Bowl Game Possibilities

If you are a member of the NC State football team, then you need to quit wasting time on internet chatter and get back to work on preparing for Wake Forest. For everyone else, let’s pool what we can find from official or media sources about bowl games and the selection process to see where that leads us.

As I read various posts on possibilities of bowl games for State, I am struck by how much contradictory information is being floated around and how little support is being offered for those “facts”. I have done a few searches to come up with some official links….but they all appear to be dated from last year.

So I am going to assume that no new rules have been inflicted upon the college football world since last year. I am hoping that our readers can help search for any new rules…or confirm that the following rules are still applicable.

ACC Bowl Tie-Ins and Selection Process

Complete bowl game explanation from

The ACC has contractual ties to eight bowl games. After the BCS has selected team(s) from the ACC, the following bowls get to select an ACC representative in the following order:

The Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, Ga.
The Toyota Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

The bowls may select any ACC team they want…with the two following stipulations.

– The ACC Divisional Champion which does not win the ACC Dr. Pepper Championship Game is guaranteed to be selected by one of four bowl games from among the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Toyota Gator Bowl, the Champs Sports Bowl or the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, unless the team desires to go to another ACC-affiliated bowl game.

– The team chosen must be within one conference victory of the remaining, highest-ranked ACC team or be ranked more than five spaces ahead of the ACC team with the best Conference record available in the Final BCS Standings.

If that is not confusing enough, it gets better. The next three bowls are:

The Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tn.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.
The Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, Calif.

[These bowls] share the fourth, fifth and sixth selections of ACC teams after the BCS. These bowls will submit their top three preferences of ACC bowl-eligible teams to the Conference Office in order to make the best selections from the available teams and bowls. If an agreement cannot be reached, then a financial ranking will be used to determine the selection order which would be:

1. Music City Bowl
2. Meineke Car Care Bowl
3. Emerald Bowl

If the order is used to determine selection then if the bowl selecting does not choose the next available team in the ACC standings, then the bowl must choose a team within one conference win of the ACC team available with the best Conference record. The bowl could also choose an ACC team that is ranked more than five spaces ahead of the ACC team with the best Conference record available in the Final BCS Standings.

This particular silliness is the ACC office’s way of keeping Boston College from geting passed over all the way to Boise every year. And of course, the Blue Carpet Bowl picks from whatever is left.

So this quickly summarizes the peculiarities of the ACC rules. Now let’s delve into the murky world of NCAA rules for bowl participation as “explained” in the 2006-2007 Football Postseason Handbook.

The NCAA prescribes that bowl games are limited to “deserving teams” from member institutions. There are two parts to their definition of “deserving” that we need to take a closer look at:

Wins Against I-AA Opponents

A deserving winning team is defined as one that wins a minimum of six games against Division I-A competition and has a record that includes more wins than losses. [Exception: Each year, a Division I-A institution may count a victory against a Division I-AA opponent that has averaged 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of grants-in-aid per year in Division I-AA football over a rolling two-year period.]

I would have bet money that the restriction on counting 1-AA wins had been done away with. Instead, they have been somewhat simplified…you can count one victory each year as long as the opponent is giving enough scholarships. Any one know if Wofford qualifies or not?

7-5 vs 6-6

Per Bylaw exception an institution with a record of six wins and six losses may be selected for participation in a bowl game if

1) the institution or its conference has a primary contractual affiliation, which existed prior to the first contest of the applicable season, with the sponsoring bowl organization. In the case of a conference contractual affiliation, all conference teams with winning records must be placed in one of the contracted bowl games before any institution with a record of six wins and six losses may be placed in a contracted bowl game; and

2) all contractual affiliations have been fulfilled and all institutions with winning records have received bowl invitations (either through a contractual affiliation or as an at-large selection).

This is big change that I was not aware of until last night. A lot of people have focused on the ACC requirement of being within one conference victory of another school before a bowl could pass over a “less-deserving” school and select State. This NCAA requirement would lock a 6-6 State team BEHIND every ACC team with 7 or more wins.

Combining the NCAA Rules and ACC Contractual Requirements

Looking over these rules, it becomes obvious that becoming “bowl eligible” does not guarantee a bowl….regardless of how well State fans have traveled to past bowls. TOB mentioned last week that six wins doesn’t guarantee a bowl and we can see that his response was not just “coach speak”.

