1) It is SUNDAY, AUGUST 4. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes column. 2) Pictured right: A Magic Johnson/Dodgers Bobblehead, just because. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Mr. & Mrs. Tannehill are locked 'n loaded, UM in preseason poll, Riley Cooper's mess, Pro Bowl facelift, Dolphins vs. Canes result & more. 4) You are invited to join us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).
Dolphins-Cowboys post coming later today: We'll have a new, separate post later today on tonight's Dolphins exhibition opner in Canton. Watch for it.
UM tickets on sale Monday: Single-game Hurricanes football tickets go on sale Monday at 8:30 a.m. However, tickets to the Florida Gators game are available only as part of a season-ticket package.
HEAT LAND ODEN BECAUSE ... WELL, BECAUSE THEY DON'T NEED HIM RIGHT NOW: Some basketball experts surmised free-agent center Greg Oden would go elsewhere because the pressure in Miami would be too great, in the scalding spotlight of the two-time defending NBA champions. Instead, Oden agreed Friday night to join the Heat because the opposite was true. Both he and his agent said he liked that Miami would not rush him back, the team giving the impression it just wanted him fully healthy and ready by the end of the season, not the start. (Oden is not yet 100 percent and told ESPN he is "a work in progress.") I wrote on July 25 why Oden made sense for the Heat and vice versa, and neither my opinion nor the facts have changed. Click on The Smart Risk to read. Oden now has the best of both worlds. By joining the champions he gets the attention he craves after last playing in the league in 2009 (because of three knee surgeries), but not the pressure to contribute now. And the Heat have it good with this signing, too. Oden arrives for the $1 million minumum, which in the NBA is like getting somebody for loose coins under the sofa. But if he comes back fully and hits big? Miami then has a bona fide center to lend a major low-post presence and match up with guys like Indiana's Roy Hibbert. Strong signing for Miami, smart and full of upside. The rich get richer, and sometimes the best get better.
RANKING THE 2013 CANTON CLASS BY STARPOWER: Seven new inductees sweep into the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight in Canton, O. (Carter, Parcells and Sapp, the three inductees with Miami ties, are pictured). Ranking them by national starpower:
2. Warren Sapp, defensive tackle: Sixth former Hurricane to make the Hall, a Bucs fixture who made two NFL All-Decade teams.
3. Larry Allen, guard: Eleven Pro Bowls, two All-Decade teams, he was a Dallas fixture when Cowboys were still America's team.
4. Cris Carter, receiver: The mostly-Viking was second man to reach 1,000 catches. Late-career cameo with Dolphins in 2002.
5. Jonathan Ogden, tackle: Twelve-year Ravens fixture made Pro Bowl all but one season.
6. Curley Culp, defensive tackle: Led some very good Chiefs defenses in '70s.
7. Dave Robinson, linebacker: The consistent mostly-Packer was All-Decade in '60s.
MEDIA PSYCHOANALYSIS OF JOHNNY MANZIEL IS MISSING ONE SIMPLE POINT: The Miami Hurricanes open practice on Saturday, but the real reason I know that college football season is near is because the latest ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated both have lengthy pieces plumbing the depths of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback who answers to "Johnny Football." Each opus is based on an exclusive interview (or, apparently not), and each strives to
be a sociological study. (I love it when sports writers practice unlicensed psychiatry; it's so cute!) Unexplored by either piece is the real reason why Manziel is so overcovered and over-analzyed in the first piece: It is partly because he was the first-ever freshman Heisman winner. But it is mainly because he is such a convenient contrast to the sport's previous icon, Tim Tebow. Tebow was too good to be true, Bible-carrying and virginal. Manziel is the ying to Tebow's yang, unapologetically flawed, too real to be true, acting publicly like just what he is: a hard-partying rich kid on top of the world. (Johnny Football is pictured left; Johnny Manziel is pictured right). From Tebow's perfection and piety we have Manziel's partying and petulance. Both young men were/are disliked by many fans outside of Gainesville and College Station, but the dislike of Manziel is easier to explain, and to understand. Many in the self-loathing media blame media excess for creating whatever monster Manziel became (at least in perception), but that is wrong because it excuses Johnny Football's role in his own reputation. Everybody is missing one simple point, and so what ESPN and SI's dueling explorations fail to get across, I will, right here: If you are rooting for Manziel to fail, chances are it is simply because you think he's a jerk. And that is because he has offered so much anecdotal evidence to make you think that. He is from a rich Texas family -- rich because Daddy inherited Grandpa's oil fortune -- and he acts like it, even telling SI he thinks his haters are jealous of him because, "I'm doing everything they want to do." Johnny Football, 20, drinks lots of alcohol and has a bad temper. He leaves Peyton Manning's football camp early, blames an illness, and is seen in a bar later that day. His apologists blame his youth; I'd sooner blame his being a spoiled rich kid. His parents say they are worried about him -- the same parents who wanted to have vanity plates reading 'JFFMOM' and 'JFFDAD' -- for 'Johnny F---ing Football' -- until their teenage daughter suggested they not. Johnny is photographed with a bottle of Dom Perignon, and surrounded by cash in a casino, and with a lit sparkler in his teeth. He gets kicked out of a frat party at Texas in Austin and tweets, 'Last time I checked double digit win columns and championships are what matters.' He does a lot to leave the impression he just isn't a very nice guy, or particularly a smart guy, because he knows in the Social Media Age that everything he does will be magnified and very public, yet he continues to party hard and at once decry his lack of privacy. Even for a 20-year-old obviously light on maturity, that's naive. The ESPN piece blames a lot of Manziel's woes on the stress of his unique "fishbowl." Well, he is in a fishbowl of sorts, sure. But nobody said that he has to act like an idiot in it. That's on him. All of it.
UPDATED WORLD SERIES ODDS: Post-trade-deadline numbers out today via Bovada show Tigers the favorite at 6-1, followed by Braves and Dodgers both 7-1, Cardinals 15-2, Red Sox 8-1, Rays 17-2 and A's 9-1. In other words, wide open. Oh, and the Marlins are 5,000-to-1, for you longshot fans.
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