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 6:13 PM #

    JEOH2 says:
    “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…”

    I think Steve Spurrier is a similar type of coach to O’B, in terms of being ethical, as well as competent. Spurrier is happy in the SEC, apparently. That leads me to believe that O’B probably would be, also. He would have stayed in Boston, otherwise, I suppose.

    Furthermore, with UNC being exposed for the fraud they are, along with GT and Miami’s scandal trouble, who is the ACC to stick their nose up in the air at the SEC?

    Although I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, for reasons i have stated and don’t want to repeat, the ACC’s self-proclaimed moral superiority is shot all to hell now, it seems to me.

    Coach already recruits quite a bit in SEC country, so I don’t find it difficult to see coach O’B ok with bolting to the SEC.

  2. highstick 08/30/2011 at 6:19 PM #

    I try to keep my yap shut when you guys argue about this because everyone knows I’ve got an SEC slant. It’s obvious that I’m all in for the switch…As I discussed the other day, “it’ll be culture shock” to a big part of our fanbase. Anyone who thinks you’re gonna walk into the SEC and win quickly is sadly mistaken. Guys, those players are bigger, faster, there are more of them, and they will kick our royal butts for a while. But if we’ve got guts, we build the program to go “toe to toe”. Don’t think you’re gonna walk in and beat Kentucky and Vandy every year either…It don’t happen!!!

    Traditional rivalries, heck we can still play(and beat) the Holes. Clempson plays the Cocks, Jawja plays Tech, Free Shoes plays the Gators.. No big deal..Are we really excited about playing Wake and Duke each year?

    It’s really amazing me that so many of you are “on board”…Which really makes me feel good. The old ACC is gone and it’s been gone for a while. There’s no reason not to make the move.

    With regards to the 75,000 seat stadium, yep, it’s not needed right now, but 5 years from now, you’ll be wanting 80,000..Bank on it!!

    SEC football will change your Saturdays!

    We’re dead and you can bring in Syracuse, UConn and any other NE team and it will not save the ACC. Let the Holes have their little wine and cheese league and let’s go play with the big boys.

  3. highstick 08/30/2011 at 6:26 PM #

    With regards to Spurrier and TOB, different personalities, but both run quality ethical programs. It’s not a total trade off which some think. I’m a member of both the Wolfpack and Gamecock Clubs and I actually get more info out of the Gamecock Club about what a fan and a booster can do on a regular basis. Sorta that “institutional control” thing that UNC doesn’t have…

    Spurrier’s a character, but don’t believe for a minute that he doesn’t try to run a clean program.

    As much as I’m a basketball fan too, we’ll never see the return of where we were as an ACC power when the conference is dominated and ruled by a Swofford, Roy, and K or whoever else is the successor. We “dug that hole for ourselves” and like it or not, our admin and the BOG “sunk us” forever after V left. I have no desire to stand around and be the laughing stock of ACC basketball anymore.

  4. Pack78 08/30/2011 at 6:41 PM #

    Randy Woodson studied at Arkansas and worked at LSU prior to moving to Purdue; he understands football-centric collegiate sports programs. Debbie Yow strikes me as a forward-thinking proactive sort that (lest we forget) already has negative experiences with the unx-centric BOG (let’s investigate all programs!). I would bet that these two would be happy to talk ‘what if’ with the SEC; if they haven’t already…

  5. Wolfacct 08/30/2011 at 7:03 PM #

    Last week, College Sports Playbook interviewed Ron Wellman, the Wake Forest AD. When asked about WFU’s commitment to the ACC and conference realignments, he said almost the exact same thing that DY said. I call it “AD speak.” Of course, Wake is in an entirely different situation than NCSU. WFU is sorta like Iowa State of the Big 12 … if the conference dissolves, what other conference would want you? Having said that, I trust that DY and Woodson are doing what is best for NCSU, tradition and founding member be damned.

  6. whitefang 08/30/2011 at 7:16 PM #

    61, with all due respect I think you are missing the point.
    First it is about TV market NOT being “good enough.” Missouri “good enough”? Texas A&M has one Big 12 title although they have not been in that league as long of course. Still they haven’t been exactly at the top of their league regularly either.
    And as far as bitter rivals, we have been beating ours in recent years so I do not see us leaving for that reason.
    But if this thing keeps moving we will be relegated to “Mountain Athletic” status.
    The ACC, like spring break at 53 years old, is just going to be a pleasant memory. We don’t need to hang around for nostalgia reasons.

