October 30, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 64.3%. CSM approval shows sizable dip after escape from Chapel Hill; plus our Sunday Canes column, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), UM survives North Carolina to stay unbeaten, other state Collball Week 9 & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 30. Thanks to Paul Castronovo for having us on his Big 105.9 radio show this morning. Always enjoy it. 2) See previous blogpost for our latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter rating. Warning. It ain't pretty. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite Thursday night? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins embarrassed in Baltimore with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 picks, The List (Fins on Thursdays), ode to Fats Domino & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Canes our great hope at 7-0: Click Along For the Ride On the Road to 'Back' for our latest Sunday column. And by the way, if you aren't satisfied with 7-0, you may be trying a bit to hard not to be. Just sayin'.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: No. 8 Miami clicks Heels, moves to 7-0: UM on Saturday won 24-19 at North Carolina in what also was a (nervous) victory over the losing focus and looking ahead, with home games next vs. ranked Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. Must have been those equine blinders Mark Richt had fitted onto UM helmets Saturday. Oh, and by the way: Read somebody said UM's 7-0 feels like a "fraud." People, if you can't be happy with 7-0, perhaps you are trying a bit too hard not to be. 

2. DOLPHINS: Embarrassed Fins fall hard off national stage: Dolphins' game in Baltimore Thursday was first of three straight in prime time, a franchise first, the 40-0 humiliation an embarrassing pratfall off that national stage. As for Matt Moore's performance? Let's just say Jay Cutler has never, ever looked better.

3. HEAT: Early injuries hampering team out the gate: Miami's 2-3 start after Saturday's home loss to Boston has been marked by early injuries to key players, notably to Hassan Whiteside. Any team's fortunes rely on the crapshoot of good health. But is it too much to ask that your team at least stay injury-free for, like, the first week!? 

4. BASEBALL: Wild World Series about to end somebody's long suffering: As the World Series moves west to L.A. with Houston up 3-2, the Dodgers are seeking their first WS championship since 1988 while the Astros are after their first ever. No matter who wins, celebrating fans may need a quick lesson in how to throw a parade.

5. UM BASKETBALL: Cloud over Larranaga as season nears: The season opener for Canes men's hoops is only 12 days away, and UM is supposed to be really good. But – with coach Jim Larranaga professing innocence but admitting he is the unnamed Miami coach in that FBI recruiting probe – a major distraction welcomes the season.

6. PANTHERS: Typical mediocre start for high-hope Cats: A new coach, Dale Tallon back in charge, new hope, but it's a 4-6 start after' Saturday's home loss to Detroit, already well off playoff pace. They're in midst of five-game homestand, needing a spark. A reason for rekindled hope.

7. NFL: Turmoil continues to rock King Sport: Texans players are planning a pregame protest today over "inmates running the prison" comment by their team owner. No-win debate over national anthem protests continues. Now 17 owners on a conference call reportedly are plotting to oust commissioner Roger Goodell. Oh, and ratings are down!

8. HALL OF FAME: Riley, LeBatard among Miami inductees: Heat boss Pat Riley and Miami-based ESPN Radio lord Dan LeBatard were among latest inductees into Miami Chamber of Commerce Hall of Champions. Imagine LeBatard make the Hall of Fame despite all those years of steroid use!

9. MARLINS: Jeter, "Mr. Marlin" officially part ways: New boss Derek Jeter and Jeff Conine could not agree on Conine's role or salary, so he's out. So the Marlins dumped Mr. Marlin. Tony Perez and Andre Dawson are out for same reasons. How Loria-esque!

10. NASCAR: One race left before Homestead finale: Next Sunday in Phoenix is the final race before NASCAR's Nov. 19 grand finale down at Homestead. No Dale Jr. in the finals, though. Cinderella failed us.

Missing the HB10 cut: Aston Martin is selling a Tom Brady-edition automobile for $360,000. It is preprogrammed to drive straight to the Super Bowl ..... The Yankees parted ways with manager Joe Girardi after 10 seasons. See. I told ya it wouldn't last! ..... Florida Gators reportedly have ousted coach Jim McElwain, with ex-Canes coach Randy Shannon taking over on interim basis. There's a naked-man-lying-on-a-shark-in-a-boat joke there somewhere ..... It was reported Alabama's Nick Saban is America's highest-paid college football coach at $11.132 million. How much the guy gotta make to smile once in awhile!? ..... Astros' Yuri Gurriel disciplined for a racist slant-eye gesture aimed at Dodgers' Yu Darvish. Ah, sportsmanship! ..... Dolphins cheerleaders held annual Swimsuit Fashion Show. Instead of a calendar, troupe produced a 100-page coffee table book. Sounds like good bathroom "reading" material for Dad!

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 64.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 64.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 24-19 victory at North Carolina putting No. 8 UM's season record at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the ACC. That's a sharp drop to a season low after a fourth straight narrow win. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.
 
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
G7: 64.3% following 24-19 victory at North Carolina
Next poll: Nov. 4 following game vs. Virginia Tech 

NO. 8 HURRICANES 24, @NORTH CAROLINA 19: FOURTH STRAIGHT TIGHT GAME, BUT UM STAY UNBEATEN: Miami has won its past four games by a combined 18 points after today's 24-19 escape at North Carolina, but, when last I checked the math, 7-0 was 7-0 ..... Original post: This high-noon ACC Coastal kickoff in Chapel Hill figures as a rout, maybe even an ugly one. Miami is 6-0, 4-0 in the ACC and beginning to think it has a shot at working up into conversation for the four-team College Football Playoff. North MiauncCarolina is 1-7, 0-5 in the conference and, thanks largely to decimating injuries, every bit as bad, all over the field, as those records suggest. In some ways it's surprising Miami is "only" a 20 1/2-point favorite. And yet the seeming lopsidedness here is about all that should worry UM coach Mark Richt. With consecutive home games vs. ranked opponents Virginia Tech and Notre Dame following this, taking the Tar Heels too casually and mentally looking past them is about the only factor that could imperil the Canes here. Richt has been very good at marshaling his team's focus, though, and he has a little help. UNC has beaten Miami two in a row, and some Canes felt "disrespected" by the Heels' celebrating last year after a 20-13 win in Miami. That suggests the Hurricanes might just be in payback mode. A comfy win would be especially welcome following the past three games won by a combined total of just 13 points. "We're not foolish enough to think that we've arrived yet," Richt said of his team. "I don't think they believe that. They know we have to earn it." My pick: Hurricanes, 45-13

Other state FBS Week 9 games (chronologically, all Saturday unless noted):

Boston College 35, Florida State 3: It's time to say it. FSU is not "off to a slow start." FSU is not "struggling." FSU is a really bad team this season, and seemingly getting worse. This Friday night road loss puts Noles at 2-5, with even a minor bowl game looking more and more doubtful.

FIU 41, Marshall 30: Butch Davis' Panthers were 17-point road underdogs but started fast and held on for a huge win for the program in improving to 5-2. Cats stay in hunt for Conference USA title, and what a coaching rebirth so far for Butch!

No. 3 Georgia 42, Florida 7: Gators had won 21 of previous 26 meetings, but that meant zero in Jacksonville at this year's "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." Bulldogs were angling to get into SEC title game and CFP playoff, were 14-point favorites and had their way to drop Florida to 3-4.

Houston 28, No. 17 South Florida 24: Upset! Oh my. Percolating Bulls were 11-point home favorites but suffered first loss, are now 7-1 and could fall from polls or close to it.

FAU 42, Western Kentucky 28: Lane Kiffin's Owls took care of business with a tidy road win to improve to 5-3 and stay in hunt for C-USA title.

No. 18 UCF 73, Austin Peay 33: Hope you had the 'over.' Knights now 7-0 after rolling over and through their Ohio Valley Conference foe. 

National Collball Week 9 overview: Four big Top 25 Saturday matchups led by the one with direct College Football Playoff ramifications or both teams: No. 6 Ohio State rallying at home to beat No. 2 Penn State, 39-38. Others: 11-Oklahoma State beat 22-West Virginia 50-39; 25-Iowa State upset 4-TCU, 14-7; and 9-Notre Dame handled 14-North Carolina State, 35-14. 

THE LIST: STATE-COLLEGE FOOTBALL SALARIES: Income this season for the state of Florida's seven FBS-level head coaches, based on USA Today's annual database:

Coach, School                                2017 income

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State             $5.700 million

Jim McElwain, Florida                    $4.457

*-Mark Richt, Miami                        $4.000

Scott Frost, UCF                            $2.000

Charlie Strong, South Florida          $1.000

Lane Kiffin, FAU                             $950,000

Butch Davis, FIU                            $900,000

*-Richt salary is based on published reports. He was not included in USA Today database because UM is a private school.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Debacle (quick hits 40-0 loss in Baltimore). Time Is Right For Dolphins To Prove Doubters Wrong (on three straight prime-time games). The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Also: Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season. It Isn't Just Cutler. Back On Track & Ready To Roar. Jeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 93.0%. Still in the stratosphere; plus No. 8 UM beats Syracuse 27-19 to stay unbeaten; also, rest of Collball Week 8 (updated), Heat win 30th home Opening Night & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21. Click Cemetery Joggers for this week's latest Back In My Day video from the radio show. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 7 picks, your Heat expectations verdict, my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix n' Fantasy results, updated SOPY standings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Heat home opener / Pat Riley column: Heat opened at home with win last night vs. Indiana after losing Game 1 in Orlando earlier in week. In exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, Heat majordomo Pat Riley reflects on 50 years in NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for season. Click The Godfather Speaks to read.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 93.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 93.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-19 victory over visiting Syracuse putting No. UM’s season record at 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday.
 
