September 26, 2015

What do Hurricanes fans think of those anti-Al Golden flyovers? New poll. Vote now!; plus the rarity of the Big 3 all at 3-0, FIU falls, miracle Gators & more


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26. Our Random Evidence blog turned 10 this week. We were's first online blog and we're still the only sports blog that covers local teams, national issues and also delves outside sports, all with an eye on humor. Thanks for joining us on the ride! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphin/NFL Week 3 picks, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson retires right, Jaromir Jagr thwarts a blackmailer, happy birthday to us, Bullygate, Weighing the Fish & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Why do some in the media keep treating Heath Evans -- a grain of sand on the beachhead of Dolphins history -- as if anybody cares what he thinks?" --Greg Cote

WHAT DO HURRICANES FANS THINK ABOUT THOSE ANTI-AL GOLDEN FLYOVERS AT GAMES?: You've seen them. Some simply state, 'Fire Al Golden.' Some are more creative. They are banners pulled by
1aa1aalgolden 1aa1abannersmall planes that have become a fixture above most every Miami Hurricanes home game. Me? I think they are tacky, rude and unfair when the team hasn't even lost a game yet this season. They do the program a disservice. They must make potential recruits wonder about the loyalty of Miami fans. But this poll is about you, not me. I wonder how 'Canes fans feel. Many I've talked to are anti-Golden but also against those banners. Your turn. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

A RARE START FOR STATE'S (ORIGINAL) 'BIG 3,' BUT STILL DOUBTS HOW GOOD CANES, NOLES AND GATORS REALLY ARE: Long before it came to mean LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, "Big 3" in Florida sports meant college football and the Miami Hurricanes, Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles 1aa1abig3(in whatever order you chose). Well, all three teams have 3-0 records, and I was curious how rare that was. I doubted before researching it that it was unusual at all. I was shocked to find out otherwise. As you can see by the list/chart below, 2015 marks only the fourth time in the 62 seasons all three have had teams that all three are 3-0 together. It last happened in 1996. There are doubts, though, if any of the three are really that good. FSU (off this week) is ranked No. 10 but barely got by Boston College last week and is not getting great quarterbacking from Everett Golson. Noles look to be a clear underdog Nov. 7 at No. 11 Clemson. Miami (also off this week) almost blew a 23-point lead vs. Nebraska, and must face both the Noles and Clemson coming up soon. Florida miracle-rallied past Tennessee Saturday (to go 4-0) but now faces four ranked opponents in a row.

Seasons when Hurricanes, Seminoles and Gators all have been 3-0 

Year        Miami coach/QB                   FSU coach/QB                    Florida coach/QB

2015       Golden/Kaaya                        Fisher/Golson                     McElwain/Grier

1996       Davis/Clement (9-3)              Bowden/Busby (11-1)        Spurrier/Wuerffel (12-1)

1993       Erickson/Costa (9-3)             Bowden/Ward (12-1)          Spurrier/Wuerffel (11-2)

1980       Schnellenberger/Kelly (9-3)  Bowden/Stockstill (10-2)   Pell/Peace (8-4)    

College Week 4 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all games today/Saturday):

South Carolina 31, UCF 14: Knights fall to 0-4. Oy.

Louisiana Tech 27, FIU 17: Panthers, now 2-2, 14-point 'dogs, gave it a decent go on road.

Florida 28,Tennessee 27: Miracel Swamp rally for now 4-0 Gators. Good thing. UF now faces four straight ranked opponents.

FAU 17, Charlotte 7: Owls finally off the winless schneid with big defense.

Off this week: Miami (3-0), Florida State (3-0), South Florida (1-2).

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

September 21, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 35.9%; plus UM beats Nebraska 36-33 in OT; also FIU wins, other state Collball Week 3, early verdict on new Herald look & more


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19. Click on Random Evidence for the farewell collector's edition of our last Sunday notes column. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami Herald redesign with poll, NFL Week 2 picks, Seminoles & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My Canes-Nebraska game column: Find our in-game blog directly below the new CSM poll. Click on This Won't Help Golden Much for my game column from the stadium, newly online.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 35.9%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame 1aa1acsmpoll, and they show 35.9 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very"and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday's 36-33 overtime victory over visiting Nebraska putting UM's season record at 3-0. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Next poll: Oct. 1 (following game at Cincinnati)

Interpreting the latest vote: Majority dissatisfaction over UM's blown 23-point lead was balanced by the ultimate win and by the 3-0 record for a slight favorable bump in the overall approval rating. Still significantly below what you'd think the record would indicate, with Al Golden's unpopularity a major factor.

