April 23, 2015

Saving Redmond. Why Loria should surprise us with rare show of patience; plus Jose Fernandez becomes U.S. citizen, why Dolphins' schedule lays out favorably, Fins land Jennings; also Bob Dylan's strange concert (a review) & more


It's Radio Thursday: I'm in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Have a new 'Back In My Day' in hand. Ears (and eyes) welcome. 

1aa1aluke1) It is THURSDAY, APRIL 23. Miami icon Luther "Luke" Campbell has a new new book out that is available now. Cover is pictured; click on photo to enlarge image. 2) Countdown: 7 days 'til the NFL Draft. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins best non-division home game poll, Mike Redmond's hot seat, Heat draft projection, our most popular Tweets & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1ajosefJOSE FERNANDEZ BECOMING U.S. CITIZEN: The Marlins young ace pitcher will become a U.S. citizen Friday morning during a U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services ceremony in Kendall. The Cuban native will be the keynote speaker during an event that will naturalize 140 South Floridians. Fernandez came to the U.S.from Santa Clara, Cuba in 2008.

Saving Mike Redmond: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has seldom been patient. He needs to be now, with manager Mike Redmond and this Marlins season. Last night's 6-1 win in Philly helps. Click on Saving Red for my latest column, now online and in today's inky pulp editions.  

1aa1agregjDolphins sign WR Jennings: Dolphins sign longtime Packers-then-Vikings receiver Greg Jennings, 31. Jennings (pictured) made the Pro Bowl in 2010-11; Aaron Rodgers will do that for a guy. Jennings proved last season he can still be productive. He still must prove he still can be star and is not in decline. The signing probably means Fins won't spend No. 1 draft pick on a wideout. Cornerback and running back rise in draft possibility, although Miami shouldn't count on RB Todd Gurley still being there at 14th overall.

Perriman to Fins?: Todd McShay's latest mock draft for ESPN has Miami selecting UCF receiver Breshad Perriman 14th overall in the upcoming NFL Draft. Aside to Todd: They probably would have, at least before the Jennings signing, except that Perriman will likely be gone before then.

WHY DOLPHINS SEASON LAYS OUT FAVORABLY, MOST ANTICIPATED GAMES RANKED 1 THROUGH 16: The Dolphins' 50th-season schedule lays out favorably for the four words I've written at right. The 1aa1adol15skedfirst six games of the regular season look eminently winnable. Not until at-Patriots in

Game 7 will Miami be a clear underdog, or maybe even an underdog at all. With that soft early schedule and a home-loaded late schedule, the Dolphins season appears to be aligned pretty favorably. Here is my order on the most to least interesting games on this Dolphins schedule; your order may be different. By the way, tap brakes on the big deal being made over Miami opening with two straight road games. This will be the 12th time for that, and the third time just since 2010. The Anticipation Meter:

Rank    Game                     Synopsis

  1        Vs  Patriots (G16)  Tom Brady visits to end season with playoffs (maybe) at stake.

  2        Vs  Bills (G3)         Home opener, division game, Rex Ryan, Richie Incognito. What's not to like?

  3        Vs  Cowboys (G10) Dallas rarely visits, and it's still America's Team.

  4        Vs  Jets (G4)          Jolly good: Fins in London, still special. Jolly bad: Costs Dolfans home game.

  5        @ Redskins (G1)    Skins not real interesting beyond RG3 drama, but it is the season opener.

  6        Vs  Colts (G15)      Andrew Luck elevates this game.

  7        @ Patriots (G7)      Biggest division rival, and only time on Monday night stage.

  8        Vs Giants (G13)     Big-drawing foe on Thursday night stage.

  9        Vs  Ravens (G12)   Joe Flacco will be a tough hurdle once again.

10        @Jets (G11)           Should have an idea of playoff chances by now.

11        @ Bills (G8)           Bringing us to the midseason break.

12        @ Eagles (G9)        Odds Tim Tebow is Birds' starting QB? 1 in 138.

13        Vs Texans (G6)      J.J. Watt but an otherwise low-glamour opponent.

14        @ Chargers (G14)   Big test vs. (presumably, still) Philip Rivers. 

15        @ Titans (G5)         Nashville known for music, not NFL football.

16        @ Jaguars (G2)      The good news: Should give Fins solid shot at a 2-0 start.

Poll result: Cowboys sexiest non-division Fins home game: You had it 60.6 percent for Dallas, 21.2% Indianapolis, 11.0% N.Y. Giants, 3.8% Baltimore and 3.4% Houston.

BOB DYLAN: THE CURSE OF THE CATALOGUE: I think the first concert I ever saw as a young adult may have been KISS, in its sonic, full-makeup prime, at the old Hollywood Sportatorium. Hundreds of shows later across all genres, my most recent concert seen was Bob Dylan, last night, at Broward Center for the 1aa1adylanPerforming Arts. What a long, strange trip it's been for this music lover. And what a bizarre performance by Dylan last night -- one of the oddest ones I have seen. Dylan, at 72, performs for himself more than for his audience. I knew that going in, but not to this extent. He performs hardly any of his hits or other beloved, important songs his fans might expect and want to hear. He did do a couple, but his reworkings of "Blowin' In the Wind" and "Tangled Up in Blue," made them almost unrecognizable, nearly different songs. He played a few others I knew and liked ("Things Have Changed," "Workingman's Blues," "Spirit On the Water," "Love Sick"), but most I did not. Dylan also seems shy on stage, reclusive. He does not speak to the audience; he did not introduce his five-piece band. Some of the songs Dylan does not do in concert include "Rainy Day Women," "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "It Ain't Me Babe," "Like A Rolling Stone," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "I Want You," "Hurricane," "Lay Lady Lay," "Positively 4th Street" and "Just Like a Woman." The sold-out audience called him out for an encore that he ended with a sad song called "Stay With Me," and that seemed fitting. His entire performance seems to say, "I am not a trained monkey up here spitting out hits. Indulge me. Stay with me." Can a fan both respect that and be disappointed? I think so. Dylan remains an enduring, important, iconic figure to many. I just wish he could find a better balance between the performance that pleases him and the one that would delight his fans. Seeing Dylan in concert, you are very much aware you are seeing a legendary, historic performer. But not in full, just glimpses.

Check back a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

April 16, 2015

Kiper's latest mock draft: Dolphins, Hurricanes picks in top 3 rounds; plus does Miami now root for LeBron to win NBA title? (poll); also sporties in 'Time 100,' Aaron Hernandez, 'Back In My Day' audio, 4 on Marlins Mount Rushmore & more


1aa1abadmonkey1) It is THURSDAY, APRIL 16. Just got around to Carl Hiassen's Bad Monkey. More of the madcap-with-a-heart style he mines so well. Fast read. Recommended. By the way, ever notice you never see Hiassen and Tim Dorsey in the same room at the same time? Hmm. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat eliminated, Marlins Mount Rushmore poll, Dolphins draft, Jordan Spieth, Lexi Thompson topless, Rubio/Clinton & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

I love the local sports media wondering how incoming University of Miami president Julio Frenk feels about the football program, as if Al Golden's future might be high among his priorities. Funny.

