March 19, 2015

NCAAs a foregone conclusion? Most boring March Madness ever? Poll. Vote now!; plus Charles Clay, Ron Fraser, Haiku Challenge news, Heat/Panthers playoff update, Loria reimaging, Pounceys, D&G & more

1) It is THURSDAY, MARCH 19. Corned beef. The meat I really enjoy one day a year, then never think of again. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): March Madness Haiku Challenge, Wade beats LeBron, UM men denied NCAAs, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine. (New stuff from yesterday's LeBatard Show).

Georgia State coach falls off chair during game: Georgia State coach Ron Hunter, on a courtside office chair due to an injury, falls from chair in closing minutes of his 14th-seeded team's upset of No. 3 Baylor today. Funny! Click here to watch.

Charles Clay to Bills: Dolphins today decline to match contract offer by Buffalo, meaning tight end Clay is headed to Bills. For him it's a smart financial move, dubious football move, awful lifestyle move. 

Ron Fraser statue dedication: The Miami Hurricanes will have a ceremony unveiling a new Rom Fraser statue on April 24 at 4 p.m. outside Mark Light Field. Fraser, the two-time national champion baseball coach, passed Away in at age 79 in 2013.  

PLAYOFF CHASE: Heat soaring, Panthers nearly done. Update entering Thursday/today: A daily blog feature as two teams (one barely) fight to finish in top eight in Eastern Conference. HEAT--Trending up in 7th place at 31-36 (W2), after last night's big 108-104 home win over Portland led by Dwyane Wade's 32 points. Miami is now 2 1/2 games from 6th with 15 games left (next Friday vs. Denver). Heat playoff likelihood: 60.0% (up 13.6) per Hollinger/ESPN. PANTHERS--Trending even in 10th place at 31-39 (L2), 3 points from 9th and 7 points from 8th with 12 games left (next tonight vs. Detroit). Cats playoff likelihood: 1.6% (unchanged) per

ARE WE STARING DOWN THE BARREL OF THE MOST BORING MARCH MADNESS EVER?: You could make the argument that we are if the feel of "foregone conclusion" is a barometer. Think about it. Kentucky is 1aa1amarchmad34-0, a unanimous No. 1 and a huge favorite (near even-odds) to win the men's NCAA Tournament. On the women's side, UConn is 32-1, also a unanimous No. 1 and perhaps an ever bigger favorite. I'd feel very good if you gave me Kentucky and UConn and you took the field. I get the two favorites; you get everybody else. I cannot recall a previous year in which the two overall No. 1s were such prohibitive favorites. Doesn't mean brackets will be filled out any less or that office pools will be smaller, but, for me, at least, the seeming inevitability of Kentucky's men and UConn's women reigning makes this March Madness feel like we know the ending even as the story is just starting.

HAIKU CHALLENGE CONTEST UPDATE: DEADLINE EXTENDED!: Due to unpopular demand we are extending the deadline to enter our annual March Madness Haiku Challenge into next week. (As an 1aa1ahaikuemailer put it, "Why end the contest just as the tournament is beginning, you moron!" Fair comment). So you still have time to get those 17-syllable poems in. Three simple rules: 1. If your poem is 17 syllables exactly and it's about the NCAA Tournament/March Madness/college hoops, it's a valid entry. 2. You may submit entries here in the blog's 'Comments' section below (preferred) OR email them to 3. You may enter as many haikus as you wish. We'll give you some warning on the new deadline but enter now just to be safe. Last year's contest was won by reader Scott Vogelsberg. His winning entry: "Beware Ides of 1aa1adickievMarch * Et tu Brutus the Buckeye * Bubbles pop for all." The judging panel (that's me) appreciated the classic 5-7-5 phrasing, liked the nod to the Roman calendar, loved the link between Ohio State and Shakespeare, and also enjoyed the double entendre on bubbles popping. But you can do better! Contest prize? The grand prize will be the glory of victory, but we'll throw in something else. Maybe a Dolphins or Heat media guide? Maybe a chance to visit the Dan LeBatard Show on a Tuesday we're in-studio? We'll figure something out. In any case, rev your creative mind. Ready, set ... haiku!

JEFFREY LORIA: BIG SPENDER: Still getting used to the re-imaging of Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria, erstwhile notorious tightwad. First, the huge contract for Giancarlo Stanton, Now, the private team jet.
1aa1aboeing767200The Marlins have rented a Boeing 767-200 (the model pictured) for the season and it includes 84 oversized luxury seats, a massage table and card tables. The outside of the jet will bear the Marlins logo. Miami also has expanded its overall payroll as well as its scouting, player development, marketing and sales departments. Did I mention the executive chefs to prepare meals for home games? Many Marlins fans still think negatively of Loria and maybe always will, but give him this. He's trying. And spending.

