Shanoff's W.U.C.: Weekend's Biggest Winner?

Today's Calls: Jerry Jones vs. the Jumbotron, Eric Bruntlett vs. History, John Smoltz vs. Billy Wagner, Urban Meyer vs. Rich Rodriguez, Mike Vick vs. Chase Daniel, Lou Holtz vs. Crazy Talk and More. ↵

↵Eric BruntlettThe Opening Pitch: Who was this weekend's biggest winner? Your top three contenders: ↵

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↵— Eric Bruntlett: Game-ending unassisted triple play is the new perfect game! ↵
↵— John Smoltz: If "washed up" is 9 Ks in 5 IP with 3 H and 0 ER, give me some. ↵
↵— Chase Daniel: His NFL career may never get better than it did this weekend. ↵

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↵We know who ISN'T on the list: ↵
↵— Jerry Jones: For the Cowboys' $1.2 billion jumbotron debacle. ↵
↵— Rich Rodriguez: For his menage-a-Michigan QB strategy. ↵
↵— Jim Rice: Starts weekend talking foolish, ends it cowardly. ↵

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↵More about all of them after the jump, but if I had to pick one big winner, it would be Bruntlett -- when your kind of novelty comes around once a century, you have earned it. (Who would YOU pick as the weekend's big winners and losers? Put them in the Comments.) ↵

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↵Cowboys jumbotron debacle: You spend $1.15 billion on a magnificent stadium, and all it takes is one cheeky punter to turn it into a laughingstock. The fact is, the Cowboys are going to HAVE to raise the TV screens — or risk regular-season humiliation. (Of course, Jerry Jones picked the height himself.) ↵

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↵Who had the best NFL weekend: Chase Daniel! But let's not get carried away — he is in the mix for Redskins QB ... 3rd-string that is. ↵

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↵JaMarcus Russell was named Raiders starting QB: Well, given the investment they have made in him, I should certainly hope he would be. ↵

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↵Tonight's MNF: Jets at Ravens. Rex Ryan's Baltimore homecoming. Mark Sanchez might be Joe Flacco 2.0 (rookie QB seamlessly moving into starting QB role). Yeah, the game might be a bit of a grinder, but — hey — you only have to watch the first quarter or so. ↵

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↵Vick Watch: "How does Michael look in the offense? He looks pretty good." — Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, on Vick. And it's only been a week. This Thursday's exhibition game — where Vick is expected to see action — may be the most must-see preseason game of all time. ↵

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↵Why would Vick even come NEAR a violation of his probation — either with the court or the league -- by drinking alcohol, let alone in public? Foreshadowing that he doesn't have the self-discipline to keep himself out of trouble for the long term? He's been back in the NFL for all of a week. ↵

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↵Eric Bruntlett! The unassisted triple play is more rare than the perfect game, and the game-ending UTP is like the Halley's Comet of baseball. Consider that when you decide that the Mets season — already a cataclysmic "how-can-it-get-worse?" failure — actually got worse: Not only did the UTP happen AND spoil a potential 9th-inning rally against the rival Phillies, but it also saved a win for ... Pedro. Yeesh. ↵

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↵John Smoltz dominates in STL debut: Fun to see, especially considering his embarrassing ending in Boston. Maybe it was just the Red Sox. (It would be sweet irony if Smoltz pitched like that the rest of the season and the Cards ended up in the playoffs — and the Red Sox didn't.) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵— The Red Sox should listen to their 'pen about Wagner. ↵

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↵— NL Wild Card: Rox extend WC lead on SF ↵(4th COL-SF game tonight: Marquis vs. Zito) ↵

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↵— Scott Feldman: Unstoppable on the road! ↵

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↵— Injury Watch: Peavy back for ChiSox this week? ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Jake Fox (4-4, HR, 2 RBI) ↵

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↵Jim Rice is a fool: AND he says he was misquoted. So he is a coward and a fool. ↵

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↵CFB Rankings: Florida dominates AP Top 25. The most notable thing? Florida was the biggest preseason favorite in the AP poll's history. That jibes with the conventional wisdom that this Florida team has the chance to be one of those "best team of all time" contenders. ↵

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↵That also can be the kiss of death: See the most recent "biggest AP preseason favorite ever," USC in 2007. That pick said less about USC than it does about the AP voters' weak projection skills. (So pay attention to the two outliers who picked Texas at No. 1.) ↵

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↵Here is MY preseason BlogPoll ballot: Florida is No. 1. I see five teams going unbeaten (Florida, No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Penn State, No. 10 Boise State and No. 25 Central Michigan.) I'm bullish on Georgia Tech. ↵

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↵Lou Holtz got some pub this weekend when he said that Florida would play ... Notre Dame(!) for the BCS title. Holtz thinks ND will benefit from an easy schedule, but even if they go 11-1 and even if every other top team has at least one loss, they won't out-rank a 1-loss Texas, USC, Penn St, etc. ↵

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↵Tim Tebow: Back injury? That was the big story in Gainesville — and, given Tebow's status, the country — this weekend. Urban Meyer insists that it isn't a big deal and that Tebow will go full-on today at practice. And he has never missed a start. Still: Ominous foreshadowing? ↵

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↵More Florida fun: Urban Meyer said this weekend that he considered scheduling Utah as the first game of 2009. Wouldn't that have been incredible? Of course, Florida would have won by 30 and unfairly ended the debate about what LAST year's Utah team could have done against Florida. ↵

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↵Rich Rod Update: Apparently, he is going to play three QBs in the season-opener versus Western Michigan. It's going to be hilarious when they are all out-played by WMU's outstanding Tom Hiller, and the Broncos come away with the win in Ann Arbor. ↵

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↵SN preview: Big Ten. SN's fun conference picks continue with the Big Ten. As I wrote above, I am picking Penn State to not just win the league, but go unbeaten (but get shut out of the BCS title game between Florida and Texas.) SN has PSU at No. 12. ↵

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↵Check out predictions and interesting superlatives. For "most exciting" Big Ten player, it would hard to pick between Terrelle Pryor and Arrelious Benn. ↵

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↵Indiana honors Bob Knight: You can dislike Knight's methods (like I do), but you can't discount the impact he had at Indiana. No matter how things ended there, Knight being part of IU's Hall of Fame is an obvious and well-earned honor. ↵

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↵NBA Offseason: AI to Charlotte? As I have said all along about why Iverson matters, as long as the Bobcats are going to be inconsequential in the East, at least with AI they will be fun to watch. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I'm looking forward to this season but I'm also looking forward to the summer of 2010 to see what happens."
↵— LeBron on ESPN's Sunday Conversation. Sounds like, if anything, he's looking ahead. Please continue to cheer/defend him, Cavs fans. ↵

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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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