September 21, 2016

Bosh: "I was written off" by Heat doctors; plus what do you think of Tim Tebow? Poll. Last day to vote!; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, latest SOPY rankings (Canes movin' on up), new Back In My Day & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21. Click here for ESPN Radio podcast of yesterday's LeBatard Show. My new Back In My Day segment kicks in around the 41-minute mark. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose at New England with DSM poll, Hot BUtton Top 10. PASS rankings & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

My latest column: Athlete protest don't stop, because the killings don't: Unapologetically, this is the third column I've written on athletes' anthem-related protests and why the cause is just -- Tulsa the latest example. Click on Demanding Racial Justice to read. 

Other recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Tebow's Dream (from his first Mets' instructional league workout). The Case for Zach Thomas and CantonWeek 2 Gems (NFL predix). Where Tannehill Falls (NFL column). Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration).

CHRIS BOSH: "I WAS WRITTEN OFF" by HEAT DOCTORS: The Bosh/Heat saga continues. The Heat's medical staff told Chris Bosh after his second blood-clots scare that his career likely was over, the player said this week on a podcast for Uninterrupted.com. "I felt right away that I was written off," he said. But, to Bosh, "It wasn't a matter of if I play again; it was when. So we took the bull by the horns." Bosh directed and produced a film about his comeback, called Rebuilt., coming out in installments as the Heat prepares to open training camp on Tuesday. The club still has not said if Bosh will be medically cleared by then. Bosh thinks he has found a medication routine that will permit him to play using blood-thinners his system would be rid of before he practiced or played.

TebowON TIM TEBOW'S PURSUIT OF BASEBALL: I spent Monday up in Port St. Lucie at the start of the New York Mets' instructional league -- Tim Tebow's debut as a pro baseball player. Do I think he'll make the majors? Long odds. Doubtful. Do I think there's a chance? Yes. Do I think it's a great story either way? Absolutely. Click on Tebow's Dream for my column from the event; the photo shown is mine. I know Tebow can be polarizing. Folks tend to love and admire him, or see him as disingenuous and an attention-seeker. I like Tebow. I think he's real. But I invite your opinion. Vote in our latest poll and check back often to monitor evolving results.

NFL PICKS 'N FANTASY: BIG WIN, NARROW LOSS FOR WEEK 1: NFL picks: Had another really nice week, going 12-4 overall and 10-6 against the spread. Nailed our Vikes-over-Pack Upset of the Week call ("Aawwk!"), also had underdog Browns and Falcons with the points, and had not only an upset bull's-eye with Cowboys-over-Skins but also an exact score on 27-23. Go me! Fantasy: Tough loss. Greg's Lobos fell to 1-1 in the LeBatard Show league, falling to Pablo Torre, 109.6 to 107.7. Bad when Delanie Walker (20.3) is your high scorer. But still had a huge shot to win. Only needed two second-half points from Randall Cobb Sunday night to eke it out, but didn't get them. Thanks for nuthin', Aaron.

SOPY RANKINGS, 'STATE HEISMAN': NEW LEADER, CANES' BIG JUMP: The fifth season of our blog's SOPY rankings -- State Offensive Player of the Year -- finds a new leader in South Florida's Sopy KaayaQuinton Flowers blasting past FSU's Deondre Francois entering Collball Week 4. Also of note: Two Canes on the move, with Mark Walton bumping up 4 to 3 and Brad Kaaya (pictured) entering the chart at 6 on the wing of the week's most productive game. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. We close it off after the regular season to penalize players whose teams don't make a bowl game. Here is the SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 4, followed by our updated Cote's State of the State team rankings -- which find UM leapfrogging FSU into first place:

SOPY TOP 10 AFTER WEEK 3:

RK    LW    Player, Team-pos.                            Week        Year

1      2      Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb                148.5        559.5

2      1      Deondre Francois, FSU-qb                 22.5          449

3      4      Mark Walton, Miami-rb                     141           442 

4      3      Luke Del Rio, Florida-qb                   93            433

5     10     Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                         171          385

6     --      Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb                       194          376

7      5      Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                          62           358

8      6      Joe Yearby, Miami-rb                        42            321

9      7      Jason Driskel, FAU-qb                       39.5         302.5

10    --      Rodney Adams, SoFla-rb                  124           293 

Bubble: Gregory Howell, FAU-rb, 265. Other team leader: Justin Holman, UCF-qb, 234. Week 3 best: Kaaya, 194. Season best: Francois, 280.5, Week 1.

Cote's State of the State team rankings: 1. Miami (3-0); 2. Florida State (2-1); 3. Florida (3-0); 4. South Florida (3-0); 5. UCF (1-2); 6. FAU (1-2); 7. FIU (0-3).

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 20, 2016

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 13.3%; plus Fins dig early grave, fall at New England 31-24; also, latest Hot Button Top 10, Zach for Canton, PASS rankings & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19. Huge leap: Canes football catapults 10 spots from 25 to 15 in new Associated Press poll. 2) Click on Week 2 Gems for all of this past weekend's NFL predictions. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes clobber Appalachian State with CSM poll, other state Collball Week 3 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Zach Thomas for the Hall of Fame: First-time nominee Jason Taylor is seen as a likely-to-certain Hall of Famer, but longtime Dolphins running mate Zach Thomas is not. I compare their careers and set straight that misperception. Click on The Case for Zach Thomas and Canton to read my latest Sunday column.

Other recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Week 2 Gems (NFL predix). Where Tannehill Falls (NFL column). Timing Was Perfect, Not Wrong (on four Dolphins' 9/11 kneel-down). Awesome Vs. Awful (on UM's resounding season-opening victory). Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration).

CSM vote shows record number: Canesfan Satisfaction Meter voting seta season high for approval. See the results in our immediate previous blogpost.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 13.3%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 13.3 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-24 Dolphins loss at New DsmEngland putting Miami's season record at 0-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2016 DSM results

G1: 52.5% (following 12-10 loss at Seattle)

G2: 13.3% (following 31-24 loss at New England)

Next poll: Sept. 25 (following game vs. Cleveland)

G2: NEW ENGLAND 31, DOLPHINS 24: GASE, NEW FINS FAIL EARLY LITMUS TEST: Final postgame thoughts: Miami dug its own grave early with horrific pass defense and trailed 24-0 before Jimmy Garoppolo went out injured. Then it was even, with a rookie third-stringer pitching for Pats. Too late. Not enough. Tannehill had a scorching second half and ended up with 389 yards passing but that abysmal start was too much to overcome. Positives: Miami didn't quit. Tanny and defense picked it up. Negatives: 0-2 now with an eighth straight loss in New England, thanks to an inexplicably zombie-like start to the game for Fins. Nice fight, nice comeback, but can't feel too good about "almost." ..... 4Q: Desperate last-second end-zone pass by Tannehill intercepted. Game. ... Wow, Pats miss 39Y FG with 1:04 left, so Miami (sans timeouts) will have one last shot. ... Oh my. Miami within 31-24 mid-quarter after Drake's 7-yard scoring run. No-huddle and a hot Tannehill and shredding Pats defense. ... Well now. Miami within 31-17 early in fourth on Tanny 12-yard strike to Cameron in e-zone. Do you believe in miracles? Tannehill now 3-4 yards passing. ..... 3Q: Quarter ends with MIA driving and Tannehill at 292 passing yards. Too little too late, though. ... Life! Dolphins within 31-10 on 24-yard Stills collection of really nice Tannehill pass. ... Ajayi fumble leads directly to Blunt TD run and 31-3 NE lead. This game meets all the parameters of embarrassing for Miami. ... Good gawd! Promising drive snuffed by Ajayi fumble loss. Christ. ...Garappolo (shoulder) won't return in second half. That's an opening for Miami. Dolphins get kick. If they score and make it 24-10, they give themselves a shot. ..... Halftime thoughts: Do I have to? Miami came out flat, showed little life, had miserable pass defense, and got behind so big so fast the running game became a non-factor. Tannehill may need to throw 30 times in second half. Barring small miracle MIA headed to 0-2 with eighth straight L in Foxborough. ..... 2Q: Fins hit 27-yard FG on last play of forgettable half. ... Dolphins driving but Tannehill intercepted. Can this (bleep) get any worse? ... Pats add FG for 24-0 lead but Dolphins-killer Garoppolo leaves game with apparent shoulder injury. ... Bulletin: Something goes right for Miami!!! Fumble recovery. But wait! They give it right back. Of course they do. ... Pats now 21-0 on Amendola 10-yarder from Garoppolo. How many ways can you say "embarrassing"? ..... 1Q: Absymal 1Q for Fins pass D allowing 177 yards to Garoppolo on 12-for-15 accuracy. ... Pats now 14-0 on Garoppolo-Bennett 20-yard pass. Sad pass-D so far, Miami. Brady's fill-in is 9-for-10 for 136 yards. ... Garoppolo-Amendola 12-yard scoring pass and quick 7-0 Pats lead. No Brady, no Gronk, no problem. Really bad defensive series to start game for Miami. ..... Pregame: We'll have running in-game commentary here and then, right afterward, the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. ..... Original post: Miami has lost seven straight trips to Foxborough and 13 of the past 15. The Fins have allowed an average of 32 points in those seven straight road defeats in the zseries. But today at 1 the Patriots will be without QB Tom Brady and likely without tight end Rob Gronkowski, too. DolpatThe Dolphins are only 6-point underdogs. The game is winnable, ripe for a road-team upset, perhaps. But ... can they win it? The Dolphins' recent track record at The Razor leaves us doubting it until we actually see. This is a first real litmus test to gauge the change the Gase Era has brought. A season-opening 12-10 loss in Seattle was mildly encourage, at least for a loss. Now let's see if the Dolphins build, or regress. New England owns the AFC East -- 72-21 in their division the past 15 years. So it was amusing this week seeing Bill Belichick heap praise on the Dolphins and wring hands over how dangerous Miami is. That would be the same Dolphins his Patriots have mostly owned for most of this century. Did I mention that Ryan Tannehill is 0-4 at New England and been sacked 22 times in the process? OK, that’s the glass half empty, Dolfans. But Belichick has a point, too, in being wary of today's foe. Here’s the glass half full: Belichick’s career record vs. Miami is a modest 20-14. Tannehill has pitched for 996 yards in the past three meetings. Jimmy Garoppolo is not Brady. No Gronkowski (hamstring) would be a big break for MIA. [Bonus fact: Jarvis Landry reached 200 catches in his 33rd NFL game, fastest ever]. Do I sense a major upset here? Nope. But neither would it shock me. I think Gase is the smartest Dolphins coach that Belichick has faced in a long time. Fins beat the point spread in Seattle and should do it again Sunday versus the rival and nemesis that plays Lord Voldemort in the AFC East. My pick: Patriots, 23-20.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10: 

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami tries, fails again to solve nemesis Patriots: Fins entered Sunday afternoon's game at the Patriots having lost seven straight and 13 of past 15 trips to New England. (Dear Dolphins: Less focus on kneeling during the anthem, and more on winning in Foxborough). Could have been a major statement game for Miami that things are different under Adam Gase. Fins caught a big break with no Tom Brady, and another with Rob Gronkowski out. Alas, a 24-0 early hole resulted in a 31-24 loss. Same ol' same ol'. 