 
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following game 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
Next poll: Oct. 28 following game at North Carolina

 

G6: SYRACUSE AT NO. 8 HURRICANES: UM COULD USE A REST, BUT CAN'T SLEEP ON ORANGE: Postgame thoughts: Malik Rosier's 344 yards passing and two TDs fronted Miami's big 27-19 victory over visiting Syracuse Saturday, but the win keeping No. 8 Miami unbeaten really happened because of UM's defense against Orange passer Eric Dungey. He was a nightmarish 14 for 41 with four interceptions. That Turnover Chain was busy ..... Original postConsecutive emotional, close, last-second wins -- 24-20 at nemesis Florida State, then 25-24 vs. Georgia Tech -- threaten to have the Hurricanes mentally drained, sort of needing a soft spot on the schedule to coast Syrmiathrough on auto-pilot. This looked like that week, once. That was until Syracuse stunned No. 2 Clemson last week, an attention getter for the Canes that lent backbone to Mark Richt's rote preaching about how dangerous the next opponent is. The Orange with Syrmia65prolific QB Eric Dungey will be the biggest test of the season so far for Miami's secondary, and, as Clemson learned, Syracuse can also bring it on defense. Syracuse is 4-3 but has won two straight. No. 8 Miami is 5-0 and favored by 17, up from an opening 14. With the first College Football Playoff rankings near, this is not a game for UM to lose if this season is to continue special. With ABC cameras watching, this 3:30 Saturday game will be another great stage for UM to preen, grow its brand and continue toward "Back" -- or to slip and fall with the nation watching. Canes have won 10 in a row dating to last season; why stop now? I like Richt's perspective on being ranked so high: "First of all, you're not a Top-10 program unless at the end of the year you're a Top-10 program," he said. "We were ranked 10th last year and lost four in a row, so we became unranked. We were happy to be ranked at the end of the year [a final 20th after a bowl win]. But we're not at the point where we can just line up and impose our will on people." That makes Syracuse an opponent UM will have to work hard and play well to beat. I believe the Canes will. (Pictured left: A bit of nostalgia. Cover of a Syracuse-Miami program from game played in 1965). My pick: Hurricanes, 34-23.

Other state FBS Week 8 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

Louisville 31, Florida State 28: Nightmare season continues for preseason No. 3 Noles, now 2-4 and likely headed to a dismal bowl.

No. 20 UCF 31, Navy 21: Knights sink Navy to stay unbeaten in maybe toughest test thus far.

FAU 69, North Texas 31: Home-nesting Owls were narrow favorites but moved to 4-3 with authority. 

No. 16 South Florida 34, Tulane 28: Bulls now 7-0, but didn't think it would be easy, and it wasn't.

Off this week: FIU (4-2, next at Marshall); and Florida (3-3, next vs. No. 3 Georgia).

National Collball Week 8 overview: Two big Top 25 matchups this week as first College Football Playoff rankings loom: No. 2 Penn State handled No. 19 Michigan 42-13, No. 13 Notre Dame upended and 11-Southern Cal 49-14.

Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 09, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 97.6%. Season-high CSM rating after hex-ending 24-20 win over FSU in Tally; also, other state Collball, Panthers win home opener, Cam Newton's problem, your World Series verdict & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7. Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite the last two weeks' performance? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Panthers open NHL season, NFL Week 5 picks, baseball postseason with World Series poll, Cam Newton, Derek Jeter & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

On Panthers as they open NHL home schedule: Florida beat Tampa Bay 5-4 in its home opener last night to begin the Cats' 24th NHL home opener after a 5-3 loss to the Lightning on the road the night before. Click on Back On Track & Ready To Roar for my optimistic season-preview column on a team that emerged stronger from last year's nightmare season.

On Cam Newton and women sports writers: Cam found it "funny" to hear a "female" asking a question about pass routes. Here's a few words about women sports writers from someone who actually respects them and what they put up with. Click on Here's What I Find Funny, Cam.

Alternate postgame-poll voting booth: Our latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll also appears online outside our blog. Click on CSM.  

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 97.6%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-high 97.6 percent overall approval rating -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of CsmSaturday’s 24-20 victory at Florida State ending a seven-game series losing streak and putting No. 13 UM’s season record at 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Monday.

2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following game 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: Next poll Oct. 14 following game vs. Georgia Tech 
 
G4: NO. 24 HURRICANES 24, FLORIDA STATE 20: MIAMI A RARE ROAD FAVORITE. CAN CANES LIVE UP? YES: Postgame thoughts: The hex: Done. The seven-game series losing streak: Over. The nemesis: Vanquished. The Litmus test: Passed. The sense that this could be the Miami Hurricanes’ most special football season in a long time: Growing exponentially. No. 13 UM did not quit in a 24-20 victory over Florida State on Saturday in Tallahassee, getting just enough Malik Rosier, Braxton Berrios and defense to stay perfect at 4-0 (2-0 in the ACC). Original post: State FBS teams went 7-0 last week for only second time ever, but it won't happen again as Miami and Florida State renew a great rivalry in the schools' 62nd meeting Saturday at 3:30 in Tallahassee. This was the game originally scheduled Sept. 16 but postponed Umfsu1by Hurricane Irma. FSU was a preseason No. 3-ranked team but has Umfsu2struggled at 1-2 since the injury loss of quarterback Deondre Francois and is unranked. UM is sailing at 3-0 and 13th-ranked. That's why the Canes are 2 1/2-point road favorites (down from 3) despite FSU having won seven in a row in the series. Jimbo Fisher has never lost to Miami since taking over for Bobby Bowden in 2010 but that run could finally end here. All recall last year's heartbreak, when Miami appeared to score the tying TD with 1:38 left but had the extra point blocked in a 20-19 Noles win. It just seems Miami is due in this series, right? FSU will rely on its very good defense, but I think Malik Rosier, Mark Walton and Ahmmon Richards will be up to the challenge -- Walton's tender ankle the concern and a key. Miami's offense has only two turnovers in three games and continuing that trend will be important. But I think it will be the Canes' defense that will turn this game. I have a feeling two or three Canes defenders will be wearing that Turnover Chain in disrupting FSU's true freshman QB James Blackman. By the way, in the fans photo at left, is it me, or does the guy putting up the 'U' look a little like Dwyane Wade? My pick: Hurricanes, 27-21.
 
Other state FBS Week 6 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

Middle Tennessee 37, FIU 17: Humbling road loss for Butch Davis' Panthers, now 3-2.

LSU 17, No. 21 Florida 16: Tough Swamp loss for Gators, now 3-2, the difference a missed extra point, and on a day they honored Gainesville boy Tom Petty with an emotional singalong of "Won't Back Down."

FAU 58, Old Dominion 28: Dominant road win for Lane Kiffin's Owls, now 3-3. "Old Dominion" sounds like a whiskey, and plays like Old Granddad.

No. 25 UCF 51, Cincinnati 23: No-doubt road triumph for the now 4-0 Knights, who got 374 yards passing and ifve TDs from Mckenzie Milton.

Off this week: No. 18 South Florida (5-0), next vs. Cincinnati.

National Collball Week 6 overview: Only two national Top 25 matchups this week and neither a huge one: No. 24 North Carolina State surprised No. 17 Louisville, 39-25, Thursday night; and 8-Texas Christian edged visiting 23-West Virginia, 31-24.

POLL RESULT: SUPPORT SPREAD, BUT INDIANS HAVE MOST FOR WORLD SERIES TITLE: We asked, "Who are you most rooting for to win the World Series?" and among the eight finalists the Indians led with 23.6 percent. After that it was bunched among the Yankees (16.4%), Astros (14.3%), Cubs (13.6%) and Dodgers (11.4%). Then it was a dropoff to the Red Sox (8.6%), Nationals (7.1%) and Diamondbacks (5.0%).

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 25, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 83.9%; plus UM bops Toledo 52-30 behind Rosier, Walton; also, our Sports Cornucopia, rest of Collball Week 4 (Noles lose) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23. Click on Straws! or our latest Back in My Day video from the LeBatard Show. Based on reaction, it may be our most popular ever. 2) Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week picks, hating Heat uniform patch and media reaction & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Jose Fernandez tragedy, 1-year later: My latest Sunday column. Click on Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow to read. 

