Shanoff's WUC: Jets W Gives NFL Ideal Last 4

Today's Calls: Mark Sanchez vs. Nate Kaeding, Shonn Greene vs. LaDainian Tomlinson, Brett Favre vs. "Pants on the Ground," Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees, Wade Phillips vs. Jerry Jones, Tony Romo vs. Nate Kaeding, Derek Dooley vs. Lane Kiffin, Northwestern vs. the Bubble, Syracuse's win vs. Villanova's win, Mark McGwire vs. the Media and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: There would be no controversy this time over a 4th-down game-sealer. ↵

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↵Mark Sanchez ↵
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↵Rex Ryan stuck with what got the Jets in position to pull the upset in San Diego -- punishing running, to go with an equally locked-in defense -- to seal the win... and give the NFL's Conference Championship weekend a spicy bit of unpredictability. ↵

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↵Maybe we should have seen this result coming: It was Norv Turner in the playoffs, after all. But credit the Jets for the defensive gameplan and a nothing-to-lose attitude. ↵

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↵The league is better off for having an interloper -- only in the playoffs because the Colts laid down in front of them -- to go with the three powerhouses. ↵

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↵So we can look forward to the Saints -- America's real team -- in a frenzied Super Dome against Brett Favre, the most polarizing player in the league (wait: does anyone outside of his team's fans and the media actually root for him?). ↵

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↵And the Colts get a rematch against the team they threw a game to a few weeks ago, ruining their would-be perfect season and drawing the ire of their fans, who will be happy to forgive if the Colts vault the Jets to get back to the Super Bowl. (But, for just a moment, imagine the hysteria of schadenfreude if Peyton and Co. lose next week.) ↵

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↵The league couldn't ask for a more interesting Final Four. ↵

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↵ ↵What’s next for ... ↵ ↵

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↵The Cowboys: Does Jerry Jones ever want to win another championship? Because Wade Phillips is not the coach and Tony Romo is not the QB to get him one. I guess finally winning that playoff game in the Romo Era was something to build on, but every season Jones keeps Phillips around is a wasted one. If he's not gone in 2010, he'll be gone this time next year. ↵

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↵The Cardinals: Is Kurt Warner back next season or not? Presuming he retires (and that shot he took Saturday may have affirmed any instincts he had about it), the team will take a step back if Matt Leinart is the QB. ↵

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↵The Ravens: Getting to the Divisional round is nothing to be ashamed of, frankly. Flacco will continue to develop, as will Ray Rice. Combined with the Jets' success, they showed an RB- and D-heavy approach works -- at least to get to the playoffs. To win more than a game, however, they will need to fill out the offense. ↵

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↵The Chargers: You have to wonder if they'll ever have a better shot than they did this season. So if they can't get it done under ideal conditions, what does that say about the team's long-term prospects as a Super Bowl contender? ↵

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↵(I was happy to see the Jets pull the upset, but you have to feel for Nate Kaeding. I don't see how Chargers fans don't hold this against him for the rest of his career -- and longer.) ↵

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↵Tennessee hires Derek Dooley: I like it, even if Dooley doesn't have the resume of the other coaches pursued by the Vols -- if for no other reason that for Dooley, Tennessee is a "destination" job, and for the others, it wasn't. I'd rather have the guy who isn't always positioning himself for whatever is next, and Tennessee fans shouldn't either, for obvious reasons. ↵

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↵NFL Draft: Toby Gerhart is in, as expected. I think he has a very solid NFL career and can contribute immediately, particularly given the league's trend toward having multiple RBs share the load. ↵

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↵CBB Mania: Northwestern's win over Purdue was most interesting result of the weekend, given the boost it gives to NU's life on the Bubble (yes, the Bubble exists in mid-January). ↵

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↵Other most impressive wins: Syracuse over West Virginia, Michigan over UConn, Villanova over G'town and Georgia Tech over UNC. ↵

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↵How good is Texas, really? It took them OT to brush off A&M, and they get another "prove-it" game tonight, with K-State. ↵

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↵Shannon Brown in the Dunk Contest? Yes, please. ↵

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↵McGwire Watch: Did you think he wasn't going to get cheered in St. Louis? What also appears apparent is that he and his p.r. spinners think his brief media tour was more than enough. (They're probably right.) ↵

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↵Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad: I understand why he's doing it, but for a guy who has spent four years developing the biggest fan base of any college football player in the country, this will be polarizing -- although it's not like Tebow's fans didn't know the backstory. The ad may very well likely never see air on Super Bowl Sunday, but it will certainly find an extended audience on YouTube. ↵

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↵RIP Gaines Adams. What a sad story. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Pants on the Ground." Really, Brett? Really? ↵

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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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