ON THE POUNCEYS' SNIPES AT WALLACE: Oh, those Pouncey brothers! Cue the ghost of Ronald Reagan 1aa1apounceysshaking his head with a smirk and saying, "Well, there they go again..." So Dolphin Mike Pouncey and his bro Maurkice (pictured) pretty much say in an interview "good riddance" to departed Mike Wallace. Maurkice drops the hot-potato word "coward," assuring media (over-)attention. To me this isn't a big deal because the Pounceys by now are established loose cannons and Wallace is a ship sailing fast from Finland. (Mike who?)

THE SLOW SUICIDE OF DOLCE & GABBANA: It's above my pay grade and sartorial splendor, but Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian luxury fashion line in the category Armani, Gucci and Versace. It is only important to 1aa1ad&gnote that founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana both are gay because of the controversy now embroiling them. Celebrities led by Elton John have condemned the  brand and promoted a boycott of D&G because of the founders' saying in an interview that gay adoption is unnatural and referring to babies born via in-vitro fertilization as "synthetic children." The LGBT community, non-gays who have benefited from IVF and many others inclined toward tolerance are sympathetic to the boycott, which seems to be growing. Many others agree with D&G's opinions or align on the side of freedom of speech in the social media age. What's interesting to me is that it feels like such business-suicide for a high-end fashion house to be perceived as anti-gay or anti-same sex parents. I am generalizing here, but feel safe in thinking D&G's customer base is gay or OK with same-sex adoption to a far greater extent than it would include supporters of D&G's stance on the matter. #BoycottDolceGabbana

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August 05, 2014

Al Golden's new, greatest Canes challenge; plus Stanton's surprising MVP odds, UFC brawl, UM hoops, Gap model, your verdict on Rice & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6. Brawl breaks out at UFC Media Day in Las Vegas. Or, did that go without saying? Click here for the Jon Jones-Daniel Carmier brawl vid. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ray Rice punishment poll, Canton class of '14, Hot Button Top 10 and more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

"Manchester United and Liverpool drew 51,000 to Dolphins stadium last night. What was that you were saying about Miami being a lousy sports town?"  --Greg Cote

GOLDEN'S NEXT CHALLENGE: CLOSING HURRICANES' TALENT GAP WITH FSU: I smile at all the coverage of maturity-challenged Canes redshirt-freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen reportedly being suspended from the season 1aa1acanesfsuopener for a failed drug test. Miami football and coach 1aa1acanes renewedAl Golden have a far greater, broader problem and challenge, and that's making up the recruiting/talent shortfall they suffer compared to national champion Florida State, UM's ACC rival and roadblock. I tackle the topic in my latest column. Golden has spent three years admirably navigating UM through the off-field NCAA bog. Now that sky has cleared, and he must move the Canes forward on the field. Click on Solving The Noles to read the column. UM football won't totally be #Renewed (the latest marketing campaign) until he does. The most recent evidence of Miami's talent gap with Florida State is ESPN's ranking of the 100 best players in college football, voted by a panel of 32 experts. FSU places a nation-leading 11 on the list. UM has only two: RB Duke Johnson (tied for 24th) and LB Denzel Perryman (t35th). FSU's 11 are QB Jameis Winston (1st overall), TE Nick O'Leary (28th), DE Mario Edwards (29th), OL Tre Jackson (t31st), WR Rashad Greene (t31st), OT Cameron Erving (33rd), CB P.J. Williams (t39th), DB Jalen Ramsey (t52nd), RB Karlos Williams (t59th), CB Ronald Darby (t76th) and K Roberto Agauyo (85th). For those wondering the Gators, like UM, place two on the list: CB Vernon Hargreaves (13th) and DL Dante Fowler (t43rd).

Canes hoops opens at Florida: Jim Larranaga's hardwood UM men will visit Gainesville Nov. 17 to face the Gators at 7 p.m. as part of ESPN's 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. It'll be teams' first meeting since March 2009. Nice exposure for the Canes, who were better than expected last season and have nine newcomers on this year's team.

STANTON SECOND IN NL MVP RACE: Surprisingly, at least to me, Marlin Giancarlo Stanton has second-best odds at 7-4 to win the NL MVP award, trailing only clear favorite Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers pitcher, at 4-7. Other favorites: AL MVP--Angels' Mike Trout at 2-5; NL Cy Young--Kershaw at 2-7; and AL Cy--Mariners' Felix Hernandez at 9-4. Stanton is third-fave at 10-1 to lead MLB in home runs, after White Sox's Jose Abreu at 4-7 and Orioles' Nelson Cruz at 2-1.

