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)

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 22, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 20.3%; plus Canes fall 37-16 at Va-Tech for 3rd straight L; also, where Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, Panthers rank in ESPN 'Ultimate Standings,' NFL Week 7 pix, deconstructing Fins playoff drought & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill challenges team, in wake of exhilarating surprise over Pittsburgh, to "show up like this every week." Click on Tannehill's Challenge to read my column. 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 to learn more or to order through Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 6 results, SOPY rankings, false nobility of the third-party candidate & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 20.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 20.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday's 37-16 loss at Virginia Tech putting CsmUM's season record at 4-3 overall and 1-3 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/Saturday.

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

Next poll: Oct. 29 following game at Notre Dame

Espnultimate PanthersPANTHERS ARE THE BIG SOUTH FLORIDA WINNERS IN 2016 ESPN ULTIMATE STANDINGS: Each year ESPN The Magazine ranks, top to bottom, the 122 teams in MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL to come up with its "Ultimate Standings," based on eight criteria: affordability, coaching, fan relations, ownership, players, stadium experience, title track and bang for the buck. It's inexact, but fun. Click here for the full rankings. Here is how Greater Miami's Big Four pro teams fared:

Panthers No. 7 -- Top 10 overall is a big deal, and that's up from No. 48 one year earlier. Florida is judged third among all NHL clubs.

Heat No. 53 -- That's a sharp drop from 21st overall last year. Miami is slotted a mid-pack 15th among NBA teams.

Marlins No. 91 -- It was No. 106 a year ago, so, progress, I guess. Fish are ranked 25th among baseball teams.

Dolphins No. 106 -- That's down from 92nd last year. And Miami is judged a lowly 26th among NFL franchises.

FripixIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY / WEEK 7: OUR LATEST NFL PICKS: The big wheel keeps rollin'! It's our 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald and one of our best so far. For our latest selections click on Week 7 Gems as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our latest prediction capsules for Dolphins-Bills, our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and more. Got off to a great start with Chicago-Green Bay last night, accurately predicting the Packers would cover a 7 1/2-point line; click Thursday Gem for that capsule. We're now a very, very good (almost surreal) 60-31-2 against the spread heading into Sunday's schedule. We also have our accompanying NFL notes column today that leads with a deconstruction of why the Dolphins suffer a playoff drought into its eighth season. I quantify two main areas (actually, three) where Miami has consistently fallen short. Click on (Not) Takin' Care Of Business to read.

