Shanoff's WUC: Danica, Suh, ND, AI, 96, Elin

Today's Calls: Danica vs. NASCAR, Ndamukong Suh vs. Colt McCoy, Notre Dame vs. Brian Kelly, Jimmy Clausen vs. Golden Tate, Allen Iverson vs. Philly fans, 64-team NCAA bracket vs. 96-team NCAA bracket, Ivan Rodriguez vs. Stephen Strasburg, Tiger vs. Elin and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Please consider the insane times we are living in, just in the past 24 hours: ↵

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↵• Danica Patrick is about to take over NASCAR? ↵

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↵• Notre Dame is on the verge of hiring its best coach since Lou Holtz? ↵

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↵• A defensive lineman will finish ahead of Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow in Heisman voting? ↵

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↵• Allen Iverson is back in a 76ers uniform? ↵

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↵• The NCAA Tournament is going to expand from 64 to 96? ↵

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↵• Two undefeated non-BCS teams are playing each other in a BCS bowl game? ↵

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↵• Tiger Woods' wife walked out on him? ↵

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↵It's a random Tuesday in mid-December. Not a ton happening on the field, but more than enough happening off of it. ↵

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↵Danica Patrick is joining NASCAR: And, even if she's just in the Nationwide Series for starters, it's going to be the biggest thing to happen to the sport in the post-E Era. David Stern talking about a woman playing in the NBA was blue-sky thinking; "Danascar" is reality. ↵

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↵Best Tweet Ever: @CoachBrianKelly: Just informed our team that Notre Dame has contacted me and I will listen to what they have to say. ↵

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↵That is amazing on so many levels: That Kelly was up-front with his players. That Kelly was savvy enough to scoop the media and manage the message. And, of course, that Notre Dame reached out to the coach that everyone agrees is a great fit for the job. (Jim Harbaugh? Really?) ↵

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↵To be honest: I still wonder whether ND actually wants Kelly, or if they're just going through the motions with Kelly because everyone insists that they should. I guess we'll see, especially if today's pending interview doesn't yield a job offer quickly. ↵

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↵(Did Houston Nutt really talk with Kansas about their open coaching job? 1: Ole Miss fans are NOT going to be happy. 2: I know that the SEC is tough, but is the Big 12 that much easier? Actually, compare the brutal SEC West to the mediocre Big 12 North.) ↵

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↵Heisman Watch: You MUST keep an eye on StiffarmTrophy.com's coverage, which is tracking confirmed Heisman votes and plugging them into projections. The biggest development: Ndamukong Suh, the first D-lineman invited to the ceremony in nearly 20 years. ↵

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↵Suh's performance in the Big 12 title game not only catapulted him into the Top 3 -- according to ST's early returns -- but he seems to have single-handedly knocked Colt McCoy OUT of the top. Mark Ingram has the early edge with Toby Gerhart and Suh. McCoy is a distant 4th. ↵

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↵Tim Tebow is a ceremonial 5th: As college football's biggest star, he still earned an invite to New York as a finalist, making him only the third 3-time Heisman finalist ever, the first since Herschel Walker from 1980-1982. Wonder how Tebow voted: For the fellow QB? The SEC solidarity? The Tebow-ish running back? The novelty of the defensive player? ↵

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↵(Speaking of Suh, he won the Nagurski Trophy -- widely considered the Heisman for defensive players ... because, typically, defensive players have no shot at winning the Heisman. That's what makes Suh's Heisman leap all the more remarkable.) ↵

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↵BCS-mas Day Hangover: Per yesterday's lead item, we are less than 48 hours removed from the BCS reveal and already the "outrage" -- over Texas' unworthiness, over the Fiesta Bowl pairing -- has subsided into resignation. Anti-BCS animosity is very real, but shallow. My point yesterday was not that the BCS worked, per se (remember, my No. 2 vote went to TCU), but that the system will prove -- once again -- good enough for most fans. ↵

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↵(Kudos to SN's Legends Poll, which agreed with me in voting TCU No. 2. If Texas beats Alabama in a Nebraska-style ugly one and TCU rolls over Boise State, I'd love to see the Legends award their national title to TCU.) ↵

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↵Tiger Woods Watch: Elin has allegedly moved out. And -- whether that's confirmed or not -- would you blame her? Really, that's the most sensible thing to happen with TW in 2 weeks. ↵

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↵And then there's the two acronyms that Team Tiger did not want floated out there: "DUI" (via AP) and "OD" (via TMZ). Of course, when new photos of Tiger horn-dogging his way around Vegas emerge seemingly daily, the accident seems mild by comparison. ↵

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↵(And THEN there's this latest story: About an older woman being wheeled out of Tiger's house in the middle of the night on a stretcher, taken to the hospital. Seriously: Wha?!) ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: AI back with Philly. 38 minutes, 11 points (4/11 FG) and all of the excitement that one of the most thrilling players in NBA history can bring to an otherwise unremarkable loss for the 76ers. ↵

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↵NCAA Tournament expanding from 64 to 96? As a longtime proponent of expanding the Tournament, I am thrilled that corporate greed is looking to make this happen. ↵

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↵Apparently, the top 32 teams would get a 1st-round bye, which is interesting: How many will lose that first game after being caught flat-footed against an opponent with a hard-fought game under their belts? Don't expect to see this before March 2011, at the earliest. ↵

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↵DeCourcy hates the idea. Normally I defer to Mike, but I think he's off on this -- I'm sure there were plenty of purists back in the early ‘80s decrying how expanding the field from 48 to 64 would "diminish" it. (Or 32 up to 48. Or 16 up to 32.) I don't care about who makes money on what; I think expanding the field is in the best interests of fans. ↵

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↵MNF: Packers beat Ravens. Most importantly, how many fantasy football playoff spots were secured -- or lost -- based on Aaron Rodgers' 3-TD performance? ↵

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↵NFL Draft: Jimmy Clausen is going pro. McShay sees Clausen as a 1st-round selection. I think he will be an NFL bust, not unlike Charlie Weis' last 1st-round QB, Brady Quinn. (Golden Tate on the other hand: He's going to be a solid pro WR.) ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Winter Meetings Edition! Is Brad Penny really worth $9M to the usually fiscally conservative Cardinals? ... Does Andy Pettitte have one more year left in him with the Yankees? ... The Nats should attach new backup C Pudge Rodriguez to prodigy Stephen Strasburg as a mentor. ... More rumors and innuendo from Indianapolis. ↵

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↵Whitey Herzog elected to HOF: And I love him for saying this, about Mark McGwire: "He's going to be asked questions about steroids, he's going to be asked so many things, and he's got to be open and he's got to answer. And Tony can't get mad about it. He's got to put up with it." ↵

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↵Bowls: The Gator Bowl chose wisely in allowing Florida State to play Bobby Bowden's last game in its venue; the game sold out in two hours. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "We're going for it." -- Saints coach Sean Payton, on his team's intention to pursue a 16-0 record and not adopt the Colts' "sit-everyone-as-soon-as-you-clinch" strategy. ↵

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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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