June 23, 2018

Heat in purgatory. Can Riley get them out? Latest column; plus when 3 World Cup legends were ours, Panthers stuff, 6 Dolphins in Fantasy Top 200, forgiving Phil, latest Back In My Day & more

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

Floatinghat1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 23. Hurricanes' Lonnie Walker celebrates his first-round NBA Draft selection by the Spurs by standing beside commissioner Adam Silver while wearing a Floating Hat. Anybody who has seen Lonnie's tall, vertical-dreads hairstyle knows why the hat is floating. 2) Click on El Quatro Lobos to see video of myself and three members of the LeBatard Show's Shipping Container rehearsing as a barbershop quartet. 3) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, 4-Man Outfield & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

RilesNewest column: Heat is in NBA purgatory. Can Riley find a way out?: NBA purgatory is having a pretty good team with no clear path to being great. The Heat is there right now. I explore how they got there and whether Pat Riley can get them out in my latest column. It may be Riley's last great challenge. To read, click Heat's Purgatory Is Riley's Challenge. 

Previous column: Wishing Panthers had gone after Barry Trotz: It wasn't that Bob Boughner deserved to be fired. It was that these were not ordinary circumstances, with a pedigreed, championship coach suddenly available in Barry Trotz. I wish the Panthers had been bold, thought big and made an aggressive play. For that column, click The Championship Coach Who Got Away.

Cubillasnow Mullernow BanksnowWHEN 3 WORLD CUP LEGENDS WERE OURS...: English 'keeper Gordon Banks. German striker Gerd Muller. Peruvian maestro Teofilo (Nene) Cubillas. All made their mark in World Cups, then spent their career winters Ftlstrplaying for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the then-vibrant NASL in a span from 1977 to '83. We share what made them World Cup heroes, how they fared as Strikers and what they're doing now in a fond reminiscence. The old Strikers captain who played with them all, Ray Hudson, joins us for the ride. Banks, Muller and Cubillas are pictured, left to right, in recent photos. to read the full column, click When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

FLORIDA PANTHERS TRADE FOR TALENT ... AND A POTENTIAL MESS: The trade with San Jose on Tuesday brings left wing Mike Hoffman and a seventh-round pick in this week's NHL Draft top Florida in exchange for the Panthers' picks in the second, fourth and fifth rounds. It seems a decent trade on the face of it. Hoffman is in his prime at 28 and is a steady scorer who has totaled Hoffman104 goals for Ottawa the past four seasons. But. But! Hoffman comes with baggage that forced him out of Ottawa and then saw San Jose flip him just hours after acquiring him. Find more details here. The essential background, via ESPN.com: On May 4 Melinda Karlsson, wife of the Ottawa captain, filed an order of protection against Monika Caryk, fiance' of Hoffman, alleging she harassed the Karlssons online following the March death of their child, who was stillborn. (Hoffman and his fiancee are pictured). The Karlssons believe Hoffman's girlfriend made the comments on Mrs. Karlsson's Instagram account under a pseudonym. Hoffman and his fiance' deny it all. "It's 150 percent that it's not us," Hoffman told the Ottawa Citizen. "We have nothing to hide. We're willing to cooperate in any way to solve this and prove that it wasn't us." The potential mess did not catch Panthers GM Dale Tallon offguard. "We did our homework and we discussed it with a lot of different people," he said. "We feel that that's in the past. We're very confident he'll be embraced by our team and by their wives and girlfriends. We have a strong culture down there now and I think talking with Mike and all the parties that it will work out to our benefit." It's a huge risk, though. "Burner" accounts on Twitter just led to the Philadelphia 76ers sacking their GM Bryan Colangelo in disgrace. Social media can be a dangerous thing. If it can be proven that Hoffman's fiance cyberbullied another player's wife, taunting her about the death of a child, well, that's the stuff that can ruin not only a relationship, but a career. I hope Hoffman is right that he and his future wife are "150 percent" innocent." I hope Tallon is right that it's in the past and won't still be a lingering cloud as the new season nears.

SIX DOLPHINS MAKE ESPN'S 2018 FANTASY TOP 200: Now out, never too early, ESPN's 2018 Fantasy Top 200 for point-per-reception (PPR) leagues, led by No. 1 overall Le'Veon Bell, the Pittsburgh running back. List includes six Dolphins, with the top-ranked Fin pictured:

KdrakeNo. 44 Kenyan Drake (RB18)

No. 69 DeVante Parker (WR 35)

No. 103 Kenny Stills (WR 48)

No. 134 Albert Wilson (WR 65)

No. 194 Frank Gore (RB59)

No. 198 Mike Gesicki (TE20)

Also notable: Former FIU Panther -- WR T.Y. Hilton (27th overall). Former Miami Hurricanes -- RB Duke Johnson (59th), TE Greg Olsen (73rd), TE Jimmy Graham (90th), WR Allen Hurns (115th) and TE David Njoku (147th). Ex-Dolphins -- WR Jarvis Landry (42nd), RB Jay Ajayi (46th), RB Lamar Miller (76th, also an ex-Cane), TE Charles Clay (141st), Ted Ginn Jr. (157th) and WR Mike Wallace (165th).

PhilOUR OTHER LATEST COLUMNS: PHIL MICKELSON, LEBRON, WORLD CUP: Scorn for Phil Mickelson after his bizzare U.S. Open rules-breaking is easy. Forgiveness takes more effort. Can we? For my latest column, click on Mickelson's Major Breach Deserves Forgiveness. Also, the NBA is winning the offseason, again, and the superstar shuffle is one reason why. For that column click The New Frontrunner to Land LeBron (Maybe). And our two World Cup columns: A Deflated World Cup Thanks to no-USA, and, on why Miami likely will host WC matches in 2026: 1 Dreamed It, 1 Made It Happen. Also: End the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinIn Search of the Dolphins' Elusive Grand PlanUninvited Eagles Latest Pawns In Trump's SubterfugeTannehill's Defining Season,  Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris and Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': BATHROOM TIME!: Those offended by a little  bathroom humor might want to skip my latest BIMD, which debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Enjoy.

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye. (For our more recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 20, 2017

A few thoughts on Jeter's Marlins 'town hall' meeting; plus should fans of Dolphins, Heat, Marlins or Panthers be saddest? Poll. Vote now; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald QB rankings, Shameless Book Plug, FAU goes bowling & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. Not pretty. 2) Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It for our most recent general column. Sorry we haven't had as many lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this  month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl and I won't pretend to, but I will say Ndamukong Suh should have joined Reshad Jones as a Dolphins selection." -- Greg Cote 

A FEW THOUGHTS ON JETER'S MARLINS 'TOWN HALL': Happily, I did not attend the Derek Jeter "town hall" Q&A session with Marlins season-ticket holders last night, but have spoken with Jetertownhallfolks who were there, have read the accounts and would share a few thoughts. First, it was smart of Jeter to do, and and necessary. He has been the sniper-owner, making unpopular deals from a safe bunker and in hiding. Last night, he showed his face. It was a start. Second, fans need a forum to vent, to voice displeasure. It was a win-win for Jeter because there would be the appearance of openness and transparency without there actually being any. Jeter said a lot without saying much. No details of the master "plan" were shared. I did find interesting that Jeter justified the Giancarlo Stanton deal by emphasizing the Marlins gained $260 million in contract relief to help the club move forward. Hmm. Wouldn't/shouldn't saving $260M on Stanton have allowed the club to then not trade Marcell Ozuna, and not consider trading Christian Yelich? Shouldn't that $260M "saving" be put back into the team by either using it to keep the best remaining players or to be a major player in free agency? Or is that windfall of "saving" just going to pay off corporate debt or enrich the owners? Finally, I laughed out loud (LOL!) at reporters who were there actually interviewing Marlins Man as if he were a news source, not just the grandstanding fan who stood behind the mic last night and asked Jeter, "Do you know who I am?" Marlins Man. Puh-leeze. It would be like, back in the day, interviewing Dolfan Denny about the Dolphins' words. C'mon, media.

