Call me heartless. A battle-hardened cynic. Wimp. Weenie. Just don't call me crazy for not blowing a gasket over N.C. State football being No. 14 in the nation.
Sure, Wolfpack football hasn't been ranked this high since 2003, when Philip Rivers was QB. That in itself is exciting. The team has a pivotal two-game stretch coming up against Top 10 opponents Notre Dame and Clemson (both games I think we'll lose), which, if the Pack were to somehow win both, would propel the program to heights not seen in, oh, 50 years? That's fun and all, but I'm not going to throw a parade any time soon. State's been on the cusp before, and every time we've slid right back into the loving embrace of mediocrity.
State hasn't won the ACC in football since 1979. The last hoops title was 1987. In short, we haven't won anything of note in a long, long time. But we sure have come close a lot! What's that glass ceiling gotten us? A lot of heartbreak and the moniker known as N.C. State shit.
I doubt that will change with this year's football team, so why get my hopes up? I'm taking each game as it comes, and if we win? Cool. If we lose? Eh. Not like it was the first, fifth, or tenth time that's happened.
I've endured more than enough heartbreak over my Wolfpack, and a few years ago I hit the wall. Until State wins something of real note - a conference title, national championship, etc. - I can only get so emotionally invested. It's great seeing all the national exposure football has been getting - even if it makes most Pack fans cringe because attention typically equals a big fat loss - and I'm enjoying their success, but we're barely past the halfway point in the season.
Yes, things are starting to feel a little different in Raleigh. Aside from that brain fart in the opener against South Carolina, football hasn't had any of their typical hiccups. Even basketball feels like the ship may have been righted with new coach Kevin Keatts. But at this point, it's all still conjecture, and much as I want to get excited about State having nice things, I've been burned way too many times to count my chickens before they hatch. For now, I'm just taking it one game at a time, fully prepared to handle another heartbreaking, N.C. State shit-esque loss.
Maybe it's because I'm 37, and the results of a bunch of college kids playing sports doesn't matter as much to me. Maybe it's all the losing. I don't know. Either way, I'll be cheering the Pack on game day, but don't be surprised if I shrug off another heartbreaking loss... or enjoy the win for a short while before remembering how many games - and potential losses - are left in the season.