September 25, 2018

An emotional Dwyane Wade gets real on his 'last dance' with Heat. My new column; plus Tannehill soars in Herald NFL QB rankings, Radio Tuesday, Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results (Go Lobos!), Cote's State of the State rankings & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25. Results are complete in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll -- and they are buoyant! Scroll to the previous blogpost or find them directly HERE. 2) Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins rally past Oakland with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, The List & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday again!: I'm back in-studio on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz today after missing last week on rehab from recent surgery. Show airs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Miami's 790 The Ticket and 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, with the natty show also televised on ESPNews. Join us!

Dwade DWYANE WADE GETS EMOTIONAL AS HE ENTERS FINAL HEAT SEASON: MY NEW COLUMN: Dwyane Wade was introspective at Monday's Heat media day as he ceremonially entered his final NBA season --just a few days after opting in for "one last dance" rather than retiring. I particularly loved this reflection by him: "In class I was shy. Never raised my hand because I didn’t want to get the answer wrong. [But] when I was on the basketball court I was a different person. I liked that person." One more season of that, one more chance for us to say goodbye to Wade, and for him to say goodbye to his fans, too. We never got that chance with Dan Marino; we'll have it now. No matter how good, bad or in-between the Heat do in 2018-19, Wade's farewell will be The Reason For The Season. I wrote an unabashedly sentimental, from-the-heart column on Wade. To read: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

BREES ROCKS THE WEEK, TANNEHILL MAKES BIG LEAP / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 3: Saints' Drew Brees wins Week 3 with a season-high 62.80- Tannypoint game to regain the overall season lead in the Herald's latest NFL QB Rankings. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill (pictured) scored a season-best 38.45-point game vs. the Raiders to move up five big spots, to No. 12 in the chart. (Pats' Tom Brady, if you wondered, tumbles to 20th). Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Exact formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table entering Week 4:
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 3
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK3            Season

1       2       Drew Brees, NO                    62.80         166.90

2       1       Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB             30.55         137.50

3       3       Patrick Mahomes, KC            39.70         129.80

4       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  39.80         121.75

5       12     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         50.15         118.00

6       14     Jared Goff, LAR                    50.70         115.05

7       4       Philip Rivers, LAC                 23.30         113.30

8       6       Aaron Rodgers, GB                29.25         105.10

9       18     Eli Manning, NYG                  46.85         103.00

10     9       Joe Flacco, BAL                    31.85         101.45

11     24     Matt Ryan, ATL                     50.70           98.85

12     17     Ryan Tannehill, MIA              38.45           97.35

13     13     Derek Carr, OAK                   29.25           96.80

14     7       Andy Dalton, CIN                 23.60           94.00

15     19     Matthew Stafford, DET         39.10           93.75

        Bubble: Alex Smith, WAS, 93.35. Week 3 best: Brees, NO, 62.80 (39-49, 396, 3-0 in win). Week 3 worst: Tyrod Taylor, CLE, minus-5.05 (4-14, 19, 0-0 in win).

        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-16); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, '01) and Tom Brady (2007, '17); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002) and Carson Palmer (2005). Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 3 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: SOLID ... AND HEARTBREAK: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the just-past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Solid again. We navigated a tough week full of upsets for a 10-6 record overall and 8-8 against the spread, including an Upset of the Week bull's-eye ("Aawwk!") on Saints winning at Falcons, a checkmark on Dolphins winning, and Giants with the points at Houston. Cost myself a game ATS with a clerical error on my part. I wrote, "Like Tennessee with points," but then had a score not reflecting that. DumbGreg's Lobos: The Lobos fell to 2-1 with a 129.4-112 loss to Randy Scott, thanks to a disappointing Monday. We had a very narrow lead entering the game, and it was my DeSean Jackson vs. his Mike Evans. Well, Evans' game shouted. My guy's ... didn't. So 25 points from Deshaun Watson and 24 from Adrian Peterson go for naught.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (3-0); 2. Miami (3-1); 3. South Florida (4-0); 4. Florida (3-1); 5. Florida State (2-2); 6. FAU (2-2); 7. FIU (2-2).

Other select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 24, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 84.0%; plus UM handles FIU 31-17 as N'Kosi Perry comes off bench to star. Our thoughts on UM's QB situation: also, why Dolphins will beat Raiders and rest of our NFL Week 3 predictions & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22. Football's back! That makes this the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL Week 2 QB Rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State, Marlins Man, the real FitzMagic & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal update: As many know from following me on Twitter, I had recent thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest and am in recovery mode. I'm on pain meds and on rest and no-drive orders this week. That's why I've cut back on a bunch of stuff such as a temporary reduction in Herald workload, no LeBatard Show and so forth. Thanks for the understanding. Hope to be back at it starting Monday.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 84.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-best 84.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 31-17 home victory over FIU putting No. 21 UM's season record at 3-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there showed 51% overall approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

Next poll: Sept. 27 following game vs. North Carolina.

Battle305G4: NO. 21 HURRICANES (3-1) BEAT FIU (2-2), 31-17Final: Miami, 31-17. Synopsis: On the day UM honored its 1983 championship team, the men who set the template, Miami may have found its next quarterback. N'Kosi Perry was pretty great Saturday in the 31-17 rout of FIU, replacing Malik Rosier with the game scoreless and taking impressive charge (17-25, 224 yards, 3 TDs), one interception his only blemish. I say rout because the final score does not reflect the lopsidedness. Miami never trailed and was never in jeopardy. But! This was FIU for Perry, a game where the idea of losing was no real concern. This coming Thursday night in prime time vs. North Carolina -- the season's ACC opener -- will tell more about The U's QB situation than Saturday did. The Tar Heels are not great, but, unlike FIU, they are a team UM's size. A fair fight. A challenge. Who starts that game at QB for Miami -- and how he performs -- will shape Mark Richt's ultimate decision more than what we just saw ..... 3Q: Miami, 31-0. Synopsis: An even bigger mismatch than imagined, but the story of the game is N'Kosi Perry replacing Malik Rosier and QB and lighting it up, although his third-quarter interception was a youthful mistake ..... Half: Miami, 24-0. Synopsis: Score doesn't show it even show UM's utter dominance. FIU has no shot, cannot move the ball (13 total net yards) on this Canes defense. N'Kosi Perry is 12-for-13 for 170 yards, two TD passes and all four scoring drives in relief of Malik Rosier. Mark Richt has himself a decision to make moving forward. Or, maybe it's already made? .....  1Q: Miami, 7-0. Synopsis: N'Kosi Perry in at QB for Malik Rosier is the news. Perry looks sharp. Travis Homer 35-yard TD for the score. Earlier 78-yard Jeff Thomas punt-return TD negated by penalty. FIU offense doing nothing. Miami in charge ..... I'll be semi-live blogging here throughout today's game, with up-to-the-minute scoring updates plus quick thoughts after every quarter ..... Original post: Here we go today/Saturday at 3:30 at Hard Rock, in front of ESPN2 cameras, the Hurricanes coming off a solid win at Toledo that failed to move them up in the polls, and crosstown neighbor FIU having hung 63 points on UMass and (as always) looking for respect. Emotion frames the matchup, of course, because so many players on either team grew up friends in MiafiuMiami, and mostly because of what happened when they met 12 years ago, in the 2006 season. BRAAAWWWLLL!!! Both benches emptied, a melee ensued, eight Panthers and five Canes were ejected, and 31 players from both teams were later suspended. Both coaches (Larry Coker, Don Strock) would lose their jobs after that season. The Backyard Brawl obviously was not the sole reason, but it was a shared embarrassment that helped shelve the natural rivalry as a regular series. UM won the brawlgame 35-0. The schools met the next season without incident, Miami winning 23-9. Today is the schools' first meeting since, the first in 11 years and only the third ever. Nobody anticipates an ugly reprise of '06. Said UM coach Mark Richt: "There will be guys getting their blood pumping. But I don't really anticipate anything foolish. I've not mentioned one thing [about the '06 brawl]to our guys." Second-year FIU coach Butch Davis, formerly with UM, of course, recruited the players who would win the 2001 national championship (Miami's most recent), but has a long way to go to hoist FIU onto a competitive par with UM. As we'll likely see Saturday. My pick: Hurricanes, 41-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami-FIU game previewed above, here's chronological Week 4 schedule for the rest:

