Shanoff's WUC: Top College Football Subplots

Today's Calls: Tim Tebow vs. Colt McCoy, Florida vs. Texas, David Kahn vs. Ricky Rubio, Roger Goodell vs. Troy Vincent, Andre Smith vs. Tom Brady, Cole Hamels vs. Tim Hudson, Isiah Thomas vs. UNC, Clinton Portis vs. John Riggins and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: So all summer long, I have been linking to SN's college football preview content. The conference picks. The Top 100 countdown. Now it's my turn, with my Top 5 Subplots for the new season: ↵

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↵Urban Meyer(1) Tim Tebow: Greatest ever? Covered this last week: We could be watching the greatest college football player of all time, in real-time. Does he need to win a Heisman? No. He does, however, need to lead Florida to an unbeaten season and a third national title in four years. Then? G.O.A.T. ↵

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↵(2) Florida repeat? Best defense in the country? Yes. Best offense? One of 'em. Best special teams? Yes. Best coaching? Yes. Florida will beat Texas to win back-to-back national titles ("Tebow Dynasty?") We will talk about them as being one of the greatest teams of all time. ↵

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↵(That's not to say that Florida and Texas will be the only unbeaten teams. Expect an unprecedented level of BCS-related agita when Penn State goes unbeaten but isn't even in the BCS title-game debate, shunted off to the Rose Bowl. Plus: The now-standard non-BCS unbeaten team — see No. 5 below.) ↵

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↵(3) Three-headed Heisman race. Colt McCoy will win the Heisman after enough voters use the "It's his turn" logic combined with Texas' unbeaten regular season. Tebow will come in 2nd; Sam Bradford will come in 3rd. Eric Berry deserves an invite to NYC for the ceremony. ↵

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↵(4) Notre Dame: Back? A testament to ND's mindshare that even though they are a mediocre program, they still command our attention. Conventional wisdom has it they will ride a flimsy schedule to the 9 or 10 wins that earn them a BCS-bowl shellacking. I'll take the under: 8 wins. (And then there's this.) ↵

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↵(5) This year's Utah? Qualify that as "Non-BCS team that plays well enough to earn a BCS bowl bid." Boise State should go unbeaten and lock that up; if they falter, look at TCU — regardless, at least one non-BCS team should always get a BCS bowl bid. If ND gets the BCS spot with 9 Ws ahead of a 10- or 11-win 2nd SEC or Big 12 team — let alone an unbeaten non-BCS team — watch the epic backlash. ↵

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↵One day away ... ↵

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↵Rubio Watch: David Kahn is spinning wildly, trying to save face and insisting that he DID have a deal with Rubio — don't blame him if Rubio wanted to stay in Spain another two years (and won't Rubio be better with two more years of Euro experience anyway?) Just say it: Dumb pick. ↵

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↵(Perhaps by the time Rubio is ready to come to the NBA, Kahn will have found a way to trade him — what folks seem to be overlooking is that it's not like Rubio will want to play in Minnesota any more in '11 than '09, after Jonny Flynn has established himself as a star PG.) ↵

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↵Be sure to read Sean Deveney's debunking of the myths surrounding the Rubio story. If you compare my item above with Deveney's post, we disagree on most points — so for the alternate view, Deveney's take is a must-read. ↵

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↵Tom Brady seems OK: You fanboys may all breathe easier now. (Although it remains to be seen if he can withstand an entire season — and, presumably, postseason — of punishment. The preseason is nothing. ↵

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↵MLB: NL's Best? The Dodgers may have just made the splashy move to get Jim Thome, the Cardinals might be the hottest team in the NL and the Rockies might always be good for playoff mojo. But, in case you've forgotten about them, the Phillies are the defending champs and still the team to beat, mainly for that pitching rotation: Cole Hamels, who pitched his best game of the season (after a winless August); '08 AL Cy winner Cliff Lee; likely NL '09 ROY J.A. Happ; Joe Blanton and Pedro — with Jamie Moyer available for long relief or a spot start. That Hamels game last night: Whew. Welcome back. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵— AL Wild Card: Rays needed it, didn't get it ↵

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↵— NL Wild Card: Rox retake lead (thanks, Mets!) ↵

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↵— Boost for Braves: Hudson wins 1st since mid-‘08 ↵

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↵— Cards keep rolling: Dave Duncan for NL Cy! ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Hamels, obvs (CG 2H SO w/ 9Ks) ↵

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↵Scandal Watch: Were Roger Goodell and Troy Vincent colluding behind Gene Upshaw and the players union's back? This feels like one of those stories that gets too wonky for sensational coverage (especially during the height of fantasy football draft season), but turns out to be really important. ↵

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↵Osi Umenyiora Is Sorry: It's not you, Bill Sheridan. Really: It's not. (I call this ominous foreshadowing — the Giants are SN's pick to win the Super Bowl; the X-factor is Bill Sheridan's ability to seamlessly take over Steve Spagnuolo's job as DC ... and even improve things.) ↵

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↵Andre Smith breaks his foot: Of course he did. ↵

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↵CFB: Year of the QB? Fun read by Matt Hayes breaking down the QBs who could end this season — or their careers — as the greatest QB in their school's history. That's on top of Tebow in the running for greatest college QB of all time (and Bradford may finish in the Top 5-10). ↵

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↵CBB: Isiah Thomas and FIU will play UNC in their season-opener. Let's set the beat-down factor at 40 — and only less if Roy Williams feels any sense of mercy for the rookie college coach. (It may depend if Isiah brings up Indiana's '81 title-game win over UNC.) ↵

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↵CFL: Has got Adam “Pacman” (Jones) Fever! (You know you're a pariah when even the PR-hungry UFL won't try to recruit you.) ↵

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↵Twitter: TSB's Dan Levy breaks down the NFL's new policy. (Follow Dan on Twitter @onthedlpodcast — and follow this Dan @danshanoff!) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "That was really not hard to be a great running back when you've got that talent all around you." ↵
↵— Clinton Portis on John Riggins, the two most popular running backs in Redskins history. And, no, they really don't like each other. ↵

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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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