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

December 28, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (season final) : 20.1%; plus Canes fall 20-14 in Sun Bowl, team-inspiring-most-optimism verdict & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 26. Hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas filled with even more love than presents! 2) Click on Week 16 Gems for this weekend's Dolphins and other NFL picks. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Team-inspiring-most-optimism poll, Heat win on Christmas, NFL Week 16 picks, NFL Week Pix 'n Greg's Lobos results & more. 4) ICYMI, click on The Miami 25 for my ranking of the 25 biggest current names in South Florida sports. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our UM bowl-loss postgame thoughts: Find them below, right after the latest CSM postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G13/BOWL/FINAL: Results are certified in the post-bowl, 2015 season-finale Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 20.1 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied" votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 20-14 loss to CsmWashington State in the Sun Bowl putting UM's final season record at 8-5. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Because this is the final poll, we suggest you place emphasis on the season as a whole. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Game 11: 63.4% (following 38-21 victory vs. Georgia Tech)

Game 12: 76.7% (following 29-24 victory at Pitt)

Game 13/Final: 20.1% (following 20-14 Sun Bowl loss to Washington State) 

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).

SUN BOWL: WASHINGTON STATE 20, HURRICANES 14: Postgame thoughts: A disappointing bowl result for Miami, considering the Canes were mere 2 1/2-point underdogs and felt confident they could end the school's bowl victory drought. Instead Miami falls to a sixth consecutive bowl loss today dating to UM's last postseason win in 2006, beaten by Washington State 20-14 in an unexpectedly low-scoring Sun Bowl. The game was played in dreary, rainy, chilly and then snowy conditions in El Paso, Tex. -- weather that certainly did not help UM's cause. The Canes tied it 7-7 in first quarter on Brad Kaaya's 4-yard scoring pass to Stacy Coley, but did not score again until the fourth quarter on Mark Walton's 5-yard run. The loss mostly was disappointing because it so easily could have/should have been a 21-20 comeback victory. UM had a tying/go-ahead late TD negated by a penalty. Miami then got the ball back for another chance inside Cougars territory but Joe Yearby threw an interception on a trick play. (Brave-daring call if it works, dumb-daring if it doesn't). Miami finishes the season 8-5, including 4-2 under interim coach Larry Scott after Al Golden's firing. New coach Mark Richt now formally takes the reins moving forward. ..... Original post: New Canes coach Mark Richt will be watching from afar, evaluating, as Miami attempts to finish only its third nine-win season since 2005. I like that Richt has deferred control today to interim coach Larry Scott. Classy. But I digress. The Hurricanes and Washington State Cougars both are 8-4 entering today's 2 p.m. Sun Bowl in SunbowlEl Paso, Tex. near the Mexico border, and both are looking to end long bowl droughts. Miami has lost five straight bowls since last winning one in 2006. Washington State last won a bowl game in 2003. The Cougars are slight (2 1/2 point) favorites and one reason might be that Pac-12 coach of the year Mike Leach vs. Scott seems a mismatch. Leach is someone Miami has liked and pursued for previous openings. UM is 4-1 under Scott since Al Golden's firing, though. The Canes like Scott and play for hard for him. The bigger reason the Cougars are favored is named Luke Falk. He is W-State's quarterback and he's been pretty much unstoppable, with 418 completions in 591 attempts for 4,266 yards, 36 TDs and only eight interceptions. UM's secondary better be rested and ready for what could be a shootout. Miami's strategy should be to pound the ball on the ground with Joe Yearby. This will take advantage of a W-State run defense allowing 200 yards per game, and also will serve to keep Falk off the field. This may very well be a home-pick by me, but I have a feeling the Canes will be very motivated to send Scott off a winner. I also think UM's pass defense is pretty good and will intercept Falk at least once. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-31.

Poll result: UM football, Heat, Panthers inspiring most optimism: We asked which of South Florida's Big 5 teams is inspiring the most confidence and closest to being really good, and Hurricanes football won with 44.6 percent. The Heat (32.0%) and Florida Panthers (19.4%) also had strong support. Trailing badly: Dolphins (2.1%) and Marlins (1.9%).

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 29, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.7%; plus UM wins at Pitt 29-24 to end regular season 8-4; also 'Noles crush Gators, NFL Week 12 picks, bacon underwear & more

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

1) It is SATURAY, NOVEMBER 28. Hope y'all are having a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend! 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our Thanksgiving Day column, Bird Day NFL predictions & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My Thanksgiving column: ICYMI, our Thanksgiving Day column seemed to strike a chord based on overwhelming positive email response. Click on Being Thankful In These Times to read.

Our UM-Pitt postgame thoughts: Find our in-game blog and UM-Pitt postgame thoughts below, directly beneath the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. (There will be an additional, final CSM poll following the bowl game).

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 76.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 76.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 29-24 victory at Pitt putting UM's final regular-season Csmrecord at 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, 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/Sunday.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Game 11: 63.4% (following 38-21 victory vs. Georgia Tech)

Game 12: 76.7% (following 29-24 victory at Pitt)

Next/final poll: Following bowl game, date to be determined. 

G12: HURRICANES 29, PITT 24: UM COULD NOW BE STRONG BET FOR PINSTRIPE BOWL INVITE: Postgame thoughts: Miami squandered a 23-3 lead in the third quarter and made it a tad too close for comfort toward the end; still, a 29-24 road win over favored Pitt is a nice way to end the regular season. UM will go bowl-ing at 8-4, including a 4-1 marks since interim coach Larry Scott replaced the fired Al Golden. A typically solid day from QB Brad Kaaya today with 261 yards passing, augmented by 99 rushing from Joe Yearby and five field goals from Michael Badgley, who set a UM record for most FGs in a season. Defense was dominant early but beaten against the run late. All in all, a strong afternoon for The U. ..... Halftime thoughts: Not displeased to point out I'm dead wrong on my pregame prediction thus far. UM defense is dominating, limiting Pitt to 102 total yards off offense in a 23-3 game at the half. Canes have rolled up 248 yards with the ball, led by Brad Kaaya's 166 yards passing. ..... Note: We'll be live-updating the score and key plays throughout today's game, and be back here with halftime and postgame thoughts prior to the arrival of the latest postgame CSM poll. ..... Original post: Miami's 7-4 Hurricanes visit Pitt's 8-3 Panthers in a noon matinee today, with Pittsburgh a 7-point home favorite. A small example why: Pitt

Miapittrouted Duke, 31-13, the team UM needed a last-second miracle to beat. I expect a shootout, and give the Canes a fair upset shot. Miami, 3-1 under interim coach Larry Scott, has much to play for. The nine-win season still in play would equal Miami's best since joining the ACC in 2004. And a win over Pitt could very well vault UM into the preferred Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, a stage the Canes program would love. I have little doubt Brad Kaaya willl put up plenty of points today. But enough? I have greater concerns about Miami's defense, which has tended to struggle on the road and now faces a Pitt offense that has put up 106 points over the past three games. My pick: Pitt, 31-27.

