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Headlinin’: Welcome, Sugar Bowl, to the BCS corruption crosshairs

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

Making the morning rounds.

They stopped being polite. Inspired by the illegality, excess and deceit that nearly brought the Fiesta Bowl to its knees earlier this year, HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel launched a wider investigation into the BCS bowl racket that will air tonight at 10 p.m. ET in an episode titled "Cashin' In." Its revelations about the dire financial realities schools face to play in "non-profit" bowl games won't come as any news to college football fans, but it does include reporter Bernard Goldberg confronting Football Bowl Association lawyer/spokesman Bruce Bernstein on camera (see the clip above) with evidence that the Sugar Bowl — beneficiary of more than $6.8 million in subsidies from state and local governments in Louisiana from 2007-10 — was involved in the same brand of illegal influence peddling that put the Fiesta Bowl in the sights of the Arizona Attorney General's office, among others.

Always on the ball, the anti-BCS crusaders at Playoff PAC have already filed an IRS complaint against the Sugar Bowl based on Goldberg's interview. (UPDATE, 10:52 a.m. ET. The Sugar Bowl has also been in contact with the IRS about the improper contribution, which came when the bowl "mistakenly" bought three $1,000 tickets to fundraising dinners for then-Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco from 2004-06.) [Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, Playoff PAC]

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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but conference realignment will never hurt me. Fuming over the abrupt defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC — and especially over speculation by ACC commissioner John Swofford about hosting his basketball tournament in the cathedral of Big East hoops, Manhattan's Madison Square Garden — Big East commissioner John Marinatto said Monday that he plans to hold the Panthers and the Orange to their 27-month contractual exit obligations, potentially keeping them in the league through June 2014. Marinatto wouldn't comment on the prospects of a rumored merger with the Big 12, but did tell the New York Times, "we've had a number of schools reach out to us about membership."

"We have a track record of coming out stronger than we did before," Marinatto said, referring to the ACC's last raid on the Big East ranks in 2003. "Obviously, the dynamics that are taking place within the college landscape today may create even greater opportunities for the conference to not only survive, but thrive." [New York Times]

Aren't we all? Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel is "day-to-day" with a shoulder injury that kept him out of the second half of FSU's loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, and may be out for several weeks as the 'Noles move into conference play. Manuel didn't practice Monday, but for now is holding out hope he can return in time to start Saturday's ACC opener at Clemson. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel] {YSP:MORE}

In other injury news: Offensive lineman Sean Sheller's career is over at UCLA due to a broken arm that will end his senior season. [Los Angeles Times] … Starting Michigan State offensive lineman Skyler Burkland is out for the season with a broken leg. [Lansing State Journal] … Florida State receiver Jarred Haggins is out four to six weeks with a broken hand. [Tallahassee Democrat] … And Isaiah Crowell re-aggravated a rib injury against Coastal Carolina because he forgot to wear his protective vest. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Shucks, y'all, you shouldn't have. Before approving president David Boren to lead them into the Pac-12, Oklahoma's Board of Regents also approved $75,000 raises for head coach Bob Stoops and Joe Castiglione — in Stoops' case, marking his second raise in less than a year. The board's action added three years to the new deal it negotiated with Stoops last December, pushing the total package to $39.4 million — plus incentives — through 2018. "That's great," Stoops said after Monday's practice. "I appreciate it. I'm always grateful for being appreciated or thinking you're going a good job." [Tulsa World]

Quickly… Defensive lineman Pearlie Graves and linebacker Sam Fehoko are both seeking transfers from Texas Tech. … Iowa loses a senior linebacker. … Arkansas gets its best wide receiver back at Alabama. … The New York Times applies some very sketchy numbers to the geography of college football fandom. … David Molk explains why he hates the media. … UConn submits an application to the ACC. … A frustrated Boston College booster proposes boycotting the football team for a good cause. … A Kentucky fan has a real good time before the Wildcats' loss to Louisville. … Lane Kiffin compares Robert Woods to Randy Moss. … And Rick Pitino compares Pittsburgh to Tessio from "The Godfather."

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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