Dan LeBatard picks a fight with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez: This was during Tuesday's radio show on South Beach. Watch our video on Vine or Twitter.

Handy Man: The new 'Back In My Day': Had some fun on-air this week with a well-received new "Back In My Day," about America's disappearing Handy Man work ethic:

Handy Man

So, Heat fans are supposed to be thrilled their team was lousy enough to keep a draft pick?

Sporties among 'Time 100': Time's annual (unranked) list of the world's 100 most influential people is out, and the three sports figures on it are NBA commissioner Adam Silver, U.S. soccer icon Abby Wambach and, inexplicably, a Brazilian surfer named Gabriel Medina. Don't recall seeing the news reports. When exactly did the Medina family buy Time?

KIPER'S DOLPHINS, HURRICANES PICKS FOR TOP THREE ROUNDS: This is glorified guessing like anybody's mock draft; still, he's Mel Bleepin' Kiper! Junior! He's got the rep and the platform (ESPN) to 1aa1aagholor 1aa1aereckfgive what he says gravitas, so here we go. Kiper today has the Dolphins selecting Southern Cal receiver Nelson Agholor 14th overall in the first round, and Miami-Ohio defensive back Quinten Rollins in the second round. Miami has no third-round pick. Agholor is pictured left. Kiper sees a bounty for UM, with five Canes in the top three rounds: offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (pictured right, 1st round, 29th overall to Colts); receiver Phillip Dorsett (1st round, 31st overall to Saints); linebacker Denzel Perryman (2nd round to Texans); tight end Clive Walford (2nd round to Packers); and running back Duke Johnson (3rd round to Lions). One other area school lands in his first three rounds: FAU corner D'Juon Smith (3rd round to Rams).

WITH HEAT ELIMINATED, IS MIAMI NOW ROOTING FOR (OR AGAINST) LEBRON?: Last night's win at Philadelphia ends the Heat season, thankfully, mercifully. The growing 1aa1acavslebroninevitability had happened the game before when Indiana won, eliminating Miami from playoff contention. Now Heat fans, for the first time since 2008, must adopt a rooting interest for the coming NBA playoffs. Most times it'd be who-cares-who-wins-if-it-isn't-Miami. But does the LeBron James Factor make this year different? I still think South Florida has mixed feelings about LeBron. This poll may verify or refute that notion. I wonder if Heat fans are now rooting for -- or against -- James to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship? Do you root for a feelgood homecoming story? Or for a traitor to get his comeuppance? Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

So said a jury yesterday, and now the former New England tight end's life is effectively over. Pictured, the new uniform for which Hernandez will be fitted. I found this funny. (Nice touch: the Nike swoosh). I do not find the situation or the crime funny, of course. But the picture properly mocks an entitled punk who had so much and threw it all away. Sympathy for the victims, not the murderer. Click on Awful Decisions And 1.5 Miles for today's latest column by me on the Hernandez verdict.

DOLPHINS SIGN EX-CANE WR: The Dolphins signed receiver LaRon Byrd, the ex-Miami Hurricane. He has good size at 6-4 and 220 but still must prove himself NFL-worthy after spending three season mostly injured or as a practice-squadder with the Cardinals, Cowboys, Browns or Fins.

A DIFFERENT, DIMINISHED NFL DRAFT: The NFL Draft will seem different and feel smaller on its first round the night of April 30. It will be in Chicago after having been held in New York every year since 1965 (meaning inconvenienced Jets fans will have to travel to boo their team's pick). Also, neither Jameis Winston nor Marcus Mariota -- the QBs who are the stars of this draft -- will attend. NFL this week annnounced its 26 draft attendees, and the biggest names probably are running backs Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon. A possible Dolphins pick at No. 14, UCF receiver Breshad Perriman, also will attend.

Poll result: Marlins Mount Rushmore: Conine, Lowell, Beckett, Stanton: We offered the eight finalists in

1aa1astanton 1aa1abeckett

1aa1alowell 1aa1aconinean ongoing MLB.com vote, and your top vote-getter was Jeff Conine, his Mr. Marlin nickname justified with 22.5 percent of the vote. Also making your mountain: Mike Lowell at 15.1%, Josh Beckett at 14.6% and Giancarlo Stanton at 14.3%. (Then it was Livan Hernandez aat 11.0%, Gary Sheffield at 10.9%, Charles Johnson at 6.2% and underloved Luis Castillo at 5.5%).

Check back a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

December 13, 2014

Will Johnny Manziel's career fly or fail? New poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins/NFL Week 15 predix, Marlins' big week, 'The U Part 2' & more

1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13. No choice. Guess I'd better start my Christmas shopping. 2) Watch for return this week (after a two-week hiatus) of the Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): "Back In My Day" -- the complete audio library, Marlins trade, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, Philbin verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

THE MYSTERY OF MANZIEL: WILL HE LIVE UP TO HYPE?: In Cleveland, Johnny Manziel was to Brian Hoyer as Jim Harbaugh is to Joe Philbin in Miami. Possibility is so often so much more tantalizing than 1aa1ajmanzielreality. Change is exciting without ever knowing whether the excitement will be justified. With Manizel the uncertainty is part of the excitement. He isn’t seen as a certain star like Andrew Luck was. To doubters, he’s the next Tim Tebow, the college phenom whose talents don’t translate. To fans, he’s the next great pass/run dual threat, the refreshingly brash personality whose jersey sales will soar to No.1 on the charts. He was a Heisman-winning superstar at Texas A&M. Now, will he justify all the hype, or be crushed by it? The finding out will be fun, and it begins with his first career start on Sunday. But why wait? Take a dip in our poll and say now what you predict for Manziel's NFL career and why.

1aa1afripixDOLPHINS, NFL WEEK 15 PICKS: THE DAGGER: Dolphins will lose Sunday in New England and it will be the dagger to Miami's playoff hopes. Not wishing it, folks, just predicting it. Don't kill the messenger! Click on Week 15 Gems for all our latest NFL prediction capsules. (Mixed start Thursday start. Wrongly had Rams winning, but did have Cards covering). Also, click on Hype, Meet Reality for my weekly Friday Page column. It leads with the formal introduction to the pro version of Johnny Football.

