August 28, 2017

The latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Mayweather-McGregory won, but see what else lands where in our newest list; plus new Sunday column on Stanton's rising place in history, reason for optimism on Dolphins, HB Daily (Mon) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 28. Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Mayweather-McGregor polls and results, Dolphins drop Fake Game 3, Stanton pace at 63, latest 'Back In My Day' video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

New Sunday column: Stanton's ascending place in history: Giancarlo Stanton's 2017 Marlins season is high and getting higher among our Top 10 greatest individual seasons in Miami sports history. See our list in my latest Sunday column. Click on Stanton Chasing 1984 to read.

Latest Dolphins column: Offense will make up for shortcomings on D: What's winning, Dolfans? Is it the optimist inside you? Or the pessimist within who always seems closer at hand? Side with optimism, I say. Here's why: This Dolphins offense will be better than the defense is bad. Click on Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic Offense to read.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, 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:

Hotbutton1. FIGHTING: Mayweather-McGregor lives up to hype in Money win: The anticipation, the hype, the crowd in Vegas, the record setting pay-per-view audience. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor needed a heck of a show to meet expectations Saturday night. Did they deliver? Yes. Mayweather was uncommonly aggressive in scoring a 10th-round TKO, McGregor was a legit, worthy foe and I doubt many PPV buyers felt cheated.

2. MARLINS: Stanton surge lifts Fish into wild-card hunt: As Sunday wrapped three-game mini-homestand vs. Padres, Miami has climbed into playoff hunt, Giancarlo Stanton is chasing 60 homers -- with 50 now, his pace is 63 -- oh, and Jeffrey Loria is on way out. Somebody pinch me!

3. HURRICANES: Countdown 5 days to opener for Rosier, UM: Canes and newly named starting QB Malik Rosier host Bethune-Cookman this Saturday at The Rock in Week 1 of Mark Richt's second season. It's a soft opening that should be an easy win for The U. That's with all due respect to Bethune ... which isn't due much.

4. DOLPHINS: 'Dress rehearsal' loss leaves mixed signals: What to discern from Thursday's 38-31 Dolphins loss in Philly in Fake Game 3? Don't worry about Miami's Jay-Jay offense led by Cutler and Ajayi. But do worry (a lot) about that defense, especially against the pass. 

5. NFL: It's Draft Day in America!: Sunday, yesterday, was when most fantasy drafts were held nationwide, according to ESPN.com, which hosts more leagues than any other outlet. I re-thought my draft strategy after loading up last year on a kicker, defense and tight end with my first three picks.   

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FSU, Florida in marquee games as season kicks off: The two biggest Week 1 games in the country this coming Saturday will have a state flavor as No. 3 Florida State plays No. 1 Alabama in Atlanta and No. 17 Florida hosts No. 11 Michigan. Alas, bettors think the Noles and Gators both will be starting off 0-1.

7. FIU/FAU: New coaches Davis, Kiffin prepare for debuts:  FIU visits UCF on Thursday and FAU hosts Navy on Friday in the coaching debuts for the Panthers' Butch Davis and Owls' Lane Kiffin. Both are "name" coaches. Now we see if they'll also be "winning" coaches, too.

8. FELO RAMIREZ: R.I.P. to Marlins broadcasting legend: A sentimental nod to a radio icon who broadcast Marlins games from the franchise's start in 1993. He passed away at 94, and to call Ramirez the Spanish-language Vin Scully would compliment both men.

9. TENNIS: U.S. Open gets underway in New York: Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza are betting favorites as the season's fourth and final major gets underway in new York. That's the definition of Serena Williams being out on maternity leave, by the way: "Garbine Muguruza" the favorite. 

10. YOUTH BASEBALL: Little League World Series crowns a champion: The International champion (Japan) beat the U.S. champion (Lufkin, Texas) for the grand title Sunday in Williamsport, Pa. May the best team (or the one with the best fake IDs) win.

Missing the HB10 cut: First the Heat sought Gordon Heyward in free agency only to see him sign with Boston. Then Miami inquired about trading for Kyrie Irving, but Cleveland's asking price was too high, and Celtics landed Irving, too. Or did they? Trade has hit snag over Thomas' health and, like a teenage marriage, may yet be annulled ..... Hey anybody know when that solar eclipse is happening? Say what!? Oh. How was it? ..... The 49ers' Katie Sowers has become the NFL's first openly gay coach. Given the job security of that profession, she'll also be the NFL's first openly gay coach to be fired .....  More than 1,000 turned out for a rally in support of Colin Kaepernick at NFL headquarters. Should have called it an anti alt-right rally. Would-a gotten a lot more people ..... ESPN removes announcer named Robert Lee from calling Virginia football game. Mamas, quit naming your babies after Confederate heroes.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 8-28-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at Washington, 7:05 p.m.: Stanton (50 HRs), hot Fish play 1st of 3 at Nats.

2. U.S. Open tennis, 1 p.m.: Underway with 1st-round matches in New York.

Select other recent columns -- Stanton the Litmus Test For New Owners (Don't you dare trade him!) Double QB Quandary A Rarity (On Dolphins, Canes' shared upheaval). New Owner, New Hope (Let's party at news Loria agrees to sell to Jeter group). A Diamond, Shining (Giancarlo Stanton's great season). Immortality Calling (Jason Taylor in Hall, now who's next?). Also: Right Time, Right QuarterbackThe Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In DefeatAll-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

August 26, 2017

Your polarizing predictions on tonight's Mayweather-McGregor fight; plus big reason for optimism on Dolphins (new column), Stanton pace at 63, latest 'Back In My Day' video, Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 26. R.I.P., Felo Ramirez: The Marlins Spanish-language broadcaster passed away this week at his Miami home at age 94. Ramirez called Marlins games since the franchise's inception in 1993 and was a legend in Latin American baseball circles. To an epic life well led, sir. 2) Mark Richt names Malik Rosier as Miami Hurricanes starting quarterback. But will it last? 3) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Happy Solar Eclipse Monday, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Stanton's chase for 60: After two more homers Friday giving him 49 for the season, Stanton's projected pace is now 63.

New column: Dolphins offense will make up for shortcomings on D: Can one feel excitement and dread all at once? We imagine those are the disparate yet oddly joined thoughts Miami Dolphins fans should be feeling as they now palpably face the coming NFL season. The question is who’s winning. Is it the optimist inside you? Or the pessimist within who always seems closer at hand? Side with optimism, I say. Here's why: This Dolphins offense will be better than the defense is bad. Click on Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic Offense to read.  

POLL RESULTS: YOUR POLARIZING VERDICTS ON TONIGHT'S MAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR FIGHT: We invited you in a pair of polls (see below) to say who you wanted to win tonight's big Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas, and who you predicted would win. After more than 1,100 votes were cast, your verdicts: On who you WANT to win the fight, it was the underdog McGregor winning your vote with 62.12 percent. On who you predict WILL win the fight, it was the favorite Mayweather with 69.70%.

PS3: PHILADELPHIA 38, DOLPHINS 31: Click on Alphabet Lesson: Jays Ready, D Not for my quick-hits column off last night's Miami loss in Philly in Fake Game 3 ..... In-game: Grant 69-yard catch and run ties it 31-31 ... Franks 56-yard FG just before half has Fins within 28-24 ... Dolphins 21-14 on Thomas 1-yard TD pass set up by end-zone interference call on Cutler bomb to Stills ... Miami 14-7 on another Ajayi 2-yard scoring run, this up by Jordan Phillips interception and return to Birds 3 ... Fins tie it 7-7 on 2-yard Ajayi TD run set by 72-yard Cutler completion to Parker. ..... Original post: The starters played so little in Miami winning then losing its first two exhibition games that little could be discerned about the season ahead. Tonight should tell more. Fake Game 3s (I think it's mandatory to call them the "dress rehearsal") are the one game of four in the preseason in Dolphiwhich the starters will play a lot -- likely the whole first half maybe seeping into the third quarter -- and the scoreboard matters a bit. You are putting your best Ps3out there and trying to win, after all, for the only time in August. Five things to watch tonight: 1) How will the offensive line look? Center Mike Pouncey plays in a game for the first time since November and tackle Ja'Wuan James plays for only time this preseason. It'll be a bad sign if the ground game doesn't percolate tonight. 2) Pass defense, please!? Carson Wentz, who ain't Tom Brady, shredded Miami's D in two shared practices this week. Return of free safety Nate Allen should (had better) help. 3) Jay Cutler. He threw only six passes in his debut last week so this will be our first real look at the named starter. A solid showing by him will see hopes for the season buoyed. 4) The running game. Jay Ajayi will see his first extensive action and Kenyan Drake should play a bunch. Behind a starting O-line, we'll be looking for something close to good-to-go performance from Ajayi, last season's breakthrough star. 5) Middle linebacker and left guard. Mike Hull and newly signed veteran Rey Maualuga are battling to replace injured MLB Raekwon McMillan. Third-stringer Jesse Davis has inherited the LG spot. Solid play from those two positions will earn an exhale of relief from Fins coaches.