IT'S A SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS CORNUCOPIA!: It's the grand intersection of our Big Five teams and sports. The Dolphins and Canes are playing the same weekend for the first time all season, going airborne vs. Jets and and Rockets. Giancarlo Stanton is still chasing 60 home runs. The Panthers' preseason is underway. And the Heat opens training camp Tuesday. Appreciate. Enjoy.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 83.9%Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 83.9 percent Csmoverall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 52-30 Hurricanes victory over visiting Toledo putting UM's season record at 2-0. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

2017 CSM results

G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman

G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo

Next poll: Sept. 29 following game at Duke

G2: TOLEDO (3-0) AT NO. 14 HURRICANES (1-0): FINALLY! A FULL STATE SLATE INCLUDING MIAMI!: Postgame thoughtsWhat seemed like calamity at the half turned out OK. The defense stepped up, Malik Rosier stepped up, Mark Walton came from back injury and all was well in a less-than-dominant-early and yet ultimate convincing 52-30 Miami Hurricanes home win over Toledo Saturday afternoon. Hey, Florida State earlier in the day fell to 0-2, so take the blessings when they present themselves, right? We still don't know how good UM really is after low-watt wins over Bethune-Cookman and now Toledo, but, when last I checked, 2-0 is 2-0. This win was formulaic, really. Smaller-conference team starts out strong, but then yields to the greater size, speed and depth of the bigger foe. The defense and Rosier really came on big and Walton, who missed a chunk of the game with a turned ankle, returned and finished with a career-best 204 yards rushing (on only 11 carries). The big concern: Miami's pass defense. Still, for me, for a team shaking off a three week Irma-related layoff and having its practice schedule in upheaval, this was a pretty impressive result ..... Halftime thoughts: Well this is embarrassing! No panic mode -- yet -- but trailing Toledo at the half at home? C'mon. Manny Diaz's pass defense has been out of synch and is getting dominated by Rockets QB Logan Woodside, who has 213 yards passing. Miami also getting dominated on the clock, with Toledo running 50 offensive plays to The U's 21. Mark Walton the only bright spot with 137 yards rushing, but he left injured. Turned-up defensive effort and more Malik Rosier (8-for-12, 50 yards) will be required from here if Miami is to avoid a shocking upset ..... Original postThanks to Hurricane Irma and its after-effects, this 

Toledomiami Toledomiami2Collball Week 4 marks the first time since Week 1 that all seven state FBS schools will be in action. Toledo's Saturday (3:30 p.m.) visit will be the Hurricanes' first game since Sept. 2, marking the longest gap between regular-season games in UM history, and following a week of displaced Canes practices held in Orlando. "Frustrating, to say the least," said Miami receiver Braxton Berrios. The schedule upheaval and rust factor weigh against the Canes here, but Miami is a 13 1/2-point favorite for a reason. Despite Toledo's unblemished record in the Mid-American Conference, the ACC Hurricanes will have the speed, size and depth advantages to pull away. This is only these schools' second all-time meeting and first in 30 years, since a 24-14 UM win in 1987. Defensively, UM's secondary had better be on its toes against a pass-happy Rockets attack. Offensively, new Canes starting QB Malik Rosier still may not have injured top receiver Ahmmon Richards at his disposal, but the air doesn't figure to be where UM will win this game. The Toledo defense gave up 423 rushing yards to Tulsa last week, so look for Canes running star Mark Walton to put up huge numbers. My pick: Hurricanes, 38-17.

Other state FBS Week 4 games (chronologically):

No. 21 South Florida 43, Temple 7: Quiet game from Quinton Flowers Thursday but Bulls still rolled to 4-0.

North Carolina State 27, No. 12 Florida State 21: FSU never led, falls to 0-2 and likely out of Top 25, hugely diminishing upcoming visit by Miami.

UCF 38, Maryland 10: Terps were 3 1/2-point home pick so this is nice road win for Knights, now 2-0.

Buffalo 34, FAU 31: Tough loss in winnable game drop Owls to 1-3. 

No. 20 Florida 28, Kentucky 27: fla 2-1 Gators, now 2-1, rally from 27-14 down early in fourth to stun Wildcats to keep alive 31-game series winning streak. Yes, 31.

FIU 13, Rice 7: Defense leads Panthers, who were 1 1/2-point road 'dogs, to a huge win and a 2-1 record under Butch Davis.

National Collball Week 4 overview: Only two national Top 25 matchups on Saturday, neither high-wattage: No. 16 TCU upset No. 6 Oklahoma State, 44-31, and 11-Georgia crushed 17-Mississippi State, 31-3.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 04, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 69.5% in season debut; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), UM routs Bethune with my game column, other Collball Week 1, Hot Button Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4. Happy Labor Day! In which we celebrate the American workforce by all taking the day off. 2) R.I.P. Walter Becker, Steely Dan co-founder, dead today at 67. 3) Football time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Giancarlo Stanton's NFSW naughty video, Butch Davis returns with humbling FIU loss, Dolphins win Fake Game 4 to end preseason, your verdict on my fantasy team (ouch) & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Lions cut Brad Kaaya. Been saying it all along. He never should have left UM early. Misguided decision." --Greg Cote 

My Hurricanes game column: Click on Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast to read. Other recent columns: A Humbling Welcome Back -- Butch Davis returns to coaching in 61-17 FIU loss  /  MVP: Stanton Has History On His Side -- Case for Marlins slugger  /  Litmus Test: Beat FSU -- The onus on Canes as season opens  /  2017 NFL Team Ranking: See where Dolphins fall in annual ranking.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 69.5%: We're back for a ninth season of our blog staple -- Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls -- and the first shows 69.5 percent overall satisfaction (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the 1aa1csmwake of Saturday's 41-13 season-opening victory over visiting Bethune-Cookman. The CSM 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. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday.


2017 CSM results

G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman

Next poll: Sept. 9 following game at Arkansas State

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2016--97.2% (following 9-4 season); 2015--20.1% (8-5); 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, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM hammers Bethune in football opener: After a slow start Saturday's season opener at The Rock went about as easily as you imagined it would against an overmatched foe as Year 2 of the Mark Richt era kicked off with new QB Malik Rosier throwing three TDs. But with Florida State waiting in Tallahassee in two weeks, UM getting ready for that with this was like training for a prize fight with a game of patty cake.

2. DOLPHINS: It's NFL Kickoff Week as Fins host Tampa Bay: NFL seasons kicks off Thursday night (Chiefs at Patriots) and Miami pared its roster to 53 with its opener at home in six days -- Hurricane Irma willing -- against Jameis Winston's Buccaneers. A 2-2 preseason didn't tell much, but Dolfans seem really excited by what they've seen of Jay Cutler. I know, I know. I can hardly believe I wrote that last sentence, either.

3. MARLINS: Fish cool but Stanton stays hot (in video): Marlins on a 1-6 skid as homestand continues, but Giancarlo Stanton's 52nd homer keeps him on pace for 62. Stanton was even hotter in a steamy video out this week that depicted him in bed with a barely clothed internet chanteuse named Lexy Panterra. There's a "longball" joke here somewhere.

4. SEMINOLES/GATORS: FSU, Florida both drop openers, Francois out for year: Saturday delivered lopsided opening losses for No. 3 Florida State (to No. 1 Alabama) and No. 17 Florida (to No. 11 Michigan), but Noles lost even bigger with QB Deondre Francois out injured for the season. FSU-Bama presented Miami fans the awful choice of rooting either for the Noles or for Nick Saban.

5. TENNIS: U.S. Open reached midpoint in New York: Maria Sharapova, given a wild-card entry into her first Grand Slam event since a 15-month doping ban, won her first three matches -- all on the main court, drawing complaints from some rivals -- before losing. In other news, as sis Venus reached the quarterfinals,  Serena Williams had a baby girl, launching a million "G.O.A.T. has kid" references on social media.

6. FIU/FAU: Davis, Kiffin eras launch with humbling defeats:  Ouch. Butch Davis with FIU and Lane Kiffin with FAU suffered humbling debuts, losing their openers by combined score of 103-36. Those fancy resumes didn't much good, huh fellas. Turning around bad programs doesn't happen with fast magic even if you are a star coach.

7. BASEBALL: Astros acquire ace Verlander from Tigers: Houston staked its claim to AL pennant by acquiring Justin Verlander, meaning Detroit is in reboot mode. Anybody want a used Miguel Cabrera. Verlander is really good. His wife, model Kate Upton, is even better!

8. HEAT: NBA releases regular-season schedules: Heat will open the season Oct. 18 at Orlando, with the home opener Oct. 21 vs. Indiana. It will be the start of the Kelly Olynyk era in Miami.

9. PANTHERS: Cats set prospects tourney roster: Florida named a 26-man prospect camp roster that will play Sept. 9-12 in a four-team tournamnet in Estero, Fla., along with the Capitals, Lightning and Predators. Almost hockey, time!

10. INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL: Team USA wins FIBA gold: Team USA, coached by Jeff Van Gundy, beat host Argentina Sunday to win gold in the FIBA Americup championship game game. This is mostly no-names for the U.S., not the NBA-laden World Cup team. Still, not bad, apparently.

Missing the HB10 cut: Howard beating UNLV as a 45-point road 'dog made it the biggest point-spread upset in college football history. I don't know how Howard did it, but I congratulate him ..... Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is suing the NFL over his six-game suspension for battering a former girlfriend. Dallas awaits a decision. So do millions who rolled dice and drafted Elliott onto their fantasy teams ..... Are Mayweather and McGregor done counting their money yet?

