August 19, 2016

PS2: Dallas 41, Dolphins 14: Tannehill solid but defense blows; plus Greg's Lobos announce fantasy roster, with rate-the-team poll. Vote now!; also, Lochte's apology, Neil Diamond, your verdict on Hard Rock Stadium name & more

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

Iamisaid1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 20. Click here to read Ryan Lochte's apology for his behavior and falsehoods while at the Rio Olympics. 2) I have rediscovered a 1971 song, Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said." It's a shade melodramatic, as is Diamond's style, but really compelling and gorgeous in a way. Listen here. 3) Ohio man arrested for trying to have sex with parked van. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Newly named Hard Rock Stadium with poll, Hillary as Usain, fading Marlins, Joy Taylor, your verdict on MLB's Purgatory Four & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Column six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI: Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter, the latest, on the Hard Rock rechristening of It's Still Joe Robbie Stadium to Me. A-Rod to Fish Made Sense, on what might've been. Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars, on the Purgatory Four. The Weight Has Just Begun, inside the office and expectations of new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt. A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating opening for Dolphins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chased 3,000 hits.

It's baa-aaack! Dolfan Satisfaction Meter to return: The DSM postgame blog polls will be back for another season this year, but they begin with the regular season, not in the preseason. Look for the first one the night of Sept. 11 immediately following the opener at Seattle.

PS2: DALLAS 41, DOLPHINS 14: TANNEHILL SHINES; DEFENSE, NOT SO MUCH: Postgame thoughts: NFL history made last night. Believed to be first game in league's 97 seasons that included quarterbacks named "Zac" and "Dak." Ryan Tannehill strong overall in an active evening, 12-for-20 for 162 yards and two TDs, a fat 119.2 passer rating. That'll work. And good they let him and the offense breathe a bit. Also, coach Adam Gase upgraded from last week's sideline T-shirt to an actual collared shirt. Progress! The rest? Not so good. Debut of Arian Foster an anticlimactic nothing: 2 carries, minus-5 yards. Ten Dolphins penalties. Defense? Awful. All over. Front to back. Especially against the pass. Awful. I saw in one fantasy draft ranking Miami's defense was ranked 28th. Thought that was low. Now I get it. I don't care if it's August or not. You don't give up 41 points. Work to do at 1-1 as the preseason pivots. Fake-game No. 3 -- fast, this Thursday vs. Atlanta in Orlando -- will be the full-ish dress rehearsal where the starters play a lot. Then will come the exhibition finale and only preseason home game at the newly refurbished and rebranded Hard Rock Stadium. Real season opener at Seattle chugging in hard. Uh oh. Original post: Last week Miami won its exhibition opener 27-10 at the Giants after trailing 10-0. In the real season that Doldalwould have been impressive with no yeah-buts. In fake-game context it was boring and proved little, mainly because Ryan Tannehill barely played (seven snaps, four Afosterpasses) and we saw little of Adam Gase's new offense. That should change tonight in Dallas as Tanny plays significantly more and we more substantively see what the quick-release/short-pass attack might actually be like. The preseason debut of RB Arian Foster (pictured) will also be a factor in tonight having more of a "this is the real offense" feel than last week. Foster, the former Pro Bowl star coming back from injuries at age 29 and obtained dirt-cheap, is a real wild card this season. He and young Jay Ajayi are fighting for the starting job and primary workload. Expectations for Foster may be modest, but there also is a big upside. Foster outranks Ajayi on most fantasy draft boards. Dolfans allowing themselves to dream big and imagine what has to go right for this to be a playoff season are surely including a bona fide return to form by Foster. If he can be who he was for most of 2010-14, or even close, the Dolphins will have a bargain, and a godsend. His skills catching passes out of the backfield, in addition to the ball carrying, dovetails with elements of the Gase offense. A first look at Foster, more Tannehill, and Tony Romo starting on the other side will give tonight a real-game feel -- however briefly.

GREG'S LOBOS REVEAL 2016 DRAFT RESULTS AND ROSTER: We had our fantasy draft Thursday night in the league that had the winning bid to have Greg's Lobos join this season. I was amazed how many leagues across the country bid for a good cause: ESPN's annual V Foundation fundraiser. I believe the winning  bid topped Lobos$2,000. There will be three Greg's Lobos this season: this team, the one in the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz league, and the original Lobos from our friends 'n family league. Last night we drew the overall No. 3 pick in a standard-league, 10-team snake draft. The Lobos draft, in order by round: 1st round--RB Todd Gurley; 2nd--RB Mark Ingram; 3rd--WR Jordy Nelson; 4th--RB Carlos Hyde; 5th--WR Jarvis Landry; 6th--QB Ben Roethlisberger; 7th; WE Donte Moncrief; 8th--RB DeAngelo Williams; 9th--TE Martellus Bennett; 10th--WR Kevin White; 11th--TE Julius Thomas; 12th--QB Jameis Winston; 13th--WR Travis Benjamin; 14th--RB Benjamin Cunningham; 15th--Vikings D/ST; 16th--PK Matt Prater. I am pinning my hopes on huge productivity from Big Ben, superstar breakout numbers from Gurley, and big stat seasons from Ingram/Nelson/Landry. (Click here for a video on Landry's training regimen). But the Lobos' secret weapon could be Hyde, who I see as poised to bust out as a top-tier back this season, especially in that Niners offense. I like my team. Do you? Let us know in the poll below. Here's the team based on projected starting lineup:

QB: Ben Roethlisberger

RB: Todd Gurley

RB: Carlos Hyde

WR: Jordy Nelson

WR: Jarvis Landry

TE: Martellus Bennett

FLEX: RB Mark Ingram

D/S: Vikings

PK: Matt Prater

Reserves: WRs Donte Moncrief, Kevin White and Travis Benjamin; RBs DeAngelo Williams and Benjamin Cunningham; TE Julius Thomas and QB Jameis Winston.

