There has been a lot of complaining from the baby blues about NC State’s schedule being soft. Regardless, there’s no denying that once ACC play begins, there’s no escaping quality competition each week.
It all begins with a chance at the best start in NC State history Thursday night at Louisville. Louisville snuck in the top 25 this past week at #23. This will conclude the Pack’s three game road trip.
Keatts and crew will then return to Raleigh to play three straight home games. Clemson (unranked) is first on the menu. Virginia comes into town and Virginia Tech after them. NC State travels to Chapel Hill for the 4th and final ranked opponent in the next five games.
NC State has started this 2018-2019 season 15-3. But how does that compare to previous seasons?
Last time NC State started this well?
2013. The Pack was ranked #6 during the beginning part of the season. Led by the Lorenzo Brown and CJ Leslie, NC State was able to maintain a 15-3 start but dropped the next game to…Wake Forest to go 15-4 on the season. They followed the Wake game with a win then three straight losses. The Pack did the same thing in 1982 (started 15-3) but also lost the following game.
Last time NC State started better than this year’s team?
1974-1975. Yep, you read that right. If NC State beats Louisville Thursday night and advances to 16-3, it would be the best start since 1975 when the Pack started 16-3.
1975 was David Thompson’s last year in the red and white and the Pack was defending their first national championship.
Yes, the non-conference schedule this year has been more considerate for the Pack mostly due to courting a very inexperienced team. Nevertheless, this team has persevered better than anyone could have imagined. Fundamentals, pressing and hard work has defined this year’s squad. I guess it’s safe to say this season has surprised anyone but Kevin Keatts that is.
“We’re the red, white and black from State” or something like that? Black uniforms are a fairly new idea NC State has experimented with over the past decade.
A poll was conducted on Twitter Thursday morning and it shows 56% of NC State fans don’t like the black uniform option.
Football has incorporated a solid black uniform into at least one game a year each year for some time now. But it seems wearing black uniforms against schools with black as one their primary colors is becoming a reoccurring theme.
NC State wore black at home in 2017 against a Louisville football team that was led by Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. The crowd rallied behind the “blackout” theme and it turned out to be of the best games in recent memory.
After the recent football and basketball losses both to Wake, the black uniforms are at an all time low in popularity for WPN. It seems the NC State purists don’t seem to support the black uniform endeavors. There’s still many State fans that just don’t wear black, even to “blackout” games, because it is not part of our traditional colors. You can’t really blame them either.
Sports and superstition usually go hand in hand. I don’t think it’s a fair assessment to say the black unis are “cursed” just yet. Maybe it’s just time to go back to the drawing board, at least until we avenge our losses to Wake Forest.
Over the last several years, there has been a lot of talk about NC State’s recent success in the quarterback position. A poll was conducted on Twitter to determine where each QB lands in the opinion of WPN. Imagine if all of these quarterbacks were in Raleigh at the same time? That’s what “Project QBU” hopes to accomplish in the near future.
Russell Wilson burst onto the scene in Raleigh when the quarterback position had been in shambles since Philip Rivers had graduated. Wilson had a special ability to rush just as well as he could pass. The two sport wonder also played baseball for the Pack in the off season of football.
Wilson was named the ACC’s First Team quarterback as a freshman. No other freshman had done that. He threw for 76 yards while being one of the primary rushed each of his three seasons at NC State. If it weren’t for the circumstances of Wilson utilizing his final season at Wisconsin, Wilson would have likely passed Rivers’ passing TDs school record. He finished his playing career at NC State with a 3-0 record against UNC.
Russell Wilson concluded his college career at Wisconsin where he led his team to a Rose Bowl. In the NFL, Wilson surprised everyone when he earned a starting job in Seattle after dropping to the bottom of the NFL Draft. Wilson has flourished with the Seahawk’s organization playing in two Superbowls and winning one. Wilson occasionally returns to Raleigh to hold summer camps.
3. Jacoby Brissett (2014, 2015)
Voted 3rd with 87 of the 801 votes.
Jacoby Brisett transferred in front Florida and almost immediately made a impact. Brissett was great outside the pocket and routinely should extend plays. He threw 46 scores in just two seasons.
Brissett was drafted in 2015 by the New England Patriots where he earned his first start when a suspended Tom Brady was out. He was traded to the Colts last season where he now backs up Andrew Luck.
2. Ryan Finley
Voted 2nd with 202 of the 801 votes.
Finley burst onto the scene with unparalleled accuracy. A fan favorite for sure, he earned the respect of fans, players and coaches almost instantly. Finley, a Arizona native, transferred in from Boise State but considers Raleigh home now. Finley is currently gearing up for the NFL Draft but this isn’t the last you’re going to hear from a Finley.
Ryan Finley’s brother recently committed to play football at NC State. After three straight bowl appearances for Ryan, it’s going to be big shoes to fill for younger brother Ben Finley.
1. Philip Rivers (2000-2003)
Voted 1st with 358 of the 801 votes.
Philip Rivers is one of the most loved alumni in NC State history and number one on this fan poll at a whopping 358 out of 801 votes. The bolo tie wearing, gun slinging, high energy quarterback burst onto the scene in Raleigh as the century was turning over. With 95 TDs and 13,484 career yards, Rivers shattered records as he ushered in a new era of NC State football. NC State’s football program changed tremendously with the help of Rivers and Coach Chuck Amato.
As a NFL quarterback, Philip Rivers has transcended time with 15 years seasons thus far with the Chargers organization. Rivers, now 37, shows no signs of slowing down and he had a outstanding 2018-2019 season leading the Los Angeles Chargers. Rivers is also uniquely a father of 8, soon to be 9 children.
UNC recently finished their indoor practice football facility project. The facility is very similar to NC State’s fairly recent construction of their own indoor football facility. Let’s compare the facilities.
This isn’t a good look for Carolina. You should notice UNC did include a outdoor soccer field in this project. Then again, it’s hard to believe a outdoor practice turf would cost $54 MILLION. Maybe it was the suffocating inflation over the last three years that didn’t exist? Who’s to say. That won’t stop UNC booster members from now asking for nearly $100 million in state bonds for venue renovations to Kenan Stadium and the Dean Dome.
If this wasn’t bad enough, the facility has no clear distinct advantage compared to NC State’s facility. Maybe having a couple alumni with engineering degrees doesn’t hurt.
This is the first giveaway and I plan to do more throughout this season and year to connect with as much of WPN as possible. I appreciate everyone who has engaged with @ncsufans and this website. If anyone needs information finding reasonable priced tickets to State games, message me on any of the platforms on the contact page and I will try to assist you the best I can.
120 people retweeted the giveaway tweet. A random number generator app was used to determine which user would be selected. The winner was then checked that they followed instructions by following @ncsufans on both Twitter and Instagram.
The winner of the two Wake-State tickets is Anthony Waycaster (@acwaycaster)!
Congrats to Anthony and stay on the lookout for more giveaways, Go Pack! #BeatWake
The Great NC State Endeavor. The QBU Project. QBU Convention. (whatever you want to call it)
This was a thought I had a while ago concerning the topic of NC State being considered the Quarterback University or “QBU”:
Organizing a specific date where every current NFL QB from NC State comes to Raleigh. The group of men could speak to current players/coaches and possibly have allocated time to meet with fans. If this were to develop, I believe it would be one of biggest things to happen in NC State sports history.
NC State University currently has four quarterbacks in the NFL. NC State QB Ryan Finley is projected by all mock drafts to be selected within the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Philip Rivers (Chargers 15 seasons)
Russell Wilson (Seahawks 7 seasons)
Mike Glennon (Bucs, Bears, Cardinals 6 seasons)
Jacoby Brissett (Patriots, Colts 3 seasons)
Ryan Finley (TBD)
Impossible? Hardly not.
The most obvious issue is purely logistical. I’m sure every one of these men has a very PACKed schedule. Wilson is about to report back spring training for the Yankees during his off season. Rivers’ wife is now expecting their 9th child. Glennon and Brissett have spent the last few years as backups in their respected NFL organizations. Finley is in the process of being selected in the NFL Draft. All 4 current NFL QBs have officially visited in public at least once during the Doeren Era.
There’s no way to be sure but according to the public eye, relations between this outstanding group of men seems to be well. Wilson occasionally holds football camps in Raleigh while Glennon is a current resident of the Oak City during the off season. In Finley’s last postgame interview after the Gator Bowl, he was openly grateful to NC State and said he hope to call Raleigh his home in the future. Rivers visited and gave a fiery speech to current players a couple years ago. Brissett was on the sideline in Carter-Finley two years during a New England Patriot bye week.
Imagine how much this would benefit our program. 4-5 current NFL QBs roll into Raleigh and let the booster club, university or athletic department unravel a banner at Carter-Finley of this guys in the same picture with the graphic “WELCOME TO QBU”. Any picture of these men all together would be iconic. It would likely go down with the likes of the “The Theory of Evolution”. (Coincidentally enough, there also 5 men in that picture)
One Pack, One Nation.
What can it hurt to get the ball rolling, WPN? Let’s see if AD Debbie Yow and the Booster Club can make this into a reality. If we can trend a hashtag and launch a fan-backed campaign pushing this, I believe the chances of this will increase exponentially. The difference between being part of a fan base and part of Wolfpacknation is simply connection. Not only connecting with each other but connecting with players, coaches, alumni and staff.
If you have any ideas, submissions, suggestions or just wish to communicate:
NC State and West Virginia agreed to a home-home series for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Both teams started their 2018 seasons hot and the matchup between the Mountaineers and Wolfpack was anticipated as NC State’s biggest game of the season.
Due to a severe hurricane, the game was cancelled. West Virginia continued to play out of their minds most of the season while setting records offensively. While NC State started strongly, a lot of WPN was frankly happy we did not have to play WVU because of WVU’s performance on offense and our own struggles on defense. By midseason, WVU QB Will Grier was on the short list as a Heisman candidate. West Virginia entered in the College Football Playoff conversation before dropping their last two games.
WPN has marked the 2019 game in Morgantown as the toughest away game of the season. Other than Clemson and Syracuse at home, NC State will likely not play another preseason ranked football team.
Since the conclusion of the 2018 season, several things appear to have gone in favor of NC State:
1. QB Will Grier to the Draft
The 23 year old Senior played out of his mind for the Mountianeers in 2018 but Senior Grier will be leaving West Virgina for the NFL Draft. This leaves WVU with a lot of uncertainty on offense. NC State also lost their QB Finley to the NFL Draft but the sense of urgency isn’t the same. Between a backup, redshirt, transfer and 2019 commit, NC State is potentially loaded with QB talent.
2. Head Coach Dana Holgersen Moves South
Fired? Pushed out? Personal financial decision? Who knows, who cares. The 7th year West Virginia Head Coach has taken his talents to the University of Houston. Holgersen and his beautiful skullet (balding mullet) was a staple of West Virginia sports. The fiery coach reinvented Mountaineer football with some of the most productive offenses in school history. Holgorsen’s WVU days will be defined by Geno Smith and Will Grier’s prolific gun slinging days.
3. Former WVU Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson Comes to Raleigh
The most ironic, and arguably most beneficial, change is the hiring of former West Virginia’s Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson. Gotta hand it to Doeren for hiring a coordinator for purely one game’s benefit. But seriously, this hires seems to be a smart choice as Gibson will now inhabit the co-coordinator position with current NC State coach Dave Huxtable. NC State will now have 58 years of coaching experience at the Defensive Coordinator position. I’m not sure how many schools can say that.
Please click on the link above to help Mr. Ainsworth and his family as he recovers from a gun-inflicted injury. He’s graduate of NC State and there’s no better time than now for WPN to come together and support the sacrifice he made to serve this community. Go Pack.
Below is a link to a article written by ABC 11’s Kelvin Keister:
PNC Arena was completely packed Tuesday night. It was a red out and that made the few UNC fans there really stand out. A “Kevin Keatts is a winner” banner was stretched out across the student section. State fans were as confident as they’ve been in years.
State never led and dropped the highly anticipated game 90-82. It’s always a huge letdown when we lose to UNC but for some reason this loss felt different. The loss was only the second of the season and this team fought hard the entire game. When the “TAR-HEEL” predictably broke out towards the end of the game, it was immediately followed by a “WOLF-PACK” chant.
Sure, we could have done things differently. It was mostly just one of those nights were we couldn’t find chemistry and the others guys were hitting everything. Roy Williams has owned NC State the past decade and the bitter taste of the Tarholes winning in Raleigh always lingers for a while. But this isn’t the past. Keatts said it best:
“We won’t be defined by one game.”
And that’s what was pushed leading up to this game. From Keatts to the players, they all called this just another game. As NC State continues ACC play, there’s no cause for panic. The next 5 opponents are all unranked. Following those game the Pack will have 3 highly ranked ACC battles. Good timing for sure. Keatts will be able to work on this team leading up to the tougher games.
The more time Keatts gets with this team, the better they will be. This should bode well with having the rematch with UNC 2 months down the road.