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O’Brien Certainly Has No Beef With The Schedule These Days

November 1, 2010

Back in September, coach Tom O’Brien publicly called out the ACC schedule makers regarding the short turnaround between the Central Florida and Cincinnati games. He felt the late game time in a humid environment on the road put his team at a competitive disadvantage heading into the Thursday night game compared to the Bearcats (they had a home game earlier that day).

I thought it was silly at the time and made he, and by extension the team, look bad in the public eye. It sounded like whining at the time and I called him out for it accordingly.

But I’m sure if you were to ask coach about his opinion on the scheduling offices, he might be singing a different tune.

After the Cincinnati win, the schedule has set itself up quite nicely for the Wolfpack.

  • The Thursday night game against UC gave the Pack two extra days to rest and prepare for the spread option of Georgia Tech. The Pack won the game and looked convincing at times doing it.
  • State was able to face two key opponents at home in the subsequent weeks. They used the home crowd enthusiasm to roar out to a 17-0 lead over VT in their afternoon matchup before ultimately succumbing to the Hokies. A good night’s rest preceded the start of preparation for Boston College, a down team but one State had never beaten under O’Brien. The Pack won convincingly.
  • The road loss to ECU was followed by nearly two weeks of recuperation time leading into the Florida State game. It’s debatable whether a bye week following a tough loss is beneficial psychologically, but it certainly helped physically as State prepared for its most crucial game of the year, a game which State hosted the Noles on a Thursday night (a timeslot where the Pack have enjoyed great success, particularly against FSU). FSU entered the game also on a 12-day bye, but the homecrowd advantage proved enough to lift State over the top for a huge win.
  • State now enjoys another nine-day break heading into a tough road test against a psychologically and physically wounded Clemson team on two fewer days of rest. The Tigers will be without their top tailback Andre Ellington who’s nursing a toe injury that’s expected to sideline him two games and is dealing with other nagging injuries that could’ve used those two extra days of rest. Also, it’s a noon kickoff, a kick time where the home crowd takes a little more time reaching full throat. The Pack could use that to their advantage in a typically hostile environment when the home fans are already disappointed in their Tigers’ 4-4 start.

It’s not all sunshine and roses…Death Valley will be plenty intimidating regardless of the start time and State still has to travel to Chapel Hill and to Maryland, a place where State has had very little success since Ralph Friedgen took over.

But I can’t imagine a schedule setting up much better for some of the most crucial games in the heart of this year’s slate. It helped State win the pivotal FSU game, helped State succeed in Atlanta against the Jackets, nearly buoyed the Pack against Virginia Tech and may help a fresher N.C. State team steal a win at Clemson.

Perhaps Tom owes the ACC schedule makers a couple of greeting cards: A “Sorry for what I said” card and a “Thank You” note.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott permalink
    November 1, 2010 3:58 pm

    I wish we didn’t have 3 of our last 4 games on the road, but those are the breaks. and while we’re at it, I wish we could’ve played Duke this year instead of last (and not V Tech).

    oh, and I want a pony.

  2. Plz2BStateFan permalink
    November 2, 2010 3:23 pm

    I commented on this a couple weeks before the season started.

    Besides only having 6 home games, this years schedule puts us at a disadvantage to nobody.

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