Poll result: A strong thumbs-up for the new Hard Rock Stadium name: We asked what best represents how you feel about "Hard Rock Stadium" as the new name for where the Dolphins and Hurricanes play. A plurality of 31.0 percent voted, "Whatever. It'll always be Joe Robbie Stadium to me." However, otherwise, the new name met with huge approval, with love/like swamping dislike/hate by a landslide 9-to-1 margin of 53.9% to 5.9%. The breakdown: Love 28.2%, Like 25.7%, Dislike 3.0% and Hate 2.8%. The remaining 9.3% chose the poll option, "

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July 25, 2016

Canes football picked 2nd in ACC division; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) starring Ichiro, Fins, Canes; also, NFL clears Peyton, football town again?, Tannehill a new daddy, SABR nerds coming, Dolphins fantasy leaders & more

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

Laurentannehill1) It is MONDAY, JULY 25. Ichiro is still at 2,996 hits after striking out yesterday as a pinchhitter.  He is not in tonight's starting lineup. 2) Former Dolphins receiver Greg Jennings retired this morning. 3) Pictured right is first-time mother Lauren Tannehill, whose baby delivered on Sunday made Ryan Tannehill a first-time daddy. Lauren is shown in a photo she posted on Twitter July 16. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NBA moves All-Star game with poll, ode to Original Strikers and Lockhart, Canes at ACC Football Kickoff, NFL MVP odds & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

NFL exonerates Peyton Manning: From the league today: "Following a comprehensive seven-month investigation into allegations made in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America, the NFL found no credible evidence that Peyton Manning was provided with or used HGH or other substances prohibited by the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances." Cloud dissipates. R.I.P.: Retire In Peace.

Can Dolphins, Canes make this a football town again?: I explore the question in my latest Sunday column. Click on A Chance for Football to Retake Miami to read. The Marlins are hot at the moment, but, with Dwyane Wade gone from the Heat, a window opens for the Dolphins and UM football as both set forth with promising new coaches.  

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, the latest, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Riley Endures Tough Summer, Fights On, as Heat prez admits regrets over losing Wade. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, on impact of Brady suspension being upheld. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all.

SabrBaseball nerds on parade!: I'm kidding, sort of. Not everybody who belongs to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is a nerd. Although you will find a disproportionately high percentage of statistics-obsessed sabermetric-heads, defined here as people who are aware of and casually refer to "babip" (batting average on balls in play). Anyway, SABR holds its 46th annual convention in downtown Miami at the Hyatt Regency this week, July 27-31, including a Friday ballpark session at Marlins Park. Think of it as like a comic-con for intellectually serious baseball fans including those who are convinced A's general manager Billy Beane may be the human incarnation of God. Fans may attend the convention, by the way, though it isn't free. Click on sabr.org/convention for details and and schedule.

AccCANES PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN ACC COASTAL: Miami Hurricanes are predicted to finish second in the ACC Coastal Division this season in a vote of ACC football media. UM received 50 first-place votes and 1,108 points to North Carolina's 121 and 1,238. Clemson is the pick in the Atlantic Division, its 148 first-place votes and 1,293 points beating Florida State's 42 and 1,176. For the overall conference championship it was Clemson 144 votes, FSU 39, North Carolina 7 and Louisville. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson is a huge favriet for ACC Player of the Year with 164 votes, followed by FSU RB Dalvin Cook with 18. Canes QB Brad Kaaya ties for fourth with 2 votes.

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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. MARLINS: Ichiro on brink of 3,000 owns center-stage in Marlins homestand: Ichiro enters tonight's game with 2,996 hits. Dee Gordon is close to returning from suspension. And the Marlins are on playoff pace and looking to spend to acquire a starting pitcher before the Aug. 1 trade deadline. Miami, you have run out of good excuses to not support this team.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins sign Foster, prepare to open first camp under Gase: Miami bolstered its running back situation by signing veteran Arian Foster as it prepared to open training camp under new coach Adam Gase with its first practice this coming Friday. Dolfans seem to love the Gase hiring. Then again, he hasn't lost a game yet.

3. HURRICANES: UM ceremonially kicks off start of football as first practice nears: Coach Mark Richt and QB Brad Kaaya spoke optimistically to media at ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte as program prepares for Aug. 4 start of preseason practice. Canes fans love the Richt hiring. Then again, he hasn't lost a game yet, either.

4. OLYMPICS: Russian doping scandal adds to beleaguered Rio Games: With the chaos-marred Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro only 12 days away, the IOC on Sunday ruled against a total ban of the Russian team over a doping scandal. Still, cheating Russians deserve a gall medal for gumption.

5. NBA: All-Star Game moved over controversial law: Its star players are outspoken against police-involved violence, now league itself steps into political arena by moving its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over that state's controversial anti-LGBT law. Leagues and athletes showing a social conscience? Good for them.

6. CYCLING: Froome wins Tour de France, again: Defending champion Chris Froome of Great Britain made it three wins in the last four years. I don't wanna say Froome had a safe lead, but he could race have raced Sunday's final stage on an 1890s-style bicycle with the giant front wheel and still finished first.

