They’ve become a pro football factory in a soft conference. I worship at the altar of Reggie Bush and his highlight moves like everyone else, but seriously, during USC’s run to one uncontested national title over three years, they might have played like 5 good teams. They were treated like a pro football team by the media and the public, and deservedly so. But fine, that was one sport. The L.A. sports scene was struggling, and the opening was there. Now they’re set to take over college basketball?

If the story is true, O.J. Mayo is making an incredible business decision. He’s pimping the system as hard as he can. Reggie Bush, when not cramming for mid-terms was working out with LaDanian Tomlinson just like every other “student” athlete. Why do I get the feeling that O.J. will be running with the likes of KB24, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Shaun Livingston, and basically every pro in the L.A. area. Mayo will be the dominant force in college basketball as a freshman, even moreso than Carmelo was.

Think about this, Joakim Noah is the reigning MOP, and he wasn’t even that great until the tourney. Mayo might be better than him already. O.J. is going to be the proverbial man among boys until he plays Greg Oden. Mayo can pick any school in the country and turn it into a Final Four threat. I don’t think I’m overstating his potential here. Pimpwiz agrees, and that’s good enough for me. The most overexposed football school will now become the most overexposed basketball school. Even obviously pro-USC sites like trojanwire are skeptical about this move. They’ll get one hyped up year for their program and then what? Collegiate athletics are supposed to create a buzz for a school, and a run through through the NCAA tourney can bring in lots of revenue and make a high school kid want to go there for college, even if he or she just wants to go to the games and doesn’t play a sport. The last school in the country that needs help generating buzz is USC.

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It was one thing when there was a UCLA running back named Abdul-Jabbar who wore #33. Lew Alcindor is the UCLA legend, not Kareem. But USC has a different kind of name legacy with their greatest athlete ever produced. Reggie Bush? Hollywood Leinhart? Marcus Allen? Carson Palmer? Scalabrine? Those guys were all great, but there’s someone better. The Juice.

Even if Mayo were to become the greatest freshman in college history, he will never be the real O.J. from USC. When I think USC, what comes to mind are Orenthal James and stabbing. (Allegedly, and not guilty by our laws of course.) If you have your choice of going to any school in the country, why would you do this to yourself? My wish is that Mayo turns his back on the NCAAs and leaves that to the amateur athletes (who don’t exist), while he get his money from a shoe deal and works on his game in another pro league for a year. My second wish is that he would pick any school in the country other than USC.

I guess all that’s left is to plead with him not to wear #32. And stay away from Kato.