A Brief History of Shutouts and Blowouts

Today’s 34-0 loss to Florida State was the 3rd time NC State has been shutout under Tom O’Brien. State was also shutout in back-to-back games, the opening game of the 2008 season 34-0 to South Carolina and the season finale in 2007 was a 37-0 loss to Maryland. I’m sure you’ve noticed that all 3 of those games were blowouts as well. So here’s some quick and dirty numbers I threw together between plays of the 1st half of the West Virginia/Rutgers game.

Let’s take a look at the history of State being held scoreless. As mentioned above, under O’Brien this is the 3rd shutout in 58 total games over 5 years. Another way to look at it is that under O’Brien, State has been shutout once every 19.3 games.

In the previous 21 seasons under Dick Sheridan, Mike O’Cain and Chuck Amato, State was shutout 4 times in a total of 251 games, or once every 62.8 games. That means TOB has 1 less shutout than the previous 3 head coaches combined.

Dick Sheridan was shutout 3 times (34-0 to Pitt and 48-0 to South Carolina in 1987 and 31-0 to Virginia in 1990) in a total of 84 games, or once every 28.0 games.

Mike O’Cain was shutout 1 time (14-0 to Baylor in 1995) in 86 games.

Chuck Amato was never shutout in 81 games.

From the 1995 Baylor game to the 2007 Maryland game, NC State went 145 straight games without being shutout.

Let’s also take a look at blowout losses. There is no set definition of a blowout so I will call anything over 2 scores (16 points) a blowout.

Tom O’Brien has 15 blowout losses in 58 games, 1 every 3.9 games.

In the previous 21 seasons, there were 39 blowout losses in 251 games, 1 every 6.4 games.

Chuck Amato had 4 blowout losses in 81 games, 1 every 20.3 games.

Mike O’Cain had 21 blowout losses in 86 games, 1 every 4.1 games.

Dick Sheridan had 14 blowout losses in 84 games, 1 every 6.0 games.

If it felt to you like State has been shutout and blown out more under TOB than the previous 3 head coaches, it would appear that your instincts would be correct.

About WV Wolf

Graduated from NCSU in 1996 with a degree in statistics. Born and inbred in West "By God" Virginia and now live in Raleigh where I spend my time watching the Wolfpack, the Mountaineers and the Carolina Hurricanes as well as making bar graphs for SFN. I'm @wvncsu on the Twitter machine.

'11 Football Chuck Amato Rankings & Lists Stat of the Day Tom O'Brien

85 Responses to A Brief History of Shutouts and Blowouts

  1. Khan 10/29/2011 at 5:46 PM #

    Absurd. Not your analysis, but the fact that we are so frequently completely and utterly unprepared to play. I wouldn’t want to go back to the Amato era, but for all of his faults, we were usually in games with a chance to win.

    TOB is terrible and needs to hit the road. I don’t hate the guy, but he has certainly underperformed at NC State. And I think you can say with 100% certainty that we will never be better than a middle of the road team under him, and we might not even be THAT good most of the time.

  2. tvp1 10/29/2011 at 5:47 PM #

    Good post. And if you define blowouts as 28 point or greater whippings, TOB has suffered 7 of those in 4.5 years. MOC had 7 in 7 years (and 2 other 27 point losses). Sheridan 5 in 7 years. Reed and Kiffin, 3 in 3 years each.

    Amato only 1 in 7 years, against one of the FSU juggernauts.

    Any way you slice it, looks awful for the TOB era, and with a sure spanking at the hands of Clemson upcoming. Time for a change.

  3. tvp1 10/29/2011 at 5:50 PM #

    “I wouldn’t want to go back to the Amato era, but for all of his faults, we were usually in games with a chance to win.”

    Agreed. Chuck needed to go; it was clear that the program was unraveling at the end of his tenure.

    But: 5 bowls in 7 years. One other season where we went 5-6 against a brutal schedule that this year’s team would probably manage about 2 wins against. And his last season, awful, but could have been much better had he caught a few breaks. Way ahead of what TOB has done.

  4. john of sparta 10/29/2011 at 5:54 PM #

    just like the Sidney situation.
    ‘who ya gonna call?’

  5. Hamlet 10/29/2011 at 6:18 PM #

    I am truly glad you did this, WV Wolf. Seriously, thanks.

