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. VaWolf82 08/31/2011 at 7:50 AM #

    I think there will be 3 mega-conferences (SEC, Pac, and Big) dominating a 16-team playoff.

    The same thing that is driving expansion also works against a playoff…money or maybe control of money. The BCS schools/conferences control the BCS bowl games and the financial distribution. The NCAA controls all post-season tournaments and the distribution of money from those tournaments.

  2. LRM 08/31/2011 at 7:56 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).

    BJD, I see a similar setup to now, but with a plus-one type playoff (extra game, added revenue); one that includes several independents such as Texas, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, maybe even Florida State, with two at-large spots (to reduce legislative pressure) and the same lower-tier bowl system for everyone else. All that really changes is there will be an even greater, more defined seperation between the elite and everyone else.

    This is all very strategic. Like I’ve said before, there’s simply no room for tradition or cultural and geographical alliances anymore. In 10 years, there may even be a lesser need for the NCAA in college football — after all, they don’t govern the postseason now.

    What’s best for N.C. State is all I really care about. I’m not saying N.C. State is what’s best for the SEC; but I’m not convinced the ACC is what’s best for N.C. State.

  3. GAWolf 08/31/2011 at 8:16 AM #

    Those of you saying we will be mediocre in the SEC are forgetting that we are mediocre in the ACC and have been for 20 plus years in both sports. The extra cash and the fear of being left behind by expansion, whatever that ultimately means, should cause our administration to consider ALL options including a leap to the SEC now. It would be poor business to not consider all options in such a precarious time.

  4. nav 08/31/2011 at 9:04 AM #


    Watch this. Makes we want to be part of big boy fb. Not the scrub conf we are in now. I love the ACC but right now we are just a conf that is somewhere inbetween mid-major and major.

  5. coach13 08/31/2011 at 9:04 AM #

    I am a traditionalist, but I recognize tradition was put aside a while back. If you stay because of tradition, that is sticking your head in the sand. The ACC and BigEast are the weakest football conferences. The remnants of both WILL make the weakest mega-conference. If we don’t try to go IF and opportunity is there, well…that’s just cutting off our nose to spite our face.

    And basketball, the Big East is ahead of us currently with more “stronger” teams right now. The ACC brass is thoroughly banking on UNC and DUke alone. Better hope the Big East doesn’t consume the ACC instead of the other way around IF basketball is your entire arguement for staying.

  6. Lock 08/31/2011 at 10:06 AM #

    Dare to Nightmare.

    I accept I’m in the minority on this one. But to piss on the ACC, its history, and its BASKETBALL like this is something I can’t bring myself to stomach.

    But then, as much as I love football, I’ve always loved college basketball more.

    I don’t like it, but at least in this I see where SFN’s coming from.

  7. TruthBKnown Returns 08/31/2011 at 10:11 AM #

    I’m in the camp that NORMALLY would prefer to remain in the ACC for reasons of tradition, etc.

    I’m not there any more.

    First of all, I believe the ACC could get left behind with the upcoming conference expansions. I don’t want to be stuck in a weakened league that is on par with the MAC or something.

    Secondly, my feelings for the ACC are not what they used to be since we expanded to 12 teams. I didn’t really like FSU joining, but I learned to accept that. I’ve been learning to accept the 12 team league. But I would MUCH rather accept being in the SEC. The only think I ask is that we continue to play UNX, Duke (and maybe Wake, but I could let the Deacs go) whenever possible.

    I plan to send Debbie an email letting her know my feelings on this subject. I think of it like voting. If you don’t vote, you really can’t complain about who wins the election. I vote for the SEC.

    UPDATE: I used this post as a starting point, tweaked the wording a little, and sent it to Debbie Yow.

    If you’d prefer the SEC (or heck, even if you prefer to stay in the ACC), let Debbie Yow know your feelings on the matter.

  8. hoop 08/31/2011 at 10:35 AM #

    I sent Debbie an email yesterday with a link to the article. She wrote back that she read it and understands the logic.

    She said that just to be clear, no one from the SEC has contacted State either directly or indirectly.

    Now that does give her a small amount of wiggle room. SHE could have contacted THEM. But the mostly likely explanation is that we are not in communication with them about expansion.

    OH well.

  9. packalum44 08/31/2011 at 10:36 AM #

    Great conversation going on here. Too bad the current administration is doing SQUAT concerning this topic. This is truly a dream of a dream. Its inception.

  10. packalum44 08/31/2011 at 10:41 AM #

    Hoop we must have posted at the same time. Spot on though.

    This is above Yow’s pay grade in some respects, although she could be a key person in facilitating the process. In other words, it would hold weight if she went around drumming up support from big donors, Woodson and the BOT.

  11. BJD95 08/31/2011 at 10:49 AM #

    You don’t have to make the 16-team playoff into an NCAA-sanctioned event. To the contrary, this would be every bit as much an “insider’s club” as the current BCS – just with significantly fewer fingers in the pie (just 48, from the 3 mega-conferences), a different format, more games (15 in a 16-game playoff), and thus almost certainly more money.

    In the years when a remnant team makes the playoffs, maybe a small slice of the pie is carved out for them. But not much.