  7. BJD95 08/30/2011 at 7:18 PM #

    We will play Tennessee in the kickoff classic next year, and I fully expect TOB’s charges to acquit themselves well.

    And if the SEC and Pac-16 really do make the power play that I expect, it doesn’t matter whether we are getting our teeth in or not. At least we would be in the game. The ACC remnants will not, and they will be in a truly hopeless situation.

    Again, explain to me why we couldn’t be South Carolina, with the right vision and leadership. And why that wouldn’t be a homerun result for NC State.

    Somebody said it best a few comments upstream – since we can’t go back, why not move forward?

  8. Primewolf 08/30/2011 at 8:13 PM #

    Trying to get into the SEC is a no lose situation.

    If we get in the conference, we will get much needed money flows to help build our athletic program. Lack thereof has been a big problem forever for us. All of our programs will get better. We will be turning our back on an unappreciating conference and commissioner.We will be able to chuckle at how the ACC unfolds. We will see attendance at our football games grow the 75,000 within 5 years (assuming we expand). that will raise additional cash.

    If we don’t get in the conference, we will be no worst off that if we had done nothing. We will be seen as trying to take action instead of getting it, like we have for over 20 years.

    Let Debbie and Chancellor know of your views on this. Time is wasting.

  9. sundropdrinker13 08/30/2011 at 8:25 PM #

    As to “We can’t leave because we were one of the founding members of the ACC”, USC left, so why can’t we? Some people are worried about the recruiting. A lot of the kids we go after want to go to a SEC school, and for valid reasons. Some of those kids actually have us on their lists, but want to go the SEC route. So if we were in the SEC, that alone would have more sway over recruits for us. Personally, I would rather be middle-tier in the SEC than 2nd or 3rd(or even 1st, seeing the lack of respect VT gets for winning the ACC championship, and then losing the bowl game) in the ACC. At least the middle-tier SEC teams get some respect.

    Tradition is done, and has been done for awhile now. The way kids change high schools these days, most of them don’t know anything about tradition. I’m also seeing kids that grow up fans of certain schools, then play at another college. Someone mentioned that in order to be relevant and/or appreciated we need to win. Not true. We did “ok” under Sendek. We were still not appreciated. Even with all of Philip Rivers’ success, still not appreciated outside of State. SO throw that argument about winning gets you appreciation.

    A move to the SEC is the BEST thing for State. An automatic image booster. We are already set for the next stage of football success-wise in the ACC. However, that’s not saying much.

  10. State Fan 08/30/2011 at 8:28 PM #

    Who wants to be like South Carolina? They left the ACC in a huff over basketball and haven’t done anything since. I would rather be with what’s left over from the Big East than be like Kentucky in football and Ole Miss in basketball in the SEC.

  11. blpack 08/30/2011 at 8:31 PM #

    I would not have given this much thought a few months ago. Now it should be on the table. What type of school do we want to be? We will go forward and I believe the leadership will insist on doing things the right way regardless of conference affiliation. The question remaining is are we a football or basketball school? One will reign, can’t serve two masters. Hoops: we stay and position ourselves for when Roy and K retire. Could be sooner than we think. Sure they will hire capable replacements, but we know it won’t be the same and that is our chance to leap frog. Football: jump conferences and shoot for the stars with the big boys. We will not be FL or AL, but we can compete and not be another Vandy on the gridiron.

  12. CaptainCraptacular 08/30/2011 at 8:32 PM #

    Sure we could be South Carolina, but as mentioned before – I don’t know what is it we bring the SEC in terms of increased revenue for their existing membership. I know that isn’t the point of the piece, but its all moot fantasy if we don’t increase their brand value and TV contract more than they lose by us taking up a 1/14 slice of the pie. And what was applicable for SC in 1991 doesn’t apply today. It was about getting to 12 for the SECCG.

