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NC State bowl projections: Pack vying with Notre Dame for Belk Bowl slot?

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Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State did itself a huge favor by beating North Carolina on Saturday, because a team must have a winning record to be considered for one of the ACC's Tier 1 bowl games--which includes the Belk Bowl. The ACC's mid-level bowl breakdown goes like this:

Tier 1

Belk
Music City or Gator
Sun
Pinstripe

Tier 2

Military
Quick Lane
Bitcoin
Independence

State's competition for the Tier 1 games is most likely limited to Louisville, Duke, Notre Dame, and Boston College, as the N&O's Joe Giglio outlines here. The Tier 1 bowls interested in Notre Dame submit themselves into a drawing for the right to invite the Irish. Depending on how that drawing goes--there's so much intrigue to the ACC bowl selection process now!--NC State could find itself headed to Charlotte or dropping to the next tier.

Clemson is expected to be nabbed by the Russell Athletic Bowl, which along with the Orange Bowl is a level above the Tier 1 games--call it Tier 1 Club Platinum. Georgia Tech goes to the Orange Bowl, and FSU makes the playoffs.

Giglio sounds convinced that if the Belk Bowl does not win the drawing for Notre Dame, it will take NC State. Best case scenario: it really is that simple, the Belk Bowl loses the drawing, and NCSU is headed for Charlotte. Worst case--and unlikely assuming all four Tier 1 bowls submit to the drawing--is Belk scoring Notre Dame, creating a lot of scenarios where the Pack drops.

If Giglio's sources are right, BC is likely headed to the Pinstripe Bowl and Duke is going to El Paso. Louisville would be ideal for the Music City Bowl. (Again, all of that pending the ND lottery.) So if it happened to work out this way, NC State's next best bet would appear to be the Military Bowl, as I'm sure the game's organizers would be thrilled to nab a State-ECU game if it became an option.

Bottom line is we need to hope the Belk loses the drawing for Notre Dame so we can slide all up on in there, or at the very least get in that conversation. If the Irish do land in Charlotte then this Sunday (when all this stuff goes down) could get interesting for us. My money's on State landing either in the Belk Bowl or the Military Bowl.

Here are the latest projections from writers around the country...

Source Projected Bowl Projected Opponent
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel) Independence (Shreveport, LA; Dec. 27) Arkansas
Patrick Stevens (Syracuse.com) Belk (Charlotte, NC; Dec. 30) [no pick]
Jerry Palm (CBS) Sun (El Paso, TX; Dec. 27) Utah
Mark Schlabach (ESPN) Armed Forces (Fort Worth, TX; Jan. 2) Houston
Jason Kirk (SBN) Military (Annapolis, MD; Dec. 27) ECU
Brett McMurphy (ESPN) Bitcoin (St. Petersburg, FL; Dec. 26) Cincinnati
Phil Steele Military (Annapolis, MD; Dec. 27) ECU
College Football News Belk (Charlotte, NC; Dec. 30) South Carolina