Shanoff's WUC: Blackhawks, College Football Implosion, USC, Izzo, Oh My!

Today's Calls: Blackhawks vs. Stanley Cup, Nebraska vs. the Big 12, USC vs. the NCAA, Tom Izzo vs. Michigan State, Cliff Lee vs. David Price, Stephen Strasburg vs. David Letterman, Avery Johnson vs. Mikhail Prokhorov, Celtics vs. Derek Fisher, Tom Brady vs. LeBron James, John Wall vs. Allen Iverson and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Is anyone else feeling a bit overwhelmed today? ↵

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↵• College football is imploding! ↵

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↵• USC is actually being punished! ↵

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↵• Tom Izzo really may leave Michigan State! ↵

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↵• The Yankees are targeting Cliff Lee! ↵

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↵• Oh, right: The World Cup starts tomorrow! ↵

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↵And that's all before we even begin to talk about the Blackhawks completing an oblivion-to-championship run to the Stanley Cup for Chicago's first hockey championship in a half-century! ↵

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↵Take a deep breath. It's going to be a big day in sports. Let's get to it: ↵

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↵Blackhawks win the Cup: I will leave it to SN's terrific experts to break it down for you, but Chicago is the most likable NHL champ in years -- dynamic young talent, the worst-to-first leap, the city's hockey title drought. Winning so dramatically in OT feels like a bonus (would have loved to see them win it in Chicago, though). ↵
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↵CFB Realignment Insanity: OK, so Nebraska is bolting for the Big Ten. Fine. And Colorado could be leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10. Fine. The Pac-10 will make offers to Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. ↵

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↵The sense is that those Big 12 teams will accept the offer. Whether they do or don't, I'm not quite sure why the Big 12 would fold, rather than call the best of the non-BCS football schools (TCU, Utah, BYU, Boise) and make them an offer to join a depleted league that still has the "BCS" designation, something all of those schools desperately want. Not dead yet! ↵

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↵And the SEC could still make things interesting by offering a spot to, say, Texas A&M (or looking north and angling for the best of the ACC and Big East). The Big Ten doesn't feel finished, either (Mizzou, Pitt, Rutgers, Maryland). Still, it is the end of the Big 12 as we know it. Wow. ↵

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↵USC Penalty: Surprisingly harsh! Retroactively pulling wins off the books is lame; real punishment stings tomorrow. By reducing schollys and -- to a lesser extent -- not letting the team play in bowl games for two years, the NCAA offers a bit more than your usual slap on the wrist. ↵

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↵(When combined with the potential for those six Big 12 teams entering the league -- including Texas and Oklahoma -- USC could find itself going from conference big dog to dogging it, by the time it emerges from this.) ↵

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↵Izzo Watch: I am so stunned that this is where it is right now -- to the point that it is very possible (even likely!) that Tom Izzo would leave Michigan State, where he has established himself as the best coach in college basketball, for the NBA's Cavs. ↵

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↵Having experienced the Billy Donovan-Magic situation up close, I won't believe this is happening until MSU hires another coach (from yesterday: I nominate Butler's Brad Stevens or Memphis' Josh Pastner). Still, if Izzo leaves -- and I still cannot believe he would -- I think it is fair to strip him of his "best coach in college basketball designation." ↵

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↵(Izzo should definitely read what Mike DeCourcy has to say about the situation.) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: Yankees targeting Cliff Lee? It almost seems unfair to re-unite Lee with old Indians teammate CC Sabathia -- plus the rest of New York's pitching talent. This interest could be seen as a measure of the Yankees' respect/panic that the Rays are keeping pace in the AL; if last October is any indication, Lee is worth 2 dominating outings per 7-game playoff series. ↵

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↵(Remember how the Rays' Matt Garza was arguably the AL's best pitcher in May? Well, through the first two weeks of June -- and with last night's win, his AL-leading 9th -- David Price might be even better. Wow, are the Rays stacked. ↵

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↵Strasburg Mania: More fans will come out in Cleveland on Sunday to see Strasburg than to see the Indians. Oh, and Strasburg is going to be on Letterman tonight. He has instantly become the biggest sensation in baseball. ↵

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↵NBA Finals Game 4: It is fair to say that if the Celtics don't win tonight, they are going to have a very difficult time winning this series. That's a far cry from where things stood after Game 2 in LA. Who knew that Boston's biggest strategic mission would turn out to be: Stop Derek Fisher. (I'm kidding -- sort of -- but still. See Deveney's keys here.) ↵

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↵NBA Coaching Carousel: Avery Johnson to Mikhail Prokhorov's Nets. Were the Nets convinced by Johnson's success with the Mavs? Sure, he has experience working for charismatic billionaires -- but it's not like it actually worked out in Dallas. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Is the "Brady Watch" going to become the new "LeBron Watch" -- a months-long slog through "Will he stay with his team or go somewhere else?" ↵

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↵CFB Offseason: Jeremiah Masoli is done at Oregon. The kid obviously needs some serious counseling, and I hope he gets it. ↵

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↵Business: John Wall signed with Reebok, which gives Rbk their hottest hoops name since Allen Iverson tried to put the brand on the map in the mid-90s. I love Wall and think he will have as much cachet as any player in the league, but this is an uphill battle, among consumers and shoe-heads alike. (At the very least, Reebok needs to give Wall a rookie shoe that rivals AI's first "Question," which is Reebok's best basketball shoe of all time -- and one of the classics.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: World Cup. It starts tomorrow, and I couldn't be more excited. Expect a Wake-Up Call preview tomorrow, including picks. ↵

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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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