7. GOLF: Tiger still out as PGA Championship dawns: As year's final major, the 98th PGA Championship, begins this coming Thursday in New Jersey, Tiger Woods announced his back and other ailments will keep him out rest of the year. Tiger, don't keep telling us you're out. We assume that by now. Tell us when you're in.

8. BASEBALL: Griffey, Piazza inducted into Cooperstown: Baseball Hall of Fame added Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza in Sunday induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y. Griffey was untainted by even the slightest rumor of steroid use. Piazza? Wellllll...

9. SOCCER: Strikers out in U.S. Open, leaving Lockhart: The NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the all-comers U.S. Open Cup, losing 3-0 at the MLS Chicago Fire. Strikers also announced they are leaving iconic Lockhart Stadium for Central Broward Stadium. And the ghosts of 1977 wept.

10. POLITICS: Presidential race pivots from Republican convention to Democrats: Republicans just nominated Donald Trump, now Democrats are about to anoint Hillary Clinton as America tries to decide which candidate it dislikes and mistrusts less. To sports fans, it's like being forced to watch a game where you don't like either team.

Missing the HB10 cut: The Heat are quiet right now. Resting. It's very tiring not getting Kevin Durant and then losing Dwyane Wade! ..... Marlins' Christian Yelich went on Twitter to vehemently deny it was him seen in a video being, um, ah, extremely intimate with a female. After being informed his denial is what brought attention to it, he deleted his denial. "How NOT to Handle a Social Media Crisis 101" ..... White Sox ace Chris Sale shredded his uniform to protest the throwback style, missing Saturday's start. Talk about a fashion critic! ..... Derrick Rose says the Knicks are now being put in the same "super team" class as the Warriors. Yes, Derrick. But only by people who are mentally deranged ..... Jeff Gordon is coming out of retirement for a couple of races to replace concussed Dale Earnhardt Jr. Athletes are just not very good at retiring. Don't know when to. Don't know how to ..... An ESPN-affiliated ACC Network will debut in 2019. Yeah, because ESPN just doesn't have nearly enough platforms (!) ..... R.I.P., local basketball pillar Cesar Odio, 58, and ex-NFL coach Dennis Green, 67 ..... Somebody check on Miko Grimes. Make sure she's OK. Been almost a week since she last embarrassed herself and her husband on Twitter. ..... It's said the NFL doesn't like HBO's "Ballers." Should be the NFLPA that doesn't. Seems like every other scene in that series perpetuates stereotypes about black players partying on yachts ..... Saw the headline, 'Manny Pacquiao's return could revive interest in boxing'. And thought, "Man, how awful that boxing is that desperate!" ..... Answer: A new sport called "footvolley" -- soccer meets beach volleyball; no hands allowed -- will debut as a demonstration sport at Summer Olympics. Question: What do you mean there are too many ridiculous, made-up sports? ..... Hurricanes are about to reveal naming rights for their new football indoor practice facility. I cannot confirm the rumors: Greg Cote Dome.

JlandryEARLY FANTASY LOOK AT WHERE DOLPHINS PLAYERS RANK: The lists and cheat-sheets have begun trickling forth, which means fantasy football season is underway. ESPN's early standard-league Top 300 (full list here) includes nine Miami Dolphins, in this order: 42. Jarvis Landry (wr#21), pictured left; 52. DeVante Parker (wr#28); 95. Jay Ajayi (rb#36); 103. Arian Foster (rb#39); 164. Kenyan Drake (rb#55); 182. Leonte Carroo (wr#67); 194. Ryan Tannehill (qb#20); 197. Jordan Cameron (te#19); and 229. Kenny Stills (wr#85). Interestingly, at least to me, Ajayi and Foster are just about neck and neck. And surprisingly, to me, the Dolphins are not among the 22 defense/special teams to make the Top 300.

Poll result: Close, but most disagree with NBA moving its All-Star Game: We asked if you agree with the NBA pulling its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of North Carolina's anti-LGBT law, and it was 54.3 percent "no," 42.8% "yes" and 2.9% "undecided or mixed feelings." That means most of our readers are more conservative than I am, but that's OK. Free country! I did find it interesting that "yes" votes led comfortably early on before the no's took over.

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December 29, 2015

An open letter to Miko Grimes. And why aren't the Dolphins publicly repudiating what she has done?; plus Panthers clawing back to relevance, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos results & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29. No radio today for me. We'll be back in-studio with the Dan LeBatard Show as usual next Tuesday. 2) Thanks to ESPN News for having me on last evening to discuss the Dolphins/Miko Grimes controversy. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose to Colts with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DOLPHINS AND TO MIKO GRIMES: May I call you Miko? I'd like to call you some other things, as I'm sure the Dolphins organization would, but for the sake of decorum we'll stick with Miko. I wonder how it feels to be a wife who publicly embarrasses her prominent husband (cornerback Brent Grimes) and in doing so also embarrasses the employer who is paying said Mikogrimeshusband rather lavishly? Miko, you are the loose cannon in the Dolphins family. I'd liken you to the slightly deranged aunt who the rest of the family is afraid to invite to the reunion for fear of what she'll say or do. Your latest public affront was to slam quarterback Ryan Tannehill and also several local writers who cover the Dolphins fulltime. I would call what you did unprofessional, but that would suggest you are a professional or have a profession beyond shaming your husband and the Dolphins. Imagine, say, the wife of Goran Dragic going on Twitter to call Dwyane Wade a has-been. Or a Marlin's wife engaging in a social-media war and calling Jose Fernandez a punk. This is what you are doing in classlessly calling Tannehill a bum. If the Dolphins had an organizational spine, they would be repudiating what you have done, Miko, and in the strongest words possible. From owner Stephen Ross to personnel boss Mike Tannenbaum to interim coach Dan Campbell -- all should be blasting you for your outrageous impoliteness. So should Tannehill's teammates be standing up against you. And so should your husband be privately advising you to please cease and desist while publicly expressing his own apologies. Of course the one who should be apologizing is you, Miko, but we know that won't happen. That would require the class you have well-demonstrated that you lack.