G7: VIRGINIA TECH 37, HURRICANES 16: DREAMS OF REACHING ACC TITLE GAME CRUSHED IN BLACKSBURG: Final thoughts: Three weeks ago Miami was 4-0 and ranked No. 10 in nation. Now the Canes have lost a third straight conference game to make it 4-3 in a Thursday night loss that all but kills any chance of reaching the ACC championship game. Miami's injury-depleted defense was beaten for 525 yards by a balanced Va-Tech offense. The offense again struggled to reach the end zone despite Brad Kaaya's 323 yards passing in spite of his being sacked eight times ..... 4Q: Done. UM now down 37-16 after late Tech scoring run. That's a third staright loss for Miami, all but dooming any chance of reaching ACC title game ... Yearby busts a 41-yard run inside VT's 20 but it's wasted. UM misses narrowly on 4th-down end zone pass to Coley ... Big blocked FG for Miami to keep it a two-possession deficit ... Canes D drops an easy interception ..... 3Q: Tech up 30-16 on 3rd scoring pass of night given up by Miami's defense. Not good enough from Mario Diaz's injury-depleted unit tonight ... Boom! Just like that Kaaya-Herndon 35-yard hookup has Canes within 23-16 ... Hodges 12-yard scoring catch for 23-9 Va-Tech lead in series fueled by dumb personal foul against UM. Careful, Canes. This game could slip away fast. Miami needs TDs, not FGs ... What a defensive play by Quarterman for 11-yard loss on end around ..... Halftime thoughts: Huge series just before half has UM back in it, down 16-9. The two running games are the difference at this point. Va Tech has pummeled UM's defense for 112 ground yards and 5,.6 per carry, while Canes' usually productive ground game has 11 net yards on 17 carries. Richt has 201 air yards despite shaky protection. Miami's defense overall has not been terrible but the offense is struggling for the third straight game. Barring some magical halftime words from Mark Richt, UM is staring at a third straight defeat -- although that late score changed the feel ..... 2Q: Berrios 25-yard scoring pass from Kaaya just before has UM within 16-9 after missed kick. Huge series ... UM hole now 16-3 just before half on 38-yard Tech FG ... Tech 13-3 on 7-yard TD pass. Penalties, missed tackles bedeviling UM ... Tech adds another FG for 6-3 lead ... Kaaya is morphing into Ryan Tannehill (Kaayahill?), holding ball and taking sacks ... Kaaya throws into double coverage, is picked off on deflection ... Solid opening quarter for Canes, who should be up 7-3 ..... 1Q: Njoku wide-open for 48-yard pass play. Shoulda been TD but he tripped; Joe Nobody on the tackle. And UM settles for 29-yard FG to make it 3-3 ... Kaaya takes sack to remove UM from FG range. (Now Dolphins' Tannehill getting better protection and it's Canes O-line that looks weak) ... Va-Tech 3-0 but encouraging finish to series for a UM defense depleted by injuries, especially on line .....Original post: Both teams are 4-2 and unranked entering tonight's 7 o'clock game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, but UM has two conference losses to the Hokies' one. Plainly, while this is not literally must-win for Miami, it is all but must-win if the Canes are to have Umvtany reasonable chance to still reach the ACC Championship Game out of the Coastal division. More than that, though, puts most of the pressure on Miami tonight. This is the first game all season The U has been the betting underdog, with Va-Tech a 6-point favorite. Prime time in Blacksburg on ESPN also makes this the toughest stage on which Mark Richt's Canes have yet performed. Miami also will be missing two or three defensive starters, which could affect UM getting to a very good, dual-threat opposing QB, Jerod Evans, who has 17 TD passes and loves to run. Clearly the onus is on Miami, playing its third game in 13 days, to avoid a third straight conference loss. The best hope may be a big game from Brad Kaaya, whose offense has sputtered in losses to FSU and North Carolina that sent the Canes cascading from No. 10 in the nation to unranked. The potential for Kaaya is big tonight. Va-Tech's defense gave up 405 passing yards to a not-very-good Syracuse last week. The stakes feel like all-or-nothing tonight, a season-shaping extreme. A third straight conference loss would be demoralizing. A win would be the biggest thus far for the Richt Era and set things right. Bottom line for me? These are two pretty equal teams, and a UM upset victory would not surprise me even a little bit. But Blacksburg at night truly offers a home-field edge that could carry the night. My pick: Virginia Tech, 24-20.

Other state FBS Week 8 games, chronologically; all Saturday unless noted:

Temple 46, South Florida 30: Bulls were 7-point road favorites, but bad Friday night loss leaves them 6-2, poll hopes and AAC championship dreams hit hard.

UCF 24, UConn 16Knights were 4-point road faves in this matinee and took care of biz, improving to 4-3.

Louisiana Tech 44, FIU 24: Panthers had won three straight under Ron Cooper since coaching change, but La-Tech was a 16 1/2-point road favorite and showed why.

Off this week:

No. 13 Florida State (5-2), next vs. No. 4 Clemson.

No. 15 Florida (5-1), next vs. Georgia.

FAU (1-6), next vs. Western Kentucky.

National Collball Week 8 overview: College Football Playoff's current alignment seemed safe for another week, but wasn't. While No. 1 Alabama took care of business and turned back No. 6 Texas A&M 33-14, No. 2 Ohio State lost a stunner at Penn State 24-21.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 17, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 24.0%; plus UM falls to North Carolina 20-13 for 2nd straight loss; also, state Collball Week 7 (updated) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15. 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 to learn more or to order through Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ryan Tannehill referendum poll, Panthers' Opening Night, SOPY rankings & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 24.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 24.0 percent overall approval rating -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 20-13 loss to 1aa1csmvisiting North Carolina putting UM's season record at 4-2 overall and 1-2 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 10:30 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

