Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Raining on the World Series, Titans Stay Unbeaten, NBA Tips Off

Today's Calls: Bud Selig vs. Rain, Titans vs. Everyone, Celtics vs. Lakers, Rockets vs. Magic, Ty Willingham vs. Lane Kiffin and More! ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: If nothing else, this World Series just became unique to baseball history: "Remember the Rain Game?" ↵

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↵MLB had its first-ever rain-halted World Series game. The game will ↵resume today -- if weather permits. It will resume ... eventually. ↵

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↵And that's kind of the controversy. ↵

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↵Bud Selig said he would never have let the World Series end on a rain-shortened result. Even though that's what the rules say to happen. ↵

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↵(Can you imagine the insanity if the Phillies were leading after five and the umps called the game over, giving the Series to Philly?) ↵

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↵Funny thing is: Beyond the GMs, Selig neglected to tell the two teams that would happen. So they were playing as if this was it. ↵

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↵(Can you imagine the insanity if Philly fans began to celebrate a championship, not knowing that the game's result didn't count yet?) ↵

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↵That made the 6th all the more dramatic: Not by the Rays' tying run, but by Selig's unprecedented bending of the sport's rules mid-game. ↵

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↵(Can you imagine if the Rays use that rally to win Game 5, then take the Series when it goes back to Florida?) ↵

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↵The "Rain Game" will become even more legendary than it is today. ↵

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↵Titans beat Colts, still unbeaten: Tennessee is winning with such a simple strategy -- great D, limited turnovers, punishing running. ↵

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↵The Titans' D intercepted Peyton twice and stopped the Colts on 4th-and-short a couple of times; the offense committed no turnovers of its own. ↵

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↵The running game didn't crack 90 combined yards, but there were LenDale White and Chris Johnson combining for 3 TDs, 2 by White. ↵

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↵(Fantasy Watch: White had only 13 yards on 10 carries, but still made his fantasy GMs ecstatic with those 2 TDs. He leads the NFL with 10.) ↵

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↵So if the NFL is the ultimate "me, too" league, are we now going to see a bunch of copycats going with the "snooze" style to win games? ↵

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↵NBA season opens tonight, and there is a doozy of a double-header: LeBron vs. the defending champs, followed by the NBA debut of Greg Oden vs. the Lakers, the standard-bearers in the West. It is fortuitous that the Celtics and Lakers both open tonight. ↵

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↵NBA Season Preview: The Celtics and Lakers feel like everyone's pick to play for the NBA title, with most thinking that with a healthy Andrew Bynum, the Lakers will reverse last year's result for its own "Remember the '80s" title. The rivalry is great, but by now it is too predictable. ↵

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↵I'm not just being contrarian as I pick the Rockets to beat the Magic for the NBA title. (Hey: it's like "Remember the '90s!") ↵

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↵The new "Big 3" is Yao, T-Mac and Ron Artest, who won't win MVP (that will be Chris Paul), but certainly will qualify by being the piece that earns Houston the title in the West. And I love analytics-driven Rockets GM Daryl Morey -- numbers win championships! ↵

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↵In the East, the aging Celtics can't possibly play with the same sense of mission as a year ago. Orlando has a "Big-ish 4": The East's best post player (Dwight Howard); its best sidekick (Rashard Lewis); its best 6th man (Hedo Turkoglu); and, now, its top perimeter defender (Mickael Pietrus). ↵

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↵Penn State BCS Debate, Cont'd: While an unbeaten Penn State is a great story, nothing would undermine the BCS more than pollsters picking Penn State over equally worthy BCS contenders from the Big 12 and SEC, simply because voters feel nostalgic about JoePa. ↵

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↵This campaign -- which no self-respecting Penn State fan has asked for, I should add -- is the crux of my problem with Penn State. It simply seems to be a media concoction. And while it is a lovely sentiment, it is a truly terrible reason to pick a team to play for the national title. ↵

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↵Willingham out at Washington: At the end of the season, making this a very awkward lame-duck situation. Here's how to salvage it: ↵

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↵Hire Lane Kiffin today as "interim recruiting coordinator," and let him devote all of his time now to recruiting. ↵

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↵The minute U-Dub's season is over, elevate Kiffin to head coach. (It's not as if "interim recruiting coordinator" will be fooling anyone.) ↵

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↵Enjoy a good CFB coaching rumor? 3rd Saturday in Blogtober is saying they are hearing Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer won't be retained at the end of the season. ↵

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↵(Hmm: Go for the low-hanging fruit of ex-Vols assistant David Cutcliffe -- who turned around Duke in less than a year -- or go for the gusto by going after Tennessee native Steve Spurrier? Too early? Never!) ↵

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↵Greatest. Booster. Ever.: T. Boone Pickens gave another $63 million to Oklahoma State. Hey: What recession? ↵

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↵Lawyer named Indiana's new AD: Welcome to the job! Your legendary basketball team is in shambles, and the NCAA is just about ready to crush the program for the next, oh, decade or so. ↵

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↵Tracking Mike Singletary: For starters, don't expect next week's postgame press conference to be like this past week's. Speaking of starters, he has benched J.T. O'Sullivan for Shaun Hill. Solves nothing. ↵

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↵NFL Non-Scandal: Did Eli tip off the Steelers on Brandon Jacobs' ill-fated goal-line plunge in the 2nd quarter? Wait: Who didn't know that play was coming? ↵

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↵(And the Giants ended up winning anyway. Meanwhile, the replay system blew that one, anway; Jacobs crossed the plane before being pushed backward.) ↵

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↵AWK-waaard Moment of the Day: Oh, this will go over great when Larry Johnson meets Roger Goodell today. ↵

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↵SN CBB Preview: No. 14 ... Miami?! (Meanwhile in the ACC, it shouldn't surprise you that the preseason pick to win the league is UNC.) ↵

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↵Replay Watch: Hey, a key call in the World Series was blown by an ump! But, no, let's not let GETTING THE CALLS RIGHT get in the way of the game's "integrity" when evaluating whether to expand instant replay in MLB beyond "fair-or-foul" HR calls. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I'm not going to let a World Series end like this." ↵

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↵While I appreciate what Bud Selig was trying to do, here's hoping MLB officially annotates the rulebook to make it official that World Series games can't end before nine innings have been played. ↵

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↵Fans rightfully should get nervous when any Commissioner -- certainly this one -- makes rule-breaking policy on the fly. ↵

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↵"I'm not going to let a World Series end like this." Fair enough, Bud. Just get it into the rulebook. ↵

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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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