JagrBRING BACK THE RUBBER RATS! PANTHERS RETURN TO RELEVANCE: The Florida Panthers were also-rans on Thanskgiving and NHL darlings by Christmas, with six straight wins and 12 in the past 15 games entering tonight's big home skate against Montreal. It was enough to squeez a rare hockey column out of me; click on Surging Cats to read in full. My theme: the Panthers are seldom the biggest story in town in this crowded sports market, but right now they are the best story in town. The team has not been this good, relevant or interesting since the rubber rats-strewn run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals. The reason has been a deftly mixed roster of rising young stars and veterans, the latter group led by goalie Roberto Luongo and ageless almost-44-year-old Jaromir Jagr (pictured), with whom I spoke for the column.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 16 RESULTS: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's
FripixLobos fantasy teams: Pix: Not good enough: We went an OK 10-6 overall but only 7-8-1 against the spread -- even though we bull's-eyed our Upset of the Week with Jets over Patriots ("Aawwk!") and had three other 'dogs-with-points in the Falcons, Ravens and Rams. Greg's Lobos / family league: Win in final consolation game: The original Lobos won 108-77 behind Drew Brees' 30 points in the consolation bracket to finish 7-9 including the postseason. Congrats to league champion Dolphins AllICanSayIsWow (my nephew Joe) on a 132-122 title game triumph over Crown Me the Champ (my son Christopher). Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Season finished last week: Congrats again to Mike's Lobos for defeating Charlie's Lobos 279-255 for the inaugural Lobos Fantasy League championship. We are all Lobos! Literally.

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December 16, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.2%; plus Fins fall to Giants 31-24, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos Week 14 results & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15. I talked Dolphins on NBC Sports' Kate Delaney Show. Click here for the podcast. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, dwindling faith in Tannehill quantified & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins at 50: My latest column: I attended Friday night's lavish Dolphins 50th Anniversary gala in Hollywood and it informs my latest Sunday column on how this franchise is so much better at celebrating its past than it is creating new glory days for its fans. Click on Yesterday Is Great, But What About Tomorrow to read it in full.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G13: 6.2%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 6.2 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Monday night's 31-24 home loss to the New York Giants putting DsmMiami's season record at 5-8. The DSM, in its eighth year, 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 day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Wednesday.

2015 DSM Results

Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)

Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)

Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)

Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)

Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)

Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)

Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)

Game 8: 4.8% (following 33-17 loss at  Buffalo)

Game 9: 44.6% (following 20-19 victory at Philadelphia)

Game 10: 3.8% (following 24-14 loss vs. Dallas)

Game 11: 3.7% (following 38-20 loss at N.Y. Jets)

Game 12: 17.3% (following 15-13 victory vs. Baltimore)

Game 13: 6.2% (following 31-24 loss  to N.Y. Giants)

Next poll: Dec. 20 (following game at San Diego)

G13: N.Y. GIANTS 31, DOLPHINS 24: Monday Night Football as a TV franchise isn't what it used to be, but then neither are the Giants or Dolphins, so who's complaining. On MNF you still have the national stage to yourself, to shine or be embarrassed, and these are two 5-7 teams desperate to shine. Tonight should Nygmia Nygmia2see an emotional, big-event atmosphere worthy of the prime-time stage in Miami despite both teams’ mediocrity — the Dolphins with a negligible playoff shot, the Giants more so only because they luck to be in the stinky NFC East. The Fins will culminate the franchise’s 50th anniversary celebration by introducing its 50 all-time greatest players at halftime. (That’s a lot of ceremony crammed into a short period of time. Some of those old-timers are gonna be moving faster than they have in years.) Adding to the evening's special, "event" feel: The Giants haven’t played here since 1996, the first year post-Shula. The anniversary festivities should make for an electric crowd and accentuated home-field edge, even as the occasion reminds forlorn Dolfans that the good ol’ days are getting older all the time as the modern-day Fins slog toward what looks to be a seventh consecutive season out of the playoffs. I see the current Dolphins rising to the occasion tonight, especially Ryan Tannehill against what might be the NFL’s worst pass defense. Odell Beckham is more celebrated than his former college teammate Jarvis Landry, but Landry could put up Beckham-esque numbers as Tom Coughlin’s grip on his Biggies future continues to loosen. Upset! Sort of. Still not quite sure why NYG is a slight favorite. My pick: Dolphins, 27-23.