2. HURRICANES: UM crushes App State as Richt Era aces first real challenge: After two easy wins the No. 25 Canes Saturday played at "giant killer" Appalachian State. Of course that suggests UM has returned to “giant” status, the ongoing climb that is Mark Richt's challenge. Well, Canes looked the part in this one, clobbering the hometown Mountaineers, 45-10, as Brad Kaaya threw for 368 yards and three TDs. Don't  call it a statement win, though. No, no. A tough October schedule will be this team's barometer. Update: UM catapults 25 to 15 in today's new Associated Press poll.  

3. MARLINS: Write 'em off. Fish done as they prepare for year's final homestand: They're one game under .500 and 5 back in the wild-card race, with only 13 games left, as Fish prepare for Monday start of the waning season's last homestand. Finis. Done. The once-real playoff hopes are miracle-microscopic now.

4. HEAT: Bosh says he's ready for camp, team still mum, Wade says thanks: As Heat prepare to open training camp Sept. 27 in Nassau, Bahamas, Chris Bosh said this week he's ready to play but team remained noncommittal. Dear Heat: Please, a bleepin' decision, already! Meanwhile -- #Respect -- departed Dwyane Wade has billboard near the arena that reads, Thank You Miami.

5. PANTHERS: Hockey's back as Cats stage rookie camp: Florida's rookie camp is underway, through Tuesday, and includes three rookie games vs. other NHL teams, the second of them on Sunday. Cats have highest expectations of any local pro team this season. Then again, vs. Dolphins, Marlins and post-Wade Heat, that's a low bar.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Florida State loss shakes up CFP outlook: The top three teams faced road games against ranked opponents Saturday. No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State survived. Not so much No. 2 FSU in a crushing 63-20 humiliation at Louisville. This is the Noles waving goodbye to the College Football Playoff. This is the Canes possibly being favored when the Seminoles visit here Oct. 8.

7. TIM TEBOW: Former quarterback launches baseball career: It begins for Tebow on Monday morning, a few hours north of Miami up in Port St. Lucie, at the Mets' minor-league facility. There, amid what will be a media circus, the ex-Florida gators and NFL quarterback has his first workout as a newly signed minor-league ballplayer. Tebow has balls, Mets have a low-risk prospect. What's not to like?

8. HOCKEY: Team USA stunned in World opener: Heavily favored Team USA lost to Team Europe on Saturday in opening game of the eight-team World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, skating through Oct. 1. "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-Ohhhh..."

9. UM BASKETBALL: Canes' ACC schedule announced: Season opens Nov. 11 but we now know ACC opener will be at home Dec. 31 vs. North Carolina State. UM will be showcased nationally on twice this season on CBS, Jan. 28 vs. North Carolina and Feb. 25 vs. Duke. Five other games will be broadcast on ESPN platforms and five more on the ACC Network.

10. FIU: School, AD Garcia set parting date: FIU's 10-year athletic director Pete Garcia will remain through July 31, 2018 and then depart, the two sides agreed this week. The spin is positive, but the fresh blood is needed. Garcia saves face with this; it isn't a firing. But it is FIU moving on (eventually). Oh, and FIU football fell to 0-3 Saturday.

Missing the HB10 cut: Bills coach Rex Ryan scapegoated and fired his offensive coordinator to protect his defensive coordinator brother -- the one who should have been fired. You're a sad clown, Rex ..... Penn State honored disgraced former football coach Joe Paterno on Saturday. Whose idea was that? Jerry Sandusky's? ..... Kyle Busch tops the 16-driver finalists field that will spend the two months trying to win a championship in Homestead in November. Another season with no dream finish for Dale Jr. ..... Soccer's 32-team Champions League is 32 matches in and off 'til Sept. 27. If you don't know what it is, it's too hard to explain here. If you do know what it is, you probably know more than I do ..... U.S. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the national anthem. At what point will this no longer even be newsworthy? ..... And in other news: A sentence I never imagined writing: "Ryan Lochte was attacked on Dancing With the Stars."

MstaffordPASS NFL QUARTERBACK RANKINGS ENTERING WEEK 2: Click here for Week 1 results launching the 19th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. Lion Matthew Stafford (pictured) fronts our first Top 20 chart. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill failed to chart and sits in 30th place out the gate. A backgrounder:

Previous PASS champions: 1998—Steve Young SF 462.50 points; 1999—Kurt Warner STL 517.95; 2000—Peyton Manning IND 467.65; 2001—Warner STL 557.50; 2002—Rich Gannon OAK 555.45; 2003—P.Manning IND 522.35; 2004—P.Manning IND 579.85; 2005—Carson Palmer CIN 487.80; 2006—P.Manning IND 512.85; 2007—Tom Brady NE 664.30; 2008—Drew Brees NO 535.45; 2009—Brees NO 565.35; 2010—Brees NO 557.00; 2011—Brees NO 713.80; 2012—P.Manning DEN 593.35; 2013—P.Manning DEN 714.85; 2014—Brees NO 583.60; 2015—Brees NO 575.80.

Final 2015 Top 10: 1. Drew Brees NO 575.80; 2. Tom Brady NE 565.50; 3. Kirk Cousins WAS 521.30; 4. Philip Rivers SD 520.60; 5. Carson Palmer ARI 516.55; 6. Matthew Stafford DET 509.10; 7. Russell Wilson SEA 504.50; 8. Matt Ryan ATL 484.55; 9. Eli Manning NYG 470.80; 10. Cam Newton CAR 437.85.

Season record: Manning DEN 714.85 (2013). Dolphins record: Ryan Tannehill 481.25 (2014).

Best week: Ben Roethlisberger PIT 80.10 (2014). Worst week: Tim Hasselbeck WAS minus-23.30 (2003).

Career titles: 6 each—Brees and Manning; 2—Warner; 1 each—Brady, Gannon, Palmer and Young.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 19, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 98.2%; plus UM swamps App State 45-10 as Kaaya lifts Canes to 3-0; also, No. 2 FSU gets crushed, FIU stay winless, other state Collball Week 3 (updated) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 2 picks, FIU and Garcia to part, UM trap door poll, our Dolphins book, your Bosh verdict, Brian Wilson review & more. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Zach Thomas for the Hall of Fame: First-time nominee Jason Taylor is seen as a likely-to-certain Hall of Famer, but longtime Dolphins running mate Zach Thomas is not. Tie to compare their careers and set straight that misperception. Click on The Case for Zach Thomas and Canton to read my new Sunday column.

Other recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Week 2 Gems (NFL predix). Where Tannehill Falls (NFL column). Timing Was Perfect, Not Wrong (on four Dolphins' 9/11 kneel-down). Awesome Vs. Awful (on UM's resounding season-opening victory). Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration).

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 98.2%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show a season-high 98.2 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 45-10 Hurricanes victory at Appalachian State putting UM's season record at 3-0. This the eighth season of our blog's CSM postgame polls, which are your invitation after every Hurricanes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM 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 7:30 a.m. Monday.

2016 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 97.2% following 70-3 victory vs. Florida A&M

G2: 91.9% following 38-10 victory vs. Florida Atlantic

G3: 98.2% following 45-10 victory at Appalachian State

Next poll: Oct. 1 following game at Georgia Tech

G3: NO. 25 HURRICANES 45, @ APPALACHIAN STATE 10: MIAMI ASSERTS ITSELF IN BIGGEST TEST YET OF RICHT ERA: Postgame thoughts: UM now 3-0 after 45-10 beat-down of an Appalachian State team that was only a 3 1/2-point underdog at home. Kaaya 20-26 for 362 yards and three TDs, Mark Walton with 130 yards rushing and two scores, and Ahmonn Richards with 147 yards receiving. And dominating defense by Miami all afternoon. Very, very impressive. Explosive Canes had five plays of 50 or more yards today; they had seven all last season. Now Canes have a week off before opening ACC play. After UM's big win today and with FSU getting spanked, that Oct. 8 Noles visit to Miami just got a lot more interesting, and seemingly a lot more winnable for the Canes. ..... Halftime: All Canes at 24-3, led by an excellent Brad Kaaya, who's 13-for-16 for 138 yards and two TDs. And by Mark Walton's 80-yard scoring run. And by big-time defense that has limited App State to 38 passing yards. "Giant killer"home team? Naw. Canes showing 'em who's boss in their first road game and toughest test of the Richt Era. ..... Original post: You wallop grossly overmatched Florida A&M 70-3 and then easily auto- Umapppilot past Florida Atlantic 38-10 -- two wins by a combined 108-13. And what do you know about yourself? Answer: Not nearly enough. Not yet. But the Miami Hurricanes will find out more Saturday at noon in Boone, N.C. against the Sun Belt's Appalachian State in a nationally televised (ESPN) game. The Mountaineers nearly upset No. 9 Tennessee in Knoxville in the opener and are mere 3 1/2-point underdogs to UM. App State beat Michigan in 2007. It has won a bowl game over Ohio (not Ohio State). This is Miami's first road game of season and it would be a seismic, season-making upset for App State. Said coach Scott Satterfield: "It's the biggest opponent that we've ever had come to our campus to play a football game." That the schools have never before played each other adds an additional layer of uncertainty. "First time travel. First time noon game. A noon game is different," said coach Mark Richt. "Last two games, a 6 o'clock start at home. Everything was the same back-to-back. That was very comfortable. By Game 2, we knew what was happening. Now we're traveling. It's a little different." So what the Canes did not get in their opener and barely got last week, they figure to get here: Actual competition and a first legitimate test for this team and the Richt Era. Me? I feel as if both this game and the "mighty" App State are being overhyped a bit. Don't see a rout by UM, but don't see Miami pushed to the edge of losing, either. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-16.

Poll result: High concern level for Canes today: We asked how concerned the Miami Hurricanes should be be about Appalachian State, and it was 48.8 percent "a lot," 37.2% "maybe a ittle" and 14.0% "not at all.

Other state FBS Week 3 games (all Saturday):

No. 10 Louisville 63, No. 2 Florida State 20: Seminoles were a negligible 1-point favorite (down from a mere 2 1/2) and got utterly crushed on the road in a major loss that derails FSU from its College Football Playoff inside track. Didn't think Noles could look that bad. With today's results, I now think, for the first time, Miami could be favored when it hosts FSU Oct. 8.

