Luke Perrin

This is North Carolina State University. Let’s not kid ourselves with the quality of our football program and place ourselves in the pantheon of consistently elite programs that exist across the rest of the country. We’re not Alabama, Ohio State or even, should we say, someone lower on that threshold, like Florida State. We’re a university that is historically lambasted for mediocre play by our rivals down I-40 and by the rest of America who pays attention to our program. There should not be any type of an excuse for remaining in the purgatory of mediocrity that our football program has found itself encased in.

Dave Doeren should be fired. If he isn’t, expect next season to be more of the same.

Dave Doeren inherited an abysmal recruiting job left over and, to that extent, you can argue that getting talent at NC State has been his greatest success. Pulling Jacoby Brissett from Florida proved to be crucial for any of the Wolfpack’s success before this season while focusing on talent inside of the state, specifically recruits in the urban Charlotte area, has paid off by way of overall recruiting class quality. In 2015, Doeren boasted the sixth highest-rated class in the ACC. In 2016, this number dropped to the ninth best, but was overshadowed by the ACC’s gridiron royalty, by way of Florida State, Clemson and Miami.

If anything, this is indicative of Doeren’s tenure thus far at the university. NC State is used to being overshadowed by the rest of the ACC, but the program hasn’t just been overshadowed by the ACC in the last four seasons. 

It has been eradicated by the conference.

Doeren’s ACC record speaks for itself: 0-8 in 2013; 3-5 in 2014; 3-5 in 2015; 2-5, as of this weekend, in 2016. Of those conference wins, they have only come against Syracuse, Wake Forest, Boston College and one lone victory at UNC-Chapel Hill. Doeren remains 3-13 in home conference games. Success outside of the conference has been much more prominent, but this is indicative of the lackluster schedule of those games. Beating FCS teams, while adding quantitative data to a bowl resume, doesn’t do much for establishing the credibility of a football team's success.

During his time here, Doeren has beaten just 13 nonconference teams: Louisiana Tech, Richmond, Central Michigan, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion (twice), South Florida, Presbyterian, Central Florida, Troy, South Alabama, William & Mary and Notre Dame.

Central Florida, the team that NC State defeated in the St. Petersburg Bowl in 2015, proceeded to go winless in the following season. Notre Dame, a win against a home crowd on the 50th anniversary of Carter-Finley, is guaranteed to finish the season with a losing record. The numbers are there, and the numbers aren’t in Doeren’s favor.

The crowd at Carter-Finley certainly feels the same. The chants of “Fire Doeren” and “We Want Miles” that echoed from the mouths of students during the Miami game were indicative of the negative sentiments towards the program by much of the student body. The rest of the crowd certainly felt the same way, as many seats remained empty during and after halftime, in the final home game of the season under perfect weather and an atmosphere that couldn’t have been better for November football. The fans have given it their all, as season ticket sales set a record in 2016, but the return product has been far from what is expected.

NC State football is stuck in mediocrity, and the excuses don’t hold weight during Dave Doeren’s fourth season under his tenure. While missed field goals and a disastrously tough Atlantic Division create excellent scapegoats for a horrendous win-loss record, they are quite simply not valid enough to ensure that Dave Doeren be given more opportunity to prove himself to the conference, university and its fan base. 

The Atlantic Division doesn’t force you to punt the ball on the 39-yard line. Missed field goals shouldn’t be the reason that you lose to Boston College, a team that didn’t have an ACC win since 2014. There is a larger problem in place here, even more so than undisciplined efforts and moments in big games, such as the dropped interception against Florida State. There has become an acceptance of averageness and the satisfaction of simply becoming bowl eligible in recent years. This shouldn’t be good enough, and waiting for a miraculous turnaround next season isn’t the cure.

If Dave Doeren is the head coach next season, expect more of the same. If NC State Athletics is satisfied with this mediocrity, then by all means, continue to wade in the waters of a six-win season. Doeren has had his opportunity and, in year four, the product truly isn’t good enough to satisfy the contract that he operates under. 

Now is the time to make a #Statement and that involves replacing the ship’s captain, before the currently submerged vessel truly begins to sink.