G3: HURRICANES 36, NEBRASKA 33 (FINAL/OT): UNRANKED? NO MATTER. IT WAS A HUGE GAME: Final: Miami led 14-0 fast and then 30-10 and then blew it and saw Nebraska force overtime before surviving 36-33. Wow. So much to like, so much not to. I'll have my game column online soon. ..... Overtime: What an escape! UM wins 36-33 on Michael Badgley 28-y FG after a Corn Elder INT thwarts Nebraska's drive to start OT. That is correct: A team named Cornhuskers were just beaten by a man named Corn. ..... Fourth Q: The unthinkable just happened. Nebraska tied it 33-33 with an 8-yard TD pass and 2-point conversion with 33 seconds to play. Overtime. Nightmare. ... Uh oh. Cornies within 33-25 on 21-y TD pass with 3:46 left. Miami can't possibly blow this game. can it? ... NEB within 33-18 on 10-yard TD pass and 2-point conversion with 8:36 left. ... UM settles for a fourth FG to make it 33-10. Kaaya up to 366 yards, a career high, still with 11 minutes left. ... Kaaya throws end-zone interception, his first turnover of season. ..... Third Q: Deon Bush pickoff for Miami defense brings third quarter to a close. ... UM settles for 41y FG and 30-10 lead after holding penalty negates 19y Mark Walton scoring run. ... Nebraska bags first TD, moves within 27-10 on 22-y pass mid-quarter. ... UM up 27-3 quickly on Joe Yearby's tackle-busting 41-y scoring run. ..... Halftime: Kaaya with 226 yards passing and two TDs and dominant defense spell the first half. Now we see if UM can pull away and make it an impressive rout, or allow a Cornhuskers comeback. ..... Second Q: Huge INT by Artie Burns, his third already this season, for Miami. NEB was driving, threatening to pull within 20-10 and make a game of it late in half. ... Cornies get on board with 49y FG, Canes counter with 27-yard for 20-3 lead. Settled, though, wasting a 53-yard Kaaya completion to Rashawn Scott. ..... First Q: UM adds FG for 17-0 lead. Near-perfect quarter for The U. Three for three on scoring drives; three Nebraska punts. ... Told ya so! Said Brad Kaaya would have a huge day against Nebraska's lousy pass-D and already in the first quarter it's 14-0 on his 10-y TD pass to Chris Herndon and then his 11-y strike to Tyre Tyre Brady. ..... Original post: You know that Nebraska is 1-1 under a new coach, that Miami is 2-0 over little guys Bethune-Cookman and FAU, that neither team is ranked and that both programs are trying to recapture their old mojo and get back to who they 1aa1acanesnebwere. You also know none of that will seem to matter today when the ball kicks off at 3:30 in Miami Gardens. It will feel big. Special. It will be Nebraska's first trip here since the '95 Orange Bowl. It will be a rematch of a titan series that provided UM three of its five national championships and Nebraska one of its five. OK. That's enough with nostalgia, backstory and hype. On to this game! It's seen as a tossup, with Miami favored by three points based on the home field. But that's guesswork because this will be UM's first 2015 test against someone its own size, someone capable of beating the Canes. But will the Cornhuskers win? No. Nebraska has a porous secondary that has given up almost 700 yards passing (692) in its first two games. Brad Kaaya should have a huge day. Miami will show more on offense and defense than we have yet seen in what will be the coming-out party for the '15 Canes. Because of that, the pressure is all on UM, the home favorite. Of course that means the pressure is all on coach Al Golden, as usual. The legitimate rap on Golden is he hasn't won the biggest games in his four-plus seasons here -- that he lacks "signature win"-type victories. This would fit the category, silence the critics if even for a little while. Nebraska may be 1-1, but the stage is big. ABC is televising. The crowd could approach a sellout. Anticipation has been high. Bigger tests lay ahead, yes, but for UM and Golden, shouldn't the credit for winning today mirror what the damnation would be for losing? My pick: Hurricanes 34-23.

Other college Week 3 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all today unless noted):

No. 9 Florida State 14, Boston College 0: A rarity last night. Noles win with defense!

Maryland 35, South Florida 17: Flat roadie for now 1-2 Bulls.

Buffalo 33, FAU 15: Owls stay winless with very disappointing home result.

Furman 16, UCF 15: Stunning, embarrassing home loss has Knights 0-3.

FIU 39, North Carolina Central 14: Panthers now 2-1. QB Alex McGough? Not bad!

Florida 14, Kentucky 9: Florida won a 29th straight game over KY. Some doubted they would. Not me.

Poll result: Reaction mixed to Herald's new look: We invited you to weigh in on the Miami Herald's re-design that debuted this week, and it was 37.6 percent positive, 40.0% negative and 22.4% "still not sure."

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

September 17, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 13, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 09, 2015

Serena Williams is the G.O.A.T. Isn't she? New poll. Vote now!; plus Upset Bird Countdown (2 days), Stephen Colbert, playing what-if with Schellenberger, Marlins 2016 home schedule, Riley on Heat, LeBatard to a.m., SOPY Week 1 rankings & more


1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Marlins Park will host teams from Venezuela and Dominican Republic Nov. 21-22 in the first 'Serie de las Americas' tournament. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, the next-to-last that will appear in the print edition, meaning the newspaper. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canesfan Satisfaction Meter Game 1 poll and results, Hot Button Top 10, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

1aa1acolbertOn Stephen Colbert: His debut last night helming CBS' Late Show was uneven and found him seeming a bit nervous, as you'd expect. The interviews with George Clooney and Jeb Bush weren't great. Some of the bits failed. Make no mistake, though: Colbert is a smart comedic genius or close enough for me, his band is great, and the show will be terrific. Give it time to breathe.


UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 2 DAYS: Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions 1aa1aazcards 1aa1a2in 1aa1afripix

the Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11. We are doing a 10-day countdown. This year's countdown theme is bird-related nicknames from America's Big Four sports, newest to oldest. Today, at No. 2: Arizona Cardinals, born 1920. [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66; #6--Baltimore Orioles/'54; #5--Atlanta Hawks/'51; #4--Philadelphia Eagles/'33; #3Chicago Blackhawks/'26].

