February 14, 2018

New: Canes on right side in Arkansas State mess ... but will the Force (Majeure) be with them?; plus video in honor of Black History Month, Happy Valentine's Day, newest Dolphins draft guess, America's Dog & more

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

Valentine1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14. Happy Valentine's Day to all the sweethearts out there, especially my wonderful wife! (I'd get credit for that, if she read my blog). 2) Click on Strange Signs! for the new Back In My Day video that debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. 3) The Dolfans in your life may not know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our ultimate franchise history book. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot BUtton Top 10, latest Back In My Day video (Strange Signs!), D.Wade homecoming trilogy, LeBron flexes power, your Winter Olympics verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NEW COLUMN: ON CANES VS. ARKANSAS STATE -- THE COURT CASE: Miami would have won the football game pretty easily. Because there was no game, there might now be a court case, and winning that won't e so easy for Miami. It's the football game that turned into a mess, with Miami on the morally right side, but not necessarily the legally right side. We explore in our latest column. To read, click on UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them?

Our most recent other columns: LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. And the Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade.

IN HONOR OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH: A poignant new video from the great Mavis Staples for her song, "If All I Was Was Black":
RsmithLATEST DOLPHINS DRAFT GUESS
:
In a new mock draft from the Washington Post -- whose new doomsday-feel slogan is "Democracy Dies In Darkness," as an aside) has the Dolphins selecting Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith (pictured) 11th overall. Reasonable guess. Position of need. But I'm still banging the drum for Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, if he lasts that long. There seems to be building momentum for the Broncos taking Mayfield at No. 5 overall, although that seems high. Still think Miami could have a shot.

BichonFLYNN THE BICHON FRISE' NAMED AMERICA'S TOP DOG: Flynn is pictured at left. A Bichon Frise' looks like a poodle on steroids. Do they drug-test these canines? "Bichon frise'" is a French phrase meaning "curly lap dog." The small, button-eyed breed is in the non-sporting group, meaning it just sits around annoying the neighbors by emitting a high-pitched, strident bark. Nevertheless, Flynn won Best in Show on Tuesday at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at New York's Madison Square Garden in New York. Following the show the small, foofy champion was mauled by a German shepherd. OK I made up that last part. Flynn is alive and well: America's Top Dog!

Select other recent columns: Richt Building Something Big & Something To Last. Dear Canton: Call Zach. Also: Exploring Dolphins' QB QuandaryFarewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamA Heart Both Broken And Soaring Wins PegasusAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameCanes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae Riback

Thank You, Edwin Pope.Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

February 07, 2018

Zach Thomas deserves to be in Canton!; plus Hurricanes recruiting bounty (new column), latest Back In My Day video (Flyswatters!), the 3 reasons Pats' McDaniels snubbed Colts, a reason to (sort of, almost) like Marlins & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7. Still celebrating our correct Eagles upset pick in the Super Bowl. Click The Historic Super Bowl the NFL Needs for my column, and Super Bowl Gem for my bull's-eye pick. 2) The Dolfans in your life may not know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our ultimate franchise history book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Eagles stun Patriots in Super Bowl, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: On Hurricanes 2018 recruiting class: Click on Richt Building Something Big & Something To Last to read. 

ZachZACH THOMAS DESERVES TO BE IN THE HALL OF FAME: I thought this last year when his longtime Dolphins runningmate Jason Taylor breezed into Canton and Zach once again didn't even make it to the second round in voting. I especially thought it this past weekend when Brian Urlacher was elected in his first year of eligibility and Zach once again was shunned. In my latest column I make the case why Thomas' career stacks up well vs. both Taylor and Urlacher. Click on Dear Canton: Call Zach to read it.

JoshTHE 3 REASONS WHY JOSH MCDANIELS SNUBBED COLTS TO STAY WITH PATRIOTS: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels decided to become the Indianapolis Colts next head coach, then changed his mind, embarrassing Indy. Why? 1) Robert Kraft despises the Colts, the team that ratted out New England over Deflategate, and ordered a financial offer to McDaniels that would keep him. 2) Tom Brady at 40 is healthier and still better than Andrew Luck at 28. And 3) McDaniels is now positioned as heir apparent to Bill Belichick in a way  he was not previously.

SamsonA REASON TO LIKE THE MARLINS, SORT OF: Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill, former club president David Samson and Mr. Marlin, Jeff Conine, just ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. You might dislike the Marlins because of the Derek Jeter fire sale. You might dislike Samson because he was the right-hand man of unpopular owner Jeffrey Loria. But you must admire the extraordinary feat these people just accomplished.  Click on 7-7-7 for the story. (Samson is pictured running in the sixth of seven marathons, on Sunday in Cartagena, Colombia). 

THE NEW BACK IN MY DAY: FLYSWATTERS!: From today's Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio:

Select other recent columns: Exploring Dolphins' QB QuandaryFarewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A Team. Also: A Heart Both Broken And Soaring Wins PegasusThe Upside Of a Fire SaleAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerAnd Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameCanes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. 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

February 03, 2018

The pick has landed! Our Patriots-Eagles Super Bowl forecast and preview column; plus Dolphins QB Quandary: Tannehill vs. Cousins vs. Mayfield. Your final verdict; also, Super Bowl With a Smirk V, your choice on MLS Miami & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3. Happy new month, all! 2) R.I.P., Rasual Butler, the former Heat player (2002-05) who died Wednesday at 38 along with his wife in an auto accident in California. 3) The Dolfans in your life don't know it, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our book. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ranking MLS Miami among our Big 5 pro teams with poll, R.I.P. Bob Rubin, Made In Miami LeBapalooza, Super Bowl With A Smirk I and II, U2 video & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Sb52OUR SUPER BOWL PREVIEW: NFL WINS EITHER WAY WITH THIS MATCHUP, BUT AMERICA WANTS ONLY ONE TEAM: History is in the offing. The Patriots will win a record-tying sixth Super Bowl on Sunday, or the Eagles will win their first championship since 1960 and end the third-longest drought of any fan base in the U.S. Either result would suit the NFL, which needs the big finish after a beleaguered season, but only one result will make America smile. Click on The Historic Super Bowl the NFL Needs for my preview column. 