1aa1amatlatosA WINNING OFFSEASON FOR MARLINS: It started with signing Giancarlo Stanton long-term, of course. But it continued this week with deals to acquire leadoff man/base-stealing champ Dee Gordon and then, yesterday, starting pitcher Mat Latos (pictured). Mat With One T, from Coconut Creek High in north Broward, is a big boy with a top-of-the-rotation arm. If pitcher Dan Haren (part of the Gordon deal) opts to not retire, that'll be a bonus. Gordon and Latos alone give Miami needed speed and a bolstered rotation. Good week. Things looking up for the Fish. By the way [Brag Alert], my oldest son Christopher got a hit off Latos in a high-school game. I think it was a soft single to right, although my mind is reconfiguring it as a line drive to the gap.

ON 'THE U PART 2': I am reading "Rickey & Robinson," by Roger Kahn, the story of Branch Rickey integrating baseball by making Jackie Robinson a Dodger. It is holding my interest, and yet the story is so 1aa1atheupart2well-known and oft-told it can't but feel a little like a rehash. I think it's also fair to say Kahn has made a career of plumbing those old Brooklyn Dodgers for books, to the point you want to say, "Enough, already." This brings me to "The U Part 2," the Billy Corben sequel-documentary premiering on ESPN tonight at 9 p.m. The nearly perfect original, in 2009, focused on the mid-'80s to early-'90s football Hurricanes, the teams that invented swagger. They were big and bad and great and controversial and it was fascinating. There was national interest. Now, I wonder. Although the program resurged to win another national title in 2001, The U we see in the new doc simply is not as interesting or nationally relevant. A large chunk of the sequel is devoted to the Nevin Shapiro/NCAA scandal, an era well-known and best moved past, not exhumed and rehashed. Before agreeing, ESPN reportedly twice declined the pitch for this sequel. I get that original hesitation. Corben does good work and Part 2 will be riveting to many younger Canes fans (as the Miami unveiling was to swooning local media). But the sequel simply can't be as compelling as the original beyond South Florida because the subject matter plainly isn't.

Check back often because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

August 27, 2014

M&Ms: Miller vs. Moreno: Who should be Dolphins' No. 1 running back? New poll. Vote now!; plus U-Bird Countdown (9 days), SNL verdict, J-Lo & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27. Somebody told me yesterday was National Dog Day. My reaction: Isn't every day? 2) You've watched the movie, 40-Year-old Virgin, now meet the 40-Year-Old Cheerleader. Click here. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): SNL greatest cast members poll, Phibin slammed, Stanton's chilling words, Marino, Kaaya, Incognito, Upset Bird Countdown launch & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

1aa1aowlsleyowlUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 9 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season of 1aa1aowl9NFL Friday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 9 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following magpies Heckle & Jeckle), we welcome Owlsley, the give-a-hoot mascot of Florida Atlantic University, its nickname deriving from burrowing-owl nests once found on campus.

MILLER VS. MORENO AS DOLPHINS' STARTING RUNNING BACK: Starting running back is the Dolphins' most glaring still-undecided job as the preseason ebbs to Thursday's finale and the Sept. 7 season 1aa1amillerl 1aa1amorenokopener looms. Will it be incumbent Lamar Miller (left), the former Cane? Or will it be free-agent addition Knowshon Moreno (right), the former Bronco? All signs point to Miller getting the start and most carries, largely because he is more familiar to coach Joe Philbin and has been healthy throughout camp, while Moreno made his preseason debut (impressively) just last week. Moreno as the third-down back also makes some sense if only because he is a superior blocker. But who do you hope starts? Who should? Miller last year rushed for 709 yards and a 4.0 average, and caught 26 passes for a 6.5 average. Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards and a 4.3 average, and caught 60 passes for a 9.1 average. Both have solid ball-control; Miller lost one fumble last season and Moreno none. But Moreno is a more accomplished two-way player whose pass-protection skills would come in hand on more than just third down. They are two solid, complementary choices who should make a quality tandem, but only one will start and get the most carries. Who do you hope that is? Vote and say why.

Poll result: John Belushi leads 'SNL' Mount Rushmore-plus: It's 40th anniversary of 1aa1ajohnbSaturday Night Live, and we invited you to vote for your five all-time favorite cast members from 16 finalists. The response was unexpectedly huge (thanks!), and your top five are: John Belushi with 14.1 percent, Eddie Murphy 12.9%, Dan Aykroyd 11.7%, Bill Murray 11.2% and Will Ferrell 10.1%. Next was Chris Farley with 7.8%. Others topping 5 percent: Dana Carvey, Tina Fey, Phil Hartman and Mike Myers.

DOLPHINS INDIVIDUAL OVER/UNDERS: From Bovada, key statistical betting over/unders for Dolphins this year: Ryan Tannehill--3,900 yards, 23.5 TDs, 14.5 INTs. Mike Wallace--950.5 yards, 6 TDs. Brian Hartline--875.5, 3.5. Charles Clay--625.5, 5. Cameron Wake--10.5 sacks. Oliver Vernon--9.5 sacks. Brent Grimes--3 INTs.

DUELING PURVEYORS OF WISDOM: Former college football champion-coaches Bobby Bowden, 84, and

Howard Schnellenberger, 80, have new books out tapping into their long experience on and off the field. 1aa1abowdenbook 1aa1asnells bookBowden's The Wisdom of Faith and Schnellenberger's Passing the Torch are now available to enrich your soul, enlighten your mind and instruct you when to go for it on 4th-and-1. Publisher description of Bowden's book: "The success, the influence, the accolades, the wins ... none of it matters if our lives are not rooted in faith. God trumps our best hand. He always wins." Publisher description of Snells' tome: "The coach talks about the wise decisions and the poor decisions he has made, and he shares the lessons he learned along the way."

1aa1ajlopezJ-LO ENLISTS IGGY: Friend of the Dolphins and former Orange Carpet Queen Jennifer Lopez -- who may or may not outrank special adviser Dan Marino in the adjusted hierarchy -- has enlisted hot young Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea in a re-do of J-Lo's latest single, "Booty," after her new album tanked in the charts. I write this not because I care or because J-Lo has peripheral Dolphin ties, but as a blatant excuse to publish the gratuitous promo photo of the two singers presenting their substantial derrieres for casual inspection.

Check back often because we update and add to our latest blogposts a lot...

February 17, 2014

Tuesday p.m.: D-Wade's cool deed; plus Marino sacked, Dolphin non-leaders, SI swimsuits, FIU's error, Heat trade rumor, Gators, Mavis & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today for my historic 12th national appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show. We go 4-7 p.m. on ESPN Radio, 3-7 locally on 790 and 104.3 The Ticket. Today I'd imagine we'll be talking a lot of women's hockey, curling and skeleton. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18. CBS dumps Dan Marino from its NFL studio show. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Dolphins' Bullygate saga. 3) 
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Bullygate report and poll, Heat in All-Star Game, NBA's Mount Rushmore, Olympic farting & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Dolphins' leadership void allowed Bullygate to happen, and continue: Ted Wells had his 140-page finding. Mine covers two pages in the Miami Herald today. I find, in my latest column, that the team's lack of leadership across the board is why this happened here. Click on Nobody Stood Up to read.