G1: NO. 18 HURRICANES 41, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 13: ROSIER LEADS SOFT OPENING TO YEAR 2 OF RICHT ERA: Quick final thoughts: Click on Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast for my column from the game. Beating Bethune-Cookman 41-13 is perfunctory more than it is impressive, but the final margin hardly mattered (except to bettors gambling whether UM would cover a 51 1/2-point line). More important was that new QB Malik Rosier looked solid, pretty sharp (17-28, 217 yards, 3 TDs), and RB Mark Walton (148 yards) seemed in midseason form. Biggest disappointment might have been defensively, Bcatumespecially against the pass. UM's D was planning on a shutout but fell short ..... 4Q: UM Badgley 50Y FG = UM 41-13 ..... 3Q: UM Berrios 22Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 38-13 ... BC Jones 1Y TD run = UM 31-13 ... UM Walton 6Y TD run = UM 31-6 ..... Quick halftime thoughts: Sluggish start but a big second quarter for UM, and a 326-138 overall lead in yards. Walton has 124 yards rushing and Rosier has been solid (11-17, 132 yards, two TDs) as new starting QB. Be interesting to see how much Walton and Rosier continue to play in second half. Don't expect much more of Walton, but Rosier needs the work. ..... 2Q: BC 35Y FG = UM 24-6 ... UM Langham 5Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 24-3 ... UM Cager 5Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 17-3 ... UM Walton 5Y TD run = UM 10-3 ... 1Q: UM 27Y FG = tie 3-3 ... BC 36Y FG = BC 3-0 ..... Original post: This marks the first time since 2010 that Miami begins a season ranked in the Associated Press preseason Top 25, and suffice to say the odds of a stumble and major season-opening upset are roughly akin to the odds you'll be struck by lightning while walking to cash your winning Lotto ticket. ESPN's FPI (Football Power index) projections estimates the Canes' likelihood of winning at 99.7 percent. Bethune-Cookman, from Daytona Beach, is a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school, what we used to call Division 1AA, and its Wildcats will simply be overmatched against Mark Richt's guys. The upset would be if B-C kept it close for long. Weather could be an interesting factor. Heat from the diabolical 12:30 p.m. start will test both teams' conditioning, and there also is about a 40 percent chance of rain. Unfortunately I see a sad Week 1 attendance, given the early start, the foreboding weather and the low-watt opponent. A few things to watch even though the matchup is unlikely to be competitive: 1) Debut of Malik Rosier as Miami's starting quarterback. Looking for mistake-free, confidence-building performance from him. 2) Offensive line. There are three new starters on unit that struggled at times last year. If they struggle against this opponent, that'll be a bad sign. 3) Can questionable Canes secondary rise to match what should be excellent defensive front-7? This is an opponent against which even inexperienced DBs should shine. Richt predictably has been talking-up B-C all week and wouldn't say it, but UM has to be looking at this game as a glorified tuneup for what will be a fairly big step-up in challenge next week at Arkansas State as early schedule builds to the Week 3 armageddon in Tallahassee. Not that we're looking ahead! Back to Bethune, if we must. My pick: Hurricanes, 38-3.

Other state FBS Week 1 games, chronologically:

UCF 61, FIU 17: A Thursday night ass-whuppin' in Orlando gets the Butch Davis era off to a humbling start.

Navy 42, FAU 19: U.S. Navy sinks Lane Kiffin in Owls debut Friday in the Boca nest elongated by two weather delays.

No. 11 Michigan 33, No. 17 Florida 17: In Arlington, Tex., the final score flattered Florida. Dear Gators, even with those 10 suspended players, you'd-a still lost.

No. 19 South Florida 31, Stony Brook 17: Bulls now 2-0 after winning at San Jose State last Saturday.

No. 1 Alabama 24, No. 3 Florida State 7: Massive matchup was Collball Week 1's star attraction -- and a rout for Bama. More importantly, Noles lose QB Deondre Francois to an apparent knee injury, adding intrigue to UM's visit Sept. 16.

National Collball Week 1 overview: No. 2 Ohio State survived a scare at Indiana Thursday, and FSU failed miserably to shock Nick Saban in the Game of the Week. Florida-Michigan was opening week's only other Top 25 matchup other than a minor one in Sunday's 22-West Virginia vs. 21-Virginia Tech.

'SOPY' weekly rankings return: Every Tuesday starting next week, we'll have our updated standings in our State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, along with our weekly State of the State team rankings.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 9-4-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Washington at Marlins, 7:10: Fish try to shake off 1-3 home fizzle vs. lowly Phils.

2. U.S. Open tennis, 11 a.m: Round of 16 matches continue in New York.

3. Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m.: Wrapping up Week 1 in college football.

4. Slovakia at England, 2:30 p.m.: One of day's 6 World Cup qualifying matches.

Select other recent columns -- Stanton Chasing 1984Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic OffenseStanton the Litmus Test For New OwnersAlso: Double QB Quandary A RarityNew Owner, New HopeA Diamond, ShiningImmortality Calling. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 30, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 97.2% (Final). Record set for highest season-ending approval rating; plus UM ends 10-year bowl win drought, finishes 9-4, awaits Kaaya decision; also, Greg Cote bobblehead, your word on Dolphins' preferred playoff foe & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29. I'm back up at Friday Page World Headquarters begging my regular-season-ending NFL picks. Make me smart for a day, Lord. 2) R.I.P. Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, mother dying one day after her daughter. Surreal. 3) Shameless Plug Alert: Our new Miami Dolphins book on the club's first half-century is now available -- a perfect late Christmas gift for any Dolfan you know! Click on Fins At 50 to order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or elsewhere. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins preferred-playoff-opponent poll, The List & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

MebobbleMe, bobblehead: One of the least-expected, most bizarre and therefore best gifts I got for Christmas this year was a Greg Cote Bobblehead my wonderfully strange wife had made. It is pictured. It looks like me ... if I were younger, slimmer, better-looking and had more hair. Which makes it perfect!  

Hurricanes: The road 'back' must start with a bowl win: UM was 0-6 in bowl games since winning its last in 2006, before last night's 31-14 Russell Athletic Bowl victory over West Virginia. Click on Road Back Starts With Bowl Win to read my latest column. Select recent other columns: The Gift Of Winning, on Dolphins rewarding their fans with a happy holiday for a change. Also: Missing Dwyane Wade, Football Town Strikes Back.

Canes in-game blog, postgame thoughts: Find our live in-game blog and postgame thoughts from tonight directly below the latest, season-final Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: 97.2% (SEASON FINAL): Results are certified in the latest and 2016 season final Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 97.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Wednesday's Csm31-14 victory vs. West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando putting the Hurricanes' final season record at 9-4 and ending UM's 10-year, six-game bowl victory drought. This wraps up 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. Because this was our last 2016 DSM poll we suggested you place special emphasis on the season as a whole. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was be around 9 a.m. today/Friday. Thanks to the thousands who participated in our 2016 CSM polls and we'll see you again next season!

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

G4: 97.9% following 35-21 victory at Georgia Tech

G5: 58.3% following 20-19 loss vs. Florida State

G6: 24.0% following 20-13 loss vs. North Carolina

G7: 20.3% following 37-16 loss at Virginia Tech

G8: 16.0% following 30-27 loss at Notre Dame

G9: 76.6% following 51-28 victory vs. Pitt

G10: 82.0% following 34-14 victory at Virginia

G11: 92.9% following 27-13 victory at North Carolina State

G12: 95.9% following 40-21 victory vs. Duke

Bowl/Final: 97.2% following 31-24 victory vs. West Virginia

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2016--97.2% (following 9-4 season); 2015--20.1% (8-5); 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).