SERENA: G.O.A.T. (GREATEST OF ALL TIME)?: Compelling. Watching Serena Williams defeat her sister Venus 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in the U.S. Open last night was great sports, great TV, great theater. I have seldom seen Venus play better; not for years, anyway. Neither have I seen Serena more intense in a match vs. 1aa1aserenawher sister -- a passion she needed to keep alive her dream of accomplishing the sport's first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. Winning the Open this week would also tied Graf's 22 career Grand Slam titles for second all-time, trailing only Margaret Court's 24. Serena, who lives in Palm Beach, will turn 34 on Sept. 26. She is a marvel, a rarity -- playing her best tennis, at this age. I think she will surpass Court and make it mathematically official but, for me, that isn't required. For me, right now, Serena is the greatest women's player of all time. Some of it may be generational (athletes are just better now). Just as it's hard to imagine Bill Russell defending Shaq, it's hard to imagine Chris Evert dealing with Serena's physical game and power. I doubt most will agree with me that Serena is the G.O.A.T. A fraction of the resistance may be racial. I think most of it is simply that Serena is not the easiest athlete to like. She has some diva in her, some temper. But that is part of her game, too. Gives her some of her swagger. In any case, take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: THE ULTIMATE GAME OF "WHAT IF...": Call it Schnellenberger Week in South Florida, with FAU hosting the Miami Hurricanes this Friday night in a battle of the two football programs he built from scratch (Owls) or saved and made powerful (Canes). The occasion was bigger, 1aa1ahow1 1aa1ahow2more historic, in 2013 when these schools met for the first time, but I'll take any opportunity to appreciate Schnellenberger, now 81. (Some may recall my column from Aug. 5 promoting the man for the college Hall of Fame; click on Howard Deserves the Hall to read). This week invites the ultimate game of "What If," Miami sports edition. What if Schnellenberger had never left UM, after that '83 national championship, to pursue that ill-fated Miami USFL job that never materialized? Wouldn't at least some of those subsequent four UM national titles been on his watch? Isn't it very possible he'd have become Miami's Bobby Bowden -- the long-serving Canes coach Miami never has managed in its modern era? Howard is reluctant to admit regrets about leaving UM when he did. "If I had the same group of facts I would have made the same decision a second time," he says. But, with hindsight 20/20, the regret seeps through when he adds, "Common sense says we probably would have been able to continue in the direction we were going, which would include some [additional] championships." Bottom line: "I make a decision and I live with it," he says. And here's the glass, half-full, not empty: Had Howard stayed at UM, he might never have gone on to resurrect the Louisville program or start the one at FAU -- the one with the great little 30,000-seat stadium that is hosting Friday's game because Schnellenberger saw it built. Pictured are two of Schnellenberger's lasting monuments: UM's first national championship, and FAU's campus stadium.  

1aa1adanshowBREAKFAST WITH LEBATARD!: The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz made its ballyhooed move from afternoons to mornings yesterday, debuting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on The Ticket Miami and 10-1 on ESPN Radio. No me, though. I'm the regular Tuesday guest-host, but the show wanted the new-time debut to be feature regulars only, no guest host. My ego had a slight bruise, but I was a little upset totally understood!

Heat's Riley sort of not quite says he has a championship roster: On LeBatard yesterday Heat president Pat Riley said, "This team has all of the elements of a championship team." And, "This team has the opportunity and the possibilities of being a contender. I’m excited about this season." Um, but Pat also said: "You know what I’m going to say. I was a coach, and if I had five guys off the street, I would say we could win a championship. That’s either my naivete' or competitive will."

MARLINS COMPLETE 2016 HOME SCHEDULE: Miami will open the season at home with two games vs 1aa1abbmarlinsthe Detroit Tigers next April 5-6. The complete 81-game home schedule: APRIL: 5-6 vs. Tigers; 15-17 vs. Braves; 18-21 vs. Nationals. MAY: 3-5 vs. Diamondbacks; 6-8 vs. Phillies; 9-11 vs. Brewers; 20-22 vs. Nationals; 23-24 vs. Rays; 30-31 vs. Pirates. JUNE: 1-2 vs. Pirates; 3-5 vs. Mets; 17-20 vs. Rockies; 21-22 vs. Braves; 23-26 vs. Cubs. JULY: 8-10 vs. Reds; 11-14: All-Star Break; 22-24 vs. Mets; 25-27 vs. Phillies; 28-31 vs. Cardinals. AUGUST: 8-10 vs. Giants; 12-14 vs. White Sox; 23-25 vs. Royals; 26-28 vs. Padres. SEPTEMBER: 5-7 vs. Phillies; 9-11 vs. Dodgers; 19-21 vs. Nationals; 22-25 vs. Braves; 26-28 vs. Mets.

SOPY: FAU'S JOHNSON TAKES EARLY LEAD IN 'STATE HEISMAN': Welcome back to the fourth season of 1aa1asopy 1aa1ajjohnsonour blog's SOPY: State Offensive Player of the Year -- our weekly rankings of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams. This is a cumulative ranking that encompasses Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Our Week 1 leader is Jacquez Johnson (pictured), the dual-threat FAU Owls QB the Hurricanes will face in Boca Raton this Friday. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 for Week 1:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 1

Rk      Player, team-pos.                W1/Season

1        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      240.5

2        Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                 181

3        Everett Golson, FSU-qb            175

4        Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                155

5        Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb      151.5

6        Greg Howell, FAU-rb                 150

7        Alex McGough, FIU-qb              148

8t       Will Grier, Florida-qb                143

8t       Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb             143

10       Treon Harris, Florida-qb          142.5

Bubble: Justin Holman, UCF-qb, 140.5. Other team leader: Rashawn Scott, Miami-wr, 106. Season best: Johnson, FAU-qb, 240.5, Week 1. Note: All teams 1 game each.

SOPY Champions: 2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968; 2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107; 2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5.