New Olympic hockey, March Madness betting odds: Via our friends at Bovada... Olympic men's hockey: Sidney Crosby and Canada still a small favorite for gold at 7-4 over Team USA at 11-4. After that it's Russia 16-5 and Sweden 5-1. Men's March Madness: Florida Gators now co-favorites with Syracuse for NCAA national title, both at 6-1. Then it's Kansas 15-2, Michigan State 17-2 and Arizona/Duke both 9-1.

DWYANE WADE'S COOL GIFT TO HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM: The best use of celebrity (and its related access 1aa1awademakeoverand wealth) is surprising others with kindness, and understanding that small gestures might mean the world to those who look up to you. Heat star Dwyane Wade gets that. While in New Orleans for the NBA All-Star Game, along with sponsor Gatorade, he did an extreme makeover of the lockerroom of a New Orleans prep basketball team, Riverdale High, that was in the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, turning it from the classic metal-locker high-school room into something closer to NBA standard. Now, the cynic would justifiably note that it didn't cost Wade anything or that making a video of it casts it as easy, inexpensive publicity for Gatorade. Nevertheless, Wade showed up, the school and kids were thrilled, and so for me it's a cool thing all-round. Pictured is a still from the video. Click HERE to watch the 4-minute vid, and feel good.

1aa1asiswimSI'S 50th ANNIVERSARY SWIMSUIT ISSUE: OK I'm only writing about it to give me a cheap vehicle for the mildly naughty cover shot at right. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is patently sexist but yet sort of an American tradition I guess. I hear the 50th anniversary edition will include original models, now mostly in their early 70s, wearing nothing but body paint. Alright, I made that last part up.

A QUICK LESSON IN PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR FIU BASEBALL: Of all the people in the world, of all the former players, FIU baseball coach Turtle Thomas chose ex-pitcher Dennis Wiseman to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team's season opener the other night. Unfortunately the honor went to a registered sex offender who'd been arrested years earlier on three counts of improper relations with a student while working at North Miami High. Does that mean Wiseman should forever be shunned by FIU as a persona non grata? Maybe not. But it does mean, Turtle, that you pick somebody else to represent your program with the honor of a first pitch at a season opener.

SPECULATION ON HEAT TRADE: The NBA trade deadline is this Thursday so the rumors and speculation are flying. Much of it amounts to the media hurling s--- at a wall to see 1aa1aevantwhat sticks, but this speculation from Sam Smith of Bulls.com caught my eye. The 76ers have hybrid 6-7 small forward/shooting guard Evan Turner (pictured) on the block, and Smith reports Miami could be interested, with some combination of Udonis Haslem, James Jones and a No. 1 draft pick available, and a third team possibly involved. (Bear in mind Miami's top pick will be near the end of round one, and Heat don't put much stock in the draft, anway). Acquiring Turner would be inetresting. He's only 25, averages 17.5 points this season, and would be a hedge against the lingering injury issue(s) of Dwyane Wade. Plenty of reasons why this might not happen (and I doubt it will), but still worth keeping an eye on the next couple days.

KILL THE NBA ALL-STAR GAME!: Of course by "kill" I pretty much mean "ignore." Why watch? The East beat the West Sunday night, 163-155, and it was like watching a Harlem Globetrotters-Washington Generals game in terms of competitiveness. Even as entertainment 1aa1alebasgit's lacking. There were an even 100 3-point shots taken, and 162 points were scored in the paint -- underlining the disinterest in defense or even the pretense of defense. The NBA dresses up the faux-game in hip-hop -- still love me some old-school Snoop Dogg, or Lion, or whatever -- but the whole affair remains pointless even as the scoring breaks records. (LeBron James scored 22 points, Dwyane Wade 10 and Chris Bosh five, by the way). Only because the NFL and NHL all-star games are such hot messes does the NBA's seem decent by comparison. MLB' s all-star game continues as the only one worth the slightest attention.

LeBron says nothing of value about his future!: LeBron, in an NBA TV interview last night, asked if he could picture himself playing anywhere else: "At this point, I can't, [but] we don't know what can happen from here to July."

Poll result: Dolfans embarrassed, but also sharply divided, by Bullygate: We asked in the last blogpost how serious you think the whole Bullygate controversy was, and 44.5 percent called it a "major embarrassment" but another 37.8% called it minor and "way overblown." Only 16.5% were in between, calling it "fairly serious," and a scant 1.1% were still undecided.

A RECOMMENDED BOOK: Just bought and finished I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers and the March Up Freedom's Highway (Scribner, $26), by Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot. Devoured 1aa1amavisthe 308 pages in two days because I've been a Staple Singers fan since college and currently write the independent Twitter site @mavis_staples -- but also because the story is so engaging. The family group enjoyed chart success in the first half of the '70s but their story starts in rural, deeply-segregated Mississippi and explores their unheralded role in the Civil Rights movement. They were favorites of Martin Luther King. Their music blurred lines between gospel, R&B, soul, funk and pop. Mavis continues to tour to this day, at 74, and as more than just a nostalgia act. Her two most recent albums (produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy) both were Grammy-nominated for Best Americana album. Mavis is a national treasure, and the book is wonderful.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

October 16, 2013

Are the Dolphins a playoff team? New poll. Vote now!; plus Heat/NBA over-unders, Doctor Sleep, texting at the movies, Stick-Figure Family backlash & more

1aa1bossIt is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17. I'm back in the Friday Page Dungeon today trying to survive this week's NFL picks. If you hear screaming call 9-1-1. 2) Yesterday was "National Boss Day," a contrivance to which underlings everywhere might mutter, "Isn't every day?" My Boss is pictured. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, LeBron revealed, happy anniversary Steve Bartman, exhilaration and disgust, SOPY rankings & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).

Canes-North Carolina: Watch for a new, separate blogpost on tonight's Miami Hurricanes-North Carolina game around late afternoon today.

Heat seen as NBA victories leader: Predicatbly, new betting over/unders from Bovada for NBA regular-season victories have Heat on top at 61.5. Followers are Clippers 57, Bulls 56.5, Spurs 55.5 and Rockets/Pacers both 54.5. Caboose is 76ers at 17.

