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Saturday, November 29, 2008

N&O Video from the Miami game


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An especially sweet video this week...it's fun to watch O'Brien express some restrained joy with Andre Brown, a player who's been vital to the success of the team's transition from Amato to its new head coach.

Edit: Thanks to SlackZac for bringing attention to the unintended duality of the meaning "critical" in the original post. It was poorly worded, for sure.


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Is it right to feel this good about a team that's 6-6?


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I think so, given they were 2-6 just a month ago.


As a friend asked me today at the game, "What would've happened if this team had stayed healthy all year?"

It's tough to know.

(Continues)

A couple more wins were there for the taking this year. The BC game, perhaps. Maybe the Florida State game or the Maryland game.

But what effect did the adversity at the beginning of the year have on molding the team into the squad that ran the table over the final four games? Freshmen and walk-ons had to step in and play more minutes then they ever could've thought coming into the year. That built some experienced depth to rely upon for spelling the starters later in the year.

Folks like Owen Spencer have emerged late in the season as the opportunity to shine has presented itself. It's tough not to look ahead to next year when a (hopefully) recuperated Donald Bowens returns to the lineup on one side of the field and Spencer lines up on the other.

Russell Wilson...what can you say, other than "wow." The kid continues to amaze, turning busted plays into scores, breaking the will of opponents just when they get a glimmer of hope. I know he may be a couple of games late to the Player of the Year discussion, but there simply can't be another contender for Rookie of the Year in the ACC, and without a doubt NO other player in the conference means more to the success or failure of their team than Wilson.

To go 4-0 over the final four games, against an upstart Duke and three teams ranked at some point in the year, is one of the more remarkable things I've ever seen a Wolfpack football team achieve as long as I've followed them. From where I sit, the future is indeed bright.


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Bradley Pierson: Placekicker, Badass


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NC State
## Player Solo Ast Tot TFL/Yds FF FR-Yd Intc BrUp Blkd Sack/Yds QH
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
56 Irving, N. 4 7 11 1.5/3 . . 1-40 . . . .
34 Leonard, R. 3 7 10 2.0/4 . . . . . . .
30 Gray, J. 8 1 9 1.0/2 . . 1-0 . . 1.0/2 .
14 Neal, J. 6 1 7 . . . . . . . .
31 Floyd, B. 3 2 5 . . . . 1 . . .
44 Michel, R. . 4 4 . . . . . . . .
94 Willis Jr., K. . 4 4 . . . . . . . .
26 Pierson, B. 2 1 3 . . . . . . . .
21 Morgan, D. 2 1 3 . . . 1-0 2 . . .
1B Goodman, R. 2 . 2 . . . . . . . .
99 Rieskamp, J. 1 1 2 0.5/3 . . . . . . .
7A Lucas, S. 1 1 2 1.0/2 . . . . . . .
96 Holmes, A. 1 1 2 . . . . . . . .
83 Hill, A. 1 . 1 . . . . . . . .
49 Cash, A. 1 . 1 1.0/1 . . . 1 . . .
91 Kuhn, M. 1 . 1 1.0/10 . . . . . 1.0/10 .
11 Augustin, A. 1 . 1 . . . . . . . .
32 Simmons, J. 1 . 1 . . . 1-32 . . . .
97 Young, W. . 1 1 . . . . 1 . . 2

If this whole kicking thing doesn't work out, Bradley, there's always room in the secondary for a guy that flies to the ball and brings down guys 1.5 times his size.

Add in the punt that rolled out at the two...not a bad day.


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Friday, November 28, 2008

Guest blogger at the Sun Sentinel for the Miami game


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I was approached by Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel to appear as this week's guest blogger heading into the Miami game.

Enjoy!


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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everybody


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Try not to kill yourselves this year.


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Four reasons why folks should be scared sh*tless by the Miami game


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  1. State has something to play for
  2. Fans can't stop talking about the Carolina game
  3. Miami got their rear ends beat by Georgia Tech
  4. CFN is finally picking us to win a game

(Continues)

1. I know that O'Brien, his staff and the players have all vowed not to let what happened last year (a shutout against Maryland with a bowl game on the line) happen again this year. That's all well and good, but the situations following the win against Carolina last season and this are eerily similar. State beat the Heels in Raleigh and then lost their final two games to finish 5-7. State is again sitting on five wins following the Carolina win, but unlike last year they only have one crack at making a bowl. And like last season they face a tough team that's as dangerous as any they've faced all year.

2. It's natural to revel in a victory over a rival, but doing so with the players and on the airwaves in ear shot of the team can lead to a hangover that may carry into the Miami game. O'Brien mentioned as much on his radio show Monday evening, stressing the need to move on from the Carolina win and focus on the 'Canes. Easier said than done. Of course, O'Brien didn't do himself any favors in making the talk go away with his proclamation of State as the top football program in the state. I love the smack talk, but things would've worked out better had the Carolina win and accompanying smack come in the final game of the year. As it stands now, it only serves as a deterrent.

3. Miami was feeling pretty good about themselves two weeks ago, having won five in a row and newly minted as a top-25 team. Then Paul Johnson and his triple option ran roughshod all over their asses in Atlanta. State put up 466 total yards against the Heels; Georgia Tech bested that number in rushing yards alone against Shannon's 'Canes. A beatdown like that stings twice as hard for a defensive coordinator-turned-head coach. He'll be reminding his team repeatedly of the thrashing they took, questioning their pride and desire on defense. A riled-up team with players as strong, fast and skilled as Miami's are on defense could pose serious problems for a team like State feeling good about itself.

4. CFN has been picking against the Pack for as long as I can recall. They picked Duke to pull the upset, for Wake to best the Pack and for Carolina to roll in Kenan. Now they've decided to toss their lot in with the Pack. Uh oh. I put way more stock in items 1-3 as legitimate reasons why the Pack can lose, but this one is like those harbinger moments you look at and say, "Oh crap...don't mess with our mojo. Please!" I'm a supperstitous sort, as I've said before, so this one plays to my irrational sensibilities. If Jenn Sterger picks the Pack as well, then I'll know we're doomed.


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A look at the Miami game, relatively speaking


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This is the last week I'll get a chance to do one of these. We've won every week I've done one. Only wish I'd started doing them sooner...

(For more info on what these numbers mean, take a look at the Duke entry.)

State Offense VersuMiami Defense:

State
RankMiamiRankDelta
Rushing Offense
93Rushing Defense
57-36
Passing Offense
71Pass Defense
8-63
Total Offense
97Total Defense
20-77
Passing Efficiency
82Pass Efficiency Defense
39-43
Scoring Offense
87Scoring Defense
49-38

Average Delta in favor of Miami when we have the ball: 51.4. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 43.2% (51.4/119) better defensively than State offensively.


