Dr. Saturday - NCAAF

Making the morning rounds.

There goes the neighborhood, Part 1. Embattled defensive tackle Marvin Austin remains the only suspension, but North Carolina is preparing to play LSU Saturday without up to 16 players whose eligibility is in question in ongoing NCAA probes into agent-related activity and widespread academic fraud, according to ESPN's Joe Schad. That number includes the offense's best player, wide receiver Greg Little, who continues to practice with the second string, and seven defensive starters who remain relegated to the scout team. There are at least five projected draft picks in the latter group, one of whom, junior defensive end Robert Quinn, is specifically cited by Schad as a target on both fronts, for allegedly interacting with an agent and working with the former university tutor who allegedly wrote papers for UNC players. [ESPN]

Ve know nothink. While we're on the subject, Georgia fans are still holding their breath over A.J. Green, though the star receiver has said he's not in any trouble and nothing has surfaced to the contrary since he spoke with NCAA officials in July. All forecasts say "clear with a chance of absurdity." But neither Green nor coach Mark Richt will confirm or deny anything either way. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

There goes the neighborhood, Part 2. UTEP is awaiting MRI results Thursday morning on All-Conference USA running back Donald Buckram after he was carted off the field with an apparent knee injury during Wednesday's practice. I'm not that kind of doctor, but the combination of "knee injury" and "non-contact drill" does not bode well for Buckram or the Miners, who suddenly have to figure out how to replace the most productive back in the country. [Associated Press, El Paso Times]

Nice knowing you. Missouri has "permanently suspended" running back Derrick Washington, effectively ending the senior's college career after he was hit with a felony sexual assault charge earlier this week. Washington has rushed for more than 2,000 yards from Mizzou's pass-happy spread attack the last two years, and his departure leaves the Tigers one injury away from relying on a pair of true freshmen in his place. [PowerMizzou.com]

Nothing to see here. Alabama running back Mark Ingram is "doing extremely well" following Tuesday's minor knee surgery, according to coach Nick Saban. But there's still no specific timetable for the reigning Heisman winner's return beyond his absence against San Jose State on Saturday night. In the meantime, backup Trent Richardson was in peak form Thursday when it came to dispensing clichéd quotes. [Mobile Press Register]

So you're telling me there's a chance. It's worth noting, since someone asked in the wake of BYU's impressive windfall as a newly minted independent, that USC Pat Haden left the door open to the Trojans declaring independence at some point in the future: "You have to consider every alternative." That's true, you do. Just file that away somewhere in the one-in-a-billion chance it ever means anything. [Orange County Register]

Quickly... Miami, already on tap to play Notre Dame in Soldier Field in 2012, inquires about scheduling a regular-season game in Yankee Stadium. ... LSU lands a major 2012 commitment from Patrick Peterson's brother, who also coaches the New Jersey Nets. ... In at least two of these cases, "small" and "short" don't mean the same thing. ... Lane Kiffin actually cracks a joke in front of reporters, kind of. (Must be that Hawaiian air.) ... Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne provides more ammunition for SEC mythologists. ... Good luck with that, dude. ... And just in time for the season, the BCS by the numbers.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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