Kansas State 63, FAU 7: Wasn't sure how special Wildcats are, but they were a 25 1/2-point home pick over Owls and showed why.

Massachusetts 21, FIU 13: Disappointing L for now 0-3 FIU. Winnable. Panthers were Road faves by 1 point.

No. 23 Florida 32, North Texas 0: Gators coasted in the The Swamp but it was costly. QB Luke Del Rio injured a knee and coach Jim McElwain said, "It doesn't look good." 

Other state FBS games: South Florida now 3-0 after bopping Syracuse, 45-20; and Maryland beat UCF, 30-24.

National Collball Week 3 overview: There were four Top 25 matchups this week including three that threatened to shake and quake the College Football Playoff outlook. No. 2 FSU lost (see above); No. 1 Alabama barely escaped 19-Ole Miss, 48-43; then No. 3 Ohio State showed who's boss at 14-Oklahoma, 45-24.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 14, 2016

If you were to bet: Will Chris Bosh be in Heat's opening night lineup? Poll. Vote!; plus was Dolphins loss encouraging? Why 'moral victories' stink; also, Fins' new uniforms, team's protest, new Back In My Day, Hot Button Top 10, Week 2 SOPY rank & more

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

Newunis1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14. Excited to be seeing Brian Wilson tonight at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood. Much respect for the Beach Boys' founding member and driving force. 2) Pictured right: the Dolphins' new "Nike Color Rush" uniforms, to be unveiled and worn as an alternate look in the Sept. 29 game at Cincinnati. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose heartbreaker in Seattle with DSM poll, Canes clobber FAU with CSM poll, Collball Week 2, your Super Bowl pick & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

The new 'Back In My Day': Click here for the ESPN Radio podcast of yesterday's LeBatard Show. To go directly to the latest BIMD, go to "Hour 3: 9/13/16." It starts around 14 minutes in. 

On Fins' anthem protest: My latest column is on the national-anthem kneel by Arian Foster and three other Dolphins Sunday. Many thought it was especially wrong to do it on 9/11. I disagree. Click on Timing Was Perfect, Not Wrong to read the column in full. 

Other recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Week 1 Gems (our NFL picks) and Fearful Forecast (our divisional and Super Bowl predictions). Awesome Vs. Awful (on UM's resounding season-opening victory over Florida A&M). Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration). And Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American (QB sits to take a stand).

BoshBOSH DECLARES HIS READINESS, BUT STILL AWAITS TEAM CLEARANCE: In-limbo Heat forward Chris Bosh said Tuesday, "I'm ready to play,” in a podcast for Bleacher Report's Uninterrupted. Bosh has been working out in Los Angeles and calls himself in "incredible shape," adding, "I look good when I take my shirt off." Bosh, 32, has seen two seasons in a row wrecked by blood-clot issues. The Heat still has not medically cleared him to play, but, increasingly, it appears that will be the eventuality. An announcement figures to come soon, since Miami has training camp Sept. 27-Oct. 1 in Nassau, Bahamas.

DOLPHINS AND DOLFANS: WHY 'MORAL VICTORIES' ARE NOTHING TO EMBRACE: There are moral victories in sports -- some good to be found and encouragement felt even in defeat. For example, if you throw me into an octagon for a UFC fight and I somehow luck to last 30 seconds before being pulverized unconscious, that's a moral victory! But of course coaches and athletes Dolcardin professional sports are not allowed to see silver linings, or at least not allowed to admit publicly that they do. It's understandable. It isn't what the indoctrination ingrained in you. Nobody gives you credit for "almost." Nobody who has just been crushed by disappointment wants to hear, "Nice try, though!" You are paid to win, period. Here lies the dilemma for the Miami Dolphins, as a team and franchise, and also for their fans, in the wake of Sunday's season-opening 12-10 loss in Seattle. Are you allowed to be encouraged? Or have you been let down too many times by too many years of mediocrity to feel anything but "same ol' same ol'" today? What we saw Sunday from the Dolphins is the problem, and the frustration. It seems they are almost always good enough to have these big efforts in them, but seldom good enough to close the deal and turn almost into exclamation. They tease, the Fins do. In fact if the NFL kept such a stat Miami might be among league leaders in moral victories this century, but, alas, have you noticed only losing teams count those? Those kind of almosts never get your team to the playoffs, they only get your team's coaches fired. Let us count the ways Dolfans have been encouraged only to be let down since the club last reached the postseason in 2008: Miami had a stretch of seven wins in 10 games including a defeat of New England in 2009, was headed for the playoffs, then fizzled to end with three straight losses, the last two at home. In 2010 Miami also was on playoff pace before losing the last three games, two of those at home, too. The Dolphins won at the Jets 30-9 in 2012 to be 5-3 at midseason, then the trap door opened, including a 37-3 home loss to Tennessee. In 2013 Miami started 3-0 for the first time in 11 years but then lost in New Orleans on a Monday night, 38-17. Later that season the Dolphins beat New England, a third straight win that put the Fins in control for a playoff spot -- then lost two straight division games to end the year. Remember how the 2014 season opened with a rousing 33-20 home victory over the Patriots? Followed by three losses in the next four games? Sunday was the latest tease. You have to see it as such, until which time this team proves it can win games like this one -- games it dominates, games it leads late, games it has every right to win. If only the defense had one more stop in it. If only Kenny Stills makes that catch. Enough with teases and "if onlys" and almosts. When the Dolphins begin to win games like Sunday's and do it with some consistency, then real change will have begun.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 13): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature (posted Tuesday 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: Miami (well, almost) shocks the world in season opener: It would have shocked the NFL, at least. And almost did. As King Sport unfurled with Kickoff Weekend, the Dolphins entered Sunday's opener in Seattle as Week 1's biggest betting underdogs league-wide, but mostly acquitted themselves well in a 12-10 loss. Glass half-full: Encouragement in a moral victory. Half empty: A loss is a loss.

2. HURRICANES: UM clobber FAU, awaits tougher test: After beating Florida A&M 70-3 in opener, the No. 25-ranked Canes faced what should have been another comfy, low-stress win Saturday vs. the FAU Owls and it was: 38-10. Just wait, though. If September's schedule is a feather for UM, October's hits like a sledgehammer.  

3. MARLINS: Do you believe in miracles?: It will take one of those for Miami to somehow climb back into wild-card playoff race, at five games back with only 19 to play. Starting today/Monday all remaining games are vs. NL East. The realistic consolation prize left? Finishing above .500, at least.

4. TENNIS: Upsets rock Championship Weekend at U.S. Open: It's death, taxes and sunrise leading the way among life's certainties. Right after that it would probably be Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic favored to win tennis' next major tournament titles. Except both lost. I hereby retire all my snide comments about tennis being so predictable. 

5. HEAT: Richardson out, Bosh still in limbo: Josh Richardson is out six to eight weeks with a knee injury. Meantime Heat open their first NBA training camp without Dwyane Wade since 2002 on Sept. 27, and still no official word on the health, status or future of in-limbo Chris Bosh. Enough with the media speculation and "indications are." Tell us, Heat.

6. NASCAR: Let the Chase begin as field cut to 16 finalists: Sweet. We're down to 16 drivers competing to race the Sprint Cup trophy in November at Homestead.

7. BASKETBALL: Shaq, Iverson head Hall induction class: Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson topped the 10-person Basketball Hall of Fame induction class Friday. Shaq spent 3 ½ of his 19 NBA seasons in Miami. So Heat fans pro-rated the ownership and pride they felt to about 18 percent.

8. PANTHERS: Cats add Huberdeau to growing future: Hockey's close (Panthers' first preseason game is Sept. 27), and Florida continues to lock up key pieces and build a solid future. The latest: forward Jonathan Huberdeau signs a six-year, $35.4 million extension. Cats win the mythical offseason Stanley Cup!  

9. TIGER WOODS: Fading superstar sets October return: Golf and the PGA Tour get a jolt -- of drama, if not excitement -- next month with Tiger Woods' announced plan to return to action. The real question: Will he still be playing, and playing well, when the next major rolls 'round: The Masters in April.

10. 9/11: Never forget: But, also, remember more than once a year, please.

Missing the HB10 cut: America's Hobby, fantasy football, is underway. Congratulations on your wonderful start and your terrific team. I'm sorry about your Week 1 and your team ..... Mets signed Tim Tebow to a minor-league contract, insisted it was not a publicity stunt, and everybody laughed ..... A Tennessee-Virginia Tech game at Bristol Motor Speedway drew 156,990, biggest crowd ever to watch college football game. Did they have a final whistle, or a checkered flag? ..... Soccer's Champions League begins play Tuesday. No in-between here. You are either passionate about this, or have no idea what it is. ..... U.S. Swimming suspended Ryan Lochte 10 months for his Olympics police involvement. Wait. I thought those guys only competed once every four years anyway! ..... An Honus Wagner baseball card is expected to sell for more than $3  million at auction. For that money, it had better include Honus himself. With a check for $2.9 million ..... ESPN's coverage of the World Series of Poker has begun, verifying there are too many hours to fill with actual quality programming ..... The two-week World Cup Of Hockey starts this coming Saturday. Not sure exactly what it is, but it sounds important ..... Colin Kaepernick isn't standing for the anthem. But as a backup QB, he'll be doing a lot of sitting during games as well.

SOPY RANKINGS, THE 'STATE HEISMAN': NOLES QB MAINTAINS LEAD, UM'S WALTON LEAPS TO FOURTH: The fifth season of our blog's SOPY rankings -- State Offensive Player of the Year -- is Sopyoff and running with Florida State freshman QB Deondre Francois maintaining the overall lead after two week and Miami running back Mark Walton (pictured) making the biggest, to fourth place. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. We close it off after the regular season to penalize players whose teams don't make a bowl game. Here is the SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 3, followed by our updated Cote's State of the State team rankings:

SOPY TOP 10 AFTER WEEK 2:

RK    LW    Player, Team-pos.                            Week        Year

1       1     Deondre Francois, FSU-qb                  146          426.5

2       5     Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb                252          411

3       6     Luke Del Rio, Florida-qb                   189          340

4       --    Mark Walton, Miami-rb                      179          301 

5       3     Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                          104          296

6       9     Joe Yearby, Miami-rb                        148           278

7       2     Jason Driskel, FAU-qb                       60.5         263

8       4     Justin Holman, UCF-qb                     55.5         234

9       7     Gregory Howell, FAU-rb                    85            225

10    --     Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                         115          214

Bubble: Antonio Callaway, Florida-rec, 213. Week 2 best: Flowers, 252. Season best: Francois, 280.5, Week 1.