SadnessWHAT SOUTH FLORIDA TEAM'S FANS SHOULD BE SADDEST RIGHT NOW?: I refer a lot to Greater Miami's "Big 5" teams -- our four major pro franchises plus Canes football. Obviously in this poll I don't include UM, which is preparing for an Orange Bowl date with Wisconsin to cap the Hurricanes' first 10-win season since 2003. But our four pro teams are fair game for the dubious "most disappointing" crown that would have their fans saddest. The Marlins of course are in mid-fire sale/dismantling as the new Derek Jeter regime proves roughly as popular as the old Jeffrey Loria era. The Panthers are en route to making it a 21st consecutive season of either not making the NHL playoffs or not winning a postseason series. The Heat continue in post-Big 3 malaise, a starless doldrums, hanging around .500, with fans who became accustomed to thinking championship now relegated to hoping for a low playoff seed. And the Dolphins are back to mediocrity after last year's aberrant bump. I will volunteer that I think Heat fans have the least cause for sadness, but that the other three are in the mix. But his is your say. As you consider this poll question consider it literally: Which team's fans have the most cause right now to be the saddest?

Finsat50 Finsat50SHAMELESS BOOK PLUG! AND JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!: Know any Dolfans on your holiday shopping list? Of course you do. And that means you know Dolfans who are so sick of the current team they'd rather marinate in the heydays of Shula and Marino. Well I just so happen to have a book on the franchise's first half-century, called Fins At 50. Talk about a perfect gift! And reasonably priced, too. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to go directly to those site's page om the book to order and to learn more about it. You'll be glad you did, friend.

BRADY'S LEAD SHRINKS, CUTLER RETREATS / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 15: The 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo wins Week 15 with a 46.05-point game while Patriot Tom Brady's overall lead shrinks further in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Brady's margin over second place Drew Brees of the Saints has narrowed to only 8.40 points with two games to play. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler slips three spots, down to 24th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 16:

RK LW Player, Team                 WK15      Season

1    1  Tom Brady, NE               28.90       502.10

2    2  Drew Brees, NO             38.25       493.70

3    3  Alex Smith, KC              38.55       452.90

4    5  Matthew Stafford, DET  39.85       447.00

5    4  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  31.05      440.25

6    9  Kirk Cousins, WAS          30.80       406.80

7  11  Case Keenum, MIN         39.80       401.95

8    7  Russell Wilson, SEA         8.10       391.45

9    8  Philip Rivers, LAC           9.35       390.90

10  6  Carson Wentz, PHI          DNP       386.80

11 10 Jared Goff, LAR            21.00       386.40

12 12 Matt Ryan, ATL              21.60      376.50

13 16 Blake Bortles, JAC         43.30      337.35

14 13 Josh McCown, NYJ          DNP       336.30

15 14 Derek Carr, OAK            18.55      335.65

16 15 Dak Prescott, DAL         18.60      331.80

17 20 Eli Manning, NYG          44.70      319.65

18 19 Cam Newton, CAR        38.10      314.10

19 18 Joe Flacco, BAL            32.40      311.05

20 17 Andy Dalton, CIN           -0.35      281.00

24 21 Jay Cutler, MIA             11.70      260.70

Bubble: Jameis Winston, TB, 277.70. Week 15 Best: Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, 46.05 (31-43, 381, 1-0 in win). Week 15 Worst: Blaine Gabbert, ARI, minus-2.55 (16-41, 189, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 15 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 15: Herald picks: Went a nifty 13-3 overall but a just-OK 6-7-3 against the spread, with the wins by Patriots, Niners and Cowboys all pushing for the ties. Called the Chiefs' mini-upset of Rams and also had a pair of dogs-with-points in Jets and Giants. Greg's Lobos: We're done. The 'Bos reached the semifinals of a 14-team league (not bad) before falling to Allyson in a shootout, 157.7-139, despite 45 points from Todd Gurley. #GurleyMen #LobosMVP.
 
OWLS ON THE PROWL: FAU SMACKS AKRON IN BOWL: For only the third time in its 14-year history as an FBS-level football program, Florida Atlantic University played in a bowl game last night, hosting Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl, and winning in a 50-3 rout. The Owls were big three-touchdown home favorites to finish the season 11-3 under first-year coach Lane Kiffin and behind the running of Devin Singletary, and showed why. Kiffin earlier in the day signed a six-year contract extension. Still doubting he's an Owls lifer, but good for now. I'll say this: I'd love to see this traditionally overshadowed program get some love now with a final, post-bowls Top 25 ranking. They deserve the consideration.
 
 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 14, 2017

How does Derek Jeter dare show his face in this town?; plus McShay's mock pick for Dolphins, Cutler's climb in QB rankings, Broncos-Colts pick, David Grisham = idiot, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results (Go Lobos!), your blame verdict on Stanton trade & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14. Am at Friday Page World Headquarters today making my Week 15 NFL picks. Uh oh. 2) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 3) Holiday shopping? Giving all the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Patriots with my 5 takeaways and DSM poll, thanks for the memories Giancarlo with blame poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

ICYMI, my column on Marlins trading Stanton: Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It.

Thursday's Broncos-Colts pick: Two bad teams and one awful matchup, but somebody gotta win tonight! Click Thursday Gem to find out who will.

STANTON, GORDON, NOW OZUNA ... HOW DOES JETER DARE SHOW HIS FACE IN THIS TOWN?: Dee Gordon going first sounded the fire (sale) alarm. JeterGiancarlo Stanton being traded was the bombshell that made it a three-alarm blaze. Now Marcell Ozuna is dealt and the flames climb higher. Three of the Marlins' best and most popular players -- gone. Three of the reasons for a local fan to go to Marlins Park and care about this team -- gone. Such high hopes were held for the new ownership group of Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. They had to be better than Jeffrey Loria ...right? Be careful what you wish for. You might get it. Recently new Jeter has been courtside at a Heat game (vs. Golden State) and then up in a suite for the Dolphins' Monday night game vs. New England (when he should have been upstate attending the baseball winter meetings instead of hiding from the tough questions). Honestly, I'm surprised at this point that Jeter has the nerve to show up anywhere in public in South Florida. He is now the guy dismantling the Marlins, running the fire sale. His cascade from heroic entrance to Loria 2.0 has been dizzying fast. It may already be too late to win back angry fans, but the new Litmus test is Christian Yelich, the last remaining star of any stature. Trade him, too, Jeter, and you'll never recover in this town. What the "new" Marlins have given away in a pure salary dump:

Giancarlo Stanton: Age 28, 59 homers, 132 RBIs, 1.007 OPS, NL MVP. 

Marcell Ozuna: Age 27, .312 average, 37 homers, 124 RBIs, .924 OPS.

Dee Gordon: Age 29, .308 average, 114 runs, leadoff man, 60 stolen bases. 