OUR PATRIOTS-EAGLES PREDICTION: THE LIMB WE'RE OUT ON IS CREAKING, BUT WE CAN EXPLAIN: New England is favored over Philadelphia by 4 1/2 points in Sunday's Super Bowl, but I see it going differently. I see an upset and the Eagles' first NFL championship trophy since 1960. Click on Super Bowl Gem for my official SB 52 predix capsule and I'll tell you why it'll happen.

DolphinsQUARTERBACK QUANDARY: DOLPHINS HAVE 3 DIVERSE OPTIONS, MUST CHOOSE ONE: In my latest column -- click Exploring Dolphins' QB Quandary to read in full -- I examine the Dolphins' quarterback situation in the wake of the huge NFL trade this week in which Kansas City dealt Alex Smith to Washington, meaning Kirk Cousins will become a free agent. As I see it Miami must do one of three things: Go all-in with Ryan Tannehill and stick with their incumbent. Or pursue Cousins in free agency. Or draft a likely available Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma 11th overall this April. Can't choose more than one, but must choose one. Sticking with Tannehill is the strong likelihood, but my column explores why Cousins and Mayfield are extremely viable options, meaning the timing would be right to move past Tannehill. I put the three options to a vote on my Twitter site and here are your final results:

Mayfield49%: Draft Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield

 


Tannehill29%: Stick with Ryan Tannehill

 

 

Cousins22%: Go after Kirk Cousins

 

 

Mlsmiami RubinThis week's other columns: Bob Rubin, MLS Miami: Our friend, mentor and longtime former Miami Herald colleague, Bob Rubin, passed away peacefully this week at age 76. Click on Farewell, Rubin to read the obituary. Earlier in the week we wrote from the official announcement that an as-yet-unnamed Miami team fronted by David Beckham would join Major League Soccer as an expansion team for the 2020 season. Click on Beckham's Dream Becomes A Team for that column.

Smirk

CELEBRATE SUPER BOWL WITH SMIRK WEEK IN MIAMI!: It's Super Bowl Week and that means Super Bowl With A Smirk was back in the Miami Herald for five daily notes columns that merrily poked fun at the self-important NFL and the gravitas of its big game. In case you missed it or for your repeat pleasure, our parade of Smirks:

Smirk V: Taste of the NFL Leads Party Parade -- Eagles' brisket beats Pats' gnocchi despite shocking lack of Cheez Whiz.

Smirk IV: Welcome Back, Mr. Wardrobe Malfunction! -- Justin Timberlake halftime show recalls an indelible SB moment.

Smirk III: Goodell's "All Is Well!" Address -- Commissioner hopelessly accentuates the positive as flames engulf his league.

Smirk II: TV Ads -- Angry Clydesdale Chases Screaming Betty White. The time it took to read the previous sentence cost $588,000.

Smirk I: Unlike-A-Bowl -- Starring two teams you'd rather see both lose, played in a city you'd only visit in winter if you lost a bet.

POLL RESULT: MORE THAN HALF SAY MLS MIAMI WILL ARRIVE TOP-3 AMONG OUR BIG 5 PRO TEAMS: We asked, "Where will Miami's new Major League Soccer team rank in terms of your interest level and fandom relative to our other four pro teams?" Results were all over the map. Your verdict: 1st--15.60 percent; 2nd--12.84%; 3rd--26.61%; 4th--17.43%; 5th--27.52%. That's a near-plurality who think soccer will check in third (presumably after the Dolphins and Heat), and around 55% overall who see MLS as top-three (presumably ahead of the Marlins and Panthers).

Select other columns: A Heart Both Broken And Soaring Wins Pegasus (Gulfstream's world's richest horse race). The Upside Of a Fire Sale (Lewis Brinson becoming face of Marlins' reboot). Appreciating Wayne Huizenga. And When Victims Seize The Power (Larry Nassar/USA Gymnastics trial). Also: And Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameCanes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. 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

January 22, 2018

SUPER BOWL: EAGLES-PATRIOTS. Who you like? Who you want? Two new polls. Vote now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10: This week's new No. 1, and see what else falls where; also, rebooting Huizenga's legacy & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 22. The Dolfans in your life need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Fins franchise history book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The case for Canes going 12-0 in 2018, Kiper's mock pick for Dolphins, your will vs. want Super Bowl verdicts & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

HuizengaThe most recent column platter: Huizenga, Nassar, Dolphins: Our latest column: His legacy needs a reboot, because South Florida's single most influential sports owner is too often remembered divisively. Click Appreciating Wayne Huizenga to read  ///  The empowerment of the #MeToo movement was crushing Dr. Larry Nassar this week in the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal, and it was awesome to see. Click When Victims Seize The Power  ///  Looking at the AFC and NFC Championship Games and seeing why Dolphins fans might feel both renewed hope and increased frustration all at once. Click on For Dolphins, Hope and Frustration in Final Four.

Sb18SUPER BOWL: PATRIOTS VS. EAGLES: WHO YOU LIKE? WHO YOU WANT?: New England Patriots rally Sunday to beat Jacksonville 24-20 in the AFC Championship Game. Then Philadelphia Eagles rout Minnesota 38-7 for the NFC crown. I had a solid day with my picks. Went 2-0 straight-up, calling the upset win by Philly, and 1-1 against the spread. (Click on Championship Sunday Gems for our full predix capsules). Now we prepare for a Patriots-Eagles Super Bowl in a duel of No. 1 conference seeds. And we offer up two polls here. Head vs. Heart. Think vs. Hope. Which team would you bet WILL win this Super Bowl. And which team do you most WANT to win. Vote now!

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:

Hot1. NFL: Brady hands Pats comeback win, Eagles roll: It was Jacksonville at New England and then Minnesota at Philadelphia in Sunday play-ins for the Super Bowl. Eagles were a rare home-'dog No. 1 seed, but the big story going in was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s right hand injury imperiling the defending champs' status as heavy favorites. Well guess what? He engineered a big comeback and the Eagles rocked 'n rolled.

2. HEAT: Miami surges, Dragic makes his late 'Star' push: Surging Miami has won eight of the past 10 after Saturday's 1-point win in Charlotte and is now within a half-game of third place in East entering Monday's game at mighty Houston. But will the wave be enough to lift guard Goran Dragic onto NBA All-Star team as Heat’s lone rep? We’ll know this week as reserves and final rosters are announced. Dragic stays quiet … but deserves the nod.

