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Welcome To “Bizarro ACC”

September 20, 2010

Imagine yourself on vacation in Las Vegas this spring. You’re at a casino, staring at a betting board, and the following preseason prop bet stands before you: “Through the first three weeks of the college football season, the following will be true:

  • N.C. State will be 3-0.
  • Their defense will look like one of the most impressive units in the ACC.
  • The Tar Heels will be 0-2.
  • The Tar Heels will be missing the majority of their starting defense due to an ongoing, multi-prong NCAA investigation.
  • N.C. State will be the only team in the league with a decent out-of-conference win.”

Take a stab at what you think the odds would be for those five “props” to come true. Maybe 1,000-to-1? Or 10,000-to-1? How about 1,000,000-to-1?

There’s no number I can think of, really, that could quantify the improbable chances of all five of those conditions occurring. Yet here we are, with September winding down, and State’s receiving votes in the polls while the rest of the ACC looks out of kilter.

No one saw the NCAA stuff in Chapel Hill coming, for sure. The tweets that fell the UNC program–and landed players at several schools across the country in hot water, even ending the career of best-bud Weslye Saunders at South Carolina–kick started the “review(s)” that have cast into serious doubt the chances of the Heels of making a bowl game after many were talking ACC Championship.

Within the walls of the N.C. State community, though, the play of State’s defense has been a very pleasant surprise. The Pack beat two quality opponents in Central Florida and Cincinnati, and held them in check enough in the first three quarters of both games to have three-touchdown leads. For those who thought a 5-7 record was likely now have to think 7-5 or even better is a possibility.

These are strange times, but it’s good to be on this side of the equation. The season is young and there’s still plenty of time for the scripts to flip–teams may find ways to negate Jon Tenuta’s attacking defense and the Heels may get back nearly all of the 12 players currently being held out during the investigation soon enough to let them right their ship–but if these trends continue from here on out, this could be a very special year for State and a very disappointing one for the Heels.

Strange times indeed…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott permalink
    September 20, 2010 11:19 am

    State has reason to be optimistic, but we have some things to sort out as well. Our kicking game is terrible. All of it, punting, kick-off and PATs/FGs. Ruiz will cost us a game or two before the season is over. Our coverage team has been solid when they are given the chance, however. They just need to be give the chance!

    And I will be interested to see how well our defense fares against a seasoned QB. We’ve been able to rattle the QBs we’ve faced, but we have given up some bigs plays when they managed to hang in there in face of the pressure. I hestitate to say it, but TJ Yates may give us trouble.

    But, there’s no substitute for being 3-0. A bowl is in our grasp if we keep playing like we have.

    • September 20, 2010 11:38 am

      You’re absolutely right about our kicking game. Our punting is abysmal, we missed a PAT, and our kickoffs are still not high or deep enough to allow our kick coverage teams time to pin teams at or behind the 20. There has to be some kid on the club soccer team that can out-play Ruiz.

  2. September 20, 2010 12:25 pm

    Let’s keep things in perspective on the kicking side of things. That was Czajkowski’s first missed PAT in 84 attempts. The punting on the other hand is an obvious problem. I’m still concerned about our pass defense, but that side of the ball certainly has improved. The offense just needs to push harder than they have so far. While they shown some good things, consistency hasn’t really been there in my opinion.

    As a State fan, I try to keep hope at bay. We’re looking good, but no chickens should be counted just yet. You never know when one of those eggs might be a goose.

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