O’Brien Obviously Can’t Schedule OOC Games…

Well, this just tears it.  About a week ago we got out first glimpse at the much-awaited 2012 NC State football schedule.  This obviously sparked a lot of good (and bad) conversation.  I was personally outraged!  (I mean, I wasn’t “outraged”, but that’s going to make this article a lot more exciting.)  An FCS opponent, and two other teams that didn’t even make a bowl last year?  Tom, you IDIOT!

Just to prove how smart I was, I was determined to prove exactly how pathetic Tom O’Brien’s NC State schedule looks compared to our “peers”.  I looked up all the FBS teams with 8-5 records and started doing some sifting, sorting, and just because I was feeling frisky I did a tab bit of crunching.  It was so great I had to go out and get a smoke.


I took a look at the OOC schedules for all card-carrying members of the 2011 8-win club and tried to see who else had two FCS opponents, Tom obviously being personally responsible for both South Alabama and Liberty being on our schedule.

There were 13 teams total in our magnanimous club:
1. NC State
2. Virginia
3. Georgia Tech
4. Missouri (can’t read, but can play football)
5. Texas (don’t mess with ’em)
6. Tulsa
7. Southern Methodist (still has a football team)
8. Wyoming (nice to hear people still live in Wyoming, by the way…)
9. San Diego State (not a state)
10. Utah
11. Auburn (colors are not auburn)
12. Florida International (enough foreigners in FL to have their own college)
13. Louisiana Tech (not responsible for the levies, damnit)

Among the 13 members of our club, only 1 other school decided to schedule 2 FCS opponents: Wyoming.  To be fair, very few people have ever actually met someone from Wyoming so I can see how FBS opponents would be hesitent to schedule a school from a place they aren’t sure exists.  Wyoming does, however, have 6 OOC games on their schedule compared to NC State’s 5, so maybe having 2 FCS teams on their schedule is acceptable.

Screw it; let’s put it in excel.

On the bottom axis, you can see the percentage (0.00-1.00) of each team’s schedule that is composed of OOC games.  You see, knowing the pathetic excuses of the Tom O’Brien sympathizers, I am anticipating that someone might try to suggest that this somehow matters in our selection of IAA opponents. POPPYCOCK!  NC State, similar to all other ACC schools in our club, represents the most moderate participants in OOC game-play during the fall season.  Despite being square in the middle of our club, you’ll see that we still relied far greater on these powder-puffs to elevate our 8-win season compared to the other 8-win greats.  Tom, you crafty old kook, you almost had me thinking you were actually a good coach. Obviously your success hinges on your pathetic schedule!


Now that I have undoubtedly proven to everyone that Tom O’Brien schedules entirely too many IAA teams (2?  2? Outrageous.), let me prove to you how even when he is right… sadly he is horribly wrong.  Just because you schedule a D1A team doesn’t mean they are any good.  For that reason, it is necessary to see how many teams NC State played that were actually bowl eligible compared to everyone else.

Look at NC State down there!  I mean, we’re barely within a standard deviation from our club’s “average” number of scheduled bowl eligible teams!  I mean… yeah, you could say that we are par with the rest of the teams that won just as much as NC State in the ACC and you could point out that statistically we are ‘pretty close’ to the average… but then you would be supporting that rapscallion, Tom O’Brien!  Plus, if you convince yourself that NC State isn’t actually doing that bad, the terrorists win.


Even if we assume everything is honky-dory with O’Brien’s horrible scheduling, a simple look at how many OOC wins come from bowl eligible opponents compared to non-bowl eligible opponents is just nauseating!  Just look for yourself…

Tom, you’ve been revealed!  NC State’s OOC wins coming from bowl eligible team only accounts for about 25% of our total OOC wins.  Laughable.  This proves that O’Brien’s 2011 4-1 record OOC record wasn’t impressive… it was cowardly!


In case you haven’t noticed, this is all said tongue-in-cheek.  I’m not so much taking a position for or against any of the scheduling as much as I think its interesting noting (a) how dumb extreme comments can be on either end of an argument and (b) how there is always a little truth to every crackpot opinion.

A Couple Things To Get Straight Up-Front…
I probably need to state up-front that scheduling last season and even this season, have a lot to do with the lingering affects of athletic administrations gone by and less (actually almost nothing) to do with Tom O’Brien.  As was stated in our forums, Tom believes in scheduling a big-name opponent, a respectable but not overbearing opponent, a mid-major opponent, and a powder-puff.  That’s pretty sound and honestly the 2012 schedule seems to have been put into place with a similar mentality (Tennessee being a big-name program traditionally, UConn having been a solid team in the recent past, and Citadel being a powder-puff… where South Alabama comes in I’m not sure).

