December 30, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Season-final 2.7%, record low; plus Stinkin' Jets beat Miami 37-24, Duke leaves UM as expected & more

[RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND...]

1) It is MONDAY, DECEMBER 29. Hope y'all are having a great holiday season! Special thanks to the fine folks at Bonaventure for the hospitality Saturday. It inspired me to shoot a 92, which, for my sorry a--, is pretty good. 2) Random Evidence, the Sunday notes column, and its Hot Button Top 10 Sunday blog adjunct, are off for holidays but both will return next Sunday. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes-Gamecocks bowl, CSM poll, your national story of year & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Duke Johnson turns pro: Expected for months, no surprise as Hurricanes career rushing leader Duke Johnson announced he will forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. I get why he's doing it, but, because of his size, durability questions and the downsized trend of the RB position in the draft, I'd be surprised if Johnson was better than a mid-second round pick and wouldn't be surprised if he went in the third. Five RBs may be picked ahead of him. Nevertheless, farewell, Duke of Gables. A great college career. Only wish it lasted one year longer. 

CSM final poll shows record low, too: The season-ending Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll -- in the wake of Saturday's UM bowl loss making the final record 6-7 -- shows 2.7 percent overall satisfaction, a record low. See complete results in previous blogpost.

MY game column: Click HERE to  read. See our Dolphins-Jets gamepost and postgame thoughts immediately below the new/final DSM poll...

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G16: Results are certified in the latest -- and season-ending -- Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 2.7 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 37-24 loss to the visiting New York Jets 1aa1adsmleaving Miami's final season record at 8-8. That's a record low for a final approval rating. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Because this was the final DSM of the year, added consideration and weight should have been given the season as a whole. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)

G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)

G8: 97.4% (following 37-0 victory vs. San Diego)

G9: 40.3% (following 20-16 loss at Detroit)

G10: 93.3% (following 22-9 victory vs. Buffalo)

G11: 38.9% (following 39-36 loss at  Denver)

G12: 69.6% (following 16-13 victory at N.Y. Jets)

G13: 6.1% (following 28-13 loss vs. Baltimore)

G14: 5.1% (following 41-13 loss at New England)

G15: 26.5% (following 37-35 victory vs. Minnesota)

G16/Final: 2.7% (following 37-24 loss vs. N.Y. Jets)

Yearly DSM results:

2014: 2.7% (following 8-8 season)

2013: 4.2% (following 8-8 season)

2012: 29.8% (following 7-9 season)

2011: 34.9% (following 6-10 season)

2010: 3.8% (following 7-9 season)

2009: 31.2% (following 7-9 season)

2008: 96.9% (following 11-5 season/playoff loss)

G16: N.Y. JETS 37, DOLPHINS 24: MIAMI FAILS TO SEIZE CONSOLATION OF WINNING SEASON: Final: MIA ends season 8-8 after disheartening loss marked by awful, awful pass defense against Geno Smith. Embarrassing. A huge game by Lamar Miller is wasted, rendered a footnote. ..... Fourth quarter: Jets tack on short FG for final score. ... All over but the crying. Fins headed for loss, 8-8 season. ... Oh! NYJ up 34-24 on 23-yard scoring pass one play after burning Miami with 38-yard completion on fake punt. ... Fins miss 53-yard FG try wide right, fail to tie it. ... Stinkers take 27-24 lead on 23-yard FG in first minute of 4Q. ..... Third quarter: Tannehill 386th completion breaks Dan Marino's 1994 club record. ... Planes tie it at 24-24 on 26-yard FG after MIA pass defense -- awful today -- gives up 50-yard play to 13 as Decker outjumps Brent Grimes. ... Crowd still buzzing about Miller's record run as Dolphins give up 74-yard scoring pass to move Jets within 24-21. Pass defense making Geno Smith look like an all-star. ... MIA up 24-14 as Lamar Miller blasts for franchise-record 97-yard TD run to give him 1,069 yards on season. ... Dolphins D with goalline stand after 87-yard Owusu kcikoff return give NYJ ball at Fins 12. Jelani Jenkins on the huge, lead-saving 4th-and-1 stop. ..... Halftime: What to say about a back-and-forth game and a narrow halftime lead against a 3-12 Jets squad? Modestly impressive? Tannehill sharp,. at least: 15-20, 161 yards, one TD. ..... Second quarter: MIA drives 93 yards to 17-14 lead on Tannehill 23-yard strike to Charles Clay 43 seconds before half. ... Geno Smith is 8-for-8 with perfect 158.3 rating so far. How not to keep your job, Kevin Coyle. ... Jets retake lead 14-10 on 89-yard TD pass from Smith to a wide-open Chris  Ivory. Whomever was supposed to cover Ivory didn't get the memo. ... MIA up 10-7 on 1-yard Thomas scoring run set up by Dolphs' Jason Trusnik recovering Geno Smith fumble at Jets' 21. It's what bad teams (and bad QBs) do. ..... FIrst quarter: Stinkers take 7-3 lead on 23-yard reverse run by WR Chris Owusu. That's right. Chris Owusu. ... MIA 3-0 opn Sturgis 37-yard FG after team filed to convert 3-and0-1 from 18/. Red Zone Fizzlin'! ... Dolphins catch a break. Jets 45-yard FG try bonks off left upright. ... Bad start. Fins punt from end zone on opening series. ... Sparse crowd, stadium maybe two-thirds full. ..... Original post: This  is one of only four NFL Week 17 games in which both teams are out of playoff contention, so it’s tough to fake much excitement beyond it being an oft-bitter division rivalry. Even the drama of two coaches fighting for their 1aa1adoljetjobs was cut in half when Dolphins owner Stephen Ross announced last week — to the surprise and disappointment of many most Dolfans — that Joe Philbin would be back next season. There are reasons to watch today's 1 p.m. game, though. Here are a few: 1) Will the 8-7 Fins finish with a winning record? It would be the club's first since 2008 and mark a third straight season of improvement, however modest. 2) It's the 1aa1ajets rexStinkin' Jets! And we can enjoy watching Rex Ryan (shown tipping his cap goodbye) slipping from the sideline to the unemployment line. I believe a hearty "GOOD-BYE REX!" chant would be appropriate, don't you? 3) Ryan Tannehill is 214 yards from becoming the only Dolphins QB not named Dan Marino to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. And against NYJ's absymal secondary, you can bank on that. 4) Speculation swirls that MIA defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle could be replaced -- perhaps even by Ryan; cows fly, don't they? -- and that this game could be the tipping point. Overall, my gut tells me this game will be closer than the 6-point betting line (Miami won 16-13 on Dec. 1), but the logical mind insists Fins at home are at least a touchdown better. Quick aside: Sunday’s crowd will include a loud, fat, boorish Jets fan squeezed into a too-small Mark Gastineau jersey. Spot him and throw him a condescending smirk that is half-mocking, half-pitying. It isn't often Dolfans get to feel blatantly superior. Today should be one of those days. My pick: Dolphins, 24-16.

Check back often. We'll be live-blogging during today's Dolphins-Jets game...

December 23, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 26.5%; plus most disagree with Ross keeping Philbin (poll result) & more

1) It is MONDAY, DECEMBER 22. The Sunday Random Evidence notes-column package in print, and its Hot Button Top 10 blog version, were off this week for the holidays. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins/NFL Week 16 pix, Fleetwood Mac, bowl season, Marlins trade, Heat/Panthers morphing, NBA-on-Christmas verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Click on Sticking With Philbin the Right Choice for my column off Sunday's Dolphins game. Do you agree? Vote in our Philbin poll. And find latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll directly below the Philbin poll.