Poll result: Rice punishment too lenient: We asked about the two-game NFL suspension of Ravens RB Ray Rice for domestic violence and most of you, 68. 3 percent, called it too lenient. Another 19.2% thought it was about right, 6.7% were not sure, and only 5.8% called it too severe.


 Clothing store Gap -- is it just Gap, or is it The Gap? -- is under fire for using the too-skinny model pictured in one of its latest ads. Life is getting hard. It used to be that we just made fun of overweight people like myself. Now apparently we also ridicule people we deem as too thin. (I will admit the young woman pictured looks like a hiker who got lost in the mountains and has been rescued after six days alone eating only berries and wood bark. But why was she hiking in a Gap dress!?) I suppose making fun of thin folks is still somewhat more acceptable than making fun of the morbidly obese, in much the same way making fun of really tall people is less bad than needling the unusually short. Tough to know, though. It's getting to the point the unkind may require a guidebook.

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January 13, 2014

A-Rod poll: What do you believe? Vote now!; plus D.Wade's b-day yacht, radio, NFL Final Four's quiet Cinderella-ness, "Who are you wearing?" & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back-in studio today for my ninth national appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show, airing on 790 & 104.3 The Ticket from 3-7 p,.m. and on ESPN from 4-7. Ears welcome.

1aa1heat13wh1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 14. Heat visit the White House later today. Wonder if Obama will remark how he wishes he'd had as good a year as Miami? Photo is from last year's WH visit. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with the merry lunacy of Le Batard's Ballotgate. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Divisional Round playoffs, Super Bowl rooting-interest poll & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Click on Damage Is Done for today's latest column by me, on Alex Rodriguez's fight against baseball, a fight Quixotic but for its lack of nobility. The stain of steroids is not something A-Rod, or his sport, will ever be past. 

TAKING SIDES IN THE ALEX RODRIGUEZ MESS: Sunday night's 60 Minutes interview with Anthony Bosch, the Biogenesis clinic founder, was damning to Alex Rodriguez as you knew it would be. If you beieve 1aa1arodBosch, who is cooperating with Major League Baseball's investigation, then chances are you have little or no doubt A-Rod used various performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and that that his resulting 162-game suspension (reduced from 212 by an arbitrator) is justified. If your sympathies instead are pro A-Rod, then chances are you think Bosch is a lying snitch and that MLB is pursuing a vendetta against Rodriguez, who has denied the allegations and may sue to have his suspension overturned. Chances are, either Bosch or A-Rod is the liar here, without a lot of gray area in between. Maybe our poll question should simply have been "Who do you believe?," although I think the poll choices pretty much cut to that chase. Vote and say why.

D.WADE'S BIRTHDAY YACHT: One of the many ways Heat stars and celeb-athletes in general are
1aa1dwadebdaydifferent than the rest of us is that they throw themselves lavish 1aa1dwadebdaygroupbirthday parties, calling to mind the brilliant two-syllable Muhammad

Ali poem; "Me? Wheee!" Don't get me wrong. I'm not just buying Publix ice-cream cakes over here. I have spent big for a party or two, such as the time I rented out an out an oceanfront hotel ballroom and complained about the cost for a year. But Heat players -- they do it up. Chris Bosh once touted his own birthday with live camels in a Sahara motif. Yesterday, Dwyane Wade topped 1aa1dwadebdayboshhim with a three-story yacht custom-wrapped in his personal logo. Dwyane turns 32 this coming Friday but celebrated early. Pictured are the yacht, Wade and teammates, and in a photo pretty much epitomiziing The Good Life: Bosh in a tux, aboard a yacht, drawing on a fine cigar against the Miami skyline.


NFL FINAL FOUR: GLAMOUR QUARTET, BUT UNDERDOG QUALITY, TOO: Patriots at Broncos and 49ers at Seahawks bring a legit, heavyweight quality to the AFC and NFC Championship Games. The NFL and 1aa1bradymanning 1aa1bradymanning2TV networks undoubtedly are thrilled, and so should fans be. Ten Super Bowl championships are represented by the Final Four. Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning (pictured left) is about as good as it gets for an individual duel, and San Fran-Seattle (right) probably is the league's fiercest team rivalry at the moment. Peel back a layer and see an underdog aspect here too, though. Seattle has never won a Super Bowl in its 38 seasons, and its only SB appearance (2005) saw 'Hawks fans bitterly feeling robbed by the officiating. The other three teams in the Final Four are pedigreed, but with a film of dust on their shine. The Patriots last won it all in 2004, the Broncos in 1998 and the 49ers in 1994. Their fans aren't starving like Dolfans are, no, but it's been awhile for each. That makes this a power Final Four but with an underlying shade of Cinderella. By the way, I went 3-1 overall on my Divisional Round picks (missed on Carolina), and 1-2-1 against the spread (had San Diego with points; Seattle game pushed).