No. 16 UCF (3-0) beats FAU (2-2), 56-36: Teams got the national ESPN spotlight Friday night with Knights coming off an unexpected bye after Hurricane Florence erased last week's game at North Carolina. UCF, a 2-TD fave, used big second half to crush Lane Kiffin's Owls.

FSU (2-2) beats Northern Illinois (1-3), 37-19: Most recent years this would have been a walkover for Seminoles, but now-struggling FSU was a rather modest 9 1/2-point home favorite as new coach Willie Taggert bought an ounce of patience.

Florida (3-1) beats Tennessee (2-2), 47-21Gators seem to be finding their groove, and this was impressive road win in a big SEC matchup.

South Florida (4-0) beats East Carolina (1-2), 20-13: A win is a win, but this one likely won't be enough vault Bulls up into the Top 25.

Week 4 national Top 25 matchups (2): No. 1 Alabama beats No. 22 Texas A&M, 45-23; and and 7-Stanford beats 20-Oregon, 38-31 in OT.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-RAIDERS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to defend The Rock and beat the Raiders here Sunday to forge a 3-0 start for only the fourth time since 1998. I explain why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We were a stout 20-10-1 overall and more importantly a strong 19-12-1 against the spread entering Week 3. Now let's keep it going! Dive into Week 3 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included within is a separate link to Thursday night's Jets-Browns pick, or find it directly at Week 3 Thursday Gem. Got off to another win-win start to our new week, only one point off a rare Exacto on the final score. Thank you, Baker Mayfield!) Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing the height of giddy optimism.

Select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 20, 2018

Herald NFL QB rankings though Week 2: A new No. 1, and why Dolphins' Tannehill improved yet drops in chart; plus tonight's Jets-Browns pick, 'FitzMagic,' Marlins Man, NFL Week 2 Pix 'n Fantasy results (Lobos!), Cote's State of the State rankings & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20. Results are complete in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll (and they are sizzlin'!) Scroll to the previous blogpost or find them directly HERE. 2) Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win at Jets with DSM poll & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal news: As many know from following me on Twitter and social media, I had my thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest and am now in recovery mode. I'm on pain medication and on rest and no-drive orders all this week. That is why I'm cutting back on a bunch of stuff such as a temporary reduction in Herald workload and no LeBatard Show Tuesday. Thanks for the understanding.

Tonight's Jets-Browns pick: Could be a no-lose for Dolphins fans tonight. Y'all might either get to see the Browns' first regular-season win in 21 months, or see the Stinkin' Jets lose. Again. For tonight: Week 3 Thursday Gem.

Most recent columns: On D.Wade's decision, Dolphins running game: Dwyane Wade (unsurprisingly) has decided on one more season with the Heat. I explored the delay in his decision, why it wasn't bad and what Wade would do: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right Call. And: Ryan Tannehill is better when he throws less, and running more leads to Dolphins success. Enter Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins.

Marlinsman FitzmagicAND IN TODAY'S EDITION OF DUELING RIDICULOUS MIAMI SPORTS STORIES...: Marlins Man ends feud and returns to good graces with ballclub vs. Dolphins rookie Minkah Ftzpatrick files trademark application for phrase "FitzMagic" even though Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is already called that.

 

MahomesMAHOMES SWEET 'HOMES! / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 2: Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes (pictured) wins Week 2 while the Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick nudges ahead of Saint Drew Brees for the overall season lead in the Herald's latest NFL QB Rankings entering Week 3. This is the Miami Herald's 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill improved in Week 2 yet falls four spots to 17th. That's because it was a higher scoring week in which several QBs improved by even more. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Exact formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Here we go!
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 2
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK2            Season

1       2       Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB             55.10          106.95

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                    44.15          104.10

3       10     Patrick Mahomes, KC             57.30           90.10

4       3       Philip Rivers, LAC                 45.80            90.00

5       14     Kirk Cousins, MIN                  54.75            81.95

6       6       Aaron Rodgers, GB                37.55           75.85

7       9       Andy Dalton, CIN                  36.25           70.40

8       8       Alex Smith, WAS                   34.60           70.35

9       5       Joe Flacco, BAL                    27.80           69.60

10     4       Andrew Luck, IND                 24.95            68.90

11     7       Tom Brady, NE                      30.70            68.55

12     20     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         49.60            67.85

13     16     Derek Carr, OAK                    43.40            67.55

14     15     Jared Goff, LAR                    38.70            64.35

15     18     Cam Newton, CAR                 41.75            62.80

17     13     Ryan Tannehill, MIA               30.40           58.90

        Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 62.65. Week 2 best: Mahomes, KC, 57.30 (23-28, 326, 6-0 in win). Week 2 worst: Sam Bradford, ARI, 8.50 (17-27, 90, 0-1 in loss).

        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-16); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, '01) and Tom Brady (2007, '17); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002) and Carson Palmer (2005).

        Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 2 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD AND GOOD ... AGAIN!: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the just-past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Another solid week! Went 10-5-1 overall again (Vikings-Packers tied) and went a stout 9-7 against the spread, including outright upset calls on Dolphins over Jets and Titans over Texans, plus 'dog Chiefs and Lions with points. Greg's Lobos: The mighty Lobos are now 2-0 with a 134.7-90 rout of Sarah Spain. Consistent scoring described the day, with Deshaun Watson, Tyreek Hill, Zach Ertz and DeShaun Jackson all tallying in the 20-23 point range. Still being held hostage by the Le'Veon Bell mess, but surviving the mess nicely thus far.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (2-0); 2. Miami (2-1); 3. South Florida (3-0); 4. Florida (2-1); 5. FAU (2-1); 6. FIU (2-1); 7. Florida State (1-2).