THE LIST: GIANTS-DOLPHINS A RARE TREAT: Last night marked only the teams' eighth all-time meeting. Miami has played the Giants less than any other franchise that has been around as long as the Dolphins. The eight meetings:

Date            Result                                           MIA coach/QB                              NYG coach/qb

12-10-72      Mia 23, @ Giants 13                   Don Shula/Earl Morrall             Alex Webster/Norm Snead

9-23-90       @ Giants 20, Mia 3                     Shula/Dan Marino                     Bill Parcells/Phil Simms

12-5-93       Giants 19, @ Mia 14                   Shula/Steve DeBerg                    Dan Reeves/Simms

12-8-96       Giants 17, @ Mia 7                     Jimmy Johnson/Marino            Reeves/Dave Brown

10-5-03       Mia 23, @ Giants 10                   Dave Wannstedt/Jay Fiedler    Jim Fassel/Kerry Collins

10-28-07     Giants 13, Mia 10 (London)      Cam Cameron/Cleo Lemon     Tom Coughlin/Eli Manning

10-30-11     @ Giants 20, Mia 17                   Tony Sparano/Matt Moore        Coughlin/Manning

12-14-15     Giants 31, @ Mia 24                   Dan Campbell/Ryan Tannehill   Coughlin/Manning 

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 14: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos Fripixfantasy teams: Pix: Meh. Not terrible: Another 9-7 record overall still isn't great but we're marginally OK with 8-7-1 against the spread (Colts-Jags was off the board when we picked). Bull's-eyed our Upset of the Week with Steelers over Bengals ("Aawwk!") and also had a pair of 'dogs-with-points in Saints and Chargers. Greg's Lobos / family league: Big win but too late: The original Lobos won our regular-season finale 162-110 led by Odell Beckham's big 36 points, but ended 5-9 to miss the championship-round playoffs by three games. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Winning but too late: The LeBatard Show Lobos are leading Dan 77.4 to 56.8 in our two-week consolation round playoffs. But all that matters now is that, in the championship matchup, Charlie leads Mike 144.7 to 138.3 entering next weekend's Lobos Bowl grand finale.

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

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December 10, 2015

Assessing the Heat at season's quarter mark: Better or worse than expected? New poll. Vote now!; plus Marlins smart to listen to Fernandez trade talk, Trump's hate-mongering, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos Week 13 results & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10. I'm back at Friday Page HQ today divining this week's NFL predictions. Click Thursday Gem for tonight's Vikings-Cardinals pick. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Ravens with DSM poll, new Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

WadeboshMIAMI MYSTERY: HEAT AT THE QUARTER TURN: I'm not sure what we have in the 2015-16 Heat at the quarter mark of the NBA season. Still not sure of this is a team capable of reaching the Eastern finals vs. (presumably) Cleveland, or if this is a second-tier club whose ceiling might be getting past the first round of the playoffs. Twenty games have offered conflicting hints. The 12-8 record is tied for fifth best in the East and would be the sixth-seed at the moment. With 10 teams over .500, Miami is today as close to being a non-playoff team as it is to being a high seed. There have been very nice wins, such as the one over Oklahoma City. There also have been consecutive disheartening losses, by 11 to a mediocre Washington, and yesterday by 17 to a Charlotte team Miami thought it was better than. Depth has been strong, with eight guys averaging 20-plus minutes and seven averaging 9.6 points or better. Tyler Johnson's emergence has been a positive. Rookie Justise Winslow has shown flashes, though not enough offensively. But getting Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside to fit together on the court continues to be a an issue. And I'm not certain either Dwayne Wade or Chrish Both is playing at an all-star level, though both have been solid. I'm curious how you regard the Heat at the quarter turn. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

JosefernandezMARLINS ARE NOT WRONG TO LISTEN TO OFFERS FOR FERNANDEZ: Giving the Marlins benefit of doubt is seldom easy. It not a franchise or ownership that has accrued much trust or goodwill. But in the case of No. 1 pitcher Jose Fernandez and his future in Miami, the team is smart to at least listen to what others teams are offering. It is due diligence. I believe president of baseball ops Michael Hill to a point when he calls Fernandez, "Not available." I believe the team is not shopping him around. But I also believe reports that four teams including the Dodgers and Yankees have made offers to Miami, that Miami has listened, but that the demand is so high that a deal any time soon is not likely. (From Arizona, the Marlins reported demanded all-star center fielder A.J. Pollock, among others). It's a good bet Fernandez will be the opening day starter here. But beyond that? The trade rumors will renew themselves before the July 31 trade deadline and again approaching next season. For now, though, the Marlins reportedly are demanding in return premier prospects and MLB-ready talent including a starting pitcher. The likelihood is that Fernandez is with Miami at least one more season but then  is dealt prior to becoming a free agent. Meantime the club is smart to entertain offers but with windfall demands. That's win-win. Good business.

ON DONALD TRUMP'S HATE-MONGERING: I try pretty hard to avoid politics in this blog, even though I make clear this is a mostly-sports blog that occasionally colors outside the lines. Today, though, I Donaldtrumpcannot help but join in the international chorus of outrage over presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposed "total and complete" ban on Muslims entering the United States. French and British leaders have joined the world in condemning such hateful, widespread prejudice against Muslims based on the small percentage who choose a perverted interpretation of the Islam religion to justify a terrorist agenda. Trump is hate-mongering here, sowing divisiveness and pandering to Americans' fears and worst instincts. This isn't about Republican or Democrat, although I can imagine Hillary Clinton's staffers are high-fiving over Trump's latest outlandishness. This is about someone who proposes to be the leader of the free world preaching an us-and-against-them agenda that is not what the United States stands for. I have many Republican friends who repudiate and are embarrassed by Trump. It's time the national GOP and other Republican candidates did the same and distanced themselves from their cancerous frontrunner and his extreme ideology before it's too late to save their chances in a national election. OK now back to sports!

FripixNFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 13: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams: Pix: Not bad: Our 9-7 record overall isn't great but we'll take 9-7 against the spread. Misfired badly on our Upset of the Week (Chargers over Broncos), but had three 'dogs-with-points in Ravens, Saints and Cowboys. Greg's Lobos / family league: Miserable: The original Lobos dropped to 4-9 with a 112-101 loss. Had 27 points from Odell Beckham and 22 from Drew Brees but only nine combined from Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Miserable II: The LeBatard Show Lobos lost our two-round playoff to Stugotz, 290-189. Had no chance with six players scoring in single digits including Philip Rivers. It's Charlie's Loboso vs. Mike's Lobos in our championship Lobo Bowl, which I like to call the LoBowl. May the best Lobo win!

