OK, here's the deal:
NC State needs SIX WINS for bowl eligibility, according to NC State Executive Senior Associate AD Chris Kingston.
I apologize for the confusion on this, but I was told last week by the ACC and NC State that the program needed seven wins. That answer came, though, before the Sun Belt released its 2012 schedule, and that is part of the answer in this convoluted mess.
All you need to know is the bottom line, which is six wins, but here's some background for those who are wondering why this is so confusing:
Not only is South Alabama's schedule part of the equation, but it also depends on South Alabama's opponents' classification.
According to the NCAA bylaws, in order for South Alabama to count toward NC State's bowl eligibility, it had to meet the following criteria:
South Alabama had to be in its second year of transition AND
Play at least 60 percent of its 12-game schedule against FBS opponents AND
Five of those FBS opponents must be home games.
Quick: Look at South Alabama's schedule and find me the five FBS home games. Need help?
The other two home games are UTSA and Nicholls State, both FCS programs. (Head hurt yet?)
I'll fast-forward: NichollsState meets the 90 percent scholarship average, so because South Alabama can count FCS opponent Nicholls State as an FBS win toward bowl eligibility (just like NC State can count The Citadel), Nicholls State counts as an FBS win in their scheduling, therefore NC State can count South Alabama.
There you have it: It all came down to Nicholls State.
You have your answer, though, six wins. My apologies for needing two tries to get it to you.