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

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

September 05, 2015

Lightning strikes! UM clubs Bethune-Cookman 45-0 in opener; plus CSM poll, Dolphins change kickers, Izzy tells the truth, Marino makes wine, Upset Bird Countdown & more


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. Are the Dolphins the sixth-best team in the NFL? Well, this nut says so. Click on The Order for my annual NFL team rankings, 1 through 32. 2) Note, Sunday's Random Evidence notes column will be the next-to-last in print, meaning in the newspaper. Details to come. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Dolphins preseason finale, FIU wins, Brady-wins poll, Fins U-25s, Jimmy Johnson reigns, UM hoops & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins rookie kicker Franks unseats Sturgis: The two players who put the foot in football -- the placekicker and punter -- both will be new for the Dolphins this year. Rookie kicker Andrew Franks beat out incumbent Caleb Sturgis today as the Fins met the 53-man roster max. Last week rookie punter Matt Darr Matt unseated veteran Brandon Fields. You know it has been an uneventful Cut Day when the big new is the kicker. Still, this will be first season since 2007 that Miami has had two new foot-men. That was when Jay Feely replaced PK Olindo Mare and Fields replaced P Donnie Jones.

UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 6 DAYS: Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions in 1aa1afripix


1aa1abaltosthe Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11. We are doing a 10-day countdown. This year's countdown theme is bird-related winged-creature nicknames from America's Big Four sports, from newest to oldest. Today, at No. 6: Baltimore Orioles, born 1954. [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66].

On Al Golden: As the Miami Hurricanes open the new season tonight at 6 vs. visiting Bethune-Cookman, I write why this must be the no-excuses season when UM's coach restores fans' faith and his own future here. Click on Golden Opportunity to read.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: Welcome back to another season of Canesfan Satisfaction Meter 1aa1acsmpostgame polls -- this first one in the wake of tonight's season-opening 45-0 victory vs. visiting Bethune-Cookman. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 9 a.m. Monday.

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2014--2.7% overall satisfaction (following 6-7 season); 2013--16.1% (9-4); 2012--80.9% (7-5); 2011--22.1% (6-6); 2010--4.2% (7-6); 2009--41.7% (9-4).

G1: HURRICANES 45, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 0: SOFT-OPENER, BUT UM DOMINATES: Final--UM 1-0 after an impressive, maybe easier-than-expected 45-0 home rout in a game delayed 75 minutes by lightning. Corn Elder stood out with two long punt-return TDs, though one was nullified. Tough to judge the Canes off this considering the lesser opponent, but it nevertheless was an opening performance tough to criticize. ..... 4Q--UM 45-0 after Gray 2y TD run. ..... 3Q--UM 38-0 on Walton 5y TD run. ... Third and fourth quarters will be 10 minutes, not 15, because of earlier delay. ..... 2Q--UM 31-0 on Elder 72y punt-return TD. ... UM 24-0 on Yearby 25y TD run. ... UM 17-0 on Kaaya-Scott 17y TD pass after 75-minute lightning delay. ... UM denied 17-0 lead on apparent Corn Elder 70y punt-return TD because Herb Waters made an arm gesture that suggested to officials the punt would not be returned. ... UM 10-0 on 25y FG. ..... 1Q--UM 7-0 on Kaaya-Dobard 5y TD pass after Canes gambled to take three points off board following roughing-kicker penalty. ..... Original post: Dolphins stadium is all made-over, aqua seats replacing orange, and tonight starting at 6 p.m. we see if under-pressure
1aa1acanesopenercoach Al Golden's Miami Hurricanes look as good as their refurbished home. They'd better considering the opponent is Division 1AA Bethune-Cookman of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Bethune isn't bad for its size (it was 9-3 last season), but still is a second-tier program that The U had better handle without much trouble. Miami won these teams' most recent meeting in 2012 by 38-10, for example. It will be hard to gauge how good Miami really is tonight, but I'll be especially looking to see how the offensive line is protecting QB Brad Kaaya. My pick: Canes, 41-7.

Other college Week 1 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all today unless noted):

Tulsa 47, FAU 44 (OT): I'd called a road upset by Owls. If only close counted.

South Florida 51, Florida A&M 3: Bulls rout fang-less Rattlers.

Florida 61, New Mexico State 13: Swamp serves up big debut for coach Jim McElwain.

No. Florida State 59, Texas State 16: Ex-Irish Everett Golson sharp in Noles debut.

Thursday: FIU 15, UCF 14: Nice upset as FIU opens 1-0 with road win for first time since '04.

Preseason conference-title odds for state's 7 FBS schools: Percentage likelihoods are based on ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI). ACC--Florida State is favorite at 27.0 percent and Miami is sixth at 5.1%. (Clemson is near co-favorite at 26.8%). SEC--Florida is at 1.2%. (Georgia is favorite at 35.5%). Conference USA--FIU at at 1.0% and FAU at 0.4%. (Louisiana Tech is favorite at 45.3%). American--UCF is at 5.9% and South Florida at 0.3%. (Cincinnati is favorite at 40.9%).

1aa1aizzyFREEDOM: ISRAEL GUTIERREZ COMES OUT: Our friend and former Miami Herald colleague Izzy Gutierrez, now an ESPN star and heard regularly on local radio, revealed yesterday that he is gay. Family and close friends have known for years; the "coming out" is that all now know, a bigger deal -- in scope, not importance -- when one is a public figure. Click HERE to read his simple, riveting truth written in his personal blog, something that I think he'd agree took him a whole lifetime to write. The piece is very honest (of course), and I think it is important to read. I think it was especially interesting how he'd been inspired by others who had come out. Gutierrez in turn will continue that cycle of honesty, by example helping others who are working up the courage to fully be themselves. I'm happy for the freedom and unburdening Gutierrez must now feel. I also congratulate him on his upcoming marriage to his partner; they are pictured here, with Izzy in the shades. He'll be applauded by many for being "brave" or "courageous." I doubt he wants to be seen as that. I think he'd rather just be a guy living his truest life.