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 02, 2015

Marlins hiring Barry Bonds: New poll. Vote now!; plus Kobe Bryant poll, NFL Week 12 Pix 'n Greg's Lobos results, Dolphins latest All-50'ers, Miami Jackson's Flowers wins 'State Heisman' with 6 Canes in Top 25 & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2. Happy new month, all! Done your shopping yet? 2) See previous blogpost for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, but be warned: Ugly. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fire OC Bill Lazor after loss at Jets, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Hurricanes' next football: Who it is should be. Watch for my latest column online later today. 

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Club marks its 50th anniversary by naming top 50 all-time players in groups of five. The latest: Kim Bokamper, Earl Morrall, Louis Oliver, Keith Sims, Cam Wake. Wake was expected; Morrall too for his unique niche. Other three are more borderline, which is not to say unworthy.

BondsHIRING BARRY BONDS IS SO MARLINS: Reports indicate Barry Bonds has agreed to join the Marlins as a hitting coach, a classic splash move by the attention-needy ballclub and its owner Jeffrey Loria. This is so Marlins. The hiring (if it happens) would be dubious, and not mostly because of the steroids-tainted past that has kept Bonds -- MLB's all-time home run hitter with an asterisk -- out of the Hall of Fame. Bonds didn't kill anybody. Shame and the Hall ban arepunishment enough. No, this move sees its biggest potential pitfall in him "working alongside hitting coach Frank Menechino." Hmm. Two hitting coaches espousing different ideas as egos rub? The possibilities are why teams rarely have multiple hitting coaches. Let's hear more on this. For instance, might Bonds just be a spring instructor and then disappear? Or a roving "special" hitting instructor as he was for the San Francisco Giants two years ago? (That's his only experience in coaching). For now, what do you think of the Marlins trying to hire Bonds?

KobeHOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT KOBE BRYANT AS WE SAY GOODBYE?: This may not be an easy question to answer. The Los Angels Lakers' all-time great Kobe Bryant announced this week he would retire after this season, and I wonder how we feel. Has there been a more polarizing superstar? Many love Kobe; many others are far from that. I suspect that most NBA fans certainly respect his greatness yet do not particularly like him. But I may be wrong. Hence, this poll. The question posed is intentionally broad. It asks not what you think of him as a player, but your overall general impression of him. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 11: SO-SO, BAD, BAD: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams: Pix: Good and not: Our 10-6 mark overall Fripixis OK, but 6-10 against the spread isn't, despite the fact we nailed our Upset of the Week with Broncos beating Patriots ("Aawwk!") and hit another outright upset with Chargers over Jaguars. Greg's Lobos / family league: Eliminated: The original Lobos lost 140-131 to fall to 4-8, now eliminated from championship-round playoff contention with two weeks left. We got 89 combined points from Adrian Peterson, Odell Beckham and T.Y. Hilton but it still wasn't enough. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Playin' out the string: The LeBatard Show Lobos are losing big to Stugotz in the two-round consolation playoffs, after being eliminated from title contention by Billy a week earlier. Got 28.9 points from Phil (Mint) Rivers, but too little help.

SOPY: MIAMI JACKSON'S FLOWERS WINS 'STATE HEISMAN,' 6 CANES IN FINAL TOP 25: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- finds South Florida dual- Flowersthreat quarterback Quinton Flowers out of Miami Jackson (pictured) edging Florida State running back Dalvin Cook out of Miami Central for the title. Flowers is the first player outside of the traditional Big 3 state schools to win our 'State Heisman.' Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. And we close it off after the regular season, excluding bowl games, to give every school's players an equal shot. The final SOPY Top 25 for 2015:

FINAL 2015 SOPY TOP 25

Rk    Player, team-pos.                    Season

1      Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb         2,077.5

2      Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                  1,990

3      Alex McGough, FIU-qb               1,594

4      Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb                1,531

5      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb               1,438

6      Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                 1,262

7      Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb            1,260

8      Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb            1,206

9      Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb           1,145 

10    Treon Harris, Florida-qb              924.5

11. Everett Golson FSU-qb 921; 12. Justin Holman UCF-qb 869; 13. Jenson Stoshak FAU-wr 828; 14. Kermit Whitfield FSU-wr 807; 15. Will Grier Florida-qb 789; 16. Rodney Adams SoFla-wr 776; 17. Travis Rudolph FSU-wr 751; 18. Tre'Quan Smith UCF-wr 748; 19. Mark Walton Miami-rb 729; 20. Thomas Owens FIU-wr 687; 21. D'Ernest Johnson SoFla-rb 685.5; 22. Stacy Coley Miami-wr 678; 23. Greg Howell FAU-rb 670; 24. Rashawn Scott Miami-wr 650; 25. Herb Waters Miami-wr 637.

Roll Call of SOPY Champions:

2015--Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,077.5

2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968

2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107

2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5

Cote's final pre-bowl State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (10-2); 2. Florida (10-2); 3. Miami (8-4); 4. South Florida (8-4); 5. FIU (5-7); 6. FAU (3-9); 7. UCF (0-12).

