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NC State bowl projections: Pop-Tarts, anyone?

The Orange Bowl remains a possibility, but a lot needs to happen for the Pack to end up there.

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North Carolina v NC State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

NC State will be high up the ACC’s bowl pecking order after its strong finish to the regular season, and the big lingering question is whether or not an Orange Bowl bid can happen. For that to even be possible, FSU will need to beat Louisville in the ACC title game and make the Playoff, and State will need to finish ahead of the Cards in the final CFP top 25.

State is five spots behind Louisville in the CFP top 25 currently, though two teams ahead of the Pack (Oklahoma State, Iowa) will fall if they lose in their respective conference title game. So the Pack will need a good bit of help Saturday, and that’ll still leave it up to the CFP committee, which may weigh Louisville’s head-to-head result in Raleigh the deciding factor.

More realistically, NC State is not in the Orange Bowl, and in that case, the Pop-Tarts Bowl is the most popular pick among the prognosticators:

Kyle Bongura: Gator Bowl vs. Tennessee
Mark Schalbach: Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Oklahoma State
Stewart Mandel and Scott Dochterman: Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. West Virginia
Brad Crawford: Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Kansas State
Brett McMurphy: Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Kansas State
Erick Smith: Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Oklahoma State

Everything breaking right for the Orange Bowl would be a dream, but that does mean NC State would be up somebody like Ohio State or Alabama. I guess the question is would you rather have that experience and have a loss far more likely, or would you rather end up with a better shot at 10 wins in a lesser bowl? K-State’s starting quarterback has already announced for the portal, for example. I’m a little torn on this.