In the middle of the afternoon of the bowl selection Sunday LAST SEASON, NC State was preparing for a trip to Charlotte to participate in the Belk Bowl. Then Notre Dame snagged a bowl berth reserved for the ACC and Louisville knocked the Wolfpack out of the slot and into the Bitcoin Bowl in St. Petersburg, FL.
This season, the same ACC selection rules that worked against State have served to help the Wolfpack snag that exact bowl slot they lost last year as NC State will be playing in the 2015 Belk Bowl in Charlotte on December 30th against a team from the SEC that is highly speculated to be Mississippi State. State last played in the Belk bowl in 2011 when Mike Glennon and TJ Graham led the Wolfpack to a solid win over Charlie Strong’s emerging Louisville program.
— ACC Football (@theACCfootball) December 6, 2015
For weeks, the accepted line of thinking was that the Belk Bowl, if possible, would choose Virginia Tech as their ACC selection so as to feature Frank Beamer in his last game as the Hokies head coach. One problem with that scenario was that the Belk Bowl ultimately couldn’t choose Virginia Tech because Pittsburgh is effectively ‘protected’ to be selected ahead of VPI in any scenario.
The way the rules work, a 6 win ACC team can only be selected once all of the 8 win teams have been selected; but, a 7 win team (Louisville or NC State) CAN be selected in the same tier with the 8 win teams. With that said, there is no way for a bowl to select 6-6 Virginia Tech over an 8-4 Pittsburgh…and, the Belk Bowl had Louisville last season. So, that left the Belk Bowl with a decision between Pittsburgh and NC State. Given that choice, there was little doubt that the Belk Bowl would select the program that packs their stadium for every game and will bring about ten times the number of fans than the other program.
When your girl is waaaaaaaay better looking than you are, you definitely won. That’s NC State’s date in the @belkbowl. Unreal we got that.
— Owen Good (@owengood) December 6, 2015
Whether you like it or not, NC State’s weak non-conference schedule absolutely worked to our advantage this year. I love the masterful work done by our administration!
— Steven (@akulawolf) December 6, 2015
This tweet embodies the point/position that we espoused last year when things didn’t go quite as rosy for NC State
For Miami, Pitt fans complaining: The ACC does not determine where teams go. There are parameters for selection, but bowls end up deciding.
— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) December 6, 2015
— Belk Bowl (@belkbowl) December 6, 2015
N.C. State is going back to the Belk Bowl.
The Wolfpack (7-5) will play Mississippi State (8-4) in the Charlotte bowl game on Dec. 30 (3:30 p.m, ESPN). It is the third trip to this bowl game and first since 2011 for N.C. State.
“We are both excited and thankful for the opportunity to play instate at the Belk Bowl in the great city of Charlotte,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said in a statement released by the school. “This is a great reward for our young team that has continued to improve over the course of the season.”
N.C. State won the Belk Bowl in 2011, 31-24 over Louisville, and beat South Florida, 14-0, in 2005 when it was called the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
N.C. State is playing in the postseason for the fifth time in six years. It has won three of its past four bowl games and has a 1-0 record under Doeren (a 34-27 win over Central Florida in the St. Petersburg Bowl last year).
The Wolfpack and Bulldogs have met in a bowl game twice before: 1994 in the Peach Bowl, a 28-24 N.C. State win, and the 1963 Liberty Bowl, a 16-12 Mississippi State win.
The Bulldogs went 4-4 in the SEC West and 4-0 outside the SEC. Their only losses this season have been to ranked teams.
N.C. State finished 3-5 in the ACC for the second straight year and swept through a weak nonconference schedule.