Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: USC Proves Unworthy

Today's Calls: USC vs. Jacquizz Rodgers, White Sox vs. Twins, Mets vs. Brewers, Georgia Black-Out vs. Penn State White-Out, Gus Frerotte vs. Kerry Collins and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Thankyouthankyouthankyou. ↵

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↵Oh, thank you, college football gods! ↵

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↵Thank you for delivering the upset of the season in college football last night. (The biggest upset since USC lost to Stanford last season. And, before that, since USC lost to UCLA in 2006.) ↵

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↵Thank you for exposing USC as having done little to prove it was truly worthy of its No. 1 ranking — that USC was overrated, all hype. ↵

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↵Thank you for ending any debate about USC's "lock" for the BCS — and that "it's USC and everyone else" after the Ohio State game was bunk. ↵

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↵Thank you for making the team that beat the Trojans not some Top 10 powerhouse, but a 1-2 also-ran that got beat by 100 at Penn State this season. ↵

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↵Thank you for doing it on a Thursday night in primetime, when everyone could watch — when, alone on the stage, the Trojans failed. ↵

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↵Thank you for making USC irrelevant for the rest of the season. ↵

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↵Super-duper Star: Jacquizz Rodgers, the Beavers' mighty-mite freshman RB had 186 yards with 2 TDs in the break-out performance of the year. Heisman? I'll take the Quizzman! ↵

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↵MLB Playoff Push: It’s Walkoff Madness, setting up a wild final regular-season weekend. But make no mistake: These ARE playoff games. ↵

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↵A.L. Central: Not just a Twins walkoff over their rival, but a sweep. And not just a sweep, but a sweep into the division lead. ↵

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↵The Twins finish with a home-stand against the Royals; the White Sox "end"* with a three-game home series against Cleveland. Sort of. ... ↵

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↵(* Please consider the tantalizing prospect of a White Sox Game No. 162 on Monday against the nothing-to-gain/nothing-to-lose Tigers. And if they're tied after THAT, the Twins go to Chicago on Tuesday.) ↵

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↵N.L. East: Mets aren’t folding. That might have been the Mets' biggest win since they clinched their NLDS series in 2006. Because it didn't just put the Mets 1 GB the Phillies with three to play, but it allowed them to keep pace with the Brewers for the ... ↵

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↵N.L. Wild Card: Braun power! The Brewers were like the Mets — this was a must-win. Both the Mets and the Brewers are inconsistent enough that you have no idea how this weekend will play out. Hopefully, they will remain tied through 162 and be forced to play each other for the Wild Card. ↵

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↵(I don't mean to dismiss the Astros: But they need the Brewers and Mets to both get swept this weekend, plus sweep their own series, then win a one-day non-playoff 162nd game against the Cubs on Monday — the last thing the Cubs want to have to do, by the way.) ↵

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↵N.L. West: Say this for Joe Torre — he shows up, and the Dodgers make the playoffs. (Though acquiring "MVP-ish" Manny obviously didn't hurt.) ↵More MLB: The Mariners kind of hate Ichiro, I guess. ↵MLB Milestones: Mark Reynolds set the MLB single-season strikeout record, breaking the once-unthinkable 200 barrier. Bravo! ↵

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↵CFB Weekend Preview: Georgia-Alabama, the Game of the Week, will KO at least one would-be national-title contender. Watch for the cool-looking UGA "Black-Out" in primetime. ... "Prove-It" GOTW: For both Oklahoma (vs. TCU) and Penn State (vs. Illinois). Watch for the cool-looking PSU "White-Out" in prime-time. ... Can it get worse for Michigan? Against Wisconsin: Yes. ... Best Catch Ever? Perhaps. ... Picks: I predict no upsets in the Top 25 (uh-oh — OK, so maybe last night covered the jinx for a while). ↵

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↵NFL Week 4 Preview: Consider the improbabilities! Gus Frerotte vs. Kerry Collins (no, really). ... Either the Falcons or Panthers will be 3-1 and in command of the NFC South. ... The unbeaten Bills are 9-point favorites on the road. ... (I can't believe that Vegas is even taking a line on the Broncos-Chiefs game). ... Is anyone ready to dispute that, even at 1-2, the Chargers aren't a Top 5 team right now? ↵

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↵NFL Week 4 Picks: MIN, DEN, NO, ARI, GB, CAR, JAX, CIN, SD, BUF, DAL, PHI, PIT. Also, see SN’s expert picks. ↵

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↵NBA: Allan Houston is coming back. Do the Knicks really need an aging jump-shooter for D'Antoni's system? They have Quentin Richardson. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert says making comments about the inevitability of LeBron leaving Cleveland is "an insult to the city." (Actually, the insult is that LeBron has cultivated all the talk, and that Cleveland fans aren't more outraged by their star.) ↵

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↵NHL.com relaunches: Whenever a good NHL story happens, I rely on the most insightful NHL writer anywhere — Eric McErlain. I asked him to weigh in on NHL.com's relaunch, and this was his analysis: ↵

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↵"So what do I think of the new NHL.com? The new silver and black motif based on the color scheme of the league's shield is a real improvement over the old design, which looked like an effort to shoehorn every color of the rainbow onto a Web page. ↵

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↵"But the real test for success won't come until the first weekend of the regular season (Oct. 10-12), when the Game Center Live application has its free preview. ↵

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↵"The league is betting big on online video, and a solid rollout of Game Center Live could go far to both boosting traffic and converting more paying customers for a league that relies very heavily on the gate." ↵

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↵Cycling: Didn't Greg LeMond get the memo? You're simply not allowed to question Lance Armstrong. Ever. ↵

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↵The Last Word: No, seriously — USC shouldn't come up in BCS discussions for this season EVER AGAIN. ↵

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↵They have been eliminated. (Or should be. Please don't give me this: "Well, they lost early in the season." They lost to a 1-2 team!) ↵

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↵It's ironic: Ohio State takes so much crap for losing in the big games against the great teams. ↵

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↵Why doesn't USC take any crap for losing in the small games against the mediocre teams? They have done it EVERY season for the past three years. ↵

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↵Isn't that substantially worse than Ohio State's chokery? (Yes.) ↵

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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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