Note: Our Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls will return again this year, but they start with the regular season. So look for the for the first DSM poll on Sept. 10.

MaymcLESSER OF TWO EVILS? YOUR PREDICTION(S) ON THE MAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR FIGHT: If you're like me, you don't particularly like Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor, who'll be in a boxing ring this Saturday in Las Vegas for their much ballyhooed boxing/UFC hybrid. You'd probably like it if they could both lose. But curiosity and hype will have you watching, and human nature says you'll pick a side. You'll have a rooting interest, even if it's driven by rooting against somebody. I'm curious how you all feel; hence, these two polls -- one asking who you want to win, the other who you predict will win. Vote one with heart, the other with head, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 8-26-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Mayweather-McGregor, 7 p.m.: You say it's a farce. You'll be watching anyway.

2. San Diego at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: After 2 more Friday, Stanton's next HR will be 50th.

3. Little League World Series, 3:30: U.S. championship, after International finale at 12:30.

4. L.A. Chargers at L.A. Rams, 8 p.m.: NFL exhibition game

5. South Florida at San Jose State, 7:30 p.m. USF Bulls 1st state FBS team to kick off season.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': GENDER-REVEAL PARTIES: The latest BIMD, from yesterday's LeBatrd Show With Stugotz. Key phrase: "It's Larry!" Enjoy:

Select other recent columns -- Stanton the Litmus Test For New Owners (Don't you dare trade him!) Double QB Quandary A Rarity (On Dolphins, Canes' shared upheaval). New Owner, New Hope (Let's party at news Loria agrees to sell to Jeter group). A Diamond, Shining (Giancarlo Stanton's great season). Immortality Calling (Jason Taylor in Hall, now who's next?). Also: Right Time, Right QuarterbackThe Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In DefeatAll-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

June 19, 2017

Mayweather-McGregor: Will you watch? Poll. Last day to vote!: plus latest Hot Button Top 10. See what falls where; also, your next-Miami-champion verdict, HB Daily (Mon) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Hfd1) It is MONDAY, JUNE 19. Hope it was a Happy Father's Day to all my fellow padres out there except LaVar Ball. Hope y'all had a wonderful Sunday with loved ones! 2) We talked Heat, Dolphins and other stuff in our Miami Herald Facebook Live debut last week. If you missed it, click here to watch. Also ICYMI, check us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a pictorial of our recent 12-day day European vacation in Spain, Italy and France. 3) Know any Dolfans? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami's next-champion poll, your verdict on Mount Rushmore-Plus of South Florida's biggest current sports stars & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

MaymcgMAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR: WILL YOU WATCH?: It's official for Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. Boxing icon Floyd Mayweather vs. UFC star Conor McGregor (under boxing rules) in their much-awaited, long-delayed fight. It's a hybrid/oddity that has been criticized as a farce by some, especially with Mayweather a prohibitive betting favorite. It is the fight you hate to love and love to hate. I write about the polarizing nature of this event in my latest Sunday column; click on Make Fun of the Farce, But You'll Watch to read. There is speculation the event could break records for pay-per-view revenue, because it will draw boxing fans, UFC fans, spectacle junkies and curiosity seekers. Yet for some reason, interest in this fight is a guilty pleasure. I think far more are actually interested in watching this fight than might admit it. So let's find out with this poll. Vote honestly.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, 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. After a two-week vacation hiatus, we return with this week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Draft, then free agency on deck for Miami: Heat select 14th overall in this coming Thursday's NBA Draft, team's third-highest pick since Dwyane Wade in 2003, and the free agency period soon follows. Miami and 28 other teams enter the summer all trying to figure out the same thing: How to close the wide gap with the champion Golden State Warriors?
 
2. MARLINS: Best homestand of season begins tonight: With Miami hosting All-Star Game in only three weeks, Marlins open their sexiest homestand of the season starting Monday vs. the NL East power Nationals, then reigning champion Cubs, then division-rival Mets. Fish have been 10-2 at Marlins Park since that nightmarish 1-8 homestand in May.
 
3. PANTHERS: Cats hire coach; Ovechkin on radar?: Florida hired Bob Boughner as a first-time NHL head coach amid rumors team may be among suitors for Washington scoring star Alex Ovechkin, who seems at crossroads with Capitals. Ovechkin, a seven-time 50-goal guy, would give Cats their most dynamic scorer since Pavel Bure in 1999-01.
 
4. GOLF: Former no-name Koepka U.S. Open: The 117th edition of season's second major got off to weird start in Erin, Wisc., with defending champ Dustin Johnson opening with 75, and an advertising blimp crashing near course. It ended with West Palm Beach native Brooks Koepka making the U.S. Open only his second win on the PGA Tour.
 
5. NBA: Major trade at top of draft: The Celtics and 76ers agreed to swap the No. 1 and No. 3 overall picks in Thursday's draft, with Philly now planning to select Washington guard Markelle Fultz. It doesn't change likelihood Lonzo Ball and his Dad will go No. 2 to Lakers, unfortunately.
 
6. BOXING: Mayweather-McGregor is official at last: Boxer Floyd Mayweather and UFC star Conor McGregor will fight under boxing rules Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, it was confirmed last week.BIg outcry it's a farce and will be lopsided, yet the oddity-bout is expected to set pay-per-view records. 
 
7. DOLPHINS: Fins end offseason work: A three-day minicamp wrapped up offseason work, and Dolphins won't assemble again until the late-July start of training camp. Miami players, coaches and fans all seem optimistic for another playoff year, but the Las Vegas over/under on Fins wins is only 7 ½. Hmm. Somebody's wrong here. But who?

8. SOCCER: Big week on two fronts for Miami: Miami FC won again to continue its advance in the U.S. Open Cup. Meanwhile David Beckham cleared another hurdle in his bid to secure stadium land and finally realize his oft-delayed, oft-impeded dream of Major League Soccer here.

9. COLLEGE BASEBALL: CWS underway in Omaha: Eight teams including Florida and Florida State have begun play in Omaha to see which two will reach the three-game championship round. With end of Canes' long NCAA streak, won't be en easy watch for Jim Morris.

10. HURRICANES: UM football No. 15 by one estimation: Mark Schlabach's post-spring Top 25 for ESPN.com has the Canes 15th, for what it's worth. I might share that optimism, if I knew who UM's quarterback will be or if he'll be any good.

Missing the HB10 cut: India and Pakistan are playing a big cricket match somwhere, and I don't understand a word of it ..... Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo may leave Real Madrid after being accused of tax evasion by Spanish authorities. Surprised Real Madrid fans haven't started a GoFundMe to pay what he owes ..... Jim Harbaugh has invited the Obamas to serve as honorary captains at a Michigan game this fall. Cannot confirm Trump has signed an executive order to make honorary captains illegal ..... Want the exact definition of 'your football career  is over'? Comeback-attempting Vince Young got cut by the Saskatchewan Roughriders ..... Sergey Kovalev will protest his eighth-round knockout loss to Andre Ward last night in Las Vegas, but nobody cares because it isn't Mayweather-McGregor ..... Roger Goodell said he does not believe unsigned Colin Kaepernick is being ostracized or blackballed, and everybody else brayed laughter ..... The Reds unveiled a Pete Rose statue depicting his iconic head-first slide. You can tell it's life-like, because there are betting tickets flying out of his rear uniform pocket.

POLL RESULT: MOST NEXT-CHAMPION FAITH GOES TO UM FOOTBALL: We asked which of South Florida's Big 5 sports teams is most likely to win a championship next, and Hurricanes football was your landslide winner with 60.6 percent. After that it was Dolphins with 17.2%, Panthers with 13.3% and, lagging way behind, Heat and Marlins with 4.4% each.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 6-19-17: Today's sports events of most interest to SoFla fans:

1. Washington at Marlins, 7 p.m.: Fish open 10-game homestand vs. division rival.

2. College World Series, 2 p.m.: Two games including FSU in must-win to stay alive.

Select other recent columns: No Parade In Sight: None of our Big 5 teams seems close to a championship. A Fall From Greatness And From Grace: Latest in Tiger Woods saga. Harris Vs. Fins' Draft Drought: High hopes for top pick Charles Harris. What's Next, Marlins?: Easy to say blow up the Fish, but harder (and not smart) to do. Big Risk For Big Upside: On chance Heat could land Harry Giles in NBA Draft. NFL's Moral Obligation: League must do more for brain-injury sufferers like Buoniconti and Kiick. The Dolphins' Eight Ifs: Explaining dichotomy of opinion on Fins. On The Team's Terms, Not His: What it would take for Heat/Dwyane Wade reunion. The Kid From Pampa: Why Dolphin draft's late rounds matter. Home Run For Miami: Bush/Jeter group as frontrunner to buy Marlins. The Jose Statue's Positive Purpose: Controversy over Marlins' planned Fernandez memorial. An American Tragedy: Suicide of Aaron Hernandez. History Breathes at UM Sports Hall: Tour of a little-known campus gem. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?: A curiously unemployed QB. Also: Thank You, Mae Riback, A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, The Miracle of Liberty City, Thank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

March 20, 2017

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) starring Canes/NCAAs, Fernandez saga, Heat down to 8, viva Team USA!, tennis, Cats, cricket; plus Cote says thanks, Chuck Berry, your Jose verdict, Hot Button Daily & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Chuckberry1) It is MONDAY, March 20. R.I.P., Chuck Berry (pictured in his latter years), the influential rock 'n roll guitar icon, gone over the weekend at age 90. Rest in Peace, Johnny B. Goode. 2) Know any Dolfans? Buy them all our new book on club's first half-century, Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): We name our March Madness Haiku Challenge champion, Love & Regret/Jose Fernandez saga with poll, UM men fall in NCAAs & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

'Cote's Coterie' lifts us to final four!: A late surge of support Sunday carried us past Mike Ryan and into the final four of Slice Miami's annual sports media poll. I'm now up against Amber Wilson in the semifinals. Uh oh. Click on Slice Miami Final Four to vote.

My bracket update: Still solid: As the NCAA Tournament pauses and exhales I stand tied for ninth place among some 90 entries in a LeBatard & Friends pool. I have 12 teams still alive in the Sweet 16. Is that pretty good? Or average? Took a hit though with Duke falling. I'd had the Devils reaching the (but not winning) the championship game. By the way, to this point, favorites (based on seeding) are 38-10, a 79.2 percent win rate. Once again, the Cinderella aspect of March Madness appears largely oversold.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, 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:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES / NCAA TOURNAMENT: Miami makes quick exit from March Madness: An unexpectedly good season ended so badly for Canes men in a very disappointing 78-58 opening loss to Michigan State Friday night in Tulsa. How is your bracket looking as we arrived Sunday at the Sweet 16? Mine is a sieve leaking a torrent of my own tears. (It isn't, really. But it's funnier to say that...)

2. JOSE FERNANDEZ: State says Jose at wheel, caused crash: The story that couldn't possibly get any worse keeps getting worse. The latest: A report confirming Fernandez was at the wheel and to blame for fatal boat crash. Isn't a tragedy worst when you know it should never have happened? (Click on A Complicated Legacy for my column on latest development in saga).

3. HEAT: Can we please start a “We're No. 8!” chant?: Heat fell from 7th to 8th seed with Sunday's home loss to portland -- only the team's sixth loss in past 29 games. Meantime Dwyane Wade is out for the rest of season in Chicago, another reminder Heat seems more and more right to have let Wade go.

4. WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: Stanton homers as Team USA wins, makes final four: Americans beat Dominican Republic late Saturday in San Diego, 6-3, led by Marlin Giancarlo Stanton's go-ahead home run. Winner-take-all game eliminated D.R. and lifted U.S. to WBC championship round at Dodger Stadium and a semifinal vs. Japan. Team USA has never won this event. "Can you believe it?" said a clearly annoyed Abner Doubleday. Let's gooooo States!

5. TENNIS: Miami Open begins on Key Biscayne: Andy Murray and especially Serena Williams are among major withdrawals with injuries for the two-week event starting Monday. I feel like Serena is so good she could at least reach the semifinals playing on crutches. Meantime, IMG, which owns the event, assures it will remain on Key Biscayne long-term. That means the Miami Open has won the Miami Open.

6. UM WOMEN: Canes win NCAA opener, carry banner for UM hoops: Miami survived upset-minded Florida Gulf Coast, 62-60, at home Saturday in its NCAA Tournament opener and will now face Quinnipiac Monday night 9, home again. What the Hurricanes men failed to do, the women did: Avoid a one-and-done.

7. PANTHERS: Don't write Cats off yet. Almost. But not yet: Florida is six points off NHL playoff pace with only 11 games left after getting spanked 4-0 Sunday in Pittsburgh. Somewhere between simply needing a lot of luck and needing a miracle rest the Panthers' chances.   

8. BOXING: Mayweather-McGregor penciled in for September: The hype has begun with Conor McGregor saying he's going to "shock the world" and win by boxing against heavily favored Floyd Mayweather in their mixed boxing/UFC bout rumored for September. Am I alone in wishing there were a way they both could lose?

9. NFL FREE AGENCY: Report: Teams awary of Kaepernick because of Trump: An AFC GM said teams are hesitant to sign available QB Colin Kaepernick for fear of a an onslaught of negative Tweets from Donald Trump. And in other free agency news, the Dolphins have done pretty good so far but not quite as good as the Patriots. Or did that go without saying?  

10. CRICKET: India beats Australia, I think: Actual lead of news story I read Sunday morning: "RANCHI, India (AP) -- A 199-run seventh-wicket partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha gave India a 152-run lead after they declared their first innings at 603-9 against Australia on Sunday." Anyone who has any idea what any of that means, would you please keep it to yourself?

Missing the HB10 cut: Congrats to our blog's March Madness Haiku Challenge champion, Ken Whiteley of Chattanooga, Tennessee ..... Canes baseball fell to 8-13 Saturday. Sorry to place you below cricket, Jim Morris, but until you start winning, no Top 10 for you! ..... NASCAR runs today in Phoenix. It will be loud. I won't watch. 

Poll result: Shaky support for Marlins honoring Fernandez with uniform patch: We asked if, in light of this week's report putting Jose Fernandez behind the wheel of the fatal boat crash that killed him and two others, it still is appropriate that the Marlins this season to wear a uniform patch honoring Jose. The results: 39.2 percent "Yes. Because of all he meant to Miami and to the Marlins." "No. Not when he caused the tragedy that took two other lives"; and 28.0% "Not sure. I can see both sides." That's a plurality who still favor the patch, but roughly another 60% who are against it or have misgivings. 

HOT BUTTON DAILY / MON 3-20-17: Events on today's sports calendar that should interest SoFla most:

1. Quinnipiac at Hurricanes, 9:10 p.m.: UM women host 2nd-round game for spot in Sweep 16.

2. Netherlands vs. Puerto Rico, 9 p.m.: First World Baseball Classic semifinal game from L.A.

3. Miami Open tennis, 10 p.m.: Main draw starts Tuesday, but qualifying matches happening today.

4. Marlins vs. Braves, 1:05 p.m.: Spring game in Lake Buena Vista.

Select recent columns: A Complicated Legacy, the latest, on developments in the Jose Fernandez saga. A Quintillion Reasons to Love the Madness, on the NCAA Tournament. D.R. and Miami Win the Night, from the World Baseball Classic. Time For Team USA To Win This Thing, previewing WBC at Marlins Park. Thank You, Mae Riback, as I (finally) meet my oldest fan. A Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports Past, on our history of defunct teams. A Tradition Ends In Silence, on Doral's first March without a PGA Tour event since 1961. Also: The Wonder of Coach L.  The Miracle of Liberty City.  Is Whiteside the Whale Heat Needs?  Loria: The End Of An Error.  Thank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

August 12, 2015

Heat schedule out, all 82 games here; plus new 'Back In My Day' video, Mayweather vs. Rousey poll, Canes hoops, Drone Racing League, Tannehill on SI cover, Dolphins in fantasy, Marlins manager search & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.