SUPPORT FOR ROSS KEEPING PHILBIN IS SHAKY: We asked if you agreed with owner Stpehen Ross' decision to retain coach Joe Philbin at least another season and "no" beat "yes" by 53.5 percent to 36.5%, with the other 10.0% undecided.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G15: Reuslts are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 26.5 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 37-35 victory over visiting MInnesota Vikings putting 1aa1adsmMiami's season record at 8-7. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are usually certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)

G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)

G8: 97.4% (following 37-0 victory vs. San Diego)

G9: 40.3% (following 20-16 loss at Detroit)

G10: 93.3% (following 22-9 victory vs. Buffalo)

G11: 38.9% (following 39-36 loss at  Denver)

G12: 69.6% (following 16-13 victory at N.Y. Jets)

G13: 6.1% (following 28-13 loss vs. Baltimore)

G14: 5.1% (following 41-13 loss at New England)

G15: 26.5% (following 37-35 victory vs. Minnesota)

Next/final poll: Dec. 28 (following game vs. N.Y. Jets)

G15: DOLPHINS 37, MINNESOTA 35: MIAMI WINS WILD ONE, TANNEHILL SHINES, PLAYOFFS OUT, PHILBIN RETAINED: Final: Wow. Thrilling game, even on a day when Miami was formally eliminated from playoff contention. Blocked-punt safety in closing minute decides it, but Ryan Tannehill is the star of day with 396 yards passing and career-best four TD passes. Miami now 8-7. Joe Philbin's future was in limbo then suddenly was not as owner Stephen Ross announced postgame that he'd be basck next season. I agree with the call; click HERE for my column from the game. ..... Fourth quarter: Unreal! Miami up 37-35 with 41 seconds left on blocked punt out of end zone by Terrence Fede resulting in safety. ... Cam Wake sack helps Miami get ball back with under a minute left. ... Miami ties it 35-35 with 1:11 left on 3-yard TD pass to Damien Williams -- Tannehill's fourth of game. ... Nightmare! Vikes up 35-28 on 5-yard Asiata scoring rplay immediately after Jarvis Landry fumbles kick-return and five MIN ball at Dolphins' 5. ... MIN ties it 28-28 with 4:46 left on 8-yasrd scoring pass and then Asiata's 2-point conversion run. Fins had stopped earlier attewmpt, buyt Came Wake offsides penalty give Vikes another shot. ... Jarius Wright 8-yard TD pass had Vikes within 28-26. ... Tannehill's third TD passs of game and second to Wallace, from 7 yards out,l has MIA up 28-20 with 6L:39 to play. A fairly entertaining game, after all. ... Vikes within 21-20 on 33-yard FG with 9:52 to play. Well-timed Randy Starks sack on the series. ... MIA leads 21-17, its first lead of game, on Miller's 1-yasrd run ending 64-yard drive. ..... ThIrd quarter: Miami knocking on MIN's goal as quarter ends. ... Bridgewater pass deflected and interceted by Derrick Shelby in MIA territory. But Jared Odrick injured on play. ... Dion Jordan first sack of season! Christmas miracle! ... MIA within 17-14 on Wallace 16-yard pass play from Tannehill, ended with an effort-reach across goalline. ..... Halftime: The great '70s defensive tackle Manny Fernandez, old No. 75, joins the Dolphins Honor Roll in a halftime ceremony. The field is filled with the club's all-time greats, contrasting as always the franchise's present-day struggles. ... Dolphins lead in yards and time of possession but not where it counts. The scoreboard. ..... Second quarter: MIN 17-7 on 18-yard FG with 2 secodns left in half. ... Owner Stephen Ross has been on sideline near Dolphins bench the entire game, not usual. Could be because Manny Fernandez being inducted to team's Honor Roll at halftime. Could be because he's hands-on with his coaching decision. Likely some of both. ... Miami within 14-7 on Tannehill 14-yard strike to Dion Sims capping an impressive 92-yard drive. There's life in here! ... Vikes 14-0 on 21-yard Bridgewater-to-Jennings pass set up by Tannehill INT when ball slipped from his hand. Awful start for Dolphinsd. ..... First quarter: Not feeling much energy from Fins or from fans. ... MIN up 7-0 on Asiata 1-yard scoring run to cap 54-yard yard drive. Fins defense pushed around at the scrimmage line. ... Typical MIA drive to open game, ending in missed 56-yard FG try after Tannehill takes sask to make kick longer. ..... Original post: Minnesota is eliminated from postseason contention but dangerous. Miami is all but mathematically out with a playoff likelihood estimated at 0.7 percent, according to the computer 1aa1adolvikeprojections of makenflplayoffs.com. That constututes the low hopes. So what are the high stakes? The immediate future of the franchise, embodied in coach Joe Philbin's job status. The Dolphins are unlikely to luck into the playoffs, even if they win out. But their performance these last two games -- the fight left in them -- may either save Philbin's job or confirm his doom. He is 22-24 with no playoffs in not quite three seasons. Not good enough, But winning out to finish 9-7 would constitute improvement on the bottom line, at least. Despite that motivating factor for Miami the Vikings' upset shot is sizable here. Purples bring a stout defense to face a struggling Miami team that has been outscored 69-26 the past two weeks in a December swoon that has put that thin ice under Philbin. Miami-born Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater rates 103.3 across his past three starts. Visitors aren’t great on road (2-5), so we’ll stick with Fins, although Miami hasn’t done much to impress ever since blowing that game at Denver a month ago. I do wonder how much fight the demoralized Fins have left in them. Maybe we'll find out today. Meantime how’s this for strange: Outbound 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh might have his choice of the Dolphins or U-Michigan jobs, and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is a prominent Michigan alum and major donor. The bright side, then: At least one of Ross’ two favorite teams might get the man it wants. My pick: Dolphins, 23-20.

THE LIST: DOLPHIN HIGH GAMES VS. VIKINGS: Sunday marked only the 12th all-time meeting between the Vikings and Miami. Dolphins major individual records vs. this opponent:

Category                Number    Record setter

Passing yards         431          Dan Marino, 9-25-94

Receiving yards      160          Irving Fryar, 9-25-94

Rushing yards         145          Larry Csonka, 1-13-74*

Team points            35            In 38-35 loss, 9-25-94

*-Csonka's performance was in Super Bowl.

Check back a lot. We constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

December 16, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.1%; plus New England routs Miami 41-13, ending realistic playoff hopes and, likely, Philbin's Fins future; also Hot Button Top 10 & more

1) It is MONDAY, DECEMBER 15. Click on Random Evidence for the return of our Sunday notes-column package after a two-week hiatus. 2) Our blog-exclusive Hot Button Top 10 also returns today. Find it here right below the Dolphins-Patriots post. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Johnny Manziel poll, Dolphins/NFL Week 15 predix, Marlins' winning week, The U Part 2 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Find Dolphins-Patriots gamepost and postgame thoughts immediately below new DSM poll.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G14: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 5.1 percent overall satisfaction -- the season's second-lowest approval rating -- in the wake of Sunday's 41-13 loss at New England putting Miami's season record at 1aadsm7-7. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are usually certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)

G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)

G8: 97.4% (following 37-0 victory vs. San Diego)

G9: 40.3% (following 20-16 loss at Detroit)

G10: 93.3% (following 22-9 victory vs. Buffalo)

G11: 38.9% (following 39-36 loss at  Denver)

G12: 69.6% (following 16-13 victory at N.Y. Jets)

G13: 6.1% (following 28-13 loss vs. Baltimore)

G14: 5.1% (following 41-13 loss at New England)

Next poll: Dec. 21 (following game vs. Minnesota)

