NC State playoff chances: what needs to happen

Much like two seasons ago when North Carolina opened up with a loss to South Carolina, the NC State Wolfpack are not out of the playoff picture just yet. The ACC *can* get two teams in, but State wouldn’t be one of them. They’d have to win out and hope that their resume stands up to other 1-loss conference champions. Here are the teams still in the running:

  • ACC: Clemson, Miami, NC State
  • Big Ten: Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State
  • SEC: Alabama, Georgia, Auburn
  • Big 12: TCU
  • PAC 12: Washington
  • Indy: Notre Dame

What needs to happen for State to get in?

  1. State needs to win out
  2. This is the most obvious of all, and if State drops a 2nd game anywhere on their schedule, the playoff hopes are completely done. It’s up to you to decide which would be more difficult on this path … beating Notre Dame and Clemson, or maintaining focus to close out the schedule against Wake Forest and North Carolina. State eliminating Notre Dame off of the list of contenders would be helpful in many ways.
miami has to win out until the acc championship game

The thing about the CFP polls is that perception matters. If State beats an 11-0 Miami team in the College Football Playoff, it carries a lot more weight than beating a 1-loss Georgia Tech team or a 1-loss Virginia Tech team. Miami’s name brings perception power, and a win over the “back” Canes would be really impressive to the committee.

the acc needs to continue to dominate the sec

Two games specifically … FSU vs. Florida and Georgia Tech vs. Georgia … are important for the Pack because one would give some positive weight to State’s win over FSU, and the other would give Georgia a loss. Georgia HAS to lose, and it would be helpful if Auburn isn’t the team to do it. Auburn could be a sneaky threat for a 2nd SEC playoff spot, especially if they beat Alabama.

the big 12 has to go full big 12

It would be difficult to leave an undefeated TCU out of the playoff in favor of 1-loss NC State, but if both teams have a loss, it’s a no brainer. The Big 12 has cannibalized itself every year under the current playoff system, and it would be nice if that happened again.