Poll result: Most blame Jeter for Stanton trade: We asked who you blame most for Giancarlo Stanton no longer being a Marlin, and offered four choices. Your verdict: 51.9 percent blame new owner Derek Jeter (pictured) for not committing to keeping Stanton and building around him; 31.5% blame former owner Jeffrey Loria for Stanton's huge, back-loaded contract that made keeping him difficult; 15.4% blame nobody because trading big contracts for prospects may prove smart; and only 1.2% blame Stanton himself for agreeing to be traded.

QnelsonFIGHTING IRISH TO FIGHTING FIN? MCSHAY'S EARLY MOCK-DRAFT PICK FOR MIAMI: Todd McShay today offers his 2018 Mock Draft 1.0 for ESPN. He has Southern Cal QB Sam Darnold going No. 1 overall to Cleveland. No Miami Hurricanes make his first round; in fact the only state player who makes it is Florida State safety Derwin James, going 13th to Washington. McShay projects the Dolphins selecting 14th overall and taking Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson (pictured). Says McShay: "Guard is a glaring need for the Dolphins, who need to protect whomever is at QB and get more push in the running game. Nelson is the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in this class and a road-grader (listed at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds). He's ready to start right away." Makes some sense. But I also think Miami may be tired of using first-round picks on offensive linemen, which they have done four times since 2008. 

JaycutlerBRADY'S LEAD NARROWS, CUTLER CLIMBS / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 14: The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger rode a 506-yard performance to a season-best 58.30-point game to win Week 14 and climb to fourth place overall in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Patriot Tom Brady maintains the overall season lead but his margin has slipped to less than 18 points over second place Drew Brees of the Saints — who is officially now in the passing lane with three weeks to play. Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ Jay Cutler (pictured) climbs three big spots to 21st overall off a solid 39.15-point game Monday night. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL’s and ESPN’s are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. [Click here to see the latest QB rankings online].

The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 15:

RK LW Player, Team                    WK14      Season

1    1  Tom Brady, NE                   13.65      473.20

2    2  Drew Brees, NO                 33.55      455.45

3    3  Alex Smith, KC                   21.40      414.35

4    8  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT      58.30      409.20

5    6  Matthew Stafford, DET       49.05      407.15

6    7  Carson Wentz, PHI              32.55      386.80

7    4  Russell Wilson, SEA             16.55      383.35

8    9  Philip Rivers, LAC               31.95      381.55

9    5  Kirk Cousins, WAS               10.55      376.00

10 10 Jared Goff, LAR                  21.95      365.40

11 12 Case Keenum, MIN              24.00      362.15

12 11 Matt Ryan, ATL                   13.05      354.90

13 13 Josh McCown, NYJ              -0.70      336.30

14 14 Derek Carr, OAK                 14.55      317.10

15 16 Dak Prescott, DAL              40.60      313.20

16 18 Blake Bortles, JAC              33.40      294.05

17 15 Andy Dalton, CIN                  6.05      281.35

18 19 Joe Flacco, BAL                  21.45      278.65

19 19 Cam Newton, CAR              12.85      276.00

20 20 Eli Manning, NYG                24.40      274.95

21 24 Jay Cutler, MIA                   39.15      249.00

39 38 Matt Moore, MIA                  DNP         72.05

Bubble: Cutler, MIA, 249.00. Week 14 Best: Roethlisberger, PIT, 58.30, season high (44-66, 506, 2-0 in win). Week 14 Worst: Bryce Petty, NYJ, minus-4.30 (2-9, 14, 0-0 in loss).

'PASTOR' AND REAL-LIFE GRINCH DAVID GRISHAM IS A REPREHENSIBLE MORON: I have nothing against religion but believe it to be a very personal matter
Davidgrishamand do not appreciate aggressive evangelism, whether it be Jehovahs knocking on my door or this example from a mall in Amarillo, Texas, where a self-described pastor from Alaska's Last Frontier Evangelism started telling little kids there is no Santa Claus. Have you heard this? What a moron David Grisham is. What a reprehensible idiot. Little kids waiting in a line to sit on Santa's lap and this stranger starts crapping all over their childhood because he feels Santa is getting too much credit at the expense of Jesus. Or something. Angry parents started confronting this selfish Grinch. I almost wish somebody had decked him. I'd been in the long line of those volunteering to pay the bail. You can find the story and the wildly incriminating video this nut took of himself here. The off-his-rocker lunatic also is pictured.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 14 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with Fripix Lobosmy Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 14: Herald picks: Mixed bag. Went upset crazy and got hammered straight-up with only an 8-8 mark, but was a nifty 9-5-2 against the spread, with two games off the board. Hit outright upsets wins by the Falcons, Panthers, Broncos and Eagles, and also had three other 'dogs-with-points in Jaguars, Ravens and Dolphins. Greg's Lobos: Thriller! The playoffs began with a Lobos miracle: 24.6 points from Jarvis Landry Monday night and a 120-117.4 victory over No. 1 seed Chris. Man! We made the final four and face Allyson in a semifinal this week. #GoLobosGo

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 07, 2017

Latest Herald NFL QB rankings; plus new 'Back In My Day' video, Saints-Falcons pick, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, state-school FBS bowl games ranked, updated SOPY standings & more

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

Pearl harbor1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7. On this date in 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, resulting in 1,500 deaths and a declaration of war. 2) R.I.P., Jose Orlando Padron, founder of Miami-based Padron Cigars. 3) It is holiday season, which can mean only one thing: Giving the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins clobber Denver with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Saints-Falcons pick: Click Thursday Gem for my pick on tonight's Saints-Falcons Thursday night game. There's a (small) upset brewing.

Latest 'Back In My Day' video: Christmas Decorations!: From yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and TV: Click Christmas Decorations to watch.

Our most recent Dolphins, Canes columns: Click Dolphins Find Needed Joy for my column from Sunday's 35-9 Miami home trouncing of Denver. Click Seeing Past the Pain for my column on UM's ACC title game loss to Clemson.

BRADY ON TOP, RIVERS HOT, SIEMIAN DREADFUL / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 13: The Chargers' Philip Rivers wins his second title in a row in Week Tombrady13 with a 44.20-point game, second-lowest winning total of the season. Meanwhile the Patriots' Tom Brady’s overall season narrows but remains comfortable in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler holds steady in 24th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Pictured right: Brady and wife Giselle celebrate his first-place standing in the Herald rankings. [Click HERE to see the NFL rankings online].