Poll result: You want a Denver-Seattle Super Bowl, and a Broncos win: We aked in the last blogpost who you're rooting for of the final eight NFL playoff teams. Extracting the surviving Final Four it's Broncos 29.9 percent, Seahawks 19.0, Patriots 9.9 and 49ers 7.4. (The now-ousted teams were Panthers 21.7%, Chargers 6.5, Colts 3.2 and Saints 2.7).

Updated Super Bowl odds: Via Bovada, it's Seahawks a slight fave at 19-10, with Broncos 2-1, 49ers 3-1 and Patriots 9-2. Early lines look like Seahawks over Broncos by 2.5; Broncos over 49ers by 2.5; 49ers over Patriots by 3; and Seahawks over Patriots by 6.

"WHO ARE YOU WEARING!?": Golden Globes co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler had a funny line Sunday night, thanking "all the women and gay men who are watching." Awards show audiences I guess skew like that, at least by broad stereotype. They might have added, "...and married men whose wives control the 1aa1bissetremote." That'd be me. My wife informed me last night we have entered "awards season." (I did not know there was such a thing, but have a feeling it's going to be a lonng season). The Globes combine film and television. The TV people are identifiable by their bad seats; some of the TV winners are still making their way to the stage. Highlight of the evening for me: an apparently drunk or stoned Jacqueline Bisset (pictured) floating onstage in a trance, in an appearance that answered the question whether she is still alive. (Answer: barely). The only household rule when I watch an awards show with my wife is I can't constantly make fun of the red-carpet preamble and "Who are you wearing?" -- maybe the most absurd question ever invented. So I vent in my blog instead. "Who are you wearing!?" In other words, give [Your Designer Here] a goose of free national advertising. "Who are you wearing!?" In other words, let's shamelessly promote the idea that beauty and high fashion are above all, even though the cost of it makes them beyond most. "Who are you wearing!?" I don't give a crap, because I'd just as soon see you in a T-shirt, jeans and no makeup. Bulletin: About one-third of the the dresses look halfway to hideous, and all tuxedos pretty much look alike.

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February 14, 2013

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James. Poll. Vote!; plus new Dolphins logo, what makes Canes most remarkable, Marco Rubio, D-Wade's new socks & more

1aa1dear[1) It is FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15. How was your Valentine's Day? 2) Truly shocking: South African paralympian Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius charged with murder in death of his girlfriend. 3) Note: Our Heat Big 5@50 feature will appear as play resumes following the all-star break. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Football Town/Basketball Town poll, Banana Joe, McKeon for Pope, Obama. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Heat win again; LeBron scores 39: Miami wins at Oklahoma City last night, 110-100, in possible NBA Finals rematch preview. LeBron James' 39 points pushes to seven his streak of games with 30-plus.

1aa1compMICHAEL VS. LEBRON MORE COMPLICATED THAN JUST A STATS COMPARISON: Though the Heat's red-hot LeBron James has a long way to go in his career, Michael Jordan always will be considered the greater player by those who simply look at scoring titles or perhaps titles won. But that's too easy, as I discuss in my latest column, The All-Round Game, in which I make the case that James is a more complete player who does more things well than did Jordan. Heck, just this week Stan Van Gundy said on 790 The Ticket he thinks LeBron right now is better than Michael in his prime. The notion isn't blasphemy anymore. Jordan told he'd pick Kobe Bryant right now over LeBron because "five beats one every time," a reference to champions. Again, though, it's more than that. Weigh in. Vote in our poll and say why.

WHAT'S MOST REMARKABLE ABOUT THIS CANES' BASKETBALL RUN: Lots of things, is the answer, with the No. 3-ranked Canes men now 11-0 in ACC after last night's big win at FSU -- and maybe the story of the year so far in American sports. But this jumps out to me: Just looked at Chad Ford's Top 30 NBA draft prospects on and (you guessed it) zero Miami guys are on it. From a senior-dominated team. That's another testament to the job coach Jim Larranga has done, and to the balance and teamwork that more than make of for the lack of NBA-wowing talent.