  12. BJD95 08/31/2011 at 10:51 AM #

    Very cool that DY read the article. Can somebody get it in front of Chancellor Woodson now? 🙂

  13. Wolfacct 08/31/2011 at 11:48 AM #

    Mike Leach says it best: “Reach for the stars, and land in the treetops, or reach for the treetops and land in the mud.” Staying in the ACC in order to win championships is like reaching for the treetops, with respect to college football. Better to aspire to the SEC. Remaining in the ACC, under the rule of the ‘Blues, is akin to being stuck in the mud.

  14. LRM 08/31/2011 at 11:57 AM #

    She said that just to be clear, no one from the SEC has contacted State either directly or indirectly.

    Now that does give her a small amount of wiggle room. SHE could have contacted THEM. But the mostly likely explanation is that we are not in communication with them about expansion.

    OH well.

    I wouldn’t put too much stock in this. The SEC isn’t going to expand unless it begins in Texas. Now that A&M is officially leaving the Big XII, this will start to move more quickly, and rumors will run rampant, and you can’t expect the AD to tell a fan in an email what the strategy is to preserve the ACC.

    I have no doubt that the ACC has already been in contact with Big East schools, ready to make the same mistake again.

  15. hoop 08/31/2011 at 12:13 PM #

    I wouldn’t expect Debbie to come out and tell a bold faced lie to a fan, even in an email. She could simply have ignored it, or given a PR type answer with tons of wiggle room. It’s specific enough for me to believe what she says. With her comments she casts a very wide net.

    “No one from the SEC has contacted State directly or indirectly.”

    See, she could have left out the word indirectly. So why include it? She could have said no one has contacted “ME”. But she says “State” instead. She’s casting a wide net there.

    Regardless, she does have wiggle room and I doubt State leaves the ACC. But at least she is well aware of the issue and we all know she will work in State’s best interest.

  16. Avid109 08/31/2011 at 12:31 PM #

    Even if the leaders at State aren’t really interested in joining the SEC, they ought to make a membership pitch. That would give more than a hint to the ACC that we’re not happy with the current state of the conference.

  17. VaWolf82 08/31/2011 at 12:46 PM #

    You don’t have to make the 16-team playoff into an NCAA-sanctioned event.

    You do unless you:
    – change the NCAA rules
    – withdraw from the NCAA

  18. BJD95 08/31/2011 at 1:11 PM #

    The BCS isn’t NCAA-sanctioned, is it? Does the playoff format trigger a different requirement?

  19. VaWolf82 08/31/2011 at 1:47 PM #
  20. ClassOf95 08/31/2011 at 5:06 PM #

    Sorry to pick on you but Avis109’s post (4 posts back) sums up the delusional thinking of most everybody here. We are as much to blame for the “current state of the conference” as anybody! More so than most.

    When we were looking for a basketball coach you all thought we could get Sean Miller or Billy Donovan or whoever because: we have great facilities, a large enthusiastic fanbase, and we are in the ACC. Now it’s football season and you want to jump ship because somehow the ACC just isnt good enough for us anymore. I’m amazed you all can continue to blissfully have it both ways and you can mentally block out the fact that WE ARE NOT GOOD when planning the future of our athletic department. Who’s fault is it that we have not won a fball championship since ’79 or men’s bball since ’87? Duke’s? Carolina’s? Swofford’s?

    But who am I to let facts get in the way of a nice little daydream.

  21. redcanine 08/31/2011 at 8:43 PM #

    Has anyone ever read “Who Moved My Cheese?”? Basically, it’s about those who resist change will get left in the dust.

    Who knows what the future holds for the Pack in the ACC? Third fiddle seems like the status quo (in the triangle at least). Does that satisfy any of us? Hell no. Let’s shake the cage…

  22. DHwolf 09/01/2011 at 12:19 AM #

    Good article. Reading it as well as the comments I just want to throw a few things out there…

    1. John Calipari coaches at Kentucky and not at NCSU because he knew then and knows now that he’s not capable of winning regularly against Roy or Mike.

    2. A&M leaving the big twelve b/c Texas is getting its own network is valid. Texas will turn into the same kind of overcompensated, under performing, undeserving waste as Notre Dame and the world will go on. That State fans… let’s scratch the idea of leaving the ACC. Duke and UNC have the basketball limelight they deserve right now… the same limelight that State can earn by getting as good as needed to beat the crap out of them year in and year out.

    3. VA politics is what controls UVA and VT, nothing else. VA politics are why VT is a member of the ACC and not Syracuse(for now anyway). Unless the SEC is going to add VT AND UVA, VT is and will remain a fellow ACC school that can send FSU on a trail of tears on any given Saturday.

    4. Expansion is what’s going to eventually bring about playoff so it’s unavoidable. That said if I were Swofford then I’d do three things…
    1) Add Syracuse, WVU, Pitt and Uconn.
    2) Divide the conference like so… North: Syracuse, BC, Pitt, Uconn, UVA, VT, UMD, WVU; South: NCSU, Wake, Duke, UNC, FSU, GT, UM, Clemson. 9 conference games, two rotating from opp division.
    3) Make a national movement to make fun of the B1G for having the audacity to call their conference divisions “Leaders” and “Legends.” Watch Alabama play Penn State and see if “Bruised” and “Broken” wouldn’t be more appropriate.

Leave a Reply