3. NASSAR TRIAL: USA Gymnastics sexual abuse trial ends: Disgraced national-team doctor Larry Nassar listened last week in Michigan courtroom as dozens of women — including gold medal-winning female Olympic gymnasts — spoke of the abuse at his hands under guise of treatment. He complained to judge that hearing it was bad for his mental health. And the number of people who felt sorry for Nassar was estimated between zero and nobody.

4. PANTHERS: Cats back in action with win as club honors Huizenga: Panthers are 1-1 since coming back onto NHL ice after a week off, but still with a sizable deficit to make up in playoff race. Meantime club honored founding owner Wayne Huizenga. Year of the Rat goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck was among Huizenga-era players back in town for the ceremony. Wish he’d brought some of that ’96 mojo with him.

5. MARLINS: Home Run Sculpture going, going, gone!: In yet another sign of the new-owner makeover, the Marlins quietly decided to remove the infamous, made-fun-of and mostly hated Home Run Sculpture from Marlins Park. So, following a bunch of public-relations faux pas by the new regime including the payroll-gutting trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna, it seems Derek Jeter finally did something sort of almost popular.

6. DOLPHINS: Big-time QB campaigns for Miami to draft him: Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield’s #GetMeToMiami hashtag on social media -- during an Instagram live chat with Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, a former Sooner -- seems to be a suggestion that the Dolphins draft him 11th overall this April. And I’d say it could happen, but that would seem to be giving the Dolphins way too much credit for being bold.

7. UM BASKETBALL: Slumping Canes looking for a spark: Remember how the UM football team was 10-0 and then finished 10-3? Jim Larranaga's Canes men's hoops team started 10-0 and was ranked No. 6, but has since gone 4-4 after losing to Duke and then winning at North Carolina State, and will likely drop from the Top 25 in Monday's new rankings, a team in search of a spark just past midseason.

8. TENNIS: Australian Open reaches midpoint amid searing heat: Novak Djokovic was an upset loser and Maria Sharapova's comeback suffered a lopsided loss, but the overriding story in Melbourne midway through the year's first major has been the brutal heat, conditions that Rafael Nadal called "dangerous" for players. It's pretty bad when the tennis balls start melting. If concessionaires at the tournament could find a way to sell shade they'd be rich.

9. HORSE RACING: Five days 'til second Pegasus World Cup: It isn't a Triple Crown race. In some ways it isn't even Gulfstream's biggest event; the Florida Derby still is. But in a sport whose lifeblood is betting, it's hard to top the world's richest race: 12 horses gunning for a $16 million purse in the second annual Pegasus World Cup this coming Saturday.

10. UFC: The big boys take the spotlight: It was defending champion Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou atop the marquee for UFC 220 in Boston Saturday night, and Miocic dominated to feather his claim as the sport's best heavyweight fighter ever. 

Missing the HB10 cut: New York Mets announced their spring training would include a circus again this year. Welcome back, Tim Tebow! ..... We're seven days from the annual Miami Marathon, in which thousands of motorists are inconvenienced by blockaded streets so a bunch of other people can run from Point A to Point B for no apparent reason ..... His official physical exam indicated that President Donald Trump weighs 239 pounds. Um, uh, sure, yeah. And I'm a jockey right at 119.

Select other recent columns: And Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameAre the Fins Feeling Bold? Also: Canes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksLatest Drama in Bizarre, Trying SeasonJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. 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

January 20, 2018

Rebooting Wayne Huizenga's legacy; plus Hurricanes football 2018 and a game-by-game case for a 12-0 regular season; also, our NFL Championship Sunday picks, Kiper's new mock-pick for Dolphins, your NFL Final Four verdicts & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 20. Need a late holiday gift? Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins history book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Final Four polls, rarity of UM football/basketball dual poll power, new Back In My Day video & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

The week's column platter: Wayne Huizenga, Larry Nassar, Miami Dolphins: Our newest column: His legacy needs a reboot, because South Florida's single most influential sports owner is too often remembered divisively. Click Appreciating Wayne Huizenga to read  ///  The empowerment of the #MeToo movement was crushing Dr. Larry Nassar this week in the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal, and it was an awesome thing to see. Click When Victims Seize The Power  ///  Looking at the AFC and NFC Championship Games and seeing why Dolphins fans might feel both renewed hope and increased frustration and impatience -- all at once. Click on For Dolphins, Hope and Frustration in Final Four.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! OUR NFL CONFERENCE-CHAMPIONSHIPS PLAYOFF PICKS: We're down to the final four teams, and Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship Games will be play-ins for the Super Bowl. It's Jaguars at Patriots and Vikings at Eagles. We explore the matchups, lay out the storylines and predict the winners. And, yes, there will be one upset. Click on Championship Sunday Gems for our full Final Four predix capsules as the Super Bowl Tournament reaches its penultimate round.

MrichtTHE CASE FOR A 12-0 HURRICANES FOOTBALL REGULAR-SEASON IN 2018: Next season's schedule just came out, and oh does it look (mostly) soft 'n friendly for the Hurricanes! It starts brutally tough with LSU in a neutral site kickoff classic, but then doesn't really scare you again until November brings back to back roadies at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Eight of 12 opponents played in recent bowl games, yes, but most of those were sneak-ins to lousy bowls. UM finished 10-3 and ranked No. 13 in 2017. Here's a game by game synopsis on why a 12-0 regular season in '18 looks plausible:

LsuSept. 2 vs. LSU (in Arlington, Tex.) -- Tigers were 9-4 and ended ranked No. 18 after losing to Notre Dame 21-17 in Citrus Bowl. This is UM's single toughest-looking game. LSU leads all-time series 9-3 and won most recent meeting 40-3 in the 2005 Peach Bowl. But with four weaker opponents to follow, Mark Richt can put all his offseason into this game, whereas LSU faces Auburn soon after. Canes Win Likelihood (CWL): 55%

Sept. 8 vs. Savannah State -- Home opener is a waltz. Savannah State, a lower FCS-division school, was 3-8 in Mid-Eastern and only previous meeting with a Miami was a 77-7 Canes rout in 2013. Games this lopsided shouldn't even be allowed. CWL: 99.99999%.

