Shanoff's W.U.C.: Urban, Plax, Sox-Rays, Pats

Urban MeyerToday's Calls: Plaxico Burress vs. Robert Morgenthau, Urban Meyer vs. Pete Carroll, Michael Vick vs. Andrew Walter, Jeremy Maclin vs. Michael Crabtree, Tiger Woods vs. Breaking Wind, Brett Favre vs. the Media and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: There is no economic recession in big-time college football. ↵

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↵Florida's Urban Meyer just got a raise — $4 million a year for the next six years — that makes him the highest-paid coach in the SEC. (The league recently signed a massive TV deal with ESPN, then rolled out its own lucrative TV network. Meanwhile, Ohio State may not have won a title last year, but it made $120 million.) ↵

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↵Meyer's deal feels like a bargain to me: What is a million-dollar pay raise when Florida's football program generates nine figures a year in revenue? ↵

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↵Besides, he is the best coach in college football — a sport where a great coach is the difference between being a perennial title contender (USC) and a lumbering mess (Notre Dame). By the way: Both Pete Carroll and Charlie Weis are in the $4 million club, too. ↵

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↵It's why Alabama paid so much for Nick Saban. And why Tennessee will do whatever it takes — buying billboards in South Florida, for example — to support Lane Kiffin. ↵

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↵And it's why Texas locked up assistant Will Muschamp as Mack Brown's replacement, long before Brown's retirement was an issue. (What they will have to pay to keep Muschamp's salary commensurate with the top of the country is another story.) ↵

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↵An elite coach translates into an elite program. And an elite program translates into an avalanche of revenue. And an avalanche of money pays for the elite coach. There is no more virtuous cycle in sports. ↵

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↵Don't look at the number on the contract — consider the school's return on its investment. ↵

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↵Plaxico Burress indicted: And this surprises you ... how? (Mike Florio has the must-read on Plax's future.) ↵

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↵NFL Camping: Who had "August 3" in the office pool of when we'd see the headline "Heyward-Bey struggles in Raiders camp." ↵

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↵Vick Watch: Patriots sign a backup QB! No, it wasn't Michael Vick — it was Andrew Walter, a cast-off from the Raiders. The most intriguing moves are when a great team takes a player cast off by a terrible team, and it turns out it was the players' environment, not his skills, that held him back. ↵

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↵(Speaking of Pats QBs, Tom Brady turned 32 yesterday. He was rewarded with a pie to the face and punishment laps for missing a throw.) ↵

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↵Rookie Signings: Jeremy Maclin has ended his holdout — love the Jackson-Maclin-Ingram combo of young pass-catchers for Philly. (Hey, Crabtree: You sign yet? No? [Shakes head.]) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵— Series of the Week: Red Sox at Rays ↵

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↵— Walk-Off Watch: A's top Rangers ↵

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↵— Walk-Off Watch 2: Tigers beat O's ↵

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↵— Rookie Wells makes another QS for Cubs ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Mark Reynolds (2 HR ... on way to 40/30 season?) ↵

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↵CFB Previews: Big East. Sure, Steve Kragthorpe might be in over his head at Louisville, but I would rank Cincy's Brian Kelly as one of the Top 3 coaches in college football. (I'd love to see Kelly at a super-power program, but I'm not sure if he has the recruiting chops for it.) ↵

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↵Pro Football HOF: Derrick Thomas will be enshrined this weekend, and if you are a fan of a certain age — who in your formative years of sports fandom got to see Thomas in college and the NFL — you can't imagine him NOT being a Hall of Famer. ↵

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↵NBA Offseason: You know it's slow when "Sheldon Williams to the Celtics" is the big news of the day. There seems to be some disagreement over whether Ramon Sessions is or is not going to join the Knicks. ↵

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↵(Coming later today: The NBA the 2009-10 schedule. Keep your eye out for who gets the coveted "Christmas Day" game slots, plus the three-way East rivalry: Cavs-Magic, Cavs-Celtics, Magic-Celtics.) ↵

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↵Golf: Who says the sport has to be serious all the time? (Especially when the topics put golf at the top of Google Trends.) ↵

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↵Business: Is this it for Arena Football League? (Ironically, it looks like Arena's quasi-minor league — "a2" — is doing just fine.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Because that's what we do best." Here's a fun parody video from Wondershot, hopefully the "last word" on the media's obsession with Brett Favre. At least until next summer. Or November 1. Or, um, a few weeks from now. (Hmm: Is it parody ... or reality?) ↵

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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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