Shanoff's W.U.C.: Soccer, Rick, Vick, Hokies

Today's Calls: Rick Pitino vs. Circumstances, Mike Vick vs. Kids, Virginia Tech vs. Oblivion, Red Sox vs. Tigers, Tebow vs. History, Tiger vs. the PGA, Leon Powe vs. Boston and More. ↵

↵Rick PitinoThe Opening Pitch: Who will have the worst day today? ↵

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↵Let's start with Rick Pitino. Yikes. ↵

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↵(That kind of sums it up.) ↵

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↵But I have another contender: U.S. Soccer. ↵

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↵On the positive side, their afternoon game against Mexico in Mexico City gives fans something to watch — these afternoon soccer games have been a wonderful mid-day distraction, even if you aren't a full-time soccer fan. It helps that the U.S. was shocking top-ranked Spain. ↵

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↵On the down side, the U.S. national team has never won in Mexico. Never. High elevation. Awful smog. Hostile crowd. Intimidated players. Oh-fer-everything. ↵

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↵Even more than playing world powers Spain or Brazil in the Confed Cup, this will be the ultimate test of where U.S. Soccer stands. Mexico at Mexico is our nemesis — our Newman. The U.S. will probably lose, but the team has enough mo that it is intriguing enough this may be our best shot ever at winning there. ↵

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↵If I could offer any crisis management to Pitino, it would be to tell the media horde today: "Hey, isn't there this great soccer game on right now ...?" ↵

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↵Vick Watch: "Use me as an example for your dreams," Michael Vick told basketball campers in Hampton. Not sure how to take that, but I will give it the charitable interpretation that he does not want the kids to follow him to prison. ↵

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↵Another quote was more problematic: Vick said he "allowed someone who didn't have my best interests at heart to take all that away from me." That doesn't sound like someone who is actually taking responsibility for his own actions. ↵

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↵Meanwhile: "There are a lot of teams interested" in Vick, according to his agent, which apparently means at least five teams. No one seems to want to try to speculate on them (cough-Jags-cough), but I will predict it will happen within 48 hours after the "60 Minutes" PR stunt this Sunday. ↵

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↵Apparently, the Ravens are out of the Vick sweepstakes. Though he was rumored to be of interest to them, it never made sense, given the way they used backup QB Troy Smith last year in limited single-wing/Wildcat opportunities. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵— Pedro! Pedro! Pedro! Starts today ↵

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↵— Just what Red Sox needed to rejuvenate: Brawling. ↵

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↵— Moyer deserved better: He's right to be annoyed. ↵

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↵— Hamilton's wife forgives him: What else would she do? ↵

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↵— Nats (Curly) W streak ends at 8: Hanson 9 Ks. ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Ervin Santana (CG 3H SO w/ 6K). ↵

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↵NFL Camping: Is the Wildcat right for everyone? The Chargers seemed to practice it more to prepare their defense than to potentially showcase LaDainian Tomlinson at QB. Norv Turner sounded unimpressed by the scheme — at least with Philip Rivers being taken out of plays. ↵

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↵NFL Fantasy Prep: There is no bigger frustration for fantasy GMs than the RB-by-committee trend in the NFL. Here is a snapshot of the NFC starters and their handcuffs. And here are the AFC names to know. ↵

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↵Virginia Tech Tough Luck: The Top 10 team — presumptive ACC champ, outside shot at an unbeaten season — suddenly is hurting, losing star RB Darren Evans (1,265 yds, 11 TDs) for the season to an ACL tear in his left knee. Feel for him and Hokies fans, and suddenly that season-opener versus Alabama looks a lot rougher. (Makes my pick of Georgia Tech to win the ACC a little stronger.) ↵

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↵(Could it be worse for VA Tech? Why, yes: Yes it can.) ↵

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↵CFB: Tebow title repeat? Why is Tebow-Florida 2009 different than Leinart-USC 2005? Infinitely better D. ↵
↵— Different than Krenzel-Ohio State in 2003? First title wasn't a fluke. ↵
↵— Different than Dorsey-Miami 2002? Mentally prepared for their repeat year. ↵
↵— Different than Weinke-Florida State in 2000? Can't be out-innovated. ↵
↵— Different than Martin-Tennessee 1999? Aren't led by a self-satisfied coach. ↵

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↵PGA doesn't fine Tiger: You don't say! ↵

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↵NBA Offseason: Leon Powe to Cavs nearly finalized. We have known about this for a while, and it IS low-risk — at a minimum, it is a moral victory over the Celtics. And if anyone can come back from injury to provide quality limited minutes as a reserve, it is Powe. But can he guard Dwight Howard? Or even Marcin Gortat? ↵

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↵Must-Read: Tom Brady cover story in this month's “Details.” ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Go Wolves." ↵
↵— Kurt Rambis, ending an open letter he sent to the team's fans. ↵

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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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