1aa1adanwineDAN MARINO WINE. NO, SERIOUSLY: Dolphins icon Dan Marino and former backup quarterback Damon Huard have partnered in a Washington State winery called (pun intended), Passing Time. Huard was the Dolphins backup late in Marino's career, in 1997-99. Their winemaking venture was launched in the spring of 2014 and their first cabernet sauvignon, retailing at around $75, rolled out this year. Marino has been a longtime wine collector and has a cellar in his home. He brings the marquee name to the partnership, while Huard mans the daily operation. The partners are pictured working their vineyard. Below is a short video as they describe their passion.


Poll result: Mixed verdict on court overturning Brady suspension: Most, 56.2 percent in our blogpoll, think Tom Brady got away with cheating and that the federal court was wrong to overturn his four-game suspension. But another 40.1% said it was the right call because the NFL failed to make its case. The other 3.7% were undecided.

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

August 25, 2015

Major annual computer analysis projects stunningly rosy outlook for Dolphins; details here; plus rate my fantasy team. Poll, last day to vote!; also sabotage of Schnellenberger's Hall of Fame chances continues, note to anti-government crowd & more


No radio today: I'll be off today along with vacationing Dan LeBatard and Stugotz as Jorge Sedano continues to fill in for them on The Ticket Miami. Sedano asked me to sit in with him today but conflicting Herald duties will prevent.

1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 25. School's back in session in Broward, as anyone who has confronted morning traffic this week was reminded. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins-Panthers and Rappin' Joe, Entercom's undercut of local radio, NFL popularity verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

1aa1afinsat50Herald's 'Fins at 50' project: ICYMI,the Miami Herald's massive "Fins at 50" coverage commemorating the Dolphins' upcoming 50th season is now online. Click FINS AT 50 to access entire project and all its parts. My contributions: COACHING LEGEND is my column and accompanying video on Don Shula. 50 GREATEST is my list of the 50 greatest figures (not just players!) in franchise history. ALL-TIME TEAM are my picks for that honor. And VIDEO INTERVIEWS includes my conversations with Shula, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas.

NFL COMPUTER PROJECTION OFFERS BRIGHTS NEWS FOR DOLPHINS: Our friends at offer their respected annual forecast of the coming NFL season based on its 1aa1apredixcomputers playing the entire season schedule 50,000 times (so you don't have to), and there is good news for the Dolphins. Spoiler alert: They say Green Bay will win the Super Bowl 31-28 over Indianapolis. Of greater interest in Miami, they have the Dolphins as a playoff team, albeit a No. 5 seed losing in the wild-card round to Baltimore. Their computerized win projections for the AFC East: Patriots 10.0, Dolphins 9.1, Bills 7.9 and Jets 6.5. They say Miami has a 56.9 percent likelihood of a winning record, 28.2% to win the division, 37.2% to be a wild-card team, and 4.8% to win the Super Bowl. But dig this (as we used to say): The computers project Miami has more than a 50 percent likelihood to win 13 games. Seriously. Here is's game-by-game analysis, a computerized breakdown of Miami's most- to least-likely wins: 73.1% win likelihood--G2 at Jaguars; 69.4--G4 vs Jets; 65.7--G7 vs Texans; 63.7--G6 at Titans; 62.0--G14 vs Giants; 61.3--G3 vs Bills; 61.2--G13 vs Ravens; 59.4--G12 at Jets; 56.9--G1 at Redskins; 55.8--G11 vs Cowboys; 54.3--G15 at Chargers; 52.6--G9 at Bills; 50.2--G16 vs Colts; 50.0--G17 vs Patriots; 44.4--G10 at Eagles; and 36.6--G8 at Patriots.

1aa1adraftBLIND-RATE GREG'S LOBOS' FANTASY DRAFT:  My 10-team friends 'n family 1aa1aglobosfantasy football league held its annual draft on Sunday, a technological wonder involving Skyping from Washington DC, Jacksonville and Orlando. Now I invite you (as I do
every year) to rate what you think is the best team in our league -- the one you'd most like to have -- based on each team's first four picks. I know that's tough but who said life was fair? Which quartet would you most like to start a team with? It's a standard PPR (point-per-reception) league hosted by Teams in the poll are listed in the draft order. This is a blind list so you don't know which team is mine, Greg's Lobos, but of course I'll tell you after today's final day of voting who all the teams belong to. It was my draft, now it's your verdict. Vote and say why.

THE WELL-INTENDED SABOTAGING OF HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER CONTINUES: Recently I wrote a column exhorting the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame to bend its
1aa1ahowardeligibility rules to induct Howard Schnellenberger; click on Let Howard In! to read. But in that column I warned: "A well-meaning group of supporters led by major FAU booster John Sasko has undertaken a letter-writing and media campaign to exert pressure to induct their guy. The trouble is, this effort is rubbing wrong some of the very people who need to be convinced to make an exception for Schnellenberger." Update: The public campaign by the "Howard Schnellenberger Hall of Fame Committee," i.e. Sasko and Eugene R. Dunn of Medford, NY, continues, and continues to do a disservice to Schnellenberger's chances. The campaign is well-meaning but stridently tone deaf and plainly hurting Howard's chances. The presidents and athletic directors at Miami, FAU and Louisville should be working proper channels for this to happen. A loud, rogue campaign by two boosters isn't helping. It is doing the opposite.

