Friday, August 7, 2009

Why do national analysts pick Heels over Pack?

The biggest question in North Carolina during preseason practice isn't who's going to catch the ball for the Tar Heels.

It's not whether Duke can reach a bowl game, or who is going to replace Nate Irving at N.C. State.

The most obvious question crystallized after the USA Today coaches' poll was released today. Locally, there is a lot of excitement about both North Carolina and N.C. State after both schools reached bowl games in the same season in 2008 for the first time since 2001.

There is a sense locally that both teams are on about the same level. Yet nationally, that's not the case.

North Carolina was ranked No. 20 by the coaches, receiving 293 votes. N.C. State wasn't even within sniffing distance of the top 25, as it received just seven votes.

The most interesting question of this preseason is, why is North Carolina so highly respected nationally compared to N.C. State?

If you look objectively at the teams' rosters, the talent level should be about even. The Tar Heels return nine starters on defense and have a lot of team speed. N.C. State has a strong defensive front but questions about who's going to replace Irving and who's going to start at two key positions in the secondary.

On offense, N.C. State looks stronger than North Carolina on the line, at running back, at quarterback with first-team All-ACC performer Russell Wilson returning, and especially at wide receiver.

With returner T.J. Graham and place-kicker Josh Czajkowski giving the Wolfpack two returning special teams standouts, an objective analysis probably has to give N.C. State a slight edge over North Carolina in terms of overall personnel.

So why is North Carolina so far ahead of N.C. State in the national spotlight?

One thought is that national analysts and poll voters are more likely to look at last year's record as a big indication of how this year's team will fare. They are likely to know that North Carolina was 8-5 last season and N.C. State was 6-7. They are less likely to know that N.C. State crushed North Carolina 41-10 in Kenan Stadium, or that the Wolfpack could have finished with five straight wins because it was dominating the Papajohns.com Bowl against Rutgers before Wilson was injured right before halftime.

Another thought is that although N.C. State's Tom O'Brien might be every bit as good a coach as Butch Davis, the Davis name coupled with that of North Carolina carries more weight nationally. Davis is recognized as the guy who led glamour school Miami back to prominence after inheriting a probation-strapped program. He has been a head coach in the NFL and knows what it's like to win the Super Bowl after an assistant's role in the Dallas Cowboys dynasty. And North Carolina's constant success in basketball might help the Tar Heel program generate a bit more national name recognition than N.C. State gets.

Tom O'Brien has a strong coaching pedigree after reviving the Boston College program and training under longtime Virginia stalwart George Welsh. But O'Brien's resume isn't as glitzy as that of Davis.

Whatever the case, the preseason hype about North Carolina gives N.C. State and its fans plenty of motivation for this season. And as O'Brien likes to say, it doesn't take much to excite Wolfpack Nation.

- Ken Tysiac

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

very very very good article. As an nc state alum, I would think that nc state would have more recognition looking at the amount of success over the last 10 years, with the likes of philip rivers and the defenses that we've both along. Just like everything else when it comes to nc state and carolina..unc will always get the edge.

Anonymous said...

Preseason rankings mean squat. Anyone who's worried about them needs to just relax. I personally think the programs are about even, with a slight edge to NCSU because Wilson is better than Yates. The rankings in December will tell the story.

Anonymous said...

I'll guess the reasoning. Most National Analyst are gay?

Anonymous said...

You have a really good article. I agree with what you said about the coaches, however if I am not mistaken TOB is 2-0 agains BD and this year will be a three-peat, Last year they renamed the road from I-85 to the other side of Raliegh to I 41 to 10. This year they may rename Chapel Hill to O'Brien Hill!!!

Anonymous said...

Could have a lot to do with the fact that UNC's QB was injured for seven games and they still won 8 games overall. They were undefeated with him at the helm BTW. They also loss Tate, who was leading the entire nation in all purpose yards for quite a few games and was arguably the best playmaker.

Not to mention in three of the four Defensive categories NC State ranked last in the ACC. Whereas the Tarheels were tied for first with overall INTs and middle of the pack in the four aforementioned categories but ranked significantly higher than Duke in all four. And UNC has 9 returning starters on D (compared to NCSU's 7). Wilson is a great talent but Yates played seven less games and only had 9 less TDs and 787 less yards with a higher completion % and only 69 less completions IN 7 LESS GAMES!!!!

They may be about even but UNC had a better recruiting class this year and have more continuity on D (and I believe D wins championships). While the article definitely had some good points there are counterpoints that could have been added to make it better.

Anonymous said...