    Also – what hasn’t been mentioned that I saw: Given their legal stance with A&M, we’d likely have to exit the ACC before they’d touch us. I know we wouldn’t do such a thing without an almost ironclad backchannel invite guarantee, but that would be some nerve racking hours/days after leaving waiting for the official invite. Since no official guarantee could be given, it would be all too easy for some last minute maneuvering to take place and leave us homeless.

    But regardless of all that, I think a more realistic case study for our long term survival is the ACC getting to 16 (a strong 16) first and locking up a new competitive contract. Hopefully the ACC office and the ADs are finalizing plans now and not sitting around waiting for the first domino to fall to react.

  13. Wolf74 08/30/2011 at 8:42 PM #

    I would be all for the Pack going to the SEC. Honestly I have felt that way for years. The ACC is all blue. Any other conference would have run Swofford out of town years ago and told the two true blue basketball schools to move the h*ll out of the way. Their favored status in the ACC is holding back the entire conference.

  14. nova_pack 08/30/2011 at 8:56 PM #

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned this, but I don’t think we’re a good match for the SEC simply due to academics. To be blunt, outside of Florida and Vanderbilt, the SEC is full of 2nd tier educational institutions and I think NC State should continue to associate with its academic peers. One of the benefits of competing in the ACC is the positive association garnered by going up against schools with highly regarded academic reputations. If we go to the SEC, we will lose that and that is more important to me than playing in a conference where many of the schools are viewed as a means for fielding a football team.

  15. leewolf 08/30/2011 at 9:13 PM #

    I think if the SEC starts making noises about going to 14, Yow/Woodson need to be on the phone but quietly.

    Here is the only thing about the mega conference predictions, with Texas now setup with the LHN, do they still consider a move? If they aren’t willing to do so, then who does the Pac-16 get? Oklahoma isn’t going anywhere without Texas, Oklahoma State appears unwilling to go anywhere without Oklahoma (at least at the current time). Baylor and Iowa State won’t move because they have nowhere to go and Texas Tech isn’t really being talked about except as a piece to move with Texas or A&M. KU and KSU are tied together and are basically either getting swept up with some of the powers or left behind in some weird MWC hybrid. On top of the the reasons outlined above, it is questionable whether any of Baylor, Iowa State, KU, KSU, and Texas Tech are attractive enough alone to be scooped up and leave Texas in a lurch without the conference they need to provide programming for their network.

    Texas is the linchpin in all of this escalating past the SEC going to 14. Until someone, be that Big Ten, SEC, or Pac-12, can get Texas on the move, I don’t see the Big 12 breaking up. Even if the SEC goes to 16 adding let’s say Missouri as their 8th Western team, the Big 12 replaces those two with BYU and Air Force and the Texas cash cow keeps chugging along.

  16. Tampa-Pack 08/30/2011 at 10:05 PM #

    I’m not even sure the ACC is viewed as “academically superior” anymore. Especially with the UNC scandal(s). That coupled along with FSU and Miami (both great for students, but not very many “student athletes”, I think the conference has lost that perception as well. Outside of the triangle, you never really hear anything about the ACC academics.

    One thing we had was we were a “clean conference”, but again UNC, GT, and Miami have proven that to be untrue as well – at least with respect to them (but that’s also 3/12 or 1/4 of the conference).

    Once you leave the the ACC footprint, the conference, outside of some basketball history and the blues, doesn’t really mean much anymore. Its sad, but true. Like someone said above, no one is stopping their day anymore to watch the ACC basketball tournament, and most people, outside of Alumni, could give a squat about ACC football – and that’s how it is now. Lose a team or 2 to the SEC/B10/11/12 and we will become C-USA (or worse).

  17. BJD95 08/30/2011 at 10:21 PM #

    I think we fit in better apart from the “nose in the air” crowd (looking at UNC, UVA, and Duke) with their delusions of pseudo-Ivy grandeur. Most of the SEC schools are very much like us – large state universities, many of them land grant and with an educational mission to serve their citizens rather than to puff up their meaningless magazine rankings.

  18. Pack1998 08/30/2011 at 10:28 PM #

    I’m a fan. Good topic and good reasons . . . if you use the logic of one school per state than it makes a ton of sense. UNC hurt themselves with the NCAA issues and of course it is hard to see UNC in a conference that does not include Duke.

    Plus, we offer a ton to SEC outside of the obvious new TV market. We have the highest enrollment, most gradautes, and a top alumni donation base.