BOWL: HURRICANES 31, WEST VIRGINIA 14: ALL ABOUT ENDINGS TONIGHT AS MIAMI SEES ITS BOWL DROUGHT END, NOW HOPES THE KAAYA ERA DOESN'T: Postgame thoughts: Miami's first bowl win since 2006 after an 0-6 stretch tonight was sweet partly because it began so badly. West Virginia jumped out front and Brad Kaaya and the UM offense were horrible. But UM's defense kept being really good as Kaaya found his game and got hot, finishing with 282 yards and four TD passes. The result put a bow on a 9-4 season, Mark Richt's first here, that should be good enough to see Miami ranked in the final, post-bowl Top 25 poll. Now, though, UM awaits Kaaya's stay-or-go decision, which is expected by the weekend. To ESPN Radio he said, "I don't have an answer yet. I have to do some soul searching." It's a close call. I think he should stay. We'll know soon ..... 4Q: Another fourth-down stop for Canes. Almost time to start counting the win ..... 3Q: Big fourth-down stop for UM defense. Such a momentum shift since that first quarter ... The U's lead now 31-14 on 30-yard FG ... WVU within 28-14 on 4-yard Howard run ... Miami 28-7 now on Kaaya 23-yard TD toss to Njoku. Kaaya has been fantastic since his slow opening quarter ..... Halftime thoughts: Rarely have I seen a team, an offense, a quarterback, go from an awful first quirter to a dominant second like the Canes have tonight. Wow. ..... 2Q: Berrios 26-yard scoring pass from Kaaya for 21-7 just before half. Kaaya awful in 1Q, sublime in second ... Canes 14-7 now late in half on Kaaya 3-yard flip to Lewis. Big turnaround for Miami offense ... Boom! Just like that. It's 7-7 on Kaaya's pass that Ahmmon Richards turns into 51-yard scoring play ... The blessing in disguise for UM at 7-0 down? The Kaaya we are seeing tonight is not NFL-ready, and the NFL is watching ... Fortunate. Penalty wipes out Kaaya interception ... Bettors on the "under" are feeling good early, with the o/u around 56 at kickoff ..... 1Q: Miami doing nada offensively in first Q ... WVU 7-0 on McKoy 6-yard TD run. Mountaineers ranked with a better record but underdogs here -- that's big incentive ... UM's Norton big fumble recovery on opening series; WVU was on the move in Canes territory. Alas, Miami soon punts ... Seemed start of game might be picked up late by ESPN because Pitt-Northwestern ran long, but timing turned out perfect ..... Original post: One month and two days since ending its regular season at 8-4 with four straight wins, Miami will see if that momentum carries over this evening vs. Umwvu10-2 West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, in an ESPN broadcast with the odd starting time of 5:30 p.m. UM is playing the highest-ranked opponent (Mountaineers are No. 16) of any unranked team, yet WVU is a 3 1/2-point betting underdog despite its ranking and better record. Perhaps because UM leads the all-time series, 16-3. Miami likely would finish ranked in the low Top 25 in the final post-bowl Bradkaayapolls with a win to complete Mark Richt's first season. As important, UM seeks an end to an 0-6 bowl run in a drought dating to 2006 -- the predominant theme from a Canes vantage in the buildup to this game. (Click on Road Back Starts With Bowl Win for my column previewing tonight's game). Of course, the biggest result to come from this game -- bigger than a win or loss, at least to me -- will be quarterback Brad Kaaya's decision on whether to return for his senior season or enter the NFL Draft. It's pretty much assumed tight end David Njoku will turn pro [update: he did]. Many think Kaaya (pictured) will, too, although I am unconvinced. With no consensus that he'd be a first-round pick, I think Brad would be smart to return to UM, and I think he still might. Seventeen UM seniors will be playing their last game for The U, Corn Elder, Stacy Coley and ironman lineman Danny Isidora most notable among them. As for the game itself, the result will turn on how Kaaya handles a very aggressive West Virginia defense that loves to blitz. Mountaineers forced 25 opponent turnovers this season including a nation-leading (tied) eight interceptions by cornerback Rasul Douglas. I see Kaaya as experienced enough to beat the blitz, this defense and this Big 12 opponent. By the way, if Kaaya goes nuts he'll have an outside shot to challenge Bernie Kosar's 32-year-old UM season record of 3,642 passing yards. Kaaya would need 393 today to break that long-standing mark. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-23.

Poll result: Dolfans hoping for the easier game in Houston: We asked which of two possible opponents you'd rather see the Dolphins face to open the playoffs, and overwhelmingly you picked the easier foe over the sexier game, with Houston Texans drubbing Pittsburgh Steelers by 59.7 percent to 15.2%. The other 25.1% voted, "Either. It's the playoffs!" 

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 28, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 95.9%; plus UM routs Duke 40-21 behind Kaaya's record day; also, OSU survives, FSU wins, other Collball (updated); The Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP standings (15 games); Castro dies & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26. Hope y'all are having a wonderful long Thanksgiving Weekend! 2) Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half-century is now available, just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 12 picks, annual Thanksgiving holiday video from me to you, Shaq/retired number verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

A few select recent columns: Click Week 12 Gems for latest NFL picks and on Ten Wins Or Bust For Fins for analysis of Miami's playoff chances. Also: Football Town Strikes Back. Surreal At 200 MPH. Doctor Speed. South Florida to Canton. Return Of WadeCanes In the History Book. Miami QBs: No Worries. There's Hope For Us All. A Needed Slap In Face.

Fidel Castro dead at 90, Cuban Miami celebrates: Former Cuban president Fidel Castro died late last night at age 90, the news so many thousands in South Florida had long awaited, and are celebrating today. How the rest of America felt when the U.S. killed terrorist Osama bin Laden, this is how Cuban Miami feels about the demise of the Castro dictator, with many fervently believing he should burn in hell. My animus is not so personal, but, suffice to say, we'll attach no "R.I.P." here to this man's name.

Live-in game blog, postgame thoughts: See our live in-game blog and postgame thoughts right below the new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 95.9%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 95.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 40-21 victory vs. Duke putting UM's final regular-Csmseason record at 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC awaiting its bowl destiny. 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 8:30 a.m. today/Monday. This is not the season-ending poll; there will be a final one following UM's bowl game.

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

G4: 97.9% following 35-21 victory at Georgia Tech

G5: 58.3% following 20-19 loss vs. Florida State

G6: 24.0% following 20-13 loss vs. North Carolina

G7: 20.3% following 37-16 loss at Virginia Tech

G8: 16.0% following 30-27 loss at Notre Dame

G9: 76.6% following 51-28 victory vs. Pitt

G10: 82.0% following 34-14 victory at Virginia

G11: 92.9% following 27-13 victory at North Carolina State

G12: 95.9% following 40-21 victory vs. Duke

Next poll: Following bowl game

G12: HURRICANES 40, DUKE 21: UM DIDN'T REQUIRE ANY MIRACLES THIS TIME: Postgame thoughts: Big second half makes it a comfortable Miami win as expected to finish the regular season 8-4 with a fourth straight win. Not since 2002 had UM ended a season (pro-bowl) with four straight wins. But the big story is Brad Kaaya, with 396 yards passing and four TDs  to shatter Ken Dorsey's UM career passing-yards record of 9,565 ..... 4Q: within 40-21 late o 12-yard scoring pass ... Miami 40-14 on Kaaya 58-yard TD pass to Njoku ..... 3Q: UM tacks on FG for 33-14 lead as quarter ends. The bigger news: Kaaya with 313 yards has now catapulted past Dorsey's UM career passing yards record 9,565 ... UM 30-14 on Kaaya 3-yard scoring pass to Coley, but a 38-yard setup to Berrios the big play. Kaaya now only 9 yards from surpassing Dorsey's career passing yards record ... Canes catch break with Duke wide right on FG try ... UM up 23-14, its first breathing-room lead of game, on 76-yard scoring pass from Kaaya to Njoku. One wide-open receiver and one-missed tackle equals play of game so far ..... Halftime: Did not expect a tight game, with Miami a 15-point favorite in regular season finale. Still not feeling much jeopardy on UM's behalf, though. Expect this thing to bust open in second half in Canes' favor ..... 2Q: See saw game. Canes now up 16-14 just before half on 33Y FG ... UM within 14-13, settling for 25-yard field goal ... Where is Miami's pass rush and pass defense? Duke regains lead 14-10 on 13-yard scoring pass. Devils QB now 9-for-9 ..... 1Q: UM back up 10-7 on Kaaya 30-yard scoring pass to Walton ... Duke drives 75 yards for 7-3 lead on 6-yard pass ... UM 3-0 on 47-yard FG ... I think I'd like this game better if  it was Mike Krzyzewski's team facing UM ..... Original post: A year ago in Raleigh the Hurricanes needed that eight-lateral kickoff return miracle on the final play to escape Duke with a controversial, purloined win. This afternoon beginning at 3:30 in Miami Gardens should not feature such drama or require a Houdini act in a game that finds Duke a 15-point underdog. Miami sails in on a Dukemiathree-game win streak and is 7-4, with a victory here perhaps steering the Canes to a New Year's Eve bowl date in Jacksonville vs. the Florida Gators. Duke is 4-7 after four losses in the past five games and needs an upset win today to get on the bowl standby list in case there are (it's unlikely) an insufficient number of six-win teams. UM will honor its 18 seniors today in its regular-season finale, and so wants a nice crowd they were offering $18 lower-bowl tickets and calling it a "Black Friday Sale." Miami leads the all-time series 11-2 and should be in clear command today. The U's defensive front and pass rush will disrupt Duke's offense and (it says here) force it into two or three turnovers. Meanwhile Miami's balanced, Brad Kaaya- and Mark Walton-led offense should have little problem today. Kaaya need 276 yards to break Ken Dorsey's UM career record of 9,565, and I see him doing it. Mark Richt did have a bit of ammo to guard against his team's overconfidence. His preach theme for the week was that Duke beat two teams (Notre Dame, North Carolina) that beat Miami. So there. But it would take an unexpected flat performance by the Canes today to keep the Blue Devils in this game. My pick: Hurricanes, 38-13.

Other state FBS Week 13 games, chronologically, all Saturday:

South Florida 48, UCF 31: Upstate rivalry founds Bulls big 10-point faves and winning a shootout to improve to 10-2. Top 25, anyone?

Old Dominion 42, FIU 28: The O.D.'s were 14-point picks and dominated in second half to end The Intl's season on a downer at 4-8.

Middle Tennessee 77, FAU 56: This is not a basketball score by mistake. This is a football score. Perfect way for Owls to end their season 3-9.

No. 14 Florida State 31, No. 15 Florida 13: Seminoles were 7 1/2 -point home faves in one of great rivalries in college football, with big Gators defense trying to limit big Noles attack in an ABC telecast. Um, it didn't work. FSU seniors completed an 8-0 career sweep of state rivals UF and Miami, which is a first. Florida State, 9-3, began the season thinking national championship, fell short but gets this solace. Florida, 8-3, is headed to the SEC championship game vs. Alabama, but with heads hung low.

