Not since 1997 has the ACC only placed only four teams in post-season bowl games, but that is exactly what could happen at the end of the 2012 football season.
With Florida State (9-1), Clemson (9-1) and Duke (6-4) all qualified along with the Wolfpack (6-4), all the other teams in the conference either have work to do or make plans at home for the holidays.
North Carolina's fate was sealed in the spring when the NCAA handed down a one-year bowl ban... or when they hired Butch Davis in 2007, whichever way you'd like to look at it.
The Heels eliminated Virginia from bowl consideration on Thursday when they defeated the Cavaliers in Charlottesville. Virginia (4-7) must now play the role of spoiler.
Boston College has also played their way into bowl ineligibility by finally sealing their fate with their seventh loss of the season to Wake Forest on November 3rd.
That leaves Miami (5-5), Wake Forest (5-5), Virginia Tech (4-6), Georgia Tech (5-5) and Maryland (4-6) all with varying degrees of likelihood in the final two games of achieving bowl eligibility.
The maximum number of bowl eligible ACC teams this season is nine, but one more could be eliminated if Virginia defeats Virginia Tech (4-6) to end the season.
Therefore, the conference has a wide spectrum of end-game possibilities ranging from filling all eight contracted bowl slots and having to ‘shop' for a ninth... to filling just the four slots and worrying about future contract negotiations with bowl games.
With all that in mind Dewey McClain, a representative from the Chick-fil-A Bowl, was at Carter-Finley Stadium this past weekend taking in the contest between the Wolfpack and the Demon Deacons. As one might expect, he can comfortably sit back and wait without the need to concern himself with all the bowl qualification drama.
"It's real simple for us," McClain said. "We pick one of the top 3 teams in the ACC. We're getting one of them."
One scenario that has worried some State fans with respect to the Chick-fil-A Bowl specifically, is the impact of the Wolfpack's recent visit to Atlanta for the annual Chick-fil-A Kick-Off game during the first weekend of the season. Will this preclude the Chick-fil-A Bowl from selecting NC State to play in its postseason contest?
"That has no bearing on us," replied McClain. "We wouldn't have a representative [at the Wake Forest game] if NC State wasn't under consideration.
"We're wishing and hoping for that day when someone can come for the Kick-off Classic in September and then come for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve. That would be perfect for any team."
The Chick-fil-A Bowl (formerly the Peach Bowl) has long been a favorite of NC State fans. It has been quite a while since the Wolfpack has participated in the game, a fact not lost on this bowl representative.
"The last Chick-fil-A Bowl [for NC State] was in 1994," said McClain. "So, I think they would want to come back. In fact, [NC State] christened the dome when we moved to the dome. We'd love to have State there."
Besides the long period of time between visits to the Atlanta postseason bowl, McClain made it clear what other factors make NC State so attractive to the bowl's selection committee.
"The enthusiasm of the fans," McClain exclaimed. "You can tell the fans are all excited. You look around and you feel the enthusiasm.
"Right now, State is right there and we're looking for the best matchup we can get."