G14: NEW ENGLAND 41, DOLPHINS 13 (FINAL): GOODBYE PLAYOFF HOPES AFTER 27-0 SECOND HALF: Final: The game  began with a 50-yard completion to Mike Wallace. The first half ended with momentum Miami's after a late TD. The second half was an unequivocal nightmare. What else can be said? Realistic playoffs hopes are now finished. So is the realistic chance that coach Joe Philbin will somehow save his job. Mediocrity, they record is 7-7. ..... Fourth quarter: Pats tack on FG for 41-13. ... If you're going for it on 4th and 18, why you wanna throw a way-short pass? Can this game end, please?. ... Dumb, dumb. Roughness penalty on Brandon Gibson, then Gibson gives the yards right back with an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. ... All over but the wailing. ..... Third quarter: Suddenly, a rout. Pats up 31-13 on Brady-Gronkowski 27-yard TD pass immediately following Tannehill's second INT. This was off a deflection so not entirely on the QB. ... Pats tack on a 35-yard FG for a 24-13 lead. ... NE up 21-13 on 79-yard drive to open second half capped by LeGarrette Blount 3-yard scoring run. ..... Halftime: Though down by a point, a Dolfan might be reasonably if cautiously optimistic. The defense is looking great, with one Pats TD coming on a blocked FG return and the other set up by a long interception return. With a turnover-free second half Miami will have a chance. Meanwhile, the Dolphins offense has discovered the long ball, with seven deep passes in half. A welcome sight! ..... Second quarter: Tannehill-Wallace 32-yard TD pass -- Miami's longest scoring pass of season -- on an overturned call on review. Right decision. Jarvis Landry 32-yard punt return helped set it up. That kid's the real deal, man. ... Fins within 14-6 on 53-yard FG but it's more settling. Damien Williams dropped a shoulda-been TD pass. ... NE 14-3 on Shane Vereen 3-yard TD run, after Pats' Duron Harmon intercepts Tannehill overthrow and returns it 60 yards to inside Dolphins 10. ..... First quarter: MIA within 7-3 on 24-yard FG late in quarter but it's another red-zone disappointment. Fins had a 1st-and-10 but settled. ... Jason Trusnik intercepts Brady to abort Pats drive. ... Only the Dolphins, right? Miami begins game with 50-yard Tannehill-to-Wallace completion (a TD if not underthrown), settles for 41-yard FG try, sees FG blocked and returned 62 yards for Patriots TD by Kyle Arrington. Only the Dolphins. Geez. MIA's previous blcoked FG returned for a score was in 1991. Geez again. ..... Original post: Miami lost more than a game at home to Baltimore last week. It lost all margin of error in the playoff chase. Beat the Ravens and "at New England" becomes less than a must-win. Now? All but a must win. Beat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady  in 1aa1adolpattheir chilly backyard today at 1 and postseason hopes are rescussitated. But lose and Miami is all but done, the season flatlining. Unfortunately for the Dolphins "at New England" is a tall task anytime and brutally so in wintertime. Miami has lost four in a row and seven of the past eight December-or-later games in Foxborough, and the exception was a 2005 game in which Pats had already clinched the dvision title and let Matt Cassel play three quarters. Pats are 6-0 at home this season, 52-9 in Foxborough in December under Bill Belichick and have much to play for today. A win here clinches yet another AFC East crown for NE, and Pats still gun for a first-round bye as well. Miami will get the A-game, in other words. Tom Brady averages 303.8 passing yards at home this year, with 17 TDs vs. only two INTs. I worry some about the Fins’ secondary as it welcomes back CB Cortland Finnegan but loses injured S Louis Delmas. I worry more about a run defense that has been pretty awful the past three games, making MIA stand for Missing In Action. Miami must both run better than it has lately and also stop the run to have a chance at an upset — a result that would make the playoffs hugely more likely. Dolphs beat Pats 33-20 in an exhilarating season opener. Don’t see a repeat in the chill, although I like Miami with the points. If only close counted for Joe Philbin. His job is slipping away from him, and Sunday won’t help. My pick: Patriots, 27-21.

HOT BUTTON DEC. 14: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature, back after a two-week hiatus, is an expanded, updated version of what appears in the Sunday pulp editions. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. Dolphins: Will Foxborough be the end of line for playoff hopes?: Miami must beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in their backyard, something done only once in past eight late-season meetings (and only then because Brady sat out three quarters), to keep postseason hopes alive.

2. Marlins: Team acquires leadoff hitter, starting pitcher in big week: First they sign Giancarlo Stanton long-term. Now they acquire MLB base-stealing champ Dee Gordon and quality starter Mat Latos. Not fair. This is seriously infringing upon my ability to complain about Jeffrey Loria.

3. Heat: Still looking for answers at Chicago visits today: Miami hosts Bulls in marquee Eastern matchup today that will be a chance for Heat to get back to .500, but it'll take better defense than we've seen. Phrase you'd hear in a courtroom or among Heat fans: "The defense rests."  

4. Hurricanes: UM accepts invitation to Quack Bowl: Choices for 6-6 teams are limited, so Canes are headed to Duck Commander Independence Bowl vs. South Carolina in Shreveport, La. Those are TV's "Duck Dynasty" folks. Please tell me there won't be ducks calls blaring across the PA system.

5. College football: First four-team playoff set amid controversy: No argument Alabama, Oregon and Florida State would be the top three, but much debate when Ohio State snuck in fourth ahead of TCU and Baylor. What, you thought a playoff would end the arguing? It didn't. (Ain't it great!?)

6. Heisman Trophy: Oregon's Mariota takes top prize: Ducks QB Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy last evening. That's no surprise, although, since he plays on the West Coast with its late starts, Mariota is pretty much a rumor to a lot of fans on the East Coast.

7. Panthers: Cats semi-surge to NHL playoff pace: Florida today has won five of its past nine games and stands tied for No. 8 (the final spot) in the NHL Eastern playoff chase. Granted that's not exactly red-hot, but with this team we grade on a curve.

8. Johnny Football: Manziel makes first career start today: Cleveland is swooning but be careful what you wish for as we find out how much of Johnny Manziel, pro version, is all hype. New defintion of temporary insanity: You signed Manziel to start your fantasy playoff opener.

9. Canes hoops: For UM men, great start but real challenges are ahead: Jim Larranaga's guys are 9-1 and ranked No. 20. You know it's a promising basketball season when fans already are looking forward to a Jan. 13 date at No. 2 Duke.

10. Film: 'The U Part 2' can't live up to original: The first one in 2009 covered Canes football glory teams with all the swagger. The sequel premiering last night focuses on more recent, less interesting times. Pray there's no Part 3. Might lead with a 6-6 team preparing for the Duck Commander Bowl.

Poll result: Disagreement but prevailing doubt about Johnny Football's future: We asked and a plurality of 42.3 percent predicted Johnny Manziel in his NFL career would be OK -- neither a star nor a bust. But more than twice as many thought he'd have a short, failed career (36.3%) than prolonged stardom (17.0%). The other 4.4% were undecided.

Check back often. We constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

December 07, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.1%; plus Ravens club Miami 28-13 for mighty blow to playoff hopes

1) It is MONDAY, DECEMBER 8. It's Alabama vs. Ohio State, Oregon vs. FSU in first College Football Playoff. Feeling screwed: TCU. 2) Reminder, our Random Evidence Sunday notes column (and its blog-exclusive Hot Button Top 10) are off but will return next Sunday. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 14 picks, college football's Championship Weekend, Winston verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Everywhere you look, Dolphins collapsing: Click on Collapse for my column from the stadium off yesterday's Miami loss to Baltimore. The gist: Offense, defense, playoff hopes, Joe Philbin's future ... everywhere you looked Sunday, the Dolphins were collapsing.

DSM voting ended sooner than usual this week, at 1 p.m. today, in order to get to a new blogpost that's itching to fly.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G13: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 6.1 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 28-13 loss to the 1aa1adsmvisiting Baltimore Ravens putting Miami's season record at 7-6. That's the second-lowest approval rating of the season. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are usually certified official the morning after one full day of voting. This time, though, we closed it off around 1 p.m. today/Monday.