1aa1afiremanANTI-GOVERNMENT ... EXCEPT WHEN YOU NEED IT: I love this photo because it perfectly encapsulates so much of what I believe about the "anti-government" crowd. Here is a man who wearing a T-shirt that reads "Lower Taxes + Less Government = More Freedom" as he thanks local firefighters for saving his home. Perfect! People want lower taxes ... except when they need what those taxes subsidize. People love to shout, "Get government out of our lives!" ... except when their potholed street needs repaving. People are funny.

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

August 19, 2015

Grading South Florida sports fans: We examine attendance for our 15 most prominent pro and college teams. Who has best fans? Poll. Vote!; plus Herald's 'Fins at 50' project, Heat projection, Jarvis Landry saving dogs' lives & more


1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with UM's Al Golden being ranked No. 1 in a preseason list of college football's "hottest coaching seats." 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): My Don Shula video, Hot Button Top 10, fashionista Serena, Heat/Christmas verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

Delmas out for season: Dolphins safety Louis Delmas will miss the entire 2015 season with a knee injury (torn ACL) sustained in practice, it was announced today. That's a fairly big blow to the defense, but hardly an insurmountable one. 

NFL yardage-leader odds: Via Bovada, Andrew Luck is betting favorite to lead NFL in passing yards at 7-2, with Dolphin Ryan Tannehill 33-1 (13th). Adrian Peterson is 7-2 fave to lead in rushing yards, with Miami's Lamar Miller 50-1 (tie 17th). And Antonio Brown is receiving yards pick at 11-2 odds, with Dolphin Jarvis Landry 66-1 (tie 21st). 

Con-men and South Florida sports: There's an in-depth piece this week at (click here to read) on how South Florida's hustler culture and engulfed Heat players in financial scams. All of this has been well-covered, but this is a comprehensive overview worth your time.

1aa1afinsat50 1aa1afinsat50HERALD'S 'FINS AT 50' SPECIAL PROJECT: The Miami Herald's massive "Fins at 50" coverage commemorating the Dolphins' upcoming 50th season is now online. Click on FINS AT 50 to access the entire project and all of its parts. My contributions: COACHING LEGEND is my column and accompanying video on the great Don Shula. 50 GREATEST is my list of the 50 greatest figures (not just players) in franchise history. ALL-TIME TEAM are my picks for, well, for the Dolphins' all-time team! And VIDEO INTERVIEWS includes my conversations with not only Shula but also with Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. Enjoy! 

1aa1acardreportGRADING THE FANS: EXAMINING ATTENDANCE FOR SOUTH FLORIDA'S 14 MOST PROMINENT PRO AND COLLEGE TEAMS: We examined the attendance of South Florida's 15 most visible sports teams (five pro, 10 college), compared how it ranks among others in its leagues, and doled out grades out how each team is doing drawing fans. Only two of the 14 earned a better than average grade. Our results:


1aa1aheatMiami Heat: Heat averaged 19,712 last season, officially 100.6 percent of capacity. That attendance ranked sixth of 30 NBA teams, even with no LeBron James and a non-playoff team. What Pat Riley has built continues to be a South Florida juggernaut of interest.


1aa1adolfansMiami Dolphins: The Fins averaged 70,035 per game last season, 92.7 percent of capacity. That attendance ranked 14th of 32 NFL teams. For a franchise that last made the playoffs in 2008 and hasn't won in the postseason since 2000, that isn't bad. An improved team and stadium-makeover both will help.

Miami Hurricanes baseball: Canes averaged 2,738 per game last season, which ranked 27th among NCAA Division I schools. UM was one of only 18 schools to surpass 100,000 (101,296) in total home attendance.


1aa1acanesfbMiami Hurricanes football: The Canes averaged 52,518 per game last season. That ranked 40th of 125 NCAA teams at the premier FBS level. "C" means average, and that is what UM attendance, like the team itself, has become.

Miami Hurricanes men's basketball: UM averaged 5,777 per game last season, 93rd of 344 NCAA Division I teams. Canes under Jim Larranaga have ranged from competitive to quite good and must find way to more consistently fill their modestly-sized (just under 8,000) campus arena.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers: The Strikers averaged 3,626 per game in 2014 (combined spring and fall seasons), which ranked ninth of 10 NASL soccer. But attendnace through seven home games in 2015 has risen to 5,551, ranking seventh of 11 teams.


1aa1aballparkMiami Marlins: The Marlins are averaging 22,263 this season through 58 of 81 home games, or 59.5 percent of capacity. That attendance ranks 27th of 30 MLB teams. Clearly, the new ballpark has not been a panacea. But this season has been a major disappointment and will mark a sixth straight losing season, which would be debilitating for most any city's attendance.

Miami Hurricanes women's basketball: UM's women averaged 1,254 per game last season, which ranked 113th of 344 NCAA Division I teams. The good news? That's better than 231 others schools did. The  bad news? Coach Katie Meier consistently fields a quality product that deserves better.

FAU football: The Owls averaged 14,122 last season, roughly half of the stadium's capacity. That attendance ranked 117th of 125 FBS teams. The nifty little campus stadium that Howard Schnellenberger saw built has not been the fan kick-starter hoped.   


1aa1afiufbFIU football: The Panthers averaged 11,966 last season, about half of capacity. That attendnace ranked 123rd of 125 FBS schools, ahead of only Akron and Ball State. FIU must grow to meet the NCAA's 15,000 standard or risk demotion from the top-tier FBS level.

