slots (big advantage to teams in the Midwest, who can consider both options). Once you have a 16-team SEC, the Pac-12 will surely follow, swooping up the best remnants of the Big 12. Maybe the Big Ten (eventually, as I suspect that they will be reactive, not proactive) decides to poach 4 East Coast/ND teams as well. Then the three supers basically create a 16-team playoff system that they dominate, with the ACC/Big East remnants basically reduced to C-USA/Mountain West status (where they need to go 12-0 just to earn a low seed in the tourney).

Or maybe the remanats don’t factor at all into the new NFL model that the SEC and Pac-16 dictate. Who really needs them? Why share the money?

This makes sense to me. So the choice is “remnant or viable entity” – and I know what I want NC State to choose.

In closing, who makes the most sense for the last two SEC slots? Missouri and one of Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, or Maryland (DC television market). In 2013, the line-up could be this:

SEC West: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State

SEC East: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vandy, Kentucky, NC State, Missouri

I suspect teams will play a 9-game league schedule. Duke and Wake can be non-conference “2-for-1” series – which we will be able to schedule because all of a sudden it’s little old NC State that’s calling the shots. I could get used to saying that.

In the comments, feel free to play around with what you expect to cobble together from the ACC/Big East/C-USA remnants. Take a guess how big a disparity there will be in the TV money and fan interest.

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.

ACC AD & Department College Football

97 Responses to Dare to Dream – Making the Pitch For NC State in the SEC

  1. runwiththepack 08/30/2011 at 2:11 PM #


    Doesn’t Louisville play KY every year? FL plays FSU every year in football.

    Just as the NC legislature forced NCSU to play ECU in football, i believe that popular demand would make it happen in both football and basketball, even though UNC fans “say” they don’t care about playing NCSU.

  2. hoop 08/30/2011 at 2:13 PM #

    How refreshing to see someone with an open mind writing about this topic. It seems only a couple weeks ago people thought this idea was laughable.

    I agree the ACC ain’t what it used to be. The days when PE teachers snuck TVs into gym so students could watch the ACC tourney during school are over. What a pity. It’s best to look forward and NC State being in the SEC appears to be the best option by far to NC State.

  3. tvp1 08/30/2011 at 2:14 PM #

    From your lips to God’s ears, BJD.

  4. redsteel 08/30/2011 at 2:14 PM #

    This is my concern:

    Seven universities were charter members of the ACC: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest.

    I just don’t see Yow (or the current adminstration) leaving b/c of this.

  5. TOBtime 08/30/2011 at 2:14 PM #

    Thank you BJD95! You did a great job of putting down nearly every thought I have had on this subject and then some. We may not be the most well known in the state of NC from a branding perspective but we ARE a football force in this region (I did not say THE football force-not yet) and would bring a lot of TV’s. Our branding would take an immediate step up with entrance into the SEC. AS LRM pointed out, it is about football TV money plain and simple.

    We don’t know what’s going to happen in basketball for us but who cares? ESPN thinks the ACC consists of 2 teams anyway. There is only 1 team to beat in basketball in the SEC and they also wear blue. Billy just doesn’t have the tradition behind him in basketball. We may be just dreaming but it’s a dream with some merit.

  6. tjfoose1 08/30/2011 at 2:18 PM #

    Good argument. Swofford, and the times, killed the ACC that those of my generation grew up with.

    Better to look forward than behind.

    Biggest downside I see in distance to away games.

  7. whitefang 08/30/2011 at 2:28 PM #

    I agree 100%. We should be working on this behind the scenes now. If/when this conference shake-up continues the ACC will be as dead as Grandpa’s pecker.

  8. awsmothers 08/30/2011 at 2:36 PM #

    C’mon guys… That idea is rediculous! We’d get toe-dragged in the SEC-Football race for 25 years and I’ll NEVER be of the opinion that we are never going to be on the Cheatin’ Ass Tar Holes or Duke’s level in hoops again! We WILL kick their ass again on the hardwood on a regular basis like we did not as many years ago as the children want you to believe… We will own the ACC in FB, Basketball & Baseball in the not too distant future!!

