NC State Football’s Spoilers Ruin It For Everyone Else

Blue Versus Red

November, 25, 2008, by Ben

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Despite their inability to achieve any sustained success, NC State football has an uncanny ability to really mess things up for others.  Saturday, the lately surging Wolfpack demonstrated this ability once again in Chapel Hill, where they certifiably sucked every drop of Tar Heel life out of Kenan Stadium.  In the style of their past season-ruining wins against national powerhouses like Florida State, the Pack made a confident and tough UNC team look as bad as, well.. the regular NC State football team.

The Tar Heels came into Saturday’s contest looking to add a needed win to their record, hoping to move to 4-3 in the ACC, 8-3 overall.  The scent of a possible ACC Championship was pungent.  They had earlier posted convincing wins on the board against the likes of Boston College, Georgia Tech, UConn, even Charlie Weis’ Notre Dame.  And despite their close loss at College Park to Maryland the preceding week, UNC was beginning to look like a somewhat formidable football team.  Even the crowds at Kenan Stadium exhibited a newfound confidence in their team—something that has been lacking in recent seasons.  At times, these fans, led emphatically by students in the “Tar Pit,” have even come across as intimidating to visiting teams, making a visible mark on the Heel’s games.  Judging by NC State’s meticulous dismantling of the Tar Heels on Saturday, however, one might think that John Bunting was still walking the UNC sidelines.

To start, the atmosphere at Kenan Stadium was beautifully enthusiastic.  As expected, a blue-red sea covered the stands; neither side’s fans were at all bashful about expressing their disdain for the foe.  The students in the Tar Pit, lively as ever, tilted the crowd’s balance in the direction of UNC.  And, it seemed, most believed that NC State had absolutely no chance of competing with the at-home Heels.

Tom O’Brien and the Wolfpack apparently hadn’t gotten that memo.

State scored first, hitting a 39-yard field goal that brought the score to 3-0.  State fans rejoiced; UNC fans were unfazed.  Then, following a couple of lackluster Tar Heel drives, State scored again in the second quarter, this time a passing touchdown to an uncovered George Bryan.  10-to-nothing.  And as is most often the case, this burst of unforeseen success brought out the blood-red raucousness in the State faithful.  The only answer UNC had in the first half was a few more humdrum drives and a field goal.  10-3 at half.

The second half was, in a word, ugly.  NC State methodically picked apart UNC’s defense, leaving the Tar Heels dumbfounded and and the light blue at Kenan lifeless.  At times, the UNC secondary was virtually invisible.  Wolfpack receivers routinely found themselves wide open down the field, and quarterback Russell Wilson connected on almost every necessary pass.  The UNC offense fared no better.  The at-times unstoppable Ryan Houston was shut down by State’s defense.  Tar Heel quarterback T.J. Yates couldn’t buy a reception.  This was not the game most had expected.

About halfway through the fourth quarter, the blue-red sea slowly became redder and redder as throngs of disgruntled Tar Heel fans poured out the exits (an action that disappointed at least one UNC Student who attended the game).  This simply exacerbated the rabidity of the Wolfpack crowd.  A call-and-response of “Wolf!... Pack!”  bounced off the half-empty stadium seats.  If you closed your eyes, this was no longer Kenan Stadium, it was Carter-Finley.  The vulnerable and periodically high-school-esque Wolfpack football team had turned Chapel Hill red, all but dashing most Tar Heels’ hopes of an ACC Championship.  Again, this pesky and undying NC State team ruined it for a late-season victim, the Tar Heels.

The most frustrating part of this whole story may easily be the perpetual mediocrity of NC State’s football program.  It’s been six years since Chuck Amato (fastened securely on the shoulders of Philip Rivers) took the Pack to the Gator Bowl, and even then, the success was short-lived.  The recipients of the Pack’s late-season sabotages haven’t faced Wolfpack teams with something huge to gain.  This makes the Pack’s season-ruining victories that much more bitter and frustrating; i.e. there is hardly an ounce of reconciliation in knowing that you lost a game to the eventual winner of the Meineke Car Care Bowl.  And for NC State fans, it seems bragging rights hold as much worth as actual success.  UNC fans will be hearing it loudly and obnoxiously for the next 360 days or so.