Cote's State of the State team rankings: 1. Florida State (2-0); 2. Miami (2-0); 3. Florida (2-0); 4. South Florida (2-0); 5. UCF (1-1); 6. FAU (1-1); 7. FIU (0-2).

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 13, 2016

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 52.5%; plus Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.9%; also, near-shocker as Fins fall in Seattle 12-10, UM bops FAU 38-10, Collball Week 2 & more

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

9111) It is TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13. Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Take a moment, as we celebrate football, to reflect -- and not only once a year. Never forget! 2) Because this blogpost is so crowded, the latest Hot Button Top 10 will hit the blog early Tuesday morning this week. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Upset Bird in America and NFL Week 1 picks, King Sport unfurls with Super Bowl poll, heaviest-bet NFL over/unders, economic study slams subsidies for Marlins and others, your verdict on Heat's biggest acquisition & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Click on Week 1 Gems for our NFL picks and on Fearful Forecast for our divisional and Super Bowl predictions. Awesome Vs. Awful (on UM's resounding season-opening victory over Florida A&M). Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration). And Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American (QB sits to take a stand).

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter returns!: The ninth season of our blog's DSM postgame polls debuts immediately below, followed by our postgame thoughts.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 52.5%: Results are certified in the season-opening launch of the ninth season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 52.5 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the  wake of Sunday's 12-10 Miami loss at DsmSeattle. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

Analyzing the vote: Plus-50 is an unusually satisfied vote total following a loss, but it reflects the caliber of opponent on the road. The total was fueled by 43.4 percent "somewhat" satisfied, so the overall percentage has the potential to drop sharply if the performance in New England disappoints.

2016 DSM results

G1: 52.5% (following 12-10 loss at Seattle)

Next poll: Sept. 18 (following game at New England)

Yearly DSM Results: 2015--18.1% (following 6-10 season); 2014--2.7% (8-8); 2013--4.2% (8-8); 2012--29.8% (7-9); 2011--34.9% (6-10); 2010--3.8% (7-9); 2009--31.2% (7-9); 2008--96.9% (11-5/playoff loss).

G1: SEATTLE 12, DOLPHINS 10 (FINAL): SEAHAWKS SCORE IN FINAL MINUTE TO SPOIL OPENING-GAME SHOCKER: Postgame thoughts: If there are moral victories, this was one. Miami was the biggest Kickoff Weekend underdog in the entire NFL at Seattle on Sunday but it took a last-minute TD to beat Miami 12-10. Coaches and players won't admit it, but the Dolphins have to fly home encouraged to have gone toe to toe with an opponent many peg for the Super Bowl. I'd be surprised if most Dolfans were not encouraged as well. There were signs of encouragement on both sides of the line. The Miami team we just saw, even in defeat, is one that can compete for a playoff spot. ..... In-game: SEA up 12-10 with 38 seconds left on Wilson-Baldwin 2-yard scoring pass, but then Hawks miss extra point ... Tannehill 2-yard keeper has MIA up 10-6 with 4:08 left. Can the Fins shock the world? ... Just got back from a day of travel from Syracuse (wedding) to jinx the Dolphins. First live action I saw on my TV was Miami 1st and goal from the Seattle 5, after which they fizzled and then missed a short tying FG. ..... Original post: This thought or something like it must have occurred to new Dolphins coach Adam Gase if he noted the crosstown Miami Hurricanes won their season opener 70-3 over a much, much lesser opponent: Whatever the NFL Miasea
polar opposite of that soft opening is ... the Fins are hitting it head-on in Sunday's 4:05 p.m. kickoff of Miami's 51st season. King Sport might not have two scarier words to offer up than "at Seattle." Miami is a league-high 10 1/2-point underdog not only because most experts expect more mediocrity from the team, but because the Seahawks are really good -- dreaming Super Bowl-good -- and Seattle enjoys as strong a home-field advantage as any team in the league. That 2-2 preseason didn't tell us much about these Dolphins, but that shouldn't take long Sunday. Quick history lesson: Game 1 results matter, historically. They are a harbinger. Super Bowl winners were 40-9-1 on opening day. Since the advent of the 16-game season in 1978, teams that started 1-0 made the playoffs 52.2 percent of the time, versus 23.9% for teams that began 0-1. Similar trends for Miami. Dolphins at 1-0 have made the playoffs 16 of 27 times (59.3%), versus 5 of 22 times (22.7%) at 0-1. (That excludes one season-opening tie, in 1971). Running backs under a glare in this opener, on both sides. Arian Foster won Miami's starting job, Jay Ajayi didn't like that, pouted, and was left back in Miami. For Seattle, Marshawn Lynch's replacement Thomas Rawls will play on a tender ankle and be limited. Quick aside to Mr. Ajayi: Foster has accomplished a lot. You have not. Pay your dues. Be a team player. Grow up. Click here for my MIA-SEA prediction capsule. My pick: Seahawks, 30-16.

FauumG2: NO. 25 HURRICANES 38, FLORIDA ATLANTIC 10: [Note: We'll be unable to live-blog during tonight's game but will be back late tonight with postgame thoughts}. Routine win. Mark Walton and Joe Yearby with a combined 276 rushing yards. ..... Original post: Saturday's 6 p.m. home game back at The Rock surely will be a harder test for Miami than  last week's embarrassingly easy 70-3 rout of overmatched Florida A&M. (What wouldn't be?) Still, It would be a surprise if the 24 1/2-point-favorite Canes didn't ease past Florida Atlantic without much sweat or threat. Owls have a bit of offensive punch led by quarterback Jason Driskel, have recruited well lately and are on the ascent in Conference USA, but FAU lacks the defensive firepower to bother UM QB Brad Kaaya and his deep ground game. Also, Miami is ranked now for the first time since 2013 (up one spot to No. 25) and is too good and also too well-coached to suffer what would an early-season stumble of some magnitude. UM will be tested next week at Appalachian State as roughly a one-touchdown favorite, but that's later. Blinders on tonight. That's coaching, too. My pick: Hurricanes 45-17.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 91.9%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 91.9 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 38-10 home victory 1aa1csmvs. Florida Atlantic putting UM's season record at 2-0. This the eighth season of our blog's CSM postgame polls, which are your invitation after every Hurricanes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM 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.

2016 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 97.2% following 70-3 victory vs. Florida A&M

G2: 91.9% following 38-10 victory vs. Florida Atlantic

Next poll: Sept. 17 following game at Appalachian State

Other FBS Week 2 football:

Maryland 41, FIU 14: The Int'l now 0-2 after blowout loss Friday night in which Terps rolled over Panthers with 477 yards of offense. FIU was only one of seven state FBS teams to open with loss last week, and disappointed in Game 2 as 10 1/2-point 'dogs.

No. 3 Florida State 52, Charleston-Southern 8: Whatever Jimbo Fisher said at halftime Monday night, bottle it and sell it. Thought FSU might beat suspension-ravaged Cha-So by about a hundred points if they wanted.

Florida 45, Kentucky 7: Gators were bumped from No. 25 by Miami but were a comfy 16 1/2-point pick. Maybe because UF has beaten KY 29 times in a row in da Swamp. Gators back in poll this week.

Other state FBS games: No. 5 Michigan whipped UCF 51-14, and South Florida beat Northern Illinois 48-17.

National Collball Week 2 overview: We had the heart-pounding opening. Now comes the slow exhale. No. 3 Oklahoma led the sad parade of poll-jarring upset losers last week, but Week 2 should be noticeably calmer, with not a single Top 25 team facing a ranked opponent.

Poll result: Packers your pick to win Super Bowl, but it's wide open: We asked for your Super Bowl pick among betting favorites, and you had it Packers 19.7 percent, Panthers, Seahawks and Cardinals all knotted at 13.5%, Steelers 11.2%, Patriots 10.3% and Broncos 3.1%. The other 15.2% voted "other."

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 07, 2016

Who was Heat's biggest acquisition? Poll. Vote now!; plus gloomiest forecast yet (by far) for Dolphins season; also, new Back In My Day, Fins individual stat projections, SOPY Week 1 rankings, UM cracks Top 25, Arian Nation, miserable Marlins & more

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

2 Fripix1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Click here for latest ESPN Radio "Best Of" podcast of yesterday's LeBatard Show. My new Back In My Day segment kicks in late in the pod, around the 1 hour 11 minute mark. 2) Countdown: 2 days 'til the Upset Bird! Our NFL Friday Page predictions return Sept. 9. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes crush FAMU in opener with season-debut CSM poll, Collball Week 1, Hot Button Top 10, The List & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Canes (barely) crack Top 25: A 70-3 Miami win over Florida A&M combined with three other teams dropping out of the Top 25 was enough for the Hurricanes to inch up one spot to No. 25 in the latest Associated Press poll.

Recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Awesome Vs. Awful, our most recent, on UM's resounding season-opening victory over Florida A&M. Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration). And Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American (QB sits to take a stand).

DOOM! GLOOM! COMPUTER PROJECTS DOLPHINS FOR 5.9 WINS: Predictionmachine.com computers played the upcoming NFL season 50,000 times, forecasting a Seattle over Pittsburgh Super Bowl, and projecting a mere 5.9 victories for Miami -- while computing that Miami has better than a 50 percent win probablty in only three games. Ouch. This is the gloomiest forecast yet for this Dolphins season. Miami's game by game projected results, based on the computer model:

        Opponent                Projected Dolphins result     Win probability

G1    @ Seahawks             L 28.7-17.4                        21.4%

G2    @ Patriots                L 25.8-19.5                        33.9

G3    Vs. Browns               W 25.3-23.4                       54.4

G4    @ Bengals                L 28.8-19.2                        26.1

G5    Vs. Titans                W 25.2-24.9                       50.7

G6    Vs. Steelers             L 29.7-22.6                        33.1

G7    Vs. Bills                   L 26.1-22.3                        40.8

G8    Vs. Jets                   L 23.3-20.1                        41.9

G9    @ Chargers              L 30.0-22.4                        31.8

G10   @ Rams                  L 25.9-19.7                        33.9

G11   Vs. 49ers                W 26.6-23.6                       57.1

G12   @ Ravens                L 27.2-20.2                        32.7

G13   Vs. Cardinals          L 22.5-20.2                        44.2

G14   @ Jets                    L 25.9-18.6                        31.3

G15   @ Bills                   L 28.3-20.6                         30.9

G16   Vs. Patriots            L 29.5-20.1                         27.5

Totals: Dolphins 21.2 points per game; Opponents 26.5

HeatWHAT HAS BEEN HEAT'S MOST IMPORTANT PERSONNEL MOVE?: Hey, Pat Riley himself brought this up, not me! Recently he volunteered the question and discussion, saying, "I say this and I mean this. Shaq's acquisition was bigger than any acquisition we ever made, including the Big Three. Getting Shaquille changed everything for our franchise." Was he throwing a bouquet at Shaquille O'Neal because Miami is about to retire his jersey number? Was he taking a not-so-subtle shot at LeBron James for the way he left? Or, did Riley have a legitimate point? From the petri dish of questions arises this poll. I offer five main options -- listed chronologically -- and I think you could make a valid argument why at least four of them might be the right answer. So take a dip in our poll. Vote for your No. 1 choice and check back often to monitor evolving results.

