Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: TX Tech, NFL Week 12

Today's Calls: Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma, Utah vs. BYU, Eli Manning vs. Kurt Warner, Pats vs. Fins, Texas Tech vs. Sportsmanship, CC Sabathia vs. Hank Steinbrenner and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: You want a college football playoff? This is about as close as you're going to get to one. Sort of, in that "sort of" cluster-frack that only college football can provide: ↵

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↵Texas Tech plays Oklahoma, with the winner in a control-their-own-destiny position for the national-title game. ↵

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↵If Texas Tech wins at Oklahoma, the path to an unbeaten season and a spot in the national-title game is all but assured. (Of course, they could always lose to Baylor and/or Mizzou in the Big 12 title game. But let's not go there.) ↵

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↵If Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, the Big 12 is a complete mess, but some observers think that OU would leapfrog Tech and even Texas in the BCS rankings to control its own destiny. (This, despite the fact that Texas beat Oklahoma head-to-head.) ↵

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↵Another week, another "Game of the Year" coming out of the Big 12. ↵

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↵As always, call it "playoff-ish." Wanna bet the President-elect will be watching? ↵

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↵CFB Weekend Preview: Utah-BYU is a BCS play-in game. If Utah wins, they virtually assure themselves not just a BCS-qualifying Top 12 ranking, but a ranking ahead of Boise State. (There will only be one at-large bid given to a non-BCS team, no matter how many non-BCS teams finish in the Top 12.) I'd love to see Utah matched up with USC, given that the Utes' schedule has been tougher than the Trojans' (not to mention more successfully traversed). ↵

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↵Yikes, has Michigan-Ohio State ever been less compelling? I don't think so, unless you're an OSU fan hoping to pin a humiliating 9th loss in a season on your biggest rival; if Michigan can somehow pull an upset, it would make up for the rest of the sorry season ... and then some. Which is saying something. ↵

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↵More Rivalries: Can't ignore Harvard-Yale, perhaps the most classic of any CFB rivalry. (In fact, there's a new documentary out now about the famous 1968 tie game between them, called, appropriately "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29," the banner headline on the Harvard student newspaper after the game.) ↵

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↵CFB Last Night: Georgia Tech ran for 472 yards on Miami, and the Canes were obviously not ready for the prime-time of the Top 25. Yet another topsy-turvy result in the ACC Coastal: GT is in first -- for now -- but lose a lot of tie-breakers with other contenders. ↵

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↵NFL Weekend Storylines: ↵(1) Game of the Week: Giants-Cards. The defending champs against the league's surprising leading MVP candidate. That both are playoff locks doesn't make this any less compelling; is this a possible playoff preview? ↵

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↵(2) Grudge Match: Pats-Dolphins. The Fins beat the Pats in Foxboro, first unveiling their now-staple "Wildcat" formations. They have also ridden the mo from that win to playoff contention. It's the biggest game for Miami in Miami in years. ↵

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↵(3) Titans' Unbeaten Season Watch: So, in the preseason, who had the 10-0 Titans playing the 7-3 Jets in Week 12? Albert Haynesworth vs. Brett Favre is a compelling matchup to watch. ↵

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↵(4) What GM will lose it this weekend via email? Actually, Phil Savage's BlackBerry thumb is less important than Brady Quinn's index finger. (But it's a good cautionary tale for any GM this weekend: Don't email when you're emotional!) ↵

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↵(5) "All it was was dogs." Oh, won't you just shut up, Joey Porter? ↵

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↵Steelers stifle Bengals: Flaccid Cincinnati couldn't put an offense together against the NFL's top-rated D? Shocking. (And I don't think that Chad Johnson would have helped -- but he makes a nifty scapegoat!) ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Lakers keep steamrolling the West, bouncing the rival Suns in Phoenix behind Kobe's 24 (and 5 other Lakers in double-figures. Meanwhile, Chauncey Billups beat the Celtics in Boston last week; last night, his old teammates in Detroit couldn't match. Billups trade-bait AI had 16 points and 4 assists, but Rajon Rondo out-dueled him with 18 and 8. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Don't wait too long, CC. The new Boss -- it's official now -- sort of insists. (Meanwhile, champ's curse? Chase Utley out until mid-spring?) ↵

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↵CBB Weekend Preview: Pat Knight's Texas Tech scored 167 points last night, in a 52-point win over a team called "East Central," which presumably was not a high school. For the record: Tech took 113 shots (making 59 pct). ↵

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↵Now, I could make a joke about how Mike Leach probably laughed when he heard about the score, but Leach's big numbers come in the flow of his basic offense; you have to question the sportsmanship of Knight that he allowed this to happen. I mean: TT scored 90 in the second half. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, I doubt the distraction of the circus in Lubbock will keep folks from noticing that No. 4 UCLA was upset by Michigan last night in New York. It is, by far, the biggest win of John Beilein's career at UM; it was UM's first win over a Top 5 team since 1997. (More upsets: Seton Hall over USC.) ↵

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↵(More upsets: Seton Hall over USC.) ↵

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↵Must-See YouTube Clip: Carl Joseph, perhaps the greatest one-legged athlete in sports history. After decades of not having the rights to his own clips, Joseph re-acquired them and put them on YouTube, where -- as of yesterday -- they became a sensation. Totally worth a look. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "If this is one of those years where we don't make the playoffs or we finish in last place ... that's what happened to San Antonio and that's how they got Tim Duncan and look at them now ... and that's for the better." (Gilbert Arenas) ↵ ↵

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↵As a Wizards fan and someone who deeply believes in NBA tanking for a future cause when the current season is lost (you feel me, Cavs fans?), I'm open to Agent Zero's thinking -- except that there isn't a Tim Duncan or LeBron (or even Derrick Rose) in next year's draft. ↵ ↵

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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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