National Collball Week 13 overview: Seven days now before the College Football Playoff has its Selection Sunday and mints the two semifinal games, we saw four teams desperately trying to protect their standing Saturday. In the Big One, 2-Ohio State protected its home turf vs. 3-Michigan 30-27 in double OT -- a game that lived up to expectations. 1-Alabama eased past 15-Auburn 30-12 and 4-Clemson routed South Carolina 56-7. Might Michigan despite the stay at No. 3 or drop only to 4? No. 5 Washington, which won big Friday, certainly hopes not. Stay tuned.

LudditeUPDATED: "THE LUDDITE'S ANTI-ANALYTICS HEAT MVP STANDINGS" (15 GAMES)Points. Rebounds. Assists. That's it. With tongue only partly in cheek, we go old-school, strip it down, combine the Original Big Three statistical categories, and introduce a running, cumulative race for Heat team MVP. We'll bring you updated standings at five-game intervals, and the updated standings still show a runaway for a certain big center, but a fight for second place. With Miami now 5-10 after last night's win over Memphis, here's the Luddite's third installment, with 10-game rank in parentheses:

The Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP Standings (15 games):

1. Hassan Whiteside (1)       492

2. Dion Waiters (5)              307

3. Tyler Johnson (2)             304

4. Goran Dragic (3)             272

5. James Johnson (6)          241

Bubble: Justise Winslow 181 (4). Others: Josh Richardson 166, Rodney McGruder 128, Luke Babbitt 100, Willie Reed 73, Derrick Williams 71, Josh McRoberts 47, Udonis Haslem 15.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 21, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 92.9%; plus UM 27-13 at NC State for 3rd straight win behind Walton, defense; also, Gators top other state Collball (updated), your verdicts on NASCAR favorite and LeBron-posse & more

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

1) It is SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20. Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half-century is now available, just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 12 predictions and Week 11 Pix 'n Fantasy results, NASCAR Sprint Cup poll, Patrick Staropoli, The Luddite's Heat MVP Standings, LeBron/Phil/posse poll & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Sunday blogpost ahead: Watch for our jam-packed new blogpost -- Dolphins-Rams / NASCAR Homestead finale / Hot Button -- by early afternoon today.

A few of our select recent columns: Doctor Speed, on Harvard grad/UM medical student/NASCAR driver Patrick Staropoli. Week 11 Gems, our latest NFL picks. South Florida to Canton, on four locals up for induction. Also: Who Will Next Dolphins Hero Be? (on Fins' resourcefulness in four-game win streak. Return Of Wade (from Heat arena last week). Canes In the History Book (UM'ers among NFL career leaders). Miami QBs: No Worries (Tannehill is good enough, Kaaya will return). There's Hope For Us All (Cubs win World Series). A Needed Slap In Face (NFL's declining TV ratings). And Jose Tragedy Couldn't Get Worse, But Then It Did (Fernandez and cocaine).

Canes in-game blog, postgame thoughts: Find them both right below the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: 92.9%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 92.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-13 victory at North Carolina State Csmputting UM's season record at 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the ACC. That's the highest rating since after Game 4.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 8:45 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

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

G4: 97.9% following 35-21 victory at Georgia Tech

G5: 58.3% following 20-19 loss vs. Florida State

G6: 24.0% following 20-13 loss vs. North Carolina

G7: 20.3% following 37-16 loss at Virginia Tech

G8: 16.0% following 30-27 loss at Notre Dame

G9: 76.6% following 51-28 victory vs. Pitt

G10: 82.0% following 34-14 victory at Virginia

G11: 92.9% following 27-13 victory at North Carolina State

Next poll: Nov. 26 following regular-season finale vs. Duke

UmncstG11: HURRICANES @ NORTH CAROLINA STATE: UM PULLING AWAY AFTER A 3-3 FIRST HALF: Postgame thoughts: Always makes your coaching staff look good when a 3-3 halftime score busts open in your favor in the second half, which was the case in UM's 27-13 win at North Carolina State -- a third straight win making Miami 7-4. Nice all-round win. Brad Kaaya with 286 yards passing, Ahmmon Rcihards with nine catches for 117 yards and Mark Walton with 19 carries for 120 yards and three TDs -- Walton the second-half catalyst. Defense had a huge end-zone interception and held NC State to 5-for-17 on third down. Special teams had a big takeaway. Contributors everywhere. Neatly done for a nice road win ..... 4Q: MIA with now-safe 27-13 lead with 2 minutes to go o Walton's 3rd TD run, a 24-yarder giving him 102 yards for the day ... NC State within 20-13 on 22-yard FG. Canes got lucky. A Wolfpack TD run was negated by a clipping penalty that really didn't seem like a penalty at all ... Canes up 20-10 after 22-yard FG, the result of UM's Jaquan Johnson recovering muffed NC State punt return inside Wolfpack 20 ... Yards and points hard-won in this one. Somebody going to earn this win ..... 3Q: NC State within 17-10 in last minute of quarter, after apparent end-zone INT by UM's defense was ruled out of bounds upon review ... UM with its first breathing-room lead at 17-3 on Walton 1-yard scoring run, set up by Coley 51-yard catch-and-run to NC State 2 ... Size XXL defensive play for UM as Malek Young makes an end-zone interception to halt NC State threat to tie the game ... UM 10-3 lead on Walton 30-yard scoring run to begin second half. Miami will own second half if the running game keeps going like that ..... Halftime thoughts: UM has had the better of the game even if the scoreboard at 3-3 won't say it. Negligible running room for Miami; 15 carries for 22 yards. But Kaaya has 164 passing yards including 98 on seven catches by Richards. Meanwhile Canes defense has held NC State yto 122 totals yards. Nine punts have told the tale in a boring defensive game thus far. But I'm liking UM's chances in second half ..... 2Q: Wow. It'll be 3-3 at half because UM's Badgley misses 23-yard chip-shot FG with five seconds left in half ... NC State ties it 3-3 on 35-yard FG. UM gave up 39-yard pass play on series, about the only defensive lapse for Canes so far ... Ballsy fake-punt call by NC State. That's a team that knows it's offense isn't working and thus resorts to trickery ... First touchdown wins? ..... 1Q: Whole lot of defense and run-yards hard to come by for both teams in first quarter, but Kaaya is better than counterpart Finely, a big Canes edge ... UM 3-0 on 31-yard FG. Running tough so far as expected for Canes (Walton 5 carries for 6 yards), but Kaaya is getting time and finding open looks ..... Pregame: Miami has gotten back to running the ball very well in the two-game win streak that has followed that Oh No 0-4 October. In fact Mark Walton has consecutive 100-hard games. It has alleviated pass-block pressure on the offensive line and helped QB Brad Kaaya. It's a smart recipe for UM, now 6-4 and trying to grow its bowl outlook. Today starting at 12:30 p.m. in Raleigh, though, maintaining that run emphasis will be a mighty challenge. The N.C. State Wolfpack are only 5-5 but rank fourth in the nation in run defense, budgeting opponents to 99.4 yards er game. Wolfpack need a win for bowl-eligibility and have the added incentive of Senior Day in their home finale, so Canes will need to match the emotion and intensity on the the side. UM is a wavering 2 1/2-point road favorite, but late money on the home team dropped the line from 3. This most definitely is not a game to take casually for UM. All but one Wolfpack loss has been close, including 24-17 at then-No. 3 Clemson, and 24-20 to Florida State. In fact N.C. State very much seems better than its record, led by that sterling run defense and a spread offense that has generated 500-plus yards four times. The catalyst is RB Matt Dayes, a local kid out of Cypress Bay High who has 939 yards rushing. Hope The U packed its run D for the trip and that those young linebackers are raedy to go sideline to sideline. I like Miami today, though that could be a little bit of a homer pick, I'd admit, because I see this one as even and this afternoon as a serious test for Mark Richt's Canes. My pick: Hurricanes, 24-20.

Other state FBS Week 12 games, chronologically, all Saturday:

No. 23 Florida 16, No. 16 LSU 10: Huge, huuuge road win for Gators over a higher-ranked team that was a big 14-point favorite. This was the game being replayed seven weeks after it was originally scheduled as a Florida home game but was postponed by Hurricane Matthew. Florida brought that great defense in force to improve to 8-2 and, more important, clinch a spot in the SEC championship game.

No. 17 Florida State 45, Syracuse 14: Dalvin Cook's 225 rushing yards and four TDs led Noles, now 8-3,  to the easy road win expected.

Old Dominion 42, FAU 24: Old Dominion, which always sounds to me like a brand of scotch,  was only an 8-point favorite in Owls' disappointing home finale putting them 3-8.

FIU 31, Marshall 14: FIU was off a bye and playing its home finale, and fashioned a nice little upset over a T-Herd squad favored by 2 1/2-point. FIU is now 4-7. Butch Davis surely was somewhat impressed in his first chance to see his future team in action as head coach-elect taking over in '17.

South Florida 35, SMU 27: Bulls improved to 9-2 and hoping to crack the Top 25s. SoFla still is alive to reach American conference title game but with one game left is down the tiebreaker to Temple.

Tulsa 35, UCF 20: Disappointing home showing drops Knights to 6-5.

