October 21, 2018

Who should be the Miami Hurricanes' starting QB? Rosier vs. Perry poll. Vote now!: plus Heat drop home opener but Wade stars (and my column), other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 7 picks, your Heat expectations verdict, The List & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwudHEAT HOME OPENER BEGINS THE FAREWELL TONIGHT: Heat lose 113-112 but Wade stars. One outta two ain't bad. For my column from Saturday night: Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss Him. Original post: Miami's 31st NBA home opener is tonight at 8 vs. Charlotte in the bayside arena. The season's earliest indication is that the Heat will be just what we thought they'd be: a competitive team that will be fighting for one of the East's lower playoff seeds, not luxuriating among the conference's elