GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 23. ICYMI, click The Godfather Speaks for my column from an exclusive, lengthy interview with Heat majordomo Pat Riley. 2) Click Cemetery Joggers for our latest Back In My Day video from the radio show. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes-Syracuse with latest CSM poll, Heat open at home, rest of Collball Week 8 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.
G6: N.Y. JETS at DOLPHINS: A BAROMETER OF PROGRESS AWAITS MIAMI: Dolphins beat Jets 31-28 on late field goal. Matt Moore subs for injured Jay Cutler, leads Miami to 4-2 record ..... Original post: First score wins? Defenses should dominate in Sunday's 1 p.m. AFC East grudge match as oft-bitter rivals meet for 105th time. Revenge will be in the air at The Rock for the home team after Dolphins got flat-out embarrassed in a 20-6 Week 3 loss up there -– shut out but for a meaningless last-second score. That will make the rematch a barometer of progress for the Fins, who are 3-point favorites. Both teams come in with some tailwind. Miami improved to 3-2 with an exhilarating road-rally that stunned Atlanta, 20-17, as a comatose offense finally showed a pulse in the second half. And NYJ, thought to be the NFL dregs entering the season, is a surprising 3-3 and might well have upset the Patriots last week if not for an officiating blunder negating a TD. Key injuries may shape this result. Center Mike Pouncey and receiver DeVante Parker seemed unlikely late in the week to go for Miami, while the Planes' best runner (Bilal Powell) and D-lineman (Muhammad Wilkerson) also were iffy to play. Crowd also could be a factor, believe it or not. Dolfans will need to assert; Jets had won four straight in Miami before Fins won here last November. Bottom line? If Adam Gase's game plan is on point, Jay Ajayi should have a big, clock-dominating day against a Planes' run defense allowing a fat 4.6 yards per opponent carry. That's why the Jets should “L-O-S-E, Lose!” My pick: Dolphins, 23-17. (Click Week 7 Gems for all our last NFL predictions).
HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:
1. DOLPHINS: Miami seeks revenge vs. hated, Stinkin' Jets: Dolphins host Jets Sunday with Miami 3-2 and seeking momentum after last week's huge road-rally win in Atlanta. An ESPN poll of 155 players voting anonymously found Jay Cutler named QB they'd least want as teammate. Wait. I dunno. I think the Dolphins sort of liked him last week. At least in the second half.
2. HURRICANES: No. 8 UM defeats dangerous Syracuse: Orange became the new dangerous last week by shocking No. 2 Clemson, which sure helped Mark Richt make the case to players not to take Syracuse lightly. Huge pass defense carried UM, 27-19. Saturday would not have been a good day for an aspiring playoff team like UM to lose, with the CFP selection committee's first meeting coming up Oct. 30.
3. HEAT: Spo's guys beats Indiana in home opener: After losing their season opener at Orlando despite Hassan Whiteside's 26 points and 22 rebounds, Heat beat Indiana Saturday night in club's 30th home opener. Opinions vary wildly, and we might not know until Christmas how good Miami is. Question is whether the answer will come as a gift or a lump of coal.
4. BASEBALL: Dodgers-Astros: Almost time to get World Serious!: Los Angeles Dodgers bounced Cubs in the NL Championship Series to put the LADs in World Series for first time since 1988, while Houston Astros won two straight at home over Yankees for the AL crown. Well, Don Mattingly previously managed the Dodgers, so I guess that's almost sort of like the Marlins are in the World Series OK not really at all.
5. PANTHERS: Challenge: Do something to make us watch, Cats!: Florida skated to a 2-3 start with 20 goals allowed under new coach Bob Boughner. Time for Cats to show signs this NHL season might be special. For a change.
6. UM BASKETBALL: Bar set high for Canes men: Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes men's basketball team is ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/coaches' preseason poll as it prepares for its Nov. 10 season opener. But will cloud of that FBI national recruiting probe be gone by then?
7. INJURIES: Rodgers, Hayward injuries cloud two seasons: Star Aaron Rodgers' injury ruined Packers hopes. And the first lasting image of the 2017-18 NBA season? Top free-agent acquisition Gordon Hayward down in agony with a gruesome, likely season-ending ankle injury just minutes into his Celtics career.
8. NFL: Protest/anthem mess continues: NFL owners and players met and not much was decided as the White House vs. NFL war continues over player protests. Meanwhile owners keep saying Colin Kaepernick is not being blackballed. Hahahahahahahahahaha!
9. GOLF: Tiger cleared to resume full activities: It isn't that I'm pessimistic, but I hear that Tiger Woods is free to resume full golf activities and I immediately wonder when his next setback will be?
10. SOCCER: No clean sweep after U.S. World Cup fiasco: Naturally coach Bruce Arena was sacrificed after the U.S. men shockingly failed to qualify for the next World Cup tournament. But how on earth does U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati continue to keep his job?
Missing the HB10 cut: The NBA season has begun and LaVar Ball is still annoying and won't shut up. So that's reassuring xxxxx ..... Only three more NASCAR races after Sunday's before the Nov. 19 Championship Weekend at Homestead. Still trying to find a way to rework the rules to get retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the final ..... A Maine high school football coach, Duane Greaton, was fired for telling his players to taunt an opponent for having two mothers as parents. Ahh, sportsmanship!
Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins). Also: Hope That Wasn't Goodbye. Chasing History. Wade Will End Where He Belongs. Larranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now This. Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be Dull. A Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984. Specials: Thank You, Mae Riback. Thank You, Edwin Pope.
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.