Shanoff's WUC: Tebow, Snead, Vick, Cox, Nets

Today's Calls: Tim Tebow vs. Matt Leinart, Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, Mike Vick vs. Wildcat, Bobby Cox vs. 2010, Kansas basketball vs. Kansas football, Rockies vs. Giants vs. Braves, Mark Cuban vs. Mikhail Prokhorov and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Why do my Sporting News colleagues hate America? ↵

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↵Remember a few months ago when you were able to vote for SN's Athletes of the Decade? Your votes were right on: ↵

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↵• Albert Pujols (82-18 over A-Rod). ↵

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↵• Kobe Bryant (55-45 over Duncan). ↵

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↵• Tyler Hansbrough (66-34 over Jason Williams). ↵

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↵• Nicklas Lidstrom (55-45 over Brodeur). ↵

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↵• Jimmie Johnson (51-49 over Tony Stewart). ↵

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↵And Tim Tebow, with a landslide 79-21 win over Matt Leinart. ... ↵

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↵Wait: What's that you say? SN picked Leinart over Tebow? They nullified the overwhelming choice of the people? ↵

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↵Compounding the issue, they wrongly overturned the popular choice ... twice. They also picked Peyton Manning over Tom Brady, even though Brady (rightfully) earned 50 percent more votes than Peyton. ↵

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↵But back to Tebow: My colleagues' logic rests on two things -- Leinart's record as a starter, which inflates Leinart's role in that team winning percentage (especially given the equal success of his predecessors) and his role in putting USC on the map as a national power. ↵

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↵However, in three years (to Leinart's four), Tim Tebow has done everything notable on Leinart's resume -- national titles, Heismans, winning, program-building (plus a "living legend" status that SN acknowledges but discounts, even though it may be the BIGGEST factor). ↵

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↵But, wait! There's more: Tebow has still got a year to go, where his team is not only the favorite to win another national title, but he is also the leading contender to win another Heisman. Even putting Tebow's first three years against Leinart's four, Tebow's resume is superior. ↵

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↵That only affirms what the fans already knew; they saw the difference clearly enough to vote overwhelmingly -- and correctly -- for Tebow over Leinart. Unlike for the other players of the decade, my SN colleagues chose to dismiss that collective wisdom. ↵

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↵Vick Watch: "I was the Wildcat originator." Well, not quite. Vick didn't run the single-wing -- back in his prime, wouldn't THAT have been interesting? Rather than innovate, then-coach Jim Mora wanted to mash Vick into the West Coast Offense. ↵

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↵Vick resisted. Whether by self-motivated design or simply because he didn't bother to study the playbook, Vick made his name and his game with his legs -- and the rest of the league has finally caught on. ↵

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↵Vick's sentiment is awkwardly phrased, but right on: I think what has me so excited about his debut on Sunday is that he really does represent for the Wildcat -- if not the "originator" returning -- the next step in its evolution: A "real" QB who can run the formation. ↵

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↵CFB Tonight: (4) Ole Miss at South Carolina. No team's ranking is more inflated by preseason hype -- rather than this season's on-field results -- than the Rebels. This is their chance to make a "statement" -- or be exposed as overrated. Pick: Ole Miss ↵

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↵Feuds: SEC commish Mike Slive has had enough of the Kiffin-Meyer yapping. (Of course, given the terrific TV ratings for the Florida-Tennessee game -- in part, driven by the off-field rivalry-stoking by the coaches -- Slive can't be that bothered by it.) ↵

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↵Matt Barkley will be back at starting QB for USC. Two words: Too late. ↵

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↵NL Wild Card: With 10 games to play, the Rockies (who lost last night) are 4 games ahead of both their division rival Giants (who won) and the surprisingly spry Braves. The Rox should know enough about late-season surges to protect themselves against one. ↵

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↵(Will Atlanta put together an inspired streak -- they have already won 3 straight -- in honor of longtime manager Bobby Cox, who announced he will retire after the 2010 season?) ↵

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↵Phillies drama: The biggest difference between this year's team and last year's champs? Not having Lee or Pedro or Happ ... but that last year's lights-out closer, Brad Lidge, is an absolute mess this season -- last night included. ↵

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↵Foreshadowing: The Yankees won their first series in Anaheim since 2004. Picking up on yesterday's lead, I don't think that "home" or "away" will deter the Yankees in the playoffs this season. ↵NBA: Mikhail Prokhorov to buy the Nets -- or, as they quickly became known, the "Nyets." There is Mark Cuban money, and then there is Russian oligarch money. Intriguingly, Prokhorov seems most interested in using the Nets to make Russian basketball better. ↵

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↵Injury Watch: Yup, Yao is still not playing next season. ↵

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↵CBB: Kansas isn't just a leading contender to win a national title; they are scrappy enough to fight with their own football team. Dysfunctional? Sure. But given the success of both teams in 2009 (KU football is unbeaten), that aggression is mostly channeled into winning. ↵

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↵CBB Must-Read: Mike DeCourcy's Top 10 small forwards, led by Ohio State's versatile Evan Turner. ↵

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↵Fun: It turns out that Chad Ochocinco's Lambeau Leap was stacked with sympathetic fans that 85 imported. You are better off assuming that everything in sports is tainted in some way, even the goofy stuff. ↵

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↵One more gripe about the Tebow-Leinart thing: Funny how there's an asterisk next to "two national titles" for Tebow, indicating he wasn't a starter on that 1st title team (although Tebow, as a freshman part-time player, was arguably that team's MVP), but there's no asterisk next to Leinart's "two titles" entry, indicating that USC earned -- at best -- half a national title in 2003 and didn't have to play the next-best team in the country in 2004, unbeaten Auburn. Asterisk that. ↵

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↵The Last Word:"I can't tell you who the best teams in the country are, because frankly I don't get to see them every week. I don't know who's hot and who's not. I could no more rank..." -- LSU coach Les Miles, inadvertently affirming what everyone already knew: That the coaches' poll is a sham. ↵

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↵(At least Miles was being honest -- even if he didn't mean to. Now, let's get an AP voter on the record who is willing to say the same thing: How can they possibly watch enough games intently enough to be able to rank them accurately when they supposedly have their, y'know, full-time job to do on Saturdays?) ↵

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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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