ARE THESE DOLPHINS A PLAYOFF TEAM?: I know. It's a bit early for this. But Miami has so seldom been 1aa1dolposin the NFL playoff picture the past dozen or so years that just being in the conversation is worth chewing on, even pre-Halloween. Besides, the bye week is a pause that invites reflection. The Dolphins at 3-2 entering Sunday's game here vs. Buffalo would hold the sixth and final AFC playoff spot (the second wild-card) if the postseason started now. But five teams are 3-3 and three others have two wins, so the competition down the stretch will be fierce. Betting odds right now (Bovada) are that Miami will not make the playoffs. What do you think? I remind Dolfans who are voting (probably the majority) that this isn't asking what you hope happens but rather what your gut honestly feels will happen. Pull the lever with mind not heart, if you are able. Vote and say why, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

1aa1drsleepDOCTOR SLEEP: Just finished reading Stephen King's latest, Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining. (Not a prequel, as I'd caresslessly called it originally). I'll offer no plot hint except this: I'll never again pass a Winnebago on the Interstate without a glance at the driver. This book is far from my favorite of his, but I flew through the 500-plus pages fast and would recommend it. Then again I'm one of King's Constant Readers. He suffers critically from his popularity, but I'm proud to call him my favorite novelist (not counting Pete Dexter, who, opposite of King's prolificness, doesn't write nearly enough to suit me).

MULTI-TASKING IN MOVIE THEATERS: Movie theaters -- dying like newspapers and hand-written letters -- 1aa1cellmovieneed life breathed into them, but the idea that has caught my eye seems counterintuitive to say the least. A San Francisco venture capitalist named Hunter Walk suggests designated rooms or seating sections that allow (and thus tacitly encourage) texting, Tweeting and web-surfing during the film. At least two chains, Regal and IMAX, think it might be a good idea. Hmm. Remember when you went to the movies to escape the sort of reality embodied by cell phones? Dear Fellow Human: If you cannot leave your smartphone alone for 103 minutes, you may have Attention Deficit Disorder. Seriously.

1aa1figstickSTICK-FIGURE FAMILIES: We've all seen the stick-figure-family decals on the rear windows of cars and (most often, it seems) SUVs. They in turn have spawned response decals such as the one pictured -- and some more crude than this. It's in the same vein as the bumper sticker that reads, "My Kid Can Beat Up Your Honor Student." Response decals are not new. Remember when 'Baby On Board' begat 'Mother-in-Law In Trunk'? But the new wave reflected in the one pictured seem a bit coarse; no, mean-spirited. What's next? A bumper sticker that reads, "You Love Your Schnauzer? I'd Love to Eat Your Schnauzer with Fava Beans."  Or how about a reponse to those R.I.P. in-memorium stickers that reads, "I Don't Give a Crap That Your Loved One Died." C'mon, people! We turn a dark corner as a society when being mean is such a point of pride that we have it on a rolling billboard. Be nice!

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

May 28, 2013

G4: Pacers 99, Heat 92: Miami's Big 3 must be bigger still; plus LeBron on SI cover, Spurs waiting, St. Elmo's, exploding Sad-O-Meter & more

Me on SportsCenter: Further proof TV is not just for the telegenic: I'll be on ESPN's SportsCenter talking Heat today at 6 p.m.

1aa1jamesl1) It is WEDNESDAY, MAY 29. LeBron James on the cover (right) of the new Sports Illustrated. Timing would have been better had he heroically led a win last night. Guess SI couldn't arrange it. 2) Thanks to Le Batard for the chaotic, awkward radio appearance(s) yesterday. Always fun! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 3 win, Heat how-concerned poll, Dolphins win projection, Marlins Sad-O-Meter. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote and now on Instagram at upsetbird.

Click on Big 3 Must Be Even Bigger for my column from Indianapolis on last night's Game 4 Heat loss.

Sweepin' Spurs await East winner: Impressive San Antonio completed a four-game sweep of Memphis last night in the Western Conference finals and awaits the Heat-Pacers winner. No matter how/when this East series ends, the NBA Finals will start June 6 in Miami. That means San Antonio, last in the Finals in 2007, will have 10 days' rest. (On the other hand, it means the elderly Spurs will be 10 days older).

G4: PACERS 99, HEAT 92: MIAMI SHOOTS 39%, IS DOMINATED ON BOARDS: It wasn't that LeBron James fouled out with 56 seconds left on a very questionable call. That's convenient as excuses go, but I'd sooner look to 39 percent shooting and a 49-30 rebounding differential favoring the home Pacers Tuesday. The Big 3 was not big. LeBron was below his averages for points, rebounds and assists and had little of the low-post presence and force he'd had the prvious game. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were far worse, a combined 6-for-21 shooting. I still like Miami's chances in this Eastern Conference finals now tied 2-2, with two of the next three at home and because the Big 3 have earned the faith to expect a rebound performance Thursday. It just got interesting, though. ..... Original post: Indiana coach Frank Vogel coined an interesting phrase, referring to the Heat's "big fourth." He says Miami is most dangerous, almost 1aa1heatpacersunstoppable when, in addition to the Big 3, someone else arises 1aa1g4offensively like Udonis Haslem did in Game 3. Or like Birdman Andersen has throughout this postseason. Or like Ray Allen or Shane Battier on a night when the 3's are dropping. Then, it isn't just LeBron. Who will tonight's Big Fourth be? Miami is the first team in NBA history to win five straight playoff road games by 10-or-more points. A win tonight by any margin will mean the series is effectively over. The Heat know it. A 3-1 lead with two games left in Miami would give Indy all but zero chance. "We have an opportunity to control the series," coach Erik Spoelstra admitted Monday. Now let's see if they can.

1aa1elmoDESTINATION: SHRIMP COCKTAIL: My mouth waters as I type that I'll swing by St. Elmo's on the walk to the arena today for their world-famous shrimp cocktail with fiery sauce. You talk about a pregame meal! Was disappointed to find the place closed yesterday for Memorial Day. Today, I shall not be denied! [Postscript: Had the 'tail. Sublime!].

LEBRON A QB? NO PROB, SAYS LEBRON: Former NFL quarterback and broadcaster Joe Theismann, 1aa1lebqbbored pimping for a men's bladder-control product, made media rounds this week suggesting LeBron James could be an NFL QB. LeBron, never lacking confidnece and a two-year receiver in high school, took the qauestion seriously when asked Monday. "I have the ability," he said. "I can see and read plays. I know defenses and things if that nature. So I would have been pretty good." Best things about that last sentence? The past-tense.

1aa1bbsadSAD-O-METER: MARLINS NOW OFFICIALLY ON RECORD LOSS PACE: We have this new blog feature we update as long as Marlins' winning percentage is under .300 -- as long as the New York Mets' infamous 1962 record of 40-120 (.250) is within dubious reach. Well, seven straight losses now have S-O-M exploding on record pace. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-39 (.250). Season projection, 40.5 wins, 121.5 losses.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

March 20, 2012

Garrard vs. Moore for Dolphins' start ... should Tebow be in play, too? Vote now (with poll); plus Heat, March Madness 'n Canes, Panthers & more

[1) It is Wednesday, March 21. Live Chat Wednesday, our weekly Q&A, returns for another round today 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join us live then or to post questions now. 2) Hope Yeremiah Bell re-signs. A good safety and a better guy. 3) Thanks to Bonnie Gross for having us speak to her FAU multimedia journalism class. Enjoyed it. 4) Lady Gaga says here she won't do any more press interviews for a long time. The group, People Who Believe Her, would not fill a Kia. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote].