Sept. 15 at Toledo -- Toledo was 11-3 as a Mid-American power, but shouldn't be a problem. Rockets lost 34-0 to Appalachian State in Dollar General Bowl. Miami whipped Toledo last season 52-30. CWL: 90%.   

Sept. 22 vs. FIU -- OK, keep it clean. No brawling, kids! The brief history of this backyard rivalry (Miami is 2-0; last met in 2007) and Butch Davis facing The U will make the buildup delicious. But the game figures ugly. FIU was a credible 8-5 but lost 28-3 to Temple in the Gasparilla Bowl. CWL: 85%.

Sept. 27 vs. North Carolina -- Thursday game makes it a short week of prep, it's ACC opener, and Miami only beat Tar Heels by 24-19 last season. So, despite UNC being 3-9 in '17, got to pay attention to this one. CWL: 80%

FsuOct. 6 vs. Florida State -- New Noles coach is a wild card. FSU was 7-6 after 42-13 Independence Bowl win over Southern Miss and won't stay down long. UM's 24-20 win last season to end seven-game series losing streak was huge. Now it's home. Also huge. CWL: 60%.

Oct. 13 at Virginia -- Cavaliers ended 6-7 after losing to Navy 49-7 in Military Bowl. UM handled Virginia 44-28. Even on road, ought not be a real problem. CWL: 75%

Oct. 26 at Boston College -- Tough road challenge follows a bye. Eagles were 7-6 after losing to Iowa 27-20 in Pinstripe Bowl. UM sort of owns BC, leading all-time series 24-5, but Canes only got by 41-32 in last meeting in 2012, but gap since last meeting adds element of unpredictability. CWL: 70%.

Nov. 3 vs. Duke -- Duke isn't bad. Finished 7-6 after beating Northern Illinois 36-14 in Quick Lane Bowl. But Canes lead all-time series 13-2 and have won four straight including 31-6 last season. CWL: 80%.

Nov. 10 at Georgia Tech -- Yellow Jackets were down last year, a bowl-less 5-6. Nevertheless, it's on road, Miami only leads series by 12-11, and last season's meeting was a 25-24 escape by Canes. CWL: 65%

VtNov. 17 at Virginia Tech -- The most likely loss other than LSU opener. Hokies were 9-4 and ended No. 24 after 30-21 loss to Oklahoma State in Camping World Bowl. Miami handled Va-Tech 28-10 last season, but Blacksburg has traditionally been tough venue for Canes. CWL: 55%.    

Nov. 24 vs. Pittsburgh: Panthers were a bowl-less 5-7 last season but made their year with the 24-14 home upset of then-unbeaten Miami that dealt a severe blow to UM's national-title hopes at the time. Now the game is here, and revenge should be sweet. CWL: 80%.

McglincheyKIPER'S FIRST MOCK DRAFT PICK FOR DOLPHINS IS A TACKLE. NOOOOO!!!!!: ESPN mock-draft impresario Mel Kiper emits his Mock Draft 1.0 today and, with the No. 11 overall pick, Junior has your Miami Dolphins selecting Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (pictured). Says Mel: "The Dolphins are a tough team to pick for because the roster has so many questions. What's going to happen with free agent Jarvis Landry? Are they set long-term at quarterback? Is there a No. 1 back on the team? And that's just offense. For now I'll go with McGlinchey, who is my top-ranked tackle in a solid class. There are five tackles who could go in the first round. He has played on the left and right sides and could be the immediate starter at right tackle for the Dolphins, who have Laremy Tunsil slotted in on the blindside." Says me: You remember McGlinchey, right? Yeah he was on that dominant Fighting Irish blocking front that the Canes thoroughly dominated. I say "Nooooo!!!!!" to Kiper's pick because, with Tunsil on the left and top-graded Fins tackle Ja'Wauan James on the right, tackle should be one position that is buttoned-down solid. Click Are the Fins Feeling Bold? for my recent Dolphins draft-related column.  

POLL RESULTS: YOU PREDICT PATS WILL WIN SUPER BOWL, BUT WANT JAGS OR VIKES: We offered two different NFL Final Four polls. In the first we asked who you think WILL win the Super Bowl among the last teams standing, and it was Patriots 66.91 percent, Vikings 19.12%, Eagles 8.09% and Jaguars 5.88%. In the second we asked who you most WANT to win it all, and the results were far different. It was Jaguars 36.84%, Vikings 36.09% and Eagles and Patriots both 13.53%.

Select other recent columns: And Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameAre the Fins Feeling Bold? Also: Will Somebody Please Rise Up. Canes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaCanes-Irish: Game For The Ages. Appreciate Perfection -- PeriodThe Godfather SpeaksLatest Drama in Bizarre, Trying SeasonJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. 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

January 13, 2018

One upset ahead, but is it the one you want? Our NFL Divisional-Round picks; plus ranking every Dolphins 1st-round draft pick, our Sasha Barkov and Tonya Harding columns, your verdict on Fins thinking beyond Tannehill & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 13. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Looking beyond Ryan Tannehill poll, give the devil (Nick Saban) his due & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Panthers column: And Barkov shall lead them: Call him Sasha. Call him Barky. Call Aleksander Barkov the future, the best hope for leading the Panthers back to relevance in the NHL and in South Florida. Click on And Barkov Shall Lead Them for my latest column.

Other columns from this week: On bizarre reemergence of Tonya Harding, and on Dolphins and Tannehill: Click No Way to Escape Her Shame for my latest column, on efforts, 24 years later, to rebrand Tonya Harding as a sympathetic victim. And click Are the Fins Feeling Bold? for my earlier column on Dolphins moving beyond Ryan Tannehill.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! OUR NFL DIVISIONAL-ROUND PLAYOFF PICKS: We're down to eight teams now, with two weekend doubleheaders bringing us to the AFC and NFC Championship Game matchups -- the Final Four, King Sport style. I though the two AFC games were pretty simple, clear-cut picks. The two NFC games I wrestled with. and from the rasslin' emerged one major upset. Click Divisional-Round Gems for all our second-round pick as the Super Bowl Tournament continues.