Other college Week 13 state FBS games (listed in chronology):

South Florida 44, UCF 3: Bulls finish 8-4 after a Thursday rout ending Knights' futility at 0-12. South Florida will be in American conference championship game if UConn beat Temple on Saturday.

FAU 33, Old Dominion 31: If you're going to have a bad season, might as well end it with a nice lil' road win. Owls finish 3-9.

No. 14 Florida State 27, No. 8 Florida 2: Dalvin Cook and huge defense carried FSU tonight to an unexpected rout of Florida in the Swamp, leaving both teams 10-2. Florida State has now won past three over Gators and was a 2 1/2-point road favorite here. This was 16th time but only the third time since 2001 that the rivals had met with both in the Top 15. Seminoles all but assured themselves a New Year's bowl. UF going in still had hopes for a spot in the College Football Playoff top four if they'd beaten FSU and then somehow beaten Alabama in the Dec. 5 SEC title game. Those dreams are done.

Note: FIU completed its season at 5-7.

UPSET BIRD DAY: DOLPHINS/NFL WEEK 12 PICKS: We got off to a wobbly start to our week on Thanksgiving, going 1-2 straight-up and against the spread. Knew we took a big risk picking against FripixCarolina, but Green Bay losing at Lambeau? I'd pick Pack again in a heartbeat. Anyway, onward! Click on Week 12 Gems for all of our latest picks and full prediction capsules. Notably: Ryan Tannehill's AFC East struggles continue in a Dolphins loss at Jets, and Broncos end Patriots perfection in our Game and Upset of the Week. ("Aawwk!"). Also, click Oh, Johnny for my latest weekly Friday Page NFL notes column, leading with the gradual self-destruction of Johnny Manziel.

BACON-SCENTED UNDERWEAR: Ready to start your holiday shopping? Seattle-based J&D's Foods has announced the launch of bacon-scented underwear, which it calls "the world’s first underwear that looks and smells like bacon." Safe bet, that one. Another bold claim: That this is the first line of apparel "marrying the ultimate in comfort and cured meat" to attain "the smell of breakfast cooking in your pants." Want some? They're $19.99 a pair at www.baconunderwear.com. All of this is for real, by the way. This is a blog! Could I say it if it weren't true?

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 21, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 63.4%; plus UM bops Ga-Tech 38-21, Gators escape FAU in OT, FIU routed, your odd love of Butch Davis & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21. Pray for Paris, and for peace on Earth. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes next-coach poll, Hassan Whiteside's shot-blocking in historical perspective, NFL Week 11 predix & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our UM-Georgia Tech postgame thoughts: Find them below in our live in-game blog, directly beneath the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: 63.4%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 63.4 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 38-21 home victory over Georgia Tech putting CsmUM's season record at 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Game 11: 63.4% (following 38-21 victory vs. Georgia Tech)

Next poll: Nov. 27 (following regular-season finale at Pitt)

G11: HURRICANES38, GEORGIA TECH 21: KAAYA, DEFENSE LEAD BIG SHOWING IN HOME FINALE: Final thoughts: I was right in saying that Georgia Tech would get its rushing yards but that Miami could withstand and overcome that. And the Canes did. They did with Brad Kaaya passing for 300 yards. And they did with four defensive turnovers including one for six points. As it searches for a new head coach for next season UM, now 7-4, is jockeying for bowl position to make the most of this one heading into this coming Friday's regular season finale at Pitt. Today had to impress bowl scouts. What surely did not was the small crowd -- small even factoring in the rain and lightning delay. Bowls worry about how a team's fans "travel." I worry about why UM's fans don't even travel to home games. ..... Halftime thoughts: Impressive half by Miami, which gave up the first score and then reeled off 24 unanswered points. Brad Kaaya's 193 yards passing and two defensive takeaways -- one for a TD -- led the way. I though it was strange UM was an underdog today (see original post below) and Canes are proving me right so far. ..... Note: I'll have live score updates throughout the game and be back with halftime and postgame comments. ..... Original post: Georgia Tech is 3-7 (after a 2-0 start) and the Canes are 6-4 entering today's 12:30 p.m. home matinee -- and yet the Yellow Jackets are 2 1/2-point favorites. Hmm. The wiseguys who set the CanestechVegas odds are usually on the mark or close enough to be profitable, but this line seems weird to me. The visiting will miss a bowl game for the first time since 1996, while the home team will go bowling ... somewhere. (Pinstripe Bowl?) UM being a slight underdog may be easily explained, though. Ga-Tech isn't that bad; five of their losses have been by one score. They beat Florida State, 22-16. More than that, the one thing the Jackets still do right, even in the midst of a lost year, is run the ball. That triple-option of theirs is averaging a big 257 yards rushing per game. And Miami's run defense? It is on track to be the first in UM history to allow a 5-yard opponent average per run since (are you ready?) 1944! So that's it. Miami is a slight 'dog because nobody thinks they'll adequately stop that triple-option today. This is a factor, too. The wildly undisciplined Canes had 96 penalties entering this week to lead the nation, having not yet figured out they're not good enough to be their own worse enemy at times. Despite all this I like Miami today. Senior Day for the season's final home game will add a positive emotional element, and UM's offense will strafe GT's D enough to give up a ton of rushing yards and still prevail. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-23.

Other college Week 12 state FBS games (listed in chronology):

East Carolina 44, UCF 7: Thursday rout in Orlando left Knights 0-11 and one loss from winless season.

South Florida 65, Cincinnati 27: Bulls were 2-point home 'dogs but swamped Cincy Friday night to go to 7-4 and stay alive to reach American conference title game.

No. 8 Florida 20, FAU 14: (2-8) at No. 8 Florida (9-1), Saturday noon: The now 10-1 Gators were favored by 31 but need overtime to escape now 2-9 FAU in The Swamp, 20-14. Florida was likely on auto-pilot with FSU and then SEC title game on deck. Florida could still make College Football Playoff by running table, but barely getting by the Owls won't help. FAU now is 0-16 in its history vs. Top 25 teams, but this was its best showing. Today arguably was a bigger day for FAU football than any win the program has had.

Western Kentucky 63, FIU 7: Ugly. Ug-ly! Sorry, but continuing this game, at 63-7, after a lightning delay was cruel and unusual punishment for both FIU fans who stuck around. Panthers finish season 5-7, one win shy of a bowl.

No. 14 Florida State 52, Chattanooga 13: FSU cruises with a 9-2 record into next week's test with rival Florida Gators.

Poll result: The odd fascination with Butch Davis continues: We asked in previous blogpost who you like as next UM football coach from among eight candidates (including a "someone else" option), and Butch Davis romped with 49.7 percent. Only others with sizable, double-digit support were Mario Cristobal at 15.6% and Charlie Strong at 12.8%. (Totals are from earlier this morning; you may still vote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 15, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 49.5%; plus UM routed at UNC 59-21; also Gators, Noles, FIU's tall task & more

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

Paris1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14. PRAY FOR PARIS, AND FOR PEACE ON EARTH. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Paris attacks, NFL/Dolphins Week 10 picks, Canes and Butch Davis, kiss Jose Fernandez goodbye, UM hoops, college basketball rankings 1 through 351, Heat yays/nays, Lobos T-shirts update & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our UM-North Carolina postgame thoughts: Find them here below, immediately after the new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: 49.5%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter Csmpostgame poll, and they show 49.5 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 59-21 loss at North Carolina putting UM's season record at 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Monday.

