Shanoff's WUC: Boise, Shanahan, Charleston

Today's Calls: Boise vs. BCS, Mike Shanahan vs. Dan Snyder, College of Charleston vs. UNC, Gilbert Arenas vs. DC legal system, Adrian Beltre vs. Red Sox Nation, Tiger vs. Vanity Fair and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Boise State didn't just win its last game of the 2009 season. The Broncos won their first game of the 2010 season. ↵

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↵With its BCS bona fides secure thanks to a head-to-head win over its closest rival among non-BCS powers, Boise is poised to streak through next season undefeated, with all the momentum necessary to play for -- and win -- a national title. ↵

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↵Virtually the entire team returns, and Boise should springboard from this win to start next season in the preseason Top 5. (I'd put them at No. 1 or 2.) As the BCS contenders are dragged down by that inevitably unexpected loss, Boise will bob along at the top -- its BCS rep buoying a paltry conference schedule. Even if TCU goes unbeaten, Boise can point to last night's win for comparison. ↵

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↵It will be bittersweet for folks who hate the BCS: On the one hand, Boise will have the best chance to crash the national title game of any non-BCS team ever. On the other hand, if they do crash it, the BCS can say: "See? Fair enough." ↵

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↵Boise State cannot view last night's win as the capstone of a great season -- it has to see it as one more critical hurdle in a multi-year campaign that was launched in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, then affirmed in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl ... ↵

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↵... and ultimately completed in this same University of Phoenix Stadium a year from now, with a national championship. ↵

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↵Gone Bowlin': Orange, as usual, doesn't have a ton of buzz. Iowa vs. Georgia Tech? Well, at least there is the Wreck's triple-option. ↵

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↵NFL Coaching Carousel: Mike Shanahan proves that recycling is the new policy in Washington. Meanwhile, the Giants fired DC Bill Sheridan, yet it's hard to believe Tom Coughlin isn't on any sort of hot seat. (Hmm: I wonder if Bill Cowher is waiting another year before returning to coaching so he can have the Giants job?) ↵

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↵Getting a reprieve... at least for next season: Jack Del Rio, Raheem Morris, Lovie Smith and -- maybe -- Eric Mangini. All four must know that if they don't show marked improvement, they are as good as gone this time next year. (Especially if Bill Cowher is available.) Per Raiders policy of crazy, Tom Cable is still in limbo. ↵

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↵Pro Bowl: Ah! Given my earlier complaints about his absence, there's Percy Harvin. All is right in the world. ↵

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↵CBB Mania: Charleston! You won't get a more delightfully unexpected result between now and the NCAA Tournament than UNC losing to College of Charleston. ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: Are the Hawks fading? Ugliest loss of their season (season-lows in points and FG pct, plus -22 in rebounding margin) is also Atlanta's first 4-game losing streak since January '09. ↵

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↵Arenas Gun Scandal: It's reportedly going to a grand jury, which -- incredibly -- could be the first step in a process that results in the Wizards scuttling Arenas' $111M contract. (If the Wiz were winning this season, that wouldn't be on the table.) ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Adrian Beltre is the new Mike Lowell. For newly arriving players, the new standard in Boston is not unlike the old standard in New York: Either you win a ring or you're a bust. ↵

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↵Baseball HoF class of 2010 will be announced tomorrow, and SN's Stan McNeal takes you through his thinking. It's up to you to decide if you approve of his reasoning -- both his criteria and how he applied it this year. ↵

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↵Tiger Watch: EA still loves him! The proof will be in the sales of his eponymous game. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, that Vanity Fair cover of Tiger is absurdly out of context -- but, hey, he posed for them. It's a sign of how much respect he has lost that venerable VF is willing to humiliate him on its cover.) ↵

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↵Happy retirement: To Kentucky's Rich Brooks. No coach in football gives better sideline face. ↵

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↵New employment: What does a fast-food pizza CEO know about running an athletic department? We will find out, when Domino's CEO David Brandon is named Michigan's AD. Hope he knows as much about NCAA compliance as he does about toppings. He is a former Michigan football player and seems like a very active, very rich booster (two qualities that tend to go together). ↵

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↵Absurdities: Chris Johnson says he did NOT challenge Usain Bolt to a race. Would have been fun to watch, but it's ludicrous. (Are we even sure that Johnson is the NFL's fastest player?) ↵

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↵TV: The Tebow Effect. Even though it was a rout early, the Sugar Bowl audience was up 9 percent from last year's Alabama-Utah game -- and 57 percent from the brutal VA Tech-Cincy game from New Year's Day evening. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "That's Boise State football.” -- Boise State punter Kyle Brotzman, on the fake punt call that led to the Broncos' game-winning score. ↵

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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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