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 06, 2015

Do you agree with Dolphins firing coach Joe Philbin? Poll. Vote now!; plus my column on the change, final Marlins 'Weighing The Fish' table, latest SOPY standings, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy results & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6: See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose in London and DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Hot List & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My new column on Dolphins change: Needed and well timed: Click on Joe Had His Chance, Time to Move On for my column on the Dolphins' firing of coach Joe Philbin.  

DO YOU AGREE WITH DOLPHINS DECISION TO FIRE COACH JOE PHILBIN?: My column on Monday's big news (link just above) is out. Now it's your turn. What do Dolfans think? Do you agree with Miami making a coaching change at 1-3? Vote and say why you feel as you do.

WEIGHING THE FISH (FINAL): GORDON WINS MARLINS WTF TITLE: We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and this year we debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- 1aa1adeeg 1aa1afishweighWTF! -- was a once-every-10-games cumulative ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Ten qualify for our final season ranking. WTF factors six offensive categories, serving as an ongoing de facto team MVP race -- a race Gordon (pictured) won easily, although Stanton led comfortably before his extended injury absence. The numbers below might not mean much by themselves, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who had the most impactful overall season. Here's the final 2015 WTF standings after 162 games (at 71-91):

Rank Player                   WTF#  @150 

1  DEE GORDON          549.3    1

2  Christian Yelich         407.7   4

3  Martin Prado              399.6   2

4  Justin Bour                 391.9    6

5  Adeiny Hechevarria   366.5   3

6  Giancarlo Stanton      362.5    5

7  Jacob Realmuto          361.9   7

8  Marcell Ozuna            349.5   8

9  Ichiro Suzuki              255.9   9

10  Derek Dietrich          241.1   10

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 4: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosLobos fantasy teams. Pix: Another solid week: Went a strong 12-3 overall and an OK 8-7 against the spread. Bull's-eyed our Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") with Giants over Bills. Also called Bears ' outright upset of Oakland, and had Jags with points at Indy. Greg's Lobos / family league: Big win: The original Lobos won 108-83 to level our season record at 2-2. Drew Brees' 23 points and Mike Wallace's 22 led a solid if unspectacular effort. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Another big win: The new Lobos defeated Stugotz 119.8-113.3 to even it up at 2-2. Most Valuable Lobo Devonta Freeman had a huge 37.9 points, and we also scored big by signing free-agent Philip Rivers (26.2 points) to replace Andrew Luck.

SOPY: NO CHANGE IN TOP FIVE THROUGH WEEK 5: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings -- 1aa1asopyState Offensive Player of the Year -- find FIU quarterback Alex McGough maintaining his lead after Week 5. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because they are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 6:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 5

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W5        Season

1 (1)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         76.5      763.5

2 (2)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            151.5     675 

3 (3)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             108      630

4 (4)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb     120       565

5 (5)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          127      561.5

6 (7)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             123       540

7 (8)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   128.5     519.5

8 (--)         Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          124       437

9 (10)        Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb        98      434

10 (--)       Everett Golson, FSU-qb         111      429

Bubble: Greg Howell, FAU-rb, 420. Other team leader: Tre'Quan Smith, UCF-wr, 260. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 284 (Wk2). Note: Florida, FIU and UCF have played five games each; all others four.

Cote's State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (4-0); 2. Florida (5-0); 3. Miami (3-1); 4. FIU (2-3); 5. South Florida (1-3); 6. UCF (0-5); 7. FAU (1-3).

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 17, 2015

May be unintentional, but Butch Davis just turned up the heat on Al Golden; plus Broncos-Chiefs pick, Ryan Tannehill's burden, Ron Turner, SOPY Week 2 standings, Yelich's doppelganger, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16. I'm holed up in Friday Page Headquarters today calling forth my NFL Week 2 picks. 2) Click on Random Evidence for the farewell edition of our Sunday notes column. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Redskins, DSM poll, Hot Button, goodbye-notes-column explainer & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our two most recent columns: Click on Tannehill's Test for today's latest column on how it's on Ryan Tannehill and nobody else to make the Dolphins a playoff team. Click on Enjoy The Wins for my previous column, admonishing Dolphins and Hurricanes fans to spend more time feeling good about their teams' winning starts and less less time kvetching and finding fault.

On FIU's Ron Turner: USAFootball.com has a fairly interesting, in-depth new feature story on FIU coach Ron Turner. Click here to read.

Broncos-Chiefs tonight: Upset!: Click on Thursday Gem for the full prediction capsule. 

BUTCH DAVIS SUBTLY TURNS UP THE HEAT ON AL GOLDEN: It may mean nothing in terms of his desire to get back into college coaching, but I find it interesting that, quietly this week, Butch Davis accepted 1aa1abdavisthe job of honorary chairman of the Miami Beach Bowl's new 16-member Bowl Game Committee. Davis (pictured) is in his second year as an ESPN college football studio analyst but it is an open secret among those who know him that he wants back into coaching and would be receptive to coming back to the University of Miami, which he coached in 1995-2000, should UM make a change and move on from Al Golden after this season. The interest, at least among UM fans, may be mutual. We have seen 'Bring Back Butch' signs at games.' Last week a small plane pulled a banner over the game at FAU that read, 'Make Miami Great Again -- Butch Davis 2016.' Davis' involvement with the Miami Beach Bowl, even if mostly ceremonial, increases his visibility right in Golden's backyard. "It's a great honor," Davis said of his new role. "I look forward to contributing where I can and connecting with the local college football fan base and business community." Suffice to say he may be getting an earful from that fan base and those business leaders along the lines of please-come-back-Butch. I'm not cynical enough to think that is why Davis took on this local role ... or naive enough to think it never crossed his mind.