Other select recent columns: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 13, 2018

On Dwyane Wade's big (and delayed) Heat decision. New column; plus Dolphins' Tannehill makes Top 15 in Herald NFL QB rank debut, tonight's Ravens-Bengals pick, latest Back In My Day, Week 1 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State ranking & more

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

Never1) It's THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13. There are some thing we never forget. Hope you took a moment to reflect this week, but not just on 9/11. 2) Scroll to our previous blogpost or get there directly HERE for the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter season-debut results. They're strong! 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win lightning-delayed season opener with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Week 2 NFL Thursday pick: Bengals are mere 1-point home favorites over Ravens this week in a Thursday night matchup that should interest Dolfans. For my pick: Thursday Gem.

DwadeNEW COLUMN: ON DWYANE WADE'S BIG DECISION: The Heat venerable No. 3 is about to decide (or to reveal) whether he is returning for another NBA season in Miami ... or retiring. Pat Riley has said he hoped for a decision by mid-August. One month later, still no word. What does it mean? Some fans and media have begun to criticize Wade for his delay. That's unjustified, and I explain why in my latest column, which explores the likely what-and-when of Wade's pending decision. While South Florida immerses itself in football, its single most beloved athleteis about to make a decision affecting Miami's only three-time champion pro franchise. For my latest column: On Dwyane Wade's Big Decision.

Most recent other columns: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins. Also: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth It (on Fins' season-opening win) and Soft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QB (on Hurricanes' home-opening win).

BreesBREES-FITZPATRICK SHOOTOUT LEADS THE WAY! / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 1: You'd think the Saints' Drew Brees would look happier about leading the Herald's NFL QB Rankings after Week 1, but I guess the glum look comes from having lost the game to standings runnerup Ryan Fitzpatrick. This launches the Miami Herald's 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. Dolphins Ryan Tannehill lands a respectable 13th in the initial Top 15. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Exact formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Here we go!
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 1
RK    '17    Player, Team                    Week 1/Season

1       2       Drew Brees, NO                    59.95

2       34     Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB             51.85

3       6       Philip Rivers, LAC                 44.20

4       NR    Andrew Luck, IND                 43.95

5       13     Joe Flacco, BAL                    41.80

6       26     Aaron Rodgers, GB                38.30

7       1       Tom Brady, NE                      37.85

8       4       Alex Smith, WAS                   35.75

9       18     Andy Dalton, CIN                  34.15

10     50     Patrick Mahomes, KC            32.80

11     7       Case Keenum, DEN               32.45

12     NR    Sam Darnold, NYJ                 28.90

13     NR    Ryan Tannehill, MIA              28.50

14     9       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 27.20

15     11     Jared Goff, LAR                   25.65

        Bubble: Derek Carr, OAK, 24.15. Week 1/season best: Brees, NO, 59.95 (37-45, 439, 3-0 in loss). Week 1/season worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, minus-12.80 (5-18, 24, 0-2 in loss).
        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-16); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, '01) and Tom Brady (2007, '17); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002) and Carson Palmer (2005).
        Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

ThillNFL WEEK 1 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD AND GOOD!: Every Tuesday in the blog starting today I'll update you on how I did the just-past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and Picks Loboswith my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. So let's get it started in here! Herald picks: Solid week!. Went 10-5-1 overall (Steelers-Browns tied) and also a nifty 10-5-1 against the spread (Seahawks-Broncos pushed at 3). Nailed our Upset of the Week with Bengals over Colts ("Aaawwwk!"). Also called mini-upset by Dolphins, had underdog Bears and Jets with the points, and hit a rare Exacto with Patriots' 27-20 win. Greg's Lobos: What a comeback! Trailed deep into Sunday before heroically rallying to trounce Lorenzo 141-121, behind a giant 42 points from Tyreek Hill (pictured). Also got 23 from old Adrian Peterson, a last-minute start for me. I'm one of the millions of fantasy owners being held hostage by the Le'Veon Bell situation. Given that, we survived opening week nicely.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday starting today I'll rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The kickoff: 1. UCF (2-0); 2. Miami (1-1); 3. South Florida (2-0); 4. Florida (1-1); 5. FAU (1-1); 6. FIU (1-1); 7. Florida State (1-1).

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': BINOCULARS!: This debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Other select recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say ThanksNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 09, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (G2): 73.8%; plus UM routs Savannah State 77-0 as all 4 QBs play in home opener, with my game column; also, rest of state Collbal, NFL Week 1 picks, R.I.P. Burt, farewell Elton & more

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

Ejohn1) It's SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Elton John kicked off his three-year farewell tour last night. Elton's farewell tour will last longer than most others' entire music careers. 2) R.I.P., Burt Reynolds, gone at 82. Saw him as Vic Edwards in "The Last Movie Star" last year. A real actor. Forget the cheeky "Smokey and the Bandit" stuff. Check out the serious roles. He'll be missed. Also was an FSU running back in the '50s. 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy draft poll and results, MLS Miami gets name and logo, latest Back In My Day & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NEW: Tonight began soft stretch in Canes schedule that's all about the quarterback: Don't be overly impressed with Saturday's 77-0 UM win, considering the utterly outmanned opponent. Be more impressed that coach Mark Richt played all four quarterbacks in a newly introduced effort to find a better Malik Rosier ... or his replacement. That's my new column. To read it: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway. Other most recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... and NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 73.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 73.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of 1aa1csmSaturday night's 77-0 home victory over Savannah State putting No. 22-ranked Miami's season record at 1-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote; the unofficial approval there was 40%).  

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

Next poll: Sept. 15 following game at Toledo.

SavumG2: NO. 22 HURRICANES (1-1) 77, SAVANNAH STATE (0-2) 0: A PAUSE TO CORRECT THE FLAWS AS ALL FOUR QBS PLAY: For my column from the stadium off Saturday's UM home opener: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway ..... Original post: Here are two teams that could play, "Who's Coming Off the Worse Loss?" Savannah State, a second-tier FCS-level school, lost 52-0 to Alabama-Birmingham. But Miami's loss, given the stage and stakes, was worse: the 33-17 neutral-site collapse against LSU that sent the Canes cascading down the charts from a No. 8 national ranking to 22nd. Savannah State can't offer redemption this evening/Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hard Rock, but it is a chance for UM to get a little bit of feelgood back after a deflating opener. With the game off the betting boards because of its expected lopsidedness, it would be a bit concerning if Miami didn't cruise by a margin of at least 40 or 50 points. College coaches have it easy. Unlike in the NFL there are games like this one where winning is not a question, so you have the luxury to just flex your roster, tinker with what needs tinkering and not worry the least about the opponent or final score. In this case quarterback play will be under the microscope for coach Mark Richt, with starter Malik Rosier coming off an inaccurate opener that included a pick-six, and with at least two younger QBs expected to see action along with Rosier. The enthusiasm for this Hurricanes season took a huge hit with the opening-week loss. You don't get it back against an opponent like this one. But an impressive rebound win is a necessary first step. My prediction: Hurricanes, 62-3.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami game previewed above, here's chronological Week 2 schedule (all Saturday) for the rest:

South Florida (2-0) defeats Georgia Tech (1-1), 49-38: Bulls had no problem with a small opening opponent (Elon) but now took a  big step up in competition with slightly favored Ga-Tech. And delivered.