As for future late-season NC State opponents, perhaps a slight adjustment in the approach to the game is prudent.  The irksome thought of a drunk NC State fan bumptiously gloating about his Pack’s irrelevant win for an entire year ought to be motivation enough for any team to play a decent game.  It seems, though, that in recent years, ACC teams have been lulled by State’s evident awfulness, only to subsequently be surprised by an unexplainable flash of real ability coming from the team in red.

A small amount of comfort for Tar Heels, however, may be derived from the fact that NC State’s football team is still far from actually good.  At this point, they are the owners of the second-worst record in the ACC (just behind Duke, who we all know would have trouble competing with Millbrook High School).  Tom O’Brien hasn’t yet shown much of an ability to inspire his team beyond a few late spoilers.  This Saturday, Miami travels to Raleigh, where the expectations for the Wolfpack will still be low.  Until NC State demonstrates the ability to be regularly successful, they will remain the aggravating neighbor, stepping into adjacent yards and ruining it for other, more deserving opponents.

(State fans, though, would most likely be quick to say that at this point, that’s fine with them.)

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  • Reality
    11/25 05:50 PM

    Carolina isn’t as good as you thought they were…get over it.

    btw, I assume your point was to ruffle the feathers of State fans..and you did a good job.

  • sarah
    11/25 05:58 PM

    I too am assuming that it was your point to ruffle feathers…and you did do a god job. As a wolfpack fan, I was thrilled by the win. Not only b/c it was UNC (it is always a perk to beat UNC), but also b/c I like to see the team I support win (as does a fan of any team). I would also like to point out that UNC has been a pretty mediocre football team too.

  • Dana
    11/25 05:59 PM

    Actually, VT spoiled UNC’s season. Once UNC (or NCSU for that matter) lose their first football game, the rest are just exhibition games. The only thing UNC has had to play for is a bowl game (and let’s be clear - all bowl games that are not the national championship are the same, especially when you are part of a socialist athletic conference.)

    The best thing playoff proponents can do is to IGNORE ALL BOWL GAMES. We’re stuck with this garbage as long as bowls make money.

  • sarah
    11/25 06:00 PM

    typo correction: “good” not “god”

  • packpigskinfan25
    11/25 06:22 PM

    Wow… That might be the most ignorant cocky thing I have ever read on this blog.

    And its from a Tarhole… imagine that!

  • James
    11/25 06:33 PM

    First of all, UNC isn’t that good.  They beat Notre Dame and everyone starts singing their praises.  Seriously?  Listen, if Rudy were at Notre Dame right now he’d be starting. 

    Secondly, anyone who followed Pack football this year would tell you that their “mediocrity” might have something to do with the numerous early season injuries they faced.  Most of their prime offensive positions were hurt by injuries, which made it difficult to score. Take away any team’s top QB (Wilson), top RB (Baker), top TE (Hill), abd top line backer (Irving) and I think it’s safe to say they’re going to struggle. 

    So I think it might be fair to say that NC State is a “thin” team.  In otherwords they are definately impacted when their starters are injured, but to say that they aren’t good, or are somehow less deserving than a UNC team that has only been consistent in sucking for more than the last decade is perhaps a little much. 

    At the end of the day, I guess this just shows how difficult it is to argue that a team that just got beat 41 - 10 is somehow better than the team that beat them.

  • Vince
    11/25 06:33 PM

    Yeah, UNC hasn’t been known as a football school, so that horn still needs to be tuned before anyone can blow it.  Notre Dame?  Notre Dame lost to Syracause last week, so what does that tell you about spoilers?  Rutgers, UConn?  Stay away from the Big East.  More varying non-conference opponents, please.

  • Bronce
    11/25 06:37 PM

    Unc beats the powerhouses of rutgers and notre dame and all of sudden they’re a “more deserving opponent”.

    Get off your high horse and notice your 3-4 acc record. Same as the “still far from good” Wolfpack. Not to mention you didn’t just get upset, you got dominated in every facet of the game. 

    I usually expect more than biased writing from new raleigh.

  • Seann
    11/25 11:01 PM

    Yet, ECU wasn’t mentioned in this post….hmm

    We had more going for us going into our game with State than UNC had! 

    Obvious bias aside.

  • MMI
    11/25 11:29 PM

    I’d like to point out that, unless Virginia Tech beats UVA this coming Saturday, the Hokies won’t be winning any Conference Championships, either.  A loss to the Cavs means they lose the Coastal Division tie-breaker to my beloved Yellow Jackets (the *real* Tech, thankyewverramuch!), and don’t make the trip to Tampa.

