Despite three bowl appearances in his last four years at NC State, Tom O'Brien sits on the hot seat entering the season finale against Boston College. Although there's plenty of discontent from the fanbase, should the Wolfpack make a coaching change?
Should Tom O'Brien Return to NC State in 2013?
David Fox (@DavidFox615):
My question for NC State is what do the Wolfpack expect to be? History says the program is exactly what O’Brien has delivered. He’s 23-14 overall and 12-11 in the ACC in his last three seasons compared to 16-21 and 9-15 in his first three. Clearly, improvement is there even if this season has been a let down. But let’s face it: NC State football is not NC State basketball. The program has had only one top-15 finish since 1974, and that was when Philip Rivers was on campus. Other than that one year, O’Brien has delivered what NC State has always been -- a program floating between five and nine wins. That said, the ACC is primed for a team to move up. Florida State and Clemson are the only teams playing close to their potential, though Virginia Tech most likely will bounce back. Meanwhile, Miami and North Carolina are dealing with NCAA issues. Tom O’Brien’s going to win games and bring stability, but he’s not the energetic coach likely to pull in prominent recruits to take a program to the next level.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
I certainly understand the frustration from the NC State fanbase, but I think Tom O’Brien should return for 2013. After starting his tenure with a 16-21 record, O’Brien is 23-14 over the last three years. The Wolfpack are guaranteed a bowl appearance in 2012, which gives NC State four postseason trips under O’Brien. While those numbers aren’t impressive as Alabama or Oregon, I think it’s fair to wonder what the expectations are at NC State. Every program wants to challenge for a national title, but is that realistically possible? The other question NC State needs to ask: Who can make this program better and challenge Clemson/Florida State for the ACC title every year? Is there really that candidate out there in 2012? Even though Vanderbilt’s James Franklin has been tossed around Raleigh, he’s not leaving the SEC. Yes, NC State should be finishing consistently higher than fourth or fifth in the division, but if the Wolfpack beat Boston College and win in the bowl game, O’Brien would have three consecutive seasons of at least eight victories. The last time NC State had three straight years of at least eight wins? 1972-74.
The Wolfpack are headed to their third straight bowl game under O'Brien, but this measure of success hasn't done anything to tune out the whispers regarding his job security. More was expected this season with a team that had so much experience, starting with quarterback Mike Glennon, but an opening loss to Tennessee in Atlanta sort of set the tone for what has taken place. The season highlight has been a 17-16 win on Oct. 6 over a Florida State team that was ranked No. 3 and undefeated at the time. However, NC State followed that up by losing three of their next five ACC games, including a fourth-quarter collapse against arch-rival North Carolina and an embarrassing 33-6 home loss to Virgina the following week. The Wolfpack can still get to eight wins if they beat Boston College on Saturday and win their bowl game, but there will be many new faces in the starting lineup next season on both sides of the ball. If O'Brien's bosses aren't pleased with where he has the program, then the end of this season would be as good time as any to chart a new direction. I don't think O'Brien, whose contract goes through 2015, hasn't done anything to merit losing his job, but he also hasn't made the strongest case to necessarily keep it.
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