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Paraguay’s popularity soaring

Even with the United States out of the World Cup, there is one compelling reason left to watch.

And that’s to cheer hard for Paraguay.

Should Paraguay win the tournament — it survived Tuesday by beating Japan on penalty kicks — lingerie model Larissa Riquelme said she would run naked through the streets.

“Of course, but with my body painted with the colors of Paraguay,” she told Globoesporte.

She already has shown plenty of skin through her work as a model, and Riquelme has been photographed cheering for her team with a cell phone tucked snugly in her tight top.

Her pledge to bare it all should make Paraguay the World Cup’s most popular team. Certainly more popular than Argentina after coach Diego Maradona became the first to promise to run naked should his country win.

So go, Paraguay! A busty model jogging while wearing only body paint is something to appreciate.

■ BEATING DEAD HORSE – Just when it appeared conference realignment was a dead subject for a while, here comes an interview with Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.

He said on Rivals Radio that the Big 12 Conference’s uneven distribution of television money eventually will be that league’s undoing.

“I don’t think this conference will last long because there is too much disparity between all the teams,” Tuberville said. “In the SEC, for instance, Vanderbilt makes as much money in the television contract as Florida. Everybody is good with it. Everybody is on the same page.”

Tuberville coached at Southeastern Conference schools Mississippi and Auburn from 1995 to 2008.

Texas Tech and four other schools nearly left the Big 12 but stayed together after some late negotiating.

But if Tuberville is right, that was only a temporary measure, and college sports still could be overhauled in the coming years. So maybe one day Kansas and Missouri will become Mountain West Conference members after all.

Dragged kicking and screaming, of course.

■ UNFRIENDLY TIGER – Hank Haney, who recently resigned as Tiger Woods’ coach, gave a lengthy interview to Golf Digest about working for the world’s most famous player.

Haney was careful to make clear his respect of Woods. But it also was clear their relationship was almost strictly professional.

Woods often failed to return Haney’s text messages and e-mails, and they didn’t speak about Tiger’s private life once the player’s infidelities became public. Haney also said he didn’t know about Woods’ lifestyle beforehand.

Perhaps the most telling point of the interview came when Golf Digest asked Haney: “It’s been said that Tiger views any association with him as helping that person out. Do you go along with that?”

Haney’s response: “You said it, I didn’t.”

Actually, that said plenty.


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