RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The best way for Tom O'Brien to steer his North Carolina State team to a better bowl is by continuing to make things tough for an embattled friend.
The Wolfpack (6-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) can climb a spot on the league’s postseason pecking order Saturday if they can take care of last-place Boston College.
N.C. State enters the weekend as one of five bowl-eligible teams in the ACC, joining Georgia Tech and Duke at the six-win mark.
‘‘I think that’s one of the carrots that we talk about to the team, that they can separate themselves from everybody else,’’ O'Brien said. ‘‘You’re going to have 10- or 11-win teams in your top two. ... If you want to be the third team in that selection process, then you have to win this game on Saturday. Not only because it’s senior day, the last home game and everything else, but it certainly has a lot to do with, I think, your stature and where you can go in the bowl process.’’
N.C. State would seem to have the easiest path to victory No. 7 because Georgia Tech faces No. 3 Georgia while the Blue Devils take on Miami.
The Eagles (2-9, 1-6) have the worst record in the league, and rank 10th or worse in the ACC in seven major stat categories. That has put coach Frank Spaziani on the hot seat. Spaziani and O'Brien coached together for 26 years before O'Brien came to N.C. State in 2007.
BC has lost three straight but has played better lately — holding top-ranked Notre Dame to 21 points and taking Virginia Tech to overtime. The Eagles just haven’t done enough to win.
‘‘It’s wins and losses, and if you don’t win, you’re not making progress,’’ Spaziani said. ‘‘Our kids are young and they’re working, and we've had some guys come back from some injuries, and we've made progress, but we’re still coming up short. So you take solace in that you’re making progress, but it’s still not good enough, and that’s where we’re at.’’
If the Eagles are going to have any chance of spoiling the Wolfpack’s Senior Day, they'll have to find a way to slow the league’s top passer.
Mike Glennon enters his final home game averaging an ACC-best 309 yards through the air and is coming off a 493-yard, five-touchdown performance in a 62-48 loss to No. 12 Clemson. Three of his scores went to deep threat Tobais Palmer, who caught seven balls for 219 yards.
Glennon is ‘‘going to pose some problems, and he’s got a lot of weapons,’’ Spaziani said. ‘‘It’s a good system, he’s very talented, and everything I know about the young man is that he’s very dedicated to being a big league quarterback. We've got our hands full with him.’’