Probably has something to do with State not having a winning season in 3 years and Butch Davis having dominated recruiting over the past 2 years, with some of these young blue chippers being able to see the field finally. Basically, you have the same Carolina team last year minus its WRs this season; a team that won 8 games without its starting QB for most of the season and the best player in the ACC, Brandon Tate.

Anonymous said...

Well according to the game logs...TJ missed 6 1/2 games and Wilson missed 2 1/2...So he didnt play in 7 LESS GAMES, but 4...so he would have to average 2 TD's a game to match that.

And on the flip side TJ had 4 times as many INTs than Wilson in 4 LESS GAMES!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed that it took three posts for the homophobic sentiment to rear it's ugly head. Wolfpack nation is slipping.

Anonymous said...

NCSU:

11-14 the last 2 years.
26-36 the last 5.
66-59 the last 10.

Wow, that is impressive.

Anonymous said...

Davis is 4-2 against O'Brien.

Any of you guys have a way to look at records BEFORE 2005? Do you just go on what you remember?

You have the whole internet, go find it.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am expecting NCSU to win 10+ games. If they don't, TOB has underachieved with the talent on hand.

Anonymous said...

Does any of this really matter? November 28th is the only thing that matters. Not previous records, whether its over the past two seasons or the past ten. As far as recruiting goes, the job from high school to college is a big one. Its one thing to recruit but you have to follow it up with coaching. Continuing with that, the 2008 recruiting class won't have that big of an effect on this year's team. Most freshies don't make the 2 deep. We'll see you in Raleigh!

Anonymous said...

-*jump

Anonymous said...

REPEAT-DAVIS IS 4 AND 2 AGAINST O'BRIEN-YOU REDNECK DUMBASSES! Forget about buying a computer to learn what the internet has to teach you until you backward tobacco farmers learn to spell. When The Butch kicks your ass in Raleigh and goes to 5 and 2 then what will be your excuse?

Anonymous said...

Really? I can't remember Butch's record as the head coach of UNC vs. TOB. Can you help me out?

Anonymous said...

Could have a lot to do with the fact that UNC's QB was injured for seven games and they still won 8 games overall. They were undefeated with him at the helm BTW.

Yates started and played the majority of the NCSU and WVU games, so I'm not sure I understand the comment about UNC being undefeated with him at the helm.

Anonymous said...

Fine, I'll answer my own question. 0-2. Do the 4 wins outside of this rivalry matter? The answer is no. Does last year's score even matter? No. Quit with the hysterics and let the boys on the field settle this.

Anonymous said...

Don't comfuse UNC-ch fans with facts. It only frustrates them, and leaves them with nothing but resorting to ugly name calling.

Anonymous said...

Why? Because UNC has dominated the packers for over a hundred years academically,socially, financially and athletically - including football. I'm an ASU alum, but everyone knows that.

Anonymous said...

How is everyone supposed to know that you're an ASU alum if you post under anonymous. Good call. Don't waste your time on this, instead you need to visit Armanti Edwards and teach him how to use a lawn mower so he doesn't run over his foot....again! I thought we were talking about football anyways, not academics and social standards. Plus, we're debating over this coming season, not the last 100. Great post tho.

Anonymous said...

Well since the "ASU poster" had to chime in. Let me remind you that this conversation doesn't inlclude ASU for a reason.

Anonymous said...

I am confused as to how you can dominate someone financially. Did you gain access to UNC and State's Facebook accounts and see who had more friends? These posts get bad enough without a bunch of football posers joining in.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon, Aug. 7 5:02

UNC:

12-13 the last 2 years.
26-34 the last 5.
55-76 the last 10.

Now that is really impressive.

Anonymous said...

Visor Boy Jr. will be 0-3 vs. NC State? Yes. And BD will move onto greener pa$tures... Move along now.

Anonymous said...

After ECU goes up 7-0 vs. unc-ch, the baby blue cry babies will exit for their whine and cheese apps... Go Duke!

Anonymous said...

ECU, FSU, VT, NCSU, and Miami will whip UNC-CH. The aluminum will glare during the UNC-CH home games!

Anonymous said...

Please stop! Butch and Blake will give their recruit$ extra incentive for thi$ $eason. It's the Keroliner way :)

Anonymous said...

We do own you financially...

RALEIGH – In an effort to boost returns on its endowment, North Carolina State University is turning to its cross-Triangle archrival, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for help.

NCSU is putting about half of its $545 million endowment fund in the hands of the UNC Management Co., which manages UNC’s $2.2 billion endowment.

The reason is simple. NCSU is hoping to ride the coattails of UNC Management, which produced an 8 percent return for the endowments it managed over the fiscal year that ended in June. That’s a far cry from the return of negative 6 percent produced by Oaks, Pa.-based SEI Investments, which has been managing most of NCSU’s endowment money since 2006.

