[1) It is WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16. Season debut of American Idol tonight. Used to be a guilty pleasure of mine, but less and less. Maybe give it one more shot. 2) Congrats to ex-Canes assistant coach Marc Trestman, new head coach of the Chicago Bears. 3) Did I like the season debut of Shameless? Yes. Mostly. Although the Mexico/drugs storyline with Frank seemed a bizarre tangient that didn't quite fit the show. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
Kiper says: Cordarrelle Patterson No. 1 for Dolphs: That would be Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson who turns up No. 12 to Miami in the first Mock Draft of ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. Patterson played only one year for Vols after two in junior college, but His Kiperness notes the size (6-3, 205), good hands and run-after-catch ability. Haven't seen Patterson in many mocks or first-round projections so this guess smells like a reach, but we'll see.
DOES DOLPHINS' $400 MILLION STADIUM PLAN HAVE PUBLIC SUPPORT? YOU TELL STEPHEN ROSS, NOW, RIGHT HERE: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants $400 million in stadium improvements, is willing to pay a little more than half and wants public funds to pay for the rest. Are you on board? The poll below is your forum. The Dolphins want you to know that major area hotels are backing their plan to better attract future Super Bowls and big events. The InterContinental Miami, Trump National Doral and Loews Miami Beach are the first on board. No doubt others will follow. Hmm. Naturally major hotels are on board because big events mean visitors and revenue. But wouldn't it be nice if these hotels were willing to give as well as get? This big-ticket remodeling is outlined as a typical team/taxpayer consortium, with the Dolphins and Ross paying about half and you the public (they hope) absorbing the rest. But why shouldn't private enterprise that stands to benefit also contribute? Hotels, major restaurants, car-rental companies ... why do they get the windfall of a local Super Bowl that (theoretically) comes with a better stadium while contributing nothing to that better stadium but their spoken support? Anyway, I digress. Back to reality. The renovated stadium, including a giant canopy, is pictured. Now here's the poll. Vote and say why.
Poll result: Best Super Bowl? 49ers-Ravens, the Bro Bowl: We asked your preferred Super Bowl matchup in previous blogpost and 49ers-Ravens -- the duel of coach-brothers Jim and John Harbaugh -- won with 47.1 percent, followed by 49ers-Patriots 32.8%, Falcons-Ravens 15.5% and Falcons-Pats 4.6%. Combine totals and team you most want to see is 49ers 79.9, Ravens 62.6, Pats 37.4 and Falcons 20.1.
BIZARRE: MANTI TE'O: HOAXER OR HOAX VICTIM?: This is almost too weird/unbelievable/delicious to be true: A report today by Deadspin (click here) suggesting that Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o completely made up the tragic November death of supposed girlfriend Lennay Kekua, who apparently never existed. Notre Dame in turn has issued a statement claiming Te'o is not the liar here, but rather the victim of a terrible hoax. I'll not jump to conclusions like so many have. But you an bet we'll be following this. (Hey. Maybe the whole Manti Te'o liar/hoax story was planted by Lance Armstrong to take a little heat off!)
FOOT-DRAGGING NCAA MUST GIVE UM CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED, PUNISHMENT PAID: UM is now into its fourth calendar year living this Nevin Shapiro mess and NCAA probe. The university already has self-sacrificed two bowl games and an ACC championship game, suspended eight players for 19 games, self-imposed football scholarship limits and, in effect, served two years of probation even before the NCAA has issued its sanctions. That should count for a lot, I write in my latest column. Click on Credit For Time Served to read. Some will see me as an apologist for the Hurricanes. No. They have punishment coming. My point is, much of that punishment already has been served. UM has been a model for how to properly respond, and the NCAA needs to take that into full account.
HEAT STRUGGLES: JUST A BAD TRIP, OR REAL ISSUES? SOMETHING ISN'T RIGHT: The defending champs seem in disarray, mentally beat up a bit. They are 4-6 in past 10 games and 8-9 on the road including 1-3 so far on this six-game swing out west. It's more than that, though. There was a veneer of lethargy to Monday night's 104-97 loss at Utah. "Low energy," LeBron James called it afterward. There also seem to be little fissures of dissension, things for coach Erik Spoelstra (pictured) to deal with. Chris Bosh has second-guessed the team's change in strategy, to smaller-ball, to "positionless." Bosh hardly played down the stretch last night. Dwyane Wade didn't get off the bench at all in the fourth quarter and obviously was not thrilled. "Coach makes the calls, I'm just a player," he said afterward. How do you not play Wade and Bosh in crunch time? A fair question for Spoelstra. (Perhaps one he has heard from Pat Riley). Panic time? No. Crisis? No. But all is not well with the Heat. All is not right. Not on the court, or off it. Something needs fixing. Mending.
LYIN' LANCE ARMSTRONG: AMERICAN CHEAT: Shamed, defrocked Tour de France icon Lance Armstrong comes clean to Oprah about his PED use, but how many years too late? It isn't so much his doping that galls here, it's all those years that Armstrong looked America in the eye and flat-out lied. He not only proclaimed his innocence, he was indignant at the accusations. Incredulous. All the while his fight with cancer and his good works with the Livestrong Foundation were held up as shields against the scrutiny. 'How dare you accuse me!?' Liar. Cheater. Turd. What a hypocritical fraud.
GAGA AND THE GUN BRA: Lady Gaga is in trouble with gun-control groups -- especially in light of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut -- for wearing in concert a bra with toy guns attached. I think she has a right to be as desperately outlandish as she wants to be. I also see the sensitivity, given the timing. Mostly, I've just always been looking for an excuse to picture a gun bra, which to me looks like something a beautiful counter-spy might have used to try to kill Bond in a 1960s' 007 film.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...