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Headlinin’: Let the countdown to USC’s official BCS forfeit begin

Making the morning rounds.

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It's still not going to Auburn. The Los Angeles Times reminded readers Wednesday that the NCAA's decision to reject USC's appeal of major sanctions almost certainly means that the Trojans will be formally stripped of the 2004 BCS championship. The game that clinched the title, a 55-19 incineration of Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl, was one of 13 Trojan victories wiped from the books when former Heisman winner Reggie Bush was ruled retroactively ineligible last year, and BCS executive director Bill Hancock said in no uncertain terms after the original verdict that the championship would be vacated at the end of the appeals process.

"If USC loses the appeal, the [2004] championship will be vacated," Hancock told reporters last July. "And the feeling is in our group, the commissioners group, is that there was not a game, no game happened." Now that the appeal has been rejected, it's up to the BCS' Presidential Oversight Committee to make the forfeit official. [L.A. Times]

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Should the NCAA call you, or will you call them? Former Ohio State receiver/kick returner Ray Small told the student paper that he, too, sold memorabilia and received discounts on cars when he was in school, and that most players "don't even think about (NCAA) rules" during their careers. "We have apartments, car notes. So you got things like that and you look around and you're like, 'Well I got (four) of them, I can sell one or two and get some money to pay this rent,'" Small said. "If you go in and try to get a tattoo, and somebody is like 'Do you want 50 percent off this tattoo?' You're going to say, 'Heck yeah.' … Everywhere you go, while you're in the process of playing at Ohio State, you're going to get a deal every which way." [The Lantern]

Bubba's coming. Nebraska signee Bubba Starling reiterated Wednesday that he still plans to arrive in Lincoln in July, possibly in time to enroll in UNL's second session of summer classes, despite a looming payday as one of the most coveted prospects in the upcoming MLB Draft in June. Starling, a touted "athlete" who'll likely play quarterback if he suits up for the 'Huskers, told the Lincoln Journal-Star he's "coming up there [to Lincoln] on July 10," which will give him a little over a month to decide whether he wants to stay in school or take the first-round baseball money by the Aug. 15 deadline. [Lincoln Journal-Star]

Coming and Going. Elsewhere in the 2011 class, top-100 running back Mike Blakely has reportedly enrolled in Auburn, where he'll sit out the 2011 season after transferring from his first choice, Florida. Blakely committed to the Gators last year under former head coach Urban Meyer and went through the spring semester in Gainesville as an early enrollee, but missed spring practice with a shoulder injury and decided he wasn't feeling the "pro style" offense installed by new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. [AuburnSports.com]{YSP:MORE}

It wasn't me. Accused Auburn tree poisoner Harvey Updyke pleaded "not guilty" and "not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect" Wednesday to multiple felony charges stemming from the poisoning of two oak trees at Toomer's Corner last year. Updyke faces two counts of irst-degree criminal mischief, two counts of desecrating a venerated object and two counts of unlawful damage, vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility. [Opelika-Auburn News]

Elsewhere in Lee County, former Auburn safety Mike McNeil pleaded "not guilty" Wednesday to multiple felony charges stemming from an alleged armed robbery with three former teammates in March. The three teammates are scheduled to appear in court today to be arraigned and apply for youthful offender status. [al.com]

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The Rap Sheet. Former high school teammates Anthony Gonzalez, a backup quarterback at Pittsburgh, and Jarrod West, a wide receiver at Syracuse, were arrested together in an early morning bust last Friday in their hometown of Bethlehem, Pa. Gonzalez, voted the Panthers' most improved player this spring, was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and has been suspended indefinitely from the team; West was charged with underage drinking and has been found guilty by Syracuse fans of hanging out with a Pitt player. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Syracuse Post-Standard]

The rich get richer. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said earlier this week that he hopes the proposed Pac-12 Network could net an additional $1 billion in revenue over the next decade, on top of the multibillion-dollar television deal it reached earlier this month with ABC/ESPN and Fox.  "I can tell you this, based on offers people have made to us we've got at least a billion-dollar business we're sitting on," Scott told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd. "That is a broad figure that has been thrown out to us by media investors. That's a potential minimum value over a seven-to-10 year period." (Read that again: Minimum value.) [CBSSports.com]

Quickly… Catching up with the Barwis Method. … The Big Ten Championship Game will follow the money. … On the "ugly mess" at West Virginia. … Two college football names remain alive in the second round of the Name of the Year tournament. … And meet Kevin Crosby, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound freshman at Bamberg-Ehrhardt (S.C.) High with eight major scholarship offers before his 15th birthday.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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