Many Wolfpack football fans were disappointed with last year’s 4-8 record, but after Saturday’s victory over Wake Forest, hope springs eternal.
NC State has enjoyed a fruitful past decade for the most part, only finishing with a sub-.500 record once between 2010 and 2018. This was reflected in the Wolfpack’s bowl record, winning five bowl games in eight appearances in the same time span.
A string of future NFL quarterbacks highlighted the 2010s for the Pack, starting with Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and rounded out by Cincinnati Bengal Ryan Finley. Mike Glennon of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Jacoby Brissett of the Indianapolis Colts each acted as the Pack’s field general in between.
The point is NC State has been producing a lot of NFL talent recently. In the Finley era alone, lasting from 2016 to 2018, players like Green Bay Packers safety Josh Jones, Denver Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb and Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury have gone on to play on Sundays. Given the Pack’s performance on the gridiron this past season, it is easy to forget this relatively recent success.
This sort of transitional period has happened before. After head coach Lou Holtz left the Pack for the New York Jets after the 1975 season, a subpar record of 3-7-1 in 1976 was followed by two consecutive winning seasons and two bowl wins in 1977 and 1978.
Between 1980 and 1987, NC State finished with more than six wins only once, which was followed by seven consecutive winning seasons and bowl appearances from 1988 to 1994.
After QB Philip Rivers was taken in the 2004 NFL draft, Wolfpack fans saw some mediocre football seasons, until the surge back to prominence in the 2010s. From the 2004 season up through 2009, the Pack had a cumulative record of 31-41 and appeared in only two bowl games, which it split.
These oscillations in team performance are as old as team sports, and it serves as an important reminder to cherish the good times while they are still around. So whether this Wolfpack football season resembles 2019 or 2017, NC State fans can rest assured that the Pack will not be down and out forever, they just need a little patience.