Ticket sales party foul for Fiesta Bowl

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

Now that Christmas is over, the college football bowl season kicks into full swing and that means two big games in the Valley.

The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl pitting Michigan against Kansas State will be at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe this Saturday. Then on New Year's Day, the University of Central Florida Knights square off against the Bears of Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

But the often-hyped Fiesta Bowl is having trouble getting fans excited this year.

According to Texas media, the Baylor Bears gave back 5,000 of their 17,500 allotted tickets and the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that UCF owes the Fiesta Bowl $3.4 million after returning 10,000 tickets.

That's not good news for vendors and local businesses that have become accustomed to high-profile teams with good traveling fan bases.

Last year's Fiesta Bowl was one of the most anticipated games of the bowl season. Oregon played Kansas State at University of Phoenix Stadium in a match-up that could have easily ended up in the national championship game had it not been for shuffling in the late season rankings.

However, early ticket sales through the schools aren't always the best predictor of actual attendance. Cheaper second-hand tickets online and the number of locals who decide to attend can greatly affect how many actually walk through the gates on game day.