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Playing With a Rotisserie Could Burn You in Florida

Clinch the league championship, or even finish dead last, go to jail.

And pay a fine.

That’s the word from Bob Butterworth, the Florida state attorney general who recently ruled that fantasy sports leagues paying prize money constitute illegal gambling.

From Butterworth’s three-page opinion: “While the skill of the individual contestant picking the members of the fantasy team is involved, the prizes are paid to the contestants based upon the performance of the individual professional football players in actual games.”

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Rotisserie leaguers are committing a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.

Trivia time: Before the 1990 season, when the AP and UPI polls disagreed on a No. 1 team--voting Colorado and Georgia Tech their respective national champions--the last time it happened was 1978. Which two teams were involved?

One writer’s blessing: Commenting on the recent trend toward lopsided scores in the Super Bowl (six of the past seven games have been decided by at least 19 points) Mike Littwin of the Baltimore Sun recently called Super Sunday “a day of national celebration when, for a few hours, nearly everyone in America puts aside his everyday concerns, gathers his family and friends ‘round the big-screen TV to watch--not eat--a turkey.”

Go, you Wildcats: CBS Radio’s Jim Hunter gave an update Saturday afternoon: “No. 6 Arizona is at Villanova and the Wildcats have a 68-64 lead.”

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Who needs him, anyway?: If Notre Dame’s Raghib (Rocket) Ismail were to forgo his senior season and make himself available for the NFL draft, there’s a chance he’d be the first player chosen.

But the coach with the first pick, New England’s Dick MacPherson, stood behind a club policy stated by another of owner Victor Kiam’s recent hires, Chief Executive Officer Sam Jankovich.

Said MacPherson: “I hope and pray that (Ismail) stays another year.”

Add Rocket: When MacPherson coached at Syracuse, he recruited both Ismail and his brother, Qadry, while they attended Meyers High in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and recalled flying home with Raghib after a campus visit.

MacPherson told Frank Dell’Alpa: “We were 31,000 feet in the air and I threatened to throw (Raghib) out of the plane if he didn’t sign with us. But he thought the Touchdown Jesus would save him.”

One or two, tops: Florida recently gained two new franchises, the World League of American Football’s Orlando Thunder and the NHL-expansion Tampa Bay Lightning. Combining those with the University of Miami Hurricanes, Orlando Sentinel columnist Brian Schmitz asked: “Can we call anybody a fair-weather fan?”

Trivia answer: The AP chose Alabama, and UPI chose USC.

Quotebook: Orlando Magic General Manager Pat Williams: “We were so bad last year, the cheerleaders stayed home and phoned in the cheers.”

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