A massively glaring flaw in all this number sorting is the fact that with so few games in a season, it’s hard to say whether that one game is “a significant part of the season with major implications” or if one game “is just one out of only a few games so you can’t really draw conclusions if we throw in ‘just one more’ easy opponent”.  What the number “means” is even a subject for debate.

The only other big issue is that I kind of unfairly singled out last year’s schedule because it was easy to pick on.  It does a really good job of helping me make my final point, though (hang on, you’re almost there).  Even though this is a “flaw” it’s worth noting that it “did happen”.  Similar to the 2009 season, Tom had a team that had a perfectly reasonable excuse for under-performing (mainly injuries), but it “still happened”.

From item “b” above saying that there is always some truth behind every crackpot opinion, as it applies to scheduling, you do have to be a little sympathetic to those frustrated at what they may or may not perceive as being a weakness of scheduling in 2012… after all, 2011 did happen.  Really 2011 wasn’t a “bad” year, aside from the South Alabama deal.  But looking at the second graphic, you can see that NC State IS towards the bottom of the “club” in terms of how many ‘quality’ OOC opponents we’ve scheduled.  The question shouldn’t be whether the “crackpots” complaining about quality scheduling have a valid point (because it might appear that they do compared to our national peers); rather the question should be whether NC State is in a position to really be concerned about where it is in comparison to programs like Utah and Texas.

So How Is NC State Seriously Doing in the ‘OOC’ Picture Compared To It’s “Club”?
In terms of our performance, honestly, NC State is hitting about average for other programs of our own size.  In the first plot, NC State may have “more” FCS opponents than anyone else, but that is where the “value of one game” debate comes into play.  Is this really something to complain about or is it because we have “one” botched deal? (The answer is the latter explanation, by the way.)  Anyone seriously complaining about having two FCS opponents last season would be hard pressed to blame it on anything other than a single botched home-and-home with South Alabama and certainly has no room blaming it on Tom O’Brien.  Then again, when you consider that the “one botched game” accounts for 1/5 of the season’s OOC games, can you really blame anyone for being all that upset? “There is always a little truth to every crackpot opinion…

In terms of bowl eligible teams, it is true that NC State was below average last year (even when you take out the extra FCS opponent we played), but as I mentioned in the article, we are really on par with the rest of the ACC, and we’re still within a standard deviation of the mean for our “club”.  I have looked at it every way I can to form a valid complaint against how many “quality” OOC opponents we play, but at the end of the day, until we can prove we dominate our conference, we probably shouldn’t be too concerned about scheduling 4 bowl-quality OOC opponents.

Finally, when it comes to “who we beat”, which refers to the last graphic, NC State is actually doing very appropriately when you consider who it is that is out-performing State in this category.  Texas is a big-time program with a strong history of success on the grid-iron.  Utah is also a team that is frequently sniffing the top 25. Auburn doesn’t really need introduction.  Regardless, this falls to the same point as in the previous paragraph: until we can prove we dominate the teams we are already scheduling, especially considering the [percieved by some as] “terrible” scheduling in 2011, what can anyone really complain about?  Beat who you’re suppose to beat, THEN worry about scheduling teams you shouldn’t beat.  That’s how you grow as a program.

The Real Thing The Numbers Suggest: NC State Is Scheduling Exactly Who They Should Be
The bottom line is that NC State being in the position it is right now, we can’t get wrapped around the axle with who we schedule until we are beating the people we SHOULD be beating.  Only then can we schedule some people we have no business beating.
  Just to further make the point, I will throw one more graphic out there.  I wanted to ask myself “how many of the bowl eligible teams that we played (i.e. “good teams”) are we actually beating?”

Applying this sort of “percentage” based interpretation on whether a team wins one of them two or three bowl-eligible OOC games may seem silly (as may the graphic), but it tells a story, at least during last season it did.  What it says is that last season, NC State had two “really good” OOC opponents and beat one of them, that one obviously being the bowl game against Louisville.  NC State didn’t beat every team that it came in contact with, but it took one away.  Personally that summarizes how I felt at the end of the season.  I felt we had done “good”, but that we could do better.  When you compare that to schools like Texas and Utah, of which NC State isn’t even close to swimming in the same waters as, we still have room to improve.

However, until we make that improvement, when the schedules come out or when we are debating whether to get in our cars and drive down to see NC State play another FCS team or powder-puff D1A team, let’s just keep in mind that right now, we are at the stage where we are focusing on beating the teams that we should be beating.  At that, we’ll worry about scheduling home-and-homes with LSU and signing that 5 year contract with Alabama.

About NCStatePride

***ABOUT THE AUTHOR: NCStatePride has been writing for StateFansNation.com since 2010 and is a 2009 graduate of the College of Engineering.

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27 Responses to O’Brien Obviously Can’t Schedule OOC Games…

  1. WTNY 03/06/2012 at 9:10 AM #

    South Alabama is in transition from FCS to FBS.

    I believe they count as FBS this year.

  2. NCStatePride 03/06/2012 at 9:22 AM #

    They do which is why in the opening paragraph it says “one FCS opponent” and two that didn’t make bowls last year.

    1 FCS = Citadel
    2 that didn’t make bowls = USA, UConn

    FWIW, I believe USA is actually still FCS this year, they simply “count” as an FBS program since they have a transition plan in place. Technically that gives us 2 FCS opponents this season or 1 FCS opponent and 1 FCS-banned-in-Sun-Belt-pergatory to play. Transition is confusing.

  3. BassPacker 03/06/2012 at 9:23 AM #

    Thank you for making writing that check for my LTR seats and season football tickets so much easier…..NOT !

  4. Scooter 03/06/2012 at 9:28 AM #

    You nailed it BassPacker — my biggest complaint is that its hard to justify paying for LTR/season tickets for these games that aren’t all that interesting.

    Of course, until the team stops practicing with baseball bats during preseason and reduces the injury headcount, I guess this is the only way for us to survive the first half of the schedule.

  5. NCStatePride 03/06/2012 at 9:33 AM #

    Guys, I think you’re missing what is going on here. This phrase pops up several times in the “serious” part of the article: you have to beat the teams you’re suppose to beat consistently before you can worry about scheduling teams you shouldn’t beat.

    Would we love to purchase season tickets and get an OOC of LSU, Michigan, OSU, and Oregon? Hell, it would be absolutely thrilling! Then again, we would also get the sh*t beat out of us and we’d be complaining that we are over-scheduling our program. What may suck for a spectator makes perfect sense for a program. If you want to cash-in your tickets because you’re upset at seeing the level of competition in OOC play that we have, then you probably wouldn’t be pleased with any of our analogous teams in the ACC.

  6. WTNY 03/06/2012 at 9:35 AM #

    NCStatePride — After looking it up, it appears that South Alabama is provisional FBS this year. Ineligible for a bowl but still FBS.

  7. redsteel 03/06/2012 at 10:07 AM #

    “you have to beat the teams you’re suppose to beat consistently before you can worry about scheduling teams you shouldn’t beat.”

    “Then again, we would also get the sh*t beat out of us and we’d be complaining that we are over-scheduling our program.”

    And no bowls either. That whole paragraph should probably be in bold…

  8. WolfBlood 03/06/2012 at 10:30 AM #

    I’ve got no problem with this years schedule. We get the exciting season opener vs. Tennessee, and then a tough road test at UCONN. Then you get to come back home and beat up a couple small schools before settling in to ACC play.

  9. old13 03/06/2012 at 10:33 AM #

    OK, we always hear that D1 OOC football games have to be scheduled up to ten years out. So our 2012 schedule must be on CTC and Foulup, not TOB, right! I’m surprised that DY didn’t just go out and get a couple of the top five BCS teams from last season for 2012! (Tongue firmly planted in cheek!)

  10. PackFamily 03/06/2012 at 10:51 AM #

    Heather Dinich provides more details as to why USA counts as a FBS win. I am pasting here:

    “NC State needs SIX WINS for bowl eligibility, according to NC State Executive Senior Associate AD Chris Kingston.

    I apologize for the confusion on this, but I was told last week by the ACC and NC State that the program needed seven wins. That answer came, though, before the Sun Belt released its 2012 schedule, and that is part of the answer in this convoluted mess.

    All you need to know is the bottom line, which is six wins, but here’s some background for those who are wondering why this is so confusing:

    Not only is South Alabama’s schedule part of the equation, but it also depends on South Alabama’s opponents’ classification.

    According to the NCAA bylaws, in order for South Alabama to count toward NC State’s bowl eligibility, it had to meet the following criteria: •South Alabama had to be in its second year of transition AND
    •Play at least 60 percent of its 12-game schedule against FBS opponents AND
    •Five of those FBS opponents must be home games.

    Quick: Look at South Alabama’s schedule and find me the five FBS home games. Need help? •FAU
    •Middle Tennessee

    The other two home games are UTSA and Nicholls State, both FCS programs. (Head hurt yet?)

    I’ll fast-forward: NichollsState meets the 90 percent scholarship average, so because South Alabama can count FCS opponent Nicholls State as an FBS win toward bowl eligibility (just like NC State can count The Citadel), Nicholls State counts as an FBS win in their scheduling, therefore NC State can count South Alabama.

    There you have it: It all came down to Nicholls State.

    Who knew?

    You have your answer, though, six wins. My apologies for needing two tries to get it to you.”

  11. Plz2BStateFan 03/06/2012 at 11:14 AM #

    Great breakdown

    Still cant believe i read it all though

  12. Prowling Woofie 03/06/2012 at 11:49 AM #

    Hoping we aren’t on pins and needles over 6 wins to become bowl-eligible this year…

  13. PackerInRussia 03/06/2012 at 12:28 PM #

    Nice parody of the majority of internet blog posts. You had me going from anger at how ridiculous it sounded to skepticism when it went over the top to laughter once you revealed the true nature.
    Good clarification on everything too. I think there’s no way to make everyone happy except for the old tried and true method of winning. Except here, to really make sure everyone was happy, you’d have to be winning against well-known, top quality opponents. But you can’t guarantee that. The closest thing to a guarantee is scheduling wimpy teams at home. Crowds enjoy seeing teams win, right? But beating up on wimps gets old after a while. So does losing, though and that’s bound to happen if you consistently schedule tough opponents at home.

  14. WolfWall 03/06/2012 at 12:45 PM #

    According to Adam and Joe the other day, South Alabama still counts as FCS this year and we need 7 wins again…who knows if they know what they are talking about, but we need a clear answer on this.

    Edit: According to wikipedia (i know, i know) Adam and Joe are RIGHT:

  15. NCStatePride 03/06/2012 at 2:09 PM #

    PackerInRussia, Thank you for the kind words. I have my moments were I somewhat resemble the individual I am parody-ing, but the numbers are what they are. I would love to not play the mental game at the end of the season where I say “well, we had 8 wins, but would we have been an 8-win team if we didn’t have two FCS opponents?” However, we’re par-for-the-course in the ACC amongst similar programs. You really can’t rationally be all that upset at the schedule other than maybe disliking what games are ‘home’ games (a complaint for LTR and season ticket holders).

  16. packalum44 03/06/2012 at 2:20 PM #

    Same as it ever was. O’Brien is the epitome of status quo.

    Too bad he imposed harsher rules on his teams than the NCAA requires or we would have several more wins under his belt and who knows that else. In a game of inches, you can’t handicap yourself.

  17. Hungwolf 03/06/2012 at 2:42 PM #

    South Alabama is making its football debut in the sun belt conference this year. The sun belt conference is one of 11 BCS conferences.

    NCStatePride: PackFamily gave a full explanation of USA. Regardless, the article never once claims USA is an FCS football team this year, so the point is moot. Let’s get back on topic…

  18. Wufpacker 03/06/2012 at 4:24 PM #

    Nice work Pride. Can’t say I’m surprised by what you found.

    You must currently be in a manic phase. I think you need some sleep there, because you stated….

    “There were 8 teams total in our magnanimous club”

    ….then proceeded to list 13 teams. Also this….

    “12. Florida International (enough foreigners in FL to have their own college)”

    ….was funny as hell.

  19. 61Packer 03/06/2012 at 4:39 PM #

    NC State will NEVER be scheduling everyone they should be scheduling until we’re allowed to return Duke to our schedule every season in football.

    And don’t think that as long as we’ve got JS and his band of nitwits in charge of this league that things won’t get even worse. I can see the day coming when we won’t even be allowed to play UNC every season in football.

  20. Wufpacker 03/06/2012 at 4:45 PM #

    ^ Especially if we keep beating their asses every year.

  21. TheCOWDOG 03/06/2012 at 5:53 PM #

    JesusHChristinasidecar, Pride.

    That was a boatload of work just to wind up pinning the tail on the wrong donkey.

    Buyouts ain’t cheap and whatever the flip made Fowler tick is still gumming up the works. TOB has no more to do with scheduling as CTC did then, and now , for that matter. Damn…that means he doesn’t have squat to do with it.

    You’ll get your wishes post 2012, ok?

    * FCS games are not considered contests in my book, for reference.

    NCStatePride: Caught you! Read the article past the “SERIOUSLY THOUGH” heading. Don’t worry, I hit the correct donkey. Thanks for keeping some of us ignorant youngin’s sharp, though! 🙂

  22. TheCOWDOG 03/06/2012 at 8:19 PM #

    Yes…yes, I see. I fear the overuse of this site has begun it’s dumbing down process.

    Tag, I’m it.

  23. vtpackfan 03/06/2012 at 8:30 PM #

    Why is UCONN coming off a non bowl year being hung around the neck? When we scheduled them Edsal was leading them to BCS bowl games. I guess that makes sense to me but without a graph to back it up its jusţ phooey.

  24. NCStatePride 03/06/2012 at 8:50 PM #

    Satire is an under-appreciated art form….

  25. Primewolf 03/06/2012 at 9:30 PM #

    Great Piece, Pride. I didn’t know Aero’s could write. I now know CowDog can’t read that many words at once, either.

    Keep it up. Very entertaining stuff.

    Find a plane or other self propelled object to design.

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