;

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)

G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)

G8: 97.4% (following 37-0 victory vs. San Diego)

G9: 40.3% (following 20-16 loss at Detroit)

G10: 93.3% (following 22-9 victory vs. Buffalo)

G11: 38.9% (following 39-36 loss at  Denver)

G12: 69.6% (following 16-13 victory at N.Y. Jets)

G13: 6.1% (following 28-13 loss vs. Baltimore)

Next poll: Dec. 14 (following game at Ndew England)

G13: BALTIMORE @ DOLPHINS: IT IS, ALL BUT LITERALLY, A PLAYOFF GAME: Final: Complete collapse by the home team in a duel of 7-5 squads fighting for the playoffs. Miami leads 10-0 early and then hardly anything goes right anywhere on the field. Fins defense is beaten for four long TD drives and offense does hardly anything of substance after scoring on its first two possessions. A hugely disappointing performance by Miami as playoff hopes take a big hit. ..... Pregame: Lots of purple here at the park. I'd forgotten how many Ravens fans there are, local or travelers. ..... Original post: This feels like the Dolphins' biggest home game in a long time. This feels almost like a playoff game. Normally that's rote hyperbole 1aa1abaldol1"Playoff atmosphere!" But today I think it's legit. Both teams are 7-5, evenly matched and desperate 1aa1abaldol2to win. It isn't a playoff game because the loser won't be finished. But it nearly has those playoff stakes, in that the winner's chances of reaching the postseason will be greatly enhanced, and the loser's hopes will take a huge hit. Very few Week 14 games weigh heavier in the playoff race. Miami presently owns the second AFC wild-card spot via tiebreakers while Baltimore ranks ninth in the scrum for six spots, but those roles can flip-flop fast. Fins would lose their grip and tumble off the playoff grid with a loss here. It’s an interesting matchup beyond the stakes. A Miami run defense that has allowed 200-plus yards in consecutive games for first time since 1990 must find a way to contain the Ravens’ excellent and underrated Justin Forsett. Likewise, a struggling BAL pass-D augurs a big day for Ryan Tannehill. (I’ll even boldly predict Miami will complete one or two deep passes). Dolphins caught a break with this week’s PED suspension of Haloti Ngata, the Crows’ Pro Bowl run-stopper. MIA is coming off a short week after Monday night’s win over Jets, and has lost three straight to Ravens including here last year. But Fins are a better team now and should get a big home boost from what figures to feel like (yes) a playoff atmosphere. You think you’re playoff-worthy, Dolphins? Well Baltimore thinks that, too. One of you is likely wrong. Will the right team please stand up? My pick: Dolphins, 24-20.

Check back often because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

December 03, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 69.6%; plus Fins top Jets 16-13, move into playoff position

1) It is TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2. Happy new month, all. Christmas shopping done yet? 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): UM falls to Pitt, CSM poll (ugh), FSU wins again, Ray Rice verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings coming Wednesday: Those two Tuesday blog staples will be out Wednesday this week because of the Dolphins' Monday night game.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 69.6 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Monday's night's 16-13 victory at the New York Jets putting Miami's season 1aa1adsmrecord at 7-5. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Wednesday.

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)

G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)

G8: 97.4% (following 37-0 victory vs. San Diego)

G9: 40.3% (following 20-16 loss at Detroit)

G10: 93.3% (following 22-9 victory vs. Buffalo)

G11: 38.9% (following 39-36 loss at  Denver)

G12: 69.6% (following 16-13 victory at N.Y. Jets)

Next poll: Dec. 7 (following game vs. Baltimore)

G12: DOLPHINS AT NEW YORK STINKIN' JETS: IT'S (ALL BUT) A MUST-WIN: Final: Can't call it an impressive win, not when Miami gave up 277 yards rushing. But the Dolphins finished. They won. Miami had lost 48 of prior 49 games when trailing in fourth quarter. But not tonight. Miami is now No. 6 in the jockeying for six AFC playoff spots. Big win. Maybe not impressive. But big. ..... Fourth quarter: Reshad Jones pick seals win for Fins. ... MIA with first lead, 16-13, with 1:57 left. ... Lucky. Stinkers miss 45-yard FG try after well-timed sack by Misi. ... MIA 13-13, first time not trailing, on Miller 4-yard TD run. (I told y'all not to worry). ... Oh! Jelani Jenkins had chance to recover Jets fumble at NYJ 5. My, my. ..... Third quarter: Cam Wake sack takes Jets out of FG range. ... Tannehill unlucky INT off Miller's hands on low-thrown screen. ... Dion Jordan with a partially blocked punt for Miami. ... Jets 13-6 on 45-yard kick off crossbar. Oh this is such a winnable game for Miami. ... Like the challenge by Philbin, even though he lost it. Replay suggested a fumble by Jets. ... MIA within 10-6 on 44-yard FG. But that was so a game-tying TD pass that Wallace dropped. ..... Halftime: Ugh. Jets dominating the clock with a crazy 210-15 rout in yards rushing. Tannehill playing well, but unless Fins start running and stopping the run, we could be headed to team's worst loss of year. ..... Second quarter: MIA within 10-3 seconds before half on 43-yard Sturgis kick. ... A (needed) break. Jets miss 48-yard FG try. ... Planes up 10-0 on 40-yard FG. Dolphins run-defense a Fountain of Youth for Chris Johnson thus far. ..... First quarter: Sturgis wide left on a 43-yard FG try. Oy. Can't do that. ... NYJ up 7-0 on 20-yard reverse run by someone named "Greg Salas." Seriously? ... My wife, just now: "Rex Ryan coached much better when he was fat." ..... Pregame: Rainy weather, lousy crowd. Hope game's better than the ambience. ... Tannehill's beard gives him less the Male Cheerleader look. ... I'd guess about 97.4 percent of America would rather continue to hear Springsteen/U2 and forego the Dolphins-Jets game altogether. ..... Original post: Miami, after Sunday's results, enters tonight's Monday Night Football game standing 11th in the jockeying for six AFC playoff tickets. 1aa1adoljetThat's misleadingly discouragaing. Win tonight against the lowly Stinkin' Jets and the Dolphins, at 7-5, would be tied for that golden sixth spot. But losing tonight would effectively (if not literally) write Miami out of the playoff picture by erasing all margin of error. By my reckoning the Fins must close with four wins in five games to make it. Considering "at New England" is one of those games, Miami can't stumble in the other games, and that starts tonight. At this point Jets coach Rex Ryan, in full job-saving mode, has little better to fight for this season than playing spoiler to rival Miami’s playoff hopes. Dolphins have lost (and failed to cover the bet-line) in five straight Monday night appearances, but as trends go that doesn’t get my attention as much as Miami’s 5-1 series run at NYJ. In other words “at Jets” isn’t nearly the scary place the now-toothless “J-E-T-S!” crowd would have to believe. The inherent ineptitude that is 2-9 outweighs Rex’s cartoon bluster every time. Where’s Fireman Ed when you need him? Better question: Where’s a decent quarterback when you need him? Desperate Rex is going back to Geno Smith over Mike Vick. Is that a good thing? Personally I think 1aa1ajetsfanthey’d be better off with 71-year-old Joe Namath playing in a full-length mink. At first blush you like a home ‘dog getting 7 points in a bitter division rivalry – and I’ll admit the Upset Bird was circling around this game, thinking an outright Planes win possible. But at second blush, sober, you think, "If Miami isn’t a touchdown better than this sorry excuse for a Jets team, mustn’t we then also rethink the certainties of sunrise, death and taxes?" My pick: Dolphins, 24-16.

Check back. We constantly update and add to ourt latest blogposts...