THE LIST: DOLPHINS ALL-TIME FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICKS, RANKED TOP TO BOTTOM BASED ON MOST CAREER GAMES PLAYED FOR MIAMI: Games played for Miami including regular season and playoffs by the 48 first-round draft picks in franchise history. The Top 20, then the rest:

Year    Player, School                                    Pick     Games

Marino1983    QB Dan Marino, Pittsburgh                 27        260

1990    OT Richmond Webb, Texas A&M         9          177

1967    QB Bob Griese, Purdue                      4          173

1994    DT Tim Bowens, Mississippi                20        167

1982    OG Roy Foster, Southern Cal              24        144

1976    DE Kim Bokamper, San Jose State      19        140 

1979    OT Jon Giesler, Michigan                   24        138

1993    WR O.J. McDuffie, Penn State           25         126

2004    OT Vernon Carey, Miami                    19         122

Webb1969    DE Bill Stanfill, Georgia                     11        120

1980    CB Don McNeal, Alabama                   21        120

1977    LB A.J. Duhe, LSU                              13        119

1968    RB Larry Csonka, Syracuse                 8          118

1989    S Louis Oliver, Florida                        25        110

1976    LB Larry Gordon, Arizona State          17        107

2011    C Mike Pouncey, Florida                     15         93 [ACTIVE]

1968    OT Doug Crusan, Indiana                   27          90

1996    DT Daryl Gardener, Baylor                 20          89 

2005    RB Ronnie Brown, Auburn                  5           77

2012    QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M           8           77 [ACTIVE]

The rest:

21st through 30th -- 1984 LB Jackie Shipp, Oklahoma 76; 2008 OT Jake Long, Michigan 75; 1985 RB Lorenzo Hampton, Florida 72; 2006 CB Jason Allen, Tennessee 72; 1992 DE Marco Coleman, Georgia 68; 2010 DT Jared Odrick, Penn State 65; 1992 CB Troy Vincent, Wisconsin 62; 2007 WR Ted Ginn, Ohio State 49; 2014 OT Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee 48 [ACTIVE]; 1988 DE Eric Kumerow, Ohio State 44.

31st through 40th -- 2009 CB Vontae Davis, Illinois 44; 2015 WR DeVante Parker, Louisville 44 [ACTIVE]; 1989 RB Sammie Smith, Florida State 43; 1974 DT Don Reese, Jackson State 42; 2001 CB Jamar Fletcher, Wisconsin 41; 1966 QB Rick Norton, Kentucky 31; 1987 DE John Bosa, Boston College 31; 2016 OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi 30 [ACTIVE]; 1975 OT Darryl Carlton, Tampa 28; 1991 WR Randal Hill, Miami 28.

41st through 48th -- 2013 DE Dion Jordan, Oregon 26; 1995 OT Billy Milner, Houston 21; 1998 RB John Avery, Mississippi 19; 2017 DE Charles Harris, Missouri 16 [ACTIVE]; 1981 RB David Overstreet, Oklahoma 15; 1997 WR Yatil Green, Miami 8; 1966 RB Jim Grabowski, Illinois 0; 1972 DT Mike Kadish, Notre Dame 0.

POLL RESULT: CLEAR MAJORITY THINK DOLPHINS SHOULD THINK BEYOND TANNEHILL: We asked, "Is this the right offseason and draft for the Dolphins to think beyond Ryan Tannehill?" Your verdict: Yes. If Miami's future at QB is in this draft, go get him, 77.42 percent; No. Tannehill is good enough. Address other needs, 16.67%; Undecided. Like the Dolphins, I'm really not sure, 5.91%.

ALABAMA'S RECENT RUN IN PERSPECTIVE: Nick Saban just own Alabama's fifth national championship since he took over Crimson Tide football 11 seasons ago, in 2007. In that same time span the most championships by one of the Big Four pro teams is three, by the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins and MLB's San Francisco Giants. Althought two of the 11 teams with two titles since '07 -- the NFL's New England Patriots and NBA's Golden State Warriors -- have a big shot at a third title in seasons ongoing.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 10, 2018

Time for Dolphins to think beyond Ryan Tannehill? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus giving the devil (Nick Saban) his due, Heat still out front in Miami pro sports & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10. Happy wedding anniversary to my wonderful wife! I'd do it all again. 2) Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Alabama-Georgia twin polls, Hot Button Top 10, NFL Wild-Card Weekend picks, your verdict on 2017's biggest national story & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Heat still out front. A state-of on Miami's four pro teams: The Heat are out front largely because the Dolphins, Panthers and Marlins all are in a transitional flux, at a crossroads, looking for a way. Click Will Somebody Please Rise Up for my latest Sunday column.

TannyIS THIS THE YEAR FOR DOLPHINS TO LOOK BEYOND TANNEHILL?: I explore the question in my latest column and propose the answer may be yes, with an upcoming quarterback-rich April draft offering five QBs who could go in the first round -- three of whom may be available to Miami. Click on Are the Fins Feeling Bold? to read the column in full. Southern Cal’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen will go way too high for Miami picking 11th. But, from the column: "The Dolphins could have a choice among Wyoming’s Josh Allen, of the ideal physique, or either of the past two Heisman Trophy winners in Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. I have seen all three mock-drafted in the overall top 10 but also lower. If Miami has a chance at one of them and a conviction he could be a long-term difference-maker now or in a year, grab him. The upside would be worth the risk. Then you would have the choice of sticking with Tannehill another season as a bridge while the new guy develops, or exploring Tannehill’s trade value, which I think could be worth a second-round pick to the right buyer." The key is a conviction on an available guy. You don't draft a QB just to do it. But with Tannehill turning 30 in training camp and coming off major knee surgery, this may be the offseason and the draft to start thinking beyond him. Agree or no? Take a dip in our poll:

NickkingGIVE THE DEVIL (NICK SABAN) HIS DUE: We all hate Nick Saban. Well, OK, to be fair, most of college football fans outside of Tuscaloosa and environs hate Nick Saban. Alabama fans are celebrating that, after last night's 26-23 College Football Playoff championship win over Georgia brought Saban his sixth national crown and fifth in the past nine years to the Crimson Tide, tying Paul "Bear" Bryant, Saban is now a deity in league with The Houndstooth Hat himself. So why do we hate Saban? South Florida has a special reason for the way he left the Dolphins after saying he would not. But I think most of us hate Saban for the same reason we hate Bill Belichick. Some form of jealousy. We wish our team had him. Not only did Saban with his sixth national title last night, he did it with a masterful coaching decision that might have backfired ... but didn't. He replaced his starting quarterback with little-known Tua Tagovailoa and it worked masterfully, right down to that gorgeous game-winning TD pass in overtime -- one play afgter the raw QB had taken about a 30-yard sack. Saban's decision won the game, won the season. All hail the king we hate to crown! Oh and by the way, 13-0 UCF can call itself the real national champion all it wants. The argument is good for college football. The CFP has not ended the annual debate, and that's fine. Last night made it clear, though. Alabama is deserving of No. 1. And, love him or otherwise, Nick Saban is a sideline god.

