Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: JoePa, A-As, Pro Bowl

Today's Calls: Joe Paterno vs. Methuselah, DeMarco Murray vs. Dan Mullen, James Laurinaitis vs. Chris Paul, Padraig Harrington vs. Tiger Woods, Gill vs. Chizik and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: So much for Joe Paterno's retirement -- early or otherwise. ↵On Sunday, he will turn 82; today, he celebrated a 3-year contract extension that will take him through the 2011 season. He will see his current freshman class through their senior year. He will be 85. OK: He will HAVE to be done then, right? ↵

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↵Right?! ↵

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↵(More than any team -- Texas, Oregon, Florida State -- doesn't it seem like Penn State could use a "coach-in-waiting" strategy? I would imagine that any hint his career is over would be anathema to JoePa.) ↵

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↵BCS Title Game Watch: ↵

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↵Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray out of the BCS title game: He is a great RB (and plenty versatile), but it's not like OU doesn't have other RBs. In fact, Chris Brown was the team's leading rusher, and the new No. 2 replacing Murray had 6 TDs of his own. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, new Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen WILL be participating as Florida's offensive coordinator in the title game. It ensures continuity and a fitting coda to his super-tight relationship with Tim Tebow. Expect a lot of "Tebow-right," "Tebow-middle," "Tebow-left" and "Tebow-smash." ↵

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↵Is Notre Dame really Urban Meyer's "dream job?" Why does he keep bringing it up? I think it's no surprise that he will eventually coach there. If you were Notre ↵Dame, how would you like to have to keep watching Florida compete for national ↵titles for the next 8 years, knowing that you plan to lure Meyer once his kids ↵are out of high school. Willing to wait that long, ND fans? Meanwhile, Meyer did ↵say yesterday that Florida was his "dream job" -- right now, at ↵least.
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↵After being snubbed by Auburn and ignored by Tennessee, Turner Gill will stay at Buffalo for another year, then see what jobs open up next season -- although if he can't upgrade after leading Buffalo to a Cinderella MAC title, when will it possibly happen? (Iowa St should have hired Gill as soon as Chizik left.) ↵

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↵All-America Mania! Be sure to check out SN's All-America team! ↵

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↵Is James Laurinaitis the best linebacker in college football history? It's arguable, given that he became the first LB ever -- and only the second player at any position ever -- to make 1st-team All-America three times. ↵

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↵Of note, only a single freshman made it onto any of the three tiers of All-America teams: Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers. Meanwhile, want a debate? Try picking among the "all-purpose" players: Jeremy Maclin (1st team); Percy Harvin (2nd); Derrick Williams (3rd). That's the Bradford-McCoy-Tebow of multi-threat talents. ↵

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↵Nothing says "Zzz" like the NFL Pro Bowl, the worst all-star game in sports. Hate the New York teams? Stop reading. Brett Favre made the team (one of 7 Jets) and Eli Manning was named to his first Pro Bowl (one of 6 Giants). And now, let the Great Annual Pro Bowl Player No-Show begin! ↵

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↵Geez: Are we STILL talking about T.O. and Romo and Witten? Just let it go already! ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Hey, remember us? As the NBA world swoons over the defending champs, the team they beat in the Finals keeps rolling along. The Lakers won their 21st in 24 games, rallying from 15 down at the half to beat the Knicks. Kobe had 28, but the star was Lamar Odom, making his first start of the season in place of a sick Pau Gasol. Odom had 17 points and 12 rebounds in 38 minutes, his season high. For the best teams, it's about the unexpected stars. ↵

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↵Milestones: Chris Paul ties the NBA record for most consecutive games with a steal. Already? Incredible. ↵

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↵CBB Last Night: On Saturday, Tennessee got worked over at Temple. They beat Marquette in the highly contrived SEC/Big East Invitational. (Who, exactly, from the SEC deserves to be on the floor with the Big East? The SEC has, like, two Tourney-worthy teams -- max. The Big East has, like, 8.) ↵

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↵And the PGA Tour Player of the Year is ... Tiger Woods! No, wait: That says "Padraig Harrington," who made a fine -- if foreign -- seat-warmer while Tiger's absence robbed golf of any interest from casual fans. Congrats, Padraig! ↵

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↵Michael Vick could go from Leavenworth to a halfway house next month, meaning he's halfway home to a return to the NFL. I'd like to see what kind of pick-up sandlot squad we could put together from the Halfway House All-Stars. ↵

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↵TV Ratings: The Giants-Cowboys game was the most-watched ever for a Sunday Night game, which says a couple of things: (1) Primetime matters; (2) premier matchups make a difference, even in the NFL, and (3) a terrible economy means more fans are sitting at home getting their enjoyment through free TV. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Was Auburn's hiring decision based on race? I didn't get a chance to have my say about this yesterday, so here it is: ↵

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↵The circumstantial evidence is damning. ↵

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↵There is simply no getting around Chizik's woeful record the past 2 seasons at Iowa State -- not for a program like Auburn's that fancies itself a national contender. It is hard to justify how Turner Gill isn't a better fit. (Well, unless you're the Auburn booster who runs the program.) ↵

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↵That said, it is hard to explain why Turner Gill is a worse fit than Lane Kiffin at Tennessee -- Kiffin's record as a head coach is atrocious, and his record as an assistant, while impressive, is less impressive than, say, Chizik's record as an assistant. ↵

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↵Or Dan Mullen at Mississippi State -- Mullen had no head-coaching experience and was the beneficiary of designing plays for two of the most dominant offensive players of the decade (Tebow and Harvin). More qualified than Gill? No. ↵

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↵It's not an Auburn problem; it's an SEC problem. The same problem the SEC has had for ... well, forever, it feels like. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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