There's been a lot of confusion on this subject, since it appeared initially that South Alabama would count as a I-A opponent because of its transitional status, then there were reports to the contrary. Heather Dinich has the explanation, which is too strange to quote in full here.
According to the NCAA bylaws, in order for South Alabama to count toward NC State's bowl eligibility, it had to meet the following criteria:
Quick: Look at South Alabama's schedule and find me the five FBS home games. Need help?
- South Alabama had to be in its second year of transition AND
- Play at least 60 percent of its 12-game schedule against FBS opponents AND
- Five of those FBS opponents must be home games.
The other two home games are UTSA and Nicholls State, both FCS programs. (Head hurt yet?)
- Middle Tennessee
Long story short, if State goes bowling at 6-6 this season, the good people at Nicholls State deserve a fruit basket.