Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: NFL, CFB Picks Mania

Today's Calls: Tom Brady vs. Brett Favre, Vandy vs. Spurrier, Carlos Zambrano vs. Jesse Litsch, Hakeem Olajuwon vs. Michael Jordan, Daunte Culpepper vs. History and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: If the Giants dropped last season's opener and went on to win the Super Bowl, what does it portend that the Giants won their season opener in 2008? ↵

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↵Actually, I'm ready to look past last night's game and dive right into Sunday's “official” 2008 Kickoff For The Rest Of Us: ↵

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↵(1) Like a huge middle finger to the world, Bill Belichick did NOT put Tom Brady on the injury report, for the first time since 2005. ... ↵

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↵(2) Yes, yes, I know: Brett Favre. ... ↵

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↵(3) Rookie Watch: Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have a better debut than Falcons QB Matt Ryan. ... ↵

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↵(4) Just remember: It's “Chad Ocho Cinco.” ... ↵

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↵(5) If your team loses, don't forget the Giants lost its '07 opener. ... ↵

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↵NFL Picks: DET, BUF, JAX, MIA, NE, NO, PHI, PIT, CIN, SD, ARI, DAL, IND, MIN, DEN; (Season: 1-0). ↵

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↵Vandy pwns No. 24 South Carolina: Despite the fact this was Vandy's first win at home over a ranked SEC team since ‘92, this shouldn't have been a surprise, given (a) the way both teams played last week and (b) the way Vandy beat South Carolina in Columbia a year ago, after losing 14 straight to the Ol' Ball Coach throughout the rest of his career. Who would have guessed Steve Spurrier would be owned by Vandy? ↵

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↵CFB Weekend Storylines: We'll see how Ohio State looks without Beanie. OSU fans just have to hope for no more RB injuries. ... ↵

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↵* Georgia has to match up with Central Michigan's Dan “Tebow Lite” LeFevour. (UGA handled Tebow pretty well a year ago.) ... ↵

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↵* Upset Special (that I'm too timid to pick?): Oklahoma getting a handful against fiesty Cincy. ... ↵

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↵* Classic in-state rivalry between Florida and The U (Urban: Don't play Harvin. Don't risk it. Save him for Tennessee.) ... ↵

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↵* After last week's win against Virginia Tech, can East Carolina pull another stunner over WVU? What impact will T.S. Hanna have? ... ↵

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↵* Auburn better watch out for high-flying Southern Miss (set school record for offense last week.) ... ↵

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↵* Should Kansas be worried about Louisiana Tech after La. Tech's upset win against Mississippi State last week? (Probably not.) ... ↵

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↵* Suddenly, Arizona State-Stanford is actually kind of compelling. ... ↵

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↵* Against visiting Oregon State (coming off a loss to Stanford), how will Penn State fare without suspended DL Maurice Evans? ... ↵

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↵* Prove-It Game of the Week: Revamped Ole Miss is a quality test for Wake Forest (and vice versa). ... ↵

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↵* Hey, Notre Dame fans: Let me know how winning feels. I know it's been a while. ... ↵

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↵CFB Picks: I'd run through them all, but having gone through the schedule, I'm not seeing a single upset of a ranked team on Saturday. (That's fine: I called Vandy over No. 24 South Carolina.) Of course, that ensures all sorts of mayhem. I'd love to see Cincy KO Oklahoma in Norman or East Carolina continue the miracle season by beating visiting West Virginia, but I'm not holding my breath. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Good news for Cubs fans. No, the losing streak isn't over yet, but Carlos Zambrano's MRI was merely a take-this-anti-inflammatory-shot-and-call-me-in-the-morning. ↵

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↵NL Playoff Race: The Brewers were the only NL Central playoff contender to play yesterday, but still managed to lose their fourth straight. (They are still 4 games up for the WC on the Phillies, who would do well to focus on the NL East — they play the Mets this weekend.) Meanwhile, Arizona is in L.A. for the Series of the Weekend. ↵

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↵AL Playoff Race: The Twins picked the wrong night to get hit with a 4-hit CG SO by the Jays' Jesse Litsch. ... Big win by the Rays to hold off the Yankees and avert a sweep, especially while the Red Sox were idle. ... Series of the Weekend: Angels at White Sox (with the Twins, hosting the Tigers, watching very carefully). ↵

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↵Pro Hoops Hall of Fame induction: Congrats to Ewing, Hakeem, Riley and Dickie V, among others. I would argue Olajuwon was one of the three best centers in NBA history. ↵

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↵(Here is one of my favorite argument-starters: Olajuwon in his 1994-95 MVP prime would have beaten the Bulls — with Michael Jordan — in the NBA Finals. At his peak, there was no answer for the Dream.) ↵

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↵Must-See Video: LeBron losing that game of H-O-R-S-E. (I give LeBron a Nelson Muntz: "HAH-Ha!") ↵

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↵NASCAR: Yes, the entire season has been about Kyle Busch and Edwards and Johnson. But what about the Bowyer-Ragan-Kahne troika competing for the 12th (and final) spot in this year's Chase, the field for which will be finalized on Saturday? ↵

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↵Media: “Texas Longhorns Sports Network?” Give them credit for chutzpah. NFL or MLB Network? Great idea. Big Ten Network? Clever gimmick. But a TV network dedicated entirely to UT sports? ... Hey: As long as it wasn't looking for carriage outside of Texas, it might actually be a pretty good idea. But it's not like they're going to yank themselves out of the Big 12's deal with ESPN. ↵

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↵Blog Roll: Fantasy Football Suicide Pool? It's just so crazy it just might work. (H/T: What Would Oakley Do) ↵

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↵The Last Word: “Farewell NFL.” Those are the last words from a retiring Daunte Culpepper, once a player who was going to revolutionize the league — a 6-foot-4, 260-pound passing-rushing freak. Beyond his coming out of the relative obscurity of Central Florida, I'll remember that sick 2004 season where he threw for 39 TDs and more than 4,717 yards — one of the Top 5 fantasy seasons ever for a QB. ↵

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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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