What is your faith in Dolphins' Joe Philbin? Poll. Vote; plus Canes in Top 10, NFL W6 picks, baseball, equality, Collball W7 (updated) & more
It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat's-toughest-challenge poll, LeBron landing-spot map, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, SOPY rankings & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).
Canes to No. 10 in AP poll: Though on a bye this week the 5-0 Miami Hurricanes shot from 13th to 10th in today's news Associated Press national college football poll. This is UM's highest ranking since reaching No. 8 on Oct. 18, 2009.
WHAT DO WE THINK OF JOE PHILBIN?: He has turmed 21. He may now be judged as a man. Or at least as the Dolphins head coach. Joe Philbin has been Miami's guy for 21 games now into his second season, with a 7-9 debut and a current 3-2 record into the bye. Have we formed an opinion yet? Right guy/good hire? Still have doubts? The genesis of this poll is that I'm not at all sure what the results will be. I know a poll on Heat coach Erik Spoelstra or UM's Al Golden would draw swooning approval. I know a poll on Marlins manager Mike Redmond or Panthers coach Kevin Dineen would draw mostly yawns. I'm just not sure on Philbin. He certainly does not look or act the part of a fiery NFL coach. (His Packers players used to call him "The Pilgrim" for his stoic demanor). The question is whether you think he's the guy to lead Miami back to NFL prominence. Vote and say why.
UPSET BIRD DAY: WEEK 6 NFL PREDIX: Dolphins are on a bye week at 3-2 to prepare for onset of AFC East schedule, but the NFL rolls on, undeterred. Click on Week 6 Gems for all of my latest NFL predix capsules -- there are four outright-upset calls this week -- and on Broncos Chasing All-Time Scoring Record for my Friday Page column on Peyton Manning taking aim at an NFL scoring mark that has stood since 1950. (My week got off to a split start last night. Had Bears over Giants but thought they'd cover the 8-point line and they fell just short).
BASEBALL'S BIG FOUR: The fan in me rooted for the Pittsburgh Pirates, so long bereft, to still be alive in the MLB playoffs, but the little teams and Cinderellas have fallen by the wayside (so long, Oakland) to reveal a marquee Final Four. TV has to love Tigers-Red Sox in the ALCS and Dodgers-Cardinals in the NLCS. Big teams, big stars and, from a Miami perspective, lots of ex-Marlins left, particularly with Detroit and L.A. Quick previews/predictions: ALCS--Tigers and Bosox have played 1,981 times since May 22, 1901, but this is, impossibly, their first playoff series. It may be that I was weaned on Carl Yastrzemski and am thoroughly impartial here, but I like Boston for its overall offensive edge, Miguel Cabrera aside. Pick: Red Sox in 7. NLCS--The first two games' pitching matchups are the Dodgers' Cy Youngs vs. the Cards' Real Youngs. Even at less than full strength, give me L.A. Pick: Dodgers in 6.
ON PANTHERS' 'EQUALITY NIGHT': Florida Panthers at 1-3 have their 20th home opener tonight but I'm more intrigued by the club's upcoming Oct. 19 promotion: a first-ever "Equality Night," described as "a night to celebrate the LGBT community and their allies." A portion of tickets sold will benefit The Pride Center, a South Florida site for HIV testing, education and counseling. "This is a time for the gay and straight communities to come together to battle homophobia in the lockerroom and in sports," reads the description of the night. Contact Brandon Loker at lokerb@florida panthers.com for more info. This is a great idea that hopefully will spread to our other local pro teams. Sports and its fans have tended to be a stubborn bastion of intolerance, and nights like help disintegrate those walls.
Poll result: No Bull. Pacers are Heat's biggest East challenger: We asked in the previous blogpost, and 55.1 percent called Indiana the biggest Eastern Conference roadblock for Miami. Chicago drew 33.8%, Brooklyn 8.7% and "other" 2.4%.
COLLBALL WEEK 7
The 13th-ranked Miami Hurricanes were off this weekend but since the nation had the temerity to continue playing anyway, we bring you a somewhat downplayed version of our Collball weekly roundup with only one truly big game on the state platter:
Week 7 state FBS games, listed in order of interest:
No. 10 LSU 17, No. 17 Florida 6: An intriguing contrast of the Tigers' high-powered offense vs. the Gators' very good defense in arguably the national Game of the Week. For me it was a venue pick. LSU had won 27 of its past 28 home games, and I was right in thinking this would be a tough place for inexperienced Florida QB Tyler Murphy to get much done. My pick was: LSU, 23-17.
UAB 27, FIU 24: The Alabama not winning national titles, the one in Birmingham, is 1-4 just like FIU. Thought a second straight Panthers win was a distinct possibility, but it was nothing I'd bet on. My pick was: UAB, 26-21.
Marshall 24, FAU 23: Thundering Herd was favored by 11. Owls were home and 5-1 vs. spread. I was right to see a loss, but close. My pick was: Marshall, 32-27.
South Florida 13, Connecticut 10: Winless UConn had just lost to Buffalo. I mean, USF is bad, but c'mon! Nailed it. My pick was: Upset. South Florida, 27-24.
Off this week:
No. 13 Miami: The 5-0 Canes have a short bye week, back in action on Thursday night at North Carolina. UM should handle the 1-4 Tar Heels. They'd better, to keep this dreamy season rising.
No. 6 FSU: Are you ready, Jameis Winston? Noles visit No. 3 Clemson next Saturday. ACC megamatch and national Game of the Week.
UCF: Knights 4-1 and almost ranked, but it'll be mighty tough to get over that hump next week against Teddy Bridgewater at No. 8 Louisville.
Week 7 national Top 25 matchups:
No. 17 Florida @ No. 10 LSU (see above).
No. 25 Missouri 41, No. 7 Georgia 26: Thought the Bulldogs, even wracked by injuries, were good enough at home to hand Mizzou its first loss. Didn't see this one coming. My pick was: Georgia, 30-20.
No. 2 Oregon 45, No. 16 Washington 24: The BIg O had won a nation-leading 17 straight road games but I'd think Washington at home getting 13 1/2 was too tempting. My pick was: Oregon, 37-28.
My record: This week, 5-1; season, 41-9.