DOLPHINS LOGO CONTEST-WINNER IS QUITE BAD: Maybe I shouldn't say this because The Miami 1aa1dolphlogoHerald ran the contest, but it isn't our fault that readers inexplicably voted whatever on Earth is pictured at right as the best suggestion for a new Dolphins logo. Seriously!? I had to be told that the thing on top surrounding the mysterious black teardrop are interlocking gloves. The helmets on the bottom look like they should be dangling from charm bracelets. All of the nominated new logos including this one underline my long-held belief that there is simply no way to make a grinning, leaping, friendly bottlenose dolphin appear menacing. The team will introduce a new (or at least modified) logo around the April draft. If there is a God in heaven it will be better than this. 

Poll result: Miami still a Football Town, but basketball gaining: We asked in previous blogpost and 43.5 percent answered "Football Town, but margin is narrowing"; 29.4% said we're Basketball Town now; 14.9% said we're clearly still Football Town; and 12.2% said it's about even.

1aa1socksTHE DWYANE WADE SOCK COLLECTION: Heat star and style icon Dwyane Wade is partnering with sock-maker Stance for a soon-to-be unveiled new line of casual and gentlemen's socks. This is a blog. Could I say it if it weren't true? I love the whole idea of upscale, designer socks. They are hidden by pant legs and covered by shoes but if you could see them you'd be impressed!

1aa1marcoMARCO, MARCO, MARCO...: Marco Rubio, of course, is the junior senator from Florida who was considered a rising star in the Republican Party until the moment he was in the midst of delivering his party's nationally televised counterpoint to the president's State of the Union address and decided it would be a good time -- right then -- to chug from a plastic water bottle.

1aa1kanagroos"DEAR GREG...": "...Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a photo of the LPGA's season-opening Australian Women's Open being delayed because dozens of kangaroos are hopping across the course. Thank you." Dear Reader: Sorry. Can't do it.

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October 03, 2011

Dolphins fans and "Suck For Luck": Legit feeling or wrong? (with poll); plus Henne out for year, Hope Solo waters lawn nude, Marlins logo confirmed & more

[Join us on Twitter @gregcote].

Click on At Last, Hope for my latest column previewing the new-look Panthers as NHL play begins. And on Casualties Of a Train-Wreck Season for my earlier column assessing Dolphins at the bye.

1aa1suck2 SHOULD DOLFANS JOIN THE "SUCK FOR LUCK" MOVEMENT?: A pithy slogan that rhymes has a shot to become instant gold in the Internet/Twitterific age, and so every NFL team that is really bad -- including 1aa1dolshirt this one -- finds many of its disgruntled fans chanting or at least advocating "Suck For Luck," i.e., abandoning hope in the name of the overall No. 1 draft pick and Stanford QB Andrew Luck. See, the beauty of being a fan (or in some cases, a sports columnist, for example) is that you can have it both ways. You get to be outraged at the idea your team would throw games or give anything but its best to try to win every week -- while at the same time rationalizing and sort of hoping that's exactly what happens. To be sure, landing Luck would be the ultimate consolation prize of this currently 0-4 Dolphins season, albeit one coming with the price of great embarrassment. But it also forces fans to be anything but real fans, to all but wish months more continued misery on their team and themselves. Not a tough call from an ethical vantage; you play to win, period. But a tougher call from a practical POV, with a legitimate next-Marino type prospect out there waiting to be somebody's savior (so why not ours, say the Dolfan Luckies). Weigh in on Suck For Luck. Vote and tell us why you come down on the side you do.   

1aa1hopelawn NEKKID ATHLETES! WHOOO!: ESPN The Magazine's third annual Body issue is out today, with 22 athletes posing nude though strategically covered. Miami's Helio Castroneves is included but I of course was much more interested in ogling a thoughtful analysis of soccer goalie Hope Solo, who is pictured here. I especially enjoy the photo here of a nude Hope nonchalantly watering the lawn. I believe this photo might star in a future recurring dream of mine that I like to call, "Greeting the New Neighbor."    

HENNE OUT FOR SEASON: No big surprise, but ESPN'S Adam Schefter first reported today that Chad Henne will have surgery on his (non-throwing) shoulder and miss the rest of the season. As a backup to sudden-starter Matt Moore the Dolphins have brought back ex-Fin Sage Rosenfels. Yes, the Sage Rosenfels Experience is back! Miami preferred David Garrard but he demanded too much money. How fitting that Henne's injury -- possibly signalling the end of his Miami career -- happened because of a busted play.

