Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Titans, Texas, TX Tech

Today's Calls: Texas vs. Titans, Texas Tech vs. Penn State, Alabama vs. Florida, Adam V. vs. the Pats, Carl Edwards vs. Jimmie Johnson, CP3 vs. the rest of the NBA, Redskins Rule vs. Bengals Rule and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Perfection ain't easy. ↵

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↵Just ask Texas, who went from consensus No. 1 BCS contender rolling through a gauntlet ... to also-ran in their own conference division. ↵

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↵Or just ask the Titans, who remained the NFL's only unbeaten team by out-grinding the Packers in OT. ↵

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↵It's an illustration of the difference between perfection in college football versus perfection in the pros. ↵

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↵Tennessee's perfect 8-0 record is ultimately meaningless. They could go 4-4 to finish the season and still make the playoffs. ↵

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↵Texas shows the gloriously brutal efficiency of college football's system: In many cases, one loss all but ends a team’s title hopes. ↵

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↵Just something for Texas Tech to think about. (Not to put a damper on this CFB season's most thrilling game and TT's greatest win ever.) ↵

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↵CFB Weekend Wrap: Alabama and Penn State should think about it, too. No. 1 and No. 3 in the BCS aren't exactly on solid ground: ↵

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↵— Bama has its toughest game of the season next week — at a damaged but dangerous LSU. And an SEC title game vs. Florida suddenly seems scary. ↵

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↵— Penn State has, by far, the easiest route to an unbeaten season and a BCS title-game appearance; but do they really want to be 2006 Ohio State 2.0? ↵

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↵Here's what we know: No more than eight teams have a shot at the BCS title game: Texas Tech, Bama, Penn State, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and USC. Only two currently control their own destinies. ↵

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↵Looking ahead to next week: Texas Tech is tested quickly, with a make-or-break game vs. OK State (and, after that, Oklahoma); plus, a "BCS-Buster Bowl": Utah-TCU on Thursday. ↵

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↵NFL Weekend Wrap: The Titans may be undefeated, but the Giants are the best team in the NFL (taking into account that the Cowboys team they beat is, in a word, terrible). ↵

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↵— Sunday Night: The Colts are back. Peyton is back. Bob Sanders is back. (Adam Vinatieri. sort of never left). ↵

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↵— Fins: NFL Surprise of the Year. I know Jeff Fisher is the leading contender for Coach of the Year, but how about some love for Miami's Tony Sparano? ... (Speaking of surprises, who would have guessed that, top to bottom, the East would be the AFC's most competitive division?) ↵

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↵— Milestones: Favre, of course. I hope they put "300 INTs, too" on Brett Favre's Hall of Fame plaque. ↵

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↵— Injury Watch: Kyle Orton (Welcome back, Rex Grossman!) and Matt Schaub. ↵

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↵— Rumor-starting: Michael Vick to the Raiders? (Does Oakland ever need him: 77 yards of total offense?) ↵

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↵Monday Night Football: Redskins playing in D.C. the night before a Presidential election? Sounds like a moment to overexpose the "Redskins Rule": In the past 17 elections, when the Skins have won their last home game before a Presidential election, the party that won the popular vote in the previous election won the current election. (h/t: Elias) ↵

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↵So if the Skins win, that's good for McCain; if the Steelers win, that's good for Obama. (For the record, the Redskins are favored.) ↵

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↵Hmmm: How about the "Bengals Rule?" ↵

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↵In nine of the last 10 elections, when the Bengals win their last game before the election, the Democratic party wins the election. Makes the Bengals' lone win in '08 yesterday all the more fortuitous. (h/t STATS) ↵

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↵NASCAR: Can No. 99 save the Chase? The worst possible outcome for NASCAR is that Jimmie Johnson backs his way into a Chase championship without any drama over the last few races. ↵

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↵That's why Carl Edwards' win (and JJ's 15th-place finish) yesterday was so important; it puts just enough pressure on JJ to make the last two Chase races interesting. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: As it turns out, the Knicks, in fact, do still stink. They simply score more points while doing it (um, or not: 86 points, even against the stingy Skiles-led Bucks, seems low). ↵

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↵Meanwhile, there's a lot to like about OKC's Durant-Westbrook backcourt; 13/34 FG shooting isn't one of them. But they helped OKC earn its first-ever win last night, vs. the T-wolves.) ↵

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↵Fantasy Stud: Al Jefferson. 24p and 13r last night (on 11/17 FG); he is averaging 19.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in three games this season. ↵

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↵What you missed this weekend: Chris Paul is still the top contender for league MVP. Call him the "After-3-Games MVP." ↵

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↵CBK SN Top 40 Countdown: No. 8 UCLA. They ARE missing Kevin Love, my national POY last year, but after three straight Final Fours, I'm not going to pick against them to miss another, are you? ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: I'm a Richard Justice fan (I grew up on him), but when you read his column on why not to sign Manny Ramirez, it actually makes a way better case FOR signing him than against it. ↵

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↵(Yeah, the Red Sox sure do regret having had Manny's mercurial attitude all those years; think of how many more championships than the measly two they got with him they could have had WITHOUT him.) ↵

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

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↵The Last Word: "It takes more than one player to bring home a championship." ↵

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↵— Jimmy Rollins, at the Phillies' victory rally Friday, talking about the Mets signing Johan Santana last winter. Philly: Classy in victory! ↵

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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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