Shanoff's WUC: Favre, Twins & Minnesota Mania

Today's Calls: Favre vs. Packers, Vikings vs. Twins, Twins vs. Tigers, Saints vs. Patriots, Eli Manning vs. Injury, Broncos vs. Titans, LSU vs. Florida, Oklahoma vs. Oblivion, Chicago vs. Rio and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Minnesota is the center of the sports universe for the next 36 hours. ↵

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↵Does it matter that the rest of the country can't stand Brett Favre or the "Favre-plays-Packers" meme, and that today's lead-up for tonight's game will make the whole thing annoying to the Nth degree? ↵

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↵No, because we get to see the most soulless fans in sports contort themselves into rooting for the guy who, as recently as two months ago, they loathed -- just because he wears their jersey, rather than for the rival team across the line. ↵

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↵And does it matter that the Twins and Tigers are playing for the privilege of being obliterated out of the playoffs by the Yankees in the ALDS? ↵

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↵No, because there are few joys in sports like baseball's one-game playoff-before-the-playoffs -- the "play-in." And because we have never, ever seen a team come back from being down 3 games with 4 to play to win a division. (Ahem: I apologize for last week's presumption of elimination, Twins fans.) ↵

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↵It's worth asking if there has ever been a bigger 24-hour stretch in Minnesota sports history than from the kickoff of the MNF game tonight until the final pitch of the Twins game tomorrow. (Quick answer: Yes, Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, for starters. But this is Top 3.) ↵

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↵Regional enthusiasm is nothing new -- when your team is involved in a big game, of course you'll care. The difference here is that the rest of the country cares, too. Minnesota has the sports stage all to itself -- the rest of us demand dramatic finishes and thrilling results. ↵

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↵Because on Tuesday night after the Twins-Tigers' final out, we will go back to not caring about Minnesota sports. ↵

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↵We will just move on, like Brett Favre would like Packers fans to do. ↵

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↵ ↵NFL Weekend Wrap: A quarter of the season is enough for seeming anomalies become trends then become conventional wisdom: ↵

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↵• NFC's Best: The Saints. Quality W over Jets, showcasing N.O.'s underrated D. ... ↵

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↵• AFC's Best: The Pats. Quality W over the Ravens. ... ↵

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↵• 4-0?!?! At some point, the Broncos will earn our credit. Did they earn yours yet? ... ↵

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↵• 0-4?!?! The Titans' 2009 season is over, whether they want to accept that or not. Time to start Vince Young. ... ↵

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↵• Injury to watch: Eli Manning's heel. MVP of a Top 3 SB contender. ↵

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↵• And, hey, Junior Seau is reportedly coming back to the Pats (again). Some trends never change. ↵

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↵• NFL Goes Pink: Can we agree that the hi-def combo of pink shoes, wristbands, towels and more was pretty freaking cool? No matter what game you were watching, it stood out. If "awareness" was the goal, the NFL and its players delivered. ↵

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↵Week 4 Fantasy Studs: ↵

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↵QB: Garrard (323 yds, 3 TDs). ↵

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↵RB: Mendenhall (165 yds, 2 TDs). ↵

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↵WR: S. Smith (134 yds, 2 TDs). ↵

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↵CFB Weekend Hangover: As expected, the week lacked much drama, beyond whether LSU would come out of Georgia with an unbeaten record intact for next week's latest Game of the Year, against Florida. ... Meanwhile: Miami beat Oklahoma, sure, but BYU did it when it still had novelty. ... Coach of the Year: Gene Chizik? ... Team that tilted resume-based ranking (not to mention saw their would-be BCS-crashing season implode): Houston. ↵

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↵My CFB BlogPoll Ballot Top 10: (1) Florida, (2) Texas, (3) Alabama, (4) Cincinnati, (5) TCU, (6) LSU, (7), Boise St (8) Virginia Tech (9) Oregon, (10) USC. Pay no attention to the fact that I vaulted two teams on bye week ahead of last week's No. 1. (See complete ballot.) ↵

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↵Tebow Watch: Speaking of Florida-LSU, I predict that by Saturday, Florida doctors won't be able to provide the certainty that Tebow is "100 percent" recovered (can anyone?) But it won't matter: John Brantley -- plus Florida's best-in-nation D, best-in-nation RB combo and best-in-nation special teams -- will be more than enough to beat the overrated Tigers ... even in Death Valley at night. ↵

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↵MLB Season Finales: A-Rod gets the last laugh. Consider where we started the season: A-Rod on the DL, humiliated by the steroid allegations. Yesterday: A-Rod hits 2 HR and has 7 RBIs -- in one inning -- to become the first player ever to have 30 HR and 100 RBI in 13 seasons. (Plus: First AL player ever to have 7 RBIs in a single inning.) All that said, if he doesn't win a World Series this year, he's still baseball's biggest loser. ↵

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↵NBA Preseason: Knicks foreshadowing of success? In preseason opener, Harrington, Chandler and Lee all go over 20, with Gallinari providing solid contributions. Of course, they beat the terrible Nets and still play in the suddenly brutal East. (Why do they want to make the playoffs this season anyway? Why not tank, get John Wall or another top prospect -- one more chip to lure LeBron.) ↵

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↵SN NBA Previews, via Shoals: In case you missed it this weekend -- the (26) T'wolves. Much ado about...what, exactly? (25) Pacers. Insert Tyler Hansbrough punch line. And (24) Bucks. Brandon Jennings! ↵

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↵Name to Know: Michael David Barrett, the alleged video stalker of Erin Andrews, who was arrested Friday. (Deadspin's coverage has been must-read.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: Chicago's Olympic-sized humiliation feels like it was months ago. I guess that's good news for the city -- but it is also a product of being discarded so quickly and forcefully that it felt like the bid was never serious to begin with. ↵

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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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