November 25, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter 38.9%, Canesfan 3.9%. Double-ouch as both approval ratings plummet

1) It is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at Denver. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Random Evidence: Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton signing. No separate blog-only "What South Florida Sports Fans Are Talking About" top 10 this week (I've been away on travel), but the print version linked to includes a top five.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 38.9 percent overall satisfaction in the wake Sunday's 39-36 loss at Denver putting Miami's season record at 6-5. That's the team's lowest approval rating since Week 5. The DSM, in its 1aa1adsmseventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 8:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)

G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)

G8: 97.4% (following 37-0 victory vs. San Diego)

G9: 40.3% (following 20-16 loss at Detroit)

G10: 93.3% (following 22-9 victory vs. Buffalo)

G11: 38.9% (following 39-36 loss at  Denver)

Next poll: Dec. 1 (following game at N.Y. Jets)

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 3.9 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Saturday's 30-13 loss at Virginia putting UM's season record at 6-5 overall and 3- 1aa1acsm4 in the ACC. That's UM's lowest approval rating since Game 6. The CSM, in its sixth 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, season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2014 CSM results

G1: 6.7% (following 31-13 loss at Louisville) 

G2: 35.9% (following 41-7 victory vs. Florida A&M)

G3: 71.8% (following 41-20 victory vs. Arkansas State)

G4: 11.6% (following 41-31 loss at Nebraska)

G5: 73.3% (following 22-10 victory vs. Duke)

G6: 3.3% (following 28-17 loss at Georgia Tech)

G7: 29.6% (following 55-34 victory vs. Cincinnati)

G8: 80.4% (following 30-6 victory at Virginia Tech)

G9: 92.9% (following 47-20 victory vs. North Carolina)

G10: 47.6% (following 30-26 loss vs. Florida State)

G11: 3.9% (following 30-13 loss at Virginia)

Next poll: Nov. 29 (following game vs. Pittsburgh)

Check back often to monitor evolving poll results...

November 15, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 93.3%; plus NFL Week 11 picks, Tannehill and defense shine for Fins, Mega-Weekend off to roaring start & more

1) It is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14. I'm up at Random Evidence Laboratories today coaxing the Sunday notes-column package. 2) The Heat, in Wednesday's dreadful home loss to awful Indiana, were cautioning us, "OK, chill on the early excitement. This is the stink we're capable of." 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes vs. Seminoles poll, why NASCAR finale at Homestead is lacking, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

MEGA-WEEKEND FOR SPORTS IN MIAMI!: Celebrate, South Florida. Enjoy. If you are a fan of local sports, this is your dream weekend. Check your pulse if you can't find something that excites you. We kicked it off last night with Dolphins hosting (and beating) Bills. Today, UM basketball is home to open its season, and Panthers host New York Islanders. Saturday night, of course, Hurricanes are here vs. Florida State. Then Sunday, Heat hosts Milwaukee and Homestead-Miami Speedway has NASCAR season finale. Scintillating smorgasbord. Let's bleepin' go!

Click on Rescuing Playoff Hope for our column from last night's Dolphins win. Find our gameblog and postgame thoughts directly below the new DSM poll, and our NFL Week 11 picks below that.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 93.3 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Thursday night's 22-9 victory over visiting Buffalo putting Miami's season record 1aadsmat 6-4. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:15 a.m. today/Saturday.

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2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)

G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)

G8: 97.4% (following 37-0 victory vs. San Diego)

G9: 40.3% (following 20-16 loss at Detroit)

G10: 93.3% (following 22-9 victory vs. Buffalo)

Next poll: Nov. 23 (following game at Denver)

Click on Taking Back Control for yesterday's column previewing Dolphins-Bills, and on Thursday Game for my prediction capsule on the game.

G10: DOLPHINS 22, BUFFALO 9: THIS WAS ABOUT CONTROL: Final: Huge win for Miami in the playoff chase, and another reminder that very good defense and a plenty-good-enough Ryan Tannehill is a combination you can with with. I like that Miami, trailing 9-3 mid-third quarter and doing little offensively, roared to life, seized the game, turned a loss into a win. ..... Fourth quarter: MIA now up 22-9 on another short FG. Game time. ... Miami with its first safe-ish lead, 19-9, on Tannehill 8-yard TD to Landry with 11:35 to play. ... Bills' Carpenter wide-left on 47-yard FG try to tie. Lucky break for Fins. ..... Third quarter: Oy! Landry loses fumble on return of Bills free kick following safety, giving Buffs ball at MIA 39. That's 2-0 on turnovers, Dolphs on the wrong end. ... Fins now up 12-9, adding a safety when Bills QB Orton is called for intentional grounding while in his own end zone. ... MIA up 10-9 late in quarter on Tannehill 7-yard TD strike to a wide-open Brandon Gibson in end zone. ... Buffs up 9-3 on another FG (this from 48 yards) by the ex-Dolph Carpenter. It's a bad sign when your offense is such six points feels like a sizable hole. ... Miami punt begins second half. ..... Halftime: Even, uneventful game at 6-3 Bills. Tannehill playing well (14-18, 136 yards), but the difference thus far has been his costly fumble loss on a run. First touchdown wins? How about it! ..... Second quarter: Tannehill completes a pass to himself on a deflection for a loss of 4 yards. ... Bison 6-3 on a 21-yard FG, getting to a first and goal at the 6 and then settling after an 85-yard drive. These teams cannot close the deal in the red zone. ... A turnover and a red-zone fizzle all in one. Miami has a first on the Bills 14, gives it away on a Tannehill fu,ble loss on a run. A 33-yard Miller run is wasted. ..... First quarter: Buffs knot it 3-3 on 33-yard kick. Each team's long drive ate up entire first Q. ... Miami 3-0 on 38-yard Sturgis FG after another red-zone fizzle. Had a first down at 15; holding penalty hurt. Promising, though: Tannehill 8-for-9 on drive. ..... Original post: Miami must parlay its home-field advantage on a national stage tonight and take back control of this AFC East rivalry ... or see the loss of control in the 1aa1atnf 1aa1atnf2playoff chase. NFL Week 11 unfurls with urgency draping Dolphins’ first prime-time appearance of the season. When you are 5-4 -- presently tied for ninth in the hunt for six AFC playoff spots -- your margin of error has grown very small. When you have just lost a heartbreaker at Detroit and Peyton Manning is on deck awaiting you in Denver, you had damned well better beat the Bills at home. It’s an interesting matchup even beyond the two fandoms -- the first time since 2000 these divisionmates have met this late in a season both with winning records. I am surprised Miami is favored by more than three points, considering Fins are 1-4 vs. Bills including three straight losses in the Joe Philbin/Ryan Tannehill era. I think Miami will win tonight, but that may rely on getting the ground game going to take heat off Tannehill. There is an opportunity there; Buffs have given up 460 run yards the past three games. Miami also must protect its QB -- a load of a task, with LT Branden Albert out injured, and Bison defense leading the NFL with 34 sacks. A running game will deter the blitz and buy Tannehill extra time in the pocket. These are two big-time defenses and two offenses that both tend to struggle in the red zone, so I’d imagine a low-scoring game. That’s one more reason why the 5-point betting line feels a bit plump. My pick: Dolphins, 23-20.

NFL WEEK 11 PIX: KING SPORT STRUTS, PREENS: The Dolphins already have played, and yet the week 1aa1afripixgoes on. And what a week. For the first time in NFL history this late in a season, there are four games between teams with winning percentges of .667 or better, led by my game of the week: Tom Brady at Andrew Luck, also doing business as Patriots at Colts. Click on Week 11 Gems for our latest NFL predictions. (Break-even start to our week last night; correctly had Dolphins winning, but not covering). Also, click on Too Much Division In Playoff Math for our Friday Page NFL column. It leads with a suggestion the NFL start picking the best six teams in each conference, regardless of division.

