Inside the mind of a State fan….
Now before you turn and run screaming from the title of this post, hear me out. I’ve been doing some thinking about this, and I might actually have a theory as to why N.C. State fans have such a hatred for UNC (or UNX, UNCheat, the Tar Holes etc. if you go by their nomenclature). I’ve often wondered why State fans, beyond just a mere conference rivalry and close proximity, seem to harbor this innate hatred of all things Carolina. I think I might have boiled it down to a simple statement: State fans hate UNC for the same reasons UNC fans hate Duke.
Now, my theory is based on said fans having attended each respective university. I can’t say I will ever understand lifelong State fans who did not attend N.C. State. I mean, seriously, why would you do that to yourself? Anyway here it goes.
The parallels between the UNC/Duke relationship and the UNC/NCSU relationship are actually pretty easily noted. Duke is a higher ranked university compared to UNC, while UNC is higher than State. For kids growing up in North Carolina, there’s naturally going to be a little animosity if someone attends a “better” school than you. Now we all know that school rankings don’t accurately describe the experience there or even in some cases the education. For instance State’s engineering program is well-respected and tough to get into, and I’m not sure UNC even has an engineering program. (actually, it does) But generally speaking, the perception as far as education goes is: Duke > UNC > N.C. State.
UNC students, and fans, get a little prickly if it’s brought up that “Duke is a better school,” or even “Duke is a ‘good’ school,” for that matter. Imagine being a State fan. You’ve got two “better” schools right there in the Triangle, and they’re both actually better at basketball.
Another parallel is the perception of the respective student bodies. Tar Heels think of Blue Devils as snobby yankees with trust funds (to be blunt). N.C. State students (Wolfpackers?) think of Tar Heels as sissy English majors in khakis. UNC and N.C. State view Duke and UNC respectively as the preppier, more stuck-up version of themselves. For UNC, they hate that Duke is a private school. For State, they hate that UNC acts like a private school. What’s not to hate about someone more stuck up and obnoxious than you?
Finally, there’s the media attention given to Duke and North Carolina. UNC typically gets just as much media coverage as Duke, so it’s not media envy that burns up Tar Heels, but just the fact that they — and Coach K in particular — are constantly covered by ESPN and other outlets. BREAKING: Duke hit a shit-ton of 3-pointers last night! Coach K has 4,000 wins and leads the ACC in smirking! Better show you a highlight!
To Carolina fans, Duke is undeserving of its media darling status. Now imagine being an N.C. State fan, and every time you turn on the TV or look at a magazine, there’s Tyler Zeller’s mug, blankly staring back at you. You think it would start to get to you? Well, it does. That’s why State fans go mad, can’t hack it, and end up doing something stupid like the picture at the top of this post or peeing in the Old Well.
So to recap, N.C. State fans feel slighted that UNC is viewed as a better school, annoyed at its preppy student body and overwhelmed by its constant media attention. Perhaps now we have better insight into the mind of the Wolfpack, but then again I have this unsettling feeling that I just wasted an hour of my life writing this that I won’t get back. I’LL NEVER GET THAT BACK.
I hope we win by 30 tonight.