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Can We Kill This Scapegoat?

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Thank God Newclass reminds us constantly that basketball season is right around the corner. What a time to be alive. With these reminders comes very high expectations, as our program has the potential infusion of talent & depth that we haven't seen in over a decade or longer. Problem with NC State and our fanbase is we allow ourselves to get excited but we have a paralyzing fear of said expectations. Even when our favorite month of the year suddenly became June, we still remained cautious because we were afraid of "NC State S***." Folks, didn't want us ranked because "we play better when we are unranked" and now people are fearful that the NCAA will snatch up Y7 and Kapita before they get to see the court. This whole mentality has been crippling so we've got to kill this scapegoat and begin to accept things the way they are, while pushing to make things the way they could be.

Winning programs want to be highly ranked, not just for the competition, but for the recognition and prestige that comes about. Are we a winning program? Gottfried's past 5 years would say so for the most part. Have we been a Top 25 program? Mainly, no but the only fear that comes with being ranked that high is having to stomach a loss that drops you down...and that mentality is what also-ran programs use to alleviate stress.

If we want to compete with (and eventually become one of) the blue bloods of any sport, we have to have the mindset that while we could lose, we are good enough to win. State's basketball roster shows that we can. Our overall performance for much of this football season shows that we can. "NC State S***" is a virus, not to our fortunes, but to our state of mind. We use it to cast blame on injuries, close losses, bad calls, and heart-breaking turn of events instead of just acknowledging that sports will be sports and the vast majority of programs in this country have the same devastating experiences we do.

Does this mean we should accept mediocrity? Not at all. We should demand a healthy NC State be a single digit seed in the NCAAs this year. We should expect Dave Doeren to make a 3rd consecutive bowl game with heart this team has shown the past few weeks. Just know that we will lose games, we will have setbacks, we will have frustrations... we just cannot fall into the old "NC State S***" trope when it happens. See, the initial step in becoming a top program is believing you can be one first...and as long as our fanbase or program let that scapegoat of "NC State S***" leave lingering doubts in our minds of what we CAN do....we won't ever be great.

P.S. if it all goes to hell...disregard everything I've said and feel free to burn my image in effigy...