RK LW Player, Team                   WK13    Season

1   1   Tom Brady, NE                  26.90    459.55

2   2   Drew Brees, NO                37.45    421.90

3   3   Alex Smith, KC                 35.30    392.95

4   5   Russell Wilson, SEA           34.35    366.80

5   4   Kirk Cousins, WAS              27.55   365.45

6   7   Matthew Stafford, DET      33.60   358.10

7   8   Carson Wentz, PHI            30.40    354.25

8   9   Ben Roethlisberger, PIT     30.50   350.90

9  11  Philip Rivers, LAC              44.20   349.60

10 10 Jared Goff, LAR                 30.00   343.45

11 6   Matt Ryan, ATL                  11.65   341.85

12 13 Case Keenum, MIN             42.35   338.15

13 12 Josh McCown, NYJ             40.55   337.00

14 14 Derek Carr, OAK                30.35   302.55

15 16 Andy Dalton, CIN               23.70   275.30

16 15 Dak Prescott, DAL             16.10   272.60

17 19 Cam Newton, CAR             22.15   263.15

18 22 Blake Bortles, JAC             43.45   260.65

19 20 Joe Flacco, BAL                 34.45   257.20

20 17 Eli Manning, NYG                DNP    250.55

24 24 Jay Cutler, MIA                  21.75   209.85

38 37 Matt Moore, MIA                 DNP      72.05

57t -- David Fales, MIA                -1.00     -1.00

Bubble: Tyrod Taylor, BUF, 244.50. Week 13 Best: Rivers, LAC, 44.20 (31-43, 344, 1-0 in win). Week 13 Worst: Trevor Siemian, DEN, minus-2.00 (19-41, 200, 0-3 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 13 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions Fripix Lobosand with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 13: Herald picks: Finally! A big week in a down season! Went a sharp 13-3 straight-up and a solid 10-6 against the spread. Nailed our Upset of the Week with Seahawks over Eagles ("Aawwk!"), hit two other minor upsets with wins by Cowboys and Dolphins, and also had Giants covering. Greg's Lobos: The bad news: Ended regular season with a 143.8 to 104.8 loss to Mina Kimes. We were OK with six in double-figures led by Todd Gurley's 21.8, but Mina was en fuego. The good news: Lobos in the playoffs! We made it, at 7-6, barely, as the No. 8 and last seed. We open playoffs this week vs. No. 1 Chris Cote. Lobos currently are an 11.2-point underdog but we'll fiddle and shrink that, then shock the world. #GoLobosGo

RANKING THE STATE FBS-SCHOOL BOWL GAMES: Great season overall for the state' seven top-tier FBS schools. And what were the odds, heading into this season, that the FSU Seminoles and Florida Gators would be the least of them?: 

Bowls1. Orange Bowl: No. 10 Hurricanes vs. No. 6 Wisconsin, Dec. 30, Miami -- UM's first 10-win season since 2003. But you can't end it, at home, with a third straight loss ... can you?

2. Peach Bowl: No. 12 UCF vs. No. 7 Auburn, Jan. 1, Atlanta -- Well, 12-0 wasn't good enough for the College Football Playoff, so here's the consolation prize for the Knights of Orlando.

3. Birmingham Bowl: South Florida vs. Texas Tech, Dec. 23, Birmingham, Ala. -- Overshadowed by rival UCF but another strong season by the Bulls, who now must navigate their future without departed coach Charlie Strong.

4. Boca Raton Bowl: FAU vs. Akron, Dec. 19, Boca Raton -- Good for Lane Kiffin. Owls already have set school record for season wins with 10, and this would be The Atlantic's first bowl win since 2008. #FoulOwlOnTheProwl

5: Gasparilla Bowl: FIU vs. Temple, Dec. 21, St. Petersburg -- And good for Butch Davis,too, in his first season. Would be only FIU's second bowl win and first since 2010, and would set a school record for season wins with nine.

6. Independence Bowl: Florida State vs. Southern Miss, Dec. 27, Shreveport, La. -- A nothing bowl chasing the Seminoles' worst season since 1976? Marked by the departure of Jimbo Fisher? Seriously. If you are traveling to this game and are not related to or dating an FSU player, God bless you.

7. Oh, wait. Sorry Bowl: Florida Gators vs. Nobody -- No bowl for you, 4-7 UF. And based on the many Gator fans I know, the humbling will do you good.

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 14: BOWL GAMES WILL CROWN SEASON TITLE: [Click HERE to see the latest SOPY standings online] It will come down to the only Sopygames left — the bowl games — to decide the Herald’s 2017 state college Offensive Player of the Year winner. And that will come down to one of two quarterbacks: South Florida’s (and Miami Jackson High’s) Quinton Flowers, whose lead is narrow, or UCF’s McKenzie Milton, who drew close with a big 351-point game on Saturday. The two contenders are safely ahead of third-place Malik Rosier, with FAU running back Devin Singletary close enough to perhaps leapfrog Rosier into third place. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are based on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams have played the same number of games at the same time. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering bowl games

RK LW Player, School-Pos. Average Total points (Games)

1 1 Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb 223.45 2,458 (11)

2 2 McKenzie Milton-UCF qb 220.54 2,646.5 (12)

3 3 Malik Rosier-Miami qb 173.17 2,078 (12)

4 4 Devin Singletary-FAU rb 166.62 2,166 (13)

5 5 Alex McGough-FIU qb 144.63 1,735.5 (12)

6 6 Jason Driskel-FAU qb 109.96 1,429.5 (13)

7 8 Cam Akers-FSU rb 99.13 1,189.5 (12)

8 9 Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec 99.08 1,189 (12)

9 7 Travis Homer-Miami rb 97.83 1,174 (12)

10 10 Darius Tice-SoFla rb 87.00 957 (11)

Bubble: James Blackman-FSU qb, 85.04. Other team leader: Feleipe Franks-Florida qb, 71.27. Last week’s best: Milton-UCF qb, 351 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 383.5 (W13).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 22, 2017

Brady grows leads, Cutler tumbles in new Herald NFL QB rankings; plus State Offensive Player of Year will be crowned Friday among a Bull, Knight and Hurricane; also, my new Dolphins column, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22. Holiday season! Give the Dolfan on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose to Tampa Bay with DSM poll, NASCAR/Homestead finale, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Our 3 newest columns: On Dolphins, NASCAR, Canes: Click Adam Gase Must Find A Way for my latest column, on Dolphins' woes. Click Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The Day, from Sunday's NASCAR finale at Homestead. And click Heart and Fight Keep Canes' Perfect Dream Alive, from Saturday's UM comeback win.

BRADY GROWS LEAD, NEW NO. 2, CUTLER FALLS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 11: [Click HERE to see these latest rankings online] for the online Patriot DrewbreesTom Brady wins Week 11 with a big 53.95-point game to extend his season lead in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings, while Saint Drew Brees (pictured) supplants Chief Alex Smith for the runnerup spot as Brady's closest challenger. Meanwhile the Dolphins' Jay Cutler tumbles three spots, to 24th. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Now that bye weeks have finished, the field is level with everyone's team having played the same number of games.

HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / Top 20 plus Dolphins

RK LW Player, Team                Wk11   Season

1   1    Tom Brady, NE               53.95   399.30

2   3    Drew Brees, NO             44.25   357.15

3   2    Alex Smith, KC              19.50   337.70

4   5    Kirk Cousins, WAS          37.10   310.80

5   4    Russell Wilson, SEA        25.90   307.05

6   8    Matthew Stafford, DET   36.95   304.00

7   9    Matt Ryan, ATL              31.75   289.35

8   7    Carson Wentz, PHI         20.40   288.50

9 10    Jared Goff, LAR             20.25   274.75

10 14  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  46.95   270.85

11 6   Josh McCown, NYJ          BYE     270.10

12 15 Case Keenum, MIN          38.00   258.70

13 13 Eli Manning, NYG            18.25   248.90

14 17 Philip Rivers, LAC           31.55   248.70

15 11 Dak Prescott, DAL            3.25   240.95

16 16 Derek Carr, OAK             18.85   236.55

17 12 Cam Newton, CAR          BYE     233.60

18 20 Andy Dalton, CIN           26.70   221.90

19 18 Tyrod Taylor, BUF          15.90   218.10

20 22 Blake Bortles, JAC         19.70   207.20

24 21 Jay Cutler, MIA              -1.85   188.10

38 40 Matt Moore, MIA            23.10    52.30

Bubble: Joe Flacco, BAL, 202.70. Week 11 Best: Brady, NE, 53.95 (30-37, 339, 3-0 in win). Week 11 Worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, minus-13.70 (6-14, 66, 0-5 in loss).

