NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results; plus LeBron revealed, happy anniversary Bartman, exhilaration and disgust, updated SOPY rankings, Philbin verdict & more
It's Radio Tuesday!: Somewhat to my surprise I'm back in-studio today at 3 p.m. with the Dan Le Batard Show on 790 and 104.3 the Ticket and (from 4-7) on ESPN national radio. Ears welcome.
It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15. One day after Americans marked Columbus Day by making fun of Christopher's funny hat, our Muslim readers today celebrate Eid-Al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice. All praise Ishmael; now let's go slaughter an animal! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Joe Philbin poll, Canes crack Top 10, NFL Week 6 predix, baseball's Final Four, Panthers' Equality Night, Collball Week 7 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).
NFL PIX 'N FANTASY / WEEK 6: SMALL SIGNS OF LIFE: When we are alone, lost at sea and nearly out of hope, the smallest chunk of driftwood on which to grasp feels like a gift from heaven. NFL predix: After the worst three-week slump of our prognosticating career even a modest 9-6 record straight-up and 6-8-1 against the spread (Packers pushed) feels sort of OK. Which tells you how bad it's been. Fantasy: Yes, Greg's Lobos lost yet again, falling to 1-5. But this was 130-122 against a league power, and I'd have won had Dez Bryant done anything at all Sunday night. Ours was the highest losing score. Again, small signs of life. Sometimes, brave optimism is what's left to you, so you grab it.
LEBRON JAMES, REVEALED AND REVEALING: Heat megastar LeBron James has a revealing interview with ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard in the new issue. Click HERE to read it. A few things I found interesting: "I know I still have room for improvement," he said. He said he'd be playing more in the low post; "I'm comfortable with it now." He said, "Without MJ [Michael Jordan], there's no me. He gave me hope." And he said of his improved image, "I've seen people's percetion change." The article conspicuously does not address what James might do in the summer of 2014, and void so obvious and glaring that not asking about it must have been a condition of the interview.
HAPPY 10TH ANNIVERSARY, STEVE BARTMAN, WHEREVER YOU ARE: Ten years ago yesterday, Oct. 14, 2003, Cubs fan Steve Bartman stitched himself into the sad quilt of that franchise's history in "the Bartman Game" vs. the Marlins. It was Game 6 of the NLCS, Chicago leading Miami (then Florida) by 3 games to 2 and by 3-0 in the eighth inning of that game. Chicago was five outs from its first trip to the World Series since 1945. Then, Bartman happened. A Luis Castillo foul-ball fly down the line, left fielder Moises Alou angling in for the catch -- but Bartman interferes with the ball! Cubs pitching goes on to collapse, Marlins win the series, and everybody blames Bartman, who goes into deep hiding and still has never commented publicly at any length on his role in Cubs (and Marlins) history. His instant infamy and long seclusion make him one of the quirky-fascinating figures in sports history. He issued a brief statement following the episode but has otherwise laid low, althought I'd reccomend this story from ESPN.com on the somewhat successful search for Bartman. Meanwhile, 10 years in hiding is long enough, Steve. Come out, come out, wherever you are. Ditch Chicago. We happen to love you in South Florida, and our weather kicks Chicago's a--. You'd have safe haven here. We'd call you the Mayor of Marlins Park. You could even keep the Cubs hat.
EXHILARATION AND DISGUST ON A SPORTS SUNDAY: The exhilaration first, because that is what sports at its best should be about first. Has Boston ever had a better day for double-cheering than Sunday? First the Patriots beat the previously undefeated Saints 30-27 on a last-second TD pass by Tom Brady, then -- better, bigger -- the Red Sox erased a 5-0 deficit and beat Detroit 6-5 in Game 2 of the ALCS, led by a David Ortiz grand slam. (The lifelong Red Sox fan in me believes in miracles again. That's the magic and power of sports). The disgust occured in Houston, where Texans fans -- not most, but too many -- cheered as QB Matt Schaub injured his ankle and was helped off the field in a loss to St. Louis. Teammates were angry. That is the kind of display that could forever queer Schaub's relationship with that city and its fans. You bought the ticket, fans. Boo the interception if you wish. But cheering an injury crosses a line. It is classless. It embarrasses the city.
SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 7: WINSTON STILL SMOKING THE COMPETITION: This is the second season of our blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, a weekly updated list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS schools: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Because our rankings are cumulative players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. Canes QB Stephen Morris won the 2012 season title with 1,900.5 points. FSU QB Jameis Winston is the current leader even ater a bye week. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Our 2013 standings entering Week 8:
Rk (LW) Player, Team-pos. SOPY Pts. Wk6=Year
1 (1) Jameis Winston, FSU-qb BYE = 969.5
2 (3) Jaquez Johnson, FAU-qb 183.5 = 932
3 (2) Blake Bortles, UCF-qb BYE = 762
4 (4) Duke Johnson, Miami-rb BYE = 673
5 (5) Marcus Shaw, USF-rb DNP = 611
6 (6) Storm Johnson, UCF-rb BYE = 604
7 (8) Jonathan Wallace, FAU-rb 81 = 579
8 (7) Stephen Morris, Miami-qb BYE = 529
9 (--) Tyler Murphy, Florida-qb 44.5 = 486.5
10 (9) Kenny Shaw, FSU-wr BYE = 484
Bubble: Devonta Freeman, FSU-rb, 449. Other team leader: FIU--Jake Medlock-qb, 408.5. Note: FAU has played seven games; Florida, FIU and USF six each; and FSU, Miami and UCF five each.
Cote's State of the State rankings: 1. FSU (5-0); 2. Miami (5-0); 3. Florida (4-2); 4. UCF (4-1); 5. FAU (2-5); 6. USF (2-4); 7. FIU (1-5).
Poll result: Philbin earns (modest) support: We asked about your take on Dolphins coach Joe Philbin in the previous blogpost, and a plurality of 47.7 percant answered "modest thumbs-up but not entirely sold." Slightly more answered "very impressed" (24.1%) than "not impressed" (21.8%). The other 6.4% were undecided or said it's too soon to say.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...