FAU (1-1) defeats Air Force (1-1), 33-27: Lane Kiffin got spanked at Oklahoma in a 49-point loss but here was a comfy 9 1/2-point pick in the Owls' home opener.

No. 19 UCF (2-0) defeats South Carolina State (0-2), 38-0: Knights throttled UConn and now got another softy in an off-the-board mismatch. 

FSU (1-1) defeats Samford (1-1), 36-26: Noles tumbled from rankings (19th) after a 24-3 spanking by 20-Virginia Tech that ended new coach Willie Taggert's honeymoon right quick. Now they get to take it out on poor lil' Samford, Bobby Bowden's alma mater. Except they almost lost! Lucky Noles needed a late rally to avoid a monumental embarrassment.

Kentucky (2-0) defeats No. 25 Florida (1-1), 27-16: Gators entered poll, albeit barely, after 53-6 rout of Charleston Southern but their stay will be short-lived after terrible loss as 14-point Swamp favorites.  

FIU (1-1) defeats Old Dominion (0-2), 28-20: FIU opened with 10-point loss to Indiana but was 1-point road fave in this conference game, and neatly rallied from 17 down to win behind James Morgan's three TD passes. Of more gravity, two FIU players -- top RB Antonio Jones and OL Mershawn Miller -- were shot in a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, a calamity for the families and the last thing coach Butch Davis needed. Miller's wound was minor. Jones' wounds are serious but non-life threatening and Davis said "encouraging reports" suggest a recovery.

Week 2 national Top 25 matchups: The only two: No. 3 Georgia defeats No. 24 South Carolina, 41-17; and 10-Stanford defeats 17-Southern Cal, 17-3.

Picks RtannyWELCOME BACK, UPSET BIRD! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Oh lord here come our 28th season of Friday (but online Thursday) NFL picks. When we started this endeavor in 1991 Ryan Tannehill was a 2-year-old toddling around Lubbock, Texas and (if memory serves) Tom Brady was an NFL rookie. All these years later we haven't been fired yet are still at it. For Kickoff Weekend we bring you our picks for Dolphins-Titans, our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and more. Dive into Week 1 Gems for the whole package. (It includes a link to last night's Falcons-Eagles pick. Atlanta led much of the way toward our upset call; alas, Philly prevailed late). By the way, the Upset Bird is back. But please follow our picks, anyway. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield. At left, Tannehill is shouting at you, "Hey, read Greg Cote's picks, everybody. But only when he picks us to win!"

Other select recent columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 04, 2018

G1: Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 9.2%: plus Radio Tuesday!, UM drops opener to LSU, 33-17 with my game column, Opening Week for rest of state collball, latest Hot Button Top 10 & more

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

Labor1) It's TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4. Hope y'all  had a Happy Labor Day, the date on which we all celebrate work by not working! 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): What team owns this town with poll, latest Back In My Day video, your verdict on No. 1 fantasy pick & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, 9 to 1 on Miami's 790 The Ticket and 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Join us! 

DON'T BAIL ON CANES, BUT TIME FOR MIAMI TO REMIND US WHY WE THOUGHT THE U WAS BACK: NEW COLUMN: To read my column of UM's 33-17 season-opening loss to LSU Sunday night: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... Other most recent Canes football columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsCanes Could Go 12-0 and Still Have Mountain to ClimbNow We See How Hurricanes Handle Burden Of ExpectationsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town.

Annual NFL team rankings: Dolphins higher than you think: My annual NFL Team Rankings are out, and who's No. 1 might surprise you. So might how low the Patriots are ranked, how high the Dolphins are, and a bunch of other stuff, too. Check it out, 1 through 32: NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

CsmG1: CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: 9.2%: Results are certified in the season-first Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 9.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday night's season-opening 33-17 Miami Hurricanes loss to LSU in Arlington, Texas. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote).

 

CaneslsuG1: NO. 25 LOUISIANA STATE DEFEATS NO. 8 HURRICANES, 33-17: RUGGED OPENER FOR UM'S SEASON OF HIGH HOPES: Turnover Chain made no appearance and Malik Rosier was pretty bad until a late spurt in Miami's 33-17 loss to LSU. [Find link to my game column above] ..... Original post: Miami opens its much-anticipated season a slim 3 1/2-point favorite over LSU in this nationally televised, neutral-site matchup at the Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas. Will LSU fans turn the joint into Death Valley? Or will RichtCanes fans win the crowd? In either case a loss out the gate will feel devastating, while the winner gets to feel like a national contender. Said third-year UM coach Mark Richt: "Until you play somebody, you really don't know. There are no warm-up games here. We will be physically and mentally tested. It will be a gut check." Veteran Canes quarterback Malik Rosier will be expected to outplay LSU transfer Joe Burrow, making his first college start against Miami's havoc-wreaking, Turnover Chain-getting defense. But the Tigers' defense figures to be a big challenge for Rosier, too. I feel like the two team's rankings are accurate, that UM is better all-round, including Richt's coaching edge over Ed Orgeron. And I'll be surprised if that Turnover Chain doesn't change hands at least twice. My prediction: Hurricanes, 24-16.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL WEEK 1: There are seven FBS-level college football teams in Florida. With Sunday's Miami game previewed above, here's Week 1 chronological schedule for the rest:

No. 21 UCF defeats UConn, 56-17: Strong Thursday night debut for self-proclaimed 2017 national champs and new coach Josh Heupel, behind McKenzie Milton's five TD passes. 

No. 7 Oklahoma defeats FAU, 63-14: Sooners, a three-TD home fave, absolutely spanked Lane Kiffin to open his second Owls season, after last year's 11-3 gem.

South Florida defeats Elon, 34-14: Bulls roll comfortably here but will have tough time matching last year's 10-2 season.  

Indiana defeats FIU, 38-28: FIU was a 10-point home underdog and played to the odds as Year 2 began for Butch Davis following progress of last year's 8-5 season.

Florida defeats Charleston Southern, 53-6: Gators with a big Swamp debut for new coach Dan Mullen as Feleipe Franks tosses 5 TD passes.

No. 20 Virginia Tech defeats No. 19 Florida State, 24-3, 8 Monday: Seminoles a 7-point pick as new coach Willie Taggert debuts and Week 1 wraps up.

Week 1 national Top 25 matchups: In addition to Miami-LSU and Virginia Tech-FSU, there was No. 9 Auburn beating No. 6 Washington 21-16, and 12-Notre Dame beating 14-Michigan, 24-17.