1aa1abradyct1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12. Here's why people make fun of courtroom sketch artists. Pictured right is supposed to be Tom Brady in federal court today. 2) 
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Your picks for 10 greatest Hurricanes, Hot Button Top 10, Weighing The Fish & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too. We have a new Periscope up from yesterday's radio show.

Honor for Canes men's basketball: In an indication of high expectation for UM's men's team, ESPN announced today Miami would host two of the network's "Big Monday" telecasts this season: Jan. 25 vs. Duke and Feb. 22 vs. Virginia, both at 7 p.m.on ESPN.

1aa1adroneDrone Racing League! A, because there aren't enough ridiculous sports and B, because Stephen Ross apparently has more money than he knows what to do with: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and his money are behind the new Drone Racing League. Yes I said Drone Racing League. Click here for the details. (Pictured, a young man racing his drone). A co-mingling of Ross' two sporting passions seems inevitable, so watch for it: Dolphin play-calls getting from sideline to huddle via drone. I apologize if I'm droning on. OY!

1aa1aheatHEAT SCHEDULE OUT, INCLUDES CHRISTMAS GAME HERE: Heat released its 2015-16 regular season NBA schedule today, and it opens Oct . 28 at home vs. Charlotte. Other highlights include a Christmas Day home game vs. New Orleans, and visits by LeBron James and Cleveland on Dec. 5 and Mar. 19. Here is the entire schedule:

DATE DAY OPPONENT TIME TV

OCTOBER

28 Wed. CHARLOTTE 7:30 PM SUN

30 Fri. @ Cleveland 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

NOVEMBER

1 Sun. HOUSTON 6:00 PM SUN

3 Tues. ATLANTA 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

5 Thurs. @ Minnesota 8:00 PM SUN

6 Fri. @ Indiana 8:00 PM SUN/ESPN

8 Sun. TORONTO 6:00 PM SUN

10 Tues. L.A. LAKERS 7:30 PM SUN

12 Thurs. UTAH 7:30 PM SUN

17 Tues. MINNESOTA 7:30 PM SUN

19 Thurs. SACRAMENTO 7:30 PM SUN

21 Sat. PHILADELPHIA 7:30 PM SUN

23 Mon. NEW YORK 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

25 Wed. @ Detroit 7:30 PM SUN

27 Fri. @ New York 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

30 Mon. BOSTON 7:30 PM SUN

DECEMBER

3 Thurs. OKLAHOMA CITY 7:00 PM TNT

5 Sat. CLEVELAND 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

7 Mon. WASHINGTON 7:30 PM SUN

9 Wed. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM SUN

11 Fri. @ Indiana 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

13 Sun. MEMPHIS 6:00 PM SUN

14 Mon. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM SUN

16 Wed. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM SUN

18 Fri. TORONTO 7:30 PM SUN

20 Sun. PORTLAND 1:00 PM SUN

22 Tues. DETROIT 7:30 PM SUN

25 Fri. NEW ORLEANS 12:00 PM SUN/ESPN

26 Sat. @ Orlando 7:00 PM SUN

28 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM SUN

29 Tues. @ Memphis 8:00 PM SUN

JANUARY

1 Fri. DALLAS 7:30 PM SUN

3 Sun. @ Washington 6:00 PM SUN

4 Mon. INDIANA 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

6 Wed. NEW YORK 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

8 Fri. @ Phoenix 9:30 PM SUN

9 Sat. @ Utah 9:00 PM SUN

11 Mon. @ Golden State 10:30 PM SUN

13 Wed. @ L.A. Clippers 10:30 PM SUN/ESPN

15 Fri. @ Denver 9:00 PM SUN

17 Sun. @ Oklahoma City 7:00 PM SUN

19 Tues. MILWAUKEE 7:30 PM SUN

20 Wed. @ Washington 7:00 PM SUN

22 Fri. @ Toronto 8:00 PM SUN/ESPN

25 Mon. @ Chicago 8:00 PM SUN

26 Tues. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM SUN

29 Fri. @ Milwaukee 8:30 PM SUN

31 Sun. ATLANTA 6:00 PM SUN

FEBRUARY

2 Tues. @ Houston 8:00 PM SUN/NBA TV

3 Wed. @ Dallas 8:30 PM SUN

5 Fri. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM SUN

7 Sun. L.A. CLIPPERS 2:00 PM ABC

9 Tues. SAN ANTONIO 7:30 PM SUN

19 Fri. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM SUN

20 Sat. WASHINGTON 7:30 PM SUN

22 Mon. INDIANA 7:30 PM SUN

24 Wed. GOLDEN STATE 7:30 PM SUN

27 Sat. @ Boston 3:00 PM SUN

28 Sun. @ New York 7:30 PM SUN

MARCH

1 Tues. CHICAGO 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

3 Thurs. PHOENIX 7:30 PM SUN

4 Fri. @ Philadelphia 7:00 PM SUN

6 Sun. PHILADELPHIA 6:00 PM SUN

9 Wed. @ Milwaukee 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

11 Fri. @ Chicago 8:00 PM SUN/NBA TV

12 Sat. @ Toronto 7:00 PM SUN

14 Mon DENVER 7:30 PM SUN

17 Thurs. CHARLOTTE 7:30 PM SUN

19 Sat. CLEVELAND 7:30 PM SUN

22 Tues. @ New Orleans 8:00 PM SUN

23 Wed. @ San Antonio 8:30 PM SUN

25 Fri. ORLANDO 7:30 PM SUN

28 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM SUN

30 Wed. @ L.A. Lakers 10:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

APRIL

1 Fri. @ Sacramento 10:00 PM SUN

2 Sat @ Portland 10:00 PM SUN

5 Tues. DETROIT 7:30 PM SUN

7 Thurs. CHICAGO 8:00 PM TNT

8 Fri. @ Orlando 7:00 PM SUN

10 Sun. ORLANDO 6:00 PM SUN

12 Tues. @ Detroit 7:30 PM SUN

13 Wed. @ Boston 8:00 PM SUN

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. VS. RONDA ROUSEY, NO HOLDS BARRED. HEY, IT'S FUN TO DREAM: I doubt we'll ever see this fight. I'd bet big on that. Yes, the boxing champion vs. the UFC champion would be a 1aa1afighthuge draw. And, yes, it could work weight-wise if Mayweather (151) dropped and Rousey (135) added. But too many male athletes including Mayweather himself have made too many ugly headlines for domestic violence to imagine that the possibility of a man pummeling a woman in a ring (or octagon) would ever be sanctioned for sport. Rousey keeps keeping the topic alive, though. Just Monday night, in an ask-me-anything chat on Reddit, Rousey was asked if she would beat Mayweather in a no-holds-barred, mixed martial arts-style bout, and she said: "Floyd is one of the best boxers of all time. He would definitely beat me in a boxing match. I unfortunately don't get into 'matches.' I fight for a living. In a no-rules fight, I believe I can beat anyone on this planet. Boxing is a sweet science with strict rules that I respect. But you said rule-less fight, and that's my honest answer." Is she right? Could she beat anyone no-holds-barred even including Mayweather? She is 10 years younger; I'd give her a real chance. What do you think? Remember, this is not asking who you'd want to win, but who you honestly think would win. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

THE NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': Many know that my Tuesday appearances with the Dan LeBatard Show on radio/TV include a "Back In My Day" segment that has grown quite popular with listeners and viewers. They're on Fusion TV's YouTube channel now, and here is the latest one, from yesterday:

 

WHERE DOLPHINS FALL IN 2015 FANTASY DRAFTING: If you're like Greg's Lobos you are preparing for your fantasy draft. And you may be wondering 1aa1almiller 1aa1asitannhow Dolphins players will be slotted. A good indication comes this week in ESPN.com's annual fantasy draft, based on a 12-team standard league and 16-round draft. Dolphins taken, in order, with round and overall selection: RB Lamar Miller, pictured (3rd round-30th overall); WR Jarvis Landry (7-75th); WR DeVante Parker (7-84th); QB Ryan Tannehill (10-113th); TE Jordan Cameron (10-117th); WR Kenny Stills (12-139th); RB Jay Ajayi (13-154th); Dolphins defense/special teams (15-171st); and PK Caleb Sturgis (16-192nd). Tannehill is pictured (left) on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2016 fantasy issue.

