It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19. The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Are-Dolphins-a-playoff-team poll, Heat over/under on wins, Doctor Sleep, multi-tasking at the movies, stick-figure families & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).
"Canes game, Red Sox-Tigers, NFL football, Heat-Nets, Panthers hockey ... man, TV heaven Thursday night! Miley Cyrus could have twerked right past me in my living room and I wouldn't have noticed her." --Greg Cote
Click on Finding Their Way Home for my latest column on the Canes as they entered their first game as a top-10 team since 2009. I reminisce about how the top 10 used to be home for Miami, and how this team won't have accomplished much -- by this program's high standard -- until it takes up residence there, not just occasionally visits.
CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 82.3%: Results are in on the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 82.3 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Thursday night's 27-23 victory at North Carolina putting 10th-ranked Miami's record at 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. That's a clear drop due to the narrow escape, but still a buoyant number. This is the fifth year for CSM polls in our blog. These are your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, program's direction, and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Polls never close (you may still vote), but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Saturday.
2013 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter
G1: 82.9 percent (19.9v, 63.0s) following 34-6 victory vs. Florida Atlantic.
G2: 96.7 percent (71.2v, 25.5s) following 21-16 victory vs. Florida.
G3: 95.7 percent (77.2v, 18.5s) following 77-7 victory vs. Savannah State.
G4: 97.6 percent (67.9v, 29.7s) following 49-21 victory at South Florida.
G5: 95.8 percent (60.4v, 35.4s) following 45-30 victory vs. Georgia Tech.
G6: 82.3 percent (41.8v, 40.5s) following 27-23 victory at North Carolina.
G6: NO. 10 HURRICANES @ NORTH CAROLINA: Final: This 27-23 escape in Chapel Hill by Miami won't impress the polls, or maybe most Canes fans. But man UM fought and earned this win. Didn't play particularly well -- Stephen Morris threw four INTs -- but won nevertheless. That's impressive, even if the overall performance was not. Morris' picks and the pass-D giving up 395 yards were negatives, but two overriding postitives stood out. One, Tracy Howard's two interceptions, especially that late, last one. And two, mostly, Dallas Crawford stepping in for injured Duke Johnson and carrying 33 times for 137 yards and two TDs. A yeoman's effort. Some fans may disagree, but I see this as a big win for UM because it was pulled from the hard road on a night when nothing came easily. ..... Halftime: Tough half for Canes, who trail by 17-13 and already have lost a big chunk of their offense to injury in Duke Johnson (presumed concussion) and Phillip Dorsett (left knee). Offense has really struggled, with the only UM touchdown coming on a return of a blocked field goal. Stephen Morris has struggled (10-for-22, 2 INTs), and Miami's pass-D has been strafed by for 234 yards. This is not winning football. UM's newly minted top-10 ranking in peril. Still think Canes will pull it out, but not impressive thus far. ..... Original post: Former Miami Hurricanes coach Jimmy Johnson once described to me a college football schedule as three-tiered. You didn't worry about the "low teams" (think FAU, Savannah State) because they had no chance to beat you. And you didn't worry about the "high teams" (think Florida, Florida State) because you knew those weeks would have your team's complete attention and energy. It was the "medium teams" -- think North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, tonight -- that in some ways required the most coaching, because they could beat you, and your team's full attention was not always a given. This is the potential trap into which the 5-0, 10th-ranked Canes walk tonight in their first game as a top-10 team in four years. UNC's Tar Heel's are only 1-4 but are capable of a home upset in this big ACC division game. The Tar Heels have won four of the past six in this series. Maybe that is why UM is favored by only a modest 9 points. I like the Canes big, though. N-Car's go-go offense could be a challenge for Miami, but the Heels' bad defense should be no match for Stephen Morris, Duke Johnson and company. My pick was: Miami, 41-20.
Other Week 8 state FBS games, in order of interest:
No. 5 Florida State 51, No. 3 Clemson 14: It was the ACC's first top-five matchup in eight years, for one blessed week knocking the almighty SEC off the top of the collball marquee. Both teams unbeaten, Miami's Hurricanes chasing each. Winner here is allowed to think it might meet Alabama for the national championship, and it's FSU overwhelmingly. Seminoles had not won in Death Valley since 2001 but absolutely dominated. My pick was: FSU, 34-30.
No. 14 Missouri 36, No. 22 Florida 17: Mizzou is now 7-0 after upsetting Georgia last week and then handling the stumbling Gators, who'll drop liike a rock from the polls. I thought freshman Missouri QB Maty Mauk would have a tough time vs. UF defense. Wrong! My pick was: Florida, 20-16.
UCF 38, No. 8 Louisville 35: UCF's Knights were solid, but I gave them little shot on the road against Teddy Bridgewater's soaring Cardinals last night. Plainly, I underestimated Blake Bortles. My was pick: None. (Did not publish a prediction in time, so saved myself a loss).
Off this week:
FIU: G-Panthers a sullen 1-5 but winnably home vs. Louisiana Tech next Saturday.
FAU: Owls 2-5 and facing a near-certain L at No. 24 Auburn next week.
USF: Bulls 2-4 and (uh oh) hosting a smarting Louisville on deck.
Week 8 national Top 25 matchups:
5-FSU @ 3-Clemson and 22-Florida @ 14-Missouri (see above).
24-Auburn 45, 7-Texas A&M 41: Johnny Manziel strafed Auburn 63-21 a year ago. Knew this would be closer, but got it wrong. Well, I had A&M's 41 points right, anyway. My pick was: Texas A&M, 41-27.
No. 13 Stanford 24, No. 9-UCLA 10: Saw visiting Bruins as a weak unbeaten, and was proved right. Stanford lost at Utah last week but rode a 12-game home winning streak into this one . My pick was: Stanford: 28-21.
My record: This week, 3-2; season, 44-11.
UPSET BIRD DAY: WEEK 7 DOLPHINS/NFL PREDIX: Peyton Manning makes his first return to Indianapolis this weekend but believe it or not there are other games going on and we pay attention to them, too. One is Bufffalo's visit to Miami in the Dolphins' first AFC East match. The score will be 24-17, Miami winning but not covering a silly-big betting line. too. As for my Upset of the Week? It's a big one, and it involves an unbeaten team. Click on Week 7 Gems for all of my latest NFL predix capsules, and on Faith Is a Fragile Thing for my Friday Page column on why Sunday's game is so important for the Dolphins and their fans. (My week got off to a good start last night. Had Seahawks winning and covering at Arizona, and they did both).
DWYANE DISSED BY ESPN: Ouch. Heat star Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant got into a social-media tiff because Durant suggested Wade was no longer a top-10 player. Well, ESPN's NBA Rank of all players just slotted Wade 18th -- a plunge from his No. 8 ranking a year ago. Oy!
Poll result: Confidence that Dolphins will make playoffs is weak: We asked in the previous blogpost (you may still vote), and 45.3 percent called themselves "not that confident," 41.9% said they were "nervously" confident and only 12.8% were "solidly" confident.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...