CLEMSON - Tangerine Bowl scout Dylan Thomas wouldn't say Saturday how much, if any, North Carolina State's surprise visit to the game's office Friday may have hurt Clemson's cause.
He did say that State and Clemson were the final two candidates for the game, barring a Southern Methodist upset of North Carolina Saturday afternoon. But UNC's 19-10 win over the Mustangs secured a Peach Bowl berth for the Tar Heels.
Thomas, the Tangerine Bowl's senior director, was on hand for Clemson's 59-31 victory over Duke, a win which qualified the Tigers (6-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) for a postseason game.
He said a decision on which team to invite will be made shortly after the Tangerine Bowl selection committee convenes to vote Sunday at 2 p.m. Roughly 100 committee members are eligible to cast votes.
"We will meet and present all the evidence which we have supporting both teams," Thomas said. "We'll review the results of today's games, then take a vote."
Representative from N.C. State, including head coach Chuck Amato, flew to Orlando early Friday and were in the lobby of the Tangerine/Citrus Bowl office when staff members arrived for work.
The Wolfpack contingent, hoping to plead its case for the Tangerine berth, met with incoming Executive Director Tom Mickle Friday. Current executive director Chuck Rohe wasn't in town to speak with NCSU officials, having attended the Alabama-Southern Mississippi game Thursday night.
Thomas said Tangerine Bowl officials appeared to be surprised by State's tactic.
"It was a curiosity to many that (N.C. State) felt so much interest that they would hop on a jet and come down," Thomas said. "They didn't necessarily get to see anyone who will be voting...but I think news of it will peak everyone's interest in North Carolina State a little more.
"But we've certainly heard from a lot of sympathizers and folks on the Clemson side who have contacted us, too."
The Tangerine Bowl will be played Dec. 20 at Orlando's Citrus Bowl Stadium, where either Clemson or N.C. State will face Pittsburgh. The Panthers qualified for the bowl by defeating the University of Alabama-Birmingham Saturday, 24-6.