Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Bradford, NFC, Hoyas

Today's Calls: Sam Bradford vs. Mark Sanchez, Anquan Boldin vs. Brian Westbrook, Georgetown vs. Syracuse, Roger Mason vs. Chris Paul, Jennifer Hudson vs. Bruce Springsteen, Low-Tops vs. High-Tops and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Oh, now it's SO on. ↵

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↵Reigning Heisman winner Sam Bradford is coming back to college. 2007 winner Tim Tebow is coming back to college. And the guy who probably thought he was a lock to win the 2009 Heisman (and national title), Colt McCoy, suddenly has some stiff competition. ↵

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↵Have the Top 3 Heisman finishers in a given year -- draft-eligible or not -- ever all returned to college the following year? For star power, it will be hard to top the upcoming 2009 season -- not the usual sentiment in the 24 hours before the NFL Draft entry deadline for underclassmen. ↵

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↵Is Bradford making the right choice? It is hard to tell a kid who loves college that going back to school is a bad idea. ↵

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↵That said: Bradford may have been the 2009 Draft's No. 1 overall pick -- maybe the idea of playing for the Lions freaked him out (although in the same way he will likely be the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, there is no guarantee the Lions won't still be at the top -- or bottom -- to take him). ↵

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↵Bradford's bigger problem is the Sooners won't be as good next season as they were this season -- that, and Texas is going to be even better (with more than a little motivation to crush OU). And the team that just stifled Bradford and OU, Florida, is also going to be even better ... and still better than OU. ↵

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↵On the Heisman front, Bradford will get the treatment Tebow got in 2008: You've won your Heisman, now move over. Half the Heisman voters will want to reward Tebow for coming back; the other half will want to give it to McCoy, completing the triangle linking these 3 QBs. ↵

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↵If Bradford is coming back because he loves school, he will be very happy with his choice. If he is coming back to win a national title (or a 2nd Heisman), he will be disappointed. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, it sounds like USC's Mark Sanchez is turning pro. He has to figure that with Bradford staying at Oklahoma, he could be the first or second QB taken off the board -- and it's not like things are going to get a lot better for him, given the career-best way he ended his season in the Rose Bowl. ↵

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↵Are the Cowboys going to cut T.O.? Were "chemistry problems" really the Cowboys' big problem -- and was T.O. really the biggest roadblock? If T.O. was on the market, couldn't you see the Giants snagging him to replace Plaxico Burress? ↵

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↵NFC Title Game: Boldin practices, Westbrook doesn't. Anquan Boldin insists he will play. Now, one might suggest that the Cardinals don't need anything more than Larry Fitzgerald and 10 random folks off the street, but it certainly won't hurt the Cards' chances against a favored Eagles team to have a second option of WR playmakers. Meanwhile, Brian Westbrook's knee is still iffy (he sat out yesterday's practice), but there's no way he will miss the game (however: limited effectiveness? We'll see.) ↵

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↵Eli Manning to make $110M? We can argue whether any NFL QB is worth $110M, but as long as teams are paying out those salaries, I think Eli has earned it -- he already has a spectacular Super Bowl title on his resume, and the Giants were the team to beat heading into the playoffs. ↵

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↵Mayor of the Week: Luke Ravenstahl of Pittsburgh, who playfully changes his name to "Steelerstahl" in honor of the AFC title game this Sunday. With a name like "Ravenstahl," I’m surprised he even got elected in the Steel City -- the attack ads write themselves. ↵

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↵NFL Coaching Carousel: Scott Pioli is totally leaving Herm Edwards hanging ... for now. We all know what's coming. Is firing the incumbent head coach after becoming the new GM like the "wait-two-days-before-calling-the-woman-you-met-at-the-bar" rule? ↵

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↵CBB Mania: Georgetown cans Syracuse, in yet another what-does-this-really-mean battle between one of the umpteen great teams in the Big East this season. It is hard to tell whether we can read into this result: Can we rely on Georgetown shooting nearly 60 percent from 3-point range, making 12 of 21 last night? ↵

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↵CBB Recruiting: No. 1-ranked prep center Derrick Favors picks Georgia Tech. Perhaps with a great big man, GT can give Duke more of a game next season. (Although can Favors help with 18 turnovers? Or sub-.500 FT shooting?) ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: I think it says more about the Lakers that playing a back-to-backer in Texas, they nearly beat the Spurs in San Antonio (rather than that they lost) -- SAS needed a big shot late from Roger Mason, who is morphing into the Robert Horry of 2008-09. ↵

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↵NBA Fantasy Stud: Chris Paul. 33 points. 11 assists. 10 rebounds. 7 steals. Ridiculous. ↵

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↵More NFL Draft: Pitt RB LeSean McCoy is in, giving the draft some nice underclassmen depth at the top: McCoy, Beanie Wells, Knowshon Moreno, Shonn Greene, Glen Coffee and P.J. Hill. Can this class rival the NFL rookie RB class of 2008? That's tough: This was the best rookie RB class ever. ↵

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↵MLB: Is baseball getting a salary cap? Not anytime soon. Should baseball have a salary cap? I think that puts a premium on organizational smarts, rather than merely a team's bankroll. ↵

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↵But it's not like the Yankees have won a whole batch of titles since 2000 with all that money spent. In fact, the Rays' success shows that smarts can trump spending -- although nothing beats smart spending. (Although again: The free-spending Red Sox lost to the low-budget Rays last year. Exception?) ↵

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↵Police Blotter: Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Dave Meggett? ↵

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↵I'm no Michael Irvin fan, but this is kind of amazing. (Spencer Hall has the full run-down of The Playmaker's off-field highlights.) ↵

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↵Pop Culture: Jennifer Hudson is a great choice to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl -- the SB Anthem demands someone who can belt it out. (Speaking of Idol, I have a good track record projecting finalists from the audition round, and that guy whose wife had just died was incredible.) ↵

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↵Sneaker Watch: In anticipation of the release of Kobe's new low-top sneaker, there is a new video released to YouTube. Kobe has had terrific success with viral videos in the past year, and he has a really nice sense of comedic timing. ↵

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↵(The ad's theme "Ankle Insurance" is very smart: The main popular concern about a low-top is that it doesn't provide enough ankle protection; the ad flips that around and claims that it is the player without the low-top that will have the broken ankles, after being clowned by a guy wearing the Kobes.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: Look, I want a college football playoff, too. But given the state of our country, using taxpayer money to fund a Congressional anything related to the BCS -- hearings, legislation, fact-finding, office poll, whatever -- is an offensively frivolous use of our country's time and money. ↵

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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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