1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11. To the several e-mailers who are asking: I have bunch of back-loaded vacation days I need to use before end of year. That's why I have had fewer columns lately. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win in snowy Pittsburgh, DSM poll, WQAM tops 790 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).
Two sports-media notes: One--Dolphins-Steelers game drew an 18.3 rating/39 share in Greater Miami market, about a 15 percent jump from what Dolphin games have been drawing locally. The bad news, the same game in Pittsburgh drew a 41.3 rating/66 share. Two--John Dimick has taken over as 790 and 104.3 The Ticket's interim program manager for the dismissed Tod Castleberry. Dimick is senior VP of programming operations for the parent Lincoln Financial Media Company.
He's Lo-gone Morrison: Marlins deal 1B Logan Morrison to Mariners for reliever Carter Capps. The latter is 23, was a setup guy in Seattle who had 66 K's in 59 innings last season. Morrison was expendable, an underachiever due largely to injuries, although he did consistently lead the team in Tweets.
On Dolphins' playoff likelihood: I read the headline, 'Odds favor Dolphins making playoffs.' Um, no they don't, actually. The website I trust, makenflplayoffs.com, now has Baltimore at 55.54% for that No. 6 seed, and Miami at 37.45%.
THERE ARE 35 BOWL GAMES. THESE ONES MATTER: The college football bowl lineup is set. There are 35 bowl games. About a quarter of them have ridiculous names, such as the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. I am protesting that my six-win, bowl-eligible FAU Owls did not get an invitation. OK that's enough protesting. I have identified five games that actually matter, from a Miami perspective. They are: Hurricanes vs. Louisville, because it's UM's first bowl games since 2010, dammit. FSU-Auburn, because (duh) it's the national championship. Michigan State-Stanford, because it's the Rose Bowl and only other top-five matchup. Clemson-Ohio State, because it's the Orange Bowl in my backyard and we get to hear Urban Meyer pretend he's happy to be here. And UCF-Baylor, because it's the Central Florida Knights in a BCS bowl c'mon! The answer here may be obvious, or maybe not. What bowl game are you most looking forward to? Vote and say why.
BRADY ON DOLPHINS' DEFENSE: Patriots QB Tom Brady, today, on the Miami defense he'll face Sunday: "They’re really good. I mean, they were really good [when we first played them], too. We didn’t do much offensively. We made a few plays there in the second half, but they’re a good defense at all levels. They really like their linebackers, they’ve got a really deep defensive line that can rush the quarterback, and they’ve got guys in the secondary they really like, the same safeties that have been there for like three years, and then [Brent] Grimes is playing great and Nolan Carroll’s been a great player for them. I mean, they’re a really solid defense. They’ve got a really good scheme. There are really no easy plays out there. They play well at home, and [it’s] always dog fights down there in Miami, so I think we’re expecting more of the same."
HEAT-PACERS: MIAMI LOSES GAME 1 OF 11-GAME EASTERN FINALS: Feels almost like that, doesn't it? Everybody in the East stinks except the Heat and Pacers, whose eventual NBA Eastern finals playoff collision seems all but certain. Meantime there are four regular-season meetings to whet appetites and set the framework, starting with last night's 90-84 Heat loss at Indiana. Other season meetings are Dec. 18 here, March 26 at Indy and April 11 here. The general consensus is that the Pacers are better even though Heat is the two-time defending champ, and last night won't change those minds. Indiana is now 19-3 to Miami's 16-6; Indiana is No. 1 in ESPN's power rankings to Miami's No. 5. And neither team will admit today how much they wanted to win last night. The result was formulaic, with Roy Hibbert scoring 24 and Indiana outrebounding Miami 43-33. It would worry me if I thought Miami was counting on the (eventual) availability of Greg Oden as its secret weapon against Hibbert and the Pacers.
NFL PIX 'N FANTASY / WEEK 14: UPSWING ON PICKS, HUMANE BULLET ON FANTASY: Let's get right to it... NFL predix: I went a solid 13-3 overall this past week and an encouraging 8-6-2 against the spread (two games were off the board when I picked them). Misfired on Miami, though. Had too much faith in Big Ben, too little in the Dolphins, or a losing combination. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos fell 142-118, though I thank Larry Fitzgerald for his 27 points. With the Lobos 2-12, our championship-round playoffs move on without me, of course. Anybody out there know of any team in any fantasy league with a record as bad as 2-12? I'm serious. That is epic awfulness.
SOPY FINAL 2013 RANKINGS: NOLES' WINSTON REIGNS: This was 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 college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Florida State QB Jameis Winston (pictured) comfortably wins the 2013 state championship with 2,107 points. Canes QB Stephen Morris won the first 2012 crown with 1,900.5 points. 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. Standings are for 12-game regular seasons only and do not include conference championship games or bowls, so that all seven teams are on even footing. Here is the expanded final SOPY Top 20 for 2013:
Rk Player, Team-pos. SOPY Pts.
1 JAMEIS WINSTON, FSU-qb 2,107 Overall Champ / Top QB
2 Blakes Bortles, UCF-qb 1,981
3 Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb 1,866
4 Stephen Morris, Miami-qb 1,560
5 Storm Johnson, UCF-rb 1,360 Top Running Back
6 Allen Hurns, Miami-rec 1,187 Top Receiver
7 Devonta Freeman, FSU-rb 1,165
8 Duke Johnson, Miami-rb 1,033
9 Rashad Greene, FSU-rec 977
10 Rannell Hall, UCF-rec 918
11 Kelvin Benjamin, FSU-rec 910
12 Marcus Shaw, USF-rb 898
13 Kenny Shaw, FSU-rec 885
14 Breshad Perriman, UCF-rec 781
15 Karlos Williams, FSU-rb 773
16 Dallas Crawford, Miami-rb 750
17 Andre Davis, USF-rec 747
18 Tyler Murphy, Florida-qb 723
19 J.J. Worton, UCF-rec 707
20 Stacy Coley, Miami-rec 687
Note: FIU was only state FBS team without a player in final Top 20. Its leader, Lamarq Caldwell,-rb, finished 22nd with 642 points.
Cote's State of the State rankings: 1. FSU (13-0); 2. UCF (11-1); 3. Miami (9-3); 4. FAU (6-6); 5. Florida (4-8); 6. USF (2-10); 7. FIU (1-11).
THE BOOK OF MORMON: We saw The Book Of Mormon last night at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the touring production of the controversial hit Broadway musical comedy. It's by the creators of South Park and lampoons religion, so the controversial part is pretty much guaranteed. I am not easily offended (the opposite), but suggest those who are stay away. Put it this way. One of the opening songs is called "F--- you, God." And there's a running gag referring to "maggots in my scrotum." Theater crowds skew older, and I got the feeling walking out that many left unamused. I liked the play but did not love it. I'd say I was disappointed based on very high expectations. The main storyline -- two young guys assigned to do their Mormon service in remote Uganda -- wore a bit thin for me. Glad I saw it to see what all the talk was about, but would not count this among the best theater I have seen. (Side note: Representatives of The Chucrh of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were handing out literature to arriving patrons, or attempting to).