[1) It is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30. Big week for UM basketball. Congrats to Jim Larranaga's Canes men and Katie Meier's women for home wins over ranked opponents Michigan State and Penn State, respectively. 2) I have belatedly discovered and am loving the Showtime drama, Homeland. It could be the great storyline, or my long-standing, unseemly infatuation with Claire Danes. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
Me on ESPN's 'OTL' today: Your faithful columnist and blogger has been invited to appear today on ESPN's Outside The Lines (3 p.m.), and has agreed. It'll be for a segment on the uproar over coach Gregg Popovich sitting his core player last night in the semi-Spurs' loss to the Heat here.
Reunited: FAU following FIU to Conference USA: The Owls of Boca Raton announced the football team will join Conference USA in 2014. FIU is making the switch now, for '13. The Sun Belt is sinking. As Elton John sang, "Don't Let the Sun (Belt) Go Down On Me."
NFL PREDIX: BRADY, PATS OFFENSE LOOK UNSTOPPABLE: Dolphins look good at home to keep it inside a 7 1/2-point betting line Sunday, but wishful thinking is required (sorry) to imagine Miami's offense will outscore Tom Brady's. Click On Week 13 Gems for all of today's latest NFL picks by me, and on Postseason Primer for our Friday Page leagues notes column leading with a look at the playoff races. Looking pretty dram,a0free at this point, with eight or nine of the 12 playoff spots in firm control.
BONDS. CLEMENS. SOSA. VERDICT TIME!: The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is out this week, and notables on it for the first time include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, the Mount Rushmore of the sport's Steroids Era. This vote will be the ultimate referendum on whether Cooperstown will admit those linked with PEDs, because these three -- especially Bonds and Clemens -- otherwise would be first-ballot inductees of the highest order. Long-time baseball writers get to vote. But now you get to vote first. I have included on my ballot the three guys mentioned plus Pete Rose, just for old time's sake. Vote for as many of the four as you think belong in Cooperstown in 2013. You may vote for any, all or "none." Decide and say why.
Poll result: Strong support for Marlins/Loria boycott: We asked in the previous blogpost (you may still vote) what Marlins fans should do, and 76.7 percent said stop supporting the team as long as Jeffrey Loria is owner. Another 16.3% said contuinue to support team and 7.0% were undecided. Interestingly, the animus was slightly less strong in Florida, where the numbers were 73.7/18.1/8.2.
TURNS OUT CHRIS BOSH IS AN INTERGALACTIC TRAVELER. WHO KNEW?: A new animated short film, Adventures of Christopher Bosh In the Multiverse, will debut mid-December in the Borscht Film Festival at the Arsht Center in downtown Miami. A screen-grab is pictured. (It animates when you click on it. Cheap thrill). The film is by Ronnie Rivera of the art consortium Bleeding Palm. Click HERE to watch a short trailer. The film is trippy-delic. It's like nothing I've ever seen that did not involve mushrooms.
Heat beat Semi-Spurs; get off Popovich's back!: The NBA literati and commissioner David Stern are up in arms that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested his primary stars in the Heat's 105-100 win here last night. Oh the outrage! Embarrassment! Travesty! No it wasn't. It was a coach's decision, that's all. Popvich wanted to save some old legs to then face conference fe Memphis. His call. What next? Stern monitoring stars' minutes? Only time this should come into play and be anybody's business but the team's is late in the sesaon when playoff positioning is being determined. If a team is resting stars to lose for a more favorable playoff opponent, then that's Stern's business. Not now. (Postscript: During the telecast, Charles Barkley informed us Dwyane Wade isn't the player he used to be. Do tell! Scoop to Chuck!)
LeBron back on top in jersey sales: LeBron James jerseys are No. 1 in latest NBA merchandise sales for first time since April 2011 -- yet another sign of his transformation from national villain to champion-hero. Rounding out top five: Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose. Dwyane Wade is seventh. In team sales the Knicks are No. 1 for first time since 2004, with the Heat second.
SUPER BOWL ODDS NOW A DEAD-HEAT: Updated, from Bovada, Texans and Patriots now SB co-favorites at 9-2, followed by 49ers at 5-1 and Broncos 11-2. (Dolphins improved to 200-1, 20th place). MVP picks are Peyton Manning at 5-4 and Tom Brady 5-2.
ON POWERBALL AND LOTTERY OBSESSION: You are a loser if you plunged money into this week's $579.9 million multi-state Powerball. Alas, I mean that literally and figuratively. Playing the lottery is a sucker's bet, with only 47 cents on the dollar returned. "Yeah well somebody has to win!" Yeah except it won't be you. One winning ticket was sold in Arizona, another in Missouri. Everybody else ripped up their money. Your odds of winning this week's Powerball were 175-million-to-1. You are more likely to see a Dromedary camel in sweatpants on a treadmill at Dick's Sporting Goods. Studies also indicate that lower-income folks -- not LeBron James, who plays, too -- are disproportionately more likely to play the lottery. The folks who can least afford to waste money, in other words. Shoot, who am I kidding with this anti-lottery rant. I'm just mad I didn't win, either!
DEAR ANGUS T. JONES...: The now-young-adult star of the sitcom Two And A Half Men is telling Christian media that people should not watch the show because it is full of filth. 1) No it isn't. It is full of sophomoric, double-entendre sexual humor, that's all. 2) You are an actor. You pretend for a living. Just as we know the actor who plays Dexter is not really a serial killer, we understand that you are simply playing a character on TV. 3) You grew out of that role years ago. Kindly quit the show you disdain soon, before its producers have the good sense to fire your ungrateful a--.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...