State Defense Versus Miami Offense:

State
RankMiamiRankDelta
Rushing Defense68Rushing Offense7711
Pass Defense93Passing Offense81-12
Total Defense86Total Offense904
Pass Efficiency Defense72Passing Efficiency8412
Scoring Defense68Scoring Offense48-20

Average Delta in favor of Miami when they have the ball: 5.0. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 4.2% (5.0/119) better offensively than State is defensively.

At this point the numbers are pretty much chiseled in stone. That State moved fewer than ten slots in all of the offensive categories despite posting nearly 500 yards of offense against the Heels tells you something about how locked in these numbers are by now. 

Maybe someday the NCAA site will allow you to compare the national rankings of teams over a defined timerange, like over the last month, two weeks, any predetermined window size, etc. One can dream. But for now, this is what we have.

The overall numbers when State has the ball didn't change much from the Carolina game, though there are some notable figures in there. Miami sports a top-10 (8th) ranked pass defense which may give Russell Wilson fits. No doubt the Canes are awash in speedsters in the secondary. Their ability to close on the football and/or stay tight on the State receivers off the line may make things difficult in the passing game. The equalizing factor is Russell's scrambling ability. If the Canes corners take off in pursuit of the Pack receivers with their backs to Wilson, he may just take off for 8, 10 and 15-yard jaunts all night long. Randy Shannon will respect Wilson's playmaking ability and will adjust how he plays his corners accordingly.

On offense, Miami has struggled this season. They continue to flip flop quarterbacks in and out of the game; Shannon will tell you that it's to mix things up and give teams a different look. The skeptic in me says that if he truly had one quarterback that stood out it would be his show to run, and as such two QBs = zero QBs. That's borne out in a 84th ranking in pass efficiency, and coupled with a below average running game their total offensive numbers just aren't that good. 

State's defense played superb against the Heels, boosting their rankings across the board. But one thing to remember is that State possessed the ball so long in the second half and forced so many turnovers that Carolina's lack of production was as much a function of simply not having the ball than anything State's defenders did. So temperment of enthusiasm must be employed when looking at the stat sheet from last Saturday in thinking that suddenly the Pack are the Baltimore Ravens. Certainly if the Pack can convincingly win the time of possession battle again, however, that bodes well for the Pack's chances.


View the complete entry of "A look at the Miami game, relatively speaking"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

State hosts Winthrop tonight at 7:00


3 comments

I'm sure Steven will have a more in-depth look at the numbers later today, but you can get a jump on your homework by going to Ken Pomeroy's scouting report of the Eagles here.


From the looks of things, they're not a particularly good shooting team, only shooting 44% from inside the arc and 31.8% from outside. They like to play at an above average tempo, which may encourage State to get out and run a little more. Winthrop also turns the ball over quite a bit, hopefully contributing to an increase in State's transition game.

A familiar face returns to Raleigh tonight for the Eagles. Cameron Stanley, a star at Millbrook High alongside State's Simon Harris, played three years at Wake Forest before transferring to Winthrop as a graduate student last year. Stanley was a highly ranked recruit for the Deacs and Skip Prosser but sadly blew out an ACL before even taking the court at Wake. He rehabbed and played well for them at times but you wonder what could've been had he not suffered his knee injury.

Look for Stanley to elevate his game tonight.

The game tips at 7:00 tonight at the RBC Center.


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Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

N&O Video from the UNC game, with a twist!


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You know I love the video the N&O takes at the football games, and I try to host it here whenever I can.

This week's video has a twist to it: A nice shot of some Tar Heel fans dropping an F-bomb at the 3:15 mark:



I'd be foolish to believe that this sort of stuff doesn't go on at every school, including at State. I know for a fact it does. But this, along with the "Go back to the ghetto!" blast from last year's Maryland basketball game in the Dean Dome, is just stuff to store away anytime a Carolina fan tries to play the "moral superiority" card.

Sorry to burst your bubble, Heels fans...you're no better than anyone else.


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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Drunk Post: WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


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YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!


ALRIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Continues)


WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!


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Friday, November 21, 2008

Trading paint for paint: Retaliation hits the UNC Campus


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Courtesy reader Shawn, who sent me this:



Now it's getting a little spicy! I like it. Beats the hell out of playing trumpets through the streets of UNC's campus (no offense to the band, though; a valiant effort but not this cool).


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Some pee for your cornflakes...Degand out with an injury


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Cool State/UNC cartoon from wolfpackcartoons.com


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My boy Marko does great work with these wallpapers cartoons every week, and this week's entry is no different:


You can check out all of his entries for the year at www.wolfpackcartoons.com


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Q&A with "Tar Heel Fan"


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I can be a superstitious sort at times.

The previous two weeks I tried to track down bloggers from both the Duke and Wake Forest fanbases and came up empty. Wouldn't you know we went on to win both of those games?

So it's with some measure of trepidation that I start back up the Q&A series heading into the biggest game of the season so far against the Tar Heels. Why buck a good trend, right?

But where the Duke and Wake fanbases offer a sparse blogging landscape, Tar Heel nation is well represented on the Blogging Interwebs. You can't swing a dead internet cat without hitting one. And I think I've lined up the cream of the crop of the Tar Heel bloggers, "Tar Heel Fan." Not only does he turn an objective eye toward both Tar Heel and Wolfpack athletics, he knows on which side of the Triangle lies the state's best BBQ:

(Continues)

Let's address the quarterback issue right off the bat: After Sexton's performance Saturday against Maryland, is there any chance he starts the game against State? If so, how short of a leash will he be given? If Yates starts, do you anticipate Sexton seeing any playing time? Are you concerned at all with Yates being "rusty" if he plays?
At this point only Butch Davis knows. I thought Sexton should have been pulled in the 2nd half versus Maryland just to see if maybe Yates could produced a scoring drive. Since it ended up being 17-15 all it would have taken was one good TD drive to salt the game way. Anyway, I think Yates throws the ball better in terms of velocity and accuracy downfield. Rust could be an issue but honestly it is going to be an issue any time he plays again so I think you have to factor it in and hope it does not affect the outcome of the game. I think it is possible he uses both QBs depending on what State does. Sexton is a tad more mobile than Yates but really the Pack should be wary of the trick play which has one of the backs throwing the ball. Those guys are actually fairly decent at it.