Next poll: Oct. 20 following game at Virginia Tech 

UncvsumG6: NORTH CAROLINA 20, NO. 16 HURRICANES 13: THIS AND NEXT GAME WILL DEFINE UM'S SEASON MORE THAN FSU LOSS DID: Postgame thoughts: You can swallow a 1-point loss to FSU, perhaps. But this? Thuis was rthe toughest loss oif the Richt Era, 20-13 at home to a North Carolina squad Miami was favored by seven to beat. Miami wasn't good enough anywhere on the field. Defensively the Canes gave up 467 yards and didn't defend the pass or run especially well. Offensivelty Brad Kaaya was not sharp, only 16-for-31 though hurt by several drops. Just not sharp. And now UM must win Thursday night in Blacksburg to keep ACC hopes alive. Big loss. ..... Halftime thoughts: Did not see this coming, and I doubt Mark Richt did, either. Down 17 at the half. Blame on both sides. Miami defense has been beaten for 265 yards, air and ground. But Brad Kaaya's offense has yet to reach the end zone. I still sense UM has a big chance for a comeback win, but now the pressure is on. With what's on deck Thursday night, this was supposed to be the easy game. By the way, if UM scores four unanswered TDs in second half, I'll have an excat score on my pick! #Optimist ..... Original post: Bouncing back from crushing defeats was not a forte' of the Al Golden era, which is why Mark Richt is boss now. Let's see how the Hurricanes do Saturday at 3:30 at home trying to shake off that 1-point loss to rival Florida State. When QB Brad Kaaya said this week, "We can't let this loss define us," he was right on a couple of levels. As much as FSU Week was circled in red as Game of the Year stuff, it's the next six days -- hosting North Carolina Saturday, then at No. 17 Virginia Tech Thursday night -- that will better define whether UM gets where it wants to be this season. That would be in the ACC Championship Game. The Tar Heels and Cavaliers are fellow Coastal Division teams (Seminoles aren't), so these next two games will better tell whether Miami will have a chance to be playing for the ACC title come early December. UNC was ranked No. 17 before getting crushed last week by Va-Tech, 34-3, suggesting Saturday should be the decidedly easier of the next two tests facing the Canes, at home vs. in Blacksburg. UM is favored over the Heels by seven points Saturday. It isn't literally an elimination game in the ACC Coastal race, but is tantamount to that. Miami controls its own destiny in this race, so the next two games more than the FSU loss figure to shape how fans feel about Year 1 of the Richt era. North Carolina struggled with only 131 total yards for Va-Tech, while the Heels defense was beaten for 189 yards rushing. Could be a big day for Mark Walton and Joe Yearby. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-20.

Other state FBS Week 7 games, all Saturday, chronologically:

No. 14 Florida State 17, Wake Forest 6: Forget Wake's shiny record. Seminoles were favored by 21 1/2 but sputtered to a win. Post-Canes letdown?

No. 18 Florida 40, Missouri 14: Gators got QB Luke Del Rio back from injury and sailed in The Swamp.

FIU 27, Charlotte 26: Panthers with a third straight win since the coaching change.

Marshall 27, FAU 21: Sad season for Owls.

South Florida 42, UConn 27: Bulls getting very close to the Top 25.

Temple 26, UCF 25: Disappointing home loss for Knights.

National Collball Week 7 overview: College Football Playoff earthquake ahead? Nope. 1-Alabama crushed  9-Tennessee 49-10, and 2-Ohio State survived 8-Wisconsin 30-23. (And 3-Clemson got lucky in beating N.C. State).

Select recent columns of ours, ICYMI or wanted another look: Now the Winning Big Must Follow (on Panthers' high hopes off season-opening victory) / Week 6 Gems (our latest NFL picks) / As Tannehill Fights For His Future (latest NFL notes column) / Because He's Tiger Woods / Boo Tannehill? Entire Dolphins team, starting with defense, deserves derision for this performance (off Sunday loss to Titans) / Close to Back, But Not Back (from Saturday's Canes loss to FSU) / With massive gentle force, Miami did itself proud this week with the love it showed Jose / Time is Right For Bosh to Retire / Demanding Racial Justice / Tebow's Dream / The Case for Zach Thomas and Canton.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 10, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 58.3%; plus UM loses to FSU 20-19 on late blocked extra-point; also, other state Collball including FIU win, FAU screwed, your World Series choice & more

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

1) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9. Today's Dolphins-Tennessee preview and new Hot Button Top 10 will publish in blog at 12:15 p.m. today. 2) Click on NFL Week 5 predictions for all our latest King Sport picks. 3) 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 to learn more or to order through Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): World Series poll, NFL Week 5 picks/Week 4 results, your Marlins MVP verdict, Hurricanes coaches vs. FSU & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Our Canes-Noles column from game: Click on Close to Back, But Not Back for my column from the stadium on last night's 20-19 UM loss. Find our UM-FSU in-game blog and postgame thoughts directly below the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 58.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 58.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 20-19 loss 1aa1csmto visiting Florida State putting UM's season record at 4-1 overall and 1-1 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 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

Analyzing the latest vote: An approval number near 60 is high following a crushing loss, but it rightly reflects the sky-high starting point of the number (97.9 before the game) in addition to the narrowness of the loss, that it happened on a blocked kick, and also the caliber of opponent.