NFL MVP odds: Newly out via Bovada, it's Packer Aaron Rodgers the favorite out the gate at 5-1, followed by Colt Andrew Luck at 7-1. Only others under 20-1 are Viking Adrian Peterson and Texan J.J. Watt both 12-1, and Bronco Peyton Manning at 16-1. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill is 40-1, tied for 20th.

My Uber driver is a Dolphin: Dolphins defensive tackle A.J. Francis earned extra money as an Uber driver during the recent offseason. No, seriously. Not everybody makes Ndamukong Suh money. Click here for a feature video as ESPN.com's James Walker goes along for the ride. Not sure how much extra money A.J. made. I only hope he gets as much attention for football as he got doing this.xx

JUMP-STARTING MARLINS' MANAGER SEARCH: Worst record in MLB hosts worst record in AL in a two-game 1aa1afish4series ending today at Marlins Park, after Fish won 5-4 in 10 last night. So it's Stinkin' Fish vs. Bostgon Red Sux. Sorry. Truth hurts. I suggest in my latest column that the Marlins' managerial search should be on now, not wait until after the season. If their guy is out there and available -- and many are, including Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire -- why not make the move soon and give the new guy a chunk of this season to learn his team? An experienced manager with a track record is a must after the failed experiment that is Dan Jennings. This season has turned hopeless. Everything now should be about 2016. Click on Look Ahead to read the column in full. Meantime, fans last night received the poster pictured of the Marlins' "Franchise Four," part of an MLB promotion in which fans selected each team's Mount Rushmore. The Fish are Jeff Conine, Gary Sheffield, Mike Lowell and Giancarlo Stanton.

1aa1agoodyGOODBYE, GOODY: Joe Goodman, a Herald sportswriter since 2005 and most recently our main Heat beat guy, is leaving us to write for AL.com in his homestate Alabama. His hunger for college football will be well sated; his love of soccer, not so much. Joe's talented and we wish him well. He and I shared some good times on the road, including a memorable drinking night at New York's wonderful little Tribeca bar, Ward III. Joe and I are pictured at right doing a Heat postgame video. He's the one who's young, handsome and well-dressed.

THE LIST: MNF LONGEVITY: Broadcasters who have had the most tenure in the Monday Night Football booth (on ABC in 1970-05, on ESPN 2006-current):

Broadcaster        Years     Duration

Frank Gifford       27        1971-97

Al Michaels          20        1986-05

Howard Cosell     14        1970-83

Don Meredith       12        1970-73, '77-84

Dan Dierdorf        12        1987-98

Mike Tirico          10        2006-current

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

March 01, 2015

The Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Fins cuts, Beasley back, Jaromir Jagr, Stanton, Canes, golf, 14 seconds; plus ode to Doral, optimism verdict & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 on the Ticket Miami, 4-7 (with webcam simulcast) on ESPN Radio. Ears (and daring eyes) welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, MARCH 3. Technical issues prevent us from publishing a new blogpost as we'd planned today. Hope to get it fixed and do so on Wednesday. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): In/Out door revolving, Big 5 optimism poll, Stanton in body paint, LeBron, Tiger & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

An ode to Doral: Today's latest column by me is an unabashed appreciation of Doral's place in PGA Tour history -- and ours. Click on The Blue Monster Endures to read in full. 

HOT BUTTON MAR. 1: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins cut Brian Hartline in salary-cap move: Hartline and fellow receiver Brandon Gibson (and now CB Cortland Finnegan) were suddenly lopped off the roster in a salary-cap move. That might increase the likelihood of the team keeping Mike Wallace, which Dolfans can decide is good news or bad.

2. HEAT: Beasley back as Miami remains on anxious edge of contention: Trading for Goran Dragic but losing Chris Bosh to blood clots is not looking like a positive give and take for Heat, whose two straight losses before last night's win over Phoenix have team fighting to stay on playoff pace. Signs of desperation: Bringing back Michael Beasley on a 10-day contract.

3. PANTHERS: Cats sign Jaromir Jagr for stretch run: This would be very exciting if it was, say, 2005. In 2015 Jagr is 43 and skating near retirement. Still, maybe it'll be the shot Cats need to make up what now is a mere two-point deficit to Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot.

4. MARLINS: Two days from real start of spring schedule in Jupiter: After a couple of tuneups vs. FIU and UM the Marlins begin spring ball vs. MLB competition on Thursday up in Jupiter. Giancarlo Stanton, who appears on latest SI in body paint, got hit by a pitch on the hip by Henderson Alvarez. Cannot confirm the dugout emptied and teammates charged the mound to say, "Don't do that again!"

5. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men scrambling for NCAA Tournament invite: Jim Larranaga's guys are 18-11 and may need to sweep their final two regular-season games and then show well in the ACC tourney to make the Big Dance.

6. GOLF: Harrington wins Honda; Doral on deck: With Doral waiting on deck, Padraig Harrington won the Honda Classic in a Monday playoff up in Palm Beach. As golf haters like to say, the only thing worse than watching four days of golf is watching five days of golf.

7. UM FOOTBALL: Canes continue spring practice: As Canes work toward their March 28 Spring Game, disgruntled Al Golden detractors pessimistic about the coming season inquire about banner-pulling small-plane rental costs just to be on the safe side.

8. NASCAR: Ho-hum Daytona 500 begins season: Sorry, but Joey Logano winning under a caution flag last week was nobody's dream start for the NASCAR season. Well, except maybe Joey Logano's.

9. UFC: Ronda Rousey wins fight in 14 seconds: This is the dilemma for fans of mixed marial arts and boxing. Part of you wants your fighter to win easily. But the cheap part of you wants to get your money's worth, too.

10. CRICKET: New Zealand first to 4-0 in World Cup: That's right. The Cricket World Cup!

Poll result: Marlins, Heat inspiring most optimism: We asked which of our Big 5 teams is inspiring the most optimism in fans for its direction and immediate future, and the Marlins were out front with 42.9 percent followed by the Heat at 25.6%. Trailing were the Dolphins at 13.3%, UM football at 12.5% and Panthers at 5.7%.

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July 29, 2013

Dolphins or UM for most wins this year? Poll. Vote!; plus LeBron wins style honor, Marlins, Golden, Tannehill, dumb tats & more


1aa1arodlast
1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 31. Farewell, July. You were a good month. 2) The new Sports Illustrated features 'The Last Days Of A-Rod' on its cover (pictured), written by our friend S.L. Price. 3)
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Judging Ryan Tannehill, LeBron wins Mr. Popularity, Canes football odds, Greg Oden, Duncan's divorce, Anthony Weiner, King George & more. 4) You are invited to follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

1aa1jamesdressedLeBron makes Best-Dressed list: Heat be-all LeBron James adds yet another honor. Pictured left in all his sartorial eloquence, James is one of three athletes on the 74th annual International Best-Dressed List out today, and appearing in the September Vanity Fair, along with Patriots prettyboy Tom Brady and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Remember when Dwyane Wade was considereed the Heat's bon vivant on clothing and style. Apparently LeBron has now even passed him for that.

DOLPHINS VS. CANES: FIRST TO 9 WINS WINS?: I leave it to others to magnify and dissect this week's Dolphins stadium scrimmage as if it were particularly significant or illuminating. It was neither, of course. It was a dressed-up practice and little more despite the packaging. We can't know for sure 1aa1dolcaneat this point how good (or great, or bad) the Dolphins will be this season, and the same goes for the Hurricanes across town. But we do know this: It's a close call which team should win more games. Bovada sets the Canes' victory over/under at 8.5 wins (in a 12-game regular season) and the Dolphins' over/under at 8 wins (up from 7.5, in a 16-game season). Our two biggest football teams have finished tied with the same number of wins -- excluding postseason games -- 14 times in 47 years, including each of the past three seasons. Will we have a fourth straight tie? If not who'll break it with the most victories, Canes or Dolphins? I know many of you are fans of both teams, but your dispassionate outlook says what? Vote now, say why, and check back to monitor evolving results.