If eight ACC teams finish with seven or more wins and State finishes at 6-6, then State CANNOT be selected by any of the bowls under contract with the ACC. (This conclusion assumes the obvious…that the ACC will not send two teams to BCS bowls.) This means that State’s only chance at a bowl game under this scenario would be to fill a spot left empty from one of the other conferences.

If the ACC does not have eight teams with seven wins, then an interesting question comes to mind. Can one of the trio from SanFran, Nashville, or Charlotte select a 6-win State team and send a 7-win team to Boise? For this to happen, I think State will have to find a sleazy lawyer to spin the NCAA rules:

…all conference teams with winning records MUST be placed in one of the contracted bowl games BEFORE any institution with a record of six wins and six losses may be placed in a contracted bowl game.

Where Does State Stand?

At present, only two teams have been eliminated from post-season play this year. Here is a summary of where everyone else in the ACC stands right now:

















Boston College




Seven Wins Likely

Wake Forest




Florida State



UMD, Florida





Six or Seven Wins Possible













– There is a slim chance that all 10 teams could become bowl eligible.

– The ACC is guaranteed to have at least 8 teams bowl eligible because State and Maryland can not both lose seven games this year.

As I pointed out earlier, the links to the ACC and NCAA websites are a year old. If you find newer information, then include it and a link in the comments below. I have no doubt that we can piece all of the pertinent information together long before anyone in the MSM can be bothered to do it.

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

'07 Football General

79 Responses to Bowl Game Possibilities

  1. dbo2874 11/13/2007 at 3:46 PM #

    wow, while we were busy looking for a new coach last year, some bowl rules changed under our nose.

    it looks like the only way we make a bowl is to go 7-5 since there will most likely be 7 other teams with 7 wins and a 6 win team cant jump ahead?


  2. branjawn 11/13/2007 at 3:50 PM #

    Let’s be optimistic for a moment. Say we go 7-5, where might we go? I think we’d be the most attractive 7-5 team due to winning 6 straight games and having an energized fan base ready to travel.

    p.s. y’all might get a kick out of my latest post at

  3. Texpack 11/13/2007 at 3:51 PM #

    Most likely scenario is for State and UMd to essentially play for a birth in the Smurf Turf Bowl. If we both finished 6-6, the winner of the head-to-head would probably get the nod. Finishing 7-5 would open up some real possibilities of an east of the Mississippi bowl trip. A stumble by either Tech, Wake or FSU would create a messy selection process for the ACC. At least we know Swofford will pay special attention to our situation.

  4. VaWolf82 11/13/2007 at 3:53 PM #

    it looks like the only way we make a bowl is to go 7-5

    Don’t forget the BCS bowl. Seven teams with 7+ wins still leaves the Blue Carpet in Boise for a 6-6 team.

  5. branjawn 11/13/2007 at 3:55 PM #

    Last 2 games.
    WF: NCSU and at Vanderbilt. 2 losses?
    Miami: at VT and at BC. 2 losses.
    Maryland: at FSU and at NCSU. 2 losses?
    FSU: Maryland and at Florida. 1-1?
    GT: UNC and Georgia. possible split?

    Even though there are complications, the other teams schedules help us as much as we can ask for.

  6. dbo2874 11/13/2007 at 3:57 PM #


    gotcha, knew i was missing something. Yep if we lose to Wake, it will likely be us playing maryland for Boise.

  7. tooyoungtoremember 11/13/2007 at 3:59 PM #

    Well at least if multiple ACC teams, including us, finish at 6-6, we will probably be the most attractive of the .500 group to any bowl considering a 6-6 ACC team.

  8. RAWFS 11/13/2007 at 4:02 PM #

    Considering we were left for dead about 5 weeks ago, even Boise is a remarkable achievement. Let’s not overlook that. Sure, we’d all love a holiday trip to Charlotte or Nashville, but if that doesn’t work out and the Pack ends up going to Boise, take it for the good news that it would be.

    All I know is that the team would love to have the first half of the UCF game back.

    Just win out, Wolfpack. Just win out.

  9. VaWolf82 11/13/2007 at 4:09 PM #

    Near the bottom of the entry, there is supposed to be a table displayed. It was there for a while, but is not displaying for me now. Can anyone else see the table?

    (I’ll be back after a quick reboot….Microsoft is evil and Bill Gates is the Devil.)