    Wow!  I finally got to utter a voice for the 3.4 Tech fans in the Triangle!!  :)

  • Dana
    11/26 12:05 AM

    Yes, MMI. You are right. However you completely missed the point. VT handed UNC their first loss. S. Car handed NCSU their first loss. Every game since then has been nothing more than exhibition play.

    It is absurd that we have a so much money in a system that relegates most of the season for most of the teams, meaningless.

  • James
    11/26 02:43 AM

    It will probably be a few years before ANY N.C. can start talking about going for

  • Al
    11/26 06:33 AM

    wah wah wah!

  • Madison
    11/26 09:22 AM

    What a great slapfight!  Let’s all agree to disagree… ACC football sucks this year.

  • hackles10
    11/26 10:36 AM

    “At this point, they are the owners of the second-worst record in the ACC (just behind Duke, who we all know would have trouble competing with Millbrook High School).”

    HaHa, my favorite part of the article.  You did realize while writing this that UNC has the EXACT SAME RECORD. 

    This article is the equivalent of a whiny trust fund baby who just got arrested for a DUI screaming, “Dont you know who I am, Dont you know who my father is, you will regret this”

    These sour grapes from tar heel fans just sweeten the pot.

    Butch Davis is 9-12 in two years against Division 1A opponents and yet you still beet your chest with the media’s arrogant rhetoric…beat on my light blue friends.  We will enjoy 2 years of victory!

  • MMI
    11/26 01:38 PM

    Does that mean you’re a Dookie, hackles?

    Dana, are you saying that people lose interest after a team loses 1 game, or was that a comment on a team “needing” to go undefeated in order to challenge for National Championship?  If it’s the latter, I’d (respectfully) say that it was you who was missing the point—of playing college football, that is.  Does that mean that everyone who failed to become Champion wasted their time?

    I’m also fairly certain that the SEVEN teams currently in the Top 10 that already have 1 loss would disagree with you.

  • hackles10
    11/26 02:48 PM

    Huge Duke fan….how could you tell!

  • Lew
    11/26 03:28 PM

    State would give any team in the league a loss as Russell Wilson is playing on a Phillip Rivers level and the defense is healthy again with Irving and Cash back 100%. Why Davis went with Yates is really the question ... but I think State would have bottled up Sexton as well.

    My other question is how many more TD’s and yards and stats and maybe wins would Wilson/State have if Spencer could actually catch a football? Dude does an amazing job of getting open but if he can’t catch ... what’s the point. I would rather see Graham more anyway.

  • Adam
    11/27 02:32 AM

    It would only be fitting that the best investment made to the UNC football program this year would the words from a sore loser, which is synonymous with Carolina fan, by the way. 

    Bahahaha; the bitter sentiment that plagues this article is hilarious.  I could fill this entire box with stats, statistics, and other such issues that no longer haunt the Pack, but I won’t.  True testament to whether your program has had success in recruiting and growth will come at Wallace Wade this weekend…I’ve read and heard nothing but mixed reviews as to which team will win that “contest.”  However, everyone has State slated to win Saturday against the ‘Canes.

    And I will say as with most weekends in season:

    GO YELLOW JACKETS!!! (So…go UVa!?)

  • WiseOne
    11/29 12:40 PM

    Wow, after reading this blog you would think UNC had a football program in the realms of FSU…which we know isn’t true. At least NCSU has reached a little glory in their program. Oh and btw you forgot to mention the turn-overs in the game…little babies couldn’t hold on to the ball.

  • currincy
    11/30 06:25 PM

    “At this point, they are the owners of the second-worst record in the ACC (just behind Duke, who we all know would have trouble competing with Millbrook High School).”

    That thought’s is so 1998-2007, bro.

  • MMI
    12/01 01:41 AM

    Ah, Hackles… I know we have disagreed in the past, but I really had thought better of you.  There’s not much lower than a rabid Dookie.  *tsk, tsk*  :p

  • Bronce
    12/01 11:02 AM

    I can back hackles up on this one..definitely not a duke fan…state fan for sure.

    oh yeah, and this writer is still a hack. (had to throw it in)

  • You're an idiot & I should know
    12/01 02:58 PM

    Before I continue, I would like to be upfront with those reading.  As there does not appear to be a way to email “Ben” directly I’m posting this comment, however as I sincerely doubt he will even see this, it’s for everyone else’s entertainment.  Enjoy!


