SBD/April 23, 2013/Colleges

Fiesta Bowl Has Inside Track For Playoff Games; Sites Could Be Named This Week

Fiesta Bowl organizers hope to host the championship game in '16, '17 or '18
The Fiesta Bowl is “one of four bowls vying for the final three slots to host college-football playoff games" under the new system set for the '14 season, and "has the inside track to get one of the spots because of its existing BCS contract, which gives it the first right to negotiate,” according to Craig Harris of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. College football commissioners at the annual BCS meetings in Pasadena, Calif., could “make the announcement by Wednesday.” The Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls already “have secured half of the six spots.” Bowls in the rotation “will take turns hosting playoff games during a 12-year period.” In years when a bowl is not hosting a playoff game, it "still will have a matchup between highly ranked teams.” Fiesta Bowl Exec Dir Robert Shelton said that it will “bid to host the title game in either 2016, 2017 or 2018.” He added that it is “widely expected that the Cotton Bowl will be awarded the 2015 championship game during the Pasadena meetings.” Fiesta Bowl board members “began an aggressive rehabilitation effort" after an ‘11 scandal that found bowl funds were being used for personal expenses and then President & CEO John Junker was engaged in an illegal political-campaign finance scheme with other bowl employees. The board members “sought to convince college-football officials that the organization had cleaned house by firing Junker and forcing the resignations of two other executives.” BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock said Shelton and the Fiesta Bowl have “done a terrific job of dealing with the issues they have faced.” San Diego Bowl Game Exec Dir Bruce Binkowski said that the Fiesta Bowl is “likely a lock.” Binkowski: “We are going against an incumbent with the Fiesta Bowl. We are going uphill” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/22).
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