Deciphering the latest result: An understandable sharp drop to the lowest approval rating since Week 4. Probably still higher than it should be, perhaps owing to UM fan still on a cloud over Al Golden's dismissal.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Next poll: Nov. 21 (following game vs. Georgia Tech)

G10: NORTH CAROLINA 59, HURRICANES 21 (Final): Postgame thoughts: OK, divest of your stock in interim coach Larry Scott keeping the job. I believe today took that off the table (if that possibility ever was there, which I doubt). Like the Dolphins' Dan Campbell, Scott had begun 2-0 only to see the interim honeymoon end with a crash. Weird game, this 59-21 loss at North Carolina. Miami led in time of possession, nearly was equal in total yards, had a 300-yard day from Brad Kaaya and yet still lost big, dare say embarrassingly. Three turnovers to none by the Tar Heels will do that. So will giving up a punt-return touchdown. So will an abysmal run-defense allowing some 300 ground yards. A sobering defeat. One that sadly answers the question, "How close is The U to being 'back'?" ..... Halftime: Let us count the ugliness. Zero points. Thirty-one points allowed. Nineteen net yards rushing. Nine penalties for 80. Nine penalties -- in one half. Three turnovers. Awful. This is beginning to feel like the 58-0 loss to Clemson that got Al Golden fired. Somehow, Miami has more time of possession and total yards. But the scoreboard says it all. ..... Note: I'll be updating the score throughout the game and be back with halftime and postgame analysis prior to the posting of the postgame poll. ..... Original post: I'm not sure if beating the Tar Heels at their place would qualify as the "signature win" that always seemed to 

Canesuncelude Al Golden, but it'd be close enough for interim replacement Larry Scott and maybe for Miami fans, too. North Carolina is good, 8-1 and ranked No. 23 to UM's 6-3 and unranked. The 3:30 p.m. game finds the Canes uncommonly big 13-point underdogs. Why? One reason: The Duke team that Miami needed a disputed last-second miracle to beat was just walloped 66-31 by UNC. The Heels have a big-time passing game. Brad Kaaya's Canes may need a ton of points to pull off an upset. Heck the betting over/under is around Fedora66 points, high even for college. UNC with a win would stay on track for the ACC Coastal Division crown
and eliminate Miami's faint hopes. Miami with a win would still be alive to reach the conference title game. The Hurricanes have owned this series lately, winning two in a row and four of past five over UNC including 47-20 in Miami last year. But keeping that trend going looks like a mighty task. Quick aside: UNC's coach is the wonderfully named Larry Fedora (pictured left). My pick: North Carolina, 38-24.

Other college Week 11 state FBS games (all today, in chronology):

No. 10 Florida 24, South Carolina 14: Gators now 9-1 and trying to run the table and somehow still rise into the College Football Playoff's top four. 

Middle Tennessee 24, FAU 17: One of of those seasons for the now 2-8 Owls.

No. 16 Florida 34, North Carolina State 17: Lots of Dalvin Cook as Noles go to 8-2.

Marshall 52, FIU 0: FIU, now 5-6 after this humbling loss, must win next week to gain bowl-eligibility. Tall task, with 8-2 Western Kentucky up after tough Marshall.

South Florida 44, No. 22 Temple 23: Marlon Mack (Truck) leads upset that has Bulls 6-4 and bowl-eligible for first time since 2010.

Off this week: UCF. Knights are 0-10. Will they find a way to lose to the bye week?

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 11, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 59.6%; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) with UM loss, Cats big win, FIU, Gators, baseball, Heat & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 12: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The odds against Dan Campbell reviving Dolphins but why he might, NFL Week 5 picks, World Series poll, my MLB postseason picks and Rootability Scale, Philbin-firing verdict & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 59.6%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 59.6 percent overrall satisfaction (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday's 29-24 loss at Florida State putting UM's season record at 3-2 1aa1acsmoverall and 0-1 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, 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.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Next poll: Oct. 17 (following game vs. Virginia Tech)

Interpreting the latest vote: Honestly, I have no idea what's going on here -- a sharp spike in "satisfied" votes despite a big loss at Florida State. Could be a bunch of FSU fans voting . Could be UM fans not displeased to narrowly lose a road game to a ranked opponent. More likely, it's the anti-Al Golden crowd imagining this result moves them one step closer to a coaching change. One would assume a low satisfaction number would serve that purpose much better, but that's just me being logical.

G5: FLORIDA STATE29, HURRICANES 24: NOT TIME FOR AL GOLDEN'S SIGNATURE WIN: Final: UM loses 29-24, despite 405 yards passing and three TDs by Brad Kaaya. Miami could not stop FSU's Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 222 yards and scored three times. UM coach Al Golden now is 0-5 vs. Florida State and still seeking his first victory (0-13) against teams that finish ranked. An upset win tonight, which I had predicted, would have taken a ton of heat off Golden. This will just turn the temperature higher. ..... Fourth Q: UM 4th-down pass batted down inside of a minute left. Canes will lose. ... Cook 23-yard run and FSU has lead back 29-24 after missed 2-point attempt. Cook now with 206 yards rushing. ... UM with its first lead, 24-23, with 10 minutes left on Kaaya's scoring pass to Coley. ... FSU 25-yard FG and 23-17 lead with just under 12 minute left. Tracy Howard costly pass-interference penalty had given FSU 1st-and-goal. ..... Third Q: Another big stop by the UM defense. ... We got a game! UM within 20-17 on Kaaya quick 1-yard flip to Joe Yearby. ... Dumb dumb dumb personal foul against Stacy Coley. UM not good enough to have that. ... Promising defensive stop by UM to open half. ..... Halftime: Miami may be fortunate to only be down 20-10. Key stat: Seminoles lead in rushing yards, 167-2. UM's defense hasn't been able to contain Dalvin Cook. I still don't rule out Miami's chances, but a defensive turnaround is required. ..... Second Q: Noles miss 49-yard FG in final seconds, a big break. ... FSU up 20-10 on short FG nearing 2-minute warning. ... Huge defensive stop for Miami in red zone, get ball back on downs. ... UM within 17-10 on Rashawn Scott 58-yard pass play from Kaaya. ... FSU adds short FG fro 17-3 lead. ..... First Q: FSU 14-3 on Cook's second big TD play, this a 36-yard pass play. UM defense abysmal so far. ... Canes within 7-3 on 30-yard FG but it's a downer. Had 1st-and-goal; red zone offense keeps letting Miami down. ... UM catches a break with FSU player ejected for helmet hit on Brad Kaaya. ... Stacy Coley, partying like it's 2013. ... FSU 7-0 on Dalvin Cook 72-yard run with option pitch. Guess his hamstring's fine. ... OK I'm on record: Canes, 27-24. Let's go see! ..... Original post: It's 3-1 Miami at No. 12-ranked and 4-0 Florida State tonight at 8 in Tally, and the Canes are this victory away from being back up in the polls -- and from coach Al Golden taking a huge step to start winning back support from 1aa1acanesfsuan agitated fan base. FSU is favored by 8 1/2 points but I don't know about that. I'm sensing a not so major upset in Miami's ACC opener. Noles star running back Dalvin Cook (from Miami) is hobbled by a tender left hamstring that likely won't keep him out but likely will limit him. And FSU's offense beyond Cook has not been special; transfer QB Everett Golson has been closer to OK than great. Brad Kaaya and Joe Yearby give UM just as much offensive pop if not more. They key will be the Canes' defense ruining FSU's clean slate of zero turnovers. Miami has much to overcome to make my upset call come true. FSU has won five straight in this traditional series and conference rivalry entering its 60th meeting. Golden is 0-4 vs. the Seminoles and 0-12 with UM vs. teams that finished a season ranked. That makes valid the criticism that Golden hasn't won big games and doesn't yet have a signature win. Tonight will change all that -- or only underline the truth of it. My pick: Hurricanes 27-24.

