We declare it Football Week in Miami with UM-Gators, Dolphins opener; plus grade my fantasy team (vote in poll), Upset Bird Countdown (4 days) & more
1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2. Happy Labor Day, everybody. This is the holiday on which we honor the contributions of the American workforce by not working. 2) Click on Random Evidence for yesterday's latest Sunday notes column. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Collball Week 1 led by Hurricanes opener, Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll/results, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).
IT'S FOOTBALL WEEK IN MIAMI WITH CANES-GATORS, DOLPHINS OPENING: We'll zero in on both of these games more fully later in the week but we must set the plate and whet the appetite for what is a college/pro doubleheader weekend of unsually high anticipation by South Florida football fans:
WHITE-OUT: Florida Gators at Hurricanes, Saturday, High Noon: Old rivals last met in 2008 and last played in Miami in '03. Gators were ranked No. 10 last week and Canes began just outside the Top 25, but UF will bump up this week and UM could be ranked in low 20s after both won soft openers. The U is calling this "White Out the Gators" Day and asking all fans to wear white. Six thousand students will be given the Al Golden ensemble -- white dress shirt and orange Canes necktie, along with a pair of Sebastian the Ibis sunglasses (pictured). This is the week the Canes prove they are ready to step back onto the sport's upper echelon ... or don't.
BROWN-OUT: Dolphins at Cleveland, Sunday, 1 p.m.: There are no soft openings in the NFL, but this is a game you count as a W if you're a Dolfan reckoning how Miami makes the playoffs. The Browns (now coached by former UM tight end Rob Chudzinski) have been bad for a long time, and Miami is a 1-point favorite by most lines. The question is whether Dolphins have enough talent to be special, and there remain doubts. For example ESPN experts just ranked the top 200 NFL players (100 offense, 100 defense), meaning the league-wide average would be 6.25 players listed. New England has nine. Miami's only four are DE Cameron Wake (20th-D), WR Mike Wallace (52nd-O), LB Dannell Ellerbe (72nd-D) and C Mike Pouncey (73rd-O). Will Ryan Tannehill play his way onto that list this year? He is ranked as only the 26th-best starting QB by ESPN's John Clayton. Ouch. Lots to prove for Tannehill and team, starting this week.
GRADE MY FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM: I limit myself to one fantasy football league, a little eight-team friends 'n family outfit that held its draft Sunday. Every year I invite readers to weigh in here on which of our teams looks good and which sucks, based on the top three picks. I'll tell you after the fact which team is mine. For now all you get is the draft order (if you wish to weigh that in your consideration) and the top three picks. The poll is in our draft order. It's a PPR league. I know it's tough to judge any roster on three picks (even the top three), but just ask yourself: Which of these trios would I most want at the top of my team? I like this annual exercise because you guys will be impartial, whereas no fantasy team owner in history is capable of that. We all think we had the best draft, right? Well, now you tell us. Vote and say why.
UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 4 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages on Sept. 6, and we began a 10-day countdown honoring outstanding notable birds. Today, at 4 days, we honor G.I. Joe (pictured), hero of the U.S. Army Pigeon Service during World War II. On Oct. 18, 1943, the village of Calvi Vecchia, Italy was scheduled to be bombed by the Allies, but our brave bird carried the message that British forces had captured the town. An attack was averted, saving the lives of more than 1,000 local Italians and British troops. Sadly, the advent of wireless communications rendered the pigeon to an unemployabe nuisance-existence spent mostly crapping.
UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 5 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages on Sept. 6, and we began a 10-day countdown honoring outstanding notable birds. Yesterday, at 5 days, we spotlighted the basketball legend, Larry Bird. I'm sorry, but this was unavoiadable, wasn't it? Bird enthralled New England, made white basketball fans stand a little taller, sported a quintessential '70s blond mustache, had a long equine face -- what wasn't to like?
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...