Poll result: You thought 'Bama would win, but wanted Georgia: We asked, in this blog and on Twitter, who you thought would win last night and who you wanted to win. You predicted Alabama would win (69.01% blog, 60% Twitter), but wanted Georgia (77,78% blog, 78% Twitter).

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 08, 2018

Alabama-Georgia in CFP final: Who WILL win and who do you WANT to win? Two new polls. Vote now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), your verdict on biggest Miami sports story of '17, my NFL playoff pick-results, new Sunday column (Heat) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 8. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Biggest-Miami-sports-story-of-year poll, your biggest-national-story verdict, NFL playoff picks & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Sunday column: Heat still out front. A state-of on Miami's four pro teams: The Heat are out front largely because the Dolphins, Panthers and Marlins all are in a transitional flux, at a crossroads, looking for a way. Click Will Somebody Please Rise Up for my latest column on the state of South Florida Big Four pro teams as 2018 unfurls.

FripixNFL Wild-Card Weekend pick results: We nailed the Falcons' upset win: We hit a bulls-eye on the Falcons' big upset of the Rams. Overall we went 3-1 straight-up and 2-2 against the spread in the first round, including Panthers-with-points vs. Saints. Click Wild-Card Weekend Gems for all our first-round picks as the Super Bowl Tournament began.

AlagacfpCFP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: WHO WILL WIN, AND WHO YOU WANT TO WIN: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs tonight in Atlanta in the College Football Playoff championship game. Two polls here. First asks which team you think WILL win -- who you'd place a bet on straight-up. The second poll asks you you WANT to win -- where your rotting interest lies. Take a dip in both polls now!

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. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: It's Alabama-Georgia in Monday title game: Alabama is a small favorite in College Football Playoff's all-SEC championship, despite it being held in Atlanta, a home game for Georgia. Crimson Tide are in CFP final for third straight year but, for a change, Nick Saban might not be the least popular man in the stadium, because President Donald Trump plans to attend.
 
2. NFL: Four pretenders out, eight teams left as Super Bowl Tournament begins: Sayonara, Chiefs, Bills, Panthers and Rams. Nice barely knowin' ya. NFL playoffs are down to eight. Meantime ESPN reported a rift among Patriots owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady and suggested the empire may be crumbling. Um, the No. 1-seeded Pats, off a playoff bye, are Super Bowl favorites. Again. Oh to have such problems!

3. HEAT: Miami climbing in East standings: Heat has won four straight with Sunday's home win over Utah and risen to fifth in East, now only 1/2 game from fourth place. A now-reasonable goal: Host a first-round playoff series.

4. UM BASKETBALL: Hurricanes win to open three-game Litmus test: Canes' men's team started 10-0 and highly ranked then slumped. What are they trying to mimic the UM football team? (Ouch. Too soon?) But Jim Larranaga's guys are back on track at 13-2 after Sunday's big win over No. 24 Florida State. Two more ranked foes await in No. 25 Clemson and then home vs. No. 2 Duke.
 
5. DOLPHINS: Problem solved! Fins hire new offensive coordinator: The disappointing 6-10 Dolphins and coach Adam Gase demoted offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen after averaging only 17.6 points per game to rank 28th in the NFL. They replaced him with Dowell Loggains, whom the Bears just dismissed after Chicago averaged 16.5 points, ranking 29th. Well alrighty then!
 
6. MARLINS: Jeter's 'Project Wolverine' now underway: Derek Jeter's 'Project Wolverine' is his plan to reboot the now-decimated Marlins. It sees a spike in player payroll starting in 2021. Meantime, the carnivorous wolverine has disemboweled Marlins fans and turned their optimism to bloody entrails.

7. PANTHERS: Cats can't capitalize on streak: Sunday's loss made it three L's in a row after a five-game winning streak for Florida, which still lags seven points off playoff pace right at midseason. Check Lost & Found. The map to the postseason seems to have been  misplaced.

8. JON GRUDEN: He's back on the sideline with Raiders: Gruden is transmogrifying from the ESPN football booth back to Chucky, the sideline maniac, taking over the Oakland (soon Las Vegas) Raiders on a 10-year deal. So Redskins coach Jay is now not even the NFL's best Gruden.

9. WINTER OLYMPICS: U.S. names women's figure skating team: USA named its three-woman figure skating team for the upcoming South Korea Games. Somewhere, Dick Button is beside himself with excitement. 

10. RICKY WILLIAMS: Ex-Fin plans smoke-filled Super Bowl party: Former Dolphins running back and confirmed pothead Ricky Williams is hosting a "cannabis-friendly" Super Bowl party in Miami. The star of the event? Snacks! Mmm, lots of snacks to feed those munchies!

Missing the HB10 cut: Australian Open starts next week, and both Andry Murray (injury) and Serena Williams (baby) are out. Although Serena could play with the infant on her back in a papoose and still win the women's side ..... Paul Pierce says the Celtics' tribute to Isaiah Thomas should not be same night as his jersey retirement. Petty much? ..... ESPN fired NFL analysts Eric Davis and Donovan McNabb over a sexual abuse claim. Rough year for the Worldwide Leader ..... The Greek Freak (Giannis Antetokounmpo) leads the Akron Anomaly (LeBron James) in early NBA all-star voting ..... The Bills sent 1,440 chicken wings to the Bengals as a thank-your for beating the Ravens to assure Buffalo made the playoffs? Shouldn't Miami at least get some celery and blue cheese? ..... NFL ratings were down 9.7 percent this season. In an unrelated story, it is estimated 9.7% of players took part in protests during the anthem ..... UM baseball began preseason practice an the final season of Jim Morris. Omaha or bust? Heck, NCAA Regional or bust! ..... USA Today speculated the Dolphins as a possible landing spot for Tom Brady should the Patriots dynasty come apart. Hmm. Is wishing and hoping for a QB who'll be 41 next season not its own form of sadness?