Poll result: It's Canes over Noles Saturday night: We asked in the previous blogpost who'll win (you may still vote), and 68.2 percent voted Miami over Florida State. Naturally a blog hosted by MiamiHerald.com is predisposed to have more readers/voters who are fans of UM than of FSU. So what. It's just a blog poll!

Check back a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

October 28, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 63.2%; plus defense, lucky pigeon lift Fins past Jax 27-13; also Heat ready for a fight, new Hot Button Top 10 & more

1aa1apigeon1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 27. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes clobber Virginia Tech, CSM poll, Friday NFL Week 8 pix, ominous Heat trend, 'Marlins Man' & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Find our gameblog and postgame thoughts immediately below the new CSM poll.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 63.2 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 27-13 victory at 1aa1adsmJacksonville putting Miami's season record at 4-3. That's a rarity: a dip in the approval rating despite a win. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.

;

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)

G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)

Next poll: Nov. 2 (following game vs. San Diego)

G7: DOLPHINS @ JACKSONVILLE: TIME FOR MIAMI TO ASSERT ITSELF: Final: Bizarre game. Miami outgained in total yards and time with ball but wins with ease thanks to two interception-return TDs and a really, really bad opponent. ...... Fourth quarter: Jax scores first TD to make it 27-13 on 48-yard Bortles bomb to Allen Robinson ... Fins make it 27-6 on 29-yard FG with 3:57 to play. ... Tannehill intercepted in end zone on deflected pass. ..... Third quarter: MIA now up 24-6 on Tannehill's 3-yard TD flip to Rishard Matthews, completing 95-yard drive. ... A third drop by Hartline, by my count. ... Sadsacksonville within 17-6 on a 40-yard FG. ... A penny for your thoughts, Chad Henne. ... MIA 17-3 on Brent Grimes 22-yard pick-return TD, the second for the Fins today. First time since 1998 Miami has had two in a game. ... And the second half starts with a sack/punt for Miami. Ugh. ..... Halftime: One of the stranger games I have covered or seen. Miami trailing in total plays 40-19, in total yards 219-56 and in time of possession 21 minutes to 9 -- but leading 10-3. It isn't so much that Miami is lucky. It's that mistake-prone Jax is reminding us why they are 1-6. ..... Second quarter: Miami 10-3 on Sturgis 43-yard FG. ... Fins get first first-down of game with 3:37 left in half. ... MIA with another takeaway as Delmas recovers Bortles fumble. ... Jax within 7-3 on 30-yard FG. Miami down 36-6 in plays, 199-3 in net yards but winning. Bizarre. ... Boom! MIA 7-0 on Louis Delmas 81-yard interception return TD. It was rookie Blake Bortles' NFL-leading 11th pick of year. ..... First quarter: Miami lucky it's 0-0 after 1Q. Jags killing themselves with miscues. Like bad teams do. ... Miami offense six plays, three net yards after two drives. ... Jax makes 46-yard FG but points are erased by holding penalty. That's why 1-6 teams are 1-6. ... Sack ends Dolphins' first possession, not a good sign. ... Fins' Olivier Vernon blocks Jags 48-yard FG try to end opening drive. Miami run-D gave up 41-yard run by Denard Robinson, then toughened. ..... Original post: Start with this truism: The Dolphins at an up and down 3-3 have not proven themselves good enough to have a "trap" game or to 1aa1adoljaxtake any opponent lightly, even this one. Even at 1-6 Jacksonville’s defense has allowed only 17, 16 and 6 points the past three games, and, yes the Jags are capable of a home-'dog upset here. Jax has the sack-power to bother the Fins’ improved offensive line. Also, Miami's inconsistency and recent history of letting fans down means that the big win in Chicago last week does nothing to lessen Dolfans' inherent dread that this week may see a pratfall. Having said all of that, I don't see an upset. Miami's strong defense has the potential to dominate a limited Jax offense and make it a tough day for rookie QB Blake Bortles, whose league-leading 10 interceptions is a total likely to grow. Ryan Tannehill should stay hot against a generous J-Ville pass D, and the injury-loss of LB Paul Posluszny will hurt the Jags' run stopping and enable Lamar Miller. The biggest threat to Miami here isn't the opponent, but rather any overconfidence that might have crept into the team's mindset. We'll see Sunday how well Joe Philbin did in shooing that away. This isn't the time or place for a trap-game mentality. This is the time and place for the Dolphins to assert themselves and get on a roll with tougher games looming. My pick: Dolphins, 24-16.

1aa1abig3newHEAT READY FOR A FIGHT: Heat open the NBA season and the post-LeBron era Wednesday night, and the Herald's preview sectionis out today. Click on Ready For A Fight for my preview column on moving on since James' defection. The Heat has conceded nothing. Miami is ready now to fight for what has come so easily the past four seasons: the attention, and the victories. Pictured: The downsized new Big 3 of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng.

HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature, an expanded, updated Hot Button Top 10. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton21. Dolphins: Miami seeks to avoid 'trap' in Jacksonville: The funny thing about 1-6 Jaguars being a "trap" game Sunday is the false presumption Miami is good enough to take any opponent lightly. In a state context, the Dolphins are better than Jacksonville or Tampa Bay, but that's faint praise. It's like being the best candidate in this Florida governor’s race.

2. Hurricanes: Duke of Gables reigns in huge win in Blacksburg: Duke Johnson ran for 249 yards, and UM’s defense played great in big 30-6 win at Virginia Tech on Thursday night. Al Golden’s team has now won two in a row and is playing the best it has all year. Canes fans used to complaining about something or firing somebody are feeling seriously deprived.

3. Heat: Post-LeBron era tips off Wednesday at home: Feeling down, Heat fans? Jilted? Here's a reminder how lucky you've had it: This is the 12th consecutive season that Miami's roster will have included some combination of Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal or LeBron James. A Heat fan's biggest challenge: Feeling sorry for himself without appearing spoiled.

4. Baseball: Royals-Giants World Series even into Game 5: The 110th Fall Classic is tied 2-2 as it wraps up its three-game midsection in San Francisco with Game 5 Sunday night. A Miami lawyer known as "Marlins Man," Laurence Leavy, 58, has been ubiquitous on TV behind home plate in bright orange team jersey. It's closest Marlins have come to being in the World Series since 2003.

5. Soccer: Ronaldo tops Messi in 'El Clasico': In the most anticipated match since the summer World Cup, the globe’s two greatest players faced off Saturday as Cristiano Ronaldo's goal led Real Madrid past scoreless Lionel Messi and Barcelona, 3-1, in a Spanish league match. Soccer agnostics, if this one didn’t pique your interest, there probably is no hope for you.

6. College football: First playoff rankings out Tuesday: The first College Football Playoff ranking is out Tuesday, after which about a dozen one-loss teams will be complaining they're not in the top four. Remember when we thought a playoff would end all the arguing and controversy. How cute!

7. Panthers: Cats return from successful road trip: Florida is back on home ice Thursday after taking six of possible eight points on recent four-game roadie. For first time since Miami Arena days games are being broadcast in Spanish, too. That means you can now not listen in two languages.

8. Gators: Florida makes quarterback change: Young Treon Harris is replacing embattled Jeff Driskel as Gators' starting quarterback. UF fans I know are more interested in who'll be replacing coach Will Muschamp, and when.

9. NBA: League rejects new 'tanking' measures: NBA failed to pass new draft-lottery rules that would have lessened the incentive for teams to "tank" for better draft position. You know it's getting pretty bad when losing teams' late-season starters include assistant coaches and players' moms. 

10. NASCAR: Chase field down to eight NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup culminating next month at Homestead is down to eight finalists. Kevin Harvick called the new format "the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my life." Imagine what drivers who didn’t make the cut think of it!