 

Fripix LobosNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 11 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 11: Herald picks: The misery continues in a tough year. Went a bad 8-6 straight-up and a worse 5-8-1 (Lions pushed) against the spread. Rare highlight: Had Giants with the points over Chiefs. Greg's Lobos: Victory! Lobos breezed past Allyson 109.9 to 93.4, improving to 7-4, tied for third in a 14-team league. Drew Brees (21.6) led five 'Bos who scored in double figures. #GoLobosGo

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 12: OK, THIS IS FOR ALL THE MARBLES THE SEASON TITLE!: It will determine which state rival makes the American Athletic SopyConference championship game when the 9-1 South Florida Bulls visit the 10-0 UCF Knights at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the regular-season Quintonfinale for both. It also will very likely determine which of the teams' quarterbacks wins the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award. The Bulls' dual-threat Quinton Flowers (pictured) — Miami-born and from Jackson High — leads the Knights' McKenzie Milton by a 207.45 to 202.30 points-per-game average, comfortably ahead of third-place Malik Rosier of the unbeaten, No. 3 Hurricanes (186.75), who also plays Friday this week, at Pitt and still has an outside shot. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams have played the same number of games at the same time. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 13

RK LW  Player, School-Pos.               Average    Total points (Games)

1    1   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb       207.45      2,074.5 (10)

2    2   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb         202.30      2,023 (10)

3    3   Malik Rosier-Miami qb            186.75       1,867.5 (10)

4    4   Devin Singletary-FAU rb          169.09      1,860 (11)

5    5   Alex McGough-FIU qb             131.75       1,317.5 (10)

6    6   Travis Homer-Miami rb           111.90       1,119 (10)

7    7   Cam Akers-FSU rb                  102.05       1,020.5 (10)

8   --   Jason Driskel-FAU qb              100.14       1,101.5 (11)

9    8   Thomas Owens-FIU rec            94.55          945.5 (10)

10 10   Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec           94.50          945 (10)

Bubble: Darius Tice-SoFla rb, 93.30. Other team leader: Feleipe Franks-Florida qb, 69.10. Week 12 best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 202 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 341.5 points (W10).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 16, 2017

Dolphins' Cutler makes big leap in latest Herald NFL QB rankings; plus Canes No. 3 in CFP, Pix 'n Fantasy results, updated SOPY standings, new 'Back In My Day' video & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16. Dolphins approval rating sinks to new season low in latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter. See previous blogpost for details. 2) Know any people who are (still) serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins collapse in Carolina with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Tonight's Steelers-Titans pick: Two division leaders on four-game win streaks. Wow. A Thursday night football game worth watching! Click Thursday Gem for our predix capsule.

No. 3 in CFP a great spot for Hurricanes: Miami being raked behind Clemson is a huge benefit to the Canes. Click CFP Does Canes A Favor to read my latest column. And click The Mark 'n Manny Show for my previous column on Canes.

BRADY RETAKES LEAD, CUTLER MOVES UP / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 10: Patriot Tom Brady takes advantage of Alex Smith's Chiefs bye week to regain Jcthe season lead after Week 10 of the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. The Rams' Jared Goff wins the week with a 44.75-point game, edging Brady. Meanwhile Miami's Jay Cutler (pictured) moves up five big spots to No. 21 overall, putting him in position to crack the Top 20 chart this week. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week (such as Smith in Week 10) take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / Top 20 plus Dolphins

RK LW Player, Team               Wk10   Season

1     2  Tom Brady, NE              43.30   345.35

2     1  Alex Smith, KC              BYE     318.20

3     3  Drew Brees, NO            25.20   312.90

4     7  Russell Wilson, SEA       34.90   281.15

5     5  Kirk Cousins, WAS         23.35   273.70

6     6  Josh McCown, NYJ        20.10   270.10

7     4  Carson Wentz, PHI        BYE     268.10

8     8  Matthew Stafford, DET 31.45   267.05

9     9  Matt Ryan, ATL             33.75   257.60

10  12 Jared Goff, LAR            44.75   254.50

11  10 Dak Prescott, DAL         18.80   237.70

12  16 Cam Newton, CAR         36.70   233.60

13  17 Eli Manning, NYG           38.65  230.65

14  15 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  26.80  223.90

15  19t Case Keenum, MIN        39.20  220.70

16  11 Derek Carr, OAK             BYE    217.70

17  14 Philip Rivers, LAC          19.75  217.15

18  13 Tyrod Taylor, BUF           -0.20  202.20

19  19t Jacoby Brissett, IND     18.10  199.60

20  25 Andy Dalton, CIN           24.25  195.20

21  26 Jay Cutler, MIA              20.65  189.95

40  39 Matt Moore, MIA            DNP     29.20

Bubble: Cutler, MIA, 189.95. Week 10 Best: Goff, LAR, 44.75 (25-37, 355, 3-0 in win). Week 10 Worst: Taylor, BUF, minus-0.20 (9-18, 56, 0-1 in loss).

FripixNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 10 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 10Herald picks: Mixed results again. Went a very solid 11-3 straight-up but a terrible 5-9 against despite an Upset of the Week bull's-eye ("Aawwk!") on Bucs over Jets. Also had Packers-with-points over Bears. Got a bit unlucky in missing two games by a half-point each. Greg's Lobos: Loss. Lobos fell to 6-4 (still tied for third in a 14-team league) with a tough 102.1-99.5 loss to Domonique Foxworth. Had nobody better than Todd Gurley's 19.6 points. Still had a shot with two in play Monday night, but Jarvis Landry and Graham Gano fell just short for me. #GurleyMen #GoLobosGo

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 11: CANES' HOMER CLIMBS CHART: Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier maintains third place but loses ground to the leaders Sopywhile UM running back Travis Homer rises two spots to No. 6 in the race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award. QBs Quinton Flowers of South Florida and McKenzie Milton of UCF are in a virtual dead heat for the No. 1 spot. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams have played the same number of games at the same time. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 12:

RK LW Player, School-Pos.                          Average  Total points (Games)

1    1  Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb                 208.06    1,872.5 / 9

2    2  McKenzie Milton-UCF qb                   207.33    1,866 / 9

3    3  Malik Rosier-Miami qb                       188.94    1,700.5 / 9

4    4  Devin Singletary-FAU rb                    167.10     1,671 / 10

5    5  Alex McGough-FIU qb                        136.83    1,231.5 / 9

6    8  Travis Homer-Miami rb                      113.00    1,017 / 9

7    6  Cam Akers-FSU rb                             107.83       970.5 / 9

8    7  Thomas Owens-FIU rec                      105.06      945.5 / 9

9    9  Marquez Valdes-Scantling-SoFla rec     96.11      865 / 9

10  -- Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec                       94.44      850 / 9

Bubble: Darius Tice-SoFla rb, 94.11. Other team leader: Feleipe Franks-Florida qb, 68.33. Week 11 best: Milton-UCF qb, 225.5 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 341.5 points (W10).

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

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': UNNECESSARY AUTOMATION!: On self-parking cars, automatic doors and moving walkways. Not my best BIMD, but they can't all be, right?

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 20, 2017

NFL picks for Dolphins-Jets, rest of Week 7; plus your verdict on Heat expectations, my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, new 'Back In My Day,' latest SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Atlanta with DSM poll, The List (Fins), Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My Pat Riley column: In exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, Heat's majordomo reflects on 50 years in NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for this Heat season as it began with loss in Orlando and opens at home Saturday. Click The Godfather Speaks to read in full.

Latest BIMD: Cemetery Joggers!: The latest Back In My Day segment rails against the gall of people who use cemeteries as places to exercise. Click Cemetery Joggers for the video.

UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: DOLPHINS MAINTAIN MO', BEAT STINKIN' JETS: The Dolphins and Dolfans will beat the Jets and all those Fripixobnoxious NYJ fans Sunday at The Rock in a low-scoring game. If you're at the game, single out that one fat New Yorker shoehorned into that Gastineau jersey and make fun of him. I'm not normally that mean, but I make exceptions for Jets fans. Click Week 7 Gems for our predix-capsules on Dolphins-Jets, our Game of the Week (Patriots-Falcons) and Upset of the Week (Saints-Packers: "Aawwk!"), plus all our other latest picks. Our week got off to a crazy/unlucky/disappointing start last night. We had Chiefs (-3) covering in a win, and they were up 30-21 in fourth quarter, only to lose on final play, 31-30.

POLL RESULT: IT'S HIGH-40S WINS, PLAYOFFS FOR HEAT: You may still vote in poll directly below, but we'll call it now officially. We asked what is most likely number of Miami Heat regular-season wins in 2017-18? Your verdict: 50 plus--27.4 percent; 45 to 49--49.8%; 40 to 44--15.1%; 35 to 39--5.1%; and 34 below--2.6%. That's more than 77% who clearly expect playoffs, and some 92% in that low-40s wins typically sneaks in. 

DragicwhitesideHEAT EXPECTATIONS POLL: SETTING BAR FOR THE 2017-18 SEASON: The Miami Heat last season finished 41-41 and (narrowly) missed the playoffs, though it seems better in the recollection because of the 30-11 record the second half of the schedule. That leads to an assumption of overall improvement from a team led by Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside (pictured). Yet outside expectations are somewhat modest as the season opened with loss last night in Orlando, and resumes Saturday at home vs. Indiana. For example, ESPN's Power Rankings entering the regular season has Miami slotted only seventh best in the Eastern Conference (eight make the playoffs) and 18th overall in the 30-team NBA. The Heat's projected record is put at 43-39. Now what do you think? What is your honest, realistic expectation for the season based on anticipated number of regular-season wins? Remember: Not asking what you hope happens ... but rather what you'd bet will. Vote now.

 

SMITH STAYS NO. 1 OVER BRADY, CUTLER INCHES UP / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: The Cardinals' Carson Palmer wins Week 6 honors with a 39.15- Arodgerspoint game (unusually low for a winning total), while the Chiefs' Alex Smith keeps his overall lead ahead of Patriot Tom Brady in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Packer Aaron Rodgers (pictured) is third but will fall week by week with his season-ending injury. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler inches up one spot, to 29th overall. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK6       Season

1      1     Alex Smith, KC                   19.30      230.85

2      2     Tom Brady, NE                    22.85     223.95

3      3     Aaron Rodgers, GB               0.90     182.25

4      4     Carson Wentz, PHI             27.10     179.20

5      9     Carson Palmer, ARI             39.15    175.85

6      5     Drew Brees, NO                  25.30    174.05

7     12    Josh McCown, NYJ              32.70    165.70

8      6     Eli Manning, NYG                17.40    165.30

9    14     Philip Rivers, LAC               35.40     158.65

10    8     Matthew Stafford, DET       13.60     157.40

11   18    Kirk Cousins, WAS                37.50    154.70

12    7     Cam Newton, CAR                9.95     153.80

13    16    Deshaun Watson, HOU        27.25     149.85

14   13     Jared Goff, LAR                  15.20    147.45

15   17     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT       26.60    147.05

16   20     Matt Ryan, ATL                   25.40    136.85

17   10     Dak Prescott, DAL                BYE     135.60

18   11     Russell Wilson, SEA              BYE     135.10

19   23     Case Keenum, MIN              26.95    127.70

20   24     Trevor Siemian, DEN           23.80     124.20

29   30     Jay Cutler, MIA                   20.55       98.85

Bubble: Andy Dalton, CIN, 123.00. Week 6 best: Palmer, ARI, 39.15 (18-22, 283, 3-1 in win). Week 6 worst: Brian Hoyer, SF, minus-1.30 (4-11, 34, 0-0 in loss).  

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 6 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald Fripix Lobospredictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 6Herald picks: Improvement, at least. After a nightmarish recent slump, we'll take an 8-6 overall and do cartwheels over a 7-5-2 against the spread (two games were off the board when we picked 'em). Highlights: Nailed our Upset of the Week with Steelers over Chiefs ("Aawwk!"), hit another outright upset with Vikings over Packers, hit a third (barely) upset with Cardinals over Bucs, and had underdog Dolphins and Jets with the points. Greg's Lobos: Tough loss, 107.3-101.4, to Chris. Byes hit us hard but Lobos scrambled to put six in double figures, led by Jarvis Landry's 20.2, but lost it with only 11.5 from Drew Brees. What are the odds Saints top 50 points but Brees has an off game!? Oh well. 'Bos still 4-2 and only one game back. #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 7: CANES' ROSIER IN 3-MAN BATTLE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN'Miami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what keeps Sopylooking like a three-man race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Canes running back Mark Walton, out injured for the season, is seventh and falling. UM back Travis Homer is back in the chart in ninth place after a week-leading 200-point game. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               207.60         1,038 / 5

2    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             188.33         1,130 / 6

3    3    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  183.10          915.5 / 5

4    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                   134.50          807 / 6

5    4    Devin Singletary-FAU rb               134.33          806 / 6

6    8    Thomas Owens-FIU rec                109.25          655.5 / 6

7    5    Mark Walton-Miami rb                  107.40          537 / 5

8   --    Cam Akers-FSU rb                         103.20          516 / 5

9   --    Travis Homer-Miami rb                  100.20          501 / 5

10   9   Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec                 97.20          486 / 5

Bubble: D'Ernest Johnson-So Fla rb, 97.17. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 95.00. Week 7 best: Homer-Miami rb, 200 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (W3).

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 04, 2017

ESPN says your Dolphins will finish 3-13. Oy!; plus my new Jeter column, Herald NFL Week 4 QB rankings, NFL W4 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Canes' Rosier rising in updated SOPY rankings & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. They ugly! 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite the last two weeks' performance? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins suck in London with DSM poll, Stanton ends at 59, sickening tragedy in Vegas, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Derek Jeter says hello to Miami, makes no Marlins promises: My new column, from today's introductory press conference at which Jeter was making no promises about the future here of Giancarlo Stanton. Read Jeter Betting On Jeter to read.