College Week 6 state FBS games (in chronology; all games Saturday):

FIU 52, Texas-El Paso 12: FIU level at 3-3 with a home bopping leading one to wonder why the UTEP Miners bother fielding a team.

Rice 27, FAU 26: Bad blown-lead home loss for Owls, now 1-4.

South Florida 45, Syracuse 24: Nice win for Bulls, now 2-3, over Power Five conference visitor.

Connecticut 40, UCF 13: Now 0-6. Knights, who were a slim favorite, may be one of worst teams in nation.

No. 11 Florida 21, Missouri 3: Defense-strong Gators rocketed 14 spots up the polls after Swamping No. 3 Ole Miss 38-10 last week, and now are 6-0 with today's big road win. UF coach Jim Elwain referenced a somewhat obscure American pop band called The Cyrkle and its 1966 hit "Red Rubber Ball" in challenging his Gators to not be a one-hit wonder. That song was huge, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard charts; however The Cyrkle actually was a two-hit wonder, as its followup single, "Turn-Down Day," peaked at No. 16. Maybe sneaky McElwain knew that and was counting Missouri as that second big hit?

 

PANTHERS OPEN 22ND SEASON WITH 7-1 WIN!: Overshadowed though it is on the larger SoFla sports plate by Miami-FSU football tonight, the Florida Panthers opened 1aa1aflacatstheir 22nd NHL season at home vs. the Philly Flyers and won big, 7-1. That's typical Cats luck: Not even the star in town on their Opening Night. Florida has made the Stanley Cup playoffs only four times -- in 1996 '97, 2000 and '12. Doing it this season will be tough in a dense Eastern Conference, but optimism is founded coming off last season's league-leading 25-point standings improvement under first-year coach Gerard Gallant. The future seems bright. The Panthers are ascending, led by young blades like Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad, as well as veterans like Jaromir Jagr (who scored twice tonight) and goalie Roberto Luongo. A healthy Luongo could see the Cats in the playoffs. The stakes for this franchise are not just on the ice, of course. Florida was dead-last in NHL attendance last season, averaging only 11,265 fans per game and 66.1 percent capacity in the Sunrise arena. Rumors about the team relocating to Quebec City (or elsewhere) will only amplify if we don't see a playoff-caliber team that begins to spark a rebirth in interest reflected in noticeably bigger crowds.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCT. 11): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature (updated Monday) 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. Click on Hot Button for today's abbreviated print-only version:

1aa1ahotbutton1. HURRICANES: Golden denied signature win in Tally: Saturday night’s 29-24 Miami loss at Florida State means the Canes under Al Golden are now 0-5 against the Seminoles and 0-13 against teams that finished a season ranked. For UM’s embattled fifth-year coach, the search for the elusive Big Win goes on. But is the time to find it growing short?

2. DOLPHINS: Fins undergo major coaching upheaval during bye: The bye week was goodbye week for coach Joe Philbin and defensive chief Kevin Coyle, both fired and replaced internally. Philbin had 52 games to prove he wasn’t anything special. New interim coach Dan Campbell gets 12 games, starting next Sunday at Tennessee, to prove that he is.

3. PANTHERS: Cats open 22nd season with huge win: The NHL season opened at home for Florida on Saturday with a 7-1 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers. Ageless star Jaromir Jagr (who scored two goals) says he won’t cut his hair until the Cats make the playoffs. Given this club’s track record, I’m picturing Jagr as Troy Polamalu.

4. BASEBALL: Division playoffs on; Miami searches for manager: The NL and AL division series are under way. Aside to Marlins fans: To refresh your memory, the “postseason,” which Miami has experienced twice in 23 seasons and not for 12 years, involves only teams good enough to not be looking for yet another new manager.

5. GATORS: Florida keeps the big hits coming: UF was No. 11 and 5-0 before winning 21-3 at Missouri on Saturday. Coach Jim McElwain said he didn’t want UF to be a one-hit wonder like The Cyrkle with “Red Rubber Ball” in 1966. (Should we tell McElwain they had a second hit? Or that none of his players got the reference?)

6. HEAT: San Antonio here for exhibition Monday: With Oct. 28 NBA season opener drawing near, Miami hosts the Spurs in their third preseason game tonight. Pretend it's a big game, if you must.

7. NASCAR: Johnson eliminated in Chase: Jimmie Johnson is out in his big for a seventh NASCAR season championship. Raise your hand if you're clear on the new Chase format. Yeah, me neither.
 
8. FANTASY SPORTS: DraftKings, FanDuel under scrutiny: It's obviously gambling. Worse, there are now suggestions of insider trading. Remember when you followed sports for fun and watched games for enjoyment?
 
9. FIU: Panthers roll up 52 points: FIU evened its record at 3-3 with a 52-12 rout of Texas-El Paso. Isn't that reason enough for UTEP to re-think fielding a football team?
 
10. GOLF: U.S. wins Presidents Cup: Phil Mickelson played the wrong ball and cost the U.S. team a two-hole penalty in the Presidents Cup, but the U.S. overcame the blunder and won it anyway Sunday. Which would be a big deal if I knew or cared about the Presidents Cup.
 
Missing the cut: WNBA Finals ... Brazil wins pro beach volleyball in Fort Lauderdale ... Sepp Blatter's 90-day suspension ... Willis McGahee leads UM's latest Hall of Fame class.

THE HOT LIST: DOLPHIN CENTERS OF ATTENTION: Current Dolphin Mike Pouncey joined an exclusive list last week. Players in franchise history who have started at least 50 regular-season games at the center position:

Center                    Starts    Years

Tim Ruddy                140      1994-03

Jim Langer               109      1970-79

Dwight Stephenson     87       1980-87

Jeff Uhlenhake          59       1989-93

Tom Goode               55       1966-69

Mike Pouncey            50       2011-current

Poll result: "Let's Go Cubs!": We are all Cubs, apparently. In the previous blogpost I asked who you're rooting for to win the World Series among the final eight teams, and the Chicago Cubs had 46.9 percent, with no other team closer than 10.5%.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 03, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 4.6%; plus how our teams' rank in ESPN Ultimate Standings, Dolphins/NFL Week 4 picks, UM falls at Cincy, why ticket brokers hate Fins, D. Wade, doubting 'Marlins Man,' Heat-expectations verdict & more

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

1) Ii is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3: Like to see Howard Schnellenberger in the College Football Hall of Fame? There's a new petition at change.org. 2) Marlins 2B Dee Gordon named a finalist for MLB Players Choice Award for Man of the Year, encompassing off-field good works. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-expectations poll, 'Marlins Man' to Golden's rescue, Philbin firing odds, SOPY standings, NFL Pix 'n Lobos Fantasy update, Pope Francis' new single & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Dolphin Brent Grimes says the arrest of his wife is not a distraction. The national group, People Who Believe Him, is meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth." --Greg Cote

Find our UM-Cincy in-game blog and postgame thoughts immediately under the latest CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 4.6%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan 1aa1acsmSatisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 4.6 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Thursday's 34-23 loss at Cincinnati putting UM's season record at 3-1. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Saturday.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Next poll: Oct. 10 (following game at Florida State)

Interpreting the latest vote: Expected a huge fall, and saw one. A plunge this steep seems, for me, a bit harsh for a team 3-1, but I get it. Losing at Cincy was a bad defeat, one that underlined all the worst feelings about The U being stuck in mediocrity and doubts about Al Golden being the answer.

G4: CINCINNATI 34, HURRICANES 23: Final: Where to start in counting the ways UM lost? Settling for too many field goals and missing two of them. Seeing a 50-yard punt return TD negated by a penalty. Being stopped on downs late at the Cincy 5. Three points in the second half. Miami didn't score enough, or stop enough, and so the Canes are now 3-1 heading into FSU Week. Cincinnati isn't bad, but this definitely is a game UM needed to win -- and a result that will feed the flames under coach Al Golden. ..... Fourth Q: Killer. UM stopped on 4th down at Cincy 5, wasting a 45-yard pass to Herb Waters. ... Miami in trouble now, down 34-23 with 6:54 left after getting burned for 52-yard Cincy pass to set up short TD. ... Miami settles for 26-yard FG to pull within 27-23 after failing on 3rd-and-6. Weird call, to run, and to run inside. ..... Third Q: Scoreless third playing into Cincy's hands, not The U's. ... Late third, another missed chance. ... Man, this hurts. Penalties hurting UM, especially this one: Hold negates 50-yard Corn Elder punt-return TD, then UM misses FG. ..... Half: At 27-20, Cincy, Miami fans who think dominance is a birthright as well as the anti-Al Golden crowd will be fuming. The more reasoned among the fan base will take a deep breath and understand that 4-0 is still very much in play. I'd not worry much at this point. Not yet. But that's just me. ..... Second Q: Cincy adds short FG just before halftime for 27-20 lead at the break. UM pass defense better improve or Canes could be headed for an upset loss. ... Canes miss 51-yard FG, fail to take advantage of short Cincy punt and great field position. That in turn gives Cincy good field position and it scores for 24-20 lead. ... UM back in charge 20-17 as 40-yard pass sets up short Joe Yearby TD run. ... Cincy 17-13 on 51-yard FG. ... Getting safety Deon Bush back for second half will help. But enough? ..... First Q: Big INT by Miami defense. Told you (in the preview below) that Cincy mistakes might help UM. Takeaway is parlayed into short Mark Walton TD run to make it 14-13. ... Canes within 14-6 on 47-yard FG. ... Another "Fire Al Golden" banner above Nippert Stadium. Relentless. ... Wow. UM gives up 69-yard punt return to set up quick TD pass and sudden 14-3 hole. ... Canes defense dominated in opening Cincy drive capped by 29-yard run, and Miami trails for first time all season at 7-3. ... UM 3-0 on 41-yard FG to end opening drive. ... Hate those Canes uniforms. Gawd. ... Fun Nissan "Heisman House" commercial featuring Vinny Testaverde. ..... 1aa1abearcats 1aa1acanesOriginal post: Miami's last game before the Oct. 10 huge one at No. 11 Florida State, a duel that could find the Canes ranked to make it a Top 25 matchup if Miami avoids stumbling here. And the biggest danger of that? UM players looking ahead to FSU, of course! This game will be about focus on the task at hand as 3-0 Miami visits the 2-2 Cincy Bearcats in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN. UM is a modest 6-point favorite -- neither oddsmakers nor the polls are quite yet sold on Miami -- but I think the Hurricanes will cover that in a high-scoring game. Cincy has 10 turnovers and UM has nine takeaways, a combination that suggests the B-Cats may have a hand in their own defeat. And that's accentuated  by the fact redshirt-freshman QB Hayden Moore will make his first start for Cincy. He threw for a ridiculous 557 yards in three quarters off the bench last week, though, so the Canes need to get in his pocket and make his feel his inexperience. Meanwhile Cincy's defense has allowed 87 points in its two losses. Brad Kaaya, Joe Yearby and Rashawn Scott, et al, could have a field day. My pick: Hurricanes, 48-24.

College Week 5 state FBS games (in chronology; games Saturday unless noted):

Memphis 24, South Florida 17: Credible every last night vs. unbeaten foe, but Bulls fall to 1-3.

Tulane 45, UCF 31: It's official, then. The 0-4 Knights really suck.

Massachusetts 24, FIU 14: Disappointing road show by Panthers, now 2-3.

No. 11 Florida State (3-0) 24, Wake Forest 16: Perfunctory Noles road win in advance of UM visit.

No. 25 Florida 38, No. 3 Ole Miss 10: Wow. Enormously impressive Swamp upset by Gators should have UF rocketing up the polls.

Off this week: FAU (1-3).

DOLPHINS, MARLINS LAG IN ESPN'S ANNUAL 'ULTIMATE STANDINGS': There is where ESPN The Mag ranks all 122 teams in America's Big Four sports. No. 1 overall are the San Antonio Spurs and other sport leaders are Tampa Bay Lightning 3rd, Seattle Seahawks 5th and Pittsbrgh Pirates 8th. Rankings are based on eight criteria including owner, coach, players, fan relations and affordability. Locally, the Heat slip in at a solid 21st overall and the Panthers a respectable 48th. The opthers? Not so good. The Dolphins are 92nd and the Marlins 106th. Dead last? Sorry, Toronto Maple Leafs.