If you were in coach Withers' shoes trying to gameplan Russell Wilson, how would you attack him?
One upside for UNC is they have seen a mobile QB at least twice before against the two Techs. The difference here is Russell Wilson is actually a threat to throw the ball and do so without making mistakes. UNC's defense this season has been an oddity in they give up huge yards but the oppposing team does not score many points. Some of that is the 18 INTs and the other part of it is UNC does stiffen up when teams get to their 30 or so. As for Wilson, the Heels do not pressure the QB in the pocket which could give Wilson all day to throw depending on how well the Pack O-line plays. On the flip side, the Tar Heel linebackers and corners do a fairly decent job of containment it would seem but as I said they appear to do a better job at it when teams approach their red zone.

What's the pulse of the Tar Heel fans regarding this game, in terms of confidence going in? Do most feel it will be a cakewalk? An upset by the Pack? Somewhere in between?
I don't think fans feel it will be a cakewalk. I am looking at it to be a fairly even game in which UNC opens up a wider lead late and maybe wins by two scores. Call it 10-14 points. The line is 12.5 I think and that feels about right to me. Because it is rival game and NCSU has played well enough you can really assume nothing. Not to use a tired cliched but anything could happen given the history between the two programs on the field.

How do you stop Hakeem Nicks?
I think the best way to stop Nicks is to take away the 10-15 yard receptions. UNC's bread and butter in the passing game has been getting the ball to Nicks and previously Tate in space and allowing those guys to pick up a ton of yards after the catch. On occassion they would go for the long bomb just to stretch the defense and it seemed like for awhile UNC could get at least one long TD per game. Now that threat is diminished since Tate went out with a knee injury. That has probably been the biggest key to stopping Nicks the fact there is no viable threat at the other WR position and we are still waiting for Greg Little to show up and do something positive.

Carolina is one of the best teams in the country intercepting the ball (18 for the year, tied for second overall), and Wilson has passed 175 straight times without a pick. Which gives way: the immovable object or the irresistible force?
175 in a row? I would think he is due to throw one then. Of course the Heels could not break Chris Turner's streak last week which is also over 100 passes without an INT. My suspiscion is UNC gets one, maybe even two picks. They did not have any last week and it is hard to imagine them going another game without getting some turnovers from the secondary. The tough part here is Wilson does make good decisions something that has not been seen in a Wolfpack QB since Philip Rivers.

What's your prediction for the game?
UNC 34 NCSU 20

What are your thoughts on naming this game every year and having a trophy of some sorts to vie for?
Sounds like a good idea. This is a rivalry even though some UNC fans want to say otherwise. At least in football the hate flows pretty evenly. I liked the suggestion it be tied to BBQ in some way though you could get into playing for some kind of state symbol I supposed since these are the two biggest schools in the UNC system and represent the state in general as well as most of the population in NC pulls for one of these two teams.

Otherwise we could put all the in-state commits for the current recruiting year into a pool and the winner takes all. I wonder if the NCAA would be okay with that?

Bonus question I ask all my Q&A participants: Between Eastern NC style BBQ and Lexington Style BBQ which do you prefer, and why? Have you ever eaten at Allen and Sons'? How would you rate the 'cue?
When Lucifer was thrown out of heaven along with 1/3 of the angelic hosts, Lexington style BBQ went with him. I mean really, who wants chopped pork with no flavor unless you drown it in some sauce? Seems kinda a weak to me. Eastern NC BBQ is superior in every way because it can stand on it's own and the vinegar base sauce gives it some serious kick. Never eaten at Allen and Sons, I was raised on three BBQ places in Johnston County: Smithfield's, White Swan and Holt Lake.


There you go! That's what I'm talking about! I was starting to lose faith in the blogosphere in the area with respect to the barbecue this fine state produces.

So Tar Heel Fan has the Heels winning by 14. It can certainly happen, given the Heels are playing at home where they've been winning all year long (except for the VT game). I disagree with his prediction on the outcome because I think the Pack will keep it close, win or lose, but I'll certainly share his assessment that in this rivalry game, anything can--and often does--happen.


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Remember folks...we are NOT their rivals.


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Operation Legal Vandalism from Daily Tar Heel on Vimeo

Well played, Heels...Well played. Damn shame we have an area of free expression and you don't. It's a little too easy, honestly.

The obvious response would be a painting of the Old Well, which occurred last year, but the Heels stepped up and organized a protection squad/rally to keep it from getting painted again this year (taken from the monkey boards):
Found this on IC:

"Last year, NC State students defiled our iconic Old Well by splattering it with that wretched red color. This year, that won't happen again.

Carolina Fever is sponsoring the 1st Annual Old Well Watch the night before the UNC vs. NC State football game and is OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS.


PLEASE INVITE ALL YOUR FRIENDS!!

Here is the schedule of events:

9:30pm-10:00pm: Doors Open

10:00pm-12:00am: UNC Basketball vs. UCSB
• Pizza served at halftime, provided by Butch Davis
• Live look-in by ESPNU, WRAL, ABC 11, and possibly Raycom Sports (still working on this)

12:00am-12:30am: Past UNC football speaker

12:30am-1:30am: Performances (Tentatively)
• Clef Hangers, Loreleis, Achordants, Cadence, Walk-Ons, Psalm 100, etc
• CHiPs
• Kamikaze

1:30am-3:30am: Late night movie, “Space Jam”

3:30am-4:00am: Light breakfast
• Pastries, muffins, bagels, etc. provided by Carolina Dining Services and Panera Bread

--> Students will go in one hour shifts to the Old Well beginning at midnight
• Hot chocolate, hot cider, and coffee provided
• Games: board games, trivia, capture the flag, flag football
• Carolina Blue and White glow sticks given out
• Water balloons to "guard" the well

I did have to chuckle, though, at their movie choice during the night to keep folks entertained: Space Jam.

Really? Space Jam? I mean, I know it features M.J. and all, but you do realize it's Space Jam that you'll be watching, right?

Hell, nerd it up a little and watch all three extended versions of the LOTR trilogy or something to take you through the night. Maybe mix in some Empire Strikes Back for some old school viewing enjoyment. But Space Jam? Damn.

And good luck playing flag football in 20-degree weather. What's losing a couple of fingers or toes to frostbite when you're playing flag football whilst protecting the Well?

To the current State students out there: The gauntlet has once again been thrown down. Step your game up.


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"The BBQ Bowl"...make it happen, Wendell!


3 comments

Over at 850 The Buzz, they're talking about football rivalry games and what constitute great rivalries.

Here are Adam Gold's criteria:
  1. You have to play the game every year.
  2. The game is played on or about the same time on the schedule.
  3. There is usually something very serious at stake.
  4. The two teams, or their fans, genuinely hate each other.
  5. There is a trophy up for grabs or a great name for the game.
Other than #3, the State/Carolina game falls squarely into all of the first four categories (#2 is iffy...the date of the game seems to shift throughout the year).

Number five, however, is lacking and while I don't tend to agree with Adam much, I agree with him here: This rivalry needs some sort of trophy to vie for in order to put it on the map.

