Shanoff's WUC: Steelers, LeBron, Irish, Cuse

Today's Calls: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Kyle Orton, Larry Johnson vs. LeGarrette Blount, LeBron vs. 2010, Charlie Weis vs. Urban Meyer, Deonte Thompson vs. Ed Davis, Jim Boeheim vs. Isiah Thomas and More. ↵
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↵The Opening Pitch: Maybe it was just wishful thinking by Broncos fans
that their team was a bona fide NFL contender. After last night, they sure don't look like it. ↵

↵There's a lot of wishful thinking going around early this week -- like the sports' version of the flu. ↵

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↵LeBron triggered some with this quote: "All I'm saying is that winning is more important to me than money." He gets that his NBA salary -- even a "max" salary -- is only a piece of creating a billion-dollar global brand. And that brand needs championships. ↵

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↵Now, that doesn't mean LeBron will go to Miami to team up with Dwyane Wade (Bron might reasonably ask why Wade wouldn't come to Cleveland). ↵

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↵If LeBron really wanted to transform the game, he would take league minimum on a series of one-year deals, going wherever his presence would give a team a title: Lakers one year, Magic the next, Blazers next. It would be like a goodwill tour -- and earn him that billionaire brand. ↵

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↵Then there are Notre Dame fans, who are under the delusion that they can replace the overmatched Charlie Weis with Urban Meyer. Why would Meyer leave? He has more talent on his Florida roster over the next three seasons than the past three seasons. ↵

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↵There is one scenario that might work: ND should offer Meyer $100 million -- $10 million a year over 10 years (more than doubling the salary of CFB's highest-paid coach, Pete Carroll). Even Florida couldn't (or wouldn't) match that, and Meyer has proven he is worth it. ↵

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↵Wishful thinking needs equally pie-in-the-sky solutions. While I'm not sure LeBron would forego $100 million in salary, even to leave an indelible mark on the sport, why is it unreasonable for Notre Dame to go over-the-top to regain its relevancy? ↵

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↵For the record: An antidote to wishful thinking is Occam's Razor -- the obvious answer. LeBron will stay in Cleveland, which is positioned to be as much of a contender in the East as anyone. And Notre Dame will hire Cincinnati's Brian Kelly -- who would be a terrific hire. (Seems obvious to the rest of us; as soon as ND lets go of the Meyer thing, they will be better off. Kelly would have them contending for a national title in two years.) ↵

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↵MNF: Steelers pummel Broncos. Pittsburgh picked Kyle Orton three times (including Tyrone Carter's pick-6); they stifled Denver's running game (27 yards on 14 attempts); and otherwise looked like a contender in the AFC (while simultaneously making Denver look like pretenders). ↵

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↵Chiefs release Larry Johnson: Feels like they were just looking for a reason to get rid of him, and his Twitter idiocy gave them a pretense. This is the NFL: Johnson will be on another roster within 2 weeks -- Redskins? Texans? Steelers? (All I have to say is: Buyer beware.) ↵

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↵Compare that to LeGarrette Blount, who was reinstated: This never should have been an issue. The original suspension should have been "indefinite," later qualified as six games. Still: How can you begrudge either program or player for getting him back in the game? Half a season feels like more than enough, given the infraction. ↵

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↵CFB Mini-Scandals: This can't possibly be why Michigan AD Bill Martin announced his retirement, but it isn't a positive way for him to go out -- well, on top of his legacy of hiring soon-to-be-bowl-ineligible Rich Rodriguez. (Frankly, I'm surprised Michigan kept a lid on this little anecdote for as long as they did.) ↵

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↵CFB Novelty Watch: What's the chance Arizona can go to the Rose Bowl for the first time ever? (It would be a nice story in an otherwise sorry year for the Pac-10.) ↵

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↵CBB Season Openers: ↵

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↵• 800 wins for Jim Boeheim, only the 8th coach to reach that plateau. Sorta takes the sting from that humiliating exhibition loss to LeMoyne last week. ↵

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↵• Isiah not losing by 20 to UNC should be considered a moral victory. UNC's Deon Thompson and Ed Davis look like a tough frontcourt combo to match. ↵

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↵• All-America Watch: Evan Turner gets a jump on Big Ten POY with a triple-double (14 pts, 17 reb, 10 ast.) ↵

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↵SN CBB Countdown: No. 1 Kansas. The problem with Bill Self is that when you most expect him to do well, he tends to fall short. Maybe winning it all two years ago got him past that, but -- then again -- maybe it was the exception. ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points ↵

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↵• Suns keep rolling. Nash: 21 points, 20 assists. ↵

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↵• Knicks suffer rare loss . No, really. ↵

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↵• Manu! ↵

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↵• Wow: 146 points for Nellieball. ↵

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↵• Iverson retiring? Tracking. ↵

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↵• Kareem has leukemia. Here's to a full recovery. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Brad Hawpe on the trading block? ... Bobby Valentine to the Nationals? (At least he would make them more entertaining.) ↵

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↵Non-Scandals: Are people really offended by Chad Ochocinco playfully waving a dollar bill at a ref to "convince" him to change a call? Wow: Lighten up, folks. 85 brings a refreshing and entertaining level of unscripted scriptedness to the NFL. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "This is not broke. It doesn't need fixing." -- Rogers Redding, SEC coordinator of football officials, who appears to have drunk so much Kool-Aid that he can't recognize reality anymore. ↵

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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. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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

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