Shanoff's WUC: What Else Does Octopus Know?

Today's Calls: Paul the Octopus vs. Everything Else, Spain vs. History, Andres Iniesta vs. Diego Forlan, Jesse Jackson vs. Dan Gilbert, Pat Riley vs. Mark Cuban, Udonis Haslem vs. Derek Fisher, Hedo Turkoglu vs. Leandro Barbosa, John Wall vs. the NBA, Erin Andrews vs. College GameDay, Colin Kaepernick vs. Boise State, Carmelo and LaLa vs. Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood and More. ↵

↵Hermie SadlerThe Opening Pitch: Paul the Octopus was the real star of the World Cup. Forget Iniesta or Forlan, Darke or Tyler. Let's talk about the animal that correctly called the final eight results of the World Cup, including Spain over Holland. ↵

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↵The World Cup might be over (lamentably), but here are eight more questions we could use Paul's help with: ↵

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↵— Will the NBA nick the Heat for tampering? (No.) ↵

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↵— Will Fisher or Haslem be on '10-11 Heat? (No.) ↵

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↵— Will missing out on Cliff Lee stop the Yankees? (No.) ↵

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↵— Will John Wall win NBA Rookie of the Year? (No.) ↵

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↵— Will Nevada derail Boise's CFB title hopes? (No.) ↵

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↵— Will favorite Miguel Cabrera win the HR Derby? (No.) ↵

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↵— Will Melo's marriage last less than Mike Fisher's? (No.) ↵

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↵— Will U.S. fans care more about soccer? (Yes, but not enough.) ↵

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↵Wow: No more LeBron "drama?" No more World Cup? You know who is happy? Baseball fans. Just in time. ↵

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↵Spain wins the World Cup. I'm not sure there is a country celebration you would rather be a part of than Spain's. It's not often you can see the greatest sports thing to ever happen to a country with a sporting history as illustrious as Spain's. (On the flip side, for Holland: Worst feeling ever?) ↵

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↵Andres Iniesta gets the Cup-winning goal for Spain — and instant mythological status throughout the country — but Diego Forlan was an inspired choice to win the "Golden Ball" as MVP of the tournament. ↵

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↵(As for the complaints that the final was ugly? Look: Most casual fans weren't going to be able to tell that the play itself wasn't "beautiful," nor do they care about all the cards. What matters? It was close. The first goal was going to be the winning goal; that's plenty enough drama.) ↵

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↵LeBron, Cont'd: So, yes, this was in the works for a long time — as long as four years, but more likely two. (Isn't that enough?) The three guys were in cahoots, but Pat Riley and the Heat did their part to set things up.  ↵

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↵Collusion? Eh, maybe. Otherwise: Just business. What is obvious is LeBron never really intended to stay — nor did he really intend to go to New York or Chicago. The kingpins in all this: Riley and D-Wade, both of whom got exactly what they wanted. ↵

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↵Derek Fisher to the Heat? While they're at it, why not sign AI and T-Mac? (Seriously, that would be just plain unfair. I don't care how flimsy the bench is — LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Miller and Fisher can win a title next year.) ↵

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↵What about Udonis? Heat big man Haslem could be a key role player in Miami (as he was during the title run in '06). Would he take less money to play on a dream team? Otherwise, Mark Cuban would like to wrest him away. ↵

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↵Suns get a makeover: Trade Leandro Barbosa to Toronto for Hedo Turkoglu, plus acquire Josh Childress from the Hawks in a sign-and-trade. ↵

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↵NBA Summer League: John Wall's Debut. After some early bricks, 24 points with as many assists (8) as turnovers. The stat to watch: 10-for-11 FGs — he is so fast that he is going to be able to get to the line at will. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, from early indications in Vegas, it sounds like the Lakers swindled the rest of the league by nabbing Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter late in the second round; both are playing like first-round talents.) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: Is Cliff Lee the linchpin for the fate of the season? Not quite. On the one hand, I love seeing the Rangers going for it. On the other, it's not like Lee is enough for the Rangers to topple the Yankees (or even the Rays) in the playoffs. On the third hand, it kept Lee from the Yankees, which would have made the rest of the season moot. Without him, the Yankees aren't a complete lock to win the World Series. (Just an overwhelming one.) ↵

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↵Home Run Derby: Miguel Cabrera is the favorite in a random field, but I'll take Nick Swisher — he wants it SO bad. (At the very least, Swisher will be the most entertaining entrant.) ↵

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↵Big Papi wants to stay in Boston: I'm glad he wants to stay, but should the Red Sox bring him back in 2011? Short answer: No. Longer answer: If he is willing to take a massive pay cut and be a part-time DH? Maybe. ↵

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↵CFB Countdown: No. 53 Nevada. QB Colin Kaepernick will lead a fun offense, but where Nevada can (and will) hit the national radar is as the final challenge to Boise State's unbeaten season on Nov. 26. ↵

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↵Media: Erin Andrews' new deal at ESPN is official. Glad she will remain part of the network. Would be great to see her get her own show (but I'll settle for her being added to "GameDay," which is adding a third hour). ↵

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↵Sports-Celebrity Weddings: Who had the bigger nuptials, Carmelo-LaLa (with LeBron in attendance) or Mike Fisher-Underwood (with Simon in attendance). ↵

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↵RIP, Bob Sheppard: Voice of the Yankees (aka "Voice of God"). Condolences to his family, friends and many, many fans. ↵

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↵The Last Word: “His feelings of betrayal personify a slave/master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave.” ↵
↵— Jesse Jackson, about Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. ↵
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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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