1aa1dollsheatDolphins add 2 wide receivers: Dolphins today signed rookie WR Keenan Davis from Iowa after earlier re-signing free agent Julius Pruitt. To make room Miami waived/injured WRs Armon Binns and Jasper Collins. Pruitt played sparingly for Miami in 2011. Davis caught 97 passes for 1,284 yards and five TDs the past two seasons for the Hawkeyes.

RUSSIAN HEAT DOLLS: Russian nesting dolls of the Heat's Big 3 feature a very large LeBron James, a medium Dwyane Wade and a tiny Chris Bosh. Which, come to think of it, mostly sounds about right. But the Mario Chalmare and Ray Allen dolls also are bigger than Bosh. Now that's cold. 

Golden Touch: Canes land 4-star recruit: The U got a big football committment from four-star defensive end Trent Harris out of Winter Park, whose suitors included Florida, FSU, Alabama and Ohio State. Click on Golden Touch for my related column on how UM coach Al Golden's steady hand has impressively guided the program through the long NCAA mess he inherited.

UPDATED COLLBALL CONFERENCE ODDS: From our friends at Bovada, updated betting favorites (and some others) to win select college football conferences: ACC--Clemson at 19-10 (FSU 5-2, Miami 7-2). SEC--Alabama at 1-1 (Florida 9-1). C-USA: Tulsa at 2-1 (FAU 28-1, FIU 33-1). American--Louisville at 5-7 (UCF 15-2, South Florida 33-1). Big 12--Oklahoma State and Texas both 5-2. Big Ten--Ohio State at 5-6. Mountain West--Boise State at 7-5. Pac-12--Oregon at 7-4. Mid-American--Northern Illinoise at 13-10.

ARE MARLINS SLOWLY WINNING BACK FANS?: So many Marlins fans are estranged because of owner Jeffrey Loria, but games like Sunday's will chip away at that cold war by degrees. A towering, game-winning home run by Giancarlo Stanton putting a 'W' on rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez's 13-strikeout performance -- now that's how to stake 1aa1giajoseyour claim to brighter days ahead. It's a shame that the club dumping unpopular hitting coach Tino Martinez stole the day's biggest headlines, because the story of the day and increasingly of the season is the way Fernandez is grand-marshaling an impressive parade of rising Marlins talent. Fernandez is pictured with Stanton (inset). I don't know of any team that has a younger, better, brighter-future bat/arm combo than Stanton (23) and Fernandez (20). Certainly no other South Florida pro team has a more dynamic duo of rising stars. The team that began the season an abysmal 13-41 is since a credible 27-24 even with two straight losses. The upturn only somewhat justifies Loria reverting to a much lower player-payroll, though. The good-faith obligation he has to spend more remains, and estranged fans are paying attention. The offensive lineup still is a huge issue that must be remedied by spending for a veteran bat or two before next season. Miami is last in MLB in runs per game (3.18), home runs (62) and batting average (.232). The best chance to keep Stanton long-term, against long odds, isn't just money. It's protecting him in the batting order with surrounding talent. Signs are evident, though. The Marlins have a lot of young, emerging talent. With an owner willing to augment that with spending for complementary veterans, this could be a very interesting team very soon.

Tino explains the unraveling: Defrocked Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez told FoxSports (click here) that an escalating argument with three players over picking up baseballs in the batting cage led to his resignation. Players were Justin Ruggiano, Derek Dietrich and Chris Valaika. They balked at one of the sport's unwritten rules and their coach overreacted, handled it poorly. Four grown men. So silly it came to this.

Poll result: Expectations for Tannehill optimistic but reserved: We asked what you expected QB Ryan Tannehill to become in his Dolphins career and most, 42.8 percent, voted "very good." However more said only "pretty good" (27.0%) than "great " (16.1%). Another 11.1% voted "fair/OK" and the remaining 3.0% voted "a disappointment." Our conclusion? Confidence in Tannehill is fairly strong, but only 1 in 6 voting "great" indicates he has much still to prove.

U.S. SOCCER GETTING CLOSER TO ITS GOOOAAALLL!: We don't do enough with soccer in the blog, but happily the U.S. men's national team is forcing our hand. The team's first CONCACAF Gold Cup crown since 2007 marked the first international title under coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and the Americans have now won a U.S.-record 11 straight int'l matches. That's a big tailwind entering the September resumption of World Cup qualifying. The Gold Cup verified that veteran star Landon Donovan remains in his prime, and a lot of rising young talent now surrounds him. Time for America at large to start paying attention.

1aa1rondatatDECISIONS ONE MIGHT LIVE TO REGRET: "OK it seemed like a good idea at the time, right? Had I been drinking? Um, well, sure. But only for three or four hours. Anyway, we lurch past this tattoo parlor and there's nobody there but the ink guy, probably 'cause it's, like, 4 a.m. So we go in, and I tell him what I want, and I though he did a great job. Only the next day, as I'm stepping out the shower, do I discover my wife is not a big Ronda Rousey fan at all."   

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February 03, 2012

Super Blog Saturday! You could be in danger; plus Cortez Kennedy, Super Bowl pick, Jose Reyes' new 'do, Heat all-star selections, Dundee's last interview & more

[1) You can still vote in our grade-the-Hurricanes-recruiting-class poll in post directly below this latest entry. Results so far are clear. We agree. All things considered, Al Golden did great. 2) Join me on Twitter @gregcote]

SPOILER ALERT! PATRIOTS 31, GIANTS 27: Sorry to have spoiled the surprise for you by telling you who'll 1aa1sblogo 1aa1fripixwin Sunday's Super Bowl and by what score. Unless you're a bettor, in which case, you're welcome. A difficult game to pick, but the bottom line is that Tom Brady and his team are just a little better than Eli Manning and his. One caveat: Brady really, really needs Rob Gronkowski and his magic ankle to play and be at least close to full strength in order to take advantage of the Giants not defending tight ends particularly well. (Remember Vernon Davis in the NFC title game?) Click on Super Bowl Gem for my full prediction. I also offer a column today putting the Dolphins in the context of these two Super teams. Click on Close, And Yet Not for that column. The headline on the column -- 'Dolphins perhaps not that far from being Super' -- is much too rosy, misleadingly so. (I don't write the headlines for what I write, except in this blog). The column begins from a glass-half-full vantage, noting that Miami was very competitive in three games this season against the Pats and Giants, though losing all three. Then the column gets to the reality of all that separates the Dolphins from Super-status. That's mostly a comparative lack of talent, of playmakers. And most of that is that these teams have Brady and Manning, and our team is still trying to figure out what to do for a quarterback.

1aa1tezOLD CANE CORTEZ KENNEDY AMONG NEW HALL OF FAMERS: Not exactly an illustrious, star-studded class, but DT Cortez Kennedy (pictured) from UM among six voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame today, along with RB Curtis Martin, DE Chris Doleman, OT Willie Roaf, C Dermonnti Dawson and senior nominee Jack Butler. Conspicuously not voted in: Bill Parcells. Congrats, Tez!

1aa1fatSUPER BLOG SATURDAY: WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK!: A 2011 study by Clinical Cardiology indicates that watching the Super Bowl can trigger a heart attack. An Iowa State University study found that watching Super Bowl commercials can increase aggressiveness in children. A Cornell study found (surprise!) that Super Bowl parties promote over-eating and over-drinking. For instance the man pictured was a svelte 160 pounds before he started attending Super Bowl parties. Click here for a brief compendium of the above. Too many studies, I'd say. For example, a Greg Cote study found most people hope the tape-recording skips as Madonna is lip-synching Sunday. Three other quick thoughts for Super Blog Saturday: 1) Rapping Retirees Back Giants, Yo. Yes, it is as weird as you'd imagine. 2) Tim Tebow wins presidential poll. Could I say it if it weren't true? 3) Ever wonder what the Obamas do for the Super Bowl? Yeah me neither. But those who do should click here. One word. Strippers. Naw I'm just kiddin'!