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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Ouch! UM crushed by LSU tonight as season of high hopes begins: Ready, set ... hype! Hurricanes fans had the swagger back. An ESPN prediction model had UM going 12-0. The College Football Playoff was the goal. All Mark Richt's Canes had to do was not lose Sunday night to keep that buzz going. Instead, a buzz-kill opener: 33-17, LSU.

2. DOLPHINS: Ready or not, Fins, here come the real games: An encouraging 34-7 win in Atlanta closed a 1-3 preseason for Miami, but forget that. All that matters now is the season opener next Sunday here vs. Tennessee. Opposite UM, it's a season of low expectation for the Dolphins. Can they erase the prevailing doubts?

3. GATORS/SEMINOLES: Florida coasts in opener, FSU on deck: Florida began the Dan Mullen era with a 53-6 Swamp rout of Charleston Southern, meaning Mullen ain't done nuthin' yet. Willie Taggert takes his first bow Monday night for No. 19 FSU vs. No. 20 Virginia Tech. Now that's an opener.

4. HEAT: We're still waiting, Mr. Wade: With the first preseason game coming at the end of this month, it might be an opportune time for free agents Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem to inform the Heat whether they'll be re-signing with Miami. Wade says it's Heat or retire. We know you'll be back, guys. So say it, already!

5. SOCCER: Miami MLS team to unveil name, colors: A source, whom I prefer to call "a Little Birdie," tells us the Jorge Mas/David Beckham group's Miami Major League Soccer team set to begin play in 2020 will unveil its name, colors and other details this week. Alas, despite my suggestion, they won't be the Miami Lobos.

6. FIU/FAU: Davis, Kiffin both fall in openers: Years 2.0 for FIU's Butch Davis and FAU's Lane Kiffin began with losses Saturday. Panthers fell to Indiana 38-28, after Owls got crushed at No. 7 Oklahoma, 63-14. A little humbling isn't a bad thing, Lane.

7. TENNIS: U.S. Open reaches midpoint: Men's No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal and 17th seeded woman (but favored -- c'mon) Serena Williams are in action today/Sunday as tennis' fourth major of the year. Serena routed sis Venus. Even more impressive: Serena's purple tutu dress.

8. MARLINS: Fish win but continue mired in elongated slump: Miami beat Toronto Saturday as Martin Prado returned from the DL with three RBIs before losing Sunday. Fish are only 8-22 since July 30 as homestand continues. Latest from the 100-Loss Meter: Current pace 64-98. 

9. COLIN KAEPERNICK: His grievance will go to trial: Kaepernick's collusion grievance against the NFL will go to trial, a big legal win for the quarterback blackballed (though not officially!) because he instigated the anthem-kneeling protests now in their third year. His best evidence? Still unemployed! 

10. NFL: It's fantasy draft weekend: Has your league had its fantasy draft yet? Better get to it, with NFL season opening this Thursday night. Only sure bet with fantasy drafts? You'll think your team is a lot better than it really is. Me, too.

Missing the HB10 cut: You know outspoken Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is doing something right when I can't decide if the NFL needs more players like him or I want him to shut up ..... The national group, People Who Feel Sorry For Urban Meyer is meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth ..... Just to torment Marlins fans, Giancarlo Stanton became the fifth-fastest to 300 career home runs ..... Marlins released their 2019 spring and regular season schedules. Based on this year -- can't wait!! ..... In the WNBA playoffs, four teams are alive in the conference finals entering Sunday games, and I can't name any of them ..... The Big 3 basketball league crowned a champion, and nobody cared ..... Headlines I Never Imagined Seeing (one in a series): "Usain Bolt Makes Pro Soccer Debut In Australia" ..... Update. Countdown now 2,850 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 27, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus the good, bad and ugly of Fins' 3rd preseason loss; also, fantasy football poll, 4-Man Outfield, Fins in fantasy Top 300, The List, your Stanton verdict & more

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

Mccain1) It's Monday, August 27. R.I.P., John McCain, the war hero, great statesman and independent thinker who passed away last evening at age 81 from brain cancer. 2) Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Stanton back in Miami with poll, me back from vacation, Herald endorses alien-abduction survivor, Canes' recycled uniforms, R.I.P. Aretha & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday and updated-Monday feature -- back for the first time since August 5 after three weeks' vacation -- is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Countdown 6 days until UM football season opener: It's No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU next Sunday in prime time on ABC in a neutral-site season opener in Arlington, Texas and the only football game in the nation that day. Canes' most anticipated season in years has a chance to be special but starts with a major challenge. This ain't no soft opening, folks.

2. DOLPHINS: Tannehill sharp again but Fins fall to 0-3 in preseason: Miami played its starters much of the game Saturday night at The Rock. Ravens did not. Baltimore won, 27-10, dropping Miami to 0-3 in fake games. The good news? Comeback-strong Ryan Tannehill is a sharp 29-for-39 this preseason for 247 yards, one TD and zero picks. 

3. HEAT: Wade, Haslem re-signing with Miami seems nearly certain: Isn't official yet, or announced, but you'd probably be safe to bet on Heat legend Dwyane Wade and franchise lifer Udonis Haslem, both free agents, each signing again with Miami. Welcome back, fellas.

4. MARLINS: Miami ends its Braves jinx: Rebuilding Marlins had lost nine in a row to Atlanta before winning two straight prior to Sunday's series-ending loss up there. Now it's two straight at Fenway against the best team in baseball. Fish are fighting to avoid a 100-loss season. Current pace: 65-97.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: And we're underway!: Week 1 of Division 1A college football began Saturday night with four minor games. There are three opening-week Top 25 matchups. Beside Miami-LSU, they are No. 14  Michigan at 12-Notre Dame next Saturday, and 20-Virginia  Tech at 19-FSU a week from Monday. 

6. FIU: Davis' second season launches in 5 days: FIU Panthers begin second season under Butch Davis this coming Saturday at home vs. Indiana (and three weeks later face the Hurricanes). Can Cats build on success of last year's 8-5 record?

7. FAU: Kiffin 2.0 opens with brutal opening test: Colorful, attention-getting Lane Kiffin's second season with the FAU Owls begins this coming Saturday with a bang (and very likely a loss) at No. 7 Oklahoma. Owls ended last season 11-3 with 10 straight wins, so Kiffin is the King of Boca Raton until further notice.

8. TENNIS: French Open tells Serena how to dress: The French Open instituted a new dress code pretty much specifically designed to prevent Serena Williams from again wearing her skin-tight "cat suit." Some saw it as an affront to women's right. Um, let's save our outrage for causes that are actually important, shall we?

9.YOUTH BASEBALL: LLWS crown decided Sunday: Hawaii defeated South Korea on Sunday ("U-S-A! U-S-A!") for the Little League World Championship title. From what I've seen of some of these "kids," let's check those birth certificates, OK?