THEY'RE BAA-AAACK! SOPY RANKINGS, THE 'STATE HEISMAN,' RETURN  WITH KID NOLE ON TOP: Today begins the fifth season of our blog's SOPY rankings -- State Offensive Player of the Sopy DfrancoisYear -- our weekly cumulative rankings that measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. We close it off after the regular season so as not to penalize players whose teams don't make a bowl game. Well, Kid Nole, FSU freshman QB Deondre Francois (pictured), is out the gate best with 280.5 points in last night's wild comeback pointfest. The Canes, who put up 70 points but spread the wealthy individually, put only Joe Yearby in the initial Top 10, ninth with 130 points. Here is our first SOPY Top 10 of 2016, followed by a list of annual champions and our first Cote's State of the State team rankings:

SOPY TOP 10 AFTER WEEK 1:

Rank   Player, Team-pos.                            Week/Year

1        Deondre Francois, FSU-qb                  280.5

2        Jason Driskel, FAU-qb                        202.5

3        Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                          192

4        Justin Holman, UCF-qb                     178.5

5        Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb                159

6        Luke Del Rio, Florida-qb                   151

7        Gregory Howell, FAU-rb                    140

8        Alex McGough, FIU-qb                      131.5

9        Joe Yearby, Miami-rb                        130

10      Jesus Wilson, FSU-rec                       125 

Bubble: Mark Walton, Miami-rb, 122. Week 1, season best: Francois, FSU-qb, 280.5.

Roll Call of SOPY Champions: 2015--Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,077.5 points; 2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968; 2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107; 2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5.

Cote's State of the State team rankings: 1. Florida State (1-0); 2. Miami (1-0); 3. Florida (1-0); 4. South Florida (1-0); 5. UCF (1-0); 6. FAU (1-0); 7. FIU (0-1).

AfosterFOSTER IS DOLPHINS' STARTING RB, BUT WHAT'S IT REALLY MEAN?: Dolphins lifted Arian Foster to No. 1 running back (no real surprise) on their depth chart Monday, but that answer remains surrounded by questions. Can he stay healthy? Will he return to his prime-year productivity? Will he get a heavy load or be the front-man in a split-duty situation with Jay Ajayi and others? Fantasy drafters who gambled on Foster should be happy. Still not sure he's a fantasy starter, though. I'd want proof against a suspicion he'll be an eight-carry, three-catch kind of guy. Foster starting gives Miami a bit of star power on the field. But let's see how it plays out.  

Dolphins' individual statistical projections: Miami betting over/unders straight outta Bovada: Ryan Tannehill--4,100 pass yards, 23.5 TDs, 12 INTs; Most rushing yards--Arian Foster 2-3 odds, Jay Ajayi 6-5; Jarvis Landry--1,000 catch yards, 5 TDs; Cam Wake--10.5 sacks; Ndamukong Suh--6 sacks.

STANTON, BOUR RETURN BUT MARLINS' MISERABLE SKID CONTINUES...: Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour both were reactivated by the Marlins yesterday, to little avail. Gawd. This is so Marlins. They're in the wild-card playoff hunt and they're in it and they're in it and then ...  this. A 10-18 August record left Miami scrambling to hang in the chase, and Tuesday's home loss meant the rotting Fish now have lost 10 of their past 11 games -- a terrible skid at exactly the wrong time. They now are on the far periphery of the playoff hunt at 6 games off pace. For any chance at all, with 23 games left, they'd need a fast and dramatic pivot. They'd need to be as good the rest of September as they've been bad lately, because a once-promising season is circling the drain. It would go down as a fairly epic collapse for Don Mattingly's guys, and only the Marlins themselves can rewrite that gloomy narrative.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 05, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 97.2%; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) starring Canes' 70-3 rout, ready-or-else Dolphins, Collball Week 1, reeling Marlins & more

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

Fripix 41) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. Happy Labor Day, my fellow American wokers! 2) Countdown: 4 days 'til the Upset Bird! NFL Friday Page predictions return Sept. 9. 2) UM Sports Hall of Fame reminds us that this past weekend in 1994 the Canes beat Georgia Southern 56-0 to win a record-setting 58th consecutive home game. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins unveil Hard Rock Stadium, FIU opens with loss, Footballapalooza, Marlins fade, your Kaepernick verdict, 'LeBrone' & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Updated Dolphins best/worst odds: Bovada has new odds out on best and worst NFL records. "Best" picks are Packers at 5-1, Seahawks 13-2 and Patriots 15-2, with Dolphins tied for 21st at 75-1. "Worst" faves are are Browns at 4-1, 49ers 5-1 and TItans 9-1, with Miami tied for 12th at 20-1.

Recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Awesome Vs. Awful, our latest, on UM's resounding season-opening victory over Florida A&M. Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration). And Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American (QB sits to take a stand).

1aa1csmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 97.2%: Results are certified in the season-opening Canesfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show 97.2 percent overall satisfaction (combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday night's 70-3 victory over Florida A&M. This begins the eighth season of our blog's CSM postgame polls. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM 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 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Analyzing the G1 vote: Well, 97.2 percent is astounding -- about the optimum you'll see in any blog vote, any topic, anytime, anywhere. Because there are always straggling naysayers. I could ask in a poll, "Would like more money?" and the vote wouldn't be higher than this. Canes fans are ebullient right now, and should be.

2016 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 97.2% following 70-3 victory vs. Florida A&M

Next poll: Sept. 10 following game vs. Florida Atlantic

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2015--20.1% overall satisfaction (following 8-5 season); 2014--2.7% (6-7); 2013--16.1% (9-4); 2012--80.9% (7-5); 2011--22.1% (6-6); 2010--4.2% (7-6); 2009--41.7% (9-4).

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Canes ace start of Richt Era with rout of Florida A&M: Call it a soft opening of the Mark Richt Era at UM. Florida A&M? The marching band is great. The football team, not so much. FAMU is Division 1-AA and went 1-10 last year, so if the Canes didn't win this game handily, then Richt just enjoyed the shortest honeymoon in the history of sports. No worries. I don't care how bad the opponent is. You win 70-3, that's crazy-impressive.

2. DOLPHINS: 6 Days 'til season opener at Seattle. Uh oh: Miami's refurbished, renamed stadium looks great. The team in a 2-2 preseason looked OK. The roster pared to a final 53 on Saturday with no surprises. But none of that matters now. All that does is "at Seattle" this coming Sunday to open the NFL regular season. The preseason didn't tell us much about the Fins, but we're about to find out fast.

3. MARLINS: Playoff hopes trying to survive awfully timed swoon: A 10-18 August record left Miami scrambling to hang in the NL wild-card chase, with team now 4 games off pace after eight losses in past nine games including yesterday's demoralizing walkoff defeat. Maybe a six-game homestand starting today/Monday will help, but there's little margin of error left. Fish need to start being as good in September as they were bad last month.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 'Noles, other top-ranked team gets immediate test: The four top-ranked teams that began season on inside rail for College Football Playoff -- Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Florida State -- could hardly coast out the gate against tough opponents. Nick Saban's Tide rolled big over USC, but the Sooners lost to Houston and Tigers barely got by Auburn. Noles close Week 1 tonight vs. No. 11 Ole Miss. Ready? Better be.

5. HEAT: Bosh mystery continues as camp draws near: Chris Bosh said on social media, "Yes, I'm hooping." More accurately, after two seasons disrupted by blood-clot issues, he's still hoping to be hooping. Club remains noncommittal on his future even as Sept. 27 start of training bears down fast. C'mon, Heat. Tick tock. You owe fans, and especially Bosh, a clear answer and soon.

6. TENNIS: U.S. Open begins final week: Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams (who surpassed Martina Navratilova's women's modern-era record for most Grand Slam matches won) lead the march into the quarterfinals round that started Sunday. This is first U.S. Open since they put a roof on the place, so fans of rain delays are totally screwed now.

7. FIU: Panthers lose to Indiana to open season: FIU led its Big Ten foe 13-12 entering the fourth quarters before collapsing like a Ponzi scheme late at home. NCAA has denied school's subsequent petition to shorten games to three quarters.

8. COLIN KAEPERNICK: QB's controversial protest still making news: Now local police are threatening to refuse to work 49ers home games unless the team disciplines its quarterback for his refusal to stand for the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. I guess that "To Protect and Serve" motto has become, "To Protect and Serve Those We Like."

9. NASCAR: Dale Jr. to miss rest of season: Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss remainder of Sprint Cup season due to concussion issues, with just one race left now until the cut to the round of 16 drivers in the Chase for the Cup ending in Homestead. So at least Junior has a better excuse than usual this year for not winning the championship.

10. PAT RILEY: Heat boss says Shaq topped LeBron and Big 3: "Shaq's acquisition was bigger than any acquisition that we ever made, including the Big Three." Hmm. Careful, Pat. Once you're in your 70s and you start talking like that, people may begin to wonder if the mind is going.

Missing the HB10 cut: Dolphins and Uber have entered a business partnership. Fins offense will now be using Uber to drive it into the end zone ..... Heat players Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson, both with recently signed mega-contracts, each have purchased huge mansions. Athletes used to be judged by their feet. Now it's their square feet .....  Canes lose two top defenders in a scandal related to luxury cars, and now a walk-on scout team QB gets arrested for cocaine. Jesus! Can't these college kids at least wait 'til they grow up to start making dumbass decisions!? .....  Sorry, Chris McCain, but when the Dolphins trade you for a conditional seventh-round draft pick, it means you weren't that good ..... Dwyane Wade, taking on the cause of Chicago gun violence, said he has "a bigger purpose than basketball." Bulls fans responded, "Yeah, but can you make basketball sort of the priority, please?" ..... Bleacher Report predicts UM men's basketball will finish 12th in the 15-team ACC. So the Canes quietly have canceled the upcoming season ..... Fantasy football: Where league members enjoy the camaraderie by all auto-selecting in an online draft ..... NFL stars James Harrison, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers were exonerated by the league of a PEDs accusation in an Al Jazeera article. I don't know who this Al guy is, but he'd better get his facts straight ..... Tone-deaf Penn State plans to honor Joe Paterno Sept. 17 on 50th anniversary of his first game -- almost as if he wasn't fired in disgrace in 2011 amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal ..... Philadelphia will host the 2017 NFL Draft. Excited fans there already are preparing by practicing vociferous booing of anticipated picks ..... Tim Tebow had his baseball tryout and wasn't that impressive, but looked lovable and God-fearing anyway ..... Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was released from jail after serving only three months for rape. The judge who gave that sentence should be jailed and serve longer ..... Joey Bosa finally ends holdout, signs with Chargers. How to Begin an NFL Career Badly 101 ..... Little League World Series continues rocked by over-age player scandals as two stars from winning team miss victory parade because their wives went into labor ..... World Series of Poker final table getting close, the annual popular gathering spot for egomaniacs wearing sunglasses indoors ..... Upcoming 23rd season of "Dancing With the Stars" will include Olympic clown Ryan Lochte, retired Lion Calvin Johnson, IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe and --why the hell not! -- Vanilla Ice ..... R.I.P., Gene Wilder.