    If the opportunity opens for SEC you have to jump on it. All upside and known risk. Staying in the ACC only offers risk . . . An ACC with a bunch of schools from the northeast does not excite me. You think I’m driving to Pittsburgh? You ain’t either.

    You have to be in the conversation to join the SEC!!!

    As a fan, how excited would you be for a football schedule that included Alabama, Florida, Tennesse, and Georgia . . . you’ll travel and you will make them add seats to Carter-Finley. Hell, we went ape $hit for a bunch of 4-3 ACC teams with Rivers and Amato.

  19. highstick 08/30/2011 at 10:32 PM #

    2nd tier academic institutions is why South Carolina has the top ranked international business school in the US..BS on the academics, that’s crap invented by the arrogant Tarholes, Dukies, and Yahoos…except for maybe about Auburn…They do have an issue.

    A recent article said both Florida and Georgia were mory “ivy” than UnC..and it’s true!

  20. ClassOf95 08/30/2011 at 10:42 PM #

    I have to laugh to keep from crying. Am I the only one that sees that we, our school, NC State is the poster child for ACC mediocrity?! People on here are bitching about how our conference has become second rate. Guess what, it could be argued that we led the downward spiral. And now we have to get out because of the conference’s lack of success?! This is a joke of a conversation. Jesus. Even Wake Forest won a football title. Where have we been outside of cross country and occasionally golf and wrestling? (Queue the crickets.) I love my school and my teams but I am also smart enough to see where we have been for 20+ years. Wake up and smell what you’ve been shoveling. If the SEC takes Florida State, so hairy ass what? Will the sun not come up tomorrow?

  21. packalum44 08/30/2011 at 10:56 PM #

    BJD, hell of an opinion piece you just wrote. I mean, fantastic. Dynamite. I’m sold.

    After skimming through the comments, I did not encounter anyone who may have inside information on what the powers at be think of this opportunity that presents itself. Does no one have know what Debbie, the BOT or Woodson’s stance is on the topic?

    My sense is, our leadership won’t pursue this. I would encourage those with clout to make a phone call and those without any to send an email. It would not hurt for Woodson, the BOT and/or Debbie to receive a few hundred supportive emails. I mean hell, I don’t know that they have seriously considered this guys. If I’m wrong, pray tell.

  22. packalum44 08/30/2011 at 10:59 PM #

    “If the SEC takes Florida State, so hairy ass what?”

    If a wealthy alumnus donated $8 million a year in perpetuity to our alma mater, I might get turned on. That’s good money for a school as broke as ours (see our endowment). That is the minimum amount of money we would see from this move. Not to mention the other motives and potential outcomes, MOST of which are positive. It is a big deal for your school.

    Strategic thinking here.

  23. newt 08/31/2011 at 12:20 AM #

    Yow coached at Florida.

    I remember when the N&O’s eyes were opened. They sponsored the scoreboard at the RBC and were booed out of the arena every time the scoreboard was announced. I think in the coming days, the ACC will be surprised at how game NC State fans are to walk away.

  24. Astral Rain 08/31/2011 at 5:33 AM #

    One other possibility: what happens if the NCAA collapses, which I think is quite possible.

    They’ll need 4 superconferences.

    The Pac-huge, SEC, and Big-huge will be 3, they’ll have one for the Northeast.

    the Northeast one will be the weak sister, but it will still get a playoff spot. We might have an easier time winning a national championship that way one day then fighting through the SEC.

    I guess the question is do we want money or championships, or would that championship mean anything if it’s “just the ACC”

    Also, VT has built up a pretty good program despite being “just an ACC school” Honestly, I kinda aspire to be Virginia Tech in terms of our football program.

    Of course, I think VT also bolts if given the chance, but a VT bolt means NC has to follow in some form, and it will be likely either US or a package with UNC if they go 18.

  25. BJD95 08/31/2011 at 7:19 AM #

    I think there will be 3 mega-conferences (SEC, Pac, and Big) dominating a 16-team playoff. The remnants MAY be afforded the chance to compete for ONE low seed out of 16, like the non-BCS schools in the current system.

    So, it’s a question of going 8-4 in the SEC, or 12-0 among the remnants (and pray for an invite).

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