ToumPOLL RESULT: TURNOVER CHAIN-FUELED CANES FOOTBALL RESURGENCE THE NO. 1 BIGGEST MIAMI SPORTS STORY OF 2017: We asked what was the biggest Miami/South Florida sports story of 2017, gave you 18 choices and allowed you six votes. More than 2,500 votes poured in. A six-vote ballot means the maximum percentage for any one story would be 16.67 percent and you'd multiply the percent total times six for any idea how often that story was included on ballots. That's IF everyone used all six votes. The fact the No. 1-voted story was off-the-grid-high suggests an organized effort by Canes fans who voted only for that story. In effect, UM fans hijacked the poll. But that's OK. All good. I should note that prior to the sharp spike we detected, UM's resurgence still was running No. 1, although by a much narrower margin over the Stanton/Jeter story. Your results on the biggest Miami/South Florida sports story of 2017:

  1. Turnover Chain-fueled Hurricanes achieve 1st 10-win season, 1st Orange Bowl in 14 years--31.32%
  2. Giancarlo Stanton traded after 59-HR year as new owner Derek Jeter begins Marlins reboot--12.71%
  3. Jason Taylor, Dolphins icon, inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame--8.60%
  4. Hurricane Irma wreaks havoc with start of football season--7.09%
  5. Dolphins O-line coach Chris Foerster resigns after video shows him snorting white powder--6.67%
  6. Edwin Pope, Miami Herald Sports legend, dies--5.39%
  7. Jay Cutler signed by Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill's season-erasing injury--5.23%
  8. Hurricanes baseball sees end of 44-year streak of consecutive NCAA playoff appearances--4.96%
  9. Miami hosts MLB All-Star Game, Home Run Derby for first time--4.42%
  10. Nick Buoniconti, Jim Kiick reveal football related brain-trauma woes to Sports Illustrated--2.60%
The rest: 11. UM men's basketball implicated in FBI probe of recruiting corruption--2.44%; 12. Heat misses playoffs despite 30-11 second half, fails to land free-agent target Gordon Hayward--2.40%; 13. Soccer's El Clasico, Barcelona-Real Madrid, plays Miami--1.78%; 14. Miami Open tennis sets move from Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium--1.67%; 15. Homestead hosts Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s last race in NASCAR finale--1.05%; 16. Ferdie Pacheco, The Fight Doctor, dies--0.70%; 17. Felo Ramirez, baseball broadcasting icon, dies--0.54%; 18. Gulfstream hosts first Pegasus World Cup, richest-ever horse race--0.43%.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 06, 2018

Last day to vote! What was Miami/South Florida's biggest sports story of 2017? Annual poll. Our 18 finalists, you pick top 6. Vote now; plus your biggest-national-story verdict, our NFL playoff picks & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 6. A happy birthday to Dolphins icon Don Shula, who turned 88 Thursday. Here's to many more! 2) Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual national-sports-story-of-the year poll, final SOPY standings, latest Back In My Day video, R.I.P. Mae Riback & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

WHAT WAS MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2017?We had it easy in 2016 with three stories that clearly stood out above the rest, although two made us sad. You voted the Miami17tragic death of Jose Fernandez the biggest story of the year, followed by the Dolphins ending their eight-year playoff drought and then Dwyane Wade leaving the Heat. Nothing else was close. But is anything as clear-cut for for 2017? We'll see. And you'll decide. Previously we asked you to name the past year's top national sports story and you did (with results below). Now we invite you to select the 2017 Miami/South Florida sports story of the year, from a randomly presented top 18 of my choosing. You may vote for your top six (6). I offer no synopsis beyond the description phrase in the poll, because if it needs further explaining, it obviously wasn't that big/impactful/important to you. OK. Ready? Vote!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP SIX (6)

Deciphering a 6-vote poll: A six-vote poll means the maximum percentage for any one story would be 16.67 percent if every participant voted the max six times. Any vote above 16.67 means some voted only for that story. Multiply the percents above times six for an idea how often that story is being included on the consensus top-six ballot.

NFL player protests voted biggest 2017 national story: We asked what was the biggest national sports story of 2017, gave you The Associated Press Top 10 in jumbled order, and allowed you to vote for your top three. That means the highest vote total possible would be 33.3 percent if every participant used all three votes. Triple the percentages below for an idea how often that story was included in the consensus of top threes. Your results:

1. NFL player protests over social justice draws critics led by President Trump--20.14

2. Astros win 1st World Series to lift city devastated by Hurricane Harvey--19.72

3. Patriots, in year of Tom Brady suspension, stage record rally to win Super Bowl--14.31

The rest: U.S., Italy fail to qualify for men's World Cup--12.21%; Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather--9.03%; Clemson rally beats Alabama for college football title--8.06%; College basketball investigated by FBI over recruiting corruption--5.69%; Golden State led by Kevin Durant wins NBA Finals--4.17%; USA Gymnastics rocked by sex-abuse scandal involving team doctor--3.75%; Russia banned from upcoming Winter Olympics over doping--2.92%.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 02, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 7.7% final season approval; plus Happy New Year!, Fins fall in finale 22-16 to end season 6-10, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

Hny1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 1. HAPPY NEW YEAR! May it be a great one for you and everyone you love. Need one more gift for the Dolfans in your life? Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and check out my historical book, Fins At 50. 2) I was honored during Saturday's Orange Bowl game with the 2017 OB Edwin Pope Media Award. Click HERE for the story. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games involving state FBS teams. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose Orange Bowl to Wisconsin with CSM poll, thank you OB Committee & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My UM-Wisconsin Orange Bowl column, CSM vote in: Click HERE for my game column from stadium on Saturday night's 34-24 Canes loss to Wisconsin in 84th Orange Bowl. See previous blogpost for results in latest and season-finale Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

