Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: 'Boys Up, Pats Down

Today's Calls: Ronnie Brown vs. Matt Cassel, T.O. vs. Felix Jones, Lane Kiffin vs. Ed Hochuli, USC vs. LSU, Rays vs. Cubs, Phils vs. Mets vs. Brewers, U.S. vs. Tiger, Yankee Stadium vs. History and More.
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↵The Opening Pitch: On the schadenfreude scale, few things trump when the Patriots get shellacked. ↵

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↵Not just shellacked, but taking their worst home loss of the Bill Belichick Era. ↵

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↵Not just shellacked, but beaten by the previously hapless Dolphins, whose fans consider beating the Pats to be their Super Bowl. ↵

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↵Not just shellacked, but they let Ronnie Brown have the performance of the year: 5 TDs, including 1 passing. ↵

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↵(This, of course, makes him more effective than Matt Cassel; actually, it makes Brown more effective than half the QBs in the league.) ↵

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↵(Follow-up question: Does this single game validate Brown's otherwise mediocre-at-best career up 'til now? I would argue it does.) ↵

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↵Not just shellacked, but with a bye-week to think/stew/obsess over whether this signals The End Of The Season. ↵

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↵Not just shellacked, but suddenly looking like anything but the champs they were supposed to be just two weeks ago. ↵

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↵For the rest of us: Isn't it amazing? Enjoy it while it lasts. ↵

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↵More NFL Notes: ↵

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↵— Milestones: Hard to believe that last night was the Cowboys' first win at Lambeau. But they are 3-0 with a bullet. (In another milestone, T.O. had nothing to say about it, either during — or after — the game.) ↵

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↵— Rookie Sensation: Felix Jones, with the tantalizing potential to score every time he touches the ball. Were we focused on the wrong Hog? ↵

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↵— Best Game: Broncos vs. Whoever. This week it happened to be against the Saints, but Denver continues to provide mile-high heart attacks. ↵

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↵— Week's Big Winner: Gus Frerotte, who did just enough not to lose (which is more than anyone could ever say about Tarvaris Jackson). ↵

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↵— Fantasy Watch: Ahh, so THAT's where Maurice Jones-Drew was hiding. ... Let's flip-flop again — Michael Turner IS for real. ↵

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↵— Injury Watch: Brian Westbrook. The Eagles beat their in-state rival, but what's the long-term impact of Westbrook's ankle injury? ↵

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↵— Hot Seat: Lane Kiffin. I know, I know ... you've heard it before. But this time, it really looks like Al Davis is ready to axe him. ↵

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↵— Trade Watch: The Chiefs wanted Brady Quinn? I guess that's how bad things are in KC these days (and in Cleveland, that the Browns weren't willing to talk about it). ↵

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↵— Hochuli Watch: He worked the Browns-Ravens game, and the game was blissfully controversy-free (unless you count the report that the NFL told him to get over himself and stop apologizing to fans.) ↵

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↵— Conundrum: Go ahead and try to make sense of the AFC. How can you not love the unexpectedness in the standings right now? ↵

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↵CFB Weekend Wrap: ↵(1) Weekend's Best: LSU notched the season's single most impressive win; when evaluating who's No. 1, that should matter. ↵

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↵(2) Who's No. 1? If you believe (like me) that USC's weak schedule should discount its BCS bonafides, add Oregon to the list. ↵

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↵(3) BCS Busters: East Carolina was a fad, but BYU looks "Top 10" strong. There are more Top 25 reps from the MWC than the Pac-10. ↵

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↵(4) Player of the Week: Terrelle Pryor. Ohio State might not be relevant, but their new QB sensation (4 TDs passing) sure is. ↵

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↵(Heisman Watch: Entering Week 5, Chase Daniel still leads my Heisman ballot, with Knowshon Moreno a close second.) ↵

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↵(5) Number of unbeaten teams remaining after four weeks: 27, with nearly half coming from the Big 12 and SEC alone. (Mountain West: 3.) ↵

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↵Was Notre Dame cheating? Given that Charlie Weis is a Belichick disciple, I wouldn't put it past him. Then again: It failed anyway. ↵

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↵CFB Top 25: I find it hard to believe LSU's win at Auburn didn't scoot LSU up the rankings more than it did. ↵

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↵Then again, people seem to think that Auburn barely losing at home makes them worse than Ohio State getting humiliated on the road by USC just two weeks ago, which voters have apparently already forgotten about. There's your "lose early" lazy voting criteria in action. ↵

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↵(But, hey: At least they had the good sense to rank Vandy — for the first time in 24 years!) ↵

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↵BlogPoll Top 25: (1) LSU; (2) USC; (3) Georgia; (4) Oklahoma; (5) Florida; (6) Missouri; (7) Texas; (8) BYU; (9) Texas Tech; (10) Alabama. ↵

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↵Check out DanShanoff.com today at 11:30 a.m. for my complete "1.0" BlogPoll ballot and your chance to sway my vote. ↵

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↵CFB Must-Read: Spencer Hall's A-to-Z. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: The Rays have made the playoffs, fulfilling one of the great worst-to-playoffs stories in MLB history. Now what? ↵

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↵Now, nothing: The playoffs are a crapshoot anyway. Whether the Rays fail in the ALDS or go all the way, the season is a success. (That's not entirely true, of course: The Rays conceivably could catch the Angels for HFA in the playoffs — or at least keep it over Boston.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile, we live in a world where the Cubs don't just make the playoffs, but win the N.L. Central title two years running. ↵

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↵N.L. Playoff Push: With yesterday's results, Mets are now 1.5 GB the Phils in the N.L. East, and the Brewers are 1.5 GB the Mets for the Wild Card. Hang on. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, D-backs' W and a Dodgers L in 11 means that Arizona is 2.5 GB heading into the last week. Would take a huge choke from LA.) ↵

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↵A.L. Playoff Push: With the Red Sox zeroing in on the only available at-large playoff spot, it's down to the White Sox and the Twins. ↵

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↵Milestones: K-Rod hits 60-save plateau. It remains to be seen what the final total is, but whatever it is, it will be our "56." ↵

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↵NASCAR: Greg Biffle is the new Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch is the new Whatever-You-Call-The-Drivers-Who-Don't-Qualify-For-The-Chase. ↵

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↵Ryder Cup: The U.S. wins, which unfortunately still does nothing for us on the economy front. Tell me when we win the "Economic Implosion Cup." ↵

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↵NBA: Knicks to waive Stephon Marbury. Is this really news to anyone? (More intriguing: Where will he end up? If anywhere?) ↵

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↵NFL and PEDs: Thanks to the San Diego Union-Tribune for compiling all NFL-related PED connections, but don't expect fans to care. Come on: This isn't baseball. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Goodbye, Yankee Stadium. For many/most of us, you will not really be missed, despite what the coverage might indicate. ↵

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↵(If MLB really cared about the Stadium's last game, they would have had this game be mid-week, so it wasn't competing with NFL storylines on a Sunday night — or Monday morning.) ↵

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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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