Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Texas BCS Beat-Down

Today's Calls: Texas vs. Oklahoma, Alabama vs. Florida, Boise State vs. the BCS, Plaxico Burress vs. the Giants, Matt Cassel vs. the Steelers D, DeAngelo Williams vs. Peyton Hillis, Joe Flacco vs. Matt Ryan, Derrick Rose vs. Devin Harris, Louisville vs. Gonzaga and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Texas got screwed. ↵

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↵Then again, if Oklahoma had been passed over for Texas in the BCS rankings for the Big 12 South title, you could make a very good argument the Sooners would have been screwed, too. ↵

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↵Such is the state of college football in the BCS Era, where even a conference championship can't go without controversy. ↵

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↵(Actually, don't blame the BCS directly: Blame the Big 12 for using the BCS as a nationalized tie-breaker for solving a local problem.) ↵

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↵Like the AP voters, I think Texas deserved the Big 12 South title ahead of Oklahoma. But all isn't lost for the Longhorns — yet. ↵

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↵We already presume the Alabama-Florida winner earns one spot in the BCS title game. The other will go to Oklahoma, if OU beats Missouri in the Big 12 title game. However: If the Sooners lose, expect the BCS system to reward Texas with its title shot. (Then USC fans can be the ones to gripe.) ↵

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↵And even if that doesn't work out for UT, the AP poll is always there to split the national title, giving its half to the Longhorns. It's been that kind of season. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, Texas fans looking to gripe can ask Auburn fans how they dealt with a far more egregious BCS screw-job back in 2004, when the Big 12 was more than happy to enjoy BCS benefits before being exposed as overrated.) ↵

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↵Looking Ahead: Alabama-Florida is the Game of the Year in college football. Ultra-rare is the game in the season finale in which the winner advances to the national-title game. It is almost — dare we whisper the word? — a playoff. (Meanwhile: Percy Harvin is "questionable" for the game.) ↵

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↵Speaking of screw-jobs, how about Boise State? An undefeated season and a Top 10 BCS ranking ... but no BCS bowl bid. Utah is ranked higher and will get the one "mandatory" non-BCS at-large bid. The others will likely go to the Bama-Florida loser, Texas and Ohio State. (How about Boise State-Texas Tech?) ↵

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↵Coaching Carousel: Lane Kiffin in at Tennessee. And he's reportedly bringing his dad, Monte, from his gig coaching the Bucs D. USC was a recruiting cake-walk; the school recruited itself. Things are a bit more competitive in the SEC. But Kiffin's USC rings (and Dad's NFL bonafides) should come in handy. ↵

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↵Meanwhile: Sylvester Croom is out at Mississippi State, and Randy Shannon is right about the state of minority coaching hires in college football being "sad." More: Dabo Swinney beating South Carolina likely sealed the deal on his transition from Clemson's "interim" head coach to full-time real-deal. ↵

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↵CFB Must-Read: As usual, Spencer Hall's Alphabetical analysis of the weekend in college football. ↵

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↵Plaxico Burress Scandal, Cont'd: You know it's a slow week in the NFL when Plaxico Burress' self-inflicted (but hardly intended) gunshot wound — and today, when he surrenders — is the lead story of the league. ↵

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↵Suffice to say, there are still more unknowns than knowns. (Just remember: The cover-up leaves you worse off than the original crime itself.) Most football fans are thinking: What will be the punishment that Roger Goodell hands down? Perhaps Plaxico should call Adam “Pacman” Jones for advice? ↵

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↵NFL Week 13 Wrap-Up: ↵

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↵— Obviously, the Burress situation didn't bother the Giants at all — Plaxico drama is nothing new to the team — and they walloped the Redskins, only reinforcing that the Giants are the best team in the NFL and it doesn't look like any other team is close. ↵

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↵— GOTW: Stifling Steelers D vs. Sizzling Matt Cassel. It was no contest. Cassel threw two INTs and had two fumbles, was sacked five times, threw 0 TDs and led the Pats to only 1-for-13 on third-down conversions. Rather than bury the Cassel hype, let's chalk it up to the NFL's best defense. The Pats are on the ropes. ↵

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↵— NFC North Playoff Watch: Vikes take the lead. It came after one of the most interesting sequences of the year: The Vikings stopped the Bears four times from Minnesota's 1, then turned around and produced a 99-yard TD pass. Seasons are made (Vikings) and broken (Bears) on moments like that. ↵

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↵— Quote: "We got our butts kicked, plain and simple." LaDainian Tomlinson, whose Chargers didn't just lose the game to the Falcons, but LT got out-played individually by former backup Michael Turner, who had 120 yards rushing (3.9 ypc) to Tomlinson's 24 (1.7 ypc). ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: DeAngelo Williams, who had four rushing TDs as the Panthers quietly put together a playoff season. ↵

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↵— Rookie Watch: Flacco Fever! Yes, yes ... Matt Ryan is leading the previously woeful Falcons to the playoffs, but the Ravens rookie QB threw for a career-best 280 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs (119.9 QB rating) in a blowout win at Cincy. (Of course, Matt Ryan had a Week 13-best 130.2 QB rating.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile, in this year of the spectacular rookie RB class, how about the Broncos' Peyton Hillis? He had 129 yards and a TD in the slop at the Meadowlands, where the Broncos went on the road to take down the Jets, who went into the game as the AFC's hottest team. Hillis played with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones at Arkansas; who would have guessed Hillis would be the most productive of the trio down the stretch in their NFL rookie year? ↵

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↵— NFL Coaching Carousel: Romeo Crennel won't get that "miracle" he needs to save his job. Hey, maybe both he and the soon-to-be-unemployed Charlie Weis can go back to their gigs as assistants on the Patriots. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Here come the Blazers. The NBA's most exciting young team has won four straight, and last night's win on the road over the Pistons is their best win of this breakthrough season. (Oden had 11 and 13, but the star was Aldridge with 27 pts on 11-for-19 FG.) Four more road games this week. ↵

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↵Fantasy Stud: Nets’ Devin Harris, who put up a career-high 47 points on the Suns, including 14-for-25 FG shooting and 17-for-17 FT shooting. ↵

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↵YouTube Moment: Derrick Rose on Andre Miller. First came the block, then came the ankle-breaking. ↵

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↵CBB Mania: Remember, before the season began, I tabbed Louisville as my pick to win the national title? Then you see them lose to Western Kentucky, solidly, and it's like my whole worldview collapses. (That said, it was a virtual home game for WKU; but that doesn't excuse the loss.) ↵

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↵On the other hand, maybe I was wrong to tap Gonzaga as a championship "dark horse" rather than a legit contender. The Zags topped the very competitive Old Spice Classic field by beating No. 12 Tennessee and should see their current No. 10 ranking zoom. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, the MVP of the long weekend — a recurring event — is Blake Griffin, who led Oklahoma to a Preseason NIT final, including 18 points and matching a career-high 21 rebounds in a title-game win over Purdue, arguably the best team in the Big Ten. Is OU the best team West of the East Coast? ↵

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↵State of College Hoops: Ohio. But not for "major" teams like Ohio State or Cincinnati. Try two unbeaten mid-majors: Xavier, for some reason still not a Top 10 team, and Dayton, which pulled one of the weekend's top wins, over Marquette. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "They left me out for dead. It's like we're in a foxhole and I'm facing the other way. If I got shot in the head, at least you want to get shot by the enemy. I got shot in the head by my own guys in my foxhole. And they didn't even give me an honorable death." ↵

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↵— Stephon Marbury, perhaps overstating a wee bit his relationship with the Knicks and his teammates, a relationship that should finally be over as early as this week. ↵

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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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