Florida Panthers: The Cats averaged 11,265 per game last season, 66.1 percent of capacity. That attendance ranked dead last in the NHL, 30th of 30 teams. You can't get lower than that, so shouldn't the grade be rock-bottom, too? I can't see how this franchise can survive long-term in South Florida unless it starts consistently winning and the fan interest jumps commensurately.

FIU men's basketball: Panthers averaged 1,474 per game last season, 268th of 344 Division I men's teams.  

FAU men's basketball: Owls averaged 1,346 per game last season, 281st of 344 teams.

FAU women's basketball: Owls women averaged 601 per game last season, 294th of 344 teams.

FIU women's basketball: And playing the caboose, Panthers women averaged 355 per game last season, 310th of 344 teams. That's officially "friends 'n family" territory.

NFL: IF THE BACKUP QB'S WERE STARTERS...:, evidently with time on its hands, used its computers to figure how each team's playoff likelihood would change if the No. 2 quarterback were to start all 16 games. The biggest dropoff was New England's minus 54.4 percent from Tom Brady to Jimmy Garoppolo. The least was Jacksonville's plus 2.3% from Blake Bortles to Chad Henne. Miami had a modest 11.4% dropoff from Ryan Tannehill to Matt Moore, which ranked midpack (17th) in the league. It was 52.7% with Tannehill and 41.3% with Moore, who had the third-highest percentage of any backup.

WHY PLAY THE SEASON? HERE'S HOW HEAT WILL FINISH:'s eighth annual NBA "Summer Forecast" is out, and its experts panel says Miami will finish fourth in the Eastern Conference at 47-35, after Cleveland (59-23), Chicago (50-32) and Atlanta (50-32). I think that's overestimating the Hawks and think the Heat have a great shot at third. Miami would host fifth place Washington in the first round of the playoffs if the forecast holds true. So there. Why even play the season?

JARVIS LANDRY WANTS TO SAVE YOUR DOG'S LIFE: The Dolphins' second-year receiver has recorded a public-service video for PETA urging you to avoid baking your dog in a closed car. Sounds like good advice! Here it is:


SEMI-HOT MARLINS: In a respite from The Lost Season, a small island in the roiling sea, your Marlins have won five of their past seven games, despite Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich all being on the DL. This rivals the second-best stretch Miami has had all season, deferring only to a 9-1 run April 22 to May 2. I continue to think this team can be very good next season, with a real manager and much better health the starting requisites.

THE LIST: NFL COACHING VICTORIES: The 10 winningest coaches for combined regular season and playoff career victories, and their percentage of losing seasons:

Coach                     Wins       Losing seasons

Don Shula               347          6.1% (2 of 33)

George Halas          324        15.0% (6 of 40)

Tom Landry            270        31.0% (9 of 29)

Bill Belichick          233        25.0% (5 of 20)

Curley Lambeau     229        18.2% (6 of 33)

Paul Brown            222         16.0% (4 of 25)

Chuck Noll             209         30.4% (7 of 23)

M. Schottenheimer 205           9.5% (2 of 21)

Dan Reeves            201         39.1% (9 of 23)

Chuck Knox           193         36.4% (8 of 22)

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

June 20, 2015

The ultimate "South Florida's Favorite Sports Team" poll. Last chance to vote!; plus we're back from vacation & more


I'm back!: The wife and I have returned to the Motherland after an eight-night stay in Paris. I'm back on the Herald clock Monday but will have a brand new blog post here tomorrow/Sunday morning, including a new Hot Button Top 10 and (unavoidably, I'm afraid) a synopsis of my week-plus in Paris including photos. 2) 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine, because we'll be posting stuff while away.

1aa1akingofmiamiLAST CHANCE TO VOTE IN THE ULTIMATE "SOUTH FLORIDA'S FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM" POLL: Baseball is in full bloom, basketball and hockey have just wrapped up their seasons and summer means football is getting close enough to
hear the pads popping. So this is as good a time as 1aa1akingofmiami2any to wonder what South Florida's favorite team is, and I invite you to answer that question in the poll below. We're focusing here on teams at the pro or college level in the Greater Miami market -- and you may only choose one. I know that's tough because, if you're like me and most, you follow multiple teams and certainly care about more than one. But you can only care about one the most, right? By whatever criteria you choose to use, name that team! (Hey, nobody said life was easy, or fair). With apologies to any teams left out, I had to keep the poll to a manageable length and make some tough calls, but included an "other" category for that. So think about which SoFla pro or college team you love best or follow most avidly -- the one that is simply the most important to you -- then take a dip in our poll and say why. Final results announced here Sunday so vote now!

Check back a lot to monitor evolving results above...

December 04, 2014

Do you believe Jameis Winston? New poll. Vote!; plus Scintillating vs. Silly with UM fans, Duke Johnson wins 'state Heisman'; also 'Goodbye RGIII' video, Barkley is right, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy & more

1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4. I'm at Friday Page Headquarters today divining my Week 14 NFL predictions. Pray for me. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins edge Jets, DSM poll & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Dolphins catch a break: Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowl run-stopper, today was suspended for the remainder of the regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. So he's erased from Sunday's Dolphins game here.

