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Headlinin’: Pac-12 returns Kiffin’s fire with $10k rebuke

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

Making the morning rounds.

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That didn't take long. A little less than 48 hours after ridiculing Pac-12 officials for a pair of calls at the end of Saturday night's 56-48, triple-overtime loss to Stanford, USC coach Lane Kiffin was reprimanded and fined $10,000 Monday night by the conference office. "The Pac-12 has specific rules that prohibit our coaches from making public comments about officiating," said commissioner Larry Scott in a statement, "and this prohibition specifically includes comments that create doubts about the credibility of the Conference's officiating program."

Kiffin maintains he was told by a side judge during a review of the final play of regulation that USC would be granted a timeout if receiver Robert Woods was ruled down inbounds with a second on the clock, allowing the Trojans to line up for a 50-yard field goal attempt to win. Woods was ruled down inbounds with a second left, but Kiffin's claim to a timeout was ignored, sending the game to overtime. "[The side judge] went over there [during the replay] and then came back to me and said he communicated with [the referee], and that if his knee was down with a second left we'd get another play," Kiffin said. "And unfortunately now [I find out] that never happened."

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Kiffin also disagreed with a suspension levied against safety T.J. McDonald, who will miss the first half of Friday night's trip to Colorado after being flagged for a third-down hit that extended Stanford's game-tying touchdown drive with less than two minutes to play: "If you watch the hit in real time," Kiffin said, "we feel it is impossible to competitively play that play any differently." [Los Angeles Times]

Stoops extends a silver lining. Oklahoma has granted a scholarship to walk-on running back Dominique Whaley, who broke out of a blue-chip pack of contenders in the spring and was well on his way to 1,000 yards before a broken ankle ended his season in Saturday's win at Kansas State. Coach Bob Stoops said he'd planned to reward his best back with a scholarship before the injury, and broke the news before Whaley underwent surgery on Sunday morning. "[The injury] won't change that," Stoops said. "I didn't want him to be worried about it." [The Oklahoman]

In other injury news… Tennessee safety Brent Brewer is out for the season with a torn ACL. [Knoxville News Sentinel] … Stanford tight end Zach Ertz is likely to miss at least two games with a leg injury, including a Nov. 12 visit from Oregon. [Associated Press] … And Colorado expects to get two key offensive cogs back against USC. [Boulder Daily Camera] {YSP:MORE}

Happy trails. Two days after suspending leading receiver Damarlo Belcher for a loss to Northwestern, Indiana gave Belcher the boot Monday for — altogether now — an unspecified violation of team rules. Belcher led the Big Ten last year with 78 receptions as a junior, but had only brought in 25 catches over the first half of the Hoosiers' ongoing campaign of woe under first-year coach Kevin Wilson.

IU's losing streak stands at six games with Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue to close out the string. [Indianapolis Star]

Making it count. Mike Gundy isn't kidding himself: At 8-0 with a senior quarterback and a clear path to the BCS title game, this season is Oklahoma State's best shot at a national championship — especially since ace receiver Justin Blackmon isn't going to be back for his final season of eligibility, either, as Gundy readily acknowledged on Sunday night. "If he wants to come back, he's certainly welcome. We will have a party," Gundy said. "But I can't imagine that he would be back again. He has somewhat solidified himself as a top-five pick (overall). If it were my son and he were a top-five pick, I would encourage him to move on." The scouts are right there with you, coach. [Tulsa World]

Quickly… USA Today examines ESPN's role in conference alignment. … Al Golden vows to get rid of the "clock-punchers and intramural guys" at Miami. … A police stings recovers stolen season tickets to Nebraska games. … Baby Bill Snyder may be the most disturbing entry yet to the list of infants dressed as coaches. … How Oklahoma State's record-breaking turnover pace was sparked by Pete Carroll. … Wisconsin fans agree that they're the "worst in the Big Ten." … Brady Hoke is interested in someone else's grit for a change. … And on the bright side for Maryland, at least there was practically no one on hand to watch the Terps lose Saturday against Boston College.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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