State Now

Bowl fate out of NC State’s hands

N.C. State's Cole Cook (48) can't pull in a pass as North Carolina's M.J. Stewart (6) trails during the first half at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
N.C. State's Cole Cook (48) can't pull in a pass as North Carolina's M.J. Stewart (6) trails during the first half at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Updated Monday, 10 a.m.

N.C. State had a chance to control its own bowl fate. After a 45-34 loss to No. 11 North Carolina on Saturday, the Wolfpack will just have to watch and wait.

N.C. State (7-5) could still land in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. or the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.

“We’ve got one more game to play,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. “We’ll talk with the players about where we go from here and how we get better.”

There are still different scenarios to be settled by the ACC championship game between Clemson and North Carolina on Saturday and what the College Football Playoff committee does. The ACC bowl selections will be determined next Sunday after the CFP games are set.

One thing was clear on Saturday, N.C. State would have been in Charlotte for the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30 if it had beaten the Tar Heels. A win would have locked Virginia Tech (6-6) out of what the ACC calls its “Tier I” bowls.

After falling behind 35-7 in the first quarter on Saturday, the Wolfpack opened the door back up for Virginia Tech in what will be longtime coach Frank Beamer’s last game. The Belk Bowl has the first option of choosing the Hokies but they are not guaranteed to take them.

The Tier I bowls — Charlotte, the Pinstripe in New York, Sun in El Paso, Texas and either the TaxSlayer or the Music City in Nashville — will work together to sort through the matchups after the ACC title game next week and the CFP rankings are released.

If Florida State moves up, there would be a spot in either the TaxSlayer or Music City for an ACC team. N.C. State and Louisville (7-5) are the two teams considered to have the best chance at going to the former Gator Bowl.

N.C. State did get some help from Florida State on Saturday night. The Seminoles’ 27-2 win over Florida might move them up high enough in the CFP rankings to qualify for an at-large spot in a “New Year’s 6” bowl.

Florida State was ranked No. 13 last week by the CFP committee and Florida was No. 12. Last year. The lowest-ranked team to get an at-large spot last year was No. 10.

If Florida State moves up, there might be a spot in either the TaxSlayer or Music City for an ACC team. N.C. State and Louisville (7-5) are the two teams considered to have the best chance at going to the former Gator Bowl, which will be played on Jan. 2.

If Florida State doesn’t qualify for an “NY6” game, which is based strictly on the rankings, than the Noles would take the ACC’s spot in the Gator Bowl.

N.C. State has played in the Gator Bowl twice, the last time during the 2002 season when the Wolfpack beat Notre Dame, 28-6.

The Independence Bowl on Dec. 26 and the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 28 are in what the ACC calls its “Tier II” bowls.

The Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md. gets the first choice among Tier II bowls and the most likely scenario is a matchup between Duke (7-5) to face Navy (9-2), who is already locked into the other side.

The Independence Bowl picks after the Military Bowl and would potentially have a choice between N.C. State and Louisville, depending on what happens with Florida State.

The Detroit bowl picks last in Tier II and would not get an ACC team if FSU moved up to a NY6 game. If FSU stays in the ACC pool, Detroit would get the team, either State or Louisville, that the Independence doesn’t take.

N.C. State’s players haven’t kept up with too many bowl scenarios but understand they don’t want Saturday’s loss to be the lasting memory of the season.

“It (stinks) to go out on this note but we’ve got another game and we’ve got to get ready for that one,” quarterback Jacoby Brissett said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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