1aa1protest 1aa1finsprotest 1aa1jeffirelandOCCUPY DAVIE?: About 35 protestors (pictured) gathered across the street from Dolphins' HQ in Davie yesterday to protest the club's direction under owner Stephen Ross and GM Jeff Ireland. Sign of the Day "FIRELAND!"

Click on Leading the League in Rejection for my latest column, on the Dolphins' offseason woes.

DOLPHINS SIGN QB DAVID GARRARD: Whirlwind times for the Dolphins. Last night they signed QB David Garrard (pictured right), the ex-Jaguar. Would think that effectively eliminates the hopes to get Alex 1aa1davidgarrardSmith, just as Peyton Manning choosing Denver will likely make available Tim Tebow (pictured left). The 49ers not landing Manning likely means they will now re-sign Smith,  erasing yet another option from the Dolphins. Will the last person to reject the Dolphins please turn out the light? This planned major quarterback upgrade is not coming easily for the Dolphins. It may not come at all. The winner in all this? Maybe Matt Moore, who is looking more and more like he'll keep his starting job. Doubt Garrard is better. 1aa1tebowtAnd neither is Tebow. With no Smith, I think Miami should and will end up sticking with Moore for another year and move to draft and develop Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. Then again, the way the Dolphins' luck is running, somebody else will draft Tannehill first and Moore will bust his ankle jet-skiing. Oh, and Chad Henne will make the Pro Bowl for Jacksonville. Do not think Tebow will be pursued. Isn't good enough. He would be a splash signing in terms of headlines and buzz, but don't count on it. Ross and Ireland need help, though. Should they pursue a trade for Tebow assuming the asking price is fair? Vote now and say why. Interesting, evolving results. Check back often to monitor... 

Flynn on Seattle over Miami: Matt Flynn on Seattle radio topday, about choosing the Seahawks over Dolphins despite his familiarty with Joe Philbin: "I felt it’s a program that’s really on the rise, doing the right thing, is being led by the right type of people." A veiled shot at Ireland et al?

Manning, Tebow bettling lines: Nobody puts up lines quicker than Bovada. They have Peyton Manning over/unders for Broncos as 4,000 passing yards and 28.5 TD passes. Tim Tebow's destination is Jaguars at 3-2, Broncos and Dolphins both 7-4, Patriots 7-1 and Browns 12-1. Revised Super Bowl odds have Packers 13-2, Patriots 15-2, Saints 10-1, and Texans and Broncos both 12-1 -- Denver up from 50-1 last month. Miami is 40-1 (mid-pack tie for 17th), from 35-1 last month.

HEAT'S COUNTDOWN TO OKLAHOMA CITY: Revenge upon Orlando completed with Miami's 13th straight home win, check. Impressive late rally to beat Phoenix last night for 14th straight home win, check. Now Heat fans' next red circle on the calendar should be this coming Sunday's visit to Oklahoma City in the teams' first meeting of the season -- and a likely or at least very possible NBA Finals preview. Meantime, with the regular season two-thirds finished, time to start paying attention to conference standings and likely playoff pairings. Miami, as it stands, would draw creaking Boston in the first round.

1aa1ozhouseIT'S GOOD BEING OZZIE GUILLEN: Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen posted on his website a picture of the shack he's living in up in Jupiter during spring training, and we pass it along for your edification.

MADNESS UPDATE / NATIONAL: REST TIME FOR THE SWEET 16: No. 11 seed North Carolina State would be Cinderella in the men's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 if not for 13th seed Ohio, and I wonder if a few 1aa1sweet16Miami Hurricanes fans have thought, "That should be us." N.C. State was the last ACC invite, bumping UM. Anyway, the Madness breathes and rests for a few days before Sweet 16 games start Thursday. UPSET WATCH: Through 48 games so far, the biggest upsets by seed have been by 15s Lehigh and Norfolk, by 13 Ohio and by 12s Virginia Commonwealth and South Florida. In all there have been 13 upsets in 48 games, or 27.1 percent. MY BRACKET: I'm alive with 10 of the 16 survivors. Could be worse, I guess. My bracket-killers have been Missouri and Florida State; I had both reaching the Final Four. Too much faith in the ex-Canes coaches, Frank Haith and Leonard Hamilton.

Updated Madness betting lines: From Bovada, Kentucky is a clear national-championship fave at 11-5, followed by Ohio State 5-1, Michigan State and North Carolina both 13-2, and Kansas 8-1. Glass slipper fits Ohio at 100-1. 

1aa1katiemeierMADNESS UPDATE / MIAMI: CANES WOMEN, MEN BOTH ELIMINATED: Tough night for The U in hoops last night. UM women were upset in round two of the NCAAs by Gonzaga on their home court in Spokane, after routing Idaho State in their tourney opener. Canes were again without suspended star Riquna Williams. Kudos to Katie Meier (pictured) for a righteous decision many coaches would not have had the nerve to make. The Miami men, trying to make the best of the NIT, hosted Minnesota but lost after beating Valparaiso in their opener.

ICE ON FIRE AS PANTHERS STAY HOT: Overshadowed by the Heat, the Dolphins' QB calamity and nationally by March Madness, the Florida Panthers last night won a fifth straight games, the club's best streak in four years to maintain a five-point division lead with 10 games left. Cats have lost as many games (36) as they've won and been outscored by 16 goals, but first is first is first. Especially for a club that last made the playoffs in 2000 and last won a playoff series in halcyon 1997.

BETHENNY FRANKEL UPDATE: Reality cougar Bethenny Frankel appeared on TV the other day, dropped for a pushup and flashed her nearly bare bottom. Click here if you don't believe it. I couldn't say it if it weren't true. This is a blog!

1aa1fenway100FOR RED SOX FANS: Most of the sports books I am sent sit unread. An exception is Fenway: A Fascinating First Century (Sports Illustrated Books, $32.95), which I'd recommend as a must-have for Boston Red Sox fans and which would also nicely grace the coffee table of anyone enamored of baseball history. Well, not counting Yankees fans. They should probably skip it.

THE LIST: HOME STADIUMS AND ARENAS: With Opening Day in 16 days, Marlins Park will become only the sixth different South Florida facility to be home to one of our Big Four pro teams. The stadiums and arenas...

DOLPHINS: Orange Bowl (1966-86); Dolphins stadium (1987-present).

HEAT: Miami Arena (1988-99); Downtown bayside arena (2000-present).

