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College football bowl projections, Week 12: NC State heading west for Christmas?

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

While there remains a lot to be settled within the ACC, we can say for certain that NC State is going to a bowl game for the second consecutive year. The Wolfpack can improve its chances of a good destination with a strong finish, which would be good since some bowl projections at this point have NC State going to Shreveport or El Paso.

The ACC has agreements with eight bowls, plus the Orange Bowl--which is hosting a semifinal game this year--and will be able to fit every team in somewhere. Eight ACC teams are bowl eligible, and only one more (Virginia Tech) has the potential to become bowl eligible. The other five teams are all guaranteed to finish with losing records.

If Clemson stays on track and reaches the playoffs, that could push everybody up a rung; the Russell Athletic Bowl has the first pick after the New Years Six games are determined, and that seems like a natural fit for Florida State, but UNC could end up in the mix there.

After that, the bowls will select from a pool of teams, with two different tiers of bowls. (See here, for example.) Some projections have NC State going into a tier one game (Sun, Belk), while others have the Pack falling to the second tier (independence).

Source Projected Bowl Projected Opponent
Bill Bender (Sporting News) Independence (Shreveport, LA; Dec. 26) Louisiana Tech
Jason Kirk (SBN) Sun (El Paso, TX; Dec. 26) Washington State
Mark Schlabach (ESPN) Independence (Shreveport, LA; Dec. 26) Auburn
Jerry Palm (CBS) Sun (El Paso, TX; Dec. 26) Washington State
Brett McMurphy (ESPN) Belk (Charlotte, NC; Dec. 30) Ole Miss