  9. packhammer 08/30/2011 at 2:38 PM #

    I am surprised by my own 180 degree turn on this. I am totally for NC State going to the SEC. The ACC is not what it used to be. Time to do something diffent and move forward. I really do hope Yow will consider the idea seriously. Her first reaction was the same as mine and probably that of a lot of the old timers. I’m not sure there is any very good reason to stay. What does history get you?

  10. Hungwolf 08/30/2011 at 2:43 PM #

    The site’s point is well pointed out, but I disagree that we have lost our brand or that people do not know who we are. SEC plays crap basketball and ACC still king of bball. I hope the ACC stays strong and we stay in the ACC. SEC is top heavy in football, Vandy stinks and who wants to go to Arkansas or Mississippi to play? Tenn isn’t what it used to be. And there is nothing exciting about a trip to Columbia.

  11. coach13 08/30/2011 at 2:58 PM #

    If the status quo is kept, we will always be 2nd fiddle in basketball. Though we may get better under MG and compete regularly with those 2, we missed the bus (the past 20 years is the mega-sports-popularity period boom that I think has solidified the UNC-Duke rivalry for my lifetime). We were no where in site. We will never be looked at in that light again. Football is where we could elevate ourselves above our in state rivals, even without playing them anymore.

    I also think once the mega conference shift is over, the ACC-BE will be THE weakest of the new conferences. The last and next to last in FBS conferences merging to make…the least relevant mega-conference. I’d at least like to be in a football conference that matters.

    Probably the biggest obstacle we have for trying to be proactive and get our names in the perverbial pot is Debbie Yow. She is an ACC traditionalist. I don’t see her working in any fashion towards that goal, thus the idea is DOA. I like Debbie, glad she is our AD. UNTIL you see HER willing to look into the idea, there is absolutely nothing to get excited about…period.

  12. packof81 08/30/2011 at 3:08 PM #

    “SEC plays crap basketball …”



    Vandy knocked us out of the NCAA.

  13. Wolfacct 08/30/2011 at 3:23 PM #

    ^^I don’t know about Arkansas, but I hear there’s quite a bit of talent in Oxford, MS if you know what I mean.

  14. packbackr04 08/30/2011 at 3:52 PM #

    “I just don’t see Yow (or the current adminstration) leaving b/c of this.”

    because of an addtional $8mil/yr??…. for that kind of jack, Yow/Woodson would be fools not to pursue. as LRM and BJD have pointed out… this conference reallignment is about 1 thing and 1 thing only.

  15. whitefang 08/30/2011 at 3:52 PM #

    I guess people still can’t understand or believe that basketball is irrelevant in this chess game.

  16. redsteel 08/30/2011 at 3:55 PM #

    From Yow:

    “Our focus at State, as a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, continues to be how we can strengthen the conference. The best way for us to do that is to win more and continue to graduate student-athletes. I respect the SEC and spent nine years in that league as a basketball coach at Kentucky and at Florida, but I love being home and enjoy being part of the ACC.”

    Now I know she can only say so much at this point, but I think this is the way it plays out: We go down with the sinking ship. Boy, I hope I’m wrong.

  17. BloggerEsquire 08/30/2011 at 3:56 PM #

    So that’s part of the argument, but it seems like we’re only touching on the other part- assuming the SEC goes to 16, with two expansion teams being A&M and Missouri, who is the most attractive to the SEC out of:
    West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and NC State? The argument could be made NC State would be weakest addition of that bunch.

  18. runwiththepack 08/30/2011 at 4:05 PM #

    I think Yow would have to say something like that. She could really mean it, or she might just say it bec. she wants to keep her cards close.

    If Yow is interested in seeing NCSU in the SEC, then I don’t think she can dare express it right now. Look how much misery it caused TA&M to jump the gun on their SEC aspirations.

  19. El Scrotcho 08/30/2011 at 4:13 PM #

    I knee jerk hated this idea when it first reared it’s head, but you know what? I don’t recognize the ACC as it currently exists, and I don’t like it.