    Thank you for posting your recent “article” in the Entertainment section of the New Raleigh blog, it was entertaining to say the least.

    With the written word the author’s intended tone is either lost or misinterpreted, but I think your overinflated sense of UNC’s ability and entitlement really popped off the page.  If you are not currently enrolled in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication Program, you should be.  Obvious talent like yours should not be wasted.

    One thing that wasn’t clear to me was your motivation.  You post an article with a slant toward UNC as subtle as a chainsaw on a Raleigh news blog.  Since all I know of you is that there are 3 letters in your nickname, I can only guess.  Let’s see.  Your “article” must be at the top of the “most commented” list.  Maybe you generate some sense of self-worth from ruffling people’s feathers.  Maybe if you’re not happy, everybody’s going to be unhappy.  I’m definitely going to lose sleep trying to figure that one out.

    Also, in the future as you develop your journalism talent, you might want look at singing the praises of the opponent that handed you your hat and asked you to leave your own house.  The better they appear, the better you appear.  By debasing your opponent’s strength and abilities you just come off as a whiny little “trust fund baby.”

    I wish you success with your future career in journalism.


    “You’re an idiot & I should know”

    P.S. The sustained success of the UNC football program that you’ve inferred ended in 1997 when Mack Brown quit.  You’ve got a good coach in Butch Davis.  Try not to run him off too!

  • stephen
    12/01 06:02 PM


  • InKorea
    12/01 06:14 PM

    How do you spoil the season of a mediocre team?  Carolina’s goal at the beginning of the season was never to play in the BCS.  It was to be “OK,” but better than the other teams in the State.

    The fact that they were destroyed by the best team in North Carolina shouldn’t bother you.

  • Jed
    12/01 06:27 PM

    “They had earlier posted convincing wins on the board against the likes of Boston College, Georgia Tech, UConn, even Charlie Weis’ Notre Dame.”

    Notre Dame is 6-6 and you beat them at home by 5.  NCSU is 6-6 and they beat at home by 31.  Yet, you refer to Notre Dame as a respectable team while classifying NCSU as “far from actually good”.

    Your logic is undeniable.

  • S. Beaumont
    12/02 09:42 AM

    Disappointing to see this garbage on NR

  • CarnifeX
    12/02 02:47 PM


  • John
    12/03 02:45 AM

    I thought this was “”, not “”.

    Well, NC State pretty much dismantled Miami as they did UNC but Miami did manage to score a bit more than the Heels. In the end, both the Pack and the Heels finished 4-4 in league play.  In fact, half of the teams in the ACC ended league play at 4-4 with 4 teams ending 5-3 and two others with losing records.

    The original post is written from the perspective that the reader would obviously agree with the content and Op-Ed.  Well, such a “piece” is better suited to the Daily Tar Heel where the fragile egos of its readers can feed off of some supremacy propoganda.  To the less myopic audience, it comes off as arrogant, naive and laughable. 

    The Tar Heels lost.  They didn’t finish league play with a better record than NC State.  They aren’t playing for the ACC Championship.  Butch Davis isn’t the second coming and he is 0-2 against NC State. 
    Just get over it.

  • Emily
    12/05 10:31 AM

    This is quite an entertaining thread.  I think we’re all overlooking the main problem with this article:  since when is the point of football to lose so that you don’t “mess things up for others”?  Isn’t the point of football to WIN????  Sorry that NC State was just doing what they were supposed to, whiney tarholes…

  • The Pack Is Back
    01/14 01:50 PM

    Ben-Go home and cry to mommy and daddy in between swigs of $6 Starbucks lattes about how UNC-Chapel Hill got absolutely destroyed at the hands of the Wolfpack, and most other solid football teams as well.  Maybe they’ll up your trust fund allowance so you get some self-worth back. 

    I bet Butch Davis is already looking for a better job to move into.

  • James C.
    06/05 03:52 PM

    Wow, can’t believe I just found this. What a fun read, given how the game and the subsequent weeks played out!

    And about that Meineke Car Care Bowl…I believe I recall which team won this year’s edition, and it wasn’t the “home” team.

    What a loser you are!

  • unusual businesses
    12/14 01:59 PM

    I genuinely like this blog. exceptional transmit look after up the correct work. I have bookmarked your site.

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