DOLPHINS HEADED FOR 3-13 SEASON? HERE'S THE MAJOR OUTLET THAT PREDICTS IT: A major-outlet computer prediction model now has the Miami Dolphins with better than a 50 percent likelihood of winning in only two remaining games all season. Let's check the math. A current 1-2 record Sad1plus two more wins -- hang on, my calculator is smoking -- equals a 3-13 season. Or so predicts ESPN's Football Power Index. Sad2The FPI has the Fins favored (50%-plus) from here only this coming Sunday vs. Tennessee (52.3%) and Oct. 22 vs. the Jets (71.8%). And I'd remind that the Titans were seen as a dangerous "it" team before this past weekend's spanking, and the Jets recently clobbered Miami 20-7. To be fair, Miami's win probability is in the 40s in four games from here. It's all guesswork anyway. The point is, right now, a season topping out around 7-9 and capable of plunging to 3-13 seems likelier than a rally to a second straight playoff berth. Something as bad as the 3-13 FPI forecasts would put Miami in very interesting draft territory, with three quarterbacks -- USC's Sam Darnold, Wyoming's Josh Allen and UCLA's Josh Rosen -- routinely pegged for the top five overall. So. If Miami does finish as bad as this computer model spits out, the temptation to draft Ryan Tannehill's replacement could be intense. Hey, this is all speculation, of course. Premature. Maybe even reckless! Then again, when your team has scored two TDs in 12 quarters and but for luck would be 0-3, it helps to pass the time.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 4 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions Fripix Lobosand with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 4: Herald picks: Embarrassing ... again! -- The sad Dolphins and I are running in lockstep, straight to hell. I again went a terrible 7-9 straight-up and added a decent but not great 7-8-1 against the spread. (Yes, I was a victim of KC's last-second score Monday night). Had Bills and Niners with the points but not much else went right. Greg's Lobos: Woo woo! The W Train keeps rollin'! -- The Lobos improved to 3-1 by whipping Amin Elhassan 137.1-84.2, led by a beastly 34.5 from beastly Todd Gurley, who's way out front in the Lobo of the Year race. We are the Gurley men!!! Also got 23.5 from Jordy Nelson and a pleasant-surprise 22.5 from flex-play Tyrell Williams.

BRADY NUDGES INTO LEAD OVER SMITH, CUTLER FALLS FURTHER / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 4: The man Miami Dolphins fans love to hate, the TbradyPatriots' Tom Brady, narrowly nudges past the Chiefs' Alex Smith for the season lead in the Miami Herald's NFL Week 4 quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler -- not real popular with Miami fans at the moment, either -- slips a couple of more spots, to 27th overall. The Bengals' Andy Dalton wins the Week 4 title with a 51.30-point game, but after a slow start, that isn't enough to put him in the current Top 15 chart as he leaps from 30th place to 19th. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 4

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK4       Season

1     2     Tom Brady, NE                     40.35     160.95

2     1     Alex Smith, KC                    39.65     160.35 

3     4     Drew Brees, NO                  41.40      148.75

4     3     Aaron Rodgers, GB              35.95     147.30

5     7     Eli Manning, NYG                31.40     127.65

6     5     Jared Goff, LAR                  29.75     126.85

7     8     Kirk Cousins, WAS               21.00      117.20

8     9     Matthew Stafford, DET       22.45      115.35

9     6     Matt Ryan, ATL                   15.10     111.45

10  11     Carson Wentz, PHI             23.10      110.90

11  16     Russell Wilson, SEA            35.75     109.20

12  12     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT      21.80     108.85

13  21     Carson Palmer, ARI            37.85      107.15

14  13     Dak Prescott, DAL             22.60      103.05

15  10     Derek Carr, OAK                12.15      101.65

27  25     Jay Cutler, MIA                 17.20        70.70

Bubble: Philip Rivers, LAC, 101.35. Week 4 best: Andy Dalton, CIN, 51.30 (25-30, 286, 4-0 in win). Week 4 worst: Matt Cassel, TEN, minus-6.95 (4-10, 21, 0-2 in loss).

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 5: CANES' ROSIER RISING IN RACE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN'After a big, history-equaling week for college football in the state of MalikFlorida, two Miami Hurricanes place high in the Herald’s latest State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings. All seven state FBS-level teams won this past weekend -- only the second time that has happened. The only other time the state rolled a 7-0 was Oct. 5, 2013. The state also has a record-tying four Sopyschools in the latest Associated Press Top 25: Miami 13th, South Florida 18th, Florida 21st and UCF entering at 25th. (What were the odds the one not ranked would be preseason No. 3 Florida State?). In our latest “state Heisman” offensive rankings UM’s Malik Rosier (pictured) bumps up to third off a 198-point week, while teammate Mark Walton sits fourth. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 6:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               209.83          629.5 / 3

2    3    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             190.40         952 / 5

3    4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  189.00          567 / 3

4    2    Mark Walton-Miami rb                  170.67          512 / 3

5    5    Alex McGough-FIU qb                   133.13          532.5 / 4

6    7    Devin Singletary, FAU-rb               120.20          601 / 5

7    9    D'Ernest Johnson, SoFla rb            106.00         530 / 5

8    8    Darius Tice-SoFla rb                       97.00         485 / 5

9    --   Adrian Killins-UCF rb                      96.67          290 / 3

10  6    Travis Homer-Miami rb                   90.67          272 / 3

Bubble: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 87.00. Other team leader: Auden Tate-FSU rec, 81.33. Week 5 best: Milton-UCF, 232.5 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla, 276 points (Week 3).

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

TcasasTOP SOUTH FLORIDA PROSPECTS IN 2018 MLB DRAFT: Baseball America is out with its Top 50 high-school prospects in the 2018 MLB Draft, and it includes five kids with local high-school or college ties: No. 14 overall is 1B Triston Casas (pictured) of Plantation American Heritage, committed to Miami; No. 15 is RHP Slade Cecconi from Winter Park, committed to Miami; No. 23 is SS Xavier Edwards of Coconut Creek North Broward Prep; No. 40 is LHP J.P. Gates from Spring Hill, Fla., committed to Miami; and No. 47 is IF Raynel Delgado of Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian, committed to FIU.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 28, 2017

Trump vs. NFL: Poll. Vote now!; plus UM hoops scandal, R.I.P. Hefner, Herald NFL Week 3 QB rankings, new 'Back In My Day,' NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 3 results, 2 Canes Top 5 in latest SOPY standings & more

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

Lebpod1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27. #HelpPuertoRicoNow. 2) Click on Toys! for my latest Back In My Day segment from the LeBatard Show. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite last week's performance? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crushed by Jets with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"R.I.P., Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder, gone at 91. Red velvet smoking jackets are hanging at half-mast." --Greg Cote

Hurricanes men's basketball scandal: A member of Jim Larranaga's staff is implicated in the nationwide FBI investigation of corruption in college basketball recruiting. Click on Larranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now This to read my latest column. 

Bears-Packers pick: NFL Week 4 kicks off tonight at Lambeau Field with King Sport's oldest rivalry. Click on Thursday Gem for our prediction capsule.

Jose Fernandez tragedy: 1-year laterMy latest Sunday column reflects on the tragedy that rocked South Florida one year ago, and on one man's complicated legacy. Click on Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow to read.

TrumpathletesTRUMP VS. ATHLETE ACTIVISM. WHO'S RIGHT?: Some NFL players kneel during the National Anthem or in other ways protest police treatment of unarmed black men and other prejudice. President Donald Trump called such players a "son of a bitch" at an Alabama rally and suggested they should be required to stand or be "suspended or fired." I tackle this dense topic in today's latest column; click on Trump Is Wrong, Needs Lesson On What Freedom Means to read. My take: Not only do athletes have the right to not stand, they are doing so for a righteous cause. They are not being anti-American as Trump suggests. Their actions are not anti-country, flag, anthem or military. But that's just me. Your opinion is invited here:

