Fiesta Bowl attorneys seeking reimbursement from lawmakers over free trips

The Arizona legislators who took cross-country trips and accepted free game tickets, meals and other gifts will soon get reimbursement invoices from Fiesta Bowl attorneys.

Under state law, lawmakers can accept gifts and free travel as long as they are publicity disclosed. And seeing as how much hot water the Fiesta Bowl is currently in, chances are nothing was disclosed when it came to providing these Arizona legislators with gifts to the game.

According to the Arizona Republic, some legislators could be asked to repay the Fiesta Bowl thousands of dollars stemming from a wide range of expenses, including airfare, lodging and meals. Knowing how some politicians behave in this country, it wouldn’t be a shock to hear that they were given other, uh, pleasurable gifts as well. (You know, like free trips to Hooters…the family restaurant.)

Seeing as how no one in Arizona will want to be known as the person who took free gifts from a college football bowl game and not pay the money back, I would imagine that these legislators won’t hesitate to break out their checkbooks.

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Findings from Fiesta Bowl investigation forthcoming

Connecticut Huskies quarterback Zach Frazer looks to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl college football game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, January 1, 2011. REUTERS/Joshua Lott (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The Fiesta Bowl might be on the verge of suffering an even bigger embarrassment than Oklahoma 48, Connecticut 20. (Yikes – remember that game on New Year’s Day? Me either.)

According to a report by the AP, the results from an internal investigation covering the “political and financial” dealings of the Fiesta Bowl could be released as early as next week. And officials are apparently bracing for the worst.

For those unaware of the backstory, prior to the 2010 matchup between TCU and Boise State, past and present Fiesta Bowl employees alleged that they were encouraged to make financial contributions to state political figures and were subsequently reimbursed by the bowl. If true, this would be a violation of both state and Federal campaign finance laws.

The Fiesta Bowl is a non-profit organization and thus, is prohibited from making political contributions of any kind. It’s alleged that Fiesta Bowl officials (which includes CEO John Junker) have spent a reported $4 million since 2000 in order to gain favor from BCS decision makers and elected officials. Junker was placed on indefinite administrative leave roughly a month ago.

The good news for the Fiesta Bowl is that because of its contract with the BCS, it will remain a BCS game for the next three years regardless of the findings from the investigation. But in three years, this scandal could open the door for other sponsors to gain BCS favor (uh, legally of course). The bowl that might make the most logical sense is the AT&T Cotton Bowl, which is now played at the brand new, luxurious Cowboys Stadium.

Fiesta Bowl Match-up: TCU vs. Boise State

Boise State fans have to be thrilled that they got a BCS bid, and the match-up with TCU in the Fiesta Bowl should be very entertaining. That said, I’m sure both schools would prefer to take on an opponent from one of the major conferences. For these schools, apart from the money, the lure of a BCS game is the opportunity to get a shot at the bigger schools.

I’d like to know just how good these teams are. Unfortunately, this game will only tell us so much.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

2009 BCS Bowl Preview and Predictions

The 2009 BCS Bowl Season is quickly approaching – not that anyone should care.

I’m not trying to sound bitter, but if the BCS doesn’t care about any of its five bowl games outside of the national championship game, then why should we? All the BCS essentially cares about is figuring out who the top team teams are in college football – and they can’t even do that right.

But I digress. I’m not going to burn another 1,200 words on why college football needs a playoff because it’ll just fall upon deaf ears. Instead, I’ll get into the bowl season spirit and break down the five BCS bowls, as well as hand out predictions for each game.

Predictions are essentially meaningless, but they’re fun so make sure you throw out your picks in the comment section below.

Daryll ClarkRose Bowl: Penn State vs. USC
The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, January 1, 4:30PM ET ABC
Some college football pundits believe that this one will be over with by halftime, but if Penn State uses Oregon State’s victory over USC as a blueprint for success, the Nittany Lions could make this a tighter game than most expect. PSU tailback Evan Royster has been a playmaker this year and if the Lions can employ him the same way the Beavers’ used Jacquizz Rodgers to beat the Trojans earlier this season, then maybe they can exploit USC’s quick defense. Then again, the Trojans’ D is one of the fastest and most talented units in the country and it won’t be easy for PSU to spread the field on them like they did against Big Ten opponents this season. USC has the most talented linebacker corps in the country and their secondary features two safeties in Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison that blanket the field in both coverage and run support. In order for the Lions to claim victory, quarterback Daryll Clark will have to play mistake free and not try to force action in the passing game. Offensively for USC, quarterback Mark Sanchez has been outstanding, but he will make mistakes. He threw at least one interception in seven games this year and if PSU’s defense can generate some pressure, they could force Sanchez into some turnovers and capitalize on some prime field position. But outside of getting pressure on Sanchez, Penn State needs to tackle well and limit the yards-after-catch opportunities that USC’s receivers thrive upon. Sounds basic enough, but the Trojans have one of the fastest offenses in the league and Sanchez has excelled at taking what defenses give him and in getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. The Lions would be wise to get 11 defenders around the ball at all times, especially when USC tailback Stafon Johnson gets the opportunity to make plays.
Rose Bowl Prediction: USC 30, Penn State 17.

Read the rest after the jump...

BCS odds released: Florida 3-point favorite over Oklahoma

The opening point spreads for the BCS bowl games have officially been released with oddsmakers establishing the Florida Gators as 3-point favorites over the Oklahoma Sooners in the national title matchup.

Rose Bowl: Penn State +10 vs. USC
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech +2 vs. Cincinnati
Sugar Bowl: Utah +10 vs. Alabama
Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State +10 vs. Texas
BCS National Championship Game: Florida –3 vs. Oklahoma

I would say oddsmakers have the opening lines pegged right. And if (“if” – ha!) I were a gambling man, I would definitely lay the wood on USC to beat Penn State and Alabama to beat Utah, although the public will certainly push both of those lines up over the next couple weeks and the Utes might give ‘Bama a game because of their defense and the fact that the Sugar Bowl is a letdown for the Tide after losing to Florida in the SEC Championship.

The other bowls I’m not so sure about. The Bearcats have had a great season, but Frank Beamer’s defense looked stifling in the ACC Championship Game and you have to like what Tyrod Taylor brings to the table, although Cincy’s defense is no joke either. And the Buckeyes beat the Longhorns three years ago in Austin so a pissed off Texas team should still get a game from Terrelle Pryor and OSU.

The title game is a doozy. The public loves the favorite, so that line will likely go up, too. And for as well as the Gators are playing, one has to believe Sam Bradford and the Sooners’ dynamic offense will keep that game close. That might be a game to take the over, although the opening total has been set at 71.5.

Now take all the above information and fade my ass to a nice pay day.

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