National Collball Week 12 overview: College Football Playoff current top four teams all have (what should be) comfy wins Saturday, with No. 1 Alabama vs. Chattanooga, 2-Ohio State at Michigan State, 3-Michigan vs. Indiana and 4-Clemson at Wake Forest. All prevailed, albeit Ohio State barely, by one point. But after Earthquake Saturday last week, and with 5-Louisville losing big to Houston Thursday night, it seemed nothing in college football was certain. Well, except for Nick Saban winning big, of course.

Poll result: You want Jimmie Johnson to make history Sunday at Homestead: We asked which final-four driver do most hope wins the NASCAR Sprint Cup season championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Jimmie Johnson dominated with 51.0 percent. Then it was Joey Logano 19.6%, Carl Edwards 15.7% and Kyle Busch 13.7%.

Poll result: You think LeBron James way-overreacted to the "posse" comment: We asked where you fell on the LeBron James/Phil Jackson controversy over the word "posse" and 76.5 percent sided with Phil and 15.3% with LeBron. The other 8.2% could see both sides.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 14, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 82.0%; plus UM whips Virginia 34-14 for bowl eligibility; also, Brad Kaaya stay-or-go poll, other state Collball (updated), Popovich rips Trump voters & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12. The Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available, just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes men and women's outlooks as college basketball opens, NFL Week 10 picks, Bill Stanfill dies, The List (UM hoops) & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

A few of our most recent columns: The latest: Return Of Wade (from Heat arena Thursday night). Week 10 Gems (latest NFL predictions). Canes In the History Book (UM'ers among NFL career leaders) Select others: Miami QBs: No Worries (why Tannehill is good enough and Kaaya will return). The Other Dolphins Would Have Lost This (from win over Jets). There's Hope For Us All (Cubs win World Series). A Needed Slap In Face (NFL's declining TV ratings). And Jose Tragedy Couldn't Get Worse, But Then It Did (Fernandez and cocaine).

"I'm still sick to my stomach, and not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor, tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in that country where half the people ignored all that to elect someone. That's the scariest part. We live in a country that ignored all those values that we would hold our kids accountable for." -- Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs coach

Postgame thoughts on UM win at Virginia: Find our live in-game blog and postgame thoughts here right below the new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: 82.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show an 82.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 34-14 victory at Virginia putting UM's Csmseason record at 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the ACC. That maintains the highest rating since the team started 4-0. 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 8:30 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

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

G4: 97.9% following 35-21 victory at Georgia Tech

G5: 58.3% following 20-19 loss vs. Florida State

G6: 24.0% following 20-13 loss vs. North Carolina

G7: 20.3% following 37-16 loss at Virginia Tech

G8: 16.0% following 30-27 loss at Notre Dame

G9: 76.6% following 51-28 victory vs. Pitt

G10: 82.0% following 34-14 victory at Virginia

Next poll: Nov. 19 following game at North Carolina State

G10: HURRICANES 34, @ VIRGINIA 14: UM WNS HANDILY WITH BIG RUNNING and BIG DEFENSE, BECOMES BOWL-ELIGIBLE: Postgame thoughts: UM now 6-4 and bowl-eligible with 34-14 spanking of host Virginia, now 2-8. Canes were supposed to win without much anxiety and did, behind a 222-yard ground game and opportunistic defense. Kaaya wasn't great but spun a pair of TD passes. Walton rushed for 111 yards and a score. Richard's 100 receiving yards included a 77-yard score. Defense had four takeaways and budgeted Virginia to 289 total yards. Cavaliers showed why they're a lousy team but Miami played well overall and earned the win with a dominant second half ..... 4Q: Teams swap turnovers late, Yearby fumbling for UM, Elder getting it back ... Field position from muffed Cavs punt sets Canes up for 15-yard Walton scoring run and commanding 34-14 lead. Walton now with 111 yards on ground ... Bungled punt by Cavaliers gives UM ball at VA 39 ..... 3Q: Canes with now-comfy 27-13 lead on Kaaya 77-yard scoring pass (mostly run) to Ahmmon Richards late in quarter ... Big defensive play for UM! Corn Elder sack jars ball lose and Joe Jackson recovers. No points off turnover, though; Badgley wide on 50-yard FG try ... Miami now up 20-14 with 44-yard FG ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami as a 10 1/2-point favorite is only up 17-14 but getting ball to open second half. Kaaya not real sharp today (8-for-19) but UM ground game has 121 yards in the half. Defense has been pretty solid. A steady dose of Walton and Yearby in second half sounds like the recipe for the W that would bring bowl-eligibility ..... 2Q: VA within 17-14 on 13-yard TD pass ... Miami now 17-7 with Kaaya 7-yard scoring pass to Njoku. That early deficit disappeared fats. Canes are asserting themselves ... UM 10-7 with 40-yard Badgley FG ..... 1Q: Walton/Yearby 69 combined rushing yards in 1st quarter ... Miami, 7-7. Now that's how to answer, with a 75-yard scoring drive.  Fifty-two yardswere on ground, finished by Yearby's 10-yard score, but the big play a 26-yard by Walton on 4th-and-1 from midfield. Proper mini-gamble by Richt ... Ugly start. After a Virginia punt, Kaaya's first pass attempt is picked off, giving Cavs ball at Miami 18, and a 2-yard TD run soon follows. Virginia, 7-0 ..... Original post: No Canes fan is clicking heels over a 5-4 record, but bowl eligibility is the minimum standard for sucess, and at least UM will achieve that if it wins as a 10 1/2-point favorite today in the odd 2 p.m. start (Fox Sports Sun) in chilly Charlottesville. The Cavaliers are 2-7 and not very good, having Miavalost four in a row and having allowed at least 32 opponent points in seven games this year. However, UM coach Mark Richt does have two points of ammo -- beyond the fact no 5-4 team has earned a right to be overconfident, particularly in a conference road game -- in advising his troops to not take the Cavs lightly: 1) This has has not be a kind road trip for Miami. UM is 2-4 in Charlottesville and last won there in 2008. And 2) Virginia has its moments, as when it gave then-No. 5 Louisville a big fight just two weeks ago before falling 32-25. Miami will want a fast start to keep the momentum of last week's 51-28 rout of Pitt that finally ended a season-quaking four-game losing streak. The Hurricanes' offensive line figures to be missing two starters so protection for QB Brad Kaaya again will be a key. With a fairly clean pocket, Kaaya should strafe a pass defense ranked 109th in FBS, allowing 271 yards a game on average. The UM we saw in October would struggle today. The UM we saw last week would roll. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-20.

GUT FEELING POLL: WHAT WILL KAAYA DO?: I'm on record recently writing that I think Canes QB Brad Kaaya will opt to return to UM and play his senior season (column link here). But there Bkalso is much thought, assumption and belief that he'll opt instead to turn pro and enter the NFL Draft. The Palm Beach Post has reported that six teams including the Miami Dolphins have shown the most interest in Kaaya, along with the Bears, Cardinals, Chargers, Saints and Texans. The key to his decision may be his draft status. The thought is he'd turn pro if assured he'd be a reasonably high first round pick, but perhaps not without that assurance -- if instead the NFL consensus was he'd benefit from another college season. Nobody knows at this point. Maybe Brad doesn't even know yet what he'll do. He'll likely not reveal his decision until after the season. Meantime, I'm curious how Miami fans feel. Obviously the vast majority would hope he'll stay. But this poll isn't asking what you hope happens, it's asking what you honestly think will happen. What you predict. Try to make that distinction as you vote. Answer as if the odds were even and you were placing a bet on one choice or the other.

Other state FBS Week 11 games, chronologically, all Saturday unless noted:

No. 18 Florida State 45, Boston College 7: Noles, now 7-3, rolled as expected at home Friday night, fueled by Deondre Francois' three TD passes and limiting BC to 146 total yards.

Florida 20, South Carolina 7: Gators QB Luke Del Rio was out injured (again) but UF dominated in Swamp favorite over ex-coach Will Muschamp's Gamecocks.

UCF 24, Cincinnati 3: Knights dominated at home from start and became bowl-eligible at 6-4.

FAU 35, Texas-El Paso 31: Owls improve to 3-7 in a high-scoring shootout in the home nest. Hooooot!

South Florida 49, Memphis 42: SoFla Bulls now 8-2 and tied atop American-East, angling to reach conference title game.

Off this week: FIU (3-7), next vs. Marshall. FIU made an in-season coaching change and has lost three in a row entering next week's home finale. But just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Panthers, tight end Jonnu Smith's season ended when he was (according to police) burned with boiling water by a girlfriend in a domestic dispute. Good lord, woman!

National Collball Week 11 overview: Earthquake Saturday! No. 2 Clemson (to Pitt), No. 3 Michigan (to Iowa) and No. 4 Washington (to Southern Cal) all stunningly lost. Dominant No. 1 Alabama remains intact but the rest of the upper College Football Playoff ranking is now in turmoil. Fifth-, sixth- and seventh-ranked Ohio State, Louisville and Wisconsin all but assuredly will now elevate into the coveted top four.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 07, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.6%; plus UM, Kaaya crush Pitt 51-28 to end 4-game skid; also, The Luddite's Heat MVP Standings after 5 games (world premiere!), other state Collball Week 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5. Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available, just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 9 picks and column, Harvard stands tall, introducing Luddite's Heat MVP race & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

On the Dolphins' changing identity: The Dolphins' sudden devotion to a running game could signal an identity change for a franchise in dire need of one. Click on Image Makeover for my latest column, in Sunday's print editions but online now.