Check back a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

October 14, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter:14.2%; plus Green Bay beats Miami 27-24 in last-second heartbreak; also new Hot Button Top 10 & more

1aa1acolumbus1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 13. It's Columbus Day. Anybody know where I can buy a Columbus hat? Better question: Why isn't Pharrell wearing one yet? 2) Find results of the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in blogpost directly below this one. 3) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes whomp Cincinnati, CSM poll, Heat vs. LeBron, Panthers home opener & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Panthers home opener: Click on Sad Start for my column off Saturday's 21st Panthers NHL home opener, which invited the question which was sadder: A zombie-like 5-1 loss, or the smallest season-opening crowd in club history.

Click on 6 Seconds, 4 Yards for my column off yesterday's Dolphins loss. Find our Dolphins-Packers game blog immediately after the new DSM poll.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: Results are in on the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 14.2 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 27-24 loss to visiting Green Bay putting Miami's season record at 2-3. The 1aadsmDSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)

Next poll: Oct. 19 (following game at Chicago)

G5: GREEN BAY 27, DOLPHINS 24: Final: Heartbreak. The magic of Aaron Rodgers, I guess. Tannehill and Miami staged a nice second-half rally that Rodgers made fall short thanks to his late heroics. Miami's defense played well much of the day but not, alas, when it mattered most. ..... Fourth quarter: Rodgers to Pack TE Andrew Quarless for 4-yard TD pass with 3 seconds left spells heartbreak for Miami and a 27-24 loss. ... Gee Bees within 24-20 on 30-yard FG with 4:09 left. ... Miami up 24-17 with 9:13 left -- first lead of game -- on Tanny to Mike Wallace 5-yard TD pass. ... Dolphins tie it 17-17 on Lamar Miller 5-yard TD run to finish impressive drive. A pretty great game, it turns out. ..... Third quarter: After finally tying it, MIA gives up 80-yard Pack scoring drive finished by Rodgers' 5-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb to make it 17-10, Cheesers. ... Cortland Finnegan big missed tackle. Lot of those today for Miami's D. ... Incredible. Dolphins tie it 10-10 on Tannehill 11-yard scoring pass to Jarvis Landry, who outjumped GB's Tramon Williams in the zone. Tannehill's 40-yard sparked the drive. ... LT Branden Albert back in game. ..... Halftime: It's a small miracle Miami only trails 10-3. Green Bay leads in time of possession 21 minutes to 9 and the Fins have a meager 87 yards in total offense. Tannehill has been awful (84 yards, two picks, 26.0 rating) and the run game has 10 carries for 10 net yards vs. NFL's worst-ranked run-D. Still, only 10-3. Amazing. Defense playing winning ball. Tanny and the O must step up and seize a still-winnable game ..... Second quarter: LT Branden Albert leaves in last minute of half with apparent left-shoulder injury; severity unknown. ... Tannehill throws deep to a well-covered Brian Hartline, suffers second interception of game. ... Tannehill's game passer rating is presently 12.0. ..... Cheesers up 10-3 on 43-yard FG set up by Ryan Tannehill's interception to Casey Hayward returned to Fins 36. Big 3rd-down sack by Olivier Vernon made Gee Bees settle. ..... First quarter: Jonathan Freeny blocked punt sets up MIA at Pack 16. A sure score, right? Nope. Miami goes for it on 4th-and-goal from 1 but Knowshon Moreno is stuffed up the middle. Agree with the gamble, but not the call. ... MIA within 7-3 but that's settling. When you get a 54-yard kickoff return (Jarvis Landry), you must take advantage. ... Aaron Rodgers 9-yard pas to Jordy Nelson completes 80-yard opening drive for fast 7-0 Pack lead. My upset prediction off to a rocky start. ..... Original post: This game feels a little bit special, like an "event" game. Part of it is that the Green Bay Packers are rare visitors (last 


1aa1adolgbtime here, 2006) and still have a cache to the franchise name. Part of it is that it's Joe Philbin's ex-team, although that angle would be better mined if Joe was prone to 1aa1ajoepshowing emotion. (Mr. Personality, then and now, is pictured left). Mostly it is that the great Aaron Rodgers will be making his first career start in Miami. Almost forgot, the Fins are 2-2 and travel to Chicago next, so a loss today would make a 2-4 record loom possible. So a win here would be huge, and reaffirm playoff hopes. I like Miami, at home, coming off a bye, in an upset. Team gets reinforcements in the return of S Reshad Jones, OL Mike Pouncey and probably RB Knowshon Moreno, three key players. I think Miami's pass defense will challenge Rodgers. Mostly, I think the Dolphins will be able to run the ball and control clock a little bit against a Gee Bees run-D that is last in the NFL in yards allowed. My pick: Upset! Dolphins, 27-24.

HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our Random Evidence Sunday notes-column package has returned in print from summer hiatus (click HERE for today's latest edition), but due to semi-popular demand an updated, expanded Hot Button continues as an exclusive Sunday feature of the blog. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. Dolphins: Miami welcomes Mr. Rodgers to the 'hood: Tom Brady has started 13 games in Miami, Peyton Manning seven and Drew Brees two, now today the last of the NFL's Big Four QBs finally starts a game here as Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay visit. Remember, Dolphins defenders: Hospitality is overrated. 

2. Hurricanes: Offense swamps Cincinnati in 55-34 rout: UM improved to 4-3 yesterday at home in rolling up 621 yards of offense led by (as usual) Brad Kaaya and Duke Johnson. Of course, around here, a 21-point win over a medicore opponent does not calm the roiling masses, it merely holds them at bay.

3. Heat: Cavs edge Miami in OT in LeBron Wars Act I: Cleveland beat the Heat 122-119 in OT in Rio de Janeiro, but Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade both played better than turncoat LeBron James, who scored seven points on 2-for-8 shooting. So let's just call it ... a preseason game that doesn't matter.

4. Panthers: Cats NHL home opener is two times sad: Sad: A zombie-like 5-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils making Florida 0-2 in the young season after a winless preseason. Sadder: The smallest home-opening crowd in franchise history.

5. MLB playoffs: Royals, Giants get the early jump: Kansas City leads Baltimore 2-0 and San Francisco won Game 1 over St. Louis last night to start the AL and NL championship series. I dare you to name five Royals. Go!  

6. College football: A calmer Saturday: After last week shook up the College Football Playoff top four, this week was calmer. If the season ended right now, Mississippi State and Ole Miss both would be in the final four, and Gators fans would be chasing Jeff Driskel clean out of Gainesville.

7. College basketball: Practice underway at UM, elsewhere: As hoops season nears, Jim Larranaga's Canes men have no seniors and seven of the nine scholarship players are new to the program. Those aren't commemorative patches o the UM uniforms. Those are 'Hello My name Is' stickers.

8. NASCAR: Logano storms to forefront: One month from the season finale at Homestead, many race experts now say Joey Logano is the favorite to win the Sprint Cup season title. That gives me a month to figure out who Joey Logano is. 

9. Sailing: Columbus Day Regatta ends in Miami: Today wraps up the annual event on Biscayne Bay that involves drinking, topless women, partying, debauchery and, when time allows, sailing.

10. Horse racing: Goodbye, Calder: Because of ownership changes, Calder Race Course (near Dolphins stadium) is now known as Gulfstream Park West. "Like I care?" said the horses.

Check back often because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

September 30, 2014

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 62.3%; plus Fins club Oakland 38-14, Tannehill stars; also Aponte-Philbin rift?, Marlins no-hit, Hot Button & more

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Dolphins. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes-Duke and CSM poll, other state collball, Philbin walloped in poll & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Marlins get no-hit: Marlins get zero hits yesterday on road vs. Washington's Jordan Zimmerman in season finale. Despite that, club extends manager Mike Redmond's contract through 2017. Smart. Right.