1aa1marlinslogoseat 1aa1marlinslogo MARLINS LOGO CONFIRMED!: The leaked though unconfirmed new Marlins logo at left appears to be the real deal, based on the logo at right that will appear on seats in the new ballpark. The color theme still is not confirmed, but the basic 'M' and stylized marlin in upper left confirm the basic design. 

ME, PICKS: Went a little crazy on some longshot upsets and limped in at 9-7 overall but managed 8-7-1 against the spread, finishing on the plus side with Colts with the points Monday night. Details on this week's Friday NFL predix page.

ME, FANTASY: Better news. Greg's Lobos won big, 186-100, eveming our season mark at 2-2. Got a huge 54 points from Aaron Rodgers and also 32 from Hakeen Nicks, 29 from the Ravens D/ST, and 23 from Greg Jennings. Go Lobos! Dammit.

1aa1bamboo TRIVIA DU JOUR: Bamboo Harvester was the name of the horse that portrayed Mr. Ed in the 1960s sitcom.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE: Our latest updated weekly ranking of the seven FBS teams in our state, with previous week's rank in parentheses. Entering Week 6:

1aa1fla 1. Florida Gators (1) 4-1, 2-1 SEC 

2. FSU Seminoles (2) 2-2, 0-1 ACC

3. Miami Hurricanes (4) 2-2, 0-1 ACC

4. S. Fla. Bulls (3) 4-1, 0-1 Big East

5. C. Fla. Knights (5) 2-2, 0-0 C-USA  

6. FIU Panthers (6) 3-2, 1-1 Sun Belt

7. FAU Owls (7) 0-4, 0-1 Sun Belt

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FALLOUT?: No Hank Williams Jr. warbling "Are you ready for some football?" 1aa1hankjrlast night on Monday Night Football. ESPN cut the intro after some comments derogatory to President Obama made on Fox News. There was a Hitler reference and another to The Three Stooges. Hmm. I'm a big fan of Hank Jr. -- looking at right a bit like Ben Roethlisberger after a long weekend -- but I also respect the prez (this one, and the office). I support Bocephus' right to pander to his Confederate Flag constituency but I also understand and agree with ESPN wanting to keep the smudge of partisan politics off its national brand. I'll continue to like Hank Jr.'s music; "Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound" for me is one of the truly great country songs. But I think I'll think a little less of the man behind that music.

1aa1fashion HIGH FASHION: I think they call it high fashion because the designers were high when conceiving looks such as this one at left, seen at the recent Paris Fashion Week. The goal used to be "something the average woman would wear." Now apparently it's "something the average woman who is Lady Gaga would wear." I mean, seriously.

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a combination of the three major polls: Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN. Points based on 30 for a No. 1 ranking, 29 for No. 2, etc. The combined ranking entering Week 6:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Oklahoma   534   (1)

2   Louisiana State   517   (3)

3   Alabama   515   (2)

4   Boise State   474   (4)

5   Stanford   454   (5)

6   Oklahoma State   428   (6)

7   Wisconson   426   (7)

8   Oregon   386   (9)

9   Nebraska   360  (11)

10   Texas A&M   344   (8)

11   FLORIDA STATE   340   (10)

12   South Carolina   334   (12)

13   Arkansas   319   (14)

14   Virginia Tech   316   (13)

15   FLORIDA   251   (15)

16   Texas   211   (18t)

17   West Virginia   189   (17)

18   Michigan State   188   (16)

19   Baylor   156   (22)

20t   Clemson   149   (25t)

20t   Texas Christian   149   (18t)

22   Ohio State   145   (20)

23   SOUTH FLORIDA   144   (21)

24   Michigan   137   (25t)

25   Arizona State   119   (23)

26   Auburn   117   (27)

27   Georgia Tech   107   (29)

28   Mississippi State   90   (24)

29   Illinois   84   (32)

30   Missouri   58   (28)

37   MIAMI   13   (36)

40t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   7   (39t)

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February 22, 2011

Knicks saying hello 'Melo complicates Heat's dynasty dream (with poll); plus Shockey to Dolphins?, 'Housewives' of Miami, D-Wade's fashion & more

[Thanks to all of today's live chatters. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join us live then, to read transcripts or to post questions any time. Also, follow at]

