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November 21, 2012

Tom O'Brien hopes for new divisions in 2014



NC State coach Tom O'Brien, a former Boston College coach, knows the Eagles enjoy playing against NC State and expects a tough game Saturday for Senior Day at Carter-Finley Stadium.

O'Brien also touched on what he would do with the ACC divisions, Coastal and Atlantic, in 2014 due to Maryland leaving the league.

A full transcript of what the coach had to say is below:

Opening statement:

"This is a big game for 16 of our kids because it is Senior Day, the last time they'll get a chance to play in front of the Wolfpack Nation here at Carter-Finley Stadium. It's a special group of kids, and first group we had a full year to recruit. Four of them have already graduated, and 10 are due to graduate in December. Two others will graduate within the next year. All 16 kids will have earned their degrees since they've been here.

"With a win, if we can find a way to win this game Saturday, they'll have won their 24th game in three years, and been to three bowl games in a row. The most wins in the history of this school for a three-year period is 26, early in the 1970s it was done and then with Philip Rivers. They can end up the regular season two wins shy of the best three-year period. They have had a great influence on this program. We continue to move forward and it will certainly be an emotional day for them."

What is your perspective on Maryland leaving the conference?

"I hope it isn't the way it was when we left the Big East. There was a lot of acrimony at that point. I think in today's world, people are changing conferences every year, so it may be bad with the fans, one way or another, but certainly we'll treat Maryland with respect with their due as a long-time partner of the ACC. I think any time change happens, you have to look at it as an opportunity to make yourself better, and an opportunity to be better.

"The thing that I would hope going forward, especially because of the traditionalists and everything else, and we can't do it next year, but certainly going in 2014, that we can change our brackets and go back to the original ACC against everybody else. Wake Forest, Duke, Carolina, State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia, the original guys, and we go back to playing each other. It can be the old guys vs. the new guys. I don't care what you call the [divisions]. That is certainly something that ought to consider. If we are going to be traditionalists and think that is important, so maybe that can happen in 2014."

Any concern that more teams could leave the ACC?

"We haven't talked about it. I would think that would be in some guys mind, one way or another, but as far as coaches, we have no influence on this process. You are asking the wrong guy with that question."

How do you see the bowl situation and what one more win does for your chances of a good one?

"It certainly does. I think that is one of the carrots that we talk to the team about, that they can separate themselves from everybody else. You are going to have the 10, 11-win teams in your top two [Clemson and Florida State], and then if you want to be the third team in that selection process, you have to win this game on Saturday, not only because it's Senior Day and the last home game and everything else. It certainly has a lot to do with your stature and where you can go in the bowl process."

Coach David Cutcliffe of Duke talked about parity on Tuesday. What is your thoughts on that?

"Parity is always good but certainly the perspective for the league, you don't want all your bowl teams to be six- or seven-win teams. You'd like to have parity at the eight, nine or 10-win level. That hasn't been the case this year. Everything is relative. You have to figure your place on where you need to be in this league. We had an opportunity to separate ourselves from everybody else by winning another game. That is important to us."

How has Boston College played the last two weeks and what concerns you?

"They've played very well the last two games and they have had great effort up there. That is typical Boston College teams that I've been familiar with in the past. They are certainly not been afraid to come play us. They've beat us, as I've told the team, they've been tougher mentally and tougher physically than us, and played harder than we have. That is something we have to be concerned with.

"I know [BC coach] Frank [Spaziani] and them, they seem to like to come play NC State, and they've had success. We would expect them to play better this week than they have the last two weeks."


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