Anonymous said...

"Wilson is a great talent but Yates played seven less games and only had 9 less TDs and 787 less yards with a higher completion %"

This is a great example of how stats are for (31 point) losers. Completion percentage? Really? Wilson's completion percentage is low because he would rather throw the ball out of bounds if nobody is open and not force it into coverage. Thats called being a smart football player. He threw ONE INTERCEPTION last year during the entire season. And for what its worth, it was a hail mary pass at the end of the 1st half.

Great article, but just like preseason polls, the "analysts" opinions don't hold as much weight as what happens on the field.

Tarheel Paul said...

Tysic once again continues his love fest for the Wuffies and Hate for the Heels. Equal talent ? You are insane. Your articles are hilarious. Keep hating the Heels and loving the Wuffies. You keep giving them hope for a winning season. You are a joke of a sportswriter.

Anonymous said...

the ECU Pirates are better than both of these teams! You guys are arguing for second best... ARRRGGGHHH

Wolfey said...

So Ken Tysiac is a Wolfpack Homer and a Tarhole Hater. So what does that make 1 sportswriter in the whole Southeast. Come on Tarhole Paula your team has a corner on the whole journalism market. So what if one sportswriter isn't drinking your kool-aid. Tysiac rips on the Wolfpack a lot during basketball season but I guess you don't count that. It was a good article Carolina's D is more veteran but they lost their best Safety who got you one win against Miami. November 28th it will be settled on the field again.

Tarheel Paul said...

Wolefy

You have the Herb Sendak of college football coaches. Your talent is not comparable to UNC and when it was better you lost (remember Red Shoe Chuck). Tysic loves you and always has. Keep drinking the Kool-Aid. And ECC fan, get a life. You accept every non-qualifing player coming and going. You should compete in a lower division.

Anonymous said...

I'd expect Tysiac to love stet kawlij. He's an ND alum and he writes for the Rawlee paper, so what do you expect?

Ah, the boiling over resentment of Fans of Moo. Hahahahaha. Moo, Bessie, moo!

Got any bells for your "bell" tower yet?

Don't worry about your micro-endowment. We'll manage it very well. You might even eke out a return on your so-called money.

Anonymous said...

Oh, moo. You're so ridiculously easy to mock. We are much older, much wealthier, much better known. Don't even get me started on our drop-dead gorgeous campus and your freakishly ugly hangout in Rawlee (emphasis on "raw.") Not to mention the vast chasm between us and you, moo, in any academic rankings.

You'll always be stet kawlij, no matter who wins a football game. If that's your measure of greatness, have at it.

Anonymous said...

UNC-CH is the aluminum capital of the ACC. Enjoy your whine and cheese cry babies after Duke whips you! LOL!

Anonymous said...

So your college is 220 years old, and has 98 years on NC State both are state controlled.

So your university is wealthier what about you Anon 11:21,

The richest person in the the state has his degree's from NC State.

Since both schools have different degree programs its comparing apples to oranges. But undergrads that go to UNC for medical school fair better than undergrads from UNC. Campus beauty is no contest Carolina is a beautiful campus, in a town setting where State is in an urban setting and is comparable to Georgia Tech in the look of campus.

I do find it funny for a Liberal Arts school you Tarholes have a hard time spelling and make lots of grammatical mistakes.

To EZU fan you couldn't beat us the past 2 seasons we aren't playing this season. I will be cheering for a sinkhole when you and the Holes meet up, though I will take an EZU victory as a consolation prize.

William said...

Without turnovers Carolina was just a little bit better than Duke last year. They lost roughly 58% of there offensive production with the loss of all their wide receivers.

6-6

Anonymous said...

UNC has won 10 of the last 15 in Football. Roy is 12-1 vs the Pack in basketball. NC State sucks at everything except Bass Fishing

Anonymous said...

NCSU:

11-14 the last 2 years.
26-36 the last 5.
66-59 the last 10

While those numbers aren't very impressive, State is the winningest D1 program in the state this decade so your argument doesn't hold much weight.

Mike said...

Hundreds of Head Coaches accross the country aren't idiots when they voted on UNC's ranking.

For anyone who has followed recruiting the past 3 years, you should know that UNC has brought in a big time recruiting class the past 3 years while NCSU has not. The only question everyone keeps asking on this Tarheels team entering the season is who will be the receiver opposite Greg Little..but Dwight Jones was one of the top High School players in the nation before he had to wait his turn at UNC, now he will step in.
So why would UNC not be nationally recognized..
They have no weaknesses, elite recruiting the past 3 years, and a great experienced coaching staff..