Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Auburn, ACC, Avery

Today's Calls: Tommy Tuberville vs. Mike Leach, ACC vs. Big Ten, Giants vs. the NFL, Dustin Pedroia vs. Sean Avery, Kevin Williams vs. Pat Williams, Raiders vs. Chargers, LeBron vs. Kobe and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Plenty of winners and losers this morning ... ↵

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↵Winner: North Carolina ↵

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↵Loser: Giants ↵

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↵Winner: Dustin Pedroia ↵

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↵Loser: Sean Avery ↵

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↵Winner: Kevin and Pat Williams ↵

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↵Loser: NFL Network ↵

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↵And then there's this weird winner/loser hybrid: Auburn. ↵

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↵On the one hand, they finally end the melodrama of the Tuberville Era with his resignation; on the other hand, they now enter into a new phase of self-loathing as they try to recruit a big-name coach — they may want Mike Leach, but that doesn't mean the feeling is mutual. ↵

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↵More on all of the day's must-know story lines follow. Coming tomorrow: Preview of BCS Armageddon. Fun! ↵

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↵CBB Mania: Think UNC wanted to make a statement? By throttling Michigan State by 35 in the "headliner" of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Tar Heels served a confirmation that they are the best team in the country. More whipsaw results like this might even make me believe they can sustain this kind of intensity in March, when Tyler Hansbrough's "Psycho-T" routine has historically yielded nothing but underachieving failure. ↵

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↵The "Challenge" did show that while the Big Ten could take a few games from its December rival, the best of the ACC (UNC, Duke) is vastly better than the "best" of the Big Ten (Michigan State, Purdue), and that the Big Ten shouldn't hold out for much success in late March. (But how about that Northwestern! Is it too much to ask for NIT eligibility?) ↵

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↵Plaxico Watch: Now the Giants are denying they were part of any cover-up attempt at the hospital where Plaxico Burress was treated. I'm skeptical that the team, in a middle-of-the-night crisis, did everything they could to be open and transparent about what happened. ↵

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↵NFL: Block! That! Suspension! Kevin and Pat Williams got a judge to temporarily block their four-game suspensions, which is good news for Vikings fans ... but now they've gone and ticked off the NFL. Don't make the NFL angry: You wouldn't like the NFL when it's angry. ↵

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↵NFL Tonight: Oakland at San Diego. Dud. Don't forget to set your fantasy lineups. This is a nice moment for me to particularly regret my decision to take Darren McFadden with spectacularly ill-advised early-round draft picks across multiple leagues. ↵

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↵CFB Coaching Carousel: Tommy Tuberville resigns at Auburn. One replacement jumps to mind: Auburn will pull out the stops to try to bring Mike Leach to the Plains. Texas Tech insists it is negotiating with Leach, whose leverage suddenly got a lot more profitable. Spencer Hall has a must-read analysis. ↵

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↵(As for these Bobby Petrino-to-Auburn rumors, they just kind of make me sad — sad for Auburn, sad for Arkansas, sad for Petrino, whose vagabond rep is now such a punchline that his name immediately comes up for any big coaching opportunity in the Southeast quadrant of the U.S.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile: Where could Tuberville end up? (Because you know he's landing somewhere.) Given his coaching history in the Magnolia State, why not Mississippi State? Stay in the SEC West at a school without the aspiration to be a BCS team — "just get us bowl eligible" is a nice change of pace. ↵

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↵Alabama-Florida Build-Up: Bama fans are thinking about 1992. Florida fans are thinking about receiver Percy Harvin. ↵

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↵Why would the SEC champ roll over Oklahoma in the national-title game much in the same way USC did in 2003 and teams (Boise State, West Virginia) have done in BCS bowl games the past two seasons? Per Hayes: Because OU's defense isn't championship-worthy, and college football champs are built on D, not prolific offense. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Handily beating the Knicks twice in a week might make LeBron think twice about bolting Cleveland for New York — ahh, if winning was LeBron's only motivation. His desire to be a "global brand" even trumps his passion for being an NBA champ. ... Blazers Watch: Six wins in a row, including the last three on the road. ... Fantasy Stud: Rajon Rondo had his first career triple-double (16 pts, 17 ast, 13 reb). ... Hey, look at that: A Canadian is now the head coach in Toronto. How sweetly Canadian. ... Must-Read: Shoals on "LeKobe" or "KoBron." (NYC Readers: Catch Shoals talking about the new FreeDarko book tonight!) ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Red Sox give MVP Dustin Pedroia 6Y/$40.5M extension. I know it's a tight economy, but doesn't $6.75M/year seem like a bargain for a player who, in his first two seasons, won Rookie of the Year and league MVP? Chalk up another savvy move for Theo and Co. ↵

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↵Correction: In yesterday's column, I referred to Charlie Weis as "America's worst college football coach." What I should have said is "ONE OF the worst college football coaches in America." As many folks emailed to point out, Ty Willingham is just as bad. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I would like to sincerely apologize for my off-color remarks to the press yesterday from Calgary." — Sean Avery in a statement first obtained by SportingNews.com. ↵

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↵"It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were. I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past." ↵

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↵"As many of you know, I like to mix it up on and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I took it too far." ↵

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↵Raise your hand if you believe Sean Avery really believes any of this. Oh, I'll bet he's sorry, all right: Sorry he got in trouble. But certainly not sorry for the attention. ↵

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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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