Shanoff's WUC: Can Finals Game 7 Match Hype?

Today's Calls: Lakers vs. Celtics, Spain vs. Oblivion, France vs. Mexico, NFL 16-Game Season vs. NFL 18-Game Season, Tiger vs. Pebble Beach, Jerry Jones vs. Notre Dame, Jamie Moyer vs. Tim Lincecum and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Game 7 of the 1984 Finals is a long, long time ago. Most fans -- certainly most fans under 40 -- don't remember it. ↵

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↵But it was the last time the NBA had a as big as tonight's Game 7 between the Lakers and Celtics. ↵

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↵• If you care about meaningful stakes, this is it: Do-or-die for the championship. ↵

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↵• If you care about star power, there is Kobe going for his 5th ring (and Boston's Big Three going for their 2nd). ↵

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↵• If you care about nostalgia, this is the NBA's biggest rivalry. ↵

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↵• If you care about tactics, there is how Boston deals with not having Kendrick Perkins. ↵

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↵• If you are a Lakers or Celtics fan, the appeal is obvious. ↵

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↵But if you are among the rest of us, you can rest easy: As insufferable as the champ's fans will be, you can rest easy knowing the loser's fans (equally insufferable) will be miserable. ↵

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↵The biggest winners -- regardless of who wins the game -- are fans who can sit back and appreciate how monumental this game is. My sole rooting interest is that the game comes remotely close to living up to its potential. ↵

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↵Spain shocked by Swiss: This wasn't the biggest upset in World Cup history, but it certainly is ensured as the most unexpected result of the group stage -- unless, of course, Spain fails to advance out of the group stage entirely, given that they were the presumptive favorite to win the entire tournament. The result should be a wake-up call -- no pun intended -- to every team that thinks advancing is a given. For Spain, it only reinforces their reputation as the World Cup's biggest chokers. ↵

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↵World Cup Today: If Argentina-South Korea produces a winner, that team will be advancing to the knockout round. Winless Nigeria vs. winless Greece implies that it would behoove one of those teams to win. France-Mexico should turn out to be the most pivotal match of Group A. ↵

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↵NFL going to 18-game regular season? Players may question it, and owners may be counting the extra revenues already, but it is hard to believe that fans will be against more football. ↵

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↵(By the way: Keep an eye on that detail at the end of the piece where Packers president Mark Murphy floats the idea of the NFL creating its own development league. Hopefully that comes with lowering the draft age limit by a year.) ↵

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↵US Open: How bad is the expectations game for Tiger right now? Not only is there no talk of "Tiger vs. the Field," but I think it would be surprising if Woods won. ↵

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↵Utah to Pac-10: Let me reiterate. When it finally joins, Utah instantly becomes the best bowl-eligible team in the conference. ↵

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↵Big 12 Saved -- Cont'd: A bit of transparency about how the afterthoughts of the Big 12 paid off Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma to stay in their league. ↵

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↵Big East joins party? There are two good reasons for the league to import Central Florida and Memphis. For UCF, it is entree into the fertile central Florida recruiting market (not to mention Orlando's fans); for Memphis, it is the hope the league can lure some of that FedEx marketing money (plus the Tigers' terrific hoops team fits right in). ↵

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↵Jerry Jones gets in on realignment: Cowboys owner wants Notre Dame and Arkansas to join Big 12. Sure, but is he willing to pay? ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: You can have Galarraga's Imperfect Game and Braden or Halladay's Perfect Games or even Stephen Strasburg. For me, the most impressive pitching performance is every time 47-year-old Jamie Moyer pitches effectively. Last night, another milestone: Moyer became the oldest pitcher ever to beat the Yankees. ↵

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↵(To put Moyer in perspective, Strasburg will be retired for 10 years by the time he is 47 -- let alone beating the Yankees. And Strasburg will be lucky to come remotely close to matching Moyer's career wins total; he could win 15 games a year for the next 15 years and still be 40 wins away from topping where Moyer is right now.) ↵

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↵More: ↵

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↵• Streaking: Mets win 6th straight ↵

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↵• Fantasy Stud: Scott Baker (12 Ks) ↵

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↵• Injury Watch: Lincecum hit by liner. ↵

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↵• Rookie Love: Bucs' Alvarez L in debut. ↵

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↵• Jobs: Buck Showalter to the O's? ↵

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↵• All-Star 2012: Going to be in KC. ↵

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↵• Today: Ubaldomania returns. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Things simply aren't going to end well with Albert Haynesworth in D.C. ↵

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↵Good Read: Florio on the six 2009 playoff teams most likely to make it back in 2010: Ravens, Colts, Chargers, Cowboys, Vikings, Packers. That means Florio doesn't see either the Jets -- SN's pick to win the AFC -- or the defending champ Saints making it back to the playoffs. ↵

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↵CFB Realignment: No one will give you a better breakdown of the Big Ten division scenarios than Brian Cook, the dean of Big Ten bloggers. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "June 17, 1994" was one of the most well-done sports documentaries that you'll ever see. If you didn't catch its premiere on ESPN last night, look for it on one of the re-airs. ↵

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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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