Plenty of frustration landed at Dave Doeren’s feet in 2016, despite a win at UNC to close out the regular season, and I don’t think many folks would disagree that 2017 is an important season for him. Travis Haney of 247Sports compiled a hot seat list and it includes Doeren, though his situation is not quite as desperate as some of the others on the list. (I’m lookin’ at you, Steve Addazio.)
Doeren’s inclusion on this list is not super interesting, but Haney does share a tidbit about how the NC State job is perceived by outsiders in the industry:
Some fans believe that State should at least be comparable to Louisville. Doeren had better go find a Lamar Jackson, then. Until then, various coaches and agents feel as if 6-8 wins should be considered an acceptable window.
A little reality check never hurts, even if it’s not the reality any of us wants to confront. There’s nothing in NC State’s modest football history to contradict what Haney writes here, though I would say it’s fair to expect State to consistently play on a level similar to Louisville’s—the Louisville that doesn’t have a mutant superhero quarterback, that is.
The counterpoint would be that you can schedule four absolute gimmes every year in the non-conference portion of the schedule—which Doeren has done—that will lead to bowl season after bowl season, but that quickly begins to feel hollow.
That’s the problem with being so general with what’s “acceptable.” Sure, 6-8 wins should be a pretty okay-to-good season in Raleigh, but a lot depends on the context of the season, too. Doeren’s problem is his lack of big wins, his program’s struggles at home, and his four-year streak of losing records in ACC play. That stuff does add up. Don’t think it makes anyone unreasonable for being upset about a six- or seven-win season.
I digress. Always appreciate the outside perspective and there is some good food for thought here.