SOPY: NOLES' DALVIN COOK TAKES WEEK 2 LEAD; TWO CANES CRASH TOP 10: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings -- State Offensive Player of the Year -- are off and rocking with Florida State 1AA1ACOOKDALVINrunning back Dalvin Cook out of Miami Central High (pictured) our new "state Heisman" leader after Week 2. Two Canes bust into the Top 10 including Joe Yearby at No. 3. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 for Week 2:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 2

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W2        Season

1 (2)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             284        465

2 (7)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         172.5     320.5

3 (--)         Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       255        309

4 (5)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb    112.5     264

5 (6)          Greg Howell, FAU-rb            113        263

6 (--)         Thomas Owens, FIU-wr         178        256 

7 (1)          Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      11.5       252

8 (3)          Everett Golson, FSU-qb         72.5       247.5

9 (--)         Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb           143.5     242

10 (8t)       Will Grier, Florida-qb            97.5       240.5 

Bubble: Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb, 235. Other team leader: Jordan Akins, UCF-wr, 164. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 284 (Wk2). Note: All teams 2 games each. Past SOPY champions: 2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb; 2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb; 2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb.

Cote's State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (2-0); 2. Florida (2-0); 3. Miami (2-0); 4. South Florida (1-1); 5. FIU (1-1); 6. UCF (0-2); 7. FAU (0-2).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 1: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosweekend with our published predictions and with our two fantasy teams. Pix: Strong start!: Opened 11-5 overall and (better yet) 10-5-1 vs. the spread. That included outright upsets by Chiefs and 49ers and Giants-with-points. Fantasy/family league: Big opener: The original Greg's Lobos won 144-117 in our family league, led by Carlos Hyde's 32 points. Fantasy/radio league: Not so good: The new Lobos lost 142.3-116.7 in the radio-show league. Travis Kelce bagged 28.6 but not enough help. Plus Dez Bryant got hurt. Oy.

1aa1acyelichYELICH FINDS HIS DOPPELGANGER: Young Marlins star Christian Yelich resembles Saturday Night Live player Pete Davidson (or vice versa), and the two came together, pictured right, before last night's Mets game in New York. Any dose of fun to make The Lost Season seem a bit brighter is OK by me.

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

September 13, 2015

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

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


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

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

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

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

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 10, 2015

LeBatard Show fantasy-draft results. Who picked the best team? New poll. Vote now!; plus Patriots-Steelers pick, Upset Bird Countdown (1 day), new 'Weighing The Fish,' verdict on Serena & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10. Today I research and write the season-debut of the Friday NFL predictions page. Pray for me. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Serena Williams G.O.A.T. poll, Howard Schnellenberger what-if, Breakfast with LeBatard, Riley speaks, debut of SOPY rankings, Marlins '16 home schedule, Stephen Colbert, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Patriots-Steelers pick: One day ahead of our Friday Page launch, today we offer our pick on tonight's Steelers-at-Patriots NFL season opener. Click on Kicking It Off for the full predix capsule. 

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

1aa1acardsstl 1aa1a1the Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11 -- tomorrow -- and we've been doing a 10-day countdown. This year's theme: Bird-related nicknames from America's Big Four sports, newest to oldest. And today, at No. 1: St. Louis Cardinals, born 1900! [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66; #6--Baltimore Orioles/'54; #5--Atlanta Hawks/'51; #4--Philadelphia Eagles/'33; #3--Chicago Blackhawks/'26; #2--Arizona Cardinals/'20].

LEBATARD RADIO SHOW FANTASY DRAFT: WHO PICKED THE BEST TEAM?: We did a similar blind poll a few weeks ago after my family-league fantasy draft, and you all voted my team, Greg's Lobos, No. 1. 1aa1adanshow 1aa1adanshowdraftWill I be as lucky again here? This blind vote involves the 10-team LeBatard radio show fantasy draft that took place online yesterday. After the vote we'll tell you who's with what team and thus who you voted best to worst. League members are LeBatard, Stugotz, Mike Ryan, me, Allyson, Charlie, Roy, Billy, Chris and Papi. That of course is not the order of teams in the poll. Teams are listed by draft order in a standard PPR league. Vote for who made the most of his or her first four picks -- which team you'd most want based on the names you see.

1aa1afishweighWEIGHING THE FISH (140 GAMES): We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and this year we debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- WTF! -- is a once-every-10-games cumulative ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Eleven qualify for our latest ranking (we eliminated the departed Michael Morse). WTF factors six offensive categories, serving as an ongoing de facto team MVP race -- a race Stanton led comfortably before his injury absence. The numbers below might not mean much by themselves, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who is having the best overall season or is hot/cold. Here's the WTF after 140 games (at 59-81):


Rank Player                   WTF#  @130

1  Dee Gordon                  462.6    1

2  Adeiny Hechevarria   366.5   3

3  Giancarlo Stanton     362.5    2

4  Martin Prado              345.9    4

5  Christian Yelich         323.2   5

6  Jacob Realmuto         315.0   6

7  Justin Bour                 302.1    8

8  Marcell Ozuna            292.2   7

9  Ichiro Suzuki              239.3   9

10  Derek Dietrich          212.2   10

11  Cole Gillespie            150.7   11

Note: Season WTFs leader-count is now Stanton 8, Gordon 5.

Poll result: Strong support for Serena as G.O.A.T.: We asked if you think Serena Williams is the greatest of all-time in women's tennis, and 61.2 percent said yes while another 15.9% said not yet but headed there. The remaining 22.9% said no.

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