There’s no way to sugarcoat it: the loss to Wake Forest last night was bad. Really, really bad. But just how bad was it? Was it the worst loss of the Dave Doeren era?
Aside from the initial “This is the worst!” reaction that permeated throughout the fanbase, is there a way to actually quantify just how bad of a loss this actually was? Well, maybe there is. Looking at F/+ ratings (a combination of S&P+ and FEI ratings) can provide some level of context.
Below is a chart of all of NC State’s losses during the Dave Doeren era where the game wasn’t an ‘expected loss’.
From looking at it in this perspective... yeah, last night’s loss was the single worst for the Wolfpack during the Dave Doeren era. It felt like it in the immediate aftermath of the game, and the numbers are at least lending some credence to that notion.
The above is presented with the caveat that the 2018 numbers are still subject to change and will change; in fact, they’ll change as soon as next week when State’s F/+ rating is sure to drop and Wake’s is sure to go up as a result of last night’s game. That alone may bring this loss down (up?) from being the worst to being second or third worst, not to mention things will fluctuate based on how both NC State and Wake Forest finish out their respective 2018 seasons. Also, those prior year losses on that chart have the benefit of hindsight. Some of them felt worse in the moment and some didn’t feel as bad as they did looking back.
One other note from the above chart, and the reason I put a 2014 line in there despite there not being a 2014 loss that fit the criteria, is that there was (up until this year) a very steady solid upward trend in the F/+ rating under Doeren. What exactly that means in the grand scheme of things is a debate for another time.