G1: HURRICANES 70, FLORIDA A&M 3 (FINAL): LAUNCH OF RICHT ERA ENJOYS A SOFT BUT IMPRESSIVE OPENING:  Final: What to say about a 70-3 game? Hugely impressive for Miami, with 4 TD passes by Kaaya and 3 UM 100-yard rushers for the first time since 1987. And equally embarrassing for poor FAMU. Click on Awesome Vs. Awful for my column from the game. ..... 4Q: Mercifully, humanely, the scoring seems to have abated. ..... 3Q: UM 70-3 in last seconds of third on Gus Edwards' 74Y run. ... UM 63-3 on Rosier's 19Y run. ... Backup QB Malik Rosier in for Kaaya with 4 minutes left in third. Smart move. Also, sportsmanlike. ... And now an INT by UM's Adrian Colbert. I'm now officially embarrassed for FAMU. ... Braxton Berrios 41Y punt-return TD makes it 56-3. My fingers are tired form typing all these Canes TDs. ... Well it's now 4 TGD passes for Kaaya and a 49-3 score. Time to sit Kaaya and some other starters now. ... Kaaya's 3rd TD pass is 15Y to a very fast Ahmmon Richards. ... Mark Walton 37Y scoring run has Miami up 35-3. Gorgeous dash with a high-step finish. ..... Half: It's a weird 28-3 because FAMU leads in time of possession by a 2-to-1 margin and only trails in total yards 214-54. And yet the game is non-competitive. Not for a minute has mistake-prone A&M given the impression it might bet back in it. ..... 2Q: It's 28-3 now with A&M on board with 31Y FG. ... Now 28-0 Canes on a Yearby 64Y scoring run. ... Canes 21-0 on Kaaya 16Y scoring pass to Chris Herndon. ..... 1Q: Canes miss 33Y FG attempt. ... UM up 14-0 on Joe Yearby 1Y TD set up by Canes block of Rattlers punt. ... UM 7-0 on Brad Kaaya to Marquez Williams 4Y pass after Corn Elder interception for UM. ... FAMU players wearing white uniforms with white numbers that cannot be seen. Perfect. ... Let's go! ..... Original post: Curtain up! Miami Hurricanes open their 91st season of college football this evening -- no wise guys, I was not there for the 1926 opener -- at 6 p.m. in a massively renovated, newly renamed home stadium that should impress those seeing it for first time. The four gigantic video screens alone are a mind- Miafamublower. The game also marks the heralded debut of new head coach Mark Richt, whose arrival helped generate a spike of 12,500 additional season tickets. Richt was hired to lead UM back to the promised land -- a promise broken or delayed ever since Miami won its last of five national championships in 2001. You notice I'm not talking about the Game 1 opponent? It doesn't figure as a compelling or even competitive game. For UM's sake, it better not be! Miami is one spot outside the Top 25 and should whisper into the polls with a win, coupled with upsets elsewhere, while Florida A&M is, well, pretty awful. Great marching band, lousy football players. The Division 1-AA Rattlers were 1-10 last year and have lost nine straight to Miami (see The List below) by an average score of 49-6. You read that right. "Expert" expectations for Miami are modest elsewhere; ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit guesses a 7-6 season, for example. I think the Canes will be better, possibly even a 10-win team. Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz preaches that his guys play "in a very violent manner." If they do and if quarterback Brad Kaaya is as great as I think he'll be, it could be strong season out of Coral Gables. By the way, Kaaya is legal now. Turns 21 today. Gift to self: Five touchdown passes? Should launch smoothly tonight with a predictable yet impressive rout that won't be much of a gauge, but should be a party. My pick: Hurricanes 52-6.

Other FBS Week 1 football:

Indiana 34, FIU 13: Panthers led 13-12 entering fourth quarter before collapsing late at home Thursday night. Three interceptions and bad run defense ushered in coach Ron Turner's fourth season at The Int'l.

FAU 38, Southern Illinois 30: Owls of Boca were 3-9 last year but have recruited well and are seen as on rise. I gave 'em a big shot at home-opening win and was right. QB Jason Driskel was great.

No. 25 Florida 24, Massachusetts 7: Gators were favored by 36 1/2 points in The Swamp but narrowly led entering fourth. Unimpressive debut for UF.

No. 4 Florida State 45, No. 11 Ole Miss 34: Plenty of experts see Jimbo Fisher leading his Noles into the four-team College Football Playoff, but FSU was only a modest 5-point favorite in this prime-timer in Orlando that closed Week 1. Noles didn't look the part in trailing by 22, but did with the monster comeback behind a freshman quarterback. 

Other state FBS games: South Florida crushed Towson State 56-20 and UCF pounded and shut out South Carolina State 38-0.

National collball Week 1 overview: No soft opening for the Big 4 teams out the gate. Prior to FSU's challenging opener Monday night, on Saturday, No. 3 Oklahoma was an upset loser to No. 15 Houston by 33-23. No. 1 Alabama crushed No. 20 Southern Cal 52-6, but No. 2 Clemson had all it could handle, winning 19-13 at unranked but upset-capable Auburn.

SopySOPY'S BACK!: Our weekly State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings return for another season, comparing the offensive output of quarterbacks, receivers and running backs from our seven state FBS schools: Miami, FSU, Florida, FIU, FAU, South Florida and UCF. Because 'Noles play Monday this week, look for the first SOPY Top 10 in the blog Tuesday morning.

THE LIST: CANES' MOST LOPSIDED FOOTBALL SERIES: The opponents Miami has most dominated in its history, minimum 10 all-time meetings:

Opponent                    UM record         Last met

Rutgers                       1.000 (11-0)     2003

Temple                        .929 (13-1)      2005

Florida A&M              .909 (10-1)         2016

Cincinnati                   .846 (11-2)       2015

Duke                           .846 (11-2)      Play Nov. 26; prior 2015

West Virginia               .842 (16-3)      2003

Boston College            .828 (24-5)       2012

East Carolina              .818 (9-2)         2003

Louisville                   .750 (9-3-1)      2014

Wake Forest               .727 (8-3)         2013

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 09, 2016

Should Marlins sign a soon-available Alex Rodriguez? Poll. Laast day to vote!; plus Mark Richt column, Radio Tuesday, latest Hot Button Top 10 starring Ichiro 3K, Rio, Canton, Fins, D-Wade; also, your verdict on win totals for Canes/Dolphins & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 9. We're back from a near two-week hiatus from the blog while we were away vacationing along California's Central Coast. Might have more on that later. The Hot Button Top 10 returns after taking last Sunday off. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

It's Radio Tuesday!: After a week's vacation we're back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. locally on 790 The Ticket, 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, with the national show also visible on ESPNU. We have a new Back In My Day ready to go.  

Step into the office, and expectations, of Mark Richt: We visited privately with Miami Hurricanes football coach Mark Richt yesterday, stepping into his office and his world. Click on The Weight Has Just Begun for the column that resulted.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Dwyane Wade's departure from Heat creating a chance for Dolphins and Canes. Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, state of team as camp nears. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that says it all.

SHOULD MARLINS SIGN A-ROD FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON?: What happened on Sunday with the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez was weird. It was announced his final game for the team would be this Friday, and that he would then segue into a role as team consultant and spring instructor. Hmm. It seemed less like a sudden retirement than it did New York pretty much telling A-Rod Arodto get lost but showing him the respect to make it seem like his decision. Rodriguez, even at 41, didn't seem like a guy ready to call it quits -- certainly not with one third of a season left. "Of course, I think I can play baseball," Rodriguez said. "You always think you have one more hit in you." It is important to note that A-Rod, after Friday, will be free to sign with any other team if that chance arose, and that he did not rule out that possibility. Miami Marlins, perhaps? It makes enough sense to at least consider. From A-Rod's view, he is from Miami. He lives here. The Marlins would be the perfect situation for him to have a proper farewell to the game, not the awkward, sudden goodbye from New York. From the Marlins' view, signing A-Rod for the remaining 47 games (after Friday) would boost attendance at least somewhat as it gave him a chance to get the four more home runs needed to reach 700. Ichiro got to 3,000 MLB hits in a Marlins uniform. Might A-Rod's milestone also come in a Fish uni? There is little question Rodriguez-to-Marlins make sense from his perspective and from that of the club's marketing side. Though his career has been tainted by steroids, I think he would be embraced by most Marlins fans. (Maybe not; the poll below will shed light on that). The one determining factor, the only one that matters: Would A-Rod, in a reserve/pinchhitter role, help the Marlins as they chase an NL wild-card spot? Is there room for him on the roster? That is all that matters. Miami should not sign A-Rod to be nice or as a publicity stunt in pursuit of slightly bigger crowds. No room for that in a playoff race. But if Don Mattingly thinks adding A-Rod's bat and experience would be a plus, then yes. I doubt this will happen, of course, but it's plausible enough to make it fun to consider. Take a dip in our poll, share your thoughts and check back often to monitor evolving results.

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: Ichiro (finally) reaches 3,000 hits!: Marlins are in a pitched battle for that second NL wild-card spot as six-game homestand begins tonight vs. Giants, but the overriding news is Ichiro reaching 3,000 MLB hits with a triple last night in San Diego. He is only the 30th ever to do it. The Marlins should have sat Ichiro yesterday and let him reach the milestone at home. That's according to me and, I'd imagine, Jeffrey Loria. Nevertheless, congrats on a remarkable achievement -- one of the biggest ever by an athlete in a Miami uniform. 

2. OLYMPICS: Summer Games underway in Rio: Rio de Janiero is hosting the Summer Olympics through Aug. 21 and, other than crime, terrorist concerns, polluted water and other issues, all is going well. Back home, Hillary Clinton wished the U.S. athletes well. Donald Trump quickly Tweeted that crooked Hillary could not be more wrong.

