Shanoff's WUC: Phillies, Bradford, BCS, Wiz

Today's Calls: Phillies vs. Pennants, Pujols vs. the Field, Sam Bradford vs. Vince Young, Wizards vs. Expectations, Bobby Bowden vs. Steve Phillips and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: "Back to back?" I'll call it what it is -- a Phillies dynasty. ↵

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↵In this age, winning two league pennants in a row qualifies you as a veritable machine. Consider that we haven't seen it since the Yankees dynasty in 00-01 -- and, in the National League, not since the Braves "NL-only" dynasty of the mid-90s. ↵

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↵The Phillies' first NL pennant was a novelty -- appropriately, forgotten the second that the Phillies won the World Series. I don't think there were any expectations of a repeat. Just getting back to the playoffs was a big enough accomplishment. ↵

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↵But once the playoffs started, the Phillies channeled their championship focus and mowed through the National League. Collectively, they are bashing the ball as well as anyone this side of A-Rod. Pitching ace Cliff Lee is untouchable. Closer Brad Lidge has seemingly turned back the clock to last October. And they are the only team that can call themselves "defending champs." ↵

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↵Back-to-back pennants are rare enough, but back-to-back World Series titles would truly be the dynast-ish accomplishment. If you hate the Yankees and are loathe to see them reclaim their World Series glory, this Phillies team -- this champ -- is the one you want in their way. ↵

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↵If anyone knows how to win championships right now, it is the Phillies. ↵

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↵Hero: Jayson Werth. As the Phillies' career postseason HR leader, is he officially Philly's "Mr. October?" ↵

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↵Concern: Cole Hamels with another shaky performance. Of course, if Philly can trot out Cliff Lee for 3 games in the World Series, they don't need Hamels -- just one other pitcher to be good enough. (Or maybe Hamels will find the mojo that made him 2008 WS MVP.) ↵

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↵ALCS Game 5: No reason to think that the Yankees can't "pull a Phillies" and close it out tonight. ↵

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↵MLB Awards Season: Albert Pujols is SN Player of the Year, for the 2nd straight year. (If you remember, he was also named SN's baseball player of the decade. We are living in what will be known in 50 years as "the Pujols Era" of baseball history.) ↵

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↵Bradford Watch: He canceled his news conference? What more information does he need to gather than "So I'm still a Top 5 NFL draft pick, right?" ↵

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↵(Unless, of course, Bradford has no interest in playing in the NFL. After his idiotic-in-hindsight decision to return to OU this season after grading out as the No. 1 overall pick last year, it's a fair question.) ↵

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↵Speaking of which, SN's latest 2010 Mock has Bradford going No. 2 overall, to the Rams. (Notably, they have Tim Tebow going No. 9 overall, to the Redskins.) ↵

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↵NFL Rumors: Which young star did the Cowboys nearly trade earlier this week? It's the mootiest issue of the week! ↵

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↵Start Vince Young!recognizes the reality that Colts fan Jeff Fisher either can't or won't. ↵

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↵BCS Mess: I cannot believe that Orrin Hatch doesn't have better things to do than to ask President Obama to investigate the BCS. (Hey, here's an idea: First figure out how to fix the H.C.S. -- the Health Care System. ↵

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↵CFB Tonight: Bowdenfreude! Florida State at UNC. If you haven't previously enjoyed one of the stops on "Seminoles Debacle Tour '09," this is your next chance. ↵

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↵(Last night: Yes, Tulsa's loss at UTEP diminishes Boise's close win over Tulsa last week. And, yes, it mitigates Houston's loss to UTEP earlier this season.) ↵

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↵SEC officiating humiliation: Credit the league for doing something productive about it -- suspension of the errant crew. ↵

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↵(Question: Why would a suspension make them better? It's not like the suspension was over throwing games -- it was over competence. When they come back on Nov. 14, won't they still be the same incompetent group?) ↵

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↵NBA Countdown: No. 7 Wizards. The chic pick to go from worst-ish to first-ish, if only because the injury thing can't POSSIBLY be worse than a year ago, can it? (Wiz fans know to be skeptical.) Still, if everyone's healthy, no team is deeper with talent. (Shoals' take.) ↵

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↵NBA Must-Read: Shoals on the NBA's best teams, worst teams, MVP candidates, ROY contenders and more. ↵

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↵CBB Countdown: No. 20 Maryland. One of my favorite moments from last season was when Greivis Vasquez single-handedly beat UNC -- with that kind of confidence, it's no wonder the Terps are projected to get over the last few seasons' inconsistency issues. ↵

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↵Big East Hoops Media Day: Villanova is the pick to win the league, but it is meaningless if they don't return to the Final Four -- especially with the team they have this season. For POY, it's Luke Harangody's to lose -- Nova's Scottie Reynolds as the sleeper? (But if you're looking for the guy in the league who will be drafted highest in the 2010 NBA Draft, it's G'town's Greg Monroe.) ↵

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↵Business: Amway is going to sponsor the Magic's practice jerseys. And if you can get a few friends to buy them, you'll get a cut of each. And when they get a few friends to buy from THEM, then you'll get a piece of THAT. ... ↵

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↵Scandals: Steve Phillips made some very bad choices (obviously), but it was fascinating yesterday to see reaction so quickly turn from mockery to pity -- particularly for his wife. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "When I watch Terrelle play right now, I see a robot." -- Terrelle Pryor's high school coach, Ray Reitz. You have got to read Brian Cook's analysis about this whole thing. You'll not only get smarter, but you'll SOUND smarter when you repeat it back to your friends. ↵

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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. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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