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September 11, 2012

Dolphins home playoff game? Could be a circus!; plus Notre Dame joining ACC*, Romney, LeBron dials it up, G-Stanton, new SOPY rank & more

1aa1never[1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13. Honoring the almost 3,000 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the loved ones left behind. 'Never forget' doesn't mean just one day a year. 2) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Oh no a political note!: In 2008 I thought the presidential election turned when John McCain named Sarah Palin his running mate. In 2012 I think the (much closer) election was decided when Mitt Romney stunningly mishandled his reaction to this tragedy in Libya. I am not saying I'm right, and reasonable people might disagree. It's just what I believe.

Click on Patience Is A Virtue, Remember? for the latest column by me. I explore the Dolphins' and Hurricanes' similar situations, both teams asking patience of fan bases grown tired of waiting for a resurgence.

DOLPHINS BOOK STADIUM DURING PLAYOFF TIME BUT SAY NO CONFLICT: Remember owner Stephen Ross recently saying he is "planning" on the Dolphins making the playoffs this season? He is also 1aa1cirqueplanning for the stadium to be making revenue whether they do or not. Word leaked to us that Cirque de Soleil has booked shows for its newest production, Totem, in the "Grand Chapiteau" at Sun Life Stadium from Jan. 10 through Feb. 3. The NFL playoffs begin the weekend of Jan. 5-6 and run into early February. Club spokesman Harvey Greene told us the "Grand Chapiteau" will be set up in a stadium parking lot. He acknowledged the possibility a Dolphins home playoff game and a Circque de Soleil show could be occuring at the same time but said, "The potential disruption would be very, very minimal." Of course the whole issue is likely moot because the Dolphins' playoff chances seem remote, but I find this interesting in the category of actions speaking louder than words. If this were the Patriots or Packers or any team whose owner honestly anticipated hosting home playoff game(s), I doubt very seriously a major three-week circus run would be booked concurrently. 

Dolphins' dismal opening game local-TV ratings: The latest evidence the Dolphins have work to do to regrow their fan base: Miami ranked last, 30th of 30, of all teams where an NFL game ranked No. 1 in local ratings during Kickoff Weekend. Miami's 13.5 rating was well below the next worst, Tampa's 17.5 Twenty-six of 30 markets topped a 20 rating. Pittsburgh led all with 50.3.  

NOTRE DAME PLANS TO JOIN ACC (WITH AN ASTERISK): The asterisk is that Notre Dame plans to join Miami's conference in every sport except football, beginning with the 2013-14 school year if all works out. But the plan is for ND to play five football games each year vs. ACC teams. UM plays Notre Dame this fall at Soldier Field in Chicago. The rivalry rekindling itself in some way is welcome news.

AWFUL AND UNLUCKY IS NO WAY TO START A SEASON: No, I am not talking about the Dolphins' or Hurricanes' weekend. Could be, but am not. Am talking about my own season-opening performances on my NFL picks (that's the awful part) and my fantasy team (that's the unlucky part). NFL predix: I'll own up here each week, good or bad. That's called transparency. I'll gloat when I can, so I won't hide when the weeks go sour. I went 7-9 overall and 5-11 vs. the spread in Week 1, and that's abysmal both ways. Only Brandon Weeden had a worse week than me. Oddly enough I hit a rare exact score on the Dolphins' 30-10 loss in Houston but too many other games crashed in on me. KC over Atlanta proved to be an awful Upset of the Week call, and I don't know what I was thinking with Buffs over Jets. I'll bounce back. Greg's Lobos: My fantasy team led into Monday night, got tied 133-133 on Sebastian Janikowski's kicking, and then lost our league tiebreaker, which is most quarterback points, by 27-26. Canes, Dolphins, then me. The lost weekend.

1aa1lebronkdLEBRON DIALS IT UP: Training camp begins in just a little over two weeks for the NBA defending champion Heat, but league MVP LeBron James isn't waiting. ESPN reports James and Thunder star Kevin Durant are currently working out in tandem near James' home in Akron, Ohio, just as they did last season. Among the myriad things to love about James is the idea he could be idling on auto-pilot right now but isn't. The best basketball player on Earth has a thirst to get better. That's scary. Good-scary.

STANTON. AGAIN: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 34th home run last night and saw his slugging percetage rise to a majors-leading .600. Imagine if he hadn't missed a month-plus injured? Stanton is The Reason To Still Be Watching. Only one Marlin has ever slugged .600-plus for a full season: Gary Sheffield (.624) in 1996.

Marlins' 2013 schedule: It's out today. Team wil open on the road then play an April 8-17 homestand vs. Braves, Phillies and Nationals. So the NL East pecking order will set itself right out the gate. 

Ozzie Guillen back on Twitter: Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is back on Twitter. He must be almost as bored with this season as most fans. What will Ozzie say? Will he fracture grammar in two langauages? If I have absolutely nothing to do I might actually visit his Twittering @OzzieGuillen.

SOPY RANKINGS (WEEK 2): MEDLOCK TO THE TOP: This college football season the blog debuts our weekly cumulative State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, encompassing the best seasons 1aa1jakemof any quarterback, running back or receiver from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida and FSU, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Some people already are calling our rankings the "Sunshine State Heisman." OK nobody is calling it that but me. Anyway, our formula awards one point per offensive yard gained running or receiving and a half-point per yard passing, plus six bonus points for touchdowns thrown or scored. After Week 2 it's one FIU star (Jake Medlock, pictured) replacing another atop our list. The SOPY Top 10 after Week 2:

Rank (LW)     Player, Team-pos.     SOPY Pts. Week=Year

1 (2)     Jake Medlock, FIU-qb     257.5 = 462.5

2 (4)     B.J. Daniels, South Florida-qb     232.5 = 392

3 (1)     Kedrick Rhodes, FIU-rb     57 = 314

4 (3)     Mike Gillislee, Florida-rb     98 = 258

5 (--)     Graham Wilbert, FAU-qb     161 = 253

6 (--)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb     126.5 = 238.5

7 (6)     E.J. Manuel, FSU-qb     98.5 = 236.5 

8 (7)     Stephen Morris, Miami-qb     99 = 229

9 (--)     Andre Davis, South Florida-rec   203 = 216

10 (5)     Duke Johnson, Miami-rb     37 = 194

Bubble: Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb, 176.

State of the State rankings: 1. FSU (2-0); 2. Florida (2-0); 3. UCF (1-1); 4. South Florida (2-0); 5. Miami (1-1); 6. FIU (1-1); 7. FAU (1-1).

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

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