    And if we can’t go back? Why not move forward?

  20. State Fan 08/30/2011 at 4:31 PM #

    Why would we want to go to a 14-16 team league that’s tough in football when we haven’t won a championship in an easier 12-team league? Is extra money worth being an also-ran in perpetuity? Why is UNC in trouble? Chasing the pipe dream of football relevance with all of its temptations to cut corners. It’s not worth it. Why else is the informal motto of the SEC “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin'”?

  21. Flannel Avenger 08/30/2011 at 4:55 PM #

    I don’t see what we have to lose. In fact, the more we talk about it, maybe somebody in Greensboro will get the message that NC State fans feel… shall we say, unappreciated by the ACC. Worst case, maybe next basketball season they’ll tell the referees to make sure that there’s no appearance of any impropriety of any sort in any calls in any game where there’s a red team and a blue team.

  22. ClassOf95 08/30/2011 at 5:22 PM #

    Personally I think any North Carolinian that advocates any of our 4 teams leaving the ACC should be tarred, feathered, and dropped off at Tennessee border. But clearly that is just me around this brain trust.

  23. 61Packer 08/30/2011 at 5:29 PM #

    I think any of you guys who think NCSU would be a good fit for the SEC have lost it completely. Of the 12 ACC teams, NC State has gone longer without a league championship (1979) than the other 11 schools (Miami and BC won the Big East since that time).

    If State fans feel unappreciated by the rest of the league, maybe they need to do some soul-searching as to why the rest of the league doesn’t have a lot of respect for the Wolfpack anymore: we’ve been a league sports dormat for the past two decades. I’m not talking about just football and basketball, either.

    And if we’re struggling to win in the ACC, we’d get the hell beat out of us in the SEC. Football there would be a nightmare for us because after we were tattooed for much of the season, we’d see other SEC schools buying up all our tickets from disgruntled Wolfpack fans when they played us later in the season. Who can forget the ECU game, Amato’s last? I was here and felt like I was in Greenville that night.

    I also believe rivalries are the most important thing outside of winning. Who, besides maybe the Chickens, would be a real SEC rival for us? Yes, we might want to see Alabama, LSU, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee in here each season, but we’d be lucky to see more than one of them here over a 2 or 3-season stretch due to divisions and further expansion.

    Face it, BJD95- we’re not good enough for ANY respectible league to want us right now. Texas A&M hasn’t publically said it, but I bet you anything they’re leaving the Big XII because they’re tired of being under the shadow of Texas. A similar move by the Wolfpack would be for the same reason- if you can’t beat your bitter rival, then move away.

    I just don’t think we’re ever going to reach and maintain the unrealistic level of college football you folks dream about. We can do it again in basketball, which is what our sports tradition has been built on, and it’s what we ought to pursue instead of a grandiose gridiron delusion that would only kill lifelong rivalries and put us in a position similar to that of Vanderbilt.

  24. redcanine 08/30/2011 at 5:50 PM #

    ^No offense intended (new poster here), but who is our biggest rival? No UNC or Duke grads that I know consider us to be theirs.

    As an earlier poster noted, it is time for a change. The additional money and exposure couldn’t hurt. We can always schedule any number of in-state opponents to satisfy the old guard’s nostalgia of what the ACC used to be. We are not needed or wanted in Swofford’s conference and an invite into the SEC should be accepted.

  25. JEOH2 08/30/2011 at 6:00 PM #

    I appreciate the article, I remain against going to the SEC…and I am talking purely as a fan and not as someone who cares about the revenue…not only would it take 5-10 years to even hope to compete in FB but I am not intrigued to play Kentucky or Florida yearly in basketball (the sport I care more about)…

    I just don’t care about any team in the SEC, I have no passion for SEC Basketball and while SEC Football is entertaining, I watch it with no feelings whatsoever (except wondering how much the players make)…but I will say, if the choice is survive or be killed…survive always…

    btw, if we did go, we’d better buy out TOBs contract and find a new coach because there is no way O’Brien’s recruiting/character philosophy would work with competing in the SEC…

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