CSM bounces to season high: See the previous blogpost for results of the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. Oh, and erase the phrase "it was only Duke" from your mind and click on Appreciation for my column off last night's win.

Live game blog and postgame analysis directly below new DSM. Also, for what it's worth, CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora reports a "fraying relationship" between Dolphins executive Dawn Aponte and coach Joe Philbin continues to have Philbin's future in doubt. Click here for the story.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: Results are in on the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a leap to 62.3 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 38-14 victory over Oakland at Wembley Stadium in London putting Miami's 1aadsmseason record at 2-2. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

2014 DSM results

G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)

G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)

G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)

G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)

Next poll: Oct. 12 (following game vs. Green Bay, after bye)

G4: DOLPHINS VS. OAKLAND IN LONDON: TANNEHILL, PHILBIN ANSWER THE PRESSURE: Final: Bulletin! Pretty sure Ryan Tannehill will start next week. Remember how great Miami looked in the second half of the opener vs Patriots? They were that team most of today in London. Tannehill had his breakout game of the season -- answering all of the week's turmoil and distraction. Defense was big, too, with four takeaways. Also should probably mention that the Raiders smell like roadkill rotting in the sun. coach Dennis Allen will be fired on the flight home, if not pushed from the plane. ..... Fourth quarter: Walt Aikens INT for Fins defense. Raiders truly do stink. ... Matt Moore subs in at QB mid-quarter. No controversy!! Tanny's final numbers: 23-31, 278 yards, two TDs and his only pick off a deflection. Rating 109.3. Excellent!. ... OAK within 38-14 on mid-quarter TD pass. ..... Third quarter: Tannehill suffers first INT off a deflection. Unlucky. ... Jimmy Wilson INT for Miami and return to Raiders 16. Dream game. ... Now 38-7 after Cortland Finnegan 50-yard fumble return. Wow. Seriously. ... MIA 31-7 on Miller 1-yard TD run set up by Brent Grimes interception and lovely, weaving return to OAK 3. Are these the Dolphins!? ... Looking like 31-7 but Lamar Miller coughs up a fumble near OAK goalline and Blackshirts recover in the e-zone. ..... Halftime report: "Massive" show by Tannehill, as the Brits might say. At 24-7 he is 17-for-19 for 204 yards and two TDs, with a near-perfect 146.5 passer rating. Philbin should piss him off more often! Thorough performance so far by Miami. Cheerio! ..... Second quarter: MIA now 24-7 on Tanny's 18-yard TD pass to Dion Sims -- Tanny's 14th straight completion. Career day so far for the embattled young QB. ... Rookie Jarvis Landry fumbles away a punt return. ... MIA up 17-7 on Lamar Miller 8-yard scoring run on 4th-and-1. Good gamble by Philbin. Tannehill now 9 straight completions. ... Ryan Tannehill 13-yard TD pass to Mike Wallace thanks to great effort and reach by Wallace has Fins up 10-7 early in second. Tanny 6-for-6 for 86 yards on drive. ..... First quarter: Brian Hartline 35-yard catch has Fins on move as quarter ends. ... MIA within 7-3 on Caleb Sturgis 41-yard FG. ... OAK 7-0 fast on 74-yard opening drive ended by Derek Carr 3Y TD pass to Brian Leonhardt. Bad start for MIA. Gave up a 32-yard kick return, 30-yard completion. ... You know you're an off-the-grid game when Ian Eagle is the announcer. ... Pre-game booing of Dolphins? I'm impressed Londoners care enough to hate. A non-reaction would have been worse. ..... Original post: No, the 1-2 Dolphins have not been deported to a foreign country in a banishment owing to consecutive 19-point losses followed by 

1aa1adoloakJoe Philbin's hell-week distraction with botched handling of who'll start at quarterback. Although a loss here -- to the 0-3 Raiders -- and the Fins won't exactly be welcomed back to Miami. There isn't a coach/QB combo in the NFL that needs a positive result today more than Philbin and Ryan Tannehill. Philbin committed the sin of creating a needless 1aa1adollondondistraction for his own team, a coaching felony, while Tannehill is looking for his first big game of the season to help reestablish himself as a solid No. 1 with a bright future. I don't think Dolfans have much faith in either guy at the moment, to say the least. With a bye week following this game, it is conceivable that Philbin could be fired if Miami loses. Not predicting it; don't think it would happen. But the idea of it hardly is an impossibility. A win would chase those darkest, most desperate thoughts from owner Stephen Ross' mind, and I think Miami will get that at London's famed Wembley Stadium. The Dolphins defense making it tough on Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr is what I'm most sure of in this game. That is adversary is a rookie -- yet one more reason why Tannehill must perform well and win today. Oakland has lost nine straight dating to last season and 10 of past 11 in this series. You thought getting smothered at Buffalo was bad? You thought a home loss to Kansas City was worse? A loss today would be a miserable new low. My pick: Dolphins, 23-10.

HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our Random Evidence Sunday notes-column package has returned in print from summer hiatus (click HERE for today's latest edition), but due to semi-popular demand an updated, expanded Hot Button continues as an exclusive Sunday feature of the blog. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. Dolphins: Pressure on Fins, Tannehill in London: As Fins face Oakland at Wembley Stadium today there is media speculation the rift between Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill could grow worse. There is also media speculation winning will cure all. In other words, there is too much media specualtion.

2. Hurricanes: UM defense stars in  win. No, seriously!: Miami's 22-10 win over visiting Duke last night was marked by excellent defense that forced nine Blue Devils punts. For a change, D-coordinator Mark D'Onofrio can turn on local sports-radio this week and not feel he's opened a blast furnace. 

3. Heat: Life After LeBron as Heat begin training camp: What's-his-name is back in Cleveland and diminished Heat are six days from first preseason game without him. At Friday's media day, oh how I wished Dwyane Wade had answered the first question about LeBron with a deadpan, "LeWho?" 

4. Marlins: Fish wrap season today: No playoffs (again) as Miami concludes season today at Washington, but much improvement from last year's 100 losses despite injuries to stars Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton. Mike Redmond should get manager of the year votes. Might not. But should.

5. Derek Jeter: Yankees great goes out in style: Did that actually happen? It was supposed to rain, but didn't. Then Jeter in his final home game gets the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. Seriously? I guess what they've been saying for years in New York is true: God is a Yankee.

6. MLB playoffs: Hunt for October begins: Last day of regular season today will set the postseason field, with the wild-card round to start Tuesday. Betting odds still favor an Angels-Dodgers, all-Los Angeles World Series. Laid-back L.A. has made a mental note to start paying attention.

7. College football: FSU leads big day for rallies: No. 1 Florida State rallied for a big win and so did FIU and FAU. Jameis Winston was back from suspension for Noles. Allegations against him have gone from rape to theft to shouting profanity, so at least he’s trending from felony to misdemeanor.

8. Panthers: NHL unfurls with preseason play: Hockey is here, eh? Unfortunately the Florida Panthers already are 0-3 in the preseason. Owners say they expect decreased attendance this season. There is a remedy for that. Cats ought to try it for a change. It's called "winning."

9. Ryder Cup: U.S. vs. Europe wraps today in Scotland: Looking bad for the Americans as golf's premier international event ends overseas. There are few greater competitions in all of sports than the Ryder Cup, according to analysts for the broadcasting network.

10. NASCAR: Chase for the Cup underway: As the November finale at Homestead awaits, NASCAR’s new Chase rules call for a reduction from 16 drivers to 12 after third of 10 races, to eight after sixth race and to four after ninth race. If the formula were any more confusing, it would be the NFL passer rating.

Bonus: Capital One is the new title sponsor of Miami's venerable annual college football bowl, the Orange Bowl Classic. What's in your -- hey! SOMEBODY STOLE MY WALLET!

Check back often because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...