Season-ending DSM poll online, too: Click HERE to read our postgame thoughts and to vote online.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G16/SEASON FINAL: 7.7%: Results are certified in the latest and season-ending installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 7.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 22-16 Dolphins home loss vs. the Buffalo Bills putting Miami's final season record at 6-10. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism — all in the context of reasonable expectations. Because this was the final poll, I suggested you give added weight to the season as a whole. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2017 game-by-game DSM results

G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)

G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)

G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)

G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)

G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)

G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)

G7: 6.1% (following 40-0 loss at Baltimore)

G8: 13.1% (following 27-24 loss vs. Oakland)

G9: .5% (following 45-21 loss at Carolina)

G10: 3.6% (following 30-20 loss vs. Tampa Bay)

G11: 7.7% (following 35-17 loss at New England)

G12: 56.4% (following 35-9 victory vs. Denver)

G13: 79.4% (following 27-20 victory vs. New England)

G14: 6.9% (following 24-16 loss at Buffalo)

G15: 5.7% (following 29-13 loss at Kansas City)

G16/season final: 7.7% (following 22-16 loss vs. Buffalo)

Yearly DSM Results: 2017--7.7% (following 6-10 season); 2016--76.2% (following 10-6/playoff loss); 2015--18.1% (6-10); 2014--2.7% (8-8); 2013--4.2% (8-8); 2012--29.8% (7-9); 2011--34.9% (6-10); 2010--3.8% (7-9); 2009--31.2% (7-9); 2008--96.9% (11-5/playoff loss).

G16: BUFFALO AT DOLPHINS: MIAMI TRYING TO END A ROTTEN YEAR WITH A FORCED SMILE: Click HERE for our postgame thoughts ..... Original postNine of the 12 NFL playoff tickets have been punched entering this final all-Sunday weekend of the regular season, and six teams remain alive for the remaining three spots. Alas, the Dolphins are not among the halves, relegated instead to the dubious incentive of trying to avoid what Bufmiawould be only the franchise’s seventh 10-loss season since 1970. Another sad, better-than-nothing incentive: The 6-9 Fins playing spoiler in the 4:25 CBS game to 8-7 Buffalo’s (faint) hopes. To reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999 the Bills must beat Miami and either have the Ravens lose or have the Chargers and Titans both lose. Got that? How fitting the Dolphins would find themselves positioned as spoilers. The entire season has looked, felt and smelled spoiled. Rotten. It was back to mediocrity, as if the aberration of last year’s playoff season never even really happened. Give coach Adam Gase credit for not sugar-coating, as when he said Thursday, simply (and accurately): “Nobody has done anything great. We’ve got a lot of work to do.” Sunday almost certainly will mark the farewell appearance for quarterback Jay Cutler, the pricey one-year rental who, like the entire team, had too few solid performances interspersed amid the prevailing erratic underperforming. Buffs beat Fins 24-16 only two weeks ago. With little cause but a hunch, I see Miami, a 2 1/2-point underdog, finishing strong with a home upset over a Bills squad that is only 2-5 away. So Miami continues the long Bison playoff drought, at least. Hey, it’s better than nothing … albeit barely. My pick: Dolphins, 23-17. [Click Week 17 Gems for all our season-ending NFL picks].

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM ends year of progress with loss in hometown Orange Bowl game: Tenth-ranked Canes were home underdogs to No. 6 Wisconsin Saturday in the 84th Orange Bowl game and fell 34-24. Three straight losses ended UM's year, but a first 10-win season and first OB invite since 2003 made it a season of progress toward the destination: Back. (Click HERE for our column from the game).
 
2. COLLEGE PLAYOFF: Last four in CFP semifinals on Monday: It's No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl today and then No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 1 Clemson in the Sugar in College Football Playoff play-ins to reach the championship game. Oddly, both lower-seeded teams are slight betting favorites. College fans at least can agree on this: Everybody outside of Tuscaloosa hates Nick Saban.  
 
3. DOLPHINS: For Fins, a season of regression mercifully expires: Miami hosted the Buffalo Bills Sunday to wrap up a disappointing, injury-wracked, no-playoffs season with a 22-16 defeat. The good news, Dolfans? It very likely was the last time in a Fins uniform for the $10 million rental with the bargain-bin results, Jay Cutler. 
 
4. HEAT: Miami warms up, gets on playoff pace: It's still early, yeah, but Heat as of today are on playoff pace as the eighth East seed -- and only 1 1/2 games from being the fourth seed, which would mean home-court advantage in the first round. Hey, in the post-Big 3 era, you seize optimism when you can.
 
5. PANTHERS: Cats finally showing signs of life: The Florida Panthers, who'd struggled most of the season, have won a season-best five straight games entering a five-game road trip starting Tuesday. Previous long win streak had been two. Aberration? Or start of a happy new year?
 
6. MARLINS: Fire-sale Fish shopping Yelich, Realmuto: Miami reportedly is "listening" to offers for left fielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto in new owner Derek Jeter's apparent continuing effort to do the impossible and make us all miss Jeffrey Loria.
 
7. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men win ACC opener: No. 15 Miami men improved to 12-1 with a 67-53 win at Pitt in their ACC opener. Meanwhile the 10-3 Canes women had won five straight entering Sunday's home day with Duke. 
 
8. NFL: Black Sunday for coaches: As NFL regular season ends today, segueing to playoffs, a handful of head coaches likely are working their final games. Meanwhile reports are the Oakland Raiders are trying to lure Jon Gruden from the comfort of the broadcast booth with partial ownership. He's gone.

9. BASEBALL: Astros' Altuve named Athlete of Year: Associated Press named champion Astros star Jose Altuve its male athlete of year. The best news in that? Runnerup Tom Brady and third place LeBron James lost at something.   

10. TENNIS: Serena makes her comeback, sort of: Serena Williams played her first match since her pregnancy and having a baby girl, losing in an exhibition. I mean, that had to be tough, holding a racket in one hand and a nursing baby in the other!

Missing the HB10 cut: Cris Cyborg beat Holly Holm to retain her title in UFC 219, challenging us to again take seriously an athlete who answer to "Cyborg" ..... Herald sports columnist Greg Cote (hey, wait, that's me!) won the 2017 Orange Bowl Edwin Pope Media Award. The previous sentence was completely gratuitous. But it is my damned blog, after all.

 
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Twitter @gregcote