Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Sooners, Phils, Rays

Today's Calls: Oklahoma vs. Texas, Tim Tebow vs. LSU, Pat Burrell vs. Cole Hamels, Rays vs. Red Sox, Pats vs. Chargers, Derrick Rose vs. Michael Beasley, Carl Edwards vs. Kevin Harvick and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: It's a great weekend for rivalries. ↵

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↵The latest (perhaps wildest): Rays-Red Sox.
↵Carl Edwards vs. Kevin Harvick: Fight!
↵Shaq vs. A.I. (on an outdoor court, no less).
↵Even Pats-Chargers (if L.T. can step up). ↵

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↵But the most important rivalry game of the year will be tomorrow in Dallas, when Oklahoma plays Texas to see which team will be No. 1. ↵

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↵Not just No. 1 in next week's Top 25 polls, but likely No. 1 in the first BCS ranking that comes out on Oct. 19. ↵

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↵Plus, even more acutely, they play for No. 1 in the Big 12, which has emerged as the toughest conference in college football. ↵

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↵The champion of the Big 12 should be playing for the BCS national championship. That distinction runs directly through Dallas tomorrow. ↵

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↵There will not be a game between two more talented teams in the regular season -- not LSU-Florida Saturday night, not Texas-Missouri next week. Only the Big 12 or SEC title games might compare. ↵

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↵The Sooners and Longhorns hate each other, sure. But this time, it matters, perhaps more than ever. ↵

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↵NLCS: For each of Pat Burrell's four postseason HR -- including yesterday's go-ahead, game-winning version -- you have to wonder if he runs the bases thinking about his pending free agency in a few weeks. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, it was a lesson for the Dodgers: The Phils won't just roll over like the Cubs. In fact, their bats turn a game around quickly. (And what happened to the Dodgers' Cubs-bashing offense? Cole Hamels: 7 IP, 8 K. High K-rate pitching wins championships.) ↵

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↵ALCS: Let's review -- if you want more of the same, root for the Red Sox; if you want glorious change, root for the Rays. Simple choice. ↵

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↵NFL Weekend Preview: Can the Pats make it 2-for-2 on the West Coast? (Game of the Week) ... Next-best GOTW: Jags at Broncos. ... With the Fins favored on the road in Houston, it's a good thing Texans have Texas-Oklahoma. ... After the past 2 weeks on a brutal road, the Redskins hosting the woeful Rams should seem like vacation. ... With the way the Giants, Skins and Cowboys are playing, the Eagles can't afford NOT to win in San Francisco. ... Roger Goodell says the NFL isn't recession-proof: I don't buy that, even in the midst of the current crisis. ↵

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↵The Cowboys won't punish Pac-Man: Proving that the entire thing about caring whether or not he is a rule-following good guy is bogus. (Latest: Cowboys are "concerned." Yeah, sure.) ↵

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↵NFL Week 6 Picks: IND, MIN, NO, NYJ, CHI, CAR, WAS, MIA, DEN, PHI, GB, DAL, SD, NYG. ↵

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↵More CFB: Wake Forest continues to dominate the ACC, all the more remarkable for doing it with a score like 12-7, over preseason favorite Clemson. The ACC is like the Bizarro Big 12. (Don't you feel like a chump for EVER buying Clemson as a national contender?) ↵

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↵Best. Preseason NBA Game. Ever.: Outdoors, Saturday night at Indian Wells. It's going to look amazing on TV and be an unusual preseason blast for the players from the Suns and Nuggets. Can you ask for two players better for this showcase than Nash and Iverson? ↵

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↵NBA Preseason: Derrick Rose had 10 pts (4/9 FG) and more turnovers (6) than assists (5) in his preseason debut. ... More Rookies: How about 2nd-rounder Chris Douglas-Roberts (18 pts, 6 reb) playing even with top-dog Michael Beasley (21 and 8)? ... Rookie of the Night: Mike Taylor, the NBA's first D-Leaguer-to-draftee. ... Artest Watch: Game-high 18 in Rockets 'W' over Spurs. ... ↵

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↵NASCAR: Catfight between Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick? Edwards won't talk about it, which itself might confirm rumors he was on the wrong end of the scuffle. (Hint: Don't invade the other guy's garage.) ↵

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↵Bonds Watch: Are Bonds' lawyers really using the "It depends what the meaning of 'is' is?" defense about the word "steroids?" If nothing else, it is impressive in its chutzpah. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Carlos Beltran for Robinson Cano in a Subway Rivals blockbuster? (Even if it's complete bunk, it's a ton of fun.) ↵

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↵Are the Padres for sale, due to the John Moores' divorce? If the team doesn't want to talk about it, it's probably true. ↵

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↵CBB: SN's Countdown continues. Up next: No. 32 Saint Joseph's, one spot ahead of Georgetown. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Finally, some good news for Syracuse football fans. Ernie Davis is one of the greatest (and most important) players in college football history -- and his story is about to go mainstream with the release of The Express today in movie theaters. ↵

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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. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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