(Continues)

The reason is simple. Visibility. Without a trophy trading hands, a meaningless game (in the scope of BCS and conference championship implications) between two conference opponents means even less to folks not within 100 miles of the Triangle. Not that having a named game or a trophy would suddenly elevate the game into the Michigan/Ohio State tier of importance, but it would at least recognize a very real and tangible rivalry that exists in this series.

I've seen and heard a lot of good suggestions for the game--The Tobacco Bowl (maybe, if weren't for that whole "cancer" thing) or the The Old North State game (the name's a little unwieldy) are some.

But here's my suggestion: The BBQ Bowl.

I think it fits for a variety of reasons and could actually do some good for the state's economy.
  1. The name is short, sweet and to the point. It rolls off the tongue easily
  2. It opens the door for a couple of trophy/prize options, which I'll explain later
  3. It would bring some national exposure to one of the state's most prized cultural treasures: BBQ
The name thing is pretty self-explanatory, so I won't delve into that too much.

Items two and three are the biggies and why I think the idea has merit.

I think there are two options for the "prize." Option one would be the winning team is supplied plates of "Victory 'Cue" from a notable BBQ establishment from the winning school's town. Chapel Hill's most notable establishment is Allen and Son, regarded by UNC-TV's Bob Garner as one of the best BBQ restaurants in the state. State would have The Pit, Ole Time BBQ or perhaps another venue to choose from. I envision the winning team at the final moments walking over to where the BBQ is kept, grabbing plates of Victory Cue to all take a bite from as they celebrate in front of their fans.

The second trophy option would be a large charcoal pig cooker that the winning team gets to paint at the conclusion of the game. Logistically, it would be a simpler prize than the BBQ plates (you'd have to have both restaurants prepare BBQ prior to the game, then keep it warm on the sidelines until the game ends, etc.). Just slap it on a truck with a hitch, wheel it to the game and whoever wins gets to paint it or parade it around the stadium. The downside of this is that Carolina already has a painted trophy that trade hands, so perhaps there wouldn't be much support from the folks in Chapel Hill for having two such trophies to vie for each year.

The third item in the above list is where I think naming this game The BBQ Bowl could have a positive impact on the economy and that's in the increased awareness of BBQ as a state treasure. Getting highlights on ESPN of the painted cooker before the game, or the trays of barbecue stored in heated storage ready to be dispersed, would help draw attention to a waning industry in the Old North State. There have been several grassroots movements to preserve the heritage and history of N.C. BBQ, but having a game named The BBQ Bowl between the two flagship universities in the state would really hammer home the point that BBQ in North Carolina is alive and well. Name exposure and brand visibility for the state's culinary treasure would be boosted.

So Wendell Murphy, you're a man who's built his empire on the hoofs of swine...I'm looking at you as a man with the name, power and influence to help get this done. Let's give this game a name and a prize and help the BBQ proprietors of the state in the process.

(Psst...If you think this is a good idea and you happen to know Mr. Murphy well enough to have his email address, click the letter icon below to email him this piece. Can't hurt, right?)


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A look at the Carolina game, relatively speaking


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This is the third week I've done one of these pre-game looks at an opponent...we won the first two games, so I'm damn sure not stopping now.

For more info on what these numbers mean, take a look at the Duke entry.

State Offense Versus UNC Defense:

State
RankUNC
RankDelta
Rushing Offense
102Rushing Defense
66-36
Passing Offense
78Pass Defense
61-17
Total Offense
104Total Defense
57-47
Passing Efficiency
91Pass Efficiency Defense
18-73
Scoring Offense
95Scoring Defense
17-78

Average Delta in favor of UNC when we have the ball: 50.2. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 42.2% (50.2/119) better defensively than State offensively.


State Defense Versus UNC Offense:

State
RankUNC
RankDelta
Rushing Defense77Rushing Offense858
Pass Defense101Passing Offense74-27
Total Defense97Total Offense93-4
Pass Efficiency Defense86Passing Efficiency32-54
Scoring Defense77Scoring Offense41-36

Average Delta in favor of UNC when they have the ball: 11.8. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 9.9% (11.8/119) better offensively than State is defensively.

(Continues)

Whole lotta blue in those tables there. No doubt about it, Carolina will be one of the toughest teams State faces all year. They're strong on defense where it counts: scoring defense and pass efficiency defense.

A note on the discrepancy between the pass efficiency numbers: One, Russell Wilson's pass efficiency rating is 127.00, good for 52nd nationally and 14 points higher than the team average, no doubt sagging from the games when Wilson was injured. Two, Carolina gives up an above-average number of yards (61st nationally) and is ranked 18th in pass efficiency defense. My guess would be that's bolstered by their amazing 18 interceptions on the year. Fortunately for State, Wilson is one of the nation's best in taking care of the football. So I'm not as scared by that monster 73-slot discrepancy as you might think (even though it is certainly cause for concern).

The one area where State holds an advantage is rush defense, and Carolina's rushing offense can struggle at times. Part of the reason why Carolina's rushing totals are so low is its propensity to toss the ball all over the yard, and when you have Hakeem Nicks, how can you blame them? But with Nate Irving back in the lineup the Pack's rush defense will be plenty stout. If the Pack can make the Heels a one-dimensional ballclub, that should bode well for their chances of escaping for a win.

One thing I'm noticing about these stats is that after the midpoint of the season, it's almost impossible to make a dent in them based on the performance of one game. It's like your GPA in college, in a way: once you hit your junior year, if you had a 2.5 you could pretty much run the table with either As or Ds and not move the needle that much one way or the other. State's played some of its best ball offensively and defensively of late and yet they still haven't cracked the mid-70s in any of these 10 catergories.

Perhaps a more accurate view of teams as the season goes on would be to rank the country's teams over their last three games. A three-game snapshot of all the teams wouldn't be perfect, but it would account for the ebb and flow of teams as they mature, fall apart, face overwhelming injuries, etc.

But for now this is an aggregate look as the season proceeds, and honestly State hasn't changed so much since the return of Wilson and Irving as to totally invalidate these numbers, just as the loss of Yates or Tate hasn't swung the numbers overwhelming in one direction or another for the Heels.


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

State beats Wake 21-17; sets up HUGE rivalry game with UNC this weekend


1 comments

It's been a busy weekend and start to the week for me, so I'll pass on recaps of the Wake game as I'm sure you've no doubt digested plenty of postgame pontification already.

I will say this about the game; this was the first game I was fortunate enough to attend this year. I thought the crowd (late arriving as seems to be par for the course these days) did a good job staying in it despite the weather, especially at the end when the Pack needed some big stops. And you fools in Section 10 are crazy.

