Shanoff’s Wake-Up Call: Phils, JoePa, W'brook

Today’s Calls: Phillies vs. History, Penn State vs. BCS, Mike Singletary vs. Patti LaBelle, Brian Westbrook vs. Joe Flacco, MLB TV Ratings vs. Guitar Hero TV ads and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: It is Pennsylvania’s world, the rest of us are just living in it. ↵

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↵— The Phillies are one win from bringing a world championship to Philadelphia. (Lock up your storefronts tonight.) ↵

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↵— Unbeaten Penn State, with that primetime win at Ohio State, has put itself at the center of this year’s BCS mess. ↵

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↵— The Eagles’ Brian Westbrook was the NFL’s Player of the Week, reasserting himself (and his team) as a force in the NFC. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, the Steelers were involved in the game of the day, if on its losing side.) ↵

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↵— On top of all that, next week’s Presidential election looks like it may hinge on the state. (At least what one side is banking on.) ↵

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↵The Keystone State is the key to understanding today’s top stories. ↵

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↵World Series: Phillies take control. There was a quick way to end all this early Series talk about the Phillies’ inability to hit with runners in scoring position: Home runs. ↵

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↵The break-it-open HR by Ryan Howard in the 4th. The this-is-SO-our-game HR by SP Joe Blanton in the 5th. Then, the slam-the-door pair of HRs in the 8th by Jayson Werth and, again, by Howard. ↵

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↵Rather than “Rays in 5” (as I predicted), it looks like “Phils in 5,” thanks to the power they displayed all season long leading the N.L. in home runs (No. 2 in MLB). Apparently, I should not have discounted that stat. ↵

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↵Game 5 Tonight: Phillies ready to close out? They couldn’t have a better scenario — playing at home, coming off a huge Game 4 win, with Cole “new Beckett” Hamels (unbeaten in the postseason) on the mound. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, Patti LaBelle’s National Anthem last night was so bad, it will likely earn her no small amount of YouTube fame. “Enhancing” the melody is bad enough; blowing the lyrics is worse. ↵

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↵CFB Weekend Rewind: I don’t buy Penn State. At least, not more than the best of the Big 12 and SEC — even if Penn State runs the table. And, yes, even if both the Big 12 and SEC champs have one loss. PSU simply isn’t better, and even a win at Columbus put that on display. ↵

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↵(There is a reason that an unbeaten Penn State continues to rank behind the unbeaten leaders of the Big 12 and SEC; PSU is not as good. Are we really going to reward Penn State for its meager schedule?) ↵

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↵My BlogPoll Ballot Top 10: (1) Texas; (2) Alabama; (3) Texas Tech; (4) Penn St; (5) Oklahoma State; (6) Georgia; (7) Florida; (8) Oklahoma; (9) USC; (10) Utah. ↵

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↵Looking ahead to next week: For the fourth straight week, Texas is in the Game of the Week — at Texas Tech, perhaps its toughest game yet. ... Meanwhile, Florida and Georgia play in the closest thing you’ll see to a playoff: Loser is done; winner fast-tracked in the SEC. ↵

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↵NFL Moment of the Week: Mike Singletary’s crazy-eyes debut. It’s rare to see a losing team — a bad losing team, losing to another bad team — leading the Monday NFL headlines. ↵

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↵But that’s what a good coaching rant will do. ↵

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↵Yes, Mike Singletary was a loser, but he undoubtedly gained more than his fair share of fans — or gawking YouTube views — for his sideline shellacking of Vernon Davis (and post-game ranting). ↵

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↵Singletary's money quote: “I would rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we got to do something else ... ↵“Rather than play with 11 when I know that right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team... ↵

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↵“Cannot play with them. Cannot win with them. Cannot coach with them. Can’t do it. I want winners.” ↵

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↵NFL Weekly Rewind: Eli or Ben? Hmm: Maybe the Steelers should have focused on drafting a backup long-snapper. ... Anyone feel better about the Cowboys? Anyone? ... Saints momentum: Isn’t London where the Giants started their run? ... Rookie of the Week: Joe Flacco. ... Fantasy Studs: Brian Westbrook (RB); Matt Schaub (QB); Ted Ginn Jr. (WR). ↵

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↵Replay Issues? Replay is a privilege, not a right. But an utterly wrong, game-impacting call shouldn’t stand, just because a coach doesn’t save a timeout on the off-chance he’ll need it for a replay challenge. (The NFL should create an “Official’s Prerogative” that lets refs check particularly sketchy calls at their discretion.) ↵

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↵NFL PED Scandal: Why doesn’t the NFL get crushed for PED problems in the same way MLB does? It’s the worst double-standard in major pro sports. (Related: Deuce McAllister denies doing anything wrong.) ↵

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↵Deanna Favre, Blogger: The only person with perhaps even less credibility than Brett Favre when talking about Brett Favre is his wife. Call me when she blogs something besides lame PR spin. ↵

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↵MNF: What a fortuitous stage for the unbeaten Titans, who can put the signature on their surprising, scintillating first half of the season by beating a division rival (and ex-champ). ↵

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↵More CFB — BCS-Busters Watch: Tulsa rolls (again). If the BCS wants the most telegenic team to crash the party, they would be better off with pinball Tulsa than Utah or Boise State. ↵

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↵CFB Must-Read: Spencer Hall’s A-to-Z analysis. ↵

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↵NASCAR: Edwards wins, Johnson runner-up. Is this how it’s going to be from here to the finish — Jimmie Johnson not winning individual races, but doing just enough to win the Chase? How thrilling. ↵

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↵NBA: New team in Seattle? Already? That was fast. And if the team is in place by 2010, they won’t even be that far behind the Thunder. (Question: Will they create a new team or will they relocate an existing one? If so, which fan base gets screwed in the process?) ↵

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↵CBB Season Preview: Arizona State may be overrated at No. 15, but they have the nation’s best shooting guard in James Harden. (Meanwhile, did you miss this weekend which team SN had at No. 16? Not bad for a squad with no post presence.) ↵

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↵Media: If FOX and MLB wanted people to actually, y’know, watch the World Series, they would have been better off postponing Saturday’s rain-delayed Game 3 to Sunday. With the latest start time in World Series history, the game generated the lowest TV rating in World Series history. ↵

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↵It’s tough enough with small-market, no-tradition Tampa in the Series, then going head-to-head with a close Penn State-Ohio State game. Why not give the Series a chance? It’s particularly a shame because the ending was one of the most exciting and bizarre you’ll ever see in a World Series game. ↵

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↵The Last Word: The best ads with athletes in them either glorify them in a breathtaking way (ie, LT/Polamalu) or humanize them. ↵That’s why the new Guitar Hero ad — featuring Kobe, A-Rod, Phelps and Hawk performing the “Risky Business” lip-synch — is so fantastic. ↵

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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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