For the second time in three years, NC State will host the University of Maryland in a season finale where one team will leave the field bowl eligible at 6-6 and the other will end the season with a losing record of 5-7. Two years ago NC State defeated the Terps to secure a bowl bid to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte where the Wolfpack shut out South Florida, 14-0. Can history repeat itself in 2007?
Today’s News and Observer and Charlotte Observer both have nice features on NC State football that also provided some of ‘bowl talk’. SFN has spoken exclusively with various members of selection committees of bowls with ACC tie-ins in recent days; so, in light of the articles in today’s newspapers (CLT OBS article and N&O article) we thought it is a good time chime in with some perspective on the Wolfpack’s bowl possibilites and what you should watch for heading into this weekend and into the Championship game weekend.
The rest of this entry will basically discuss at length the following summation – with a win on Saturday there is little doubt that NC State will be playing in a post-season bowl. The best bowl that could conceivably take the Wolfpack is the Music City Bowl in Nashville; followed by the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte; followed by the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco; followed by the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise. Which specific bowl extends an offer to the Wolfpack would be highly dependent on (a) the opponent in the bowl and (b) the other teams available to the bowl at the time of the selection.
Background and Important Fixed Variables
(1) You may want to familiarize yourself with the general bowl criteria explanations from the ACC.
(2) You may want to familiarize yourself with the current ACC standings and records at the bottom of this page.
(3) We need to clarify this issue of the ’7 win rule’ that SFN highlighted a couple of times last week. For clarification purposes – this rule does NOT mean that a 6-6 team cannot be selected ahead of teams with 7 or more overall wins by a bowl with a conference affiliation. The rule is designed to insure that no 7-5 (or better) team is left home while the conference’s contractually obligated games are given away to teams with lesser records.
The ACC currently has seven teams eligible for our eight contracted slots. All seven teams currently have seven or more wins, therefore insuring them of receiving one of the ACC’s contracted bowl bids this season. Three teams – NC State, Maryland and Miami – need one more win to become bowl eligible; but NC State and Maryland play each other and therefore only two more teams from the ACC can become eligible.
In a hypothetical situation where NC State and Miami both become bowl eligible with six wins, then the ’7 win rule’ INSURES that each of the teams with seven wins would go to an ACC bowl, but would not necessarily guarantee them a slot ahead of State or Miami. Hypothetically, if the Meineke Car Care Bowl chose NC State with the conference’s sixth selection, then Miami would effectively be out of luck since the Emerald and Humanitarian Bowls would have to select the remaining two ACC teams with seven or more victories.
(4) As an NC State fan, you cannot underestimate the importance of Boston College’s win over Clemson on Saturday night. The Eagle’s appearance in the ACC Championship game – by rule – guarantees that they cannot fall beyond the Champs Bowl in Orlando. If the Eagles would have lost to Clemson then it was a foregone conclusion amongst the ACC’s bowls that BC would have fallen as far as the rules would have allowed until someone was ‘stuck’ with them. If you are concerned with NC State getting as good of a bowl as possible, then BC’s win eats a space in the order that conceivably would have moved all teams up one and provided a different opportunity for the Wolfpack.
Bowl Talk – ‘The Floor’
Today’s newpaper articles provide us some important insight into the process that is important for you to keep in mind.
First, let’s start with the ‘floor’:
The MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, Idaho picks eighth from the ACC. The bowl’s executive director, Kevin McDonald, said he would select N.C. State if it wins Saturday and is available when he picks. “N.C. State is a great story this year,” McDonald said. “They started slowly and got hot.”
This is important to know. The ‘Boise Bowl’ has publicly stated that if NC State is eligible and still on the board then they would choose the Wolfpack. So, even with a Miami win this weekend, State should feel comfortable that a bowl bid is secure with the Wolfpack’s eligibility.
Bowl Talk – ‘Many Scenarios’
From today’s Charlotte Observer:
If the Pack can beat Maryland again, it might be able to squeeze into the Meineke Car Care, Music City or Emerald bowls. But with a slew of bowl-eligible teams in the ACC, at 6-6 the Wolfpack could be headed to Boise for the Dec. 31 Humanitarian Bowl.
Wake Forest’s 38-18 thumping of the Pack on Saturday pushed the Demons Deacons to 7-4 and ahead of NCSU in the bowl pecking order.
“I’d love to have either one,” Meineke Car Care bowl executive director Will Webb said Monday. “The bowls ahead of us could pick Wake Forest. Both are very attractive to us.
“Florida State probably is in our mix and Georgia Tech could be. And, of course, Maryland, if it beats State.”
Webb said officials from the Meineke, Music City and Emerald bowls work together to put together the best matchups for each game. The Humanitarian Bowl has the eighth and final pick of ACC bowl-eligible teams.
^What Webb says here is exactly what we have heard from various people with whom we have spoken — the bowls cannot predict which teams the other bowls ahead of them in the selection order will do; so it is important to have different scenarios ready to pull the trigger. With this said, ALL of the bowl selection ‘projections’ from national media sites like ESPN, Fox and CBS Sportsline are nothing but bunk.
The other moving piece to consider here is the importance of the balance between game match-ups AND the ability to sell tickets Additionally, consider certain teams as ‘anchors’ for certain bowls. In ACC-related bowls consider names like Tennessee in the Music City; FSU in the Champs; UNC, NC State, West Virginia &/or Clemson in Charlotte as ‘anchors’. These teams are going to sell a significant amount of tickets no matter the opponent.
Rumors and Scenarios
* Will Webb’s comments also provide an indication that the Meineke has Wake Forest and an eligible NC State at the top of their board and that Wake’s win on Saturday probably puts too much pressure on the bowl to select the Wolfpack over the Demon Deacons?
* With all of the previous comments in mind, how could State ultimately get to Charlotte? One scenario would lie in the rumor that if the Music City Bowl in Nashville can end up with Tennessee from the SEC then they would select Wake Forest from the ACC. If the Music City Bowl can get UT, then they don’t much care/need an NC State or other well traveling team from the ACC. The ACC office would certainly like for the Demon Deacons to be treated well at selection time and this would insulate the Music City from the poor ticket sales that anyone other than the Meineke is going to experience with the Demon Deacons.
* If Wake is off the board when Charlotte chooses, then the Meineke doesn’t have a lot of negative political fallout from choosing NC State over the remaining alternatives be it Georgia Tech, Florida State (if BC takes their spot in the Champs) or any other school.