Shanoff's WUC: Manning or Brees. Who Ya Got?

Today's Calls: Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees, 49ers vs. Bears, TCU vs. Utah, Cavs vs. Magic, LeBron vs. LeFevour, Brandon Jennings vs. Greg Oden, Ryan Zimmerman vs. Jim Riggleman, Ohio State hoops ‘09 vs. Ohio State hoops ‘10 and More. ↵

↵Brees Manning The Opening Pitch: Drew Brees or Peyton Manning? It is THE debate of the NFL season: Who is the league's MVP? Who is the league's best QB? Who leads the league's best team? ↵

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↵Ask the players? They pick Brees. ↵

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↵Ask SN's lead NFL columnist? He picks Manning. ↵

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↵What about Mike Florio? He tabs the Saints as the No. 1 story line of the first half ... but quickly ranks the Colts at No. 2 — which might as well be "1A." ↵

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↵TSB's Michael Tunison took a page from that creepy Enterprise rental car ad with the woman asking her significant other which nightie to pack for a romantic getaway, and he lasciviously replies: "Both?" ↵

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↵The answer is ... both. Yesterday, I dubbed that composite midseason MVP as "ManBrees." (If you must know, his full name is "Drewton ManBrees.") ↵

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↵The Colts may be relying entirely on Manning's arm, but Brees' Saints have been winning decisively — against better competition. (Again: Every time you make a strong argument for one, you can deliver an equally strong argument for the other.) ↵

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↵In the end, if forced to pick one, Brees gets the edge because the Saints' success is the better story. Tunison made this great point a couple weeks ago: If your own team isn't going to win the Super Bowl, you kinda want to see the Saints do it. ↵

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↵How about this hedge: If Peyton leads the Colts past the Pats on Sunday night, he gets the midseason MVP nod; if he doesn't, give it to Brees. ↵

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↵NFL Thursday Night Opener: Bears at 49ers Vernon Davis made Brown's midseason All-Pro team (with an assist to Alex Smith). Hey, Jay Cutler made SN's player-designated midseason awards list ... as runner-up for "most overrated." Pick: 49ers ↵

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↵Cavs top Magic: The biggest news from yesterday's Game of the Month was not that the Cavs won in Orlando; the Magic were missing both "stretch-fours" Rashard Lewis and super-backup Ryan Anderson. Oh, and it's November, not May — when it really counts. ↵

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↵No, the big news was LeBron putting a moratorium on any discussion of his 2010 free agency. "It's getting old and I think I'm going to stop. Tonight will be the last time I answer any more free-agent questions until the offseason." I'll put the over-under on the self-imposed ban at Christmas. ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points ↵

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↵— Jennings Bandwagon: 32(!) in win over Nuggs ↵

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↵— The best game of Greg Oden's career? ↵

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↵— Earl Boykins is the new Muggsy Bogues ↵

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↵— Who can wear the Jordan 25? D-Wade. ↵

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↵— I love "NBA TV Companion" ↵

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↵CFB Game of the Week: Utah at TCU. Start prepping for this now. (Just to put it in perspective: Utah is a tougher game for TCU than ANY opponents Texas has remaining. It's going to be fun to see TCU be this year's Utah: The MWC team that beats Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.) ↵

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↵Thursday Night CFB: No. 24 South Florida at Rutgers. Go back to the preseason polls, when there were ZERO Big East teams in the Top 25. Now there are four. Conference respectability is on national display tonight in Piscataway, N.J. Pick: USF ↵

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↵Dan "Tebow Lite" LeFevour Watch: 6 TDs! 2 passing (29-for-36 for 341 yards) and 4 rushing. On the season, he has 18 TDs passing and 13 rushing. Oh, and Central Michigan racked up 56 points and 507 yards of offense in routing Toledo. ↵

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↵More Notre Dame problems: Memo to the Irish football program — you are not going to win a PR battle against Navy, let alone if you trash-talk them and their coach. Not after losing to them last Saturday. And not when you rip them on Veterans Day. Navy can gloat; they won. You lost; your gripes come across as petty sour grapes. Look for mouthy ND "associate head coach" Corwin Brown to offer a half-hearted apology today, under pressure. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Cole Hamels may not be very good anymore, but that doesn't mean the Phillies are trying to trade him. ... Good news for Nats fans: Ryan Zimmerman wins a Gold Glove. ... Bad news for the Nats fans: Hope you weren't expecting a new manager to inject new hope. ↵

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↵Northwestern Dance Watch: Just hours after my lead item yesterday calling Northwestern hoops THE story of the year in college basketball, the Wildcats' best player, Kevin Coble, is out with a foot injury. Of course he is. ↵

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↵CBB Last Night: UNC, Syracuse and Cal all cruise. (Tonight: More Evan Turner. Isn't that enough?) ↵

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↵CBB Signing Day: Speaking of the Buckeyes, Ohio State is the big winner — with Memphis earning a surprise* Top 5 class, including two in Mike DeCourcy's Top 10 preps of 2010. (* — Not a surprise if you know what a hustler rookie head coach Josh Pastner is.) ↵

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↵Coaching Carousel: Al Davis wants to fire Tom Cable? You don't say. ↵

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↵The Last Word: SET. YOUR. FANTASY. ROSTERS. (Particularly if you start Cutler or Smith or Davis or Gore or Forte — OK, maybe you would do better NOT starting Forte for once — or any of the WRs or either defense.) ↵

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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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