  10. RickJ 11/13/2007 at 4:18 PM #

    Yikes – do we need to pull for UNC to upset Ga. Tech? This could very well keep them from getting to 7 wins.

  11. branjawn 11/13/2007 at 4:21 PM #

    The Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl (Boise) is actually pretty attractive. It’d be against now #15 Boise State right? Hawaii goes to BCS, BSU plays in their own bowl? It’d be a hard game, but quite a chance to make a STATEment.

  12. noah 11/13/2007 at 4:22 PM #

    Yes, I want to win out and go to as good a bowl as possible. But honestly, if we hit 6-6 and get left out, I don’t think I’ll be too disappointed.

    Back after the loss to Louisville, I really just wanted to avoid losing 10 games. And if you had told me that you had a crystal ball and we were going to lose 11 games, I probably would have believed you.

    6-6 and we beat UNC and ECU? That’s a dream season at the start of the year.

  13. RickJ 11/13/2007 at 4:38 PM #

    ^Outstanding point about not losing 10 games. We’ve never lost 10 games in football and we’ve never lost 20 in basketball.

  14. BJD95 11/13/2007 at 4:38 PM #

    6-6 and Boise or 6-6 with no bowl would still be a great season, all things considered. Agree with noah 100%.

    I don’t think it’s worth the human cost of hoping that UNC beats GT.

    7-5 and Nashville would be fantastic.

    Of course, you do realize there is a realistic possibility (but certainly not probable) that we actually finish AHEAD of Boston College in the ACC standings. Who would have believed that a month ago, with BC and their cake schedule sitting at #2 and NC State’s season swirling around the toilet? Yep, old “Jags” sure was exactly what you needed, Eagle fans!

  15. VaWolf82 11/13/2007 at 4:46 PM #

    It’s rare that I make an illogical, emotional choice over a rational one, but…..

    I would rather beat UNC and get no bowl than lose to them and go to a bottom-level bowl.

  16. bTHEredterror 11/13/2007 at 4:47 PM #

    Solid info. So we can steal it from BC and maybe VT, but no chance wtih UVa and realistically Clemson. If BC loses out we could scoop the 4th spot. Don’t snicker, I expect it.

    Wofford sports 95 players, so I expect they are using their alottment. Any more than 35 walk-ons and they wouldn’t be as competitive as they are. Comparable to other SC schools, they beat App, who uses their full load I know.

  17. branjawn 11/13/2007 at 4:55 PM #

    SFN, I have to disagree with you saying Wake Forest should be in the 7 wins likely category. They play us (let’s assume we will win) and then go to Vandy. Vandy has lost 3 games at home this year: Bama, Georgia by 3, and Kentucky by 7. Wake is 2-3 on the road, with the two wins coming at Duke and Navy.

  18. dbo2874 11/13/2007 at 4:56 PM #

    agreed VAWolf.

  19. branjawn 11/13/2007 at 4:59 PM #

    The FSU – Maryland game is big. If Maryland wins, the odds are that we all finish at 6-6. If FSU wins, we knock Maryland out of a possible bowl. Wow, is this going to be an interesting weekend of games or what?! It’s about time league play got exciting.

  20. waxhaw 11/13/2007 at 5:04 PM #

    My take:

    We win both games — Us and FSU in competition for the Music city with the other team getting Charlotte.

    We win one game — Going to Boise

    We lose both — Staying home and wondering what could have been if we only could have beaten Central Florida.

  21. waxhaw 11/13/2007 at 5:06 PM #

    One more point — If we are in competition with Wake, FSU and GT for similar bowls, I’d guess that bowls would rank them in this order:

    NC State

    There is a very real chance that all four of us could be 4-4 in conference with everyone but us at 7-5.

  22. RAWFS 11/13/2007 at 5:10 PM #

    VaWolf — I wrote this article on FCS wins counting to eligibility today and it has an embedded link to the current D1 Rule Book.

  23. LRM 11/13/2007 at 5:22 PM #

    For the record, nothing excites me less than a “trip” to the Queen City the week after Christmas. With that said, it would be quite the accomplishment to be playing in that bowl game.

  24. waxhaw 11/13/2007 at 5:23 PM #

    ^ You would rather go to Boise?

  25. Clarksa 11/13/2007 at 5:34 PM #

    If we finish 6-6 and tied with anyone else we WILL go to a bowl because we sell tickets.

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