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September 03, 2014

4 non-hysterical truisms about Canes football; plus Pats sign Thigpen, debut of SOPY Top 10, Kate/Justin nudie, U-Bird Countdown & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3. Patriots signed Marcus Thigpen today, second ex-Dolph this week. Oh, Bill, you sneak! 2) See the previous blogpost for results of our first Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. (Ouch!) 3) Congrats to FIU for relenting and credentialing the Herald's football beat reporter. Always nice when an institution of higher learning comes around on the First Amendment. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes lose at Louisville, CSM poll, Heat changes, fantasy verdict & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

"Cowboys having press conference for Michael Sam. Leave it to Jerry Jones to make a publicity stunt of a practice-squad signing." --Greg Cote

Updated Dolphins, AFC East odds: Over/under on win totals, via Bovada, current and on May 28: Patriots 11 (was 10.5), Dolphins 7.5 (was 8), Jets 7 (same) and Bills 6.5 (same). 

1aa1acaptflint
UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 2 DAYS:
 The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season of 1aa1abird2NFL Friday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 2 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following Woody Woodpecker), we welcome Captain Flint the parrot, profane muse of pirate Long John Silver from the 1883 classic novel Treasure Island.

FOUR NON-HYSTERICAL TRUISMS ABOUT CANES FOOTBALL MOVING FORWARD: 1. UM fans overreact. C'mon, you they do. The team loses its opener 31-13 at Louisville and the sky is falling, the Torches 'n Pitchforks Mob is roiling. Bench everybody and fire everybody else! Former Canes also 1aa1aalgoldenoverreact, and Your Friend the Media keeps giving them a forum beyond their Twitter rants to vent. The only thing more predictably sad than Good-Old-Days Canes lamenting the current program is when the '72 Dolphins are invited to blast what became of their masterpiece. Fans: Take a deep breath. It's one [bleeping] game. Ex-Canes: Get a life. It's supposed to be all about The U, not all about you. 2. It wasn't Brad Kaaya's fault. The true-freshman quarterback actually did pretty well in his first start. His mechanics weren't great but that's correctable stuff. His problem was too much pressure/poor blocking, and conservative play-calling that didn't let him take advantage of his weapons. Even Al Golden admitted that yesterday with a subtle shot at offensive chief James Coley, saying, "We probably should have opened it up more for [Kaaya]." 3. Al Golden's job should not be in jeopardy. There is obviously a shelf-life on that statement. I mean right now. The guy stepped into an NCAA s---storm he inherited, this is his first season free of that onerous cloud, and now you wanna fire him based on a season-opening loss? A loss with a rookie QB, on the road, against a quality opponent? Get real, people. Judge him on this season, not one game. If this season disappoints or regresses, then put him on your Hot Seat. 4. None of the above means 'all is well.' I'm not playing Pollyanna here. I'm not blind. I don't care much about margin of defeat; a loss is a loss. But I care about bottom-line, and Miami is 3-6 under Golden against ranked-at-the-time opponents, and 1-12 in games against teams that finished the season with at least eight wins. That I care about, because the Canes can't be good again unless they start to regularly beat good teams. The next one of those is Sept. 20 at No. 19 Nebraska. You want to turn down the negative volume, Al Golden? Start by winning the marquee games like that. The elusive Turnaround that leads to "The U Is Back!" cannot start without such signature triumphs.

SOPY SEASON DEBUT: USF BULLS' MACK TRUCKS INTO EARLY LEAD: A 275-yard rushing performance by South Florida's Marlon Mack (pictured) drives the Week 1 lead to open our third season of blog-exclusive 1aa1amackState Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the
1aa1asopyState Heisman." This is a cumulative 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. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Jameis Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 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 and do not include conference championship games or bowls, so that all seven teams are on even footing.

SOPY WEEK 1 TOP 10

Rk    Player, team-pos.                Week 1/Season

1      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          304

2      Rashad Greene, FSU-rec      209

3      Jameis Winston, FSU-qb       206

4      Justin Holman, UCF-qb         115

5      Mike White, SoFla-qb           107.5

6      Karlos Williams, FSU-rb        102

7      Duke Johnson, Miami-rb        95

8      J.J. Worton, UCF-rec             83

9      Breshad Perriman, UCF-rec   81

10t   Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb           77

10t   Jay Warren, FAU-rb              77

Bubble: Rodney Adams, SoFla-rec, 76. Other team leader: FIU--Alex Gardner-rb, 61. Note: Florida did not play; postponed by lightning.

Cote's State of the State Week 1 rank: 1. FSU (1-0); 2. Florida (0-0); 3. UCF (0-1); 4. Miami (0-1); 5. SoFla (1-0); 6. FAU (0-1); 7. FIU (0-1).

1aa1akatejustinKATE UPTON AND JUSTIN VERLANDER'S SELFIE: The supermodel and Tigers pitcher were among the celebrities whose nude photos were leaked online. Of course we think this is a terrible invasion of privacy admittedly made somewhat less terrible by the fact Upton makes a lucrative living pretty much wearing as little as possible all the time. Besides we are a family blog (some families are racier than others), so instead of showing the private parts here we have very carefully cropped the photo. Don't want to be too titillating!

STANTON STILL IN NL MVP RACE: It's clearly a two-man race now for NL MVP. Bovada calls Dodgers 1aa1agstantonpitcher Clayton Kershaw the favorite at 2-3 odds and Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton close at 6-5. ESPN baseball experts flip that in a new survey, giving Stanton a 24-22 edge over Kershaw in votes among 60 cast. If it's a close call, voters, y'all better give it to the guy who plays every day. Key for Stanton could be Marlins continuing to hang (however peripherally) in the wild-card chase; it's now 5 1/2 games with 25 to play.

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