MARLINS: Dolphins stadium (1993-2011); Marlins Park (beginning 2012).

PANTHERS: Miami Arena (1993-97); Sunrise arena (1998-present).

Click back. Will be updating and adding more to this latest blogpost...

March 01, 2012

It's the Marlinizing of America; plus Heat, UM women, Canes baseball, Saints' bounty, Al Golden, Tazer Ball & more

1aa1wiltc1) It is Sunday, March 4, two days after the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's historic 100-point game in 1962. 2) Click on March Marvelousness for my latest column, on South Florida's busiest, most varied sports month. 3) You may still vote in our Dolphins-RG3-QB poll in post directly below this new one. 4) Read about a 21-year-old woman who eats sponges and bars of soap here. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

1aa1peteylomoMARLINS TAKING OVER AMERICA! More than 40,000 at FanFest in the new ballpark Saturday. That's impressive. The Miami Marlins could only be bigger, hotter and more in the news now if they signed LeBron James to play first base. The latest evidence: The Petey & Lomo Show, a web-based reality show hosted by sbnation.com starring Marlins outfielders Logan Morrison and Bryan Peterson. The premiere epsiode is titled "The Dirty V's," in which our fun lovin', crazy bachelor heroes form a two-man biker gang on Vespa motorscooters. Click The Dirty V's to watch the episode. I did. It's harmless, fun stuff crammed into a fast four minutes, although I was left to hope the guys don't quit their day jobs just yet in hellbent pursuit of a future in cinema. The Petey & LoMo Show debuts the same week manager Ozzie Guillen and new shortstop Jose Reyes adorn the cover of Sports Illustrated under the banner, "Marlinsanity." New colors, new name, new logo, new ballpark. Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Carlos Zambrano, Mark Buerhle, Heath Bell, Mike Stanton and ... wait. Sorry. Almost forgot. Mike is going by Giancarlo Stanton now. And of course all of the characters under the big top will be featured as the Marlins star this summer in Showtime's reality series, The Franchise. Is this going to be a fun ride or what? Now all they have to do is live up to the rampaging hype and win. A lot.

BLACK FRIDAY FOR HEAT, UM WOMEN, CANES BASEBALL: Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Heat see nine-game winning streak end in Utah. Hurricanes women stunned by Wake Forest in opener of ACC basketball tournament. And UM baseball loses to top-ranked Florida for ninth time in a row. Get here, Sunday. Special note on the Heat loss: LeBron James had a great game but passed on taking the final shot, instead dishing to Udonis Haslem, who missed. Get off LeBron's back, critics. If U sinks that shot, James is a selfless hero. Because U missed it, what, he's a choker? No. Dwyane Wade's two late fouls and missed free throw cost Miami this game in the final minute, not James not taking the last shot.

1aa1lbjdwWELCOME BACK, LEBRON AND DWYANE: Stayed up 'til 1:30 this morning watching the Heat win at Portland, 107-93, in first game back after all-star break. Glad I did. What a show by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combing for 71 points as team cruised to ninth straight even without Chris Bosh, who was away because his grandmother had died. LeBron scored 38 with 11 rebounds, six assists and five steals, and D-Wade added 33 points and 10 assists. Pretty awesome combo platter. Afterward (see right) LeBron happily photobombed Wade's postgame TV interview.

GOTCHA! NFL NABS SAINTS FOR BOUNTY: The past three years the New Orleans Saints have had an illegal bounty program in which defensive players were paid for hits that injured opponents. I cannot overemphasize how serious I think the NFL will take this. I believe the forthcoming penalties and sanctions will be severe, including major fines and significant forfeited draft picks. Watch and see.

GOLDEN, CANES DISCUSS SPRING PRACTICE: Canes open spring practice Saturday. The big news is the surgery that will shelve QB Stephen Morris this spring. Click here to hear coach Al Golden and some of his players discuss the coming weeks of offseason prepartion.

STUDY PROJECTS MARLINS DEFENSE WORST IN MLB: The annual Fielding Bible meticulously studies and ranks every team based on a formula for Defensive Runs Saved, and has the Marlins a dead-last 30th place for 2012 with minus-30 runs. (Tampa Bay is first with plus-42). The Marlins also were last in 2011 with five starters -- C John Buck, SS Hanley Ramirez, 3B Greg Dobbs, LF Logan Morrison and CF Chris Coghlan -- all ranked among the worst at their position.

FORK TIME FOR CANES MEN'S BASKETBALL: No more pretending, OK? UM's loss to North Carolina State knocked the Hurricanes' chances of an NCAA Tournament invitation from slim to rice-paper thin. The Canes in Jim Larranaga's first season have been what teams that end up in the NIT tend to be: Capable of flashes of brilliance, but not with any consistency.

1aa1utb2ULTIMATE TAZER BALL: Friends Leif Kellenberger, Erik Wunsch and Eric Prumm have invented a sport called 1aa1utbUltimate Tazer Ball. It has elements of rugby and soccer and involves a large medicine ball. Oh, and players all carry stun guns and are allowed to taze the person carrying the ball. I only wish I were making this up. Click here to be dumbfounded by the tale, or visit their website to see an utterly ridiculous idea given the imprimatur of legitimacy by slick packaging. As for the three friends who dreamed this up, you might call them entrepreneurs or you might call them daring. I think I might call them idiots.

1aa1hardhatHARDHAT DORK FACTOR: Nobody looks dorkier wearing a construction hardhat than someone wearing one for the first time, like a millionaire or 1aa1barackhardhatCEO at a groundbreaking ceremony, a president of the United States, or a sports columnist. Come to think of it everybody looks dorky in a hardhat, and that certainly includes me, with the proof submitted at right. Recently went on a guided tour of the new Marlins Park (for a future column) and had to wear it. The hat I could at least understand. The fluorescent yellow vest, not so much.

TIGER TERSE AND TESTY: Click here to watch and hear Tiger Woods being annoyed by a line of questioning Wednesday at the Honda Classic up in Palm Beach.

1aa1queenTHE MAGIC OF ROYALTY: Have you ever noticed that the Queen of England performing the simplest of tasks such as exiting a car takes on the gravitus of a great endeavor and momentous occasion? Yeah me too!

1aa1jlovmagDEAR GREG...: "Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show Jennifer Lopez posing for a magazine cover wearing a rather obscenely bulging protective cup like boxers wear under their trunks. Thank you." Dear Reader: C'mon. J-Lo would never pose in such attire. (Click on image to enlarge for full effect).