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

Next poll: Oct. 15 following game vs. North Carolina

FsuumG5: NO. 23 FLORIDA STATE 20, NO. 10 HURRICANES 19: HEARTBREAK LOSS CONTINUES MASTERY IN RIVALRY: Postgame thoughts: To lose on a blocked extra point is bizarre, but it's hard to say the Canes deserved to win -- that the Noles didn't snatch the game from them. Miami ed 13-3 at the half but FSU pretty much dominated the second half. Kaaya struggled after halftime other than that one gorgeous late TD that should have led to 20-20 and perhaps overtime. FSU would outgain Miami 407 yards to 276. UM's ground game would manage only 62 yards on 28 carries. A supposedly bad FSU defense contained UM. That was the bottom line. Watch for my column from the game online soon ..... 4Q: Oh my. Canes have tying extra-point kick blocked with 1:38 to play after Kaaya-Coley 11-yard scoring pass gives Miami a chance to tie the game late. Wow. ... With five minutes left, a call goes against Miami and angry Canes fans litter field with water bottles and other debris. Sad display. Pur frustration ... Noles now lead 20-13 mid-quarter after 32-yard FG. Canes' unbeaten record in jeopardy ... 3Q: FSU leads 17-13 -- UM trailing for first time all season -- on Francois-Whitfield 20-yard TD pass ... Uh oh,. FSU within 13-10 on 59-yard scoring pass from Francois to Cook. First time all nbight I've felt momentum swing to Noles. ... Canes, driving, miss a big chance to take a 20-3 lead when Kaaya is intercepted in end zone by FSU's McFadden ... UM forces FSU punt to open second half ..... Halftime thoughts: Huge defensive effort by UM so far, sparked by a big interception, and a sharp Kaaya have been the difference at 13-0. Kaaya has 154 yards passing, and Miami's defense has held the Noles to only 88 yards in the air. ..... 2Q: FSU averts shutout and makes it 13-3 with 31-yard FG six seconds before end of half ... UM 13-0 on Badgley 51-yard field goal 1:16 before half ... Francois back in at QB for Noles. Amazing how a 10-point hole makes a player feel suddenly healthier ... UM drives 76 yards to a 10-0 lead on a Kaaya 19-yard scoring strike to Coley in the end zone. Earlier 27-yard completion to Walton sparked the series ... Huge! Jaquan Johnson interception for Canes off Maguire halts FSU after Cook busts 54-yard run to UM 22 ... Maguire in at QB for FSU after Francois shaken up on last play of 1st quarter ..... 1Q: Badgley 37-yard FG for a 3-0 UM lead with 1:16 left in as low-scoring first. ... UM bats down 4th-down FSU pass to get ball back ... Kaaya sacked on game's first offensive snap and UM quickly punts ..... Original post: Tonight at The Rock at 8 -- which on ABC-TV time means about 8:15 -- will come the kickoff that sets in motion the Litmus test game that will tell us so much of about this Miami team. Hurricane Matthew could not stop this game. Now we see if a suspect FSU defense can stop these Hurricanes. No. 10 Miami is 4-0 but still doubted, lacking a tough schedule to this point. No. 23 Florida State is a staggered 3-2, but a dangerous two-loss team, one of only three of those ranked. That UM is a nominal 3-point betting pick at home suggests wagerers basically see these teams as even. Factoring into that line is Miami's six-game losing streak in this state rivalry. Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles bring potent offense embodied by star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami Central), who has 407 rushing yards and five TDs in past two games. But Florida State's defense has been really bad, beaten for an average of 35 points and 438 yards this season. Miami is more solid all-round, with Brad Kaaya and Mark Walton leading a balanced, quality offense, and the Canes' young defense has been really strong thus far -- such as when defensive TDs by two true freshmen sparked last week's win at Georgia Tech. UM coach Mark Richt had an interesting week in the buildup to FSU Week. Asked about being 4-0, he said, "You coach 33 years, it's not a big deal, game 5." He clarified to note he didn't mean playing FSU wasn't a big deal, only that it's too early to get excited about records or rankings. Richt also took to Twitter to call out a reporter for tomahawknation.com. Richt had described Cook as being "like a lot of backs" he sued to see in the SEC. The reporter interpreted that as demeaning Cook, while Richt sad it was a compliment to Cook's physical running style. Minor controversies aside, Richt's Hurricanes will prove themselves (or not) the next two games -- versus an FSU program that has been its nemesis, and then vs. a North Carolina team that figures as UM's biggest challenge to the ACC Coastal crown. It is not unreasonable to doubt the impressiveness of UM's 4-0 record to this point. Tonight will go a long way to magnifying those doubts, or erasing them. I like the better-balanced, more complete team at home. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-23.
Rivalry

Other state FBS Week 6 games, chronologically:

Tulane (3-2) at UCF (3-2) -- Postponed: Scheduled for Friday night, game was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew and schools agreed to play on Nov. 5, when both had a bye.