WINSTON DENIES RAPE ALLEGATION: I have no idea whether Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is guilty and lying or falsely accused and telling the truth. Neither, chances are, do you. It's he-said/she-said, the 1aa1ajwinstonissue is consent and it's risky to make assumptions. Winston's long-awaited two-day student conduct hearing over the rape allegation against him ended Wednesday with no decision yet reached. Winston declined to answer questions but did read from a five-page statement, declining any guilt. In part: "I did not rape or sexually assault [the accuser]," the statement reads. "I did not create a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment in the short period of time that we were together. [She] had the capacity to consent to having sex with me and she repeatedly did so by her conduct and her verbal expressions. I never used physical violence, threats, or other coercive means. I never endangered [hers] health, safety, or well-being." Click here for the story. Do you tend to believe Winston based on your knowledge of the case? Take a dip in our poll, and try to separate whether you are a Seminoles fan or hater from what you honestly think.

SCINTILLATING VS. SILLY AT UM: What's scintillating right now -- Hurricanes men's basketball -- isn't getting the full attention it deserves because of the distraction over what's silly: the pointless speculation over football coach Al Golden. Jim Larranaga's men's hoopers are now 8-0 and surely will 1aa1ajiml
1aa1aalgrise from their No. 15 poll ranking after Tuesday night's 70-61 home win over No. 24 Illinois. Yet the obsession these days of UM fans in general and of the media seems to be the job status of Golden following a disappointing 6-6 season. All of this was perfectly reflected last night at the arena when a "Fire Golden" chant briefly bloomed, only to be tamped out by annoyed fellow attendees directing attention to the basketball game, please. (Pictured left, the heroic Larranaga. Pictured right, Golden, being chased by an angry mob). The Golden chatter is silly because it's moot. Golden's job is not in jeopardy; UM is not considering a coaching change. Maybe we won't be able to say that a year from now, but it's ironclad-true today. Yet false rumors percolated yesterday about an imminent firing. One local radio host reported he'd been told by a source that Golden was getting the boot; then, when that proved false, the same host Tweeted, "I'm NOT a journalist!" Effing hilarious. Meanwhile, a few Board of Trustee members continue in the role of shadow snipers, anonymously criticizing Golden. The Trustees should stop with the cowardice, and the local media should cease and desist with what has become a far too common practice of using anyonymous sources. Well, at least that's what I was told by a "close associate" of a journalism professor who requested anonymity!

SOPY: CANES' DUKE JOHNSON WINS "STATE HEISMAN": Well, something went right for the Miami Hurricanes this year. Duke Johnson went right. UM's Duke of Gables comfortably beats Florida State's 1aa1asopy 1aa1adukejJameis Winston in our season-ending, blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings: the "State Heisman." The SOPY rankings end with the 12-game regular season and do not include conference title games or bowls, so every school is on even footing. This is a cumulative ranking of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Florida only played 11 games, not making up its lightning-canceled opener. UCF plays its final game Thursday night, but the result has no bearing on the overall lead so we present the final rankings now. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The final 2014 SOPY Top 25:


Rk      Player, team-pos.                LW     Season

1        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         111     1,968

2       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb         90.5    1,844

3        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb     142.5   1,765

4        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            161     1,513

5        Justin Holman, UCF-qb           85     1,468.5

6        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            35      1,255

7        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        35      1,211

8       Alex McGough, FIU-qb            DNP   1,063.5

9        Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb       47        958

10      Matt Jones, Florida-rb             29        924

11. Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb, 906; 12. Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 881; 13. Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec, 874; 14. DeMarcus Robinson, Florida-rec, 830; 15.Breshad Perriman, UCF-rec, 815; 16. Treon Harris, Florida-qb, 799; 17. Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb, 797; 18. Mike White, SoFla-qb, 782.5; 19. Jonnu Smith, FIU-rec, 768; 20. Clive Walford, Miami-rec, 718; 21. William Stanback, UCF-rb, 667; 22t. Andre Davis, SoFla-rec, 636; 22t. Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 636; 24. Anthon Samuel, FIU-rb, 617; 25. Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb, 612.

SOPY Champions

2014    Duke Johnson, Miami-rb                1,968

2013    Jameis Winston, FSU-qb                2,107

2012    Stephen Morris, Miami-qb             1,900.5

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

BARKLEY IS RIGHT ON FERGUSON RIOTERS: Race is a fascinating thing. If I (white as a linen napkin) call the folks rioting and looting in Ferguson, Mo. "scumbags" it comes off as racist. Black Charles 1aa1abarkleycBarkley can say it -- and did. It's still controversia, but not the way it would be if said by a white commentator. Barkley is right, by the way. "Scumbag" is an inflammatory word, but do people destroying property and looting merit much better? I hate that the looters claim an entitlement based on their outrage over the Michael Brown shooting and the police-shooter's non-indictment. Righteous protest and civil disobedience are wonderful things, part of the our freedom. Looting isn't. Not under any circumstance. Barkley sounds more like Rush Limbaugh in calling the police "the only thing in the ghetto between this place being the wild wild West," and saying, "There's a reason they racially profile us at times." But in lambasting the looters, I can't imagine he'd get much disagreement from anyone but the looters.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 13 SEES PICKS UNEVEN, LOBOS PRAYING: We update you briefly every 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixweek on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: We went a fairly solid 11-5 overall but only 7-9 against the spread despite a pair of nice outright upset picks with Falcons over Cardinals ("Aawwk!") and Jaguars over Giants. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos won, 118-69, led by Calvin Johnson's big 38 Bird Day points, improving to 6-7 on the year. We're in a four-way tie for our league's final playoff spot entering the last week. However we stand fourth on the tiebreaker ladder, meaning we need a small mirale. Um, make that a large miracle.

GOODBYE, RGIII: A smart, expertly done ode to Robert Griffin III's downfall, to the tune of Elton John's Candle in the Wind:


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