Tomorrow at 3:30 NC State will take on a team that could very well be the best in the country. The Tigers are being given 4:1 odds of going home with their 8th win. Clemson has the advantage in every objective category and comes into Raleigh with more talent and depth than the home team at most or all positions. I think we all agree on these points. I think a lot of us disagree on how to feel about it.
Many of you believe that the gulf between the success of the Tigers and that of the Wolfpack is the result of inept coaching, poor recruiting, and a lack of an environment of excellence. Comments containing the words "cowardly", "stupid", and "complacent" are up 79% on the BTP boards this year. It appears to me that the people typing those comments are ready for the Pack to take the next step and become and ACC championship contender. I just don't think you realize how many steps are in the way.
Clemson is on the level you guys are looking for. Let's see what they have going for them:
- Clemson has finished the year outside of the top-25 14 times in the last 30 seasons (5 times in last 10). State has finished inside the top-25 just 5 times (once since 2003).
- Clemson has finished with 9 or more wins 13 times in the last 30 years (6 of last 10). State has finished with 9 or more wins 5 times in the last 30 years (once in last ten).
- Clemson has finished with a recruiting class outside of the top-25 twice in the last 10 years. State has finished with a recruiting class inside the top-25 nonce (zeronce?) over that same period.
- Clemson's IPTAY took in $60.1 million dollars last year. The Wolfpack Club took in $32.2 million.
- Clemson spent $208,723 per-scholarship player on football operations* in 2013. State spent $129,761 over the same period. (*football operations only spending. Per-scholarship player after removal of costs related to scholarship)
I know I harp on this crap all the time during football season, but I do it for a simple reason: I like this community and I think it would be more fun if some of the angrier people on here aligned their expectations with reality. All sports fans believe their sports team should be better. Unfortunately, our football team isn't that great. I am not sure State will ever be a perennial ACC-Championship contender. We have decades of mediocrity (we have a losing record against D1 teams over the last 40 years) and a huge spending deficit (State spends less on football operations than all other public ACC schools that report such data) to overcome.
But what we do have is a chance to win tomorrow. We also have a chance to root for a great group of kids who eschewed offers from programs with more money and a better history to come put on the red and white of NC State. We are underdogs, but we should be used to that by now. Football is a little more fun if you embrace it.