As if the ACC's bowl setup were not confusing enough already, there's also the politicking behind the scenes that we have to contend with in the days leading up to the day when the matchups are set. (That would be Sunday.) Take, for, instance, this string of tweets from the N&O's Joe Giglio, regarding Duke and Pinstripe Bowl.
There has been a push by the Pinstripe Bowl to get Duke but there's some confusion over the ACC's Tier I rules— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 3, 2015
Duke in New York would drop Pitt to the Military Bowl, but again, the rules aren't clear if that is possible— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 3, 2015
The ACC has said when there are four teams with 8 or more wins, a 6-win team can't get into the Tier I pool— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 3, 2015
There's a max of three (with FSU) 8+ teams this year. Pitt and Miami are supposed to be "protected" but perhaps there's a loophole— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 3, 2015
If you need a refresher on the bowl setup: There's the Orange Bowl/New Year's Six games (the ACC champ is guaranteed to land there somewhere, and I suspect FSU will get a NY6 game as well. Then the Russell Athletic Bowl picks. Then there are the "Tier One" bowls, as reference by Giglio: Pinstripe, Sun, Belk, and either the Gator or Music City. Tier Two: Military, Independence, Quick Lane (Detroit).
As an eight-win team, Pitt is supposed to be locked into a Tier One bowl, and the Pinstripe is a logical fit there. So it would take some shenanigans to hop Duke past Pittsburgh, thereby pushing the Panthers to the second tier--and into the Military Bowl.
The Military Bowl seems like NC State's most likely landing spot at this point, but if Pitt's pushed down a peg, then the Wolfpack is probably out of luck. Which would then suggest a trip to lovely Shreveport or Detroit. Of course, State could end up in either of those places regardless of what happens with Duke and Pitt. Just something to keep an eye on.