The Scandal Bowl

Updated: February 16, 2011, 4:25 PM ET
By Ryan McGee

Welcome back to Going Bowling, where we always look good in a nice Pinstripe, even as we pour barbecue sauce on our Chick-Fil-A and munch on Tostitos at a Fiesta.

A quick disclaimer: I'm writing this in the press box at Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech, where the temperatures are dropping faster than the Big East's BCS credibility. So if today's entry is packed with misspellings, it's because my fingers are frozen.

Bowling for scandals

Like the rest of the college football world, the Lane Stadium press box was buzzing Thursday night about the potential mess surrounding Auburn quarterback and Heisman front-runner Cam Newton. What was the reaction? That depended on where you were sitting:

• On the front row, we the writers were scrambling our way through the Web and texting others looking for the latest info.

• The ten NFL scouts sitting to my right weren't too concerned about what might or might not happen to Newton sanctions-wise. (Cracked one scout: "We all knew what was coming with Reggie Bush and didn't care one bit.") But the pro scouts were curious about people's opinions on what might be done in the future by the NCAA and NFLPA to better regulate agents.

• Meanwhile, ACC and school administrators were quietly digging to make sure that no one in their camps had made a serious enough play for Newton that they might have strolled into the danger zone.

But the group I immediately migrated to was seated behind me on the second and third rows, the representatives from five of the ACC's eight bowl partners. My question to them was simple: Does scandal or the potential for scandal enter into the equation when mulling bowl invites?

The short answer? Yep. But not in the manner you might think.

"We have our meetings every Monday night," explained Matt Garvey, longtime VP of communications for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, which hosts the SEC and ACC on Dec. 31. "That's the time that our scouts that have been out to games can talk about what they've seen and who they've talked to, established relationships with. But it is also the time when we, as a group, go over all of the news in college football and how that might affect us. Any sort of news."

It could be an injury. For example, when Jacory Harris went down last week at Virginia, his concussion also created considerable pain inside the offices of the Orange Bowl, which has been less than thrilled with its matchups of late (the lack of marquee names is cited as the biggest reason for longtime sponsor FedEx's departure). The prospect of having the hometown Hurricanes in their first Orange Bowl since 2004 and only their second since '92 had at one time left the folks in Miami Lakes salivating. With Virginia Tech's win Thursday night, a Miami trip to Miami is now all but impossible.