LSU (3-2) at No. 18 Florida (4-1) -- Postponed: Saturday's noon start was postponed on account of the hurricane. Game was initially announced as canceled with no plan for a makeup date, but now SEC reportedly is trying to work out a rescheduling for later in season. QB Luke Del Rio was to return from injury for Gators, yet LSU, which recently fired coach Les Miles, was a 3-point favorite in what was to be its second game under interim coach Ed Orgeron. TIgers looked to have star RB Leonard Fournette back.

South Florida 38, East Carolina 22: Bulls now 5-1 with a comfy and expected win in Tampa in a game whose start was unaffected by the hurricane.  

FIU 35, UTEP 21: Panthers were 4 1/2-point 'dogs at Texas-El Paso Miners but, building off last week's win over FAU, pulled off a nice little road win to make it 2-4 -- and 2-0 since the coaching change.

Charlotte 28, FAU 23: ROBBERY! Owls scored last minute TD on Hail Mary pass for 29-28 walkoff win! Or, not. Call was reversed on review. SCREWED! Saturday's scheduled 3:30 game was delayed one day and played Sunday at noon because of Hurricane Matthew. Teams had same records but home-nesting Owls (now 1-5) were favored by 13 1/2, so this was a bad home loss for Owls. (If it was actually a loss, of course...). 

National Collball Week 6 overview: In addition to FSU-Miami (see above), other Top 25 matchups: 1-Alabama beat 16-Arkansas, 49-30; 8-Texas A&M held off 9-Tennessee 45-38 in double-OT; and 25-Virginia Tech crushed host 17-North Carolina, 34-3. And, wow: Navy stuns 6-Houston, 46-40. Navy! 

Poll result: You hope Cubs win World Series. What a surprise! (Not): We asked which of eight finalists you most hope wins the World Series, and the Chicago Cubs, seeking their first crown since 1908, were the clear winner with 39.6 percent. Cleveland Indians were distant second at 10.9%, with Boston Red Sox at 10.6%. After that it, the five teams all were bunched between 9.3% and 5.8%.

THE LIST: MOST RECENT WORLD SERIES TITLES: Most recent championship for the eight current finalists, in reverse chronology:

Year        Team                            Manager                Home-run leader

2014        San Francisco Giants     Bruce Bochy           Buster Posey, 22 

2013        Boston Red Sox             John Farrell           David Ortiz, 30

1993        Toronto Blue Jays         Cito Gaston            Joe Carter, 33

1988        Los Angeles Dodgers     Tommy Lasorda      Kirk Gibson, 25

1948        Cleveland Indians         Lou Boudreau         Joe Gordon, 32

1908        Chicago Cubs                Frank Chance        Joe Tinker, 6

None        Texas Rangers              Reached WS but lost in 2010 & '11

None        Washington Nationals    Have never reached WS

Select recent columns of ours, ICYMI or wanted another look: NFL Week 5 predictions / King Sport First Quarter Awards / Canes Will Beat FSU and Here's Why / With massive gentle force, Miami did itself proud this week with the love it showed Jose / Time is Right For Bosh to Retire /  We Got Some Canes Over Here / Demanding Racial Justice / Tebow's Dream / The Case for Zach Thomas and Canton.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 19, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 98.2%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show a season-high 98.2 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 45-10 Hurricanes victory at Appalachian State putting UM's season record at 3-0. This the eighth season of our blog's CSM postgame polls, which are your invitation after every Hurricanes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7:30 a.m. Monday.

2016 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 1 following game at Georgia Tech

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

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

Other state FBS Week 3 games (all Saturday):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 29, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 76.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 76.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 29-24 victory at Pitt putting UM's final regular-season Csmrecord at 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Sunday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note: FIU completed its season at 5-7.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 21, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 15, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 11, 2015

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

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

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

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 59.6%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 59.6 percent overrall satisfaction (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday's 29-24 loss at Florida State putting UM's season record at 3-2 1aa1acsmoverall and 0-1 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCT. 11): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature (updated Monday) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. Click on Hot Button for today's abbreviated print-only version:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Center                    Starts    Years

Tim Ruddy                140      1994-03

Jim Langer               109      1970-79

Dwight Stephenson     87       1980-87

Jeff Uhlenhake          59       1989-93

Tom Goode               55       1966-69

Mike Pouncey            50       2011-current

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

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

Twitter @gregcote