A few of our other most recent columns: Week 9 Gems (our latest NFL predictions) and King Sport Halftime Awards (doling out midseason trophies), our two newest. Also: There's Hope For Us All (on Cubs' World Series win). A Needed Slap In Face (on NFL's declining TV ratings). Jose Tragedy Couldn't Get Worse, But Then It Did. The Whiteside Project. And Heat's System Reboot.

UM-Pitt live blog, postgame thoughts: Find 'em right there, right below the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 76.6%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a 76.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 51-28 home victory over Pittsburgh putting CsmUM's season record at 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. 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.

CSM poll analysis: I was surprised the Meter shot all the way up to 76.6 percent, its highest since Week 4. That's a pretty strong thumb's up for a 5-4 record, from a demanding fan base. But two things are in play. 1) Scoring 51 points is dressed to impress. 2) After four straight losses, you're so parched that even rainwater tastes like champagne.

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

G4: 97.9% following 35-21 victory at Georgia Tech

G5: 58.3% following 20-19 loss vs. Florida State

G6: 24.0% following 20-13 loss vs. North Carolina

G7: 20.3% following 37-16 loss at Virginia Tech

G8: 16.0% following 30-27 loss at Notre Dame

G9: 76.6% following 51-28 victory vs. Pitt

Next poll: Nov. 12 following game at Virginia

G9: HURRICANES 51, PITTSBURGH 28 : DESPERATE UM REVERSES SKID: Postgame thoughts: The four-game losing streak is over. Finally. This was the Miami that reminded you of the 4-0 team that was ranked No. 10 in the nation before the long skid. Mark Rcht finally gets career win No. 150. Brad Kaaya led the way with 356 yards throwing, four TD passes and another on the ground. The offensive line played much better. The defense was mostly solid. Special teams had a couple of big plays. It was an impressive all-roudn effort at home amid intermittent heavy rain as Canes busted a close game open. Lots to like, but it was Kaaya's afternoon ..... 4Q: Miami now 51-28 inside of final two minutes after impressive tackle-bustin' effort-run for 55-yard TD from Walton ... That'll about do it. UM up 44-28 with less than 4 minutes left on 25-yard FG ... Huge. UM special teams down punt at Pitt 1, leads to big 3rd-down stop and Pitt punt ... Then again, Pitt within 41-28 fast on 75-yard TD pass ... UM large and in charge at 41-21 on Kaaya's fourth TD pass of game and second to Njoku, from 5 yards out ... End of this four-game losing streak is close enough to taste ..... 3Q: One more big defensive play by UM: a Trent Harris sack forcing a Pitt FG try that sails wide left ... Another big defensive takeaway for Mami with end-zone interception by Rayshawn Jenkins ... MIA with first breathing room of game at 34-21 after 3-yard Kaaya TD flip to Coley. Score set up by Chad Thomas' fumble recovery at Pitt 8 ..... Halftime thoughts: Herky-jerky, back and forth game finds UM up 27-21 at the break. Kaaya 19-for-28 for 250 yards and two TDs, but not much ground game for UM other than one Walton run of 29 yards. Penalties also hurting Canes again, with seven for 68 yards including one that negated a TD pass. Liking Miami's chances to end the four-game skid, but a nervous lead ..... 2Q: Dropped pass forces Pitt punt, then Pitt special teams blows chance to down it inside 5. This is why average teams are average ... Kaaya sneaks 1-yard for score, Canes back up 27-21. Walton 29-yard run first notable ground gain for Canes to lead scoring drive ... Pitt takes first lead at 21-20 on 23-yard scoring pass ... Canes up 20-14 on Badgley 48-yard kick ... PIT within 17-14 on 12-yard scoring run. First points allowed by Miami defense ..... 1Q: Wow, Kaaya ends 1Q 13 of 15 for 180 yards, two TDs ... MIA up 17-7 late in quarter on 47-yard Badgley FG after penalty negates touchdown ... Defense need not apply today, apparently. UM back up 14-7 on drive completed by Kaaya 1-yard scoring toss to Coley ... PIT 7-7 on 100-yard kickoff return TD. Canes special-teams coach just dug a hole on the sideline and crawled into it in a fetal position ... UM 7-0 on Kaaya-Njoku 12-yard scoring pass to finish impressive opening drive led by Kaaya's 41-yard strike to Richards ..... Original post: You needn't be that old a Canes fan to remember the glory days, back when it took Miami about half a decade to lose four games. Well, the current team has lost four in a row, the first time that's happened in Coral Gables since 2007. And the last time a Canes team lost more than four in Pittuma row? That was a six-pack of L's back in Lou Saban's 1977. That is your context for UM and Mark Richt's desperation to win today vs. visiting Pittsburgh. Four straight losses have taken that 4-0, No. 10-ranked season and knocked it on its ass down to the ignominy of 4-4. Time to get up and finish strong, Canes, if you can. Today's 12:30 p.m. matinee, UM's next-to-last home game, won't be easy against a Pitt squad with a better record at 5-3. Miami opened around a 6-point favorite but kicks off as the betting pick by only 4. Trust in UM has eroded, because within the losing streak we have seen an undisciplined spate of penalties and an offensive line that has been plainly lousy the past couple of games. (Somewhere, Art Kehoe is either weeping or laughing, I'm not sure which). Brad Kaaya needs better protection, and Joe Yearby and Mark Walton need better blocking to get what had been a strong running game going again. History favors Miami. The U has won nine of the past 10 meetings between these schools, though a 29-24 Canes win last year saw Miami hanging on after a 20-0 halftime lead. The likelihood of a shootout looms. Pitt averages 38 points. And Kaaya (it says here) will have a huge afternoon picking apart a sorrowful Panthers pass defense that was strafed for 406 yards by Virginia Tech last week. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-24.

Other state FBS Week 10 games, chronologically:

FAU 42, Rice 25: Could there be a worse matchup on the entire national FBS schedule this week? Rice was a 4-point favorite in a duel of 1-7 teams, in a game only a player's mother could love. And maybe not even then. Go Owls!

Arkansas 31, No. 11 Florida 10: Gators were eyeing the SEC East crown but as mere 4-point road faves couldn't afford a stumble here against a 5-3 Razorbacks squad coming off a bye. I saw it as a challenging road trip for now 6-2 UF vs. an Arkansas team jockeying to improve its bowl position, and was right. Not surprised by the Florida loss, only by the enormity of it.

UCF 37, Tulane 6: Knights rolled at home to 5-4, now within one win of bowl eligibility.

Western Kentucky 49, FIU 21: Panthers fell to 3-7. The good news? With two late scores FIU covered the 31-point spread!

No. 22 Florida State 24, North Carolina State 20: FSU, now 6-3, rallied from 20-10 down late in third quarter to move past last week's crushing 37-34 loss at unbeaten Clemson.

Off this week: South Florida (7-2), next at Memphis, with Bulls still dreaming of poll ranking and spot in American conference title game.

National Collball Week 10 overview: Two games jump out that could have impacted the first College Football Playoff ranking. No. 1 Alabama kept its top spot with a 10-0 victory at No. 13 LSU, holding Tigers to 125 total yards and Leonard Fournette to 35 on 17 carries. And No. 6 Ohio State, trying to work up into that coveted top four, crushed visiting No. 10 Nebraska, 62-3. Nos. 2-3 Clemson and Michigan won easily but No. 4 Texas A&M suffered a stunning loss to Mississippi State.

Luddite HassanwWORLD PREMIERE! "THE LUDDITE'S ANTI-ANALYTICS HEAT MVP STANDINGS" DEBUTS WITH WHITESIDE OUT FRONT: Points. Rebounds. Assists. That's it. With tongue only partly in cheek, we go old-school, strip it down, combine the Original Big Three statistical categories, and introduce a running, cumulative race for Heat team MVP. We'll bring you updated standings at five-game intervals. With Miami now 2-3 after last night's loss in Toronto, here's the debut:

The Luddite's Anti-Analytics Heat MVP Standings (5 games):

1. Hassan Whiteside            176

2. Goran Dragic                  156

3. Justise Winslow              112

4. Tyler Johnson                 107

5. Dion Waiters                    93

Bubble: James Johnson 57. Others: Luke Babbitt 54, Willie Reed 41, Rodney McGruder 27, Udonis Haslem 5, Josh Richardson 1.

THE LIST: HURRICANES FOOTBALL LOSING STREAKS: Miami tries today vs. Pitt to avoid a fifth consecutive loss. The five most recent times a UM football team has lost at least four games in a row within a single season:

Year    #L    Coach / Quarterback (Final record)

2016    4     Mark Richt /Brad Kaaya (Currently 5-4)

2007    4     Randy Shannon / Kyle Wright (5-7)

2006    4     Larry Coker / Kyle Wright (7-6)

1997    4     Butch Davis / Ryan Clement (5-6)

1977    6     Lou Saban / E.J. Baker (3-8)

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