Shanoff's Wake Up Call: Non-Shanoff Edition

Spencer Hall is filling in today for an in-transit Dan Shanoff. He'll really try to care about baseball. Really, he will.
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Today's calls: Kobe Bryant versus anyone else, Pacman Jones versus common sense, the NFL versus reality (winner: the NFL!), Ohio State versus Michigan, Georgia versus expectations, and more!
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↵Call it the Usher look and go with it. Steve Greenberg is following Darren McFadden around New York this week, and with this comes the requisite visits to buy the "Draft Suit." This photo cracks me up, because for those of you not following SEC football, you should know that McFadden is an extremely funny guy who would, if given the choice, just go in this outfit
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↵"It's my Usher confessions outfit." It's no 32 button NBA Steve Harvey special, but it would be a statement. (Probably wouldn't help those wondering about character issues, but it would boost female viewership of the draft.)
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↵Kobe, dreary in victory:
The East Coast bias is alive and well, but don't blame it for the reason behind my distaste for watching Kobe Bryant score 49 against the Nuggets to take a 2-0 lead over the discombobulated Nuggets.
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↵Kobe, even at his hottest and most spectacular, is from an entertainment/fan perspective an icy, impersonal robot of a player. (And he was icy and spectacular last night, going bonkers for 19 points over a 4:19 span.) It's not his fault, really, as he was raised to do little more than play basketball and emote via a few borrowed Michael Jordan gestures.
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↵Yet don't tell me I have to enjoy watching it, especially when he's savaging a team as inconsistent as the Nuggets. Bryant's no Gilbert Arenas when it comes to being a charm ambassador for the league. And also true: Bryant's no Gilbert Arenas, because Bryant is going to the second round of the playoffs this year.
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↵The Jets pick sixth. Meaning you will have to wait until the sixth pick to hear Jets fans boo and hate whomever they take. Because Jets fans already hate it.
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↵The NFL Beats Reality, again. How good is the NFL at what they do? You will, for a few minutes at least, likely watch the NFL draft, meaning you will devote precious life-hours to watching a glorified pick-'em narrated by Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. Brilliance. ESPN also deserves credit for wanting to televise the thing in the first place, since at one time ESPN was brilliant in creating content out of thin air.
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↵Yet, on an ironic note: ESPN created the draft monster, the World's Strongest Man Monster, and countless other "events" out of the need to fill hours of content...and yet the WWL cannot embrace the creative energies of the internet to save their life. Their sole online writers of note are Bill Simmons and...yes. Bill Simmons, who writes solid but magazine-length pieces on his corner of the site.
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↵The internet's all about pulling interest from the ether and turning it into content. Why ESPN hasn't been able to do this since the very early stages of Page Two is a mystery. (Contrarian: No it's not, and the answer is two words: No. Shanoff.)
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↵Coccoon, Maddux edition. Greg Maddux just missed getting his 350th win pitching, losing to San Francisco 3-2 in 13 innings. In other news, Greg Maddux is going to pitch until he's tackled by security guards who confuse him for a demented senior citizen running loose on the field in a Greg Maddux uniform.
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↵Epidemiology meets sport: The flu vaccine failed this season, the worst in four years according to early indications. Yet the effect on sports has, at least on the face of it, been small: only the Red Sox seem to have taken the brunt of virus season, causing Red Sox fans to bemoan how cursed they are because, you know, their suffering is so much more special and different than anyone else's.
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↵On a separate note, we'd like to thank Fate for giving the Red Sox a few championships so they can stop their solipsistic myth-making and public agony over their "glorious doom." Robbing ESPN of an easy storyline is a gift to us all.
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↵The only disease we have: Pacman Fever. I was never huge into Pacman, being more of a Robotron: 2084 kind of guy. But Pacman Fever is the scourge of the day as a result of his trade to the Cowboys. The only real disadvantage for Dallas? That Pacman could not have been around fifteen years ago to party with the maestro himself, Michael Irvin. This kind of off-field debauchery fantasy league thought occupies entirely too much of my day.
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↵Georgia, number one? Why not? Hayes thinks so, with one caveat: keg-lifting quarterback Matthew Stafford, particularly on the road. The one thing no one else is mentioning that could keep them out of the BCS is a potentially scanty offensive line.
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↵One more college football note, and we swear we'll stop: Offensive lineman Justin Boren transfers from Michigan to Ohio State. Wait for him to pull a Darth Vader, play for the Buckeyes for almost his whole career without incident, and then turn at the last second in his final OSU/UM game and tackle his own man at Michigan's goal line, a la Vader tossing the Emperor down the bottomless shaft at the end of Return of the Jedi.
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Mental note: if I ever have my own orbital death machine, make sure my throne room does NOT have a bottomless pit in it.
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↵Inside the NBA: The excellence is overpowering at this point.
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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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