Shanoff's WUC: Holidays, Week 16, Xmas NBA

Today's Calls: The NBA vs. Christmas, Browns vs. Eagles, AFC 7-7 Log-jam vs. NFC East Wild Card battle, Poinsettia vs. Little Caesars, Ndamukong Suh vs. Mark Ingram, Texas vs. Final Four Expectations, Northwestern vs. Florida, Dwyane Wade vs. LeBron, TMZ vs. Deadspin and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Anyone else sick of "naughty?" I'm ready to leave behind Tiger Woods -- the present no one will get -- and embrace the things about the holiday season this year that remind you of the "nice" in sports: ↵

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↵The NBA on Christmas Day. ↵
↵Best day of the year for the league. ↵

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↵Ndamukong Suh. ↵
↵The D-lineman who changed everything. ↵

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↵Broncos' annual collapse. ↵
↵Makes AFC 7-7 log-jam interesting! ↵

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↵Tyreke Evans. ↵
↵An All-Star as a rookie? ↵

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↵USChadenfreude. ↵
↵Enjoy it now; they'll be back. ↵

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↵D-Wade/LeBron toying with us. ↵
↵You know you want to see them together. ↵

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↵Northwestern basketball. ↵
↵10-1: The 2010 Dancewagon is BACK ON. ↵

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↵24 Hours of "A Christmas Story" ↵
↵Only the best holiday movie ever. ↵

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↵Ohhhh ... fuuuuddddge! Happy holidays. ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points:
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↵Christmas Day is THE holiday for the NBA. It is their most important day of the year -- more important than the All-Star Game, more important than the NBA Finals. Because it is the one day of the year when most casual fans make the regular-season NBA part of their experience. (It's just a shame they couldn't get a Tyreke Evans-Brandon Jennings Kings-Bucks game on the schedule, to join the rest of the superstars on display. Wow: Who would have said THAT a year ago?) ↵

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↵Top NFL Week 16 Story Lines: ↵

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↵GOTW: Broncos at Eagles ↵
↵Last AFC playoff spot is in the balance. ↵

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↵AFC 7-7 Logjam ↵
↵NYJ (@IND), PIT (vs. BAL), JAX (@NE), TEN (vs. SD), HOU (@MIA) ↵

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↵NFC Wild Card ↵
↵Giants host Panthers, Cowboys at Redskins ↵

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↵Saints struggling? ↵
↵Host the Bucs, should be no problem. ↵

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↵Good Read: Tunison's Designed Rush, giving you the teams heading up (or down) in 2010. (BTW: Tunison's "Football Fan's Manifesto" was one of my favorite sports books of the year. And, in affordable paperback, a nice little stocking stuffer.) ↵

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↵NFL Week 16 Picks: Titans, Falcons, Bengals, Raiders, Packers, Ravens, Dolphins, Patriots, Saints, Giants, 49ers, Cards, Colts, Eagles, Cowboys, Vikings. (Last week: 10-6, year-to-date: 155-70.) ↵

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↵Gone Bowlin': "It's Better Than Nothing" Stage ↵

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↵12/23: Poinsettia (Utah vs. Cal) ↵
↵From BCS to Credit Unions for Utes. ↵

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↵12/24: Hawaii (Nevada vs. SMU) ↵
↵Pistol best offense you haven't seen. ↵

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↵12/26: Little Caesars (Marshall vs. Ohio) ↵
↵Best. Bowl Name. Ever. ↵

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↵12/26: Meineke Car Care (Pitt vs. UNC) ↵
↵Worth watching just for Dion Lewis. ↵

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↵12/26: Emerald (BC vs. USC) ↵
↵No team has cared less than USC. ↵

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↵12/27: Music City (Kentucky vs. Clemson) ↵
↵Last chance to watch CJ Spiller. ↵

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↵CFB Awards Season: Suh! Ndamukong Suh may have fallen short for the Heisman, but that momentum certainly contributed to his being named the AP CFB Player of the Year, the first time ever a defensive player earned that award. (SN's POY was Mark Ingram.) ↵

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↵Just to clarify: Brian Kelly would have stayed at Cincinnati, at least temporarily, if the team had made it to the national-title game. Of course, I don't think Notre Dame would have been as generous, not wanting to share him, passing him by and hiring Randy Edsall (which would have been a mistake, but still). ↵

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↵CBB Mania: Texas is still rolling, knocking off Michigan State in Austin. Between beating UNC and the Spartans, the Longhorns have taken care of the 2009 NCAA Tournament finalists -- back-to-back. Hard right now not to saddle UT with expectations of a Final Four. (Damion James -- 23 and 13 -- is playing like a 1st-team All-American.) ↵

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↵Hot: Northwestern Best start in 79 years. ↵

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↵Not: Florida At buzzer, loses 3rd in row. ↵

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↵File this away: "Before we agreed to terms, LeBron and I had a couple conversations. I can't recall exactly what we said, but the gist of it was we wanted to give ourselves the flexibility and the option to play together." (That's Dwyane Wade, and he blew Shoals' mind.) ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Pitching, pitching, pitching. That's why the Yankees were smart to give up on the overrated Melky Cabrera for more starting pitching depth in Javier Vazquez. Six years ago, he had a nearly 5.00 ERA in the Bronx -- then again, the 2010 Yankees offense could cushion that. Oh, and there's always his career-best 9.8 K/9 from last season. He will be the best No. 4 starter in baseball. ↵

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↵Small Miracles: Chris Henry was an organ donor, and he is saving five people's lives. Here's hoping Chad Ochocinco checked the box on his driver's license, too. ↵

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↵Media: TMZSports.com is either going to be a big deal (per Levy) or not at big as people think (says me). You decide. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Happy holidays! No Wake-Up Call for the rest of the week. Back here, bright and early, on Monday morning. For more over the next few days, head over to DanShanoff.com. ↵

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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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