Coming into the season, I immediately circled three games on State’s football schedule:
- Clemson – A chance AT HOME to take down the school that has run ACC football for close to a decade.
- UNC – If I need to explain why…get off our site
- @Miss State – And here we go…
Beyond winning, let alone making it to the ACC Championship, this game against Miss State maybe one of the most important games in Doeren’s career. It has short-term and long-term influence on the program, regardless of MSU’s standing within the SEC.
This Miss State game has turned into a must win for State.
Honestly? Would have thought we’d have played at least a couple dozen SEC road games in our history and split a good chunk of them. We overlap regionally, comparable to mid-size SEC schools, and it just seemed very plausible for a steady stream of matchups and wins.
I was wrong. And it’s not good.
NC State's all-time football record in road games versus the SEC: 1-14-1
The lone win was 10/8/1977 at Auburn.
NOTE: NC State has won games at Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Texas before they joined the SEC and lost a "neutral site" bowl game to Vanderbilt in Nashville.
— Rob McLamb (@RobMcLamb) September 7, 2021
1-14-1 in SEC road games?!?!? One freaking win ever?!?! As Rob mentions, we have beat SEC schools, just prior to them actually being SEC schools. But the fact remains, things historically aren’t on our side.
A win would allow us to get the preverbal “monkey off our back”, when it comes to the SEC.
Doeren has never had this much talent and experience on one team. When you look at the schedule again (and I know it’s only been one week and things will change, but just let me live out this dream scenario), it looks good for State to make some serious noise. Maybe Miami, Louisville, FSU and Clemson just aren’t what we thought heading into the year. The mix of home games and away games, work out real nice for the Pack.
Which is why this game is so important.
If the Wolfpack can go into a tough place like Starkville AT NIGHT and get a win, this gives them the momentum for that run to a Week 6 bye. Take care of business in this road game and them come back for three games at good ol’ Carter-Finley.
State would crack the top-25, while gaining a road SEC win for their resume come December. They would feel like they’re clicking on all cylinders.
The momentum gained could be a serious tipping point on what this team could accomplish this season.
There are going to be folks reading this article saying to themselves, “Why are we putting the SEC on such a pedestal?” Because they win, have the utmost respect and are the steadiest of conferences for producing the best teams in the country, Every. Damn. Year. If you want to be considered a contender, you have to be in the conversation with the SEC.
And that goes for long-term recruiting, as well. Which is point three of the importance of winning against Miss State.
If you are a stud recruit in the Southeast (or frankly anywhere…but…you know), you dream of big time football in night games like this. Right now, however, there is nothing that Doeren can tell these kids on why it’s better to be in Raleigh, than a backup in Athens, Baton Rouge or even damn Starkville.
A win means another feather in the cap of the recruiting circuit that says;
- Win the state of North Carolina
- Not only be bowl eligible, but be closer to New Year’s Day
- We can hang with any conference in the country
I know Miss State ain’t the best in the conference. But I’d rather beat them then get blown out like a Miami or look like poop as Louisville did against Ole Miss. You build a program by the wins you gain. This would be a big one, regardless of where the Bulldogs end up in final standings.
If State shows up and wins, they gain eyes all across the Carolinas and one more notch in their experience belt.
Now I get that State can lose and that doesn’t affect us whatsoever for an ACC crown. I would also ABSOLUTELY trade a Miss State loss to go 11-1 in the regular season.
But for a fanbase that constantly wonders why we haven’t gotten over the hump…wonders if this team has the capabilities to be a contender…wonders if Doeren is even our guy.
Then this Miss State game has turned into a must win for NC State Football.