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DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Piecing it all together

Picked-up pieces while wondering if it'll be too hot for the hoodie sweatshirt in Miami next weekend . . .

I'm taking USC over Ohio State in the BCS championship game Jan. 8 in Arizona. The Trojans still have to beat UCLA today to get into the game, but Pete Carroll's got a virtual NFL squad with speed and depth never before seen in the college game. Trojans wideout Dwayne Jarrett should be a latecomer in the Heisman race.

"Media availability," which results in a coach or general manager saying nothing about everything, is a waste of everyone's time. Bill Belichick is the master of the genre (except for those times when he lets his guard down and seems to enjoy teaching a little football) and Theo Epstein is the latest local practitioner. Congrats to Bob Ryan for calling Theo out on this earlier this week. Better to remain "unavailable for comment" than to go back and forth playing the stupid game ("It was a football decision" or "We can't talk about J.D. Drew") ignoring all the obvious topics that fans want to know more about. Did anyone hear Bill Parcells's press conference after he cut Mike Vanderjagt? The Tuna actually explained his thinking on the controversial move.

Don't waste time worrying about Daisuke Matsuzaka signing a contract to pitch for the Red Sox. Scott Boras is obligated to drag things out, but the Japanese pitcher has little leverage in the matter. When the deal finally gets done, I'm wondering if the Red Sox will announce that the Dice Man signed a contract, or will there be a club statement indicating that the Sox and Matsuzaka have an "agreement memorialized with a signature" -- like Theo's deal.

Enough talk about Mark McGwire's tainted Hall of Fame candidacy. When does the NFL consider a motion to remove the bust of the despicable O.J. Simpson from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio?

Sox chairman Tom Werner is not exactly on a roll. His group produced two of the stinkbombs of the season -- a terrible television show ("Twenty Good Years") and a worse major motion picture ("Let's Go to Prison"). Where's the old "Cosby" magic? Must be saving the good stuff for NESN.

If owners Bob and Jonathan Kraft won't attend a Revolution game when they make it to the final, why should we feel guilty about not following the local fútbol entry?

Please. No more network fawning over Brett Favre. It's been great watching the Green Bay iron man. Time to stop.

Update on Corey Lowe and Anthony Gurley, the guards who led Newton North to back-to-back Division 1 state basketball championships in 2005 and '06. Lowe, starting for Boston University, was America East rookie of the week after scoring 28 points last Saturday against Manhattan. Gurley played 23 minutes and scored 6 points in Wake Forest's first loss of the season Wednesday night.

Got one of those Tuck Game/Vinatieri snow globes on your desk? Take a look at the holder. It's No. 13, a man who has returned as punter for the Patriots. Ken Walter wears No. 15 these days, but we'll always remember him as the man holding the football for those two clutch snowbound kicks in the last game played at old Foxboro Stadium.

Did you get a load of Schill and his mullet on "Celebrity Jeopardy"? It seemed like a good idea to feature a man who knows everything on Alex Trebek's panel, but Schill didn't know that Rice-A-Roni is "the San Francisco treat" and finished with the same score as Bluto's grade-point average. That said, a political blog last week asked the question, "Can Curt Schilling Save the Mass. Republican Party?"

Vinny Testaverde is a great guy. He's also colorblind, which may have been a factor in some of his 261 career interceptions.

Is it really possible that the NBA switched to a microfiber composite basketball as a concession to the fringe fanatics of PETA?

What do Michael Richards (the embroiled "Kramer") and George Steinbrenner have in common? Publicist Howard Rubenstein.

Jack Del Rio looks pretty snappy in that sideline suit. Joe Abboud would approve. Too bad the Chicago Bulls won't let Ben Wallace wear his signature headband.

Brent Musburger was just brutal last Saturday night calling the USC-Notre Dame game. And while we're on the topic of football telecasts, can Fox lose "The OT" show with inebriated fans fighting for attention in the background? It's a ripoff of ESPN's "College GameDay."

When I watch the Celtics, there seems to be only one play -- give the ball to Paul Pierce and let him put his head down and drive to the basket, splaying his arms and legs, hoping to get fouled.

Let me get this straight: Johnny Damon gets an offer of four years and $40 million and a year later the Sox are willing to give Drew $14 million per over four years?

Former Boston College defensive lineman Mathias Kiwanuka was a stand-up guy, taking blame for his part of the Giants' implosion against Tennessee last Sunday. Kiwanuka had Vince Young wrapped up for a game-deciding sack in the fourth quarter, but let Young get away because he feared a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Speaking of the Giants, does outgoing GM Ernie Accorsi regret that explosive move on draft day 2004, when he sent Philip Rivers and what amounted to Shawne Merriman to the Chargers for Eli Manning?

There appeared to be 2,000 hangers-on, all with official passes, standing on the USC sideline last Saturday night.

Heard the talented Gary Tanguay say this about Tommy Heinsohn: "Tommy is not only a broadcaster, he was also a great coach." True and true. But does anybody remember that Heinsohn was a tremendous ballplayer? It was Heinsohn, not Bill Russell, who was NBA Rookie of the Year when the two entered the league for the 1956-57 season. And in Game 7 of the finals against the Hawks, rookie Heinsohn scored 37 points and grabbed 23 rebounds, leading the Celtics to their first championship. He made it to the Hall of Fame as a player, winning eight championships in nine seasons.

Labor leader Marvin Miller should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Those of us who were there can't forget the big splash made by Ian Thorpe at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. An Aussie, he was the biggest story of those Games. The Thorpedo retired at the age of 24 last week.

Speaking as a member of the board of Little League baseball, Mike Mussina actually said, "I can unequivocally state that nonwood bats are no more dangerous than their wooden counterparts." This did not sit well with a group opposing metal bats in New York City Little League. It also flies in the face of just about every professional and amateur baseball scout in the world.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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