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A trip through NC State football history in the eyes of S&P+

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If you weren’t there to see it, did the first half of the 20th century happen? I don’t think so.

North Carolina State University Wolfpack Photo by North Carolina State/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

NC State’s football history is just a hair shy of illustrious, but darn it if we haven’t been trying real hard for all these years. The football program’s yearly results before the formation of the ACC are best ignored entirely, as NC State existed before 1950 primarily to be ground into various fine pastes.

Here is how that looks in chart form, via Bill Connelly:

(Chart and notations by Bill Connelly.)

From 1919 through 1949, the Wolfpack finished with a winning record nine times. That’s not much of a run, but listen, we can’t all be Duke from that time period.

But the situation would improve after Earle Edwards arrived in the ‘50s, and the team led by the famed white shoes defense is still the best State squad in school history as far as S&P+ is concerned. Lou Holtz also delivered some big peaks in performance.

The ‘70s were pretty good for the Pack in general, and perhaps content with this, NC State took a good chunk of the ‘80s off. Dick Sheridan brought us out of those doldrums with an impressive string of success ... which Mike O’Cain squandered almost as soon as he took over the gig. That peak in the late ‘90s is known as Mount Torry.

Chuck Amato and Philip Rivers returned the program to rarefied air, reaching levels that Tom O’Brien never could match, even with Russell Wilson. O’Brien’s recruiting put a low ceiling on State and his best season in Raleigh doesn’t stack up to the best from Sheridan, Amato, or even Dave Doeren.

There’s been no glamour to the process under Doeren, but the Pack’s elevated performance over the last few years is impressive. We’ve come a long way since year zero, when we had no quarterbacks and went 0-for-league-play.

This year will be a good test of the durability of Doeren’s program. Can he keep this thing chugging along while replacing so much offense?