A Friday win over UNC would be good for Dave Doeren on many levels, both short-term and long-term. But sticking strictly to the short-term, a victory over the Tar Heels would mean bowl eligibility for NC State.
The ACC’s bowl contracts can be tricky, but if Clemson wins out and makes a repeat trip to the College Football Playoff, then NC State is almost certain to get one of the two last remaining bowl slots.
Neither Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl or Shreveport, La., for the Camping World Independence Bowl is an enticing option for NC State fans, but both have tie-ins with fellow Power 5 conferences. The Quick Lane Bowl pits ACC vs. Big Ten, and the Independence Bowl is ACC vs. SEC. (Both could have also taken Notre Dame instead of an ACC team, but the Irish will not go bowling this season.)
ESPN.com writers Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy both projected Maryland to Detroit and South Carolina, whom NC State opens next season against in Charlotte, in Louisiana. CBS Sports also has Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl, with Kentucky penciled in for the Independence.
The St. Petersburg Bowl, which NC State won over Central Florida in Doeren’s second season at the helm, is also a possible ACC tie-in for the Pack. That would set NCSU up against an American Athletic Conference opponent.