Wednesday, July 27, 2005

BlogPoll Roundtable IV

The good people over at Blue-Gray Sky are hosting this edition of the BlogPoll Roundtable.

1) Who are your rival(s)?

NC State's main rival is, of course, North Carolina, although I should mention that I am a huge fan of several persons who don the light blue; namely, John Bunting and the eleven members of the UNC "defense." I like how we tend to find unique ways to lose to the Tarheels every so often.

There is a lot of bad blood between NC State and Maryland that those of you from outside of the ACC region may not be aware of. Here's a quick rundown of the State/UMd series since 2000:

2000: Maryland 35, NCSU 28 (2OT).

2001: Maryland 23, NCSU 19. Terps score go-ahead TD with :41 left. The win sealed an Orange Bowl berth for Maryland, and their fans wasted no time pelting NCSU's field with oranges.

2002: Maryland 24, NCSU 21. Terps kick game-winning field goal with under a minute to play. Pack were up 21-7 in the third quarter. I made the mistake of going to College Park for this game and I wouldn't recommend the trip. Your living room is probably louder than Byrd Stadium, anyway.

2003: Maryland 26, NCSU 24. Wolfpack has the ball late and can run out the clock, but TA McLendon fumbles. Terps recover, kick game-winning field goal with :23 left (are you sensing a pattern?). This game pretty much scarred me for life.

2004: NCSU 13, Maryland 3. I couldn't bear to watch this annual heartbreaker anymore (can you blame me?), so, you know, I didn't. And naturally NC State won. But by all accounts it was one of the ugliest games of the year.

As you can imagine, those close games haven't made for positive relations between the fan bases. After Philip Rivers was drafted in 2004, fans from Maryland's message board went over to the Chargers message board just to inform the San Diego fans how terrible Rivers would be. A quality bunch, those Terps.

2) Size up your chances in your rival games this year.

I always like NC State's chances against Bunting's Tarheels. The Heels will be breaking in a new quarterback. Carolina's defense may be improved but won't be anything special.

The weakest part of NC State's defense will probably be the secondary, and there is no reason to believe the Heels will be able to exploit that. I also expect points to come a little more easily for NC State now that QB Jay Davis has a year of experience behind him.

I'm not foolish enough to believe this matchup will be a walk in the park, but NC State should win.

3) If you could start up a new rivalry with another team, who would it be?

Syracuse. NC State played a home-and-home with the Orange(men) in the late '90s (NCSU won both games), and I wasn't very impressed with the Syracuse fan base. Mostly I'd just like to stick it to 'em on a yearly basis.

4) Overall, what do you think the best rivalry in college football is?

In a previous Roundtable, I mentioned that the rivalry game I would most like to attend is the Iron Bowl, so I'm gonna have to go with that here. There is bitterness in any rivalry, but I imagine it's almost palpable down in Alabama.

5) Lastly, game trophies. What are the best and worst rivalry trophies out there?

Best: The Big Ten has a plethora of odd trophies. My favorite is Paul Bunyan's Axe, which goes to the winner of the Minnesota/Wisconsin game.

Worst: The winner of the annual Iowa State/Missouri (yeah, huge game) show down gets the Telephone Trophy. Just look at this stupid thing:

At least the winner of this game can call someone who cares.