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Four Corners: Which football program should NCAA probe most?

Send waves to Alabama

Mike Bianchi

Orlando Sentinel

If I were king of the NCAA, I would not only saturate Alabama with investigators, I would set up a branch office in Tuscaloosa.

In Alabama, cheating is as much a part of the football lore as the houndstooth hat worn by Bear Bryant.

Alabama has seen it all over the last 20 years. Shady loans. Athletes illicitly accepting cash payments from agents and boosters. Multiple probations. Postseason bans. Scholarship reductions. Lack of institutional control.

In the last decade, Alabama has recorded more NCAA probations (three) than national titles (one).

It should also be noted the iconic Bryant may not have ever been caught cheating himself, but he tutored some of college football's biggest outlaws.

Roll Tide?

Alabama's new rallying cry should be, "We Lied!"

Set up camp in Hollywood

Baxter Holmes

Los Angeles Times

Mount Everest for NCAA investigators is stationed in Los Angeles, and they just recently scaled it: USC.

It's a prestigious private school/football factory, and the allure of Hollywood draws the hottest prospects – and also the dirtiest agents and would-be sports marketers. ( Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll would attest to that, someday...)

Keeping USC clean is a tough task for school officials, let alone the NCAA, which spent four years working on what many considered the make-or-break case that would define its authority.

Since the dynamics of Los Angeles and its relationship to USC aren't likely to change, and since the Trojans' new coach is Lane Kiffin, the same guy who, with Carroll, apparently missed a lot of dirty dealings, NCAA investigators would be wise to keep a close eye on Heritage Hall.

Sink teeth into Gators

Shandel Richardson

Sun Sentinel

It's hard to argue with placing the Florida Gators atop this list.

The Gators have had their share of legal problems and NCAA infractions. The penalties are racking up alongside the wins. Not all the arrests or violations have been major, but they still give a black eye to one of the nation's most successful programs.

Unlike USC, most of the Gators' incidents have occurred in recent years. The latest news of Maurkice Pouncey possibly receiving improper benefits should make Florida the undisputed king in this debate. Accomplished coach Urban Meyer has claimed two national titles.

His team may be headed toward a less flattering distinction if this trend continues.

Descend on entire SEC

Teddy Greenstein

Chicago Tribune

When rival coaches and recruiting analysts talk about life at the helm of a Southeastern Conference football team, it's with a mix of spite and awe. To hear them tell it, more than a few SEC coaches view cheating as more than a necessary evil. They have elevated it to an art form.

And really, can you blame those coaches for bending – in some cases, shattering – the rules? The pressure to win in that league is so outrageous that the six SEC coaches who made cameos in "The Blind Side" are no longer at their school.

So while the temptation would be to go all Big Brother on USC's Lane Kiffin – who, by accusing Florida's Urban Meyer of cheating, proved he does not even know the NCAA rules – I'd spread out my best men across every SEC school. Other than Vanderbilt.

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