Losing Shea McKeen is a blow and I think the Pack will feel his absence against the Heels. They have a very talented offensive line and if T.J. Yates is indeed back to playing QB for this game, getting as much pass rush on him as possible will be key. I hope we don't see our ends slow up at the end of the game due to fatigue.

Despite Carolina's three losses, they still have an outside chance at making the title game if some pieces fall their way. A loss to State would kill any last hopes they had, so State has a golden opportunity to play spoiler this weekend again just as they did against Wake.

Russel Wilson continues to dazzle. The oft-mocked Heather Dinich ran a piece about Wilson as perhaps the best QB in the league prior to the Wake Forest game. After the win, she looks vindicated in her assertion.

I should have plenty more content forthcoming in the week leading up to the Carolina game. I hope to have another Q&A after two botched runs at Duke and Wake Forest bloggers...though on second though, given we won both games, I should rethink my position...


View the complete entry of "State beats Wake 21-17; sets up HUGE rivalry game with UNC this weekend"

Friday, November 14, 2008

State students out-hippie the hippies at UNC-Ch


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Wolfpack sweep all three categories in water conservation challenge against the Tar Heels.

All kidding aside, great work by the N.C. State students living on campus. Water conservation is a noble goal and it's great to see everyone on campus step up and do their part.

Between the two schools, over 11 million gallons of water were conserved...not too shabby.


View the complete entry of "State students out-hippie the hippies at UNC-Ch"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Degenerates love the Pack


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Wolfpack is 6-1 against the spread this season.


State may not be winning a ton of games on the field, but for those of you degenerates that bet on the Pack, 2008 has been a banner year for you.

If daddy needed a new pair of shoes at the beginning of the year, he's got about 50 pairs of 'em by now.

I think part of the reason we're fairing so well is that we've earned so little respect in the eyes of the national gambling community. Not the oddsmakers, per say, but the folks who are actually plunking down the cash. The odds move against where the money is going, and if folks think the Pack sucks (based on the record or just plain poor name recognition) then they'll tend to bet against us. That drives the line in favor of the Pack, leading to juicy odds that an undervalued State team has been covering all year.

So for those of you looking to gamble away your kid's tuition money bet with pretend money for entertainment purposes only, the Pack are a great bet!


View the complete entry of "Degenerates love the Pack"

Just when you thought you had 90 days, 11 hours, 22 minutes and 32...31...30 seconds to avoid the Duke/Carolina hype


3 comments

The fine folks at Awful Announcing noticed this while perusing the CBS Sportsline college basketball page: A counter ticking off the seconds until UNC faces Duke in Cameron:

And you thought only ESPN did this kind of stuff?

Welcome to the world of college basketball coverage in the 21st century: where only two teams matter. All the other games in the conference and the country are merely a backdrop for the two, three or possibly even four times these two teams face each other.

Memo to the execs at CBS...don't follow suit with how ESPN approaches things. There are tons of other great teams out there deserving of attention and you would be better served focusing on those stories instead of subtly hyping ONE game THREE MONTHS AWAY.

Is it any wonder that Carolina just signed five players, regarded as the best recruiting class in college basketball? Or that Duke is right there with them in inking talent? When the media marginalizes every team not named "Duke" or "Carolina" in this fashion, it sends a message to recruits across the country that these are the only two programs worth a damn. And the nature of college sports being what they are, relying so heavily on recruiting, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that Duke and Carolina are always raking in talent. More talent, more wins, more exposure, more talent...rinse and repeat.

Sour grapes, blah blah blah...perhaps it's some of that. But the underlying message is still the same no matter whom you root for: If it's not Duke or Carolina, it doesn't matter.


View the complete entry of "Just when you thought you had 90 days, 11 hours, 22 minutes and 32...31...30 seconds to avoid the Duke/Carolina hype"

Monday, November 10, 2008

A look at the Wake game, relatively speaking


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We're going to take another look at the relativity stats this week heading into the Wake game. For more explanation about these stats and what they mean, see last week's entry for the Duke game.

State Offense Versus Wake Defense:

State
RankWake
RankDelta
Rushing Offense
105Rushing Defense
29-76
Passing Offense
77Pass Defense
56-21
Total Offense
105Total Defense
31-74
Passing Efficiency
91Pass Efficiency Defense
31-60
Scoring Offense
97Scoring Defense
20-77

Average Delta in favor of Wake when we have the ball: 61.6. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 51.8% (61.6/119) better defensively than State offensively.


State Defense Versus Wake Offense:

State
RankWake
RankDelta
Rushing Defense81Rushing Offense9817
Pass Defense101Passing Offense80-21
Total Defense99Total Offense1034
Pass Efficiency Defense85Passing Efficiency61-24
Scoring Defense87Scoring Offense958

Average Delta in favor of Wake when they have the ball: 2.7. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 2.2% (2.7/119) better offensively than State is defensively.

(Continues)

Right away you can see that Wake's strength this season is their defense. Their offense, typically strong under Grobe, has really been lacking in production this year, especially their running game. That's a great sign for State fans, as that plays to the strength of the Pack defense.

Wake's passing game is stronger than their running attack but it's still not a world-beating unit, 80th and 61st in yardage and passing efficiency, respectively. When compared to the Pack's pass defense, though, they still stand apart in the rankings with a better than 20-spot advantage in both categories.

The good news is that as previously injured Pack players continue to work themselves back into playing shape, the effectiveness of the Pack pass defense should improve.

The question will be can State's offense, that looked so good in the first half against Duke, have similar success against a very stout Wake defense. The disparity in the rankings seem to suggest no, but the one chink in the Deacon armor may be their pass defense. And with Russell Wilson continuing to improve each week passing the football, State may have opportunities passing the ball downfield.


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Nate Irving, in a nutshell


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A great quote from O'Brien about his star linebacker Nate Irving (from Tim Peeler's piece at GoPack.com yesterday):
“When Nate hits you, that is where you stay.”

Yep.

Or, wherever he decides to plant you:


View the complete entry of "Nate Irving, in a nutshell"

Do something good for a change: Toys For Tots


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Tom O'Brien hopes this year's Toys For Tots drive will surpass last's.


There's not often an opportunity for this blog to serve some good. Most often it's an assault on your logical and grammatical sensibilities.

But I figure if one more person remembers to bring a toy or two to the Wake Forest game to donate to Toys For Tots, then it's done a small measure of good.