3. ALEX RODRIGUEZ: A-Rod retiring, will become Yankees adviser: The Yankees and slumping veteran Alex Rodriguez of Miami announced Sunday that A-Rod would play his final game for the Yanks on Friday, then become a team adviser and instructor. So begins the five-year wait until Cooperstown first says no to steroids-tainted A-Rod.

4. NFL: First football game of season canceled in Canton: Saturday in Canton saw the induction of the six newest Pro Football Hall of Fame members led by Brett Favre. Sunday was to bring Colts-Packers in the season's first exhibition game, but the game was canceled because the paint used on the field was too hard, dried like cement and was a hazard to players. No, seriously. You can't make this s--- up, folks. Are you ready for some football? Apparently the field crew in Canton wasn't.

5. DOLPHINS: Fins three days from exhibition opener: Lots of extraneous stuff. Hard Rock looms as frontrunner for stadium naming rights. Training camp visitors include Peyton Manning and WWE star The Big Show. Ryan Tannehill's wife has a baby boy named Steel. NFL reinstates Dion Jordan, who immediately goes on injury list. But cutting through all that? Monday dawns the first game week of season, with exhibition opener this Friday at Giants. So here come your Dolphins. Ready or not...

6. HEAT: Wade's return to Miami set for Nov. 10: Dwyane Wade, in a Chicago Bulls uniform, makes his first return to Miami on Nov. 10, a Thursday night. That's in 94 days. Not that I'm counting.

7. HURRICANES: Media, fan events on deck as season draws nearer: UM's football media day was Monday, (click on The Weight Has Just Begun for my new column on Mark Richt), and then Canesfest fan events are this coming Saturday as Richt's debut season draws ever nearer. 

8. GOLF: Walker wins PGA Championship: Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship, the year's final major. It was the first time Walker had been in the news since starring as J.J. in Good Times in the '70s.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Playoff ends its New Year's Eve games: The College Football Playoff is ending its New Year's Eve semifinals after only one year. Explained a CFP official: "We really had our head up our a-- on that one!"

10. MICHAEL JORDAN: NBA icon breaks silence: Michael Jordan, always hesitant to share personal views, spoke out on the subject of gun violence. Turns out he's against it. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Giancarlo Stanton's 496-foot home run just landed ..... The Marlins unveiled their 2017 All-Star Game logo. Nothing went wrong and people thought it was pretty good ..... Dolphins owner Stephen Ross held a business seminar for five Fins players interested in post-football careers. His advice to them: Become a billionaire. Makes everything so much easier! ..... Michael Vick, 36, is working out in Broward hoping for one last NFL shot. Those who have watched him train tell us Vick is not doggin' it. (Sorry) ..... Steve Spurrier is back with the Florida Gators as ambassador and consultant. Also, as an ad-Visor ..... Jim Turner, fired as a Dolphins assistant coach for his role in Bulygate, has been suspended by Texas A&M for showing a sexually suggestive video during a women's football clinic. Turner is 51 but evidently still in middle school ..... FIU baseball player Nick Day saved the life of a man who'd been in an auto accident in Arizona. Player of the week? ..... Fort Lauderdale Strikers played heir final game at Lockhart Stadium. Hardly anybody cared, but the ghosts of 1977 wept ..... St. Thomas Aquinas' John Bosa is holding out as a Chargers rookie. How Not to Begin Your NFL Career 101 ..... It's a challenging year to be a Kyle Busch hater ..... A veteran scout who wished to remain anonymous has criticized as "uninformed" a veteran unnamed front-office official ..... Finally, a man died during Florida's annual lobster miniseason. I keep telling you cheapstakes to order a lobster at a restaurant or buy one at Publix. Much safer that way.

Poll results: Higher hopes for Hurricanes than for Dolphins: We invited you to set the bar on expectations for the coming Hurricanes and Dolphins seasons and you set it higher for UM than for the Fins. For the Canes overall it was 8.95 wins and for the Dolphins 8.29, even though UM plays at least four fewer games. The breakdown: Hurricanes--44.6% 9 wins; 31.6% 10-plus wins; 15.4% 8 wins; 4.5% 7 wins; and 3.9% 6-fewer wins. Dolphins--31.4 percent 9 wins; 29.6% 8 wins; 15.3% 10-plus wins; 14.2% 7 wins; and 9.5% 6-fewer wins.

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 04, 2016

Rating the Hurricanes' Signing-Day bounty: New poll. Vote now!; plus skill positions, linebacker head Richt's incoming UM class; also, new Super Bowl With a Smirk III on the power of the chicken wing, updated NBA/NHL odds & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4. Gulp! Today I'm at Friday Page HQ deciding who'll win the Super Bowl. 2) In The Previous Blogpost: Super Bowl With a Smirk I, Ted Cruz looks like a vampire & more. 3Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Florida Panthers remain better title bet than Heat: Latest betting odds from from Bovada have Golden State now even at 1-1 for NBA championship, with Cleveland and San Antonio next at 11-4 each. Miami is tied for eighth at 66-1. NHL title odds are led by Washington at 4-1, Chicago 5-1 and Los Anegles 15-2, with Florida tied for sixth at 16-1. (Cats could become a trendy bet; they just won at Washington, 5-2). Prohibitive MVP faves are Warriors' Steph Curry at 1-4 and Blackhawks' Patrick Kane at 1-3.

AMID THE OVERBLOWN HYPE OF NATIONAL SIGNING DAY, CANES AND RICHT SCRAMBLE TO NAIL DOWN SOLID CLASS: [Click HERE to meet the Hurricanes' newly minted 18-man 2016 recruiting class]. I get why so many fans are drunk with interest (or perhaps just drunk in general) over National Signing Day. It is to college football what the NFL Draft is at the higher level. The pipeline. The replenisher. It's a first indication how successful your team might be in the Nsdnext few years. What amuses me, though, is the media and fans' instant and self-assured analysis of something inherently unpredictable. We are talking about 17- and 18-year-olds. The coveted five-star recruit might flame out. The lightly recruited two-star guy could become your program's savior. The preps-to-colleges outlook simply is not as readable or reliable as the colleges-to-pros jump because there is a greater lump-of-clay factor. High-school players are not fully formed; they need Allisondevelopment. They  need coaching. Al Golden and his staff did not do that sufficiently. That's why Mark Richt is now running Miami Hurricanes football. Richt was hamstrung by coming into Canes recruiting late but seems to have made up ground. UM's class was ranked No. 19 nationally by ESPN, with 10 Top 300 prospects among its 18 recruits. I know there are thin areas and have been some notable defections, but I like what I see of the Canes' 2016 class. The linebacker gets are extremely impressive. And the offensive skill-position bounty seems very good, led by QB Jack Allison (Palmetto), RB Travis Homer (West Palm) and WR Sam Bruce (St. Thomas Aquinas). Allison (pictured), a 6-5 pro-style passer, will be groomed as the heir to Brad Kaaya; Bruce has five-star speed and skills but is downgraded for being only 5-8. Here is ESPN's synopsis of the UM bounty, condensed: "The Hurricanes surged after the hire of Richt. They landed ESPN 300 DE Patrick Bethel on Dec. 14. He is joined in the class by QB Allison, playmaker Bruce and fellow speedster Dionte Mullins. WR Ahmmon Richards (No. 212 in ESPN 300) was a great addition on signing day. Adding another ESPN 300 prospect, Homer and his 4.48 speed, was a big win at running back. The Hurricanes' class at receiver and linebacker is especially impressive, including LBs Shaquille Quarterman and Zachary McCloud. Three-star defensive tackle prospect Tre Johnson has considerable upside." Richt called Sam Bruce "very explosive," a slot receiver whose speed "gives him the ability to get on the edge as well." The coach called Travis Homer "A very skilled back," adding, "He was the second guy I watched after Jack [Allison] and I had a big grin when I watched the tape." Richt was hamstrung by his latte arrival in a recruiting game built on relationships. "When you have everything in place and all your support staff is clicking, there's some energy and synergy going on," he said. "But when you start that train from ground zero and try to move that thing, getting to know (everybody), there's so many things to do in such a short time." Richt and this class should be graded on that curve. The new coach sounded subdued Wednesday. Tired. "But it's a good tired," he said. We invite your initial thoughts on UM's 2016 recruiting bounty in the poll below. None of us can know for sure, of course. But that doesn't mean we don't have an opinion, right?

SMIRK III: CHICKEN-WING METRIC FAVORS CAROLINA, SB BLING UPDATE, HERDING THE HOMELESS, '17 SB ODDS: Here comes Smirk III, the third of five daily Super Bowl With a Smirk notes Smirkcolumns. The National Chicken Council — whose name alone conjures a clandestine assembly of poultry elders convening in George Orwell’s Animal Farm — has released its Chickens2016 Wing Report, the bible of Super Bowl snacking. The NCC estimates a record 1.3 billion wings will be eaten by Americans on Super Bowl Sunday, 39 million more than last year. The wing is king; pizza bows and curtsies. For example, Domino’s estimates it will sell 12 million slices on Sunday. Those 162.5 million pounds of wings, if laid end to end, would stretch from Charlotte to Denver almost 53 times. That amounts to 600 wings for every seat in every NFL stadium in the United States. Smirk has a word for that many wings: Dinner! Wings will not only probably dominate your Super Bowl party. The jointed marvels also have proven an accurate predictor of the game, based on the competing cities’ average expenditure on wings. This season that barometer went 7-3 in the playoffs and has accurately forecast four of the past five Super Bowls. Now the National Chicken Council reports (befitting a drum roll) that Charlotte residents spend $1,400 on wings per $1 million spent in local grocery stores — nearly three times the $480 devoted to wings in Denver. "It would be nice to see Peyton Manning go out with a victory, but numbers don’t lie," says the NCC’s fabulously named communications director, Tom Super. "Follow the chicken."

▪ The betting over/under is 2 minutes 20 seconds for Lady Gaga’s pregame national anthem on Sunday. What prevents Gaga from telling all her family and friends to bet big on the “under” and then coming in at 1:57? Hey, I’m just asking!

▪ Repucom, a sports and entertainment research company, measures the metrics on more than 3,800 athletes and celebrities and says Panthers QB Cam Newton now has a better "influential score" — the ability to change people’s perceptions — than President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. President Newton?

Jesuspendant▪ Super Bowl Week Bling Update: Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib wears a Rolex watch valued at $80,000. Denver safety T.J. Ward counters with a similarly priced gold-encrusted pendant depicting the face of Jesus, replete with thorny crown.

▪ The game is in surburban Santa Clara, but San Francisco clearly is "Super Bowl City" in terms of festivities, and Fusion.net reports the city quietly has herded its homeless population to a four-block tent city three miles away. Apparently the host committee thinks NFL fans OK with concussions and player arrests would be aghast at the sight of a panhandler.