UPSET BIRD DAY/NFL WEEK 4: Bounced back last week to go 13-3 straight-up and 10-6 against the spread, but our Week 4 got off to an unlucky start last night. We have an exact-score 23-20 bull's-eye if 1aa1afripixPittsburgh attempts and makes that 50-yard field goal in overtime. Instead, boneheadedly, Mike Tomlin goes for it, fails, and Ravens win. Oh well. Click on Week 4 Gems for all our latest NFL picks and full prediction capsules. Highlights: Dolphins fail to overcome tough Jets defense in London (sorry, folks); return of Drew Brees gets Saints off the schneid; and Giants win at Buffalo in our Upset Bird Special ("Aawwk!"). Also click on Fresh Attack On Redskins Name for my accompanying Friday Page NFL notes column, which leads with the Philadelphia Eagles now refusing to acknowledge their division rival's controversial nickname.

WHY TICKET BROKERS HATE THE MIAMI DOLPHINS: An interesting sports-business article today in the Wall Street Journal flies under the very headline I've used have here, with the subhed, "In bid to control the resale market, team owner Stephen Ross is investing in one brokerage -- while cutting off others." Anyone who's delved into the secondary ticket market for Dolphins seats might find it worth a read. Click here to do so.

1aa1adriveoceanDWYANE WADE: BASKETBALL STAR, FASHIONABLE MAN: Heat star Dwyane Wade graces the cover of the new Ocean Drive magazine, accompanied by a story (click HERE to read) in which he talks about his oft-criticized fashion sense and also about his life, wife and kids. There's even a little bit of basketball talk, although Wade's style and fashion are clearly the focal point.

Poll result: Much optimism for improved Heat: We asked you to set the bar on Heat expectations and 37.2 percent predicted high seed/deep playoff run and another 24.0% predicted Eastern finals or better. Less optimistic were the 25.8% forecasting no playoffs or first-round ouster, and 13.0% seeing a low seed and maybe first-round advance.

CONTROVERSY! 'MARLINS MAN' ALLEGIANCE TO GOLDEN QUESTIONED!: In the previous blogpost we had an item on 'Marlins Man' Laurence Leavy's plan to fly a pro-Al Golden 1aa1aleavynolebanner over the next UM home game Oct. 17 vs. Virginia Tech. But several readers have since questioned his motives, suggesting he's feigning support so that Golden will stay and the Canes' mediocrity might continue because [dramatic pause] ... LEAVY IS A 'NOLES FAN! That's right. The man purporting to be a big Golden supporter is pictured here in an FSU hat. He is a major FSU financial booster; click here for a brief video of him being honored for his financial contributions before a game in Tallahassee. This takes the UM football Air Wars to a whole new and potentially sinister level. Are the anti- and pro-Golden banners what they seem? 

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 21, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 35.9%; plus UM beats Nebraska 36-33 in OT; also FIU wins, other state Collball Week 3, early verdict on new Herald look & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19. Click on Random Evidence for the farewell collector's edition of our last Sunday notes column. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami Herald redesign with poll, NFL Week 2 picks, Seminoles & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My Canes-Nebraska game column: Find our in-game blog directly below the new CSM poll. Click on This Won't Help Golden Much for my game column from the stadium, newly online.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 35.9%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame 1aa1acsmpoll, and they show 35.9 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very"and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday's 36-33 overtime victory over visiting Nebraska putting UM's season record at 3-0. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, 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.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Next poll: Oct. 1 (following game at Cincinnati)

Interpreting the latest vote: Majority dissatisfaction over UM's blown 23-point lead was balanced by the ultimate win and by the 3-0 record for a slight favorable bump in the overall approval rating. Still significantly below what you'd think the record would indicate, with Al Golden's unpopularity a major factor.

G3: HURRICANES 36, NEBRASKA 33 (FINAL/OT): UNRANKED? NO MATTER. IT WAS A HUGE GAME: Final: Miami led 14-0 fast and then 30-10 and then blew it and saw Nebraska force overtime before surviving 36-33. Wow. So much to like, so much not to. I'll have my game column online soon. ..... Overtime: What an escape! UM wins 36-33 on Michael Badgley 28-y FG after a Corn Elder INT thwarts Nebraska's drive to start OT. That is correct: A team named Cornhuskers were just beaten by a man named Corn. ..... Fourth Q: The unthinkable just happened. Nebraska tied it 33-33 with an 8-yard TD pass and 2-point conversion with 33 seconds to play. Overtime. Nightmare. ... Uh oh. Cornies within 33-25 on 21-y TD pass with 3:46 left. Miami can't possibly blow this game. can it? ... NEB within 33-18 on 10-yard TD pass and 2-point conversion with 8:36 left. ... UM settles for a fourth FG to make it 33-10. Kaaya up to 366 yards, a career high, still with 11 minutes left. ... Kaaya throws end-zone interception, his first turnover of season. ..... Third Q: Deon Bush pickoff for Miami defense brings third quarter to a close. ... UM settles for 41y FG and 30-10 lead after holding penalty negates 19y Mark Walton scoring run. ... Nebraska bags first TD, moves within 27-10 on 22-y pass mid-quarter. ... UM up 27-3 quickly on Joe Yearby's tackle-busting 41-y scoring run. ..... Halftime: Kaaya with 226 yards passing and two TDs and dominant defense spell the first half. Now we see if UM can pull away and make it an impressive rout, or allow a Cornhuskers comeback. ..... Second Q: Huge INT by Artie Burns, his third already this season, for Miami. NEB was driving, threatening to pull within 20-10 and make a game of it late in half. ... Cornies get on board with 49y FG, Canes counter with 27-yard for 20-3 lead. Settled, though, wasting a 53-yard Kaaya completion to Rashawn Scott. ..... First Q: UM adds FG for 17-0 lead. Near-perfect quarter for The U. Three for three on scoring drives; three Nebraska punts. ... Told ya so! Said Brad Kaaya would have a huge day against Nebraska's lousy pass-D and already in the first quarter it's 14-0 on his 10-y TD pass to Chris Herndon and then his 11-y strike to Tyre Tyre Brady. ..... Original post: You know that Nebraska is 1-1 under a new coach, that Miami is 2-0 over little guys Bethune-Cookman and FAU, that neither team is ranked and that both programs are trying to recapture their old mojo and get back to who they 1aa1acanesnebwere. You also know none of that will seem to matter today when the ball kicks off at 3:30 in Miami Gardens. It will feel big. Special. It will be Nebraska's first trip here since the '95 Orange Bowl. It will be a rematch of a titan series that provided UM three of its five national championships and Nebraska one of its five. OK. That's enough with nostalgia, backstory and hype. On to this game! It's seen as a tossup, with Miami favored by three points based on the home field. But that's guesswork because this will be UM's first 2015 test against someone its own size, someone capable of beating the Canes. But will the Cornhuskers win? No. Nebraska has a porous secondary that has given up almost 700 yards passing (692) in its first two games. Brad Kaaya should have a huge day. Miami will show more on offense and defense than we have yet seen in what will be the coming-out party for the '15 Canes. Because of that, the pressure is all on UM, the home favorite. Of course that means the pressure is all on coach Al Golden, as usual. The legitimate rap on Golden is he hasn't won the biggest games in his four-plus seasons here -- that he lacks "signature win"-type victories. This would fit the category, silence the critics if even for a little while. Nebraska may be 1-1, but the stage is big. ABC is televising. The crowd could approach a sellout. Anticipation has been high. Bigger tests lay ahead, yes, but for UM and Golden, shouldn't the credit for winning today mirror what the damnation would be for losing? My pick: Hurricanes 34-23.