Remember, if you plan to bring a toy this Saturday:
  • take it to the area in front of the RBC Center prior to kickoff
  • it must be a new, unwrapped toy
  • cash donations will be accepted at the toy dropoff location, as well as at all entry points to Carter Finley stadium

In O'Brien's first year as coach he helped motivate Wolfpack fans to donate a tremendous amount of toys and cash. But he's hoping for even more participation this year:
Last year, Coca-Cola donated $14,500, fans brought 1,400 new, unwrapped presents during a single-day toy drive and Harris Teeter collected hundreds of additional toys in donation boxes at select Triangle stores. With other cash gifts and in-kind donations collected at last year's NC State-UNC football game, the total amount raised approached $50,000.

That went a long way in helping area Marines to distribute some 75,000 toys in the nine-county Triangle region alone, a double-digit percentage increase from the previous year.


But that was just the first effort and O'Brien is looking for the program to grow more this year.

“Last year, even as we worked extremely hard to get out the message for fans to bring what they could, some fans still didn’t realize the drive was going on,” O’Brien said. “We started talking about it about a week ago on my radio show, and I think people know to look for it now.

“If we can double our efforts from last year that would be fantastic.”

So help get the word out folks, even if you can't attend the game this weekend. Any and every bit helps.


View the complete entry of "Do something good for a change: Toys For Tots"

"You know it's bad when..." Or: "Fun with poor copyediting"


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In today's gotta-have-it-written-and-posted-NOW world of internet media, it's often that you see typos and grammatical errors seep into stories. It happens. Copyediting, as a practice, is falling by the wayside because frankly all it does is slow up the process and, let's be honest, your average Joe (Joe the Blog Reader?) doesn't really mind a few errors along the way.

But there are errors, and then there are instances of completely blowing it.

I'm not sure if it's the five-year layoff in the series or not, but apparently getting J.C. Neal--you know, the guy who broke the game open with his kickoff return for a TD--correctly identified in an article coming out of the Duke compound is a bit problematic.

(Continues)

Instance one, courtesy of the Duke Chronicle:
The difference between the two teams first showed itself late in the first quarter, with the game tied at three after Duke's Nick Maggio made a 29-yard field goal. On the kickoff, Wolfpack return man T.J. Graham fielded the ball at his own 6-yard line and advanced to the 11-yard line before handing the ball off to J.C. Romero. Cutcliffe mentioned that his team was prepared for special teams trickery and had seen it on film, but Romero simply had too much speed and beat every Duke defender down the right sideline for a touchdown-it was a sign of things to come.


Ah, J.C. Romero. Helluva player, that Romero. Grandson of the late, great Caesar Romero, if you'll recall:



Now, picking on the Chronicle for errors in a story, just like picking on Technician and/or The Daily Tar Heel, is like plucking low-hanging fruit. It's too easy. A 19-year-old kid still hung over from Friday night is going to have his occasional error or two in a story.

I am curious about the surname Neal ended up with in place of his God-given name, though. Romero? What the hell? I've seen wrong names before; "Romero" as the wrong name seems almost on purpose. Who the hell defaults to "Romero" as their fallback name? When in doubt, call him Romero!

(And I can't refuse an opportunity to post a clip from Caesar Romero's greatest achievement in film, "Lost Continent." Rock climbing, Joel...rock climbing.)



I will give the Chronicle credit, though: At least they were in the same ballpark with "J.C. Romero." You could've completely missed the boat like the Duke Sports Information department did:
On the ensuing kickoff, N.C. State used a little trickery to break away for a 93 yard touchdown on the return. T.J. Graham fielded the kick at the Wolfpack 6-yard line running left and handing the ball off to Andre Brown at the 11, who reversed the field and broke away down the right sideline for the score putting State back up 10-3.


I gave a pass to the half-drunk college kid; Duke Sports Information lackey, no such luck. When you have the words "Sports Information" in your job title, it's incumbent upon you to report accurate sports information. I mean, just look at the box score. It's right there: "J.C. Neal, touchdown." Boom. Done. Don't make it hard on yourself by relying on memory after the fact. "Yeah, that guy that scored on the reverse...that was that Andre guy, right? Ah, screw it. It's not like anyone reads these things anyways..."

You know it's bad when you've fallen so far off the map in relevance that getting a guy's name right becomes a major chore. But that's where guys like me come in...an anonymous keyboard jockey to point out the flaws of Joe the Sports Information Guy (hey, I'm kinda digging this "Joe the ..." nomenclature. Thank you, McCain!) on a Monday, three days after the fact.

Yep.


View the complete entry of ""You know it's bad when..." Or: "Fun with poor copyediting""

N&O Video from the Duke game


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You know I'm a big fan of the video the N&O staff put together from the State football games. No frills, no flash...just the essence of the game distilled down into about five minutes. Good stuff. Enjoy.



View the complete entry of "N&O Video from the Duke game"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baby steps: State defeats Duke 27-17


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Recap from PackPride.com


GoPack.com recap

BoxScore

Well, it took five years to get here, but State continued its winning streak against the Blue Devils, taking their 11th in a row against Duke, by posting a 27-17 win in Durham.

The series renewal and subsequent win couldn't have come at a better time. It gives State their first conference win for the year, their third win overall and keeps the oh-so-slim hopes of making a bowl bid alive.

(Continues)

Russell Wilson continued his strong play, tossing two touchdowns against zero interceptions. That gives Wilson eight scores for the year with only one pick in 168 attempts...EXTREMELY solid numbers for a guy playing his first year at the college level, not to mention one who's missed the better part of three games.

The bigger story, however, was State's defense bowing up and stopping Duke on four fourth-down attempts, all in State territory and twice within 12 yards of the endzone. There were still plenty of yards posted against them, and some baffling alignments allowed for easy conversions for Duke in some situations (i.e. corners playing 10 yards off the ball on third-and-seven, for example).

But this was a key game for State heading into the final four game mini-season. They've won the first. Up next is a beatable Wake team, and a win in that game would set the stage for a GREAT showdown with the Tar Heels on the 22nd who smacked the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets around earlier in the day.

First things first, though. Cross your fingers that no one got injured, continue to improve in all areas and get ready for Wake. That'll be the order of business for the Pack in the coming week.


View the complete entry of "Baby steps: State defeats Duke 27-17"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Injury Report Update: Nate Irving, Julian Williams to play against Duke


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Per WRAL


It's yet to be determined just how much Irving will play, but as we've clearly seen this season, his absence is felt almost as soon as he leaves the playing field.

Having him back to patrol the middle will be key in limiting the intermediate passing game and should elevate the play of everyone around him. Let's just hope he makes it through this game unscathed, as we'll certainly need him the rest of the way.

Some good news to start a Friday is always appreciated!


View the complete entry of "Injury Report Update: Nate Irving, Julian Williams to play against Duke"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Say What? Former Wolfpack soccer goaltender poised to become Obama's press secretary


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You know that old saying. Politics and...um...something something something strange bedfellows...ok, scratch that.

