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October 26, 2012

Popularity poll: LeBron vs. D-Wade. Vote!; plus Collball (Gators fall), NFL-Dolphins predix, Giant lead, Golden, Memphis, virginity auction & more

[1) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28. Major endorsements in the presidential race. Barack Obama endorsed by Colin Powell. Mitt Romney endorsed by Meat Loaf. 2) Check out our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote (been on hiatus; new vids coming soon) and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Collball Week 9 post: Because the Miami Hurricanes were off this weekend, our weekly Collball feature has been demoted from a separate post and incorporated below. Scroll to bottom of this post to find.

LEBRON VS. D-WADE! (RELAX, IT'S JUST FOR FUN...): The NBA champion Heat open defense of their crown in two days, Tuesday night here vs. Boston, and I wanted a preseason poll. Can't exactly ask how 1aa1dwlbjyou think the Heat will do, because if most experts predict a repeat title, you know that fan confidence is undebatably through the rafters. So I chose a poll on whether LeBron James has surpassed Dwyane Wade as the team's most popular player. I don't mean to cause trouble, I'm just genuinely curious. I think the question has become fair. LeBron, reigning league and Finals MVP, obviously is the team's best player, which usually equates to popularity. But Heat fans surely have embraced Wade longer. I fully understand that you can vote for one and also adore the other; you might even claim you like them equally. But, c'mon. Fans have favorite players. It's what we do. So vote and say why. Or, if you prefer, don't vote -- it'll be a protest vote! -- in righteous indignation over such an outrageously divisive poll!

Will Heat usurp Dolphins for South Florida's heart?: Our Heat/NBA special preview section is out today and my contributon is this column on whether the Heat has already or may yet surpass the Dolphins as South Floridas No. 1 pro team.

Heat to unveil new uniforms: Heat announced it will continue its "ongoing uniform progression plan" by unveiling new uniform designs during the 2012-13 season, beginning Tuesday with a championship-theme uniform featuring gold trim and trophy patch. Other designs will include a White Hot theme, 25th anniversary "Hardwood Classics" uniform, Christmas Day uniform, "Miami Black" theme and the recurring "Noche Latina" look.

NFL PREDIX: TOUGH BAPTISMAL FOR TANNEHILL: Sunday will be Ryan Tannehill's first division road 1aa1fripixgame, and there are easier situations imaginable than at Jets, in funky weather (50s, chance of rain), in a howling bowl of haters. Should be a great game. I have it Stinkin' Jets, 19-16, but am always happy to root against my pick when it involves Rex Ryan being disappointed. Click on Week 8 Gems for all my latest NFL picks, and on Pro Bowl Outlook for my early glimpse at Dolphins contenders as voting begins.

WORLD SERIES: TIGERS BATS STAY MARLINS-SLEEPY, GIANTS IN COMPLETE COMMAND: Giants up 3-0 on Tigers heading into a possible clinching Game 4 tonight/Sunday in the Motor City. It's done. Collapse by Miguel Cabrera and favored Tigers looks epic.

Poll result: It's Obama in a landslide: We asked in previous blogpost who has your support for president and Barack Obama won with 61.5 percent to Mitt Romney's 38.5. Romney had narrowly won the same poll in July with 50.8%. This time the poll was running close again before a sudden, major Obama surge, suggesting to me organized involvement by a Democrat group. That's OK. Free country.

Poll result: Close vote, but disapproval of Guillen firing: We also asked if you approved of the Marlins firing manager Ozzie Guillen, and 49.4 percent said no vs. 45.4% yes and 5.2% undecided.

AL GOLDEN'S ROUGH WEEK: It's good the Hurricanes have a bye this weekend. Coach Al Golden could 1aa1alguse some rest. Rough few days. First that big home loss to rival Florida State, a third straight defeat dropping Miami to 4-4. Then the father of defensive tackle Luther Robinson goes on local radio to blast Golden (pictured) because his kid isn't playing enough. Now a dispute over whether defensive end Kelvin Cain quit the team or was dismissed. The good news: UM still controls its own future and can play into the ACC championship game by winning all three of its remaining conference games starting next Thursday here vs. Virginia Tech.

Ron Fraser statue fund: Happy to say UM has instituted a Ron Fraser Wizard Fund to help erect a bronze statue in honor of the longtime former Canes baseball coach. Click on the link to donate. I must say the school should be doing this on its own rather than begging public money, but, in this case, by whatever means, the end is justified.

TRAVELOGUE: MEMPHIS: Wife and I met another couple (friends who live outside D.C.) last weekend in Memphis. We meet a couple of times a year in a different city. Of course we had to do Graceland; I think it's a law when visiting Memphis. Tourist-y to the max but worth the $34 if you are/were an Elvis 1aa1civPresley fan. (I was too young for Elvis' heyday but am big on pop music history, so I couldn't miss experiencing Graceland). I'd more highly recommend two other attractions to fully dive into Memphis music culture: the Rock and Soul Museum, and the Stax Museum. But the most enriching time devoted in that city for us, by far, was the hours spent in the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Forget Graceland; the NCRM should be a required stop for any Memphis visitor. Can't end the travelogue without a quick mention of ribs, the city's iconic food. Everybody points you to the famous Rendezvous, a tourist magnet. And it was OK. But better by a lot were the ribs we tasted at Central BBQ. (Hmm. Wonder if they deliver...)

STEPHEN A. SMITH: "N----, PLEASE": Stephen A. Smith appears to have dropped the N-word on ESPN's First Take Thursday. Click here to listen for yourself.

RIDICULOUSLY PHOTOGENIC HOMELESS GUY GETS HELP BECAUSE HE'S HANDSOME: Guess that headline about says it all. Click here for more.

1aa1catarinaWOMAN AUCTIONS VIRGINITY: This 20-year-old woman, from Brazil, has auctioned off her virginity to raise money for charity. The winning bid was $780,000. I think I may need to take out a loan.

COLLBALL WEEK 9: Canes off but the rest of the state is hopping. Let's get to it. Saturday's state FBS slate:

1aa1flagaNo. 10 Georgia 17, No. 2 Florida 9: The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, they call it. It also turned out to be the world's largest opportunity for Florida to blow its BCS standing and national-title shot. Oh my. I did not see this happening. My pick was: Florida, 27-20.

No. 12 FSU 48, Duke 7: Duke isn't as doormat-bad as it typically is, but Noles still rolled like a big wheel. FSU win did Miami a big favor, increasing UM's chances of reaching ACC title game. My pick was: FSU, 38-16.

FAU 34, Troy 27: Owls on the prowl! Raw hunch, but I saw Atlantic with elusive second win in home-'dog upset. Great call by me (he bragged). My pick was: FAU, 24-21.

Western Kentucky 14, FIU 6: Like the Black Eyed Peas, I gotta feeling. Alas, the wrong one. Saw the Mario Brothers in a home upset; instead, FIU's nightmare season continues. My pick was: FIU, 31-27.  

My record: This week, 2-2. Season, 31-10.

Other state FBS games: Syracuse def. South Florida, 38-37; and UCF def. Marshall, 54-17.

National Game of Week: Sorry Gator, but it was No. 5 Notre Dame @ No. 8 Oklahoma. Irish won, 30-13 

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