Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: BCS, Parker, Manny

Today's Calls: Barack Obama vs. the BCS, Ball St vs. TCU/Utah, Tony Parker vs. Amare Stoudemire, Manny vs. Peavy, Tony Romo vs. Big Ben, Big Daddy Drew vs. Buzz Bissinger and More ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: President Obama is already driving the national policy agenda. ↵

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↵His pre-election appeal on Monday for a college football playoff has given the issue new zeal. ↵

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↵Combine that with complaints this week from BCS-snubbed Pete Carroll and Bob Stoops, and it's a bona fide issue on the table. (I went on a local radio show last night and spent the bulk of the time talking about the BCS vs. a playoff — and it's early November!) ↵

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↵But if Obama wants the country to come together, creating a CFB playoff probably means ripping the country apart. ↵

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↵Given the Pac-10 and Big Ten's institutional resistance to a playoff (only your own league to blame, USC), there is only one solution: ↵

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↵The SEC and Big 12 should "secede" from the BCS and create their own playoff. Within a season or two, everyone else would be begging to join. (Initial exclusion of the ACC/Big East: Um, wouldn't you?) ↵

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↵If others don't follow, that's their loss, both in prestige and revenue. I defy any pollster to crown an unbeaten team that doesn't participate ahead of the champion of my playoff system. ↵

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↵I feel like T. Boone Pickens lobbying for his energy plan. (Hey, since my plan includes the Big 12, maybe TBP will fund promotion of my idea?) ↵

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↵More than anything, President-elect Obama is about practical, workable solutions to our thorniest problems. The Shanoff Playoff is a radical step, but it works. (Read more about it here.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile, the closest thing yet this season you'll get to a BCS playoff happens tonight, when TCU and Utah face each against other in the biggest game between two non-BCS teams this season: The winner puts itself in a position to earn a BCS bowl bid; the loser is out. ↵

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↵Speaking of the BCS, did you catch Ball State in a rout last night? They're still undefeated, but also still sitting behind Utah, TCU, Boise State and BYU for a spot in the BCS. ↵

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↵I'm all for Cinderella, but it would be a shame if Ball State made a BCS bowl simply for going unbeaten. As we have been talking about all season as it relates to Penn State and USC, WHO you play matters. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Dodgers want to keep Manny, badly. How badly? Badly enough to make him the second-highest paid player in baseball, somewhere between A-Rod's $27.5M/year and Johan's $22.9M. ↵

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↵That is hardly unreasonable, given: (1) Manny's production in L.A.; (2) the team made the playoffs once he got there; and (3) he is dynamic enough to give the team a personality. (Age? Bah!) ↵

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↵Now, "Manny being Manny" means the Dodgers have to wait for Ramirez to actually accept the offer — and that's no given. But the size of the offer makes it awfully hard to say no. ↵

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↵More Stove Talk: Are the Cubs the leaders for Jake Peavy AND ready to re-sign Ryan Dempster? ↵

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↵That might be enough to eclipse the news that the White Sox have invited Barack Obama to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day. Might. Speaking of the President-elect ... ↵

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↵Olympics: Baseball back in the Games merely because Barack Obama is President? That feels like a stretch of a connection. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Tony Parker is unstoppable.. The Spurs needed every one of TP's double-nickel (plus 10 ast and 7 reb) to hold off the T-wolves in 20Ts for their first win of the season. ↵

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↵That said: If it takes 55 from Parker every time the Spurs want to beat a lottery team, it will be a long season for the proud ex-champs. ↵

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↵Runner-up: Amare Stoudemire, with one of the sickest stat lines you'll see all year: 49 pts on 17/21 FG, plus 11 reb, 6 ast, 5 stl, 2 blk. ↵

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↵Garden Drama: They're not saying "Boo!" They're saying "Boo-rown!" Right? Right? Are you at all surprised Larry Brown was booed in his return to MSG? (And Brown lost there, too, which also shouldn't be a surprise.) ↵

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↵Was LeBron James inspired by Obama's victory? He says he was, though if he was really trying to create a tribute, wouldn't 44 points have been more appropriate than 41? ↵

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↵(Carmelo Anthony reportedly wanted to score 44 in Obama's honor, but probably should have been focusing on the Warriors: He ended up falling short on the scoreboard AND the box score.) ↵

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↵More: Battle of Unbeatens. Even without AI, the Pistons were good enough to beat the previously unbeaten Raptors (and stay unbeaten themselves). ... Speaking of unbeatens, the Hawks beat the Hornets (and perhaps last season wasn't an aberration for ATL). ... Also: Lakers and the Jazz roll on. ↵

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↵NFL: The brief DeAngelo Hall Era of the Oakland Raiders, completed yesterday, will go down as one of the worst in franchise history. And that's saying something. ↵

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↵State of the Injured QBs: Tony Romo is practicing. ... Big Ben is questionable for Sunday. ... Kyle Orton WANTS to play. ... And, because he isn't injured, it looks like Daunte Culpepper WILL play a mere five days after being signed by Detroit. ↵

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↵Should the NFL revert back to six divisions? Mike Florio is on to something here, I think. ↵

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↵CBB Countdown: No. 5 Michigan State. ↵

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↵More intriguingly, Florida starting PG Jai Lucas is transferring, not for playing time but for playing out of position. The Gators’ offense runs through versatile Nick Calathes, making traditional point guards more three-point specialists. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Big Daddy Drew vs. Buzz Bissinger? It's a throw-down tonight between "new" media and "old" media flag-carriers. ↵

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↵If you live in New York, be sure to check out the Varsity Letters Reading Series tonight, featuring the sports blogger and the Pulitzer Prize winner (who, despite appearances, are chummy). ↵

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↵Dan Steinberg, the gold standard among newspaper sports bloggers, is the opening act. Should be a big, fun, rowdy event. ↵

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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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