This has certainly been anything but a stellar year for college football off the field.
In fact, the embarrassment factor for the sport has just seemed to get progressively worse as the season's gone along, of course topped by the awful jaw-dropping revelations in the last week of a reported sexual abuse scandal at Penn State perpetrated by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
So I was intrigued with, but not surprised by a poll conducted by the Orange County (Calif.) Register Tuesday asking readers to vote on college football's worst scandal this year.
The choices were the tangled Tattoogate turmoil at Ohio State, the Nevin Shapiro booster mess at Miami (Fla.), scouting consultant Willie Lyles being paid by Oregon and others to possibly steer prospects to their schools and finally the Penn State situation.
When I checked the poll results a day later on Wednesday, 61 percent had picked Penn State, followed by Miami with 32, OSU 5 and Lyles 2.
The NCAA has not ruled in any case, but the Buckeyes' fate should be decided and announced soon, considering they're amazingly still in the Big Ten title chase and could conceivably play in the inaugural conference championship game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.
It'll be interesting to see what penalties the Buckeyes get stuck with, and how hard they get hammered for their violations.
Even former WVU and then Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez said publicly that selling memorabilia for tattoos and cash didn't give OSU any competitive edge on the field. But that's not the way the NCAA looks at it.
It was more Jim Tressel's screw-up than anything else, not letting anybody in authority know what he knew - and rightfully cost him his job, just like Joe Paterno.
Miami may be in for a rougher go, even maybe - as some have suggested - the dreaded ''death penalty.'' Oregon, LSU and Lane Kiffin - now at USC, but then at Tennessee - are being investigated for having dubious dealings with Lyles.
There was also an academic scandal at North Carolina that saw players' grades changed so they would be eligible with Tar Heel head coach Butch Davis fired for it.
But none of these other infractions come anywhere close to the magnitude of the heinous aspect of what went on at Penn State for obviously a long time now.
Heads will roll in not-so-happy-now Happy Valley and some already have, although I'm sure the whole story has not come out yet, what with still being in its infancy.
After all, the grand jury just recently released its findings naming Sandusky, Paterno's longtime aide who retired in 1999, as the instigator in molesting eight young boys over a period of 15 years, some allegedly right in the Penn State football complex.
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at email@example.com