Shanoff's WUC: And One More Thing!

Today's Calls: 2009 vs. 2010, Bengals vs. Jets, Eagles vs. Cowboys, Mike Leach vs. Texas Tech, Urban Meyer vs. 911, Ndamukong Suh vs. Idaho, Lance Stephenson vs. LeBron James, Matt Holliday vs. Joe Mauer, Tiger vs. Fat Lips and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Er, well, THIS is a bit awkward. ↵

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↵You see: I thought that Sporting Blog was going to be closed today and tomorrow for the holiday. Consequently, I used all of my good last-column-of-the-year material yesterday -- all those fun predictions. (Check 'em out here.) ↵

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↵I also did all my previewing of the weekend, including NFL Week 17 and big New Year's Eve/Day college bowl storylines (Tebow! Bowden! Gerhart!) ↵

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↵I will say that I'm already 1-for-1 on 2010 predictions: Mike Leach fired before the clock struck midnight tonight. So that makes me feel supremely confident about re-iterating my top 5 picks for 2010: ↵

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↵• TIGER WILL WIN TWO MAJORS! ↵

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↵• LEBRON WILL SIGN WITH ... THE HEAT! ↵

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↵• BOISE STATE WILL WIN THE 2010 CFB NATIONAL TITLE! ↵

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↵• THE YANKEES WILL BEAT THE PHILLIES ... AGAIN! ↵

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↵• BILL SELF WILL BEAT JOHN CALIPARI FOR AN NCAA TITLE ... AGAIN! ↵

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↵Now, on to more pressing matters: Do I have any resolutions for the new year? Of course: By sport, naturally. ↵

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↵NFL Week 17: It's funny -- if Manny Ramirez lazily jogs halfway to first on a routine groundout before peeling off prematurely for the dugout, he gets crushed. If an NFL team -- or teams -- institutionally decides that it is not going to play to win a game, it's "strategy." I don't mind the tanking; I just want teams to call it "tanking." ↵

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↵The Colts have no reason to give any effort to beat the Bills; to save themselves the trouble of the travel and even the smidgen of potential for injury, why don't they just forfeit the game? They are effectively going to do that anyway. Oh, that would be "unsportsmanlike?" The difference between forfeiting and laying down is semantic. ↵

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↵Resolution for 2010: Don't begrudge the Colts for effectively throwing games; they can do whatever they want. All I ask is that they call it what it is and stop trying to justify it as high-minded or, in any way, sportsmanlike. ↵

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↵And just as the Bengals have no incentive to risk injury or give away Xs and Os against the Jets, they also have no incentive to talk openly about tanking in advance of the game -- that's why I totally believe Marvin Lewis when he says the Bengals will play to win ... just as I totally expect them to pack it in within 5 minutes of the game starting and "game conditions change." ↵

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↵Given the Ravens' strong incentive to beat the incentive-less Raiders, all Broncos, Steelers and Texans fans can do is sit by and watch helplessly. That's why my Resolution for 2010 for them is that they save some New Year's Eve booze for Sunday, to help ease the pain. ↵

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↵And that's why the NFL Game of the Week is Eagles-Cowboys. Winner gets the NFC East title; loser gets to go on the road for the wild card round. (If the Eagles win, they get a first-round bye.) ↵

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↵(One other neat storyline? Chris Johnson going for 2,000 yards. Johnson has put together one of the best individual seasons by a running back in NFL history. Resolution for 2010: If I get the first pick of my fantasy draft, take Johnson.) ↵

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↵Texas Tech fires Mike Leach: There are no winners here. Leach is out of a job. Tech loses a coach that put the program on the map. The James kid's rep is ruined. Fans are depressed. Resolution for 2010: Be less passive-aggressive. ↵

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↵Urban Meyer 911 call: Now that was kind of scary. Much scarier than "Dehydration." Resolution: Like Meyer, work harder to keep priorities straight. ↵

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↵Gone Bowlin': How appropriate that Ndamukong Suh goes out on a shutout win. Meanwhile, you won't get a more exciting bowl game than Idaho's win over Bowling Green. Resolution for 2010: Watch more Vandals football next fall. ↵

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↵Tonight: Here's a great set-up for the day's games. Resolution for 2010: Watch as many bowl games as possible. ↵

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↵CBB Mania: Lance Stephenson is the hero in Cincy's upset of UConn. Resolution for 2010: Try to watch more of Stephenson, because this time next year, he'll be in the NBA. ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: LeBirthday Boy scores 48. Resolution for 2010? Easy! Stop talking about where LeBron is moving in the summer. (I predict this one won't make it past mid-January.) ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Holliday to Cards all-but-done deal? It's the last big move to be made of the Hot Stove season. (Ooh! Yesterday, I forgot a key MLB prediction for 2010: By December, Joe Mauer -- MLB player of the next decade -- will be a Yankee. Why? Because, like LeBron, he wants to win championships. See? My LeBron resolution didn't even last 30 seconds!) ↵

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↵Tiger Watch: So here's a question: "How'd you get that fat lip?" (Resolution for 2010: Sidestep Tiger stories. Please.)
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↵The Last Word: Let's try this again ... Happy New Year! No Wake-Up Call tomorrow, but I'm back bright and early on Monday morning for the first Wake-Up Call of the new year. Otherwise, join me over at DanShanoff.com, for the big finale over at TimTeblog.com or all the time through my Twitter feed (@danshanoff).
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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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