[1) It is MONDAY, JANUARY 7. Welcome to Championship Day in South Florida. 2) Heat today waived Josh Harrellson. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
Click on Big -- Even For Us for my column today advancing the Tide-Irish title game. I write of the history of Greater Miami hosting games on sports' biggest stage, and how this ranks.
ROLL TIDE!: ALABAMA, SABAN REIGN AGAIN!: Crimson Tide crush Fighting Irish, 42-14. Alabama completely dominated Notre Dame tonight at Dolphins stadium, leading early and once up 35-0 before the Irish made the score seem less lopsided than it really was. Eddie Lacy (140 yards rushing) was the game's MVP. My vote went to QB AJ McCarron (four TD passes).
ALABAMA-NOTRE DAME: YOU MIGHT WANT BOTH TO LOSE, BUT ONE HAS TO WIN: We asked back in early December, when this matchup first was known, which team you hoped would win, and 60.2 percent voted Notre Dame. Now let's take the hope out of it and find out which team you predict will win. Not against the spread, just straight up. Who'll reign as champion at Dolphins stadium around midnight tonight? I doubt Irish or Tide fans can vote dispassionately, so I'm counting on those who don't have a rooting interest or who hate both equally to step back and be steered by mind, not heart. You have $100 to place on either team winning outright. Where's your money go? Vote and say why.
Crystal championship trophy traces roots to Miami: The Waterford crystal trophy Alabama or Notre Dame will win tonight traces to South Florida. The UM Sports Hall of Fame informs us the locally based Gerrits Foundation teamed with the UPI Coaches Poll to create the trophy in 1986. The foundation was formed by three Gerrits brothers (all UM graduates) to honor their father, Edward, who founded Gerrits Construction here in 1945. The family affiliation with the trophy ended in 1990, but the trophy itself endures.
OWNER SPEAKS: ARISON TWEET TWEAKS SPOILED HEAT FANS: Heat owner Micky Arison's Sunday Tweet: When did being 1st in the East at the beginning of January become not good enough for some @MiamiHEAT fans? Hmm. I get Arison's point. First is first. It's harsh if you look at team's record and see disappointment first. Arison must appreciate fans' concerns, though. Lack of rebounding has been a real issue, and two or three teams in the West seem capable, at this point, of beating Miami.
OWNER SPEAKS II: DOLPHINS' ROSS VOWS TO OPEN WALLET: Owner Stephen Ross held his season-wrapup news conference today and promised, "I don't care what it costs. I'm willing to do whatever it takes" to build a winner. Ross said he believes in draft above free agency but won't hesitate to spend in the latter of right players are there. Ross also reiterates his belief that Miami has the "right guys" in coach Joe Philbin and QB Ryan Tannehill. Said those are any team's two most important ingredients, adding, "I think we have them."
NFL PLAYOFFS: ROUND 1 AND LOOKING AHEAD: The weekend's four wild-card games were a letdown, decided by 6, 14, 15 and 10 points. None came down to an exciting finish. The only real drama was A) the likely home farewell of Ray Lewis (left) in Baltimore, and B) Mike Shanahan's handling of Robert Griffin III's (right) knee injury at Washington. Doubt it would have changed the result, but Shanahan would have served RG3 -- and his team -- better by putting in a healthy Kirk Cousins sooner. Looking ahead to next weekend and the Final Eight, the initial gut feeling is that the two AFC games are easy picks but that the two NFC games are toughies. Broncos over Ravens and Patriots over Texans seem clear calls for the home teams. Packers-at-Niners and Seahawks-at-Falcons will require some deeper thought.
Updated Super Bowl odds: New from Bovada, the numbers bear out what I said above regarding the next round of games. Updated SB odds: Broncos 11-4, Patriots 7-2, 49ers and Packers both 6-1, Falcons and Seahawks both 7-1, and Texans and Ravens both 18-1.
Poll result: Broncos, Ravens the fan favorites: We asked in the previous blogpost which of the 12 playoff teams you most hope wins the Super Bowl, and the three to draw double-figure support were the Broncos (21.6 percent), Ravens (17.8) and Seahawks (11.8). That's the power and popularity of Peyton.
BESS CITED FOR TECHNIQUE: Davone Bess is the only Dolphin honored among 26 NFL players on USA Football's 2012 All-Fundamental Team for "exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate." Didn't even know the team existed, but a neat little honor for Davone.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...