THE LIST: MONKEES GREATEST HITS: In honor of Davy Jones on his recent passing, The Monkees' top 10 biggest songs based on Billboard Hot 100 chart peak:

Peak   Song (Year)

1   Last Train To Clarksville (1966)

1   I'm A Believer (1966)

1   Daydream Believer (1967)

2   A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You (1967)

3   Valleri (1967)

3   Pleasant Valley Sunday (1967)

11   Words (1967)

19   D.W. Washburn (1967)

20   Stepping Stone (1966)

20   That Was Then, This Is Now (1984)

Note: I'm A Believer and A Little Bit Me, A little Bit You were written by Neil Diamond. 

Click back. Likely will be updating and adding to this latest blogpost...

January 09, 2012

WWJD: What Will Jeff Do? Vote for Dolphins' next coach (with poll); plus Nick Saban, Tim Tebow, Larkin, 'Shameless,' 11/22/63 & more

[1) You can still vote in our what-team-are-you-supporting-in-NFL-playoffs poll in post just below this. 3) Hurricanes women fall 12th to 13th in latest AP basketball poll. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Update: Indefinitive quasi-"reports" continue to suggest Jeff Fisher is now leaning toward the Dolphins over the Rams. No official word. Stay tuned. Meantime, strike Mike Mularkey from Miami's list of head-coach candidates. He has been hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

1aa1copterWHOM DO YOU HOPE IS THE NEXT DOLPHINS' COACH?: Obviously the team's No. 1 choice is Jeff Fisher, and even thought he reportedly is leaning to St. Louis until the moment he says "It's the Rams," I would not discount Miami' chances. (Pictured at right, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross' coach-squiring helicopter under attack by the St. Louis Rams). Fisher would get my vote to be next coach since I am finally convinced any hope of Bill Cowher/Jon Gruden is dead in the water. Now have your say. Tell the Dolphins how much you too want Fisher -- or don't. This poll includes the six men who have or will be interviewed by the club for the job as of now, plus one wild-card of my choosing (Les Miles), based solely on speculation and rumor. Also there is a "somebody else" category. Take a dip in our poll and say why you back the person you do.

Joe Philbin's son found dead: Click here for a serious and tragic story about the son of Dolphins coaching candidate Joe Philbin, the Packers offensive coordinator. He had been reported, his body later pulled from a river. Foul play is not suspected in the death of the 21-year-old, leading one to suspect an accident or suicide. The son had been convicted in 2009 of sexual assault.

ALABAMA QUIETS THE COMPLAINERS: Nick Saban's Tide rolled mightily over LSU last night, 21-0. Field 1aa1nicksgoals + that defense = national championship. These were the two best teams in the country (sorry, Oklahoma State), and the victor would deserve the title. A narrow 'Bama win (after Tigers beat Tide 9-6 during the season) might have left debate, but this was conclusive. I had picked Alabama to win 24-20; did not imagine a rout. One post-mortem quibble: Alabama got 55 of 60 votes in the final Associated Press poll. I can almost see the four votes for Oklahoma State; it's like supporting Ralph Nader. You know you are hopeless but you get to pretend you are standing for something. But can someone please explain the one vote for LSU? After last night? That voter should be identified and stripped of his voting rights. Seriously. [See related 'List' below].

"WE'RE NO. 7! WE'RE...": Tom Lemming of CBS Sports issues his Top 25 college football recruiting classes of 2012 and Miami Hurricanes check in 7th. Top five: Alabama, Texas, Michigan, Florida, Ohio State. FSU 10th.

1aa1shamelessWELCOME BACK, 'SHAMELESS': Pleased to watch the season premier of Showtime's Shameless last night. Any other fans out there? For me it joins an echelon with Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Family Guy as the best stuff on TV. William H. Macy as the alcoholic, deliciously derelict family patriarch Frank (pictured) is brilliant.

ON TIM TEBOW, HIS ACOLYTES: I wrote that Tim Tebow was a "fraud QB" and that he'd be dominated by 1aa1ttebowPittsburgh's defense yesterday. Um, I was wrong -- or at least certainly on the latter point. He threw for 3:16 oops sorry I meant 316 yards and Denver won in OT. So the Legend of Tebow is resuscitated! It is the reaction since that has amused me. My e-mail box is stuffed with delighted, crowing, told-ya-so messages from His (benefit of doubt on the capitalization) fans. And some of the words contained, I must say, are rather un-Christian! Anyway, I deserve it. I underestimated Tebow. Based on the reaction, I'm pretty sure that's a sin.

UPDATED SUPER BOWL ODDS: With the field down to eight, from our friends at Bovada: Packers 9-5, Patriots 11-4, Saints 7-2, Ravens 7-1, 49ers and Giants both 14-1, Texans 28-1 and Broncos 40-1. Exact- matchup favorites are Pack-Pats at 2-1, Saints-Pats 9-4, Pack-Ravens 5-1 and Saints-Ravens 8-1.

LARKIN IN COOPERSTOWN: [Barry Larkin is the father of Miami Hurricanes freshman basketball guard Shane Larkin. Click here for the tale]. Career-long Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin (1986-2004) was voted 1aa1barrylinto the Hall of Fame Monday on his third try. (Guess he was especially good in retirement this past year). Larkin was the only one voted in, and an expected if somewhat marginal choice. To me, he's in the Hall of Very Good, a solid (.295 career average) guy who never led the league in any statistical category for a season, though he did win the NL MVP in '95 and gained a solid 86.4 percent of the votes. All-star career? Yeah. Cooperstown? Well, congratulations in any case. Voters held their ground, though, on the two guys smudged by steroids era, with Mark McGwire at a mere 19.5% of the votes and Rafael Palmeiro at 12.6%.

TUNA IN CAN(TON)?: Bill Parcells is among 17 who made the latest cut for consideration for the next wave of Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees, along with former Hurricanes standout Cortez Kennedy and briefly-a-Dolphin Cris Carter. I'd call Tuna's chances pretty good, unless voting is confined to Miami.

1aa1kings11/22/63: Am presently immersed in Stephen King's latest novel, 11/22/63, about a man who time-travels in an effort to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As a Constant Reader of King's I am amazed by how prolific he is without diminished quality. The man sh--s best-sellers. He can take a premise that every fiber in your being knows is ridiculous (time travel? c'mon!), sell it, give you no choice but to buy it, and make you glad you did.

THE LIST: ALABAMA/LSU NATIONAL CHMPIONSHIPS: Alabama (7) and Louisiana State (3) have combined for 10 national football titles, based on BCS championships since the 1998 season and final Associated Press polls prior. Championship seasons by the two schools:

Season   Champion   Coach

1958   LSU   Paul Dietzel

1961   Alabama   Bear Bryant

1964   Alabama   Bear Bryant

1965   Alabama   Bear Bryant

1978   Alabama   Bear Bryant

1979   Alabama   Bear Bryant

1992   Alabama   Gene Stallings

2003   LSU   Nick Saban

2007   LSU   Les Miles

2009   Alabama   Nick Saban

2011   Alabama   Nick Saban

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...