Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Romo, Titans, JJ

Today's Calls: Romo vs. Rodgers, McNabb vs. OT, Warner vs. Haynesworth, Jimmie vs. Cale, Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma, Sabathia vs. Big Unit, Dirk vs. Amare, UNC vs. Duke and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Mediocrity rules in the NFL! ↵

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↵*Tony Romo squeezed five fingers' worth of production out of four for 14 points of offense to go with 2 INTs, but a Cowboys win in D.C. somehow signals that the "'BOYS ARE BACK!!!" (Hardly, but really, what does last night's loss say about the Redskins?) ↵

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↵*The Packers clobbered the division-"leading" Bears, so now there's a logjam of so-so 5-5 teams at the top of the NFC North, where the division champ might not crack 10 wins. ↵

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↵*Hey, the league's first 11-10 result ever! Thrilling! (Pay no attention to yet another officiating blunder, which led to that history-making final score.) ↵

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↵*The "hottest" team in the league, the Dolphins, eked out a win over the hapless Raiders. ↵

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↵*And don't forget the league's first tie since 2002, featuring a wannabe contender from Philly unable to take out one of the league's worst teams (and, if you thought it couldn't get any more pathetic than that, a future Hall of Famer not knowing that NFL games can end in a tie). ↵

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↵It's as if the high-level play of the Titans and Giants has to be counter-balanced. ↵

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↵NFL Week 11 Notes: It's not all bad. Thank goodness for the Titans, who have exemplified excellence this season. Think the '72 Dolphins are getting nervous yet? ↵

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↵For lots of reasons -- maybe it's the close games and low scores -- this Titans team doesn't seem to be getting the respect it deserves as a rare 10-0 team. What a fascinating and likeable team. ... ↵

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↵*Meanwhile, the NFL MVP debate this season is one of the most interesting in years: Kurt Warner or Albert Haynesworth? Both had huge games yesterday typical of their 2008 seasons ... ↵

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↵*Who's No. 1? The Giants are still the best team in the league: The league's best running team punished the league's best run D. ... ↵

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↵*Fantasy Watch: DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are the new LenDale White and Chris Johnson. Meanwhile, good luck picking up Shaun Hill this morning off your waiver wire; the bet is that he's already gone... ↵

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↵*Rookie of the Week: Steve Slaton (14 carries, league-leading 156 yards, 1 TD), despite a loss to the hot Colts and hotter Peyton Manning. ... ↵

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↵*Looking ahead to Week 12: Is it possible that the Dolphins and Pats will play next week in Miami with an AFC playoff spot ultimately on the line? ↵

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↵NASCAR: Congrats to Jimmie Johnson on a third straight Chase title. The final race was more anti-climax than clutch, but it doesn't take away from Johnson's history-making accomplishment. And it sets up a heck of a story line for next season: The unprecedented "Four on the Floor." (TM: Me) ↵

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↵CFB Weekend Wrap: The Top 9 of the BCS is the same as last week, so what, if anything, did we learn this weekend? We learned that, as of today, Florida is playing better than anyone else in the country. We learned that the BCS computers, rightfully, still love Texas. And we learned that if no one in the ACC wants the league's automatic BCS bowl bid, I can think of 3 or 4 Big 12 runners-up that would gladly have it. ↵

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↵Looking ahead to next week: Texas Tech at Oklahoma, in the latest in the ongoing series, "Big 12 Game of the Year as National Game of the Year," which will effectively decide one-half of the national-title game pairing. (Also: Ball State vs. Central Michigan. Yes, really.) ↵

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↵Coaching Carousel: In a move that should surprise no one, Syracuse fired epically unsuccessful coach Greg Robinson. Who's next? Some might say UConn's Randy Edsall, but moving from Conn to 'Cuse is a step back. I'm predicting it will be Florida offensive line coach Steve Addazio. ↵

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↵Milestones: Kudos to Vanderbilt, bowl-eligible for the first time since 1982. ... and a Nelson Muntz-style "HA!-ha" to Michigan, earning its first 8-loss season in the century-plus-old history of the school. RichRod sure has made his mark. ↵

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↵CFB Must-Read: Spencer Hall's Alphabetical. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: What recession? That was my first reaction to hearing about the Yankees' reported 6Y/$140M offer to CC Sabathia. Really? That much ... for a pitcher? I was as big of a CC fan as anyone last year, but only after he moved to the NL. His AL record last season? Not so much. Certainly not as much as the Yankees think $140M will buy them. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, are the Cubs really looking at Randy Johnson? (Hey, while they're at it, why not bring back Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer and try to relive the late-80s?) ↵

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↵MLB Non-Story of the Weekend: Ooh! Manny was "going to be" suspended by the Red Sox! They didn't actually suspend him, of course, even though they could have done it before. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Something apparently snapped in Dirk. Maybe it was the Mavs' 2-7 start to the season, but he went off for 39 points and 15 rebounds in a Dallas win over the Knicks (Josh Howard: 31 and 14). ... The Denver Billups keep rolling (CB: 26 pts, 5 ast) in the Nuggets' fifth win in six games with him. ... Sunday Stud: Amare (29 and 11, leading a mostly Shaq-less Suns past the hot Pistons). ↵

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↵CBB Opening Weekend: UNC did just fine without Tyler Hansbrough, but the calendar says "November" not "March". ... Meanwhile, Duke barely escaped vs. Rhode Island (watch out for URI sharpshooter Jimmy Baron). ... Stephen Curry did nothing to show he isn't the best player in college hoops (complete with 10 assists and 9 steals). ... Durant-Beasley Honorary Freshman of the Weekend: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest (Runner-up: Indiana, all of 'em, for ensuring that Tom Crean gets at least one win this season). ... ↵

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↵MMA: Brock Lesnar winning the UFC heavyweight title is the best thing ever to happen to MMA, at the right moment. Just as MMA feels like it's slipping into poker-like fad-dom, along comes a charismatic athlete with entertainment bona fides, who will promote the sport to a new level. ↵

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↵The Last Word: President-elect Barack Obama doubled-down on his college football playoff boosting last night on "60 Minutes," and I think it's all the more awesome that he's thought enough about it to make it his signature sports issue. And yet: What, exactly, can he do about it? ↵ ↵

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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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