10. GOLF: Another week with Tiger not winning: The PGA Tour's Northern Trust in New Jersey wrapped up Sunday and somebody won but it wasn't Tiger Woods.

Missing the HB10 cut: A Los Angeles restaurant jokingly presented Astros pitcher Justin Verlander a $1 million lunch bill after he beat the Dodgers. Um, what'd be the 15 percent tip on that? ..... Jemele Hill and ESPN are parting ways. Meaning she can now criticize Donald Trump without fear of admonishment or suspension ..... Update. Countdown now 2,857 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

BaldolPS3: BALTIMORE 27, DOLPHINS 10: A FEW POSITIVE SIGNS AMID OVERALL BLIGHT: Ryan Tannehill (11-for-16, 115 yards, 110.2 rating) looked sharp -- again -- including a 75-yard TD drive finished by a Danny Amendola catch last night. But there isn't a lot else good to say about a 27-10 loss to Baltimore and an 0-3 fake-game record -- especially because, while Miami treated the game as a dress rehearsal, the Raven sat most of their key players. Overall the Dolphins were dominated in possession time, allowed 223 hyards rushing, had eight penalties, were 2-for-12 on third down conversions, and the backup QB stunk again. Oh, and the offensive line gave up five sacks. We thought last night would be true gauge, with both teams playing starters and trying to win. We wrote so here: Unveiling: The Dolphins Are About To Be Revealed. Instead the Dolphins tried harder to win, making the result all the more jarring. Perfect snapshot of the night: Fins linebacker Kiko Alonso getting lost and running toward the Ravens sideline before sheepishly being turned around, embarrassed, and making the long trek across the field to his own sideline. Kiko and his team. Befuddled. And without much time left to discover answers. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL POLL: WHO'S YOUR NO. 1 OVERALL PICK?: My two fantasy league drafts are almost here. Yours probably are, too. IN the poll below are the top 10 projected players, via ESPN.com, based on a PPR league, with the list alphabetical, not by ranking. Vote who among these top 10 would be your No. 1 pick. Click here for ESPN's complete top 300. To save you time, Dolphins making the list are: RB Kenyan Drake (42nd), WR DeVante Parker (94th), WR Kenny Stills (102nd), WR Danny Amendola (112th), RB Frank Gore (206th), QB Ryan Tannehill (220th), WR Albert Wilson (225th), TE Mike Gesicki (247th) and RB Kalen Ballage (277th). I thik Amendola would be my first pick among Dolphins receivers. And I like Tannehill as a backup. Anyway, who's No. 1 overall? Vote now!

POLL RESULT: WE'D HAVE CHEERED A HOMER BY YANKS' STANTON: We asked, "Should Miami fans have cheered if the Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton hit his 300th career home run here this week at Marlins Park?" And the vote was 

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): YELICH, STANTON BATTLINGThroughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current (though injured) Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the most highly regarded prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog when we remember to. The latest:

Player, Team                                  OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers           .906  116 463 89 143   67  27-4-23     .309

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees       .879  129  505 84 141   82  27-1-32    .279

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals           .728  123 484  52 133   69  13-2-16     .275

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins               .570   84  290  22  54   30   6-4-10     .186

THE LIST: UNBEATEN AND WINLESS DOLPHINS PRESEASONS: With Miami now 0-3 in the preseason, we were curious how rare that unbeaten and winless preseasons (including no ties) have been in the Dolphins' 52 seasons -- and how that correlated to that year's regular season record. Well, there have been a total of only eight, and there is a correlation to season success:

UNBEATEN (5x)

Year (Record)        Coach/QB                Regular season

1976 (6-0)             Shula/Griese            6-8, no playoffs  

1979 (4-0)             Shula/Griese            10-6, won division, 0-1 playoffs

1981 (4-0)             Shula/Woodley         11-4-1, won division, 0-1 playoffs 

1998 (4-0)             Johnson/Marino       10-6, 2nd in division, 1-1 playoffs

2009 (4-0)             Sparano/Henne        7-9, no playoffs

WINLESSS (3x)

Year (Record)        Coach/QB                Regular season

1966 (0-4)             Wilson/Wilson Jr.     3-11, no playoffs

1989 (0-4)             Shula/Marino           8-8, no playoffs

2012 (0-4)             Philbin/Tannehill     7-9, no playoffs

Note: QB refers to most regular season games started that year. 

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 04, 2018

The new Hot Button Top 10: Football in top spot, but see which team and what else falls where; plus our latest columns, your Dwyane Wade verdict, 4-Man Outfield (updated) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY-MONDAY, AUGUST 4-6. Posting Sunday's Hot Button Top 10 early this week because I'm-a takin' the long weekend off! 2) Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dwyane Wade's next move with poll, Frank Gore's perfect end run, NFL cluelessness on anthem protests, Zach Thomas and Canton & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: On NFL's quagmire, Gore's homecoming: Click on NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest Quagmire and Gore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End Run to read my most recent columns. The headlines are pretty self-explanatory. One's on Roger Goodell's cluelessness, the other's a feelgoodie on ex-Cane Frank Gore back in the 3-0-5 for first time in 14 years.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 5): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature (posted a bit early this week) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Let the (preseason) games begin!: Are you ready for some football? Better question: Are the Miami Dolphins ready for some football? After a little over a week of practice and then Saturday's midday scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami plays its first of four exhibition games Thursday August 9 vs. Tampa Bay at The Rock. It'll be a play-everybody dress rehearsal with early roster trims in mind, yes. Who wins won't count for much, no. But, still: Football's back, baby!

2. HURRICANES: UM football No. 8 in first big preseason poll: With the Sept. 2 season opener looming, the high hopes for Canes football got validation with The U's debut at No. 8 in the nation in the USA Today Coaches poll, the first major ranking out -- marking UM's first time in a preseason top 10 since 2005. The  bad news? Miami's ACC roadblock, Clemson, checks in No. 2, trailing only (of course) Alabama.

3. MLS MIAMI: Team takes shape as new GM is hired: Paul McDonough was Atlanta United's VP of soccer operations. Now he is Miami's new general manager who'll start putting together the Major League Soccer expansion team's roster. (Although McDonough's official title here will be "Sporting Director." Which is sooo soccer). The Jorge Mas/David Beckham's group's team is to begin play in 2020 and be in its new stadium by 2021, presuming a November referendum green-lights the Melreese site.

4. MARLINS: Two small trades, one special callup top week: Fish beat the MLB trade deadline by dealing middle reliever Brad Ziegler and outfielder Cameron Maybin for prospects. It's who they didn't trade (J.T. Realmuto) that mattered. And this: Outfielder Isaac Galloway finally earning his promotion from Triple A and getting his first big league at-bat after 947 games in the minors. That's the kind of feelgood story baseball does best.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Trouble for Urban Meyer at Ohio State: Preseason No. 3 Ohio State got gut-punched when the university placed coach Urban Meyer on paid "administrative leave" pending an investigation whether Meyer knew of a 2015 domestic violence allegation against an assistant but did nothing. That's d-i-s-t-r-a-c-t-i-o-n. With a capital D.