What I was trying to get at is that sometimes you can find strange intersections between the political world and your own.

Take George Tarantini, for example. Back in 1990, he was coaching up a loquacious goaltender from Alabama by the name of Robert Gibbs. Could he have guessed that, nearly 20 years later, his goal minder would be on the verge of being named the press secretary to the President of the United States of America?

"I used to say to him, his intellect was too high to comprehend all the things we have to understand in soccer," Tarantini said.

I'm pretty sure that's a compliment. But then again, Tarantini's mastery of the English language has never been his strong suit. It's all good, though...drop me in a foreign country, have me coach a sport to its collegians and I guarantee I won't speak half as well in my non-native tongue as does Tarantini.

But that's beside the point. The point is this: N.C. State has another alum to be proud of in the public eye. Gen. Hugh Shelton bore the Wolfpack flag as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001. Now with Gibbs set to become press secretary, the Pack is once again well represented in the game of politics.

(Pay no attention to that adulterous son-of-a-mill-worker-with-shiny-hair, by the way...he's a Ram's Club member, after all.)

And lest you doubt whether Gibbs has the game to go toe-to-toe with the talking heads in Washington, he's got plenty of game. To prove it, here's a clip of Gibbs taking Sean Hannity to school at his own game. Well played, sir.


View the complete entry of "Say What? Former Wolfpack soccer goaltender poised to become Obama's press secretary"

Fells shines in opening
exhibition against Fort Valley State


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Twenty-one points, a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line, three assists, zero turnovers and two steals.


Not a bad day at the office.

Courtney Fells kick started his final campaign as a Wolfpacker in grand style, filling the stat sheet in a 94-65 win in the Pack's opening exhibition game of the 2008-09 season against Fort Valley St. in front of close to 4,000 Pack fans in Reynolds.

(Continues)

Ben McCauley started his senior season off strong, as well, adding another 12 points and four nifty assists in the low post.

Speaking of sharing the ball, there was plenty of that going on. State players notched 26 assists, including eight from point guard Javier Gonzalez. He added another two steals in just 22 minutes of action.

Coach Sidney Lowe got a lot of folks into the action, often swapping four and five players at a time to keep players fresh and the defensive intensity up. No fewer than 10 Wolfpack players saw double-digit minutes out on the court.

It wasn't all sunshine and moonbeams for State, though.

The smaller Wildcats of Fort Valley State out-rebounded the Pack 39-35, and 14 of those boards came on the offensive end. Coach Lowe has stressed rebounding coming into this season, so it's somewhat disheartening to see the poor rebounding numbers from last year carry over into this game. No doubt improving in that area will be what Lowe continues to preach moving forward into the weekend's practices and into Tuesday night's game.

A somewhat scary moment in the game came in the first half when Johnny Thomas, playing for the first time since tearing his knee up a year ago, went down with an ankle injury. He would not return, but early indications are that it's just a minor sprain.

All-in-all a solid performance tonight from the squad that should provide plenty of film to teach from as the regular season looms ahead.


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exhibition against Fort Valley State"

Time for basketball, folks...Fort Valley St. kicks off the season


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State faces Fort Valley St. tonight at 7:00 in Reynolds in the season's first exhibition game.


Steven @ Section Six has a good look at the Wildcats (whose logo looks eerily similar to the one used by the college in "Old School").

Obviously what you, me and all of us are looking for tonight is a total domination in the first half and some exploratory minutes for the new guys and the folks at the end of the bench.

Guy I'm rooting for tonight: Johnny Thomas, who's back on the court after suffering what many thought would be a career-ending knee at the beginning of last season. Some productive minutes to get the juices flowing would be great to help him regain some confidence in his rehabbed knee as he prepares for the season ahead.


View the complete entry of "Time for basketball, folks...Fort Valley St. kicks off the season"

Nerd time: A look at the Duke game, relatively speaking


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As a college football fan, I love the NCAA statistics web site. They rank every school in a variety of categories, offensively and defensively, giving you a good idea how strong a team is fairing on both sides of the ball relative to the rest of Div. 1A.

I decided to take a look at the Duke game using these numbers, to see how our offense matches up with their defense, ranking wise. I then averaged out the gap between the rankings (delta) of the five categories listed below and divided that number by the total number of Div. 1A programs (119) to arrive at a percentage of how much better--relative to everyone else in the division--that one team's unit was against another.

(Continues)

For example, if team A was the best team in the country in all five offensive categories and played team B, the worst team in all five defensive categories, team A would have an average delta of 118 (119-1), giving a relative percentage advantage of 99.2% when team A has the ball.

Conversely, if team A has the best offense in the country and plays team B with the best defense, the delta would be 0, with neither unit possessing an overall relative percent advantage over the other when team A has the ball.

Now, there's some big gigantic leaps of faith you have to take if you want to go solely by these numbers:
  1. Strength of schedule isn't taken into account. If team A plays a bunch of cupcakes, one would expect their rankings to be falsely inflated on both sides of the ball. Further, it doesn't take into account the strength of the individual units that a team has faced up to that point. If a team has played nothing but high-powered passing teams that refuse to run the football (hello Big 12), their pass defense ratings would be falsely deflated and their rush defense ratings falsely inflated.
  2. This type of comparison is virtually useless early in the season until both teams, and all of Div. 1A, have played a significant number of games to more accurately shape the rankings.
Nevertheless, it's another way to quantify the strength of the teams and to give an indication, if only a rough one, of how much better team A will (or will not) fare against team B when they have the ball, and vice versa.

So without further ago, here's the relative strength or weakness of State versus Duke.

State Offense Versus Duke Defense:

State
RankDuke
RankDelta
Rushing Offense
109Rushing Defense
68-41
Passing Offense
80Pass Defense
52-28
Total Offense
108Total Defense
47-61
Passing Efficiency
95Pass Efficiency Defense
56-39
Scoring Offense
101Scoring Defense
49-52

Average Delta in favor of Duke when we have the ball: 44.2. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 37.1% (44.2/119) better defensively than State offensively.


State Defense Versus Duke Offense:

State
RankDuke
RankDelta
Rushing Defense86Rushing Offense10014
Pass Defense94Passing Offense66-28
Total Defense101Total Offense93-8
Pass Efficiency Defense81Passing Efficiency68-13
Scoring Defense91Scoring Offense72-19

Average Delta in favor of Duke when they have the ball: 10.8. Relative to the rest of all Div. 1A programs, they are 9.1% (10.8/119) better offensively than State is defensively.