1aa1joserJOSE REYES IS MARLINS-NEAT NOW: New Marlin shortstop Jose Reyes 1aa1josedreadhad his jangly dreadlocks sheared live on MLB Network last evening to adhere to the club's neatnik policy on personal grooming. Reyes is pictured before at left and after at right, holding a bag of his departed hair which I believe will be sold for charity. Me: "Hey what's your most prized possession?" You: "Um, lemme think. I'd say probably a Jose Reyes dreadlock."

SUPER BLOG FRIDAY: HOMELAND SECURITY: U.S. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano reports there will be "unprecedented" security measures at Sunday's Patriots-Giants game 1aa1fanshirtin Indianapolis, including metal detectors and pat-downs at all entrances. I don't wanna say Giants coach Tom Coughlin isn't real bright, but when he heard items prohibited inside the stadium would include bombs, he said, "OK, so we go with a shorter passing game." Two other quick thoughts for a Super Blog Friday: 1) Hut one, hut two, Madonna! SB halftime performer Madonna has released the video for her new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin," which you'll hear Sunday. The vid features Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and a corny football theme. Click here to listen and see. The song is sugary-catchy, but is it better than the similarly titled classic by ZZ Top? Um, not on your life. 2) A T-shirt company is selling what is pictured: A shirt that appears to make you look not only shirtless, but shirtless and dorky enough to walk around with "Super Fan" painted on your chest and "#1!" on your back.

LEBRON? OF COURSE. D-WADE? WELL...: Predictable as sunrise, NBA fans voted the Heat's LeBron James 1aa1nbaasgand Dwyane Wade as Eastern Conference all-star starters for the Feb. 26 game in Orlando (along with Magic's Dwight Howard, Bulls' Derrick Rose and Knicks' Carmelo Anthony). LeBron is a no-brainer. He has MVP numbers with a 29.7 scoring average, 8.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 55.3 percent shooting. LBJ is having his best season, which is a little like saying Gershwin is writing his best song. Wade, though, has missed nine of 22 games injured and is averaging a below average (for him) 20.3 points. Still, I don't argue his selection. It doesn't bring me up onto a soapbox to rail against fans picking the starters. Even with his games missed, Wade is more an all-star than anybody not starting because of him. Deron Williams? Brandon Jennings? Please. One more thing: Chris Bosh absolutely had better make the team as a reserve. The giraffe-like dude is having a terrific season.

1aa1nudeTHE NEW YORKER: I love The New Yorker for its classic cartoons as much as anything. Apropos of nothing, here is one I enjoy.

MOCK DRAFT HAS DE/OLB TO MIAMI: Newest mock draft from ESPN's Todd McShay has Dolphins at No. 8 selecting South Carolina DE-OLB Melvin Ingram. So there.

1aa1angeloANGELO DUNDEE IN ONE OF HIS FINAL INTERVIEWS: Click here to enjoy a YouTube video of the great boxing trainer in one of his final interviews before passing away this week at age 90. It will be 10 minutes well spent. Dundee's energy and enthusiasm shone through right 'til the end, as did his kindness and, well, appreciation. A remarkable man. A remarkable life. 

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

February 01, 2012

Grade Hurricanes' 2012 football recruiting class (with poll); plus Angelo Dundee, Super Blog Thursday (pray for Tommy), Matt Moore, LeBron, Cats & more

1aa1punx[1) Happy Groundhog Day! Although it was sad to hear about Punxsutawney Phil (pictured) being run over by that 18-wheeler. Hey that's just a rumor. Can't swear to it. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Click on Triumphant Day for Golden, Canes for today's latest column from me.

1aa1nsd2UM WINS TRACY HOWARD SWEEPSTAKES, CLAIMS TOP-10 CLASS: Tracy Howard (pictured), the elite cornerback from the backyard, 1aa1tracyhowardMiramar High, chose Miami over Florida and FSU in a nationally televised announcement this morning. Howard was the most prominent South Florida football player not yet committed and is a huge National Signing Day prize for the Canes -- one that elevated UM's 2012 recruiting class into the No. 10 spot nationally in ESPN's rankings. Howard's announcement came in his school auditorium, cheers erupting as he pulled on a UM cap and touched his thumbs together in the familar "U" sign. "Why not win in my city and my hometown?" Howard said. "Why not do it here?" A big, big victory for coach Al Golden and the Canes. Howard is the sixth Canes recruit rated in the ESPN Top 150, and the highest ranked at 18th. The others: RB/CB Duke Johnson, Miami Norland (35th); WR Angelo Jean-Louis, Palm Beach Central (41st); DE Tyriq McCord, Tampa Jefferson (96th); S Deon Bush, Miami Columbus (101st); and WR Malcolm Lewis, Miramar (145th). All in all, a big day for Miami considering the school was recruiting under the cloud of likely NCAA sanctions ahead. How do you feel about UM's new recruiting class? Hey, here's a poll! I know, I don't like instant grades, either. So just think of it as a statement of your level of excitement over this class, all things considered. Vote now.

1aa1dundeeANGELO DUNDEE, R.I.P.: Legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee passed away at 90 in a Clearwater hospital last night after a heart attack, family at his side. Dundee shaped Muhammad Ali's career; they are pictured here way back when. Dundee stands with the fight doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, as kings of Miami's heydays in the sweet science, days when the 5th Street Gym reigned. Farewell, Angelo.

1aa1giselleSUPER BLOG THURSDAY: PRAY FOR TOMMY: Supermodel and superwife Giselle Bundchen, a.k.a. Mrs. Tom Brady, sent an email to family and friends that became privvy to the nefarious media. "I feel Tommy really needs our prayer, our support and love at this time," it partly read. Tommy! Giselle is pictured. Should the Patriots lose Sunday, think of it as one of the better consolation prizes out there. Or perhaps two of the better consolation prizes. (I didn't just say that did I?) Two other quick Super Blog Thursday thoughts: 1) EA Sports' annual SB simulation, using Madden NFL '12, has the Giants winning, 27-24, so why play the actual game? 2) The National Chicken Council reports 1.25 billion wings will be eaten Sunday. And that's just by me!

SUPER BLOG WEDNESDAY: MADONNA, ELTON: Madonna, oldish but aging well, is Sunday's Super Bowl halftime performer and her setlist is revealed! Reportedly Madge's 12-minute show will find her lip 1aa1eltonkingadsyncing singing a new song, "Gimmie All Your Luvin," the classics "Ray Of Light and "Vogue," as well as samples of "Music" and Holiday." Meanwhile, the commercials are always a favorite part of the Super Bowl -- according to the people who produce Super Bowl commercials -- and among them Sunday will be a new Pepsi ad featuring Elton John as a king. This would be the same Elton whose feud with Madonna included him recently exhorting her to "lip sync good" on Sunday. Elton is pictured here in a still from the new ad. (Love your music, Sir, but you are one strange, strange man).

A LITTLE R-E-S-P-E-C-T FOR MATT MOORE, PLEASE?: I'm talkin' to you, Brandon Marshall. But not just to you. Click on Chopped Liver for the column by me (and thanks for making it the most-read thing on all of MiamiHerald.com today). See, the Dolphins' opportunities to upgrade their quarterback situation are few, and risky. They almost certainly won't trade up to draft Robert Griffin III. Peyton Manning is looking more and more doubtful for medical reasons. Matt Flynn stands as the likeliest path, but he is unproven with all of two career starts. The options after those three are marginal free agents and lower-ranked draftees. Don't write off Moore just yet. That's all.

MY BLOG READERS VS. STATEWIDE VOTERS: In my Republican primary poll (a few posts back), rounded results were Mitt Romney 48 percent, Ron Paul 25, Newt Gingrich 19, Rick Santorum 9. In Tuesday's statewide vote it was Romney 46, Gingrich 32, Santorum 13, Paul 7. The big difference: More Paulies here, fewer Newts. That's OK.

1aa1bikelebronLEBRON AND HIS BICYCLE: Heat star LeBron James made big news for bicycling (pictured) the 40 minutes or so from his home to the downtown arena for the recent game vs. the Bulls. I'd be more impressed if he biked last night's game: Heat at Milwaukee. Postscript: LeBron scores 24 in first quarter, Heat lead by as many as 18, but somehow lose to Bucks. Miami forming a reputation for rising for the glamor opponents but sometimes coasting vs. the lesser foes. LeBron, though, has been consistent and consistently great. What a season he is having!