Other college Week 3 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all today unless noted):

No. 9 Florida State 14, Boston College 0: A rarity last night. Noles win with defense!

Maryland 35, South Florida 17: Flat roadie for now 1-2 Bulls.

Buffalo 33, FAU 15: Owls stay winless with very disappointing home result.

Furman 16, UCF 15: Stunning, embarrassing home loss has Knights 0-3.

FIU 39, North Carolina Central 14: Panthers now 2-1. QB Alex McGough? Not bad!

Florida 14, Kentucky 9: Florida won a 29th straight game over KY. Some doubted they would. Not me.

Poll result: Reaction mixed to Herald's new look: We invited you to weigh in on the Miami Herald's re-design that debuted this week, and it was 37.6 percent positive, 40.0% negative and 22.4% "still not sure."

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 13, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 34.2%; plus UM finishes strong, whips FAU 44-20; also it's Upset Bird Day in Miami, Stugotz reigns in LeBatard Show fantasy poll, remembering 9/11 & more

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


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12. It was 14 years ago yesterday. 'Never forget' doesn't just mean once a year. 2)
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBatard Show fantasy-draft poll, Upset Bird Countdown, Weighing The Fish, Serena verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My UM-FAU game column: Click on Howard's Night, Al's Burden for my column from Boca Raton off last night's 44-20 Hurricanes win. It was the night Howard Schnellenberger dreamed of (minus the lightning delay that upset him), but it was hardly the night of Al Golden's dreams, at least not early. And find our gamepost and postgame thoughts in the blog just below the latest CSM poll. 

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 34.2%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 34.2 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Friday's 44-20 victory at FAU putting 1aa1acsmMiami's season record at 2-0. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, 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 10 a.m. today/Sunday.

Interpreting the latest vote: Not usual to see a drop in approval after your team goes to 2-0 with a 24-point road win, but UM fas had two-thirds of Friday's game to wring hands over a poor showing before that late surge. The lesser opponent also factors in. So does widespread animus against Al Golden, which doubtlessly is impacting the voting in 2015.

2015 CSM Results

Week 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Week 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Next poll: Sept. 19 (following game vs. Nebraska) 

G2: HURRICANES 44, FAU 20: STRONG FINISH SPARES UM AN EMBARRASSMENT: Final: What a bizarre night all-round. Another hour-plus lightning delay pauses a second straight UM game. And for much of the night, before and after the delay, the Canes struggle with underdog FAU (tied 20-20) before finally pulling away to a comfy-enough 44-20 win. Fleeting thoughts of a major upset dissipated fast as Miami took control. An impressive win by Miami? No. But the tenor of the game and who had the emotional edge was predictable. This was the biggest home game in FAU history and set a stadium record by drawing 30,321 fans. For UM, this was just a smaller opponent with thoughts of Nebraska, here next Saturday. I expected the look-ahead factor to cause a fairly competitive game; see my predicted score below. I had it 45-20, missing an exacto by one point. ..... Original post: Welcome to Howard Bowl II as the program Howard 1aa1acanesfauSchnellenberger founded hosts the program he put on the national map and made a champion. This doesn't present as the waltz last week was for Miami, the 45-0 home saunter past undermanned Bethune-Cookman. Florida Atlantic is bigger and better than B-C. Let's not over-dramatize it, though. The Canes are an 18-point favorite and this should not come down to fingers-crossed in the fourth quarter for UM fans who make the short trek up to Boca for their school's first visit to FAU's neat little campus stadium (the House That Howard Built). It seats just under 30,000 and it'll be filled and rocking tonight. Looking forward to the ambience, and the game could be exciting, too, if you love scoring. The Owls don't have the defense to limit Brad Kaaya and company much. Then again, FAU quarterback Jacquez Johnson is capable (and experienced) in the art of the shootout. UM won these teams' only other meeting, Howard Bowl I, by 34-6 in 2013. By the way, Schnellenberger, the Wise Old Owl now 81, says he thinks FAU has a real upset shot tonight and doesn't see much difference between the programs' talent levels. God help Al Golden if he's proven right. My pick: Hurricanes, 45-20.

Other college Week 2 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all today/Saturday):

No. 11 Florida State 34, South Florida 14: Dalvin Cook crazies for 266 yards rushing for Noles.

Florida 31, East Carolina 24: Not a win to please the Swampers

Indiana 36, FIU 22: Panthers fail to bag a second straight big road upset.

Stanford 31, UCF 7: Knights now a disappointing 0-2.

1aa1afripixIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN MIAMI. HELL, IN AMERICA!: Our 10-day countdown is over. Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions has begun! A Miami Herald tradition that began in 1991 continues with our Week 1 picks, which got off to a fortunate solid start Thursday as we called Patriots' win over Steelers and lucked to push against the spread thanks to that (very) late Pittsburgh score. Click on Week 1 Gems for all our opening-week picks, including the Dolphins' expected comfortable win in Washington. And click on Fearful Forecast for our accompanying NFL column that features our division-by-division picks as we try to break with long-standing tradition by actually getting a Super Bowl prediction right for a bleepin' change. We'll update you every Tuesday here in the blog on how we're doing with our picks.

STUGOTZ ANOINTED LEBATARD FANTASY-LEAGUE FAVORITE; GREG'S LOBOS FIFTH: We invited you to vote in a blind poll based on all teams' first four picks, not knowing which of 10 LeBatard radio show players you were voting for. Your winner: Stugotz (pictured exalting in his triumph) in a runaway. Greg's Lobos: fifth place. Teams you liked least: LeBatard and his Papi. Here are your results:

1aa1astugotz1st place: JON "STUGOTZ" WEINER, co-host, Team #1/led by Adrian Peterson, 31.1%.

2nd: "FAT" CHRIS, Shipping Container, Team #8/Julio Jones, 14.3%.

3rd: BILLY, Shipping Container, Team #7/Marshawn Lynch, 12.6%.

4th: MIKE RYAN, producer, Team #2/Le'Veon Bell, 12.2%.

5th: GREG COTE, Tuesday guest host -- me, Greg's Lobos! -- Team #9/Andrew Luck, 11.6%.

6th (tie): ALLYSON, Shipping Container, Team #4/Jamaal Charles, 5.6%.

6th (tie): CHARLIE, Fusion TV, Team #6/Rob Gronkowski, 5.6%.  

8th: ROY, Shipping Container, Team #3/Eddie Lacy, 4.6%.

9th: DAN LEBATARD, radio god, Team #10/C.J. Anderson, 1.7%.

10th: PAPI, Dan's dad, Team #5/Antonio Brown, 0.7%.

Note: There are two Greg's Lobos teams, this one in the radio fantasy league and the original Lobos in my family league. We'll be updating you on the radio league every Tuesday on-air, and I'll update you on both Lobos teams Tuesdays here in the blog. 