    Amato has gotten a bad rap on these boards and others for too long. I think he was an easy target due to his abrasive attitude and some of his eccentric attributes, but I think he was easily the second best coach we have had in the last 30 years (only behind Sheridan). We had a chance to win almost every game the man coached, which has to say something. His on-field downfall was mostly due to some of the worst offensive coordinating and QB play I’ve ever seen. Despite that, we still never got blown out. And remember this: the 2 best players under TOB were Amato recruits – Wilson and Irving. The number of blowouts would be astronomical without those two guys around to save TOB from utter disgrace.

    I was a TOB supporter coming into this year, but it’s time to admit that this has been a complete disaster. His stretch, in my opinion, has been the low point for me as a fan, and can probably only be eclipsed by the Kiffin/Reed eras since the early 80’s. And those guys had brutal non-conferance schedules, while O’Brien has had a ridiculously easy schedule, both in and out of conference.

    There are no more excuses. We need to stop blaming Chuck Amato or anyone else and place it squarely on our current staff. It isn’t working and the ship has sailed, and it has tarnished O’Brien’s legacy as a head coach as he walks into “retirement” one day soon.

  6. LRM 10/29/2011 at 6:19 PM #

    Nice one, WV.

  7. Hungwolf 10/29/2011 at 6:29 PM #

    A point no one seems to address is that when Amato was hired, AD Les Robinson opened the check book and we hired some fantastic assistants in Chuck’s early years. Quality assistants for variuos reasons left and the quality of our staff was not near the same in Chuck’s later years. Plus Amato had become an easy mark for a pro-tar heel media, that made him look a lot worse than he really was.

    Wonder what TOB’s potential with Debbie Yow is to upgrade our staff. Just to note, I am not on board with overreating to an embarrassing lose at FSU, that has happened to lots of well coached teams. Let see how the season plays out.

  8. PackFamily 10/29/2011 at 6:38 PM #

    You know things are bad when we are reminiscing on Amato. Sans-Rivers he was horrible. The drop off was immediate.

  9. mak4dpak 10/29/2011 at 6:41 PM #

    We can blame Lee Fowler for this, just like Sid. Now it is time for an AD with balls, like DY to cut the ties to TOB. Never will be a contender for any conference titles. His staff is terrible. Does Bible have more than 5 plays in his play book. We run the same stuff every game, regardless of the opponent. like today, FSU has the top run defense in the conference, and the country, and what do we do? Run the ball up the middle, and getting nothing. What a waste, and end up with 3rd and long and MG under extreme pressure. Injuries or not, TOB has got to go, enough is enough. Find someone with some fire, who shows us an exciting team on the field of play. TOB is too unemotional, and it shows on the field. What kind of record do we have in the conference under TOBs leadership. It has to be bad. If UNX wins next week, I hope they blow us off the field. I hope DY is scoping out possible coaching candidates. It is time to correct the damage left by Fowler.

  10. golf76 10/29/2011 at 7:07 PM #

    Is Cowher completely out of reach?

  11. PackFamily 10/29/2011 at 7:17 PM #

    Cowher is out of reach.

  12. rockpile 10/29/2011 at 7:21 PM #

    obrien, archer,bible,and tenuta are ancient. the team plays and looks like it. how the hell do these guys stack up on the recruiting trail? probably not well. it is an unfair statement by me, the teams appears to sleepwalk thru every game(imo). teams take on the personality of their coaches and state seems to be outmatched in intensity and talent. i was for letting obrien go out w glennon next year, but i have changed my mind. eat the money and end the retirement tour…thank you tom!


  13. Wufpacker 10/29/2011 at 7:23 PM #

    I really thought TOB and program had turned the corner. I didn’t expect another nine win season this year, but I did expect that we’d probably make a lower tier bowl and have a possible breakout season next year.

    As it stands now we’ll be lucky to win another game this year. Clemson is a forgone conclusion, Maryland always gives us trouble, BC is showing signs of life all of a sudden, and UNC is looking good and probably will be motivated to take us apart next week.

    Despite the gameday nitpicking we like to do regarding playcalling and game management, I have to disagree that either of these things has had a big impact on the overall results. Plain and simple, recruiting is where TOB and company have faltered IMHO, and 4-8 this year will do nothing to improve that.

    TO be honest, I’m not even sure why TOB would want to stick around and continue to tarnish his career reputation even further.

