Shanoff's WUC: Super Times in South Florida

Super Bowl
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↵Today's Calls: Peyton Manning vs. Dwight Freeney, Urban Meyer vs. Ronald Powell, Lane Kiffin vs. Derek Dooley, South Florida vs. Georgetown, Chris Paul vs. Chauncey Billups, Justin Verlander vs. Felix Hernandez, Pat Riley vs. Phil Jackson, Phil Mickelson vs. the Ping Eye 2, Tim Tebow vs. Planned Parenthood and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: South Florida is the center of the sports universe. ↵

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↵— The Super Bowl in Miami is reaching its climax — the party scene, obviously. (Wait: There's actually a game to play on Sunday? That means that the predictions will start rolling in tomorrow; Vinnie Iyer jumps first — Colts 30, Saints 27.) ↵

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↵— National Signing Day was won by Florida, capturing the nation's best recruiting class — one that some analysts are calling the best class of defensive players in recruiting history. It is most notable for the in-roads Urban Meyer made in ... South Florida, naturally. (UF 2010-2013 = The U 1983-1986?) ↵

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↵— The University of South Florida has had the best week of any team in college basketball. Last weekend, they beat Pitt; last night, they went up to D.C. and stunned Georgetown, fresh off that throttling of Duke. Get the Bulls on the Bubble! ↵

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↵The only way it could get better for the region is if LeBron would announce this weekend that he is committing to play with Dwyane Wade for the Heat. (They'll have to wait for July for that.) ↵

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↵Super Story lines: Peyton's place in NFL history will be impacted by whether he wins this game. He doesn't need to play well — he earned his first ring (and Super Bowl MVP) a few years ago in Miami with a nominal effort — but he needs to win. When you are talking about "all-time" history, just making the Super Bowl is not enough. ↵

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↵Freeney Watch: The good news for Colts fans is that he says the pain is subsiding. But obviously, he didn't practice yesterday. The Colts are going to be sure that (a) they do everything possible to get him in the game, and (b) they make sure we don't know the real story. ↵

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↵Super Bowl 44 Mania: More must-sees from Chris Littmann and Michael Tunison in Miami. ↵

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↵More National Signing Day: Lane Kiffin scored a coup by landing monster OT Seantrel Henderson from Minnesota to come to USC. ↵

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↵Of course, Henderson apparently won't actually sign his LOI until he finds out if USC is in trouble with the NCAA. (If he had enough questions to hold off on the LOI, then shouldn't that tip him off that USC may not be the most stable program to join?) ↵

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↵(Kudos to Tennessee's Derek Dooley for mopping up Kiffin's mess and landing a Top 10 class.) ↵

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↵More Meyer: Yesterday was not a bad way for Urban Meyer to start his "leave of absence" — so much for the concerns it would hurt recruiting. The LOA will likely run through the start of spring practice. Either that, or he will be scheming about the class of 2011. ... ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: Chris Paul will have knee surgery today and be out for at least a month — maybe longer. This means he won't be able to play in the All-Star Game, and Chauncey Billups will replace him. ↵

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↵(Speaking of the Nuggets, Amare was awesome — 20 and 17 — leading the Suns to a win in Denver, PHX's fourth straight win. If he does get traded to a contender, Stoudemire could be this year's version of Pau Gasol.) ↵

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↵Milestones: Move over, Pat Riley. Phil Jackson now has more wins as the Lakers coach than anyone else who has ever coached the team. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Justin Verlander gets a 5Y/$80M deal. He has established himself as one of the Top 5 pitchers in the A.L., and this deal is on par with the one King Felix got in Seattle. ↵

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↵Trade rumors: The season hasn't even started yet, but Adrian Gonzalez could be the linchpin trade of the season. (His agent thinks he's as good as out of San Diego.) ↵

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↵The most intriguing team of the offseason — and thus the most intriguing team of the next season — is the Mariners, who may have spent and dealt their way to winning the A.L. West. They will find that it's much tougher when people expect you to win, rather than feel pleasantly surprised when you win. ↵

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↵Golf: The Ping Eye 2 scandal is over. After all that fuss, Phil won't play the club ... although he'd like you to know that he could, if he wanted to. (But he's right not to.) ↵

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↵CFB Coaching Carousel: Justin Wilcox is the new D.C. at Tennessee, swiped away from Boise State. Great hire for Derek Dooley — Wilcox isn't Monte Kiffin (who is?), but he's a super talent. (Um, isn't it a step back from Top 5 Boise to UT?) ↵

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↵Tebow Super Bowl Ad drama, cont'd: Planned Parenthood released a rival ad — but it will go no further than YouTube or news stations willing to run it. It emphasizes that Pam Tebow was lucky to have been able to make her own choice. But it is clear PP totally mis-read the situation and should have submitted their own ad to run opposite Focus on the Family's. ↵

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↵(Speaking of Tebow: Um, yikes. There's at least one Jags player who doesn't think the team should draft him.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "This is not a joke. I will hurt him."
↵— Herschel Walker on Jose Canseco's challenge to fight him. (Does anyone NOT want to see Herschel pound the yap out of Canseco?) ↵

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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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