▪ Broncos-Panthers ticket prices are falling. The cost on StubHub on Wednesday started as low as $2,950. Or, you can get a much better seat for a fraction of the cost. It’s called "your couch."

Budhelen▪ Helen Mirren will star in an anti-drunk driving Super Bowl ad for Budweiser. Hmm. C’mon, Bud! Anheuser-Busch doesn’t get to preach against drunk driving any more than Smith & Wesson gets to bemoan gun violence.

▪ Super Bowl security on Sunday will include the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Air Force heading a task force of more than 60 different federal, state and local law enforcement agencies — and that’s just to make sure the footballs aren’t deflated.

▪ OK we have officially run out of things to talk about and write and need the game to start. Evidence? This headline (I swear) on FoxSports.com: "Super Bowl history of missed extra points."

Fifty▪ Finally, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook already has laid betting odds to win next year’s Super Bowl, and it’s Patriots, Steelers and Seahawks on top at 8-1. (Panthers are 10-1 and Broncos 14-1.) Smirk needed a miner’s helmet and pickaxe to find the Dolphins. At 50-1, only the 49ers and Browns have longer odds than Miami.

SMIRK II: THE UNEXPECTED INSPIRATION FOR SUCCESSFUL SUPER BOWL ADS, MISS UNIVERSE, A REF NAMED CLETE, GREYHOUND FORETELLS RESULT: Welcome to Smirk II, the second of
five daily Super Bowl notes columns. As we all know SB television commercials are as highly anticipated as the game itself, according to an annual survey conducted by the Gustavfreytag
Donkey National Association of Self-Serving Advertising Executives. Well, those TV ads also are as closely watched and analyzed as the game, apparently. A new study of each year’s highest-rated SB ads was conducted by researchers Keith Quesenberry of Messiah College and Michael Coolsen of Shippensburg University. Quesenberry told Time.com they concluded that the most successful, well-liked ads are presented as mini-movies in a five-act story structure such as that favored by legendary playwright William Shakespeare. The study also found most of the best Super Bowl ads follow “Gustav’s Pyramid,” the five-part story structure — exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement — espoused by 19th Century German novelist Gustav Freytag. A separate study by Smirk found that most successful Super Bowl ads feature yodeling animals in straw hats. (Pictured left: Gustav Freytag and a typical star of a Super Bowl ad). In an unrelated story, Dan Marino and actor Alec Baldwin star in a Super Bowl television commercial for Amazon Echo, which has the electronic voice of “Alexa” answering your questions. Amazon denied it was a blatant ripoff of Apple’s Siri. “Yeah, right!” snorted the entire country.

▪ Panthers quarterback Cam Newton arrived at the Super Bowl in a pair of Versace zebra-print pants that retail for almost $900. Oh, and gold-tip loafers. By contrast, I think Broncos QB Peyton Manning arrived in a Jim Tressel sweater vest and Hush Puppies. GQ “Style Guy” Anthony Green revealed to ESPN that Newton’s daring sartorial splendor could be a good omen for Carolina.

▪ Super Bowl Opening Night (formerly Media Day) featured Newton freestyle rapping, an Austrian sportscaster in ski clothes, a man dressed in a gold leotard, a leprechaun in Broncos colors and Josh Norman in a Luchador wrestling mask. In other words, pretty much the usual stuff.

▪ I don’t wanna say I’m beginning to doubt Manning’s denial that he ever used human growth hormone, but at Tuesday’s weigh-in he was 6-11 and 314 pounds.

▪ This could be a dull Super Bowl Week if we don’t get some decent controversy beyond that silly HGH story. Smirk will do his part at Wednesday’s media session by attempting to plant deer-antler spray on Ted Ginn Jr.

Missuniverse▪ Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach (Phillipines), is covering the Super Bowl for Inside Edition. Apparently an embittered Miss Colombia was denied a credential. At least that’s what Steve Harvey told me.

▪ CBS held a news conference at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center to reveal it has more than 550 personnel and 100 cameras swarming the Bay Area. The event went well before degenerating into a fistfight between Jim Nantz and Phi Simms. OK Smirk made up that last thing.

▪ Federal officials said Tuesday there is no specific, credible threat to this week’s Super Bowl, other than it tanking in the ratings because Carolina is so far ahead.

▪ The NFL announced its Sunday officiating crew headed by referee Clete Blakeman, and nobody cared except the men’s immediate families.

Grammar▪ Panthers fans are more grammatically correct than Broncos fans, according to a Twitter study by grammarly.com. Carolina fans (6.6) made fewer grammar mistakes per 100 words than Denver fans (7.6). Both deploy the language far better than Dolphins fans, who ranked 30th of 32 teams at 11.9.

▪ A skirmish arose Tuesday along “Radio Row” when competing producers for rival stations 790 The Ticket Miami and WQAM came to blows over first dibs to a profusely sweating Chris Berman.

Carolinadog▪ Finally, at Palm Beach Kennel Club, a greyhound representing Carolina beat a dog representing Denver. Track officials denied speculation the race might have been a publicity stunt.

Previously: Click on Smirk I for Tuesday's debut. Click on Super Bowl Primer for our preview column outlining the top national and Miami-related storylines to Broncos-Panthers.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

January 14, 2016

And with eighth overall draft pick, the Dolphins select ... Mel Kiper's pick for Miami here; plus what winning Powerball would buy you in sports, CFP 2017 title odds for Canes, Fins' and Marlins' big moves, Marlins caskets & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, JANUARY 14. Back up at Friday Page HQ today working up my NFL Divisional Round playoff picks. Where my coin at !? 2) Goran Dragic has serious hamstring strain, will miss at least three Heat games. 3) Lawrence Phillips died in prison yesterday of an apparent suicide while serving time for the murder of a cellmate after originally being jailed for domestic abuse. He was the sixth overall pick of the 1996 NFL draft and flamed out of the league by '99. His was wasted talent, a wasted life. What a shame. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Insomniac's Dream with 'Bama-Heat-Panthers, R.I.P. David Bowie, CFP championship polls, our NFL wild-card results, your Adam Gase verdict & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

KIPER'S FIRST '16 MOCK DRAFT: ANOTHER SHAQ IN MIAMI'S FUTURE: ESPN guru Mel Kiper is ahead of the curve today with his first NFL Mock Draft, and he has Miami selecting Clemson DE ShaqlawsonShaq Lawson (pictured) in the first round, eighth overall. The Kipe's nugget on the pick: "Lawson led college football in tackles for loss with 25.5, and Miami should add another edge rusher because Olivier Vernon is about to become extremely expensive if he can even be kept around as an unrestricted free agent. Lawson is just extremely consistent in his ability to beat tackles and makes plays." Also notable: Kiper predictably has Ohio State DE Joey Bosa (from St. Thomas Aquinas) going No. 1 overall. He has  no Canes in the first round but one Seminole (DB Jalen Ramsey, fifth overall) and one Gator (CB Vernon Hargreaves, ninth). He pegs three QBs as 1R: Cal's Jared Goff, second; Memphis' Paxton Lynch, 15th; and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, 22nd). I can see Miami interest in Lawson. The Dolphins' specific targeted position priority may be linebacker, but that could be problematic in the '16 draft picking eighth. Two of the top three LBs (UCLA's Myles Jack, Notre Dame's Jalen Smith) are coming off major knee injuries; Kiper has Jack going 10th and Smith 20th. Another name to keep an eye on for Miami: Alabama LB Reggie Ragland.

Zamboni PowerballWHAT WINNING THE POWERBALL COULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU IN SPORTS: In today's latest column I calculate what a single winner of last night's Powerball lottery would actually have taken home in cash, and what that might have bought in the world of sports. How many major-league baseballs, how many Zamboni machines, how many Super Bowl trophies. Also, what franchises in the BIg Four sports you could have afforded to buy. Hint: There are 15. Click on Powerball and Sports to read the column.   

Um66-1BECAUSE IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PLACE YOUR BETS, THAT'S WHY: Fans in Tuscaloosa haven't even sobered up yet but the betting odds are out for the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship, via Bovada. Alabam is the favroite to repeat at 7-1, a half-tick ahead of the team it just best, Clemson, at 15-2. Then it's a trio at 12-1: Baylor, Michigan and Ohio State. Looking to our peninsula, Florida State Seminoles are 10th at 16-1, Florida Gators are tied for 14th at 33-1, and Miami Hurricanes are tied for 30th at 66-1. A big-time coach hire in Mark Richt and a returning star quarterback in Brad Kaaya obviously have not raised the estimation of UM all that much, although I'd be surprised if that 66-1 didn't fall as the seasons nears.

ON DOLPHINS' AND MARLINS' BIG MOVES: Fins: Gase fills in staff: New coach Adam Gase this week completed most of his staff, notably including the hiring of defensive coordinator Vance Vancejoseph ChenJoseph, who' d been the Bengals defensive backs coach. Joseph (pictured left) has not been a coordinator before, just as Gase has not been a head coach before, so both must earn our faith. It isn't given. As I first wrote after the Gase hiring (before it apparently became trendy and was seen echoed elsewhere): "Prove you can fix all of this, and you’ll be a conquering hero. But prove it first, please, because we have been here before, seen this, done this. Another news conference proclaiming another culture. Another declaration how they got the right coach this time. Don’t tell me [again] how it’s different this time. How this is the right coach and the winning is at hand. Do it first. Win. Then talk to me." Fish: Team extends Gordon, signs Chen and two others: Wei-Yin Chen (pictured right) is a legit starter, the likely No. 2 after Jose Fernandez, leaving only 3-through-5 in the rotation to worry about (!). Edwin Jackson may get a shot to resurrect his career as a starter or appear in middle relief. Chris Johnson will be a utility guy as a corner infielder. None of these additions is a difference maker, although the Chen signing is significant. Also, extending second baseman Dee Gordon's contract by five years and $50 million is big. Gordon, NL batting champion, is one of the few things that went right for the Fish last season, and he's a cornerstone moving forward.

MarlinscasketSLIP INTO A MIAMI MARLINS CASKET: Have a loved one dying to prove for all eternity that he or she is the ultimate Marlins fan? Then here is the perfect parting gift. Yes, there are MLB-licensed caskets, and the Marlins version is pictured. For a mere $2,559 (available at Walmart, of all places), your loved one can rest in peace with a Marlins logo embossed in satin staring him or her in the face as the casket is lowered into the earth. Talk about a fitting tribute. Also buried in a Marlins casket: the team's playoff hopes, most seasons.

Poll results: You predicted Alabama, but wanted Clemson: In separate polls we asked who you predicted to win the CFP national-championship game and it was 56.2 percent Alabama. We asked who you wanted to win and it was 84.2% Clemson. Clearly, the Saban Effect at work.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote