Monday night when North Carolina State defeated Vanderbilt 9-7 they became one of 16 schools to advance to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Baseball Tournament. It occurred to me that this has been quite a banner year for the Wolfpack in the major sports, football, basketball, and baseball. In recent years, NC State has in played in the shadow of North Carolina’s and Duke’s massively successful basketball programs. They are kind of the forgotten school on Tobacco Road, but something happened last year on Nov 19, 2011.
NC State effectively ended the #7 Clemson Tiger’s national title hopes with a dominating 37-13 win. They won their final 3 games of the season including the bowl game over the Louisville Cardinals. The basketball season under new head coach Mark Gottfried was an unmitigated success. The Wolfpack were one of the darlings of the first weekend reaching the Sweet 16. Finally as we said the Wolfpack baseball team reached the Super Regionals. Do you know how many teams pulled of that feat of a football bowl win, the Sweet 16 or better, and the Super Regionals?
Well there were the Florida Gators from the mighty SEC. No surprise there. Then the Baylor Bears pulled off the feat… They did have a once in a generation talent Robert Griffin III to lead their football team, but impressive nonetheless. The third team you ask? It must be the Texas Longhorns, Ohio State Buckeyes, LSU or Alabama, nope, nope, nope…. aaaaand nope. It was the ACC’s own NC State Wolfpack. That’s exactly 3 teams in the entire country. I’m not the only one to notice the Wolfpack have been and are making athletic strides. FoxSportsSouth says N.C. State’s athletic future is bright, and StarNewsOnline also takes notice of N.C. State’s success.
The StarNewsOnline article rightly plugs Florida State as well and their 5 ACC Championships in the last year. which led the ACC. The Seminoles came within 6 points of pulling of the same feat as NC State as they won their bowl game, got to the Super Regionals, but lost to Cincinnati in the round of 32 in the NCAA basketball tournament. At the same time Florida State pulled off something no other team in the country can lay claim too. They are the nation’s only team to win their bowl game, make the Super Regionals in baseball, and win their conference basketball tournament. Not too shabby for a couple of ACC schools.
Fans of both schools can feel proud of their institution’s athletic accomplishments, and with both having a shot to make it to Omaha and the College World Series the best might be yet to come. Florida State will host the Stanford Cardinals and N.C State will head to Florida this weekend.