PANTHERS' PASS HUGE TEST: It was overshadowed by National Signing Day and the Heat playing, but the Florida Panthers' 4-2 home win over the Washington Capitals last night was the game of the year so far for the Cats -- one for first place in the NHL Southeast. Bulls-at-Heat the other day was billed as a big statement game but it was false drama; those teams will meet again in the playoffs and everybody knows it. With Caps-at-Cats, this was a truer declarative for the Panthers, who must win the division or risk continuing the club's long playoff drought.

TERRELL OWENS BROKE: Terrell Owens says he is broke (story here) after making more than $80 million in his NFL career. The national group, People Who Feel Sorry For T.O., will be meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth. 

Click back. Will be adding to and updating this latest blogpost throughout the day...

November 07, 2011

Will Joe Paterno firing amid scandal hurt or help UM keep Golden?; plus Joe Frazier, R.I.P.; new Marlins unis, danger of Dolphin wins, Heat season & more

[Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

COULD PENN STATE SCANDAL HELP CANES KEEP GOLDEN?: [Click here for my latest column, on the Penn State scandal and Joe Paterno's firing] Many consider UM coach Al Golden (pictured left) a strong candidate to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State after this season -- a main reason Golden might think of 1aa1happybookleaving Miami. But now as the Jerry Sandusky scandal swamps Happy Valley, costing Paterno his job, one wonders: Would Golden leave UM in part to escape looming NCAA penalties only to take on another program clouded by scandalous controversy? At the very least, it seems less likely. Sandusky, as most know by now, is the longtime former Penn State defensive coordinator indicted on charges of inappropriate sexual behavior including statutory rape 1aa1algagainst eight minor-age boys over a 15-year period. (Irony: The ex-coach's autobiography, pictured right, is titled, Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story. The allegations are not expected to lead to NCAA sanctions, but already have led to resignations. For sure, Joe Pa's eventual replacement will inherit a program whose good name has been hugely damaged, making recruiting that much tougher. [Side note: Sandusky is not related to longtime former Dolphins assistant coach John Sandusky, who happens to also have a son named Jerry who is a former local WSVN sportscaster and now a radio voice for the Baltimore Ravens].

1aa1frazieraliJOE FRAZIER: REQUIEM: The great Smokin' Joe Frazier, gone at 67, taken by liver cancer. It seems every obituary coming out is less about Frazier than about his storied rivalry with Muhammad Ali, but that's OK, because the rivalry was that epic. I was always an Ali guy, mesmerized by his personality and poetry. I remember my brother and I listening on the radio in an unlit room as the "Thrilla In Manila" delivered some of the best drama in the history of sports. The 1970s were halcyon days for me and sports, and "Ali-Frazier" was an important reason. The two men's relationship, in their prime and years later, was complicated, often bitter. Cassius Clay-turned-Ali mocked Frazier, called him a "gorilla" and "Uncle Tom." Frazier, who resented Ali's greater stature and beloved status, fired back without class at times, even mocking a latter-years Ali after he lit the Olympic torch, trembling with Parkinson's. Some would see irony in Ali outliving Frazier. Graciously, Ali's statement on his old rival's passing spoke of respect. Frazier had earned that.

1aa1marlinsnew2 1aa1marlinsnewNEW MARLINS UNIFORMS! (MAYBE...): Official new Marlins uniforms will be revealed Friday night, but the Internet has sprung a hundred leaks and pictured here, above, are a few more. I must say I don't think these are bad. Not in love with the orange jerseys -- too Baltimore Oriole-ish -- but think the others start out OK and are likely to grow on us.  

A LITTLE SUCCESS MUSTN'T CHANGE DOLPHINS' IMPERATIVE: In today's latest column by me -- click here to read -- I explore the risk in the Dolphins experiencing a little success the balance of this season. And I'm not talking about losing out on Andrew Luck. The more Miami wins, the easier ti would be for owner Stephen Ross to convince himself major changes aren't needed. It is a trap to be avoided. From draft plans to front-office and coaching upgrades, Ross must remain strong in his commitment to significant changes.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE: Our latest updated weekly ranking of the seven FBS teams in our state, with previous week's rank in parentheses. Entering collball Week 11:

1aa1fla1. FSU Seminoles (1) 6-3, 4-2 ACC

2. Miami Hurricanes (2) 5-4, 3-3 ACC

3. Florida Gators (3) 5-4, 3-4 SEC 

4. S. Fla. Bulls (4) 4-4, 0-4 Big East

5. C. Fla. Knights (5) 4-5, 2-3 C-USA  

6. FIU Panthers (6) 5-4, 2-3 Sun Belt

7. FAU Owls (7) 0-8, 0-6 Sun Belt

ME, FANTASY: Greg's Lobos have faded to 3-6 with a fourth straight loss, this one 134-109. That I cannot win with Aaron Rodgers (38 more points) speaks ill of my drafting, I think. I'm top-heavy on WRs but very weak at running back. Boo, me!

ME, PICKS: Went 9-5 overall and 8-5-1 vs. the spread on my Friday NFL predictions page last week. Nailed the Dolphins' upset of KC and also had two other outright upsets with Jets at Buffalo and Bengals winning at Tennessee. Rolled dice on Chargers over Pack but can't find much shame in a 45-38 loss. Details coming on this Friday's pix page.    

1aa1davisvVONTAE DAVIS: PARTYING AND TARDYING!: Dolphins CB Vontae Davis was made to sit in a corner under a dunce cap and miss the Kansas City trip after missing treatments for a hamstring injury, showing up late to a team meeting, getting into an altercation with Brandon Marshall, and showing up for a practice smelling of alcohol from a night's partying, according to sundry reports. Dear Vontae: Ever heard of a breath mint? Davis, his punishment over and expected back at practice Wednesday, is pictured wading in a vat of vodka. I'm kidding. It's water, probably.

LAMAR MILLER PEGGED MID-1ST ROUND TALENT: Hope UM sophomore running back Lamar Miller doesn't read Todd McShay's latest Top 32 draft projections on ESPN.com. Might give him some ideas about turning pro early. McShay pegs Miller 14th overall.

AND 51 WEEKS LATER...: After UM beat Duke and then the Dolphins won in Kansas City I figured it had been awhile so I looked it up. It was 51 weeks ago, last Nov. 13-14, when the Dolphins and Hurricanes both won on the same weekend. Then it was UM beating Georgia Tech and a day later the Dolphins beating Tennessee -- the club's last home win, by the way.

COMICALLY AWFUL IDEAS IN AMERICAN JOURNALISM: I try to avoid criticizing colleagues, but it has just come to my attention that a certain South Florida newspaper (not mine) is pretending the Heat season is going on and writing about the games that aren't happening. Seriously. I just hope the Sun-Sentinel unnamed newspaper doesn't give LeBron a pretend sprained ankle or anything! The paper explains the premise thusly: "We will offer a look on each scheduled game day of what would have been in play for the Miami Heat had they actually been playing." Here's an even better idea: Please don't!

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a season-long combination of the three major polls: Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN. Points based on 30 for a No. 1 ranking, 29 for No. 2, etc. The combined ranking entering Week 11:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Louisiana State   965   (1)

2   Alabama   942   (2)

3   Oklahoma   913   (3)

4   Boise State   861   (4)

5   Stanford   852   (5)

6   Oklahoma State   826   (6)

7   Oregon   740   (8)

8   Wisconsin   733   (7)

9   Arkansas   651   (10)

10   Nebraska   623  (9)

11   South Carolina   593   (11)

12   Virginia Tech   572   (12)

13   Clemson   487   (14)

14   Texas A&M   457   (13)

15   Michigan State   434   (15)

16   Michigan   364   (18)

17   FLORIDA STATE   350   (16)

18   West Virginia   338   (17)

19   Texas   299   (19)

20   Kansas State   268   (22)

21   Georgia Tech   263   (23)

22   FLORIDA   262   (20)

23   Houston   256   (24t)

24   Arizona State   244   (21)

25   Auburn   202   (26)

26   Penn State   201   (30t)

27   Baylor   197   (24t)

27   Illinois   161   (26)

28   Texas Christian   175   (28)

29   Georgia   170   (32)

30t   Ohio State   161   (29)

30t   Illinois   161   (27)

32   SOUTH FLORIDA   144   (30)

41   MIAMI   13   (41)

44t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   7   (44t)

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