NC State's shot at the Belk Bowl appeared to improve on Tuesday with the release of the latest College Football Playoff top 25, as the N&O's Joe Giglio** outlines here. Basically, it looks like the Citrus Bowl is going to open up for the ACC, which would then leave four ACC teams (including NC State) to fill the four Tier One bowl games.
(**Giglio has done a great job over the last few days of keeping this complex mess straight, so I recommend a follow on Twitter if you aren't doing that already)
As a refresher, the only teams eligible for the ACC's "Tier 1" games--that's the Belk, Sun, Pinstripe, Music City or Gator--are the ones with winning records, plus Notre Dame. Florida State is going to a major bowl outside of the ACC's affiliates no matter what, so the Noles are out of this mix entirely. Georgia Tech lands in the Orange win or lose on Saturday. Now Clemson may go Citrus while Louisville goes Russell Athletic. That scenario would leave Duke, NC State, Boston College, and Notre Dame to fill the Tier 1 slots. One spot for everybody available, so State couldn't fall to a Tier 2 game such as the Military Bowl, for example.
Got some clarity on Music City/Gator situation that will lead me to confidently project the following:— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 3, 2014
Music City: Notre Dame Pinstripe: Boston College Sun: Duke Belk: NC State— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 3, 2014
This cannot be official until Sunday when the playoff committee unveils its final rankings, but if a B1G team ends up as the ACC opponent in the Orange Bowl, it opens the Citrus to the ACC and once those dominoes fall, NC State is almost certainly going to Charlotte.