6. GOLF: Tiger, Phil agree to mega-match: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson agreed to play a head-to-head match for a reported $10 million payout over the Thanksgiving weekend in (where else?) Las Vegas. Tiger is 42, Phil is 48, both are past their prime and this will be the biggest thing in golf. Not sure if that says more about the state of the sport or the enduring appeal and popularity of Tiger and Phil. But I'll watch.

7. LEGAL SYSTEM: Jose Fernandez estate settles suit: The estate of former Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez settled a wrongful-death suit brought by the families of the two men killed in the September 2016 boat crash that killed all three men. The agreement was reached on what would have been Fernandez's 26th birthday, bringing closer to closure one of the worst tragedies in South Florida sports history.

8. SOCCER: Brits rule ICC's swing through Miami: English Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City prevailed in the two International Champions Cup men's matches at Hard Rock Stadium. Man U defeated Spain's Real Madrid 2-1, after Man City beat Germany's Bayern Munich 3-2. The Real Madrid match drew a sellout of 64,000. Maybe they hadn't hard Cristiano Ronaldo was no longer with the team?

9. NFL: Ex-Cane Ray Lewis leads Hall inductees in Canton: After Thursday's Bears-Ravens game kicked off the preseason in Canton, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher and no-show Terrell Owens led the Saturday parade of latest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dear T.O.: Nobody missed you and you'll regret not going the rest of your life. Dear Hall voters: Compare Urlacher's career to Zach Thomas' and tell me why one was a first-ballot inductee and the other gets no love?

10. GOLF: Year's final major on deck: The 100th PGA Championship, the season's final major, is this coming Thursday through Sunday in Missouri. Will this be Tiger's breakthrough for his first career major win since 2008? And what's the over/under on how many times I've asked that since 2008?

Missing the HB10 cut: WWDD. What would Dwyane do? Free agent Dwyane Wade soon will decide either to play another season in Miami, retire, play in China or play elsewhere in the NBA. That's in order of likelihood, with one more Heat season the betting -- and sentimental -- favorite ..... NFL announced the 2019 Pro Bowl would be returning to Orlando, and nobody cared ..... Patriots sign Eric Decker. Evidently he was the last small white receiver available ...... Yankees at Red Sox on Sunday night. Still the best rivalry in sports. And getting better? ..... An Italian football team hired Art Briles. Um, did they not Google his name first!? ..... Juventus beats MLS All-Stars on penalties after a 1-1 draw.  Anything in sports worse than deciding soccer games on penalty-kick tiebreaker? ..... Dear young athletes who used to be dumb bigots: Erase those old Tweets! ..... Update. Countdown now 2,878 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

POLL RESULT: STRONG MAJORITY SEE D-WADE RETURNING TO HEAT: With Dwyane Wade a free agent at age 36 and expected to announce his intentions sometime this month, we asked, "What do you predict Dwyane Wade will do?" and offered four choices. "Play another season with the Heat" won easily with 69.95 percent, while "Follow money, play in China" drew 16.75%. Another 10.34% voted "Retire from basketball," and only 2.96% said "Sign with different NBA team."

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): HOT YELICH GROWS LEADThroughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current (though injured) Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the most highly regarded prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog. The latest:

Player, Team                                  OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers           .921   97 380 77 122   59  23-4-17     .321

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees       .849  107  419 67 116   66  20-1-25    .277

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals           .704  106 415  44 111   59  11-1-13     .267

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins               .570   84  290  22  54   30   6-4-10     .186

Other recent columnsDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy One, on start of training camp, and To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades, on the death of Tony Sparano. Also: Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 11, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who wins tightly contested fight for No. 1 (surprise!) and what else falls where; plus my Sunday column on Marlins' 25th Anniversary and Jeter's obligation to heal, The List (worst Marlins seasons) & more

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

Calilove1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 11. Not yet heard it? Click Cote Does California Love to hear me rapping my favorite hip-hop song, from last week's LeBatard Show. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami athletes on Forbes' 100 Wealthiest list, new columns on Dolphins and Trump/NFL, R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

25logoLatest Sunday column: Marlins' Anniversary Weekend underlines Jeter's obligation: A weekend to celebrate the Marlins' past also was a time for fans to wonder when the future -- another team worth celebrating -- will finally arrive. That is Derek Jeter's job. And that is my latest Sunday column. To read, click Jeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can Win.

Other most recent columns: In Search of the Dolphins' Elusive Grand PlanUninvited Eagles Latest Pawns In Trump's SubterfugeHandicapping the LeBron Summer Sweepstakes. And: When Sports Stopped Being All Fun & Games / The King, Indeed: LeBron Tops Michael / NFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes Away / Tannehill's Defining Season / Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris / Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan.

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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. MARLINS: Draft, anniversary make it big week for Fish: The annual three-day MLB draft welcomed 41 new Marlins (25 of them pitchers), led by top pick Connor Scott, 18, an outfielder from Tampa. Fish followed with club's 25th Anniversary Weekend events in series vs. Padres -- the celebration of the past leading one to wonder when a future worth cheering might finally arrive.

2. NBA: Warriors repeat champs, LeBron will talk to Heat: Golden State steamrolled Cleveland 4-0 in first NBA Finals sweep since 2007, likely marking LeBron James' final game with Cavaliers. LeBron will be ring-chase in his free-agent decision this summer, and Stephen A. Smith says the seven teams on his maybe-list  are Cavs, Warriors, 76ers, Celtics, Rockets, Lakers ... and Heat. Yes, Miami, but don't make too much of that. (Or get your hopes up).

3. SOCCER: Countdown 3 days 'til World Cup: Host Russia faces Saudi Arabia in the only match on Thursday as the 2018 men's World Cup gets underway. No U.S. and no Italy among the 32 qualifiers; still, most of the world will be riveted. It'll be refreshing to see people paying attention to Russia for something other than election-meddling.

4. DOLPHINS: This week wraps pre-training camp work: A final wave of offseason OTA practices this Monday through Thursday will be the Dolphins' last on-field work prior to the start of full preseason training camp in late July. That's when it starts to get real for Adam Gase and Ryan Tannehill. When games are coming at you like a freight train.

5. TENNIS: Nadal, Halep win French Open: Championship Weekend in Paris saw No. 1-ranked Simona Halep of Romania drop the first set Saturday but still beat Broward County native and resident Sloane Stephens for Halep's first career major win. Today, Rafael Nadal won his 11th French crown in straight sets, denying Dominic Thiem what would have been a seismic upset. 

6. HORSES: Justify win Belmont, Triple Crown: Justify made an impressive, easy glide to the Belmont Stakes on Saturday after earlier winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness -- the 13th Triple Crown winner in thoroughbred racing history. There'd been a 37-year drought until American Paraoah in 2015. Now it's practically a trend.

