Everyone take a deep breath and try not to scream as this article is read.
Remember where you were on the night of September 19th, 2013. Bryan Underwood's jet sweep around the Clemson D for a "touchdown". That usual feeling of triumph being quickly washed away with an overwhelming feeling of hatred towards the official, the opposing team, or that random guy in Section 20 when the realization comes that something hasn't gone the Wolfpack's way. That one reversal spelled doom for the rest of that game and, inevitably, the rest of the football season for NC State, going 3-9 on the season (including a horrid 1-8 in the games post-Clemson).
Fast forward to February 15th, 2014. NC State @ Syracuse can be summarized up in this one paragraph, written on gopack.com:
With NC State leading 55-53 with 41.4 seconds left, Syracuse's C.J. Fair split a pair of foul shots to cut the Pack's lead to 55-54. After a timeout, NC State turned the ball over against a Syracuse trap at half court. Syracuse's Tyler Ennis was called for a charge, and State had the ball back. Washington threw a long pass to Warren, who scored as he was fouled. The foul was called on the ground, and Syracuse later ended up with a steal and the game-winning lay-up with 6.3 seconds on the clock. A final jumper by T.J. Warren, who scored a game-high 23 points, fell off the front of the rim.
Even with the #1 team in the land trying to give us the ballgame, there was some outside force denying us access to a win that would almost single-handedly cement our place in the NCAA tournament. Who knows what kind of accomplishments and feats the Wolfpack can create when given the chance (see 1983 and, most recently, 2012). However, between the Syracuse shenanigans and the Wake Forest waltz, this season, along with many others, leaves us asking the million dollar question that, quite frankly, as an NC State fan, I become exhausted hearing after so many years: What if?
This has become the state of State athletics; pre-seasons full of hope and post-seasons full of questions. Yet it is this intangible theory of hope that drives us all into the realm of belief that our Wolfpack faithful can accomplish great things this season. Each one of die hard NC State's fans takes a long hard look at the schedule at the beginning of each season, noting that this year looks very promising as they print off a copy to keep at work or home, checking off each game as a win/loss and, as the season progresses, one begins to notice an imbalance of W's and L's, often wondering how a team could change within the spam of a few weeks, only able to grasp onto the possibility of winning 90+ percent of their remaining games to make it to any sort of post-season.
After the season, we mourn as we watch yet another team (hopefully not teams with a certain shade of blue) hoist a championship in the air, wondering what could have went differently to have our names called as champions. After a week of hiding from blue friends, we soon emerge from under our rocks, reflecting on games that should have been won, which may involve throwing of chairs and swearing of words. This has become the life of a Wolfpack Backer which, while it may be fun at times, does become a bit depressing for the most part, as I, myself, have become entranced by the red and white, thanks by virtue of my father's 1985 graduation from State. He has sworn me in as a Pack fan, but there are times where I feel my time and energy could be applied elsewhere.
Although this year's football schedule does look a bit promising...