SMITH-BRADY DEAD HEAT, CUTLER SLIPS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 3: The Patriots' Tom Brady (pictured) wins Week 3 with a 53.90-point game, his Tbradysecond straight weekly title, to pull nearly even with the Chefs' Alex Smith for the overall season lead in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler, off a below-par game, slips one spot to 25th but has played one fewer game than others in the chart, and these are cumulative ratings. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 3
RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK3            Season
1        1     Alex Smith, KC                  29.75           120.70
2        8     Tom Brady, NE                   53.90           120.60
3        4     Aaron Rodgers, GB            40.65            111.35
4        6     Drew Brees, NO                40.00            107.35
5       14    Jared Goff, LAR                44.60              97.10
6        9     Matt Ryan, ATL                 29.70              96.35
7       16    Eli Manning, NYG              44.30              96.25
8       18    Kirk Cousins, WAS              52.25             96.20
9        3     Matthew Stafford, DET      21.20             92.90
10      2     Derek Carr, OAK                  9.90             89.50
11     11    Carson Wentz, PHI             27.80             87.80
12      7     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT     19.75              87.05
13     15    Dak Prescott, DAL             28.15              80.45
14     10    Trevor Siemian, DEN          14.95             77.45
15     22    Tyrod Taylor, BUF               35.65             74.10  
25     24    Jay Cutler, MIA                  19.00             53.50
    Bubble: Russell Wilson, SEA, 73.45. Week 3 best: Brady, NE, 53.90 (25-35, 378, 5-0 in win). Week 3 worst: Joe Flacco, BAL, minus-6.60 (8-18, 28, 0-2 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 3 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and Fripix Loboswith my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 3: Herald picks: Embarrassing! -- And you thought the Dolphins were bad!? I went a terrible 7-9 straight-up and a woeful 4-10-2 against the spread. If this isn't my worst week all year, I'm in trouble. Did nail an outright upset with Colts over Browns and had two 'dogs with points in Giants and Saints, but, otherwise my week was exemplified by having the Lions beating the Falcons and having that bull's-eye snatched from me. Greg's Lobos: Back on the W Train! -- The Lobos improved to 2-1 by whipping Pablo Torre 119.4-99.5, led by Todd Gurley's big 37.9 points. He's early frontrunner for Lobo of the Year. We are the Gurley men!

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 4: TWO CANES IN FOUR-MAN RACE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN' LEAD: With Irma's upheaval past and full schedules back, the State
MwaltonOffensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings are heating up. What we like to call our ongoing "state Heisman" race show the top four players separated from Sopythe pack including a pair of Hurricanes as we enter Collball Week 5. UM running back Mark Walton (pictured) bumps up to No. 2 in the standings off a state-FBS-best 214-point game vs. Toledo. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven top-level FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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. Here is the statewide SOPY Top 10 entering Week 5:

2017 SOPY WEEK 4 TOP 10

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.        Total-Games

1    2    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb             198.50      397-2

2    3    Mark Walton-Miami rb                191.00      382-2

3    1    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb           190.25     761-4

4    4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                184.50      369-2

5    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                 121.83      365.5-3

6    5    Travis Homer-Miami rb               111.50      223-2

7    --    Devin Singletary, FAU-rb            111.00      444-4

8   10    Darius Tice, SoFla-rb                 103.50      414-4

9    --    D'Ernest Johnson, SoFla-rb         101.25      405-4 

10  --    Auden Tate, FSU-rec                    95.50      191-2

Bubble: Tyrie Cleveland, Florida-rec, 92.33. Week 4 best: Walton, Miami, 214 points. Season best: Flowers, SoFla, 276 (Wk3).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 21, 2017

Brady leaps, Cutler debuts in Herald Week 2 QB rankings; plus new Back In My Day video (Straws!), NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 2 results, SOPY Week 3 standings (new leader), Dolphins column on Parker/offensive potential, Hot Button Daily (Tue) & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21. Click on Straws! or our latest Back in My Day video from the LeBatard Show. Based on general reaction, it may be our most popular ever. 2) Florida Panthers opened preseason in Nashville this week with a doubleheader split vs. Predators. Hockey on, Heat soon, Dolphins underway, Marlins still going. Worlds collide! 3) Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win opener in L.A. with season-debut DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Tonight's NFL pick: Click on Thursday Gem for our predix capsule on tonight's Rams-49ers game. 

Latest Dolphins column: Lost a bit amid the drama of Hurricane Irma and AWOL Lawrence Timmons, Sunday's opener hinted at how good this Dolphins offense and breakout star DeVante Parker might be. Click on Potential & Promise to read.

BRADY CATAPULTS, CUTLER DEBUTS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 2: The Patriots' Tom Brady wins Week 2 with a 57.35-point game to catapult 18 spots to Jayc8th overall in the Miami Herald's NFL Week 2 quarterback rankings. The Chiefs' Alex Smith maintains his overall season lead. And the Dolphins' Jay Cutler (pictured) scores a solid 34.50-point game, eighth for this week, to land 24th in the overall chart. This is the 20th season of Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching.
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 2
RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK2            Season
1        1     Alex Smith, KC                  34.55            90.95
2        6     Derek Carr, OAK               43.50            79.60
3        3     Matthew Stafford, DET      26.10            71.70
4        8t    Aaron Rodgers, GB          36.15            70.70
5       13    Philip Rivers, LAC             42.55             69.15
6        8t    Drew Brees, NO                32.80             67.35
7       10    Ben Roethlisberger, PIT    34.15             67.30
8       26    Tom Brady, NE                   57.35            66.70
9        7     Matt Ryan, ATL                  30.60             66.65
10     15    Trevor Siemian, DEN         37.55            62.50
11      4      Carson Wentz, PHI           23.65             60.00
12     14     Mike Glennon, CHI           29.05             54.70
13      2      Sam Bradford, MIN            DNP             53.30
14      5      Jared Goff, LAR               16.20              52.50
15     11      Dak Prescott, DAL           21.90             52.30
24     -–      Jay Cutler, MIA                 34.50             34.50
    Bubble: Eli Manning, NYG, 51.95. Week 2/season best: Brady, NE, 57.35 (30-39, 447, 3-0 in win). Week 2 worst: DeShone Kizer, CLE, minus-0.90  (15-31, 182, 0-3 in loss).
    Formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Fripix LobosNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 2 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I'll tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 2: Herald picks: Uneven -- We went 11-5 overall (pretty good) and 7-9 against the point spread (not so good). Nailed an outright upset with Broncos over Cowboys and had three other 'dogs with points: Bills, Dolphins and and Lions. Greg's Lobos: Tough luck = tough loss -- The Lobos lost to Sarah Spain 126.2-117.5. Had three guys in 20s led by Lobo of the Week Todd Gurley's 26.6 and still had a shot into Monday night but the killer was Jordy Nelson's early injury and 0 points. Normal game from Nelson or a few more touches from Theo Riddick and we win. If, if, if.

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 3: NEW LEADER AS SEASON CRAWLS OUT FROM UNDER IRMA: Only three of seven state FBS teams were in action this past weekend
Qflowersafter only two were the week before. But we have a new season leader in our blog's State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- what we like to call our ongoing "state Heisman" race -- entering Week 4. That would be South Florida QB Quinton Flowers (pictured) out of Miami Jackson High, the defending champion. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven top-level FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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. Here is the statewide SOPY Top 10 entering Week 4:

2017 SOPY WEEK 3 TOP 10

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.

1    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb           214

2    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb             208

3    3    Mark Walton-Miami rb                168

4    4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                167.5

5    5    Travis Homer-Miami rb               133

6    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                 131.25

7    7    Daniel Parr-FAU qb                     120

8    9    Deondre Francois-FSU qb            102

9    --    Dredrick Snelson, UCF-rec           98

10  --    Darius Tice, SoFla-rb                   95

Bubble: DeAndre McNeal-FAU rec, 91. Other team leader: Tyrie Cleveland-Fla rec, 79.5. Week 3 best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276.

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

HOT BUTTON DAILY: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

We have discontinued the blog's Hot Button Daily. Hey, the bells 'n whistles come and go, right?

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Twitter @gregcote