The interesting conclusion here seems to be that Duke's defense, not their offense, should be what concerns State fans the most heading into this game. With all the talk about Thaddeus Lewis and Eron Riley as weapons to be feared, they're not exactly blowing folks away when they have the ball in their hands. I would've thought Lewis' pass efficiency rating would be ranked higher, to be honest, but at 68 he's mildly below average, relatively speaking. And as bad as State defense has been this year, they're not too far off in the rankings relative to where Duke stands offensively. State has a chance to contain Duke's offense.

Whether State can do anything on offense seems to be the greater concern when looking at these numbers. They've held some of their opponents in check this year, with Virginia only posting a field goal in Duke's 31-3 drubbing of the Cavs and with Vanderbilt only mustering one score in their road win two weeks ago. We hear so much about David Cutcliffe as a quarterback guru and the aforementioned Lewis and Riley, but you should pay attention to the Devils defense when we have the ball...nothing will come easy against them.

Again, these are just numbers based on relative rankings, so they may not mean a hill of beans at the end of the day Saturday. State may lose by 4 scores or win in a 45-43 shootout. Who knows.

Just something to think about.


View the complete entry of "Nerd time: A look at the Duke game, relatively speaking"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rumor: Women's soccer coach Kerrigan fired
UPDATE: Kerrigan "steps down," confirmed at GoPack.com


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Per one of State's more connected posters on the free message boards at PackPride.com, he stated he'd heard that Laura Kerrigan had been fired as of yesterday afternoon. James Henderson of PackPride.com then confirmed later in the thread he'd heard the same thing.

This afternoon, GoPack.com confirmed it.


It brings to an end an 11-year run of very poor women's soccer coaching results by Kerrigan.

(Continues)

The Pack never fielded a competitive team in-conference under her watch, finishing with no more than three conference wins in a season at any point in her tenure. The Pack started this season strong out of conference, winning seven straight. But when the ACC schedule rolled around the team went belly up in tragic fashion, failing to score a goal against a conference foe until the Wake Forest game seven games in.

State would score only three more goals the rest of the way, finishing winless in-conference for the second-straight year and for the third time in her career at her alma mater (2001, 2007, 2008).

The bigger news is that Fowler actually pulled the trigger on an under-performing coach! So the standard of performance has been set under Fowler: As long as you can avoid three winless conference marks in a span of 11 years, you should be fine.


View the complete entry of "Rumor: Women's soccer coach Kerrigan fired
UPDATE: Kerrigan "steps down," confirmed at GoPack.com"

Great read about C.J. Williams from the Fayetteville Observer


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Dan Wiederer's great piece on C.J. Williams


When you start building a basketball program, you need role players just as critically as you do stars. Folks love to read about the stars--the John Walls and the Derrick Favorses, for example--but rarely do you read much about the role players who pitch in the needed six points here and the four rebounds there that round out a stat sheet every game.

As such, most kids coming to play ball in the ACC don't like to be thought of as role players. They want the ink, the praise and the airtime that comes with being a star.

But C.J. Williams is poised to assume that role with no hesitation. This great piece from the Fayetteville Observer (which boasts one of the more underrated sports writing staffs in the ACC area, IMO) takes a look at the road Williams took getting to N.C. State, and the role his father played in shaping him into the basketball player and young man he is today.

He may not light up the stat sheet this year, but if Williams can provide a spark off the bench and push the guys in front of him to perform at a higher level, his value to the team cannot be overstated.


View the complete entry of "Great read about C.J. Williams from the Fayetteville Observer"

Yay Politics! Bringing out the best in all of us!


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This is video of a kid trying to steal a McCain/Palin sign from a guy's house in *cough cough* Chapel Hill *cough cough*. Imagine the kid's suprise when he gets a nice little shock! Apparently the guy wired it up to a doggie electrical fence kit on account of the fact that several of his McCain/Palin signs had already been stolen.

Of course, the kid ran home, told on the guy and the kid's dad called the Sheriff. *Smacks head* News flash, dad: YOUR son was tampering with HIS property!

Ah, politics...isn't it great? It's what makes, every four years, the first Wednesday of November--the END of the political cycle--the best day of the year.

(ht to the folks at Brahsome)


View the complete entry of "Yay Politics! Bringing out the best in all of us!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Calling any Duke sports bloggers...are you out there?


3 comments

Each week I try to do a Q&A with a blogger covering the upcoming opponent.

The only problem this week is: are there any Duke bloggers?

Sure, there're the folks at the Duke Basketball Report. They've been around for a while and have made a name for themselves covering the Blue Devils on the hardwood.

Try as I might, though, I couldn't find any football-related content. Makes sense, I guess, given the title of the blog. But I was hoping there was a DBR spinoff site...a DFR, if you will. No such luck.

So this is me sounding the horn, raising the flag, puffing the smoke signal(?)--Wanted: One Duke sports blogger for Q&A piece this week. Even if you aren't that guy (or gal; let's not be sexist here, especially since it might eliminate the only eligible candidate), but can refer me to someone, let me know.


View the complete entry of "Calling any Duke sports bloggers...are you out there?"

Recruiting: Bob Gibbons thinks John Wall will choose the Pack


5 comments

From the Charlotte Observer's basketball blog:

During a conversation about another subject Monday morning, veteran All-Star Sports analyst Bob Gibbons brought up the Wolfpack.

“N.C. State has positioned themselves where this may be just wishful thinking, but they apparently have a shot at John Wall and Derrick Favors,” Gibbons said.

Wall, a 6-foot-4 point guard Raleigh’s Word of God Christian Academy, is the top-ranked player in the class by rivals.com. Favors is a 6-9 center from Atlanta who’s ranked No. 1 in the class by many other recruiting analysts.

Gibbons said he has a “gut feeling” that Wall will choose N.C. State rather than Memphis or Baylor. But he said even if Lowe doesn’t get either of those marquee players, he will have a solid class.

When Sidney was hired, one of the biggest questions about him transitioning to the college game was could he recruit at a level that could make State a contender in the ACC. That he's put together such a solid class for '09 already, with a possible addition of Wall and/or Favors, after such a disappointing '07-'08 campaign is remarkable.

The way last season played out would've killed the recruiting of most other programs. Sidney's brushed it aside and seems to be doing his best recruiting in spite of it.


View the complete entry of "Recruiting: Bob Gibbons thinks John Wall will choose the Pack"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mens and Women's squads finish 2nd and 10th, respectively, at the ACC Cross Country Championships


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Pack men finish second behind Virginia, who repeat as ACC champions.

The women's squad finishes a disappointing 10th as FSU repeats, as well.

The Wolfpack did take home one award over the weekend, as Ryan Hill earned ACC Freshman of the Year. He finished 13th in the men's meet, best of all first-year runners, with a time of 24:47.2.


View the complete entry of "Mens and Women's squads finish 2nd and 10th, respectively, at the ACC Cross Country Championships"