1aa1hellomelo KNICKS LANDING 'MELO COMPLICATES HEAT TITLE DRIVE: New York loves stars and big headlines, media as much as fans, and pictured is the New York Post splash welcoming Carmelo Anthony in the mega-deal completed late last night. The Knickerbockers, pairing Anthony with Amare Stoudemire, think they have joined Boston and Miami (OK, and Orlando and Chicago) as NBA Eastern Conference power-brokers. Maybe. But if NYK in turn can now sign Chris Paul this coming 1aa1isiaht summer, which becomes much more likely now, then yes. A Big 3 is all the rage now; every team needs to have one. The point is the Knicks suddenly are in position to be a team to be reckoned with, another big, neon obstacle to Miami's dynasty dream as the league's power continues its West-to-East shift. This trade's impact on the Heat isn't the only interest to South Florida. There are plenty of indications that former NBA star and current FIU coach Isiah Thomas (left) helped lure Anthony and broker this deal behind the scenes, as a presumed precursor to Knicks owner James Dolan now bringing Thomas back to the Knicks in a president/GM-type role. Have the Knicks become a major rival to the Heat's title hopes? Take a dip in our poll.

'THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MIAMI': The show debuts tonight, and I feel like Sally Field in Absence of Malice 1aa1housewives stealing papers off lawns, except I want to steal televisions so nobody can watch this. I dare say the real housewives of Miami will be embarrassed by The Real Housewives of Miami. Why would anyone agree to appear on this most shaming franchise in all of not-really-reality TV? Better we should return to the days when the negative connotation of Miami involved murder and cocaine. The six housewives, pictured, are a six-pack of vapidity begging two questions: 1) Aren't there any black women in Miami? Not even one? Or is it that all the black women in Miami had too much pride to agree to be on this show? 2) I don't think Marysol Patton, second from left, has had enough work done. If those lips were any wider or less real looking she'd be Heath Ledger as The Joker. Ooh, too mean? Sorry, Marysol and you five others, but the exchange for your new piss-ant, Snookie-esque celebrity is that you are under now under a microscope that exposes every pore. I have a feeling the hardest-working man in show business is going to be the guy applying the makeup for this show.

SHOCKEY TO DOLPHINS?: Fox's Jay Glazer reporting the Saints have terminted the contract of tight end Jeremy Shockey, the ex-Cane. Let's start some Shockey-to-Dolphins momentum. He's still better offensively than what they have at that position.

1aa1dwade WADE NBA'S TOP FASHION PLATE: Sports Illustrated polled 136 NBA players, asked, "Who has the best fashion sense off the court? " and Heat's Dwyane Wade won big with 29 percent. Next: Kobe Bryant 13% and LeBron James 11%. Pictured left: Wade, being extremely fashionable. [Updated NBA championship odds, via Heat favored at 11-5, then Celtics 7-2, Lakers 4-1 and Spurs 9-2. For MVP it's LeBron James 2-1, Derrick Rose 5-2, Kevin Durant 5-1 and Amare Stoudemire 11-2. Over/under on Carmelo Anthony's scoring average as a Knick: 27.5].

1aa1bayne TREVOR BAYNE SAVES NASCAR: The five years of the Jimmie Johnson reign have been no remedy for NASCAR, which has seen attendance, sponsorships and TV ratings dip during his unthrilling (except to his fans) dominance. A resurgence by popular Dale Earnhardt Jr. would work wonders as the sport's ultimate tonic, but his winless streak has stretched to 94 races now. Vladimir and Estragon waited for Godot less time than we've been Waiting For Junior. NASCAR is looking for a savior, and may have found one in Trevor Bayne (pictured), Sunday's youngest-ever Daytona 500 champion, fresh face personified, one day past his 20th birthday. I have socks older than him. Click here from my column off the race from the Speedway.

A QUESTION FOR DOG OWNERS: This does not apply to me because my old dog Sandy surveys and sniffs her own fenced-in backyard before choosing where to take a crap. But, to the people who walk their dogs so they can crap on other people's lawns: Isn't it true you carry that little plastic bag just for show and that you only pretend to scoop up Fido's gift? I think so. I think you do a quick glance to see if anyone is watching, do the bend-n-pretend, then walk away with a secret grin. Busted!

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this new post throughout the day...

February 14, 2011

Will Heat win the NBA title? (with poll); plus, my Valentine video, 2011 UM football schedule, new SI swimsuits & more

[Three notes: 1) No live chat today because of a conflicting assignment. Chat returns next Wednesday to its regular 1-2 p.m. slot. 2) Click on King George for today's column by me, an ode to retiring St. Thomas Aquinas football coach George Smith. 3) Join us at It's free, and you'll get your money's worth].

