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Two-Poll Thursday: On Obama vs. Romney, Marlins firing Guillen. Vote now!; plus the giant Giant, dumb Canes dad, SOPY rankings & more

[1) It is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25. As Hurricane Sandy pounds its way toward us to the east, I can tell you that my dog, Sandy, is not pleased to be associated with such mayhem. 2) Tonight's NFL pick is Vikings (-6 1/2) over Bucs, 23-20. 3) NFL announced that pink penalty flags would be used in Sunday's Dolphins-Jets game because of breast-cancer awareness month. Oy vey. 4) Check out our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote (been on hiatus; new vids coming soon) and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Stern anounces retirement plan: NBA commissioner David Stern today said he will retire on Feb. 1, 2014. Hey, let the 15-month farewell tour begin!

YOU'RE OUT! MARLINS FIRE GUILLEN: Marlins firing manager Ozzie Guillen after one season was not a shock, and a bit surprising only because it didn't happen right away and because, well, 1aa1guillenit's only been one year. There are decent arguments on both sides of this issue, which always is the petri dish for a blog poll. Those in favor of the move can argue that Guillen invited his own dismissal with the team's unexpected last-place finish augmented by his infamous Fidel Castro mess and other off-field issues. Those against the firing can argue one season is not a fair measure, and that the firing exposes Marlins ownership/management as buffoons with little patience or direction. I doubt there is much waffling room here, considering both Guillen and the Loria/Samson regime are each so polarizing. Chances are you heard the firing news and immediately felt either bad for Guillen or thought good-riddance. I weigh in today with my latest column, Dysfunction Starts At Top, writing that owner Jeffrey Loria's bad decisions and impatience are the hub of what's wrong with this club. Your turn now. Vote on Guillen's firing and say why. (Our presidential poll is immediately below...)

OBAMA VS. ROMNEY. ROCK THE VOTE 2.0: A few of you may be incredulous with outrage, but this blog 1aa1elect2runs on the credo that sports fans are not just sports fans. We are multi-faceted. We also like politics and art and whatever. So if a political poll here offends 1aa1electyou, move on and have a nice day. On July 2 we ran a Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney poll (Romney won with a scant majority of 50.8%) and said we'd have one more before the election. So 15 weeks later and less than two weeks from election day, here it is. Notice I provide no option for "Somebody else." Living in the real world here. If you're still dreaming of Ralph Nader, good luck with that. Also notice I provide no option for "Undecided." You have had months to consider and weigh; the debates are over. Time to finally choose, oh waffling one. Comments welcome as always, but on this topic more than most I'd ask for civility and respect. Agree these are two good men who want the best for America. Now choose one.

BROBDINGNAGIAN! SANDOVAL'S THREE HOMERS PUT GIANTS UP IN WORLD SERIES: Gigantic Giant Pablo Sandoval banged three homers last night as the Giants went up 1-0 over the visiting Tigers in the World Series. Game 2 tonight back in San Fran. The Giants were the first NL team I followed (because of Willie Mays), but they just won it all a couple of years ago, whereas Detroit last won the WS in distant 1984. Neither team -- despite San Fran's unlikely comeback in the NLCS or Detroit's title drought -- is a classic Cinderella. My rooting interest: Mostly ambivalence, but maybe, I guess, Tigers, narrowly.

Poll result: Not overwhelmingly, but A-Rod welcome on Marlins: We asked in a previous blog poll if you'd liike to see Alex Rodriguez with the Marlins next season, and 56.3 percent said yes. Another 38.0% said no, while 5.7% were undecided.   

POOR LUTHER ROBINSON: Somewhere on the UM campus, Hurricanes junior defensive tackle Luther Robinson must be looking for a hole to crawl into and disappear -- thanks to his father. On Wednesday Robinson's dad called into Joe Rose's morning show on WQAM and blasted coach Al Golden, calling him "a liar," saying he favors his own recruits over Randy Shannon's, and (this is funny) claiming Golden does not care about winning. Bottom line: Mr. Robinson thinks Luther is better than the other guys and should be playing more. All of us wish we could take back a regrettable phone call, I guess. Sad. 

SOPY RANKINGS (WEEK 8): FSU'S MANUEL MAINTAINS LEAD: This college football season marks the blog debut of our weekly State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, which I like to call the "Sunshine State Heisman." Our chart encompasses the most productive seasons of any quarterback, 1aa1ejmrunning back or receiver from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida and FSU, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. (Note: Rankings consider only passing, rushing and receiving, not returns). 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. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. After Week 8 it's Florida State's E.J. Manuel (pictured) leading for a second straight week. The SOPY Top 10 entering Week 9:

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

1 (1)     E.J. Manuel, FSU-qb     148.5 = 1,326.5

2 (2)     Stephen Morris, Miami-qb     100.5 = 1,241

3 (3)     B.J. Daniels, South Florida-qb     112.5 = 1,225.5   

4 (6)     Jake Medlock, FIU-qb     182 = 1,001.5

5 (4)     Chris Thompson, FSU-rb     94 = 965

6 (5)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb     81 = 926

7 (7)     Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb     65.5 = 857.5

8 (10)     Graham Wilbert, FAU-qb     185.5 = 775.5

9 (8)     Mike Gillislee, Florida-rb     34 = 717

10 (9)     Duke Johnson, Miami-rb     46 = 692

Bubble: Mike James, Miami-rb, 677

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

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