  14. tann84 10/29/2011 at 7:33 PM #

    At least we have basketball to look forward to.

    Wednesday is 4 days away.

  15. 61Packer 10/29/2011 at 7:36 PM #

    We were shut out; it was a shutout.

  16. Ashman87 10/29/2011 at 7:52 PM #

    Hamlet, are you sure that the TOB era is worse than the MOC era?

  17. BassPacker 10/29/2011 at 7:57 PM #

    The mentality of TOB and his staff is ancient. Their game plans are old school football. College football has changed, TOB seems determined not to change, be it play calling or staff (Archer). Blame it on his Marine background or whatever…..the college game has passed O’Brien.

  18. Scooter 10/29/2011 at 8:03 PM #

    You could probably roll the number of injuries into this analysis as well because, as Khan put it, it all comes down to coaching. The injuries the team has suffered over the past five seasons are a factor of conditioning. The best conditioned teams don’t get injuries like this, especially in pre-season. The most prepared teams may lose, but they certainly aren’t blown-out every 4th game. Something has got to change. Dare I say that if we don’t come out victorious next week, the bell may begin to toll.

  19. hoop 10/29/2011 at 8:08 PM #

    TOB & Co have demonstrated that we can win some big games and that they can coach just fine. We had a big victory over WVU last year in the bowl game. When we beat FSU the announcers on TV called it a “statement win” and said TOB had turned the corner. Coaching is not the problem.

    The limiting factor is recruiting and injuries. With better recruiting we don’t fall into such a big hole with a couple injuries. With more stud athletes the staff can coach to their potential which is much higher than what we see.

    Recruiting is the limitation and TOB & Co have done a poor job of that. It will likely be their downfall.

  20. Prowling Woofie 10/29/2011 at 8:08 PM #

    Right on, BassPacker.

    I’m done. Clean house, Debbie.

  21. WolfpackSteelersFan2 10/29/2011 at 8:12 PM #

    Agreed that TOB has been disappointing. I also thought that last year was a better reflection of what a TOB team would be without a rash of injuries, and that we were finally past all of that. One of the issues with our teams under TOB has been that he has routinely dismissed players over the years for various disciplinary issues, which makes us more susceptible to when the injury bug hits. Every team goes through this from time to time, but after five years, we still don’t have the depth to see us through the rough times. That’s on O’Brien and the staff as to who they recruited.

    With that said, no way is TOB anywhere near as bad at O’Cain, who had back to back 3-8 seasons, was 0-7 against the Holes (couldn’t beat them with a 3rd string tailback starting at QB for them), and coached in State’s only shutout in CF. TOB’s record against the Holes puts him 2 levels above O’Cain any day.

  22. TheAliasTroll 10/29/2011 at 8:14 PM #

    Pack your bags! Pack your bags!

  23. Wulfpack 10/29/2011 at 8:14 PM #

    Great write-up. Thank you, really puts it in perspective. Outside of last year, TOB has been an abject failure at State, and he’s looked bad doing it. His ACC record rivals Sidney Lowe. I’m ready for a change as well regardless of what happens next week. Just beating UNC is not good enough for me, sorry. There’s really no reason why we shouldn’t be better. We actually care about football State.

    I read the most recent SI and it appears Cowher is going to be highly coveted by NFL teams. He may already be receiving calls from Miami, Indy and Jacksonville. And what if Philly fires Reid? I just think he’s an NFL guy – it’s what he knows. He’s banked about 30 million – so it’s not about the dough.

  24. BloggerEsquire 10/29/2011 at 8:26 PM #

    Those two stats seem somewhat similar to the run differential stat ESPN runs with their MLB standings. Wonder how much more or less useful such football stat would be. (Maybe a bit more nuanced than just comparing records?)

  25. mak4dpak 10/29/2011 at 8:28 PM #

    I still insist that coaching is the problem, year end and year out you have different players, and coaches have to adjust their game to the personel they have on the field. No way Bible does that. And as I said previously you can’t play to the other teams strengths, you exploit there weaknesses. We should have had more passing against FSU, and more hurry up, to disrupt the FSU defense. Maybe it worked against UVA, but we didn’t play UVA today, so a new strategy was called for, but never happened. Way to go TOB and staff! UNC will probably have a field day with us in our stadium. That’s truly sad!

Leave a Reply