1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7. It is Pearl Harbor Day, commemorating the "day of infamy" 72 years ago. 2) R.I.P. Nelson Mandela, 95, who helped the world understand that civil rights was not just an American ideal. Click HERE for a snippet of a long-ago concert that raised my awareness of Mandela and the fight. 3) To the several e-mailers who are asking: I have bunch of back-loaded vacation days I need to use by end of year. That's why I have had fewer columns lately. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes bowl-opponent poll, Disney porn, Marlins sign catcher, Mike Wallace returns, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).
"I fear for Elton John's well-being as he performs in Moscow, in a country with institutionalized anti-gay bigotry. And this is our Winter Olympics host? For shame." --Greg Cote
SPORTS-RADIO WARS: VOTE NOW FOR YOUR FAVORITE STATION: Morning show gabber Marc Hochman did his final show this week with 790 and 104.3 The Ticket and, after a 90-day non-compete clause expires,
he'll magically appear as afternoon host on rival 560 WQAM. This is big news in the local sports-radio market. Even better, it's the launch point for our latest Sports-Radio Wars poll. We have done something similar twice before, in 2006 and 2010. It is time again. We offer a choice of the four most prominent English-language sports-radio stations in South Florida, and invite you to choose the one you most listen to or like the best. Which would you choose if there could be only one on the local dial? I offer the stations in this poll without description, comment or prejudice. They are listed numerically below. Perhaps we'll follow this up soon with a favorite-radio-personalities poll, but for now, pick a station, just one, and say why.
COLLBALL ROUNDUP: PICKS FOR FSU-DUKE, OTHER TITLE GAMES: Two of our seven state FBS teams conclude their regular seasons today, and there are six other national Top 25 matchups including Florida State-Duke in the ACC Championship Game. Our picks on those eight games:
Week 15 state FBS games:
No. 16 UCF 17, Southern Methodis 13: Knights already had locked up AAC crown and a BCS bid, so I foresaw a meaningless-game letdown, and was right. My pick was: UCF, 24-16.
Rutgers 31, USF 6: You couldn't pay me to have watched this game. My pick was: Rutgers, 16-13.
National Top 25 matchups:
No. 17 Oklahoma 33, No. 6 Oklahoma State 24: Sooners have owned this series but I thought the boys from Stillwater were better this year. Saw Cowboys earning share of Big 12 title, BCS bowl spot. Oops. My pick was: OSU, 31-24.
No. 9 Baylor 30, No. 25 Texas 10: Both rivals still had a shot at a BCS bowl. Only one of them had an unstoppable offense. Baylor said goodbye to its 63-year-old stadium in style. My pick was: Baylor, 52-31.
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 3 Auburn 49, No. 5 Missouri 42: Tigers vs. Tigers in the title-game nobody would have predicted a year ago, when these two were a combined 8-16. Auburn, with Ohio State llosing, played itself into the BCS Championship. They avoided a letdown. Team of destiny? My pick was: Missouri, 24-20.
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 7 Stanford 38, No. 11 Arizona State 14: ASU's only other loss also was to Stanford, 42-28, in September. Tough to beat a good team twice, but I thought the healthier Cardinal would do it and earn another Rose Bowl berth. My pick was: Stanford, 31-27.
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 1 FSU 45, No. 20 Duke 7: Jameis Winston is a free man headed for the Heisman Trophy and the national championship. Duke stood in the way, but it was like a gnat trying to halt a thundering rhinocerous. The point spread was almost 30. That was no insult to Duke; that's how good the Noles are. The Miami Hurricanes put up 30 points on Duke. Imagine what Winston and this offense might do? My pick was: FSU, 58-17.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 10 Michigan State 34, No. 2 Ohio State 24: Buckeyes had won 24 games in a row and had to make it 25 for a spot in the BCS championship vs. FSU. Instead, Michigan State won a Rose Bowl berth. It was a classic offense vs. defense battle. I took the Big O, and was dead wrong. My pick was: Ohio State, 34-27.
My record: This week, 5-3; season, 84-30.
U.S. SOCCER DRAWS WORLD CUP 'GROUP OF DEATH': If Group G isn't the proverbial Group of Death I don't know what is. Eight four-team groups for next summer's World Cup came out today and the United States (14th in the current FIFA World Ranking) is paired with No. 2 Germany, No. 5 Portugal (with Cristiano Ronaldo) and No. 24 Ghana (which eliminated the U.S. from the 2010 WC). Oy! Host Brazil is the '14 World Cup betting favorite, with Germany, Argentina and Spain generally coming next. America's odds got a bit longer today.
UPSET BIRD DAY: WEEK 14 NFL PREDIX: COLD WEATHER, COLD RESULT FOR DOLPHINS: Huge game for Miami Sunday in the AFC playoff chase, but Pittsburgh will be freezing, and I think the Dolphins playoffs hopes will turn from warm to cold. I trust Ben Roethlisberger in these temps more than I trust a team from the tripics. Click on Week 14 Gems for full prediction capsules on the Dolphins and all other games, and on King Sport Third-Quarter Awards for our Friday Page NFL notes column. My week got off to a good start last night. I had Jaguars upsetting Texans, 24-20. Jags won, 27-20.
Poll result: Canes fans want Manziel over Bridgewater in bowl, but barely: I asked Hurricanes fans if they'd prefer UM play a bowl game against Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel or against Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater -- the two likeliest opponents. Manziel got the nod, 53.7 percent to 46.3.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...