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 07, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 62.3%; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) with Hurricanes, Dolphins, Brady, Marlins, Serena, Heat, FIU; also Upset Bird Countdown (4 days) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Happy Labor Day, fellow workers! 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, the next-to-last that will appear in the print edition, meaning the newspaper. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rout Bethune in opener, College Week 1, Izzy Gutierrez tells the truth, Dan Marino makes wine, Dolphins' cut day, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 4 DAYS: Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions 1aa1afripix

1aa1a4 1AA1AEAGLESPHILin the Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11. We are doing a 10-day countdown. This year's countdown theme is bird-related nicknames from America's Big Four sports, newest to oldest. Today, at No. 4: Philadelphia Eagles, born 1933. [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66; #6--Baltimore Orioles/'54; #5--Atlanta Hawks/'51].

SOPY!: Watch for season's first weekly SOPY ranking here Tuesday/tomorrow in the blog. That's our college football State Offensive Player of the Year rankings encompassing FLA's seven FBS teams.

Small opponent, but big opener: Click on Canes Catch Lightning for my column off Saturday's 45-0 Hurricanes season-opening home win over Bethune-Cookman. 

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 62.3%: Results are certified official in our season's first Canesfan Satisfaction 1aa1acsmMeter postgame polls -- and they show 62.3 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Saturday's season-opening 45-0 victory over visiting Bethune-Cookman. Overall satisfaction is a combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, 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 11 a.m. today/Monday.

Interpreting the Week 1 results: A low-60s approval rating is unusually low following a win as convincing as 45-0. Three factors were in play. 1) The "it was only Bethune" caveat; 2) lingering hangover of last year's 6-7 season; and 3) an organized effort late in the voting cycle that stuffed the ballot box with "very dissatisfied" votes and pushed the overall approval rating down from what otherwise would have been in the 75 range.

2015 CSM Results

Week 1: 62.3% overall satisfaction (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Next poll: Friday night (following game at Florida Atlantic)

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2014--2.7% overall satisfaction (following 6-7 season); 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 (UPDATED): TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive 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:

1aa1ahotbutton1. HURRICANES: Lightning strikes! UM routs Bethune-Cookman in opener: Small opponent, big opener as Al Golden Year 5 launched Saturday night with a 45-0 rout of Bethune-Cookman. The game was delayed 75 minutes by lightning, after which the Canes scored three quick TDs to bust it open. UM plays FAU this Friday, after which the real season will start.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins cut roster to 53, open next Sunday: You know it's a boring Cut Day when biggest news is Andrew Franks unseating Caleb Sturgis as the kicker. Dolphins now prepare to open season next Sunday at Washington. First six QBs Miami faces will be Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, rookie Marcus Mariota and Brian Hoyer. And you wonder why Fins cornerbacks are smiling!?

3. NFL: Brady freed as Patriots-Steelers kick off season Thursday night: The federal court overturned Tom Brady's four-game Deflategate suspension, meaning the Patriots star QB is free to play Thursday night as New England host Steelers to open season. Things could only be going worse for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell if he'd turned up on that list of outed Ashley Madison infidelity clients.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Few upsets as Week 1 launches: Unanimous No. 1 Ohio State plays tonight, but Kickoff Saturday saw few notable upsets, with No. 15 Arizona State the highest-ranked team to lose. That's because most big schools open with cupcake opponents (see UM-Bethune, FSU-Texas State and Florida-New Mexico State).

5. MARLINS: We’re (still) on Stanton Watch as homestand begins: Been a lousy season, yes, but at least Marlins had won five of past six entering today and climbed to third in NL East as fans continued to await Giancarlo Stanton’s return from a wrist injury -- a return now uncertain. Plus, Friday was Star Wars Night! Meantime it was reported Dan Jennings would not return as manager in 2016. SHOCKING!

6. TENNIS: Can anyone stop Serena at U.S. Open?: A man was arrested when his drone crashed into stands of U.S. Open. He teaches at New York’s Academy of Innovative Technology — but evidently needs lessons on how to operate said technology. Meanwhile Serena Williams (who faces sister Venus next) continues seemingly destined for sport’s first calendar Grand Slam since 1988. No woman can stop her. Might take a drone strike.

7. HEAT: All 5 starters make NBA Top 100 list: As the Heat prepare to open training camp in a few weeks, all five starters made Sports Illustrated’s NBA Top 100, with Chris Bosh ranked 22nd, Dwyane Wade 30th, Goran Dragic 42nd, Luol Deng 56th and Hassan Whiteside 69th. Don’t feel too bad for Wade slipping. I needed a miner’s helmet and a pickaxe to find Kobe Bryant all the way down at 54.

8. FIU: Panthers open with big upset win at UCF: Thursday night’s 15-14 win over Central Florida makes this the first time since 2004 that FIU is 1-0 after a season-opening road victory. Panthers fans are thrilled — both of them! Whoa. Ouch. Too mean? OK, how’s this for a deal, FIU fans: Y’all sell out a home game, just one, and I’ll stop making fun.

9. RADIO: LeBatard radio show moves to mornings starting Tuesday: The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio and locally on 790 The Ticket moves to the 9 a.m.-to-1 p.m. time slot starting tomorrow/Tuesday. I happen to be a weekly co-host on the show, but that most certainly is not why I put this in this week’s Hot Button Top 10. Wait. Of course it is. Who am I kidding?

10. THE UPSET BIRD: Friday Page NFL picks are back this Friday: Greg Cote's 25th season of Friday NFL predictions in the Miami Herald debut this Friday. Hey, wait. That's me! The creepy yet occasionally prescient Upset Bird will be back on the page as well. "Aaaawwwk!"\

Missing the HB10 cut: Labor Day, when we celebrate the American work force by not working. ... Dan Marino is partner in a Washington State vineyard called Passing Time that just issued its first cabernet sauvignon. It has subtle notes of raspberry, cocoa and a former athlete looking for a new revenue stream. ... Florida Panthers and Eastern Airlines have partnered on a private charter jet for road trips. The Panthers are a first-class organization. If only they were a first-place organization. ... Shannon Briggs won a fight at the Hard Rock in Hollywood last night, settling the question of whether Shannon Briggs was still boxing. ... Former Italian soccer star Alessandro Nesta is the new coach of Miami FC, the NASL expansion team. When the team says it wants to draw fans from as far away as Naples, I guess they meant Italy. ... Former UM receiver and Dolphins No. 1 draft pick Randal Hill is running for the U.S. Congress in Miami. Old nickname: Thrill Hill. New nickname: Thrill on Capitol Hill. ... UFC star Ronda Rousey accepted an invitation to the Marine Corps Ball as the date of a Philadelphia soldier. He’ll be a perfect gentleman, or she’ll beat the !@#$ out of him. ... On a serious note, ESPN's Israel Gutierrez reveals he is gay and getting married. Congrats, Izzy. ... Finally, in entertainment news, Miley Cyrus shocked onlookers by showing up at an event fully clothed.

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...