WHAT DOES HEAT'S LOSS IN BOSTON "MEAN"? [Update: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were among seven NBA players with brief voice roles in Sunday night's "The Cleveland Show." Don't worry, the show isn't about the Cavs]. I love the rampaging overanalysis of the Heat, and the 1aa1bosmia predictable, hand-wringing conclusion that a three-point loss in Boston Sunday dooms Miami to never get out of the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. Is February not a long way from June? The problem for now is that both teams have a Big 3 but Boston has a (much) better fourth in point guard Rajon Rondo, and also better bigs in the low post in Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins. Not sure that Udonis Haslem's eventual return will solve that. Coach Erik Spoelstra (and Pat Riley, behind the curtain) need to find how to beat the Celtics in a way they obviously (0-3) haven't so far. There also are shades of sobering gloom in Miami being 1-6 vs. the six teams with the best records in the league. Let's take a temperature read on how confident Heat fans are in an NBA title with the season nearing the two-thirds mark and the all-star break near. Try to vote not wishfully, but realistically. Honestly. Vote and say why. 

1aa1brooklyn 1aa1irina SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT ISSUE: The 2011 edition hits newsstands today/Tuesday. Pictured left is the 2010 cover with Brooklyn Decker, and right is new 2011 cover model Irina Shayk. I'm not sure if it is deft marketing or genuine interest that this annual issue is received with such excitement. It's not as if SI is the only mag offering tastefully presented skin. Not as if bikini models can't be found elsewhere. I think much of it is tradition (the swimsuit issue started in 1964) and marketing, such as David Letterman revealing the identity of the 2011 cover model on last night's show, with his Top 10 list presented by a small army of SI bikini-ites. God bless America!

BE A CANE, FOR NO APPARENT REASON: UM athletic department has created a new brand-building fan site called, which allows you to upload a photo of your face onto a Hurricanes football uniform -- so it's like you're an actual player! Try it if you're incredibly bored.

1aa1meandkatie A VALENTINE FROM KATIE AND I: Happy Valentine's Day everybody. University of Miami women's basketball coach Katie Meier took time out from her newly 13th-ranked team and busy schedule to dance the samba with me for this video valentine from us to you. Wasn't that nice of her? Click HERE to watch, listen and enjoy!

CANES' 2011 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE LOOKS REASONABLE...: Here it is, newly announced: Sep 5 @ Maryland; Sep 17 vs Ohio State; Sep 24 vs Kansas State; Oct 1 vs Bethune-Cookman; Oct 8 @ Virginia Tech; Oct 15 @ North Carolina; Oct 22 vs Georgia Tech; Oct 27 vs Virginia; Nov 5 vs Duke; Nov 12 @ FSU; Nov 19 @ South Florida; and Nov 26 vs Boston College. Being realistic, my initial reaction is that the probable losses are Ohio State, Va-Tech and FSU. The should-be automatic wins are K-State, Bethune, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Duke and Boston College. And the swing games are Maryland, North Carolina and South Florida. Handle who you should, take two of three swing games and pinch one of the three toughest ones and you're at 9-3 entering a substantial bowl game, Al Golden. Simple as that. Any questions?

COACH K LIKES FRANK HAITH: You know your job security might be starting to get shaky when the opposing coach who just beat you volunteers effusive praise. This was Duke's Mike Krzyzewski after Sunday's game: "I think Frank's done a remarkable job with this team." And, "I think he's done as good a job as anybody in the league." The question is whether UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt will agree if the Canes (15-10, 4-7 ACC) miss both the NCAA Tournament and NIT again.

1aa1crown HEAT KING-O-METER UPDATE: Update on our unpopular King-o-Meter, tracking which of Heat's would-be Kings is having the better overall season. This is after 52 games, through Sunday's loss in Boston: LeBron James leading Dwyane Wade by 3,011.14 King points to 2,644.31 in our cumulative ranking factoring 10 statistical categories. The two are tied in games led, 26-26. (Regular updates here in the blog whenever you see the crown symbol pictured).

1aa1gaga2 GAGA AT THE GRAMMYS: Guilty pleasure. I like Lady Gaga. I admit it. Also like her new song, "Born This Way," although the echoes of Madonna (especially "Express Yourself") are a little too real for comfort. (Yes I am aware the photo here has a slight crack in it. I assume she'll be getting that repaired...) Highlight of the Grammy Awards, for me: Watching Justin Bieber work hard to not look crestfallen when somebody else' name was called for Best New Artist. The sound you heard at that moment: A nation of 14-year-old girls weeping incredulously.

1aa1amish AMISH HATS: Evidently Amish hats have become popular on European fashion runways (see right). I don't know why. 

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this new post...