Nothing like a little severe weather to welcome a visiting opponent. Our friends from Texas Tech might have tornadoes and blistering sun, but we've got hurricanes and suffocating humidity, and are always glad to welcome visitors in the thick of hurricane season. And dammit, our field is made of grass, not that Berber stuff they grow back in Lubbock.
I think it's safe to say that while Isabel was churning away out in the Atlantic last week, she observed NC State's football struggles and decided to take action. After all, nothing clears the air like a big fat storm. No, Saturday won't be damp and rainy with residue of Isabel being drizzled on Raleigh to give us a home field advantage, grounding the Red Raiders' passing game. Instead, the sky will be clear, the humidity low, and all the accumulated bad mojo from this short season will have been completely destroyed by Isabel. After all, hurricanes destroy, they don't merely wash away. Especially the female ones.
With the eagerly anticipated and incredibly enervating Ohio State game finally overwith, the Pack can now move on with the rest of the season. Maybe Isabel will help everyone forget the sting of coming so close to defeating the defending national champion last week. Maybe millions in damage and insurance claims across the eastern plains will also overshadow the damage caused by a conference loss to Wake Forest. Saturday will be a new day for the Pack.
In fact, I'm pretty sure Texas Tech fans haven't forgotten about that game. State fans might take some solace in the fact that the star quarterback of the Red but dressed in predominantly black Raiders is off to the NFL, but his replacement, B.J. Symons, has simply bettered his numbers so far. There at the top of the stats for passing yards per game, just behind Arkansas QB Charlie Frye, sit Philip Rivers and B.J. Symons. Neither should have a problem with an Arkansas QB being ranked first, because his performance last week was part of the Razorback's route of Texas. Not everyone may be aware of this, but like Texas Tech, State fans hate Texas. We still hate Mack Brown (but are glad he left UNC), and everyone knows Austin is nothing but Chapel Hill in a big sombrero.
So, we welcome our allies from Lubbock with open arms, and deeply apologize for dangling victory before their eyes so cruely last year. The Raiders, after all, were kind enough to host T.A. McLendon's coming out party, letting him rumble for 150 yards and 4 touchdowns, including the tying and winning scores. Two weeks prior to that game Texas Tech was introduced to Ohio State's own freshmen phenom, Maurice Clarett, and did not fare much better, surrendering 205 total yards and three TD's. As far as the game went, which was their season opener, it is interesting to note that Ohio State had significantly less trouble with them than the Pack did last week, winning 45-21.
Man, why did Rivers have to sneak it twice against that line? Nevermind that. A new start. A clean slate. Gale force winds. Ok, so our "slate" can't be erased, we're stuck with a 1-2 record. Beating Texas Tech is now a must.
How things have changed. Before last year's instant classic in Lubbock, the Pack was riding high on the heels of outscoring four previous opponents by a whopping 165-36 total, including an easy 32-13 romp over of Wake Forest. Hm, losing to them this year really hurt us.
Anyway — it's not the end of the world. Georgia Tech showed that Florida State is still vulnerable, and if no one goes undefeated in the ACC, the Pack could still have a great shot at the ACC title and BCS bowl bid. As long as it runs the table, that is.
Texas Tech: we love your offense, we love your fans, and we hate your rival. But, we'd rather not be 1-3, so instead we'd like to give you a nice quality non-conference loss. Enjoy Isabel, and please don't feel like you have to pass the ball so much on Saturday.