Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: USA Not Redeemed Yet

Today's Calls: USA Hoops in 2008 vs. USA Hoops in 2012, Osi Umenyiora vs. Michael Strahan, Waipahu vs. Philly, Rich Harden vs. K-Rod, Georgia vs. BYU and More.
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↵The Opening Pitch: Was USA Hoops really redeemed? Well, they lose the derisive nickname “USA Oops,” and that’s a start. ↵

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↵They vanquished the best in the world and reclaimed gold -- but not without a bit of tension in the final game. Too much tension, really. ↵

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↵As predicted four years ago when the “Redeem Team” concept was born in the failure of Athens, the presence of Kobe was the winning difference. ↵

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↵And yet despite the well-publicized 3-year commitments, the team was still based on stars, not an international-friendly system. ↵

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↵Sure, this team, so talented at the top, was able to overcome its shortcomings in strategy and personnel -- but what happens in 4 years? ↵

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↵Almost assuredly, there will be no Kobe. There will be no LeBron or Wade. Give up another 3 summers? Ha. ↵

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↵(There likely will not be a Coach K, either -- but given his baffling management of in-game tactics, that may not be such a bad thing.) ↵

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↵This 2008 team did its job, but the job is not nearly complete: Without Kobe, LeBron and Wade, USA Hoops will struggle to win gold in 2012. ↵

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↵If that happens, “Redeem” was the dream, but the reality of the United States in the global basketball order is much harsher. ↵

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↵NFL Injury Watch: Pro Bowl Giants DE Osi Umenyiora is done for the season (knee). Here’s a prediction many are making: The Giants make an offer to Mike Strahan to come out of retirement. ... ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: All hail Waipahu (Hawaii) -- the new Little League World Series champs. MLB teams might be envious: Hawaii became just the second team ever to score in every inning of the title game. ↵

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↵Back in the Majors ... It’s not the last week of the season, but can the Mets feel the Phillies’ footsteps yet? ... ↵

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↵As long as the Marlins have ace Ricky Nolasco -- the best pitcher that no one is really talking about -- they’re in the Wild Card race. ... ↵

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↵Rich Harden Ks 11: Wait, have I been focusing on the wrong AL ex-pat for NL Cy? Harden is now 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA since the trade. ... ↵

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↵K-Rod earns 50th save: Coming against the playoff-quality Twins, you could say it was a big one. ... ↵

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↵Milestone Watch: Jim Thome ties Jimmie Foxx for 15th on the all-time HR list (534). Thome has entered rare (big) air. ... ↵

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↵(Speaking of the White Sox, is Alexei Ramirez making a late run for AL Rookie of the Year? He had the GW RBI.) ↵

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↵And speaking of notable AL rookies, as if Jed Lowrie needed to do anything more to be a sensation within Red Sox Nation. ... ↵

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↵More NFL: QB Battles! Matt Ryan may be ready to be Falcons starting QB, but Matt Leinart has lost his starting QB job for Arizona. ... Aaron Rodgers’ critics have a little less ammo after this past weekend. ... ↵

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↵NFL Last Night: Bad start for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. And I thought things were going gangbusters for the oil industry right now. ... ↵

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↵NFL Tonight: Seahawks at Chargers. Speaking of injuries, Shawne Merriman’s knee injury may cost the Chargers whatever shot they had of winning the AFC (and, according to SN’s NFL Preview prediction, winning the Super Bowl). ↵

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↵College Football ’08 Preview: The Top Storylines. ↵

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↵(1) BCS Mess -- Again? USC plays Ohio State. Georgia plays Florida. Mizzou will have to play Oklahoma, eventually. Something’s gotta give. ↵

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↵(2) This year’s Hawaii: The non-BCS team that could crash the party is ... BYU, in its biggest season since the title in '84. ↵

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↵(3) This year’s Kansas and/or Illinois: And, no, Kansas and Illinois cannot be this year’s Kansas and Illinois. How about Northwestern? ↵

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↵(4) Heismania: Tim Tebow returns as the defending champ, but an inevitable backlash could send it to Beanie Wells or Chase Daniel. ↵

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↵(5) More Schadenfreude: Last season’s greatest pleasure was watching Notre Dame have its worst year ever. Can Charlie Weis get to 6 wins? ↵

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↵What are your top CFB storylines? Put them in the comments. ↵

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↵Coming later this week: the best games (Tuesday), the Heisman race (Wednesday), the title contenders (Thursday) and the top 10 (Friday). ↵

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↵Speaking of which, SN jumps on the Dawg bandwagon with its preseason No. 1 team: Georgia. ↵

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↵Needless to say, I disagree. Georgia won’t beat Florida; it will be hard for UGA to win the SEC East, let alone the National Championship.) ↵

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↵More CFB: Miami suspends starting QB Robert Marve and 6 others for season opener. So Marve’s first start of the season will be at The Swamp? Good luck with that. ↵

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↵NASCAR: Love that Carl Edwards is giving Kyle Busch a run this season, and you have to love a new artificial rivalry. ↵

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↵Golf’s Newest Name to Know: Danny Lee can do nothing else in his entire golf career, but topping Tiger as youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur is something Woods can never take back from him. ↵

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↵Oh, one more name to know: Angel Valodia Matos, the Cuban taekwondo athlete who was banned for life for kicking his match ref, in one of the most bizarre Olympic spectacles in recent memory. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Bye-bye, Beijing. For all of the individual brilliance of Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt, the biggest story of the Games was the way China pulled it off so flawlessly (not to mention with a record 51 golds). The feeling from the opening ceremonies lingers: We’re all in so much trouble. ↵

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↵By the way: You’re next, Becks. ↵

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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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