7. NHL: Washington wins first Stanley Cup: Defeating the Cinderella expansion Vegas Golden Knights 4-1, the Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in the club's 43-year history. It also marked the first career crown for superstar Alex Ovechkin. Wild guess: Trump comes through with the invite, and Caps say "Oh yeah, eh!"

8. GOLF: Tiger in this week's U.S. Open: This week's 118th U.S. Open starts Thursday at Shinnecock. Tiger Woods is in it, his yacht docked the near course just to remind you he's still Tiger. This marks the 10th anniversary since Woods' last major win, the 2008 Open. Happy anniversary, anyone?

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Hall of Fame nominees tab 3 Canes: College Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2019 nominees include three old Hurricanes in Ray Lewis, Dan Morgan and coach Dennis Erickson. There should be a fourth, Howard Schnellenberger, but as always Snells is a victim of Hall's dumb, intractable rule requiring a minimum .600 career win percentage.

10. TERRELL OWENS: T.O. nixes Canton ceremony: Figured, right? That the first time an NFL player ever said he'd not participate in his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, it might a controversial career-long maverick like diva-receiver Terrell Owens. Best guess: He'll change his mind. Unless Canton goes all Trump and uninvites him first.

Missing the HB10 cut: Welcome back, Tommy Hutton! ..... Disgraced 76ers executive Bryan Colangelo resigns in shame. And Twitter claims another victim! ..... NFL suspends Julian Edelman four games for PEDs, further enhancing Patriots' reputation as Cheatriots. (Julian shoulda stuck to Tom Brady's diet) ..... Donald Trump uninvites the Eagles to White House and now says he won't invite the Warriors. Somebody please remind Donald it isn't his house. It's ours ..... Former Canes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. arrested for a home burglary in California. Understandable, after a meager $40 million in NFL earnings ..... R.I.P., Anthony Bourdain. There is nothing more insidious than when demons are invisible.

THE LIST: WORST MARLINS SEASONS: The five worst seasons in club history based on winning percentage:

Year    Record                Manager

1998    .333 (54-108)      Jim Leyland

2018    .354 (23-42)        Don Matttingly

2013    .383 (62-100)      Mike Redmond

1993    .395 (64-98)        Rene Lachemann

1999    .395 (64-98)        John Boles

Note: Marlins' current record projects to final mark of 57-105.

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye. (For all of our most recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 24, 2018

G5: @Philadelphia 104, Heat 91: Miami eliminated from playoffs. Was that Wade's final game? Poll. Vote now; plus top 10 state-college NFL Draft prospects and every Cane; also, Radio Tuesday, 4-Man Outfield updated & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, APRIL 24. Astonish the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a book!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot  Button Top 10, Heat-on-the-brink column, 4-Man Outfield & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Heat eliminated. Was that Dwyane Wade's final game?: New poll on our Twitter feed. Go HERE to vote now.

G5: @PHILADELPHIA 104, HEAT 91: IT'S OVER: Original post: It has been done once before. Only once. It was 21 seasons ago, in 1997. That was the only time the Miami Heat Mustwin Dwadehave been down 3-1 in a playoff series and won three straight games to advance. It was vs. the Knicks in the second round. It was Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning vs. Patrick Ewing and G5Allan Houston. But two of those three straight wins were at Miami. This time the climb is steeper. The Heat trails Philadelphia 3-1 entering Game 5 tonight up there, and this time the three straight Miami must win to stay alive would include two in Philly -- tonight and a Game 7, sandwiched around one more in Miami if the Heat prevail tonight. This is the Heat's 20th postseason appearance in 30 franchise years, and (barring a history-making comeback) would be Miami's 10th first-round exit -- but first since 2010, the season before LeBron James' arrival. This would be the third first-round exit under Erik Spoelstra (2010, '09). There were five on Pat Riley's watch (2007, '01, '99, '98 and '96) and two under Kevin Loughery (1994, 92). Can the Heat avoid joining that dubious list of first-round exits? A better question: Do you believe in miracles? I do not believe the Heat will live to play another home game this spring. I think it ends tonight.  

Our six-pack of Heat playoff-run columns thus far: A Hope-Crushing Defeat (off Game 4). Embiid Shows Up, Whiteside Not So Much (off Game 3). Also: Not Good If Heat Need Wade to Carry Them / Whiteside Must Rise Up Now / In Dolphins vs. Heat, Only One Has Earned Our Trust / And The Rise Of The Underdog Heat.

DerwinjamesNFL DRAFT: TOP 10 STATE-COLLEGE PROSPECTS AND ALL CANES: The NFL Draft this Thursday through Saturday finds most South Florida interest riveted on the whom the Dolphins will select -- especially with their first-round pick slotted 11th overall. (I'll have my annual mock draft out later in the week). But there is also interest in state-college players who'll be drafted, and here is the list of the top 10 prospects based on ESPN's player rankings. Only the first three players listed are judged likely to be first-round picks, with top-ranked Derwin James pictured right. No Miami Hurricanes are close to first-round status. Only one Cane (barely) makes the state top 10, but we've listed all of the other draft-eligible Canes beneath the top 10:

Player, Pos., School                           Overall   Grade

1. Derwin James, S, FSU                       7th       93

2. Mike Hughes, CB, UCF                     17th       90

3. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida                 18th       90

4. Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida        74th       78

5. Josh Sweat, DE, FSU                       81st       76

6. Duke Dawson, CB, Florida               88th       73

7. Derrick Nnadi, DT, FSU                    93rd      72

8. Deadrin Senat, DT, South Florida    104th      70

9. Jordan Akins, TE, UCF                   123rd      66

10. Chris Herndon, TE, Miami            127th      65

Other Hurricanes: DT RJ McIntosh 129th/65; RB Mark Walton 136th/62; DE Chad Thomas 148th/59; WR Braxton Berrios 192nd/51; DT Kendrick Norton 230th/44 and OG KC McDermott 260th/39.

4manofUPDATED: 'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD': BRINSON AT .145: Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We'll base our continually updated rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The latest, entering Tuesday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers      1.000   11  42   10  14    8    2-1-2      .333

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .778   21  85   14  19   14   3-1-5      .224

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .616   19  81    8  20   11   2-0-2      .247

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .470   21  76    6  11    7    0-0-3      .145

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional columns: Schedule Not Daunting, So No More ExcusesBuy Me Some Tetley's And Crumpets, Jack / Tiger & Phil & the Emotional Power Of Sports / Dave Shula Goes Home Again / Marlins' Ballpark Experience Only Missing One Thing / Gore Continues Dolphins' Strange Offseason / Wayne Huizenga: A Legacy Indelible Canes QB Battle One Of Strength, Not Desperation / Don't Shut Up, Get Louder / Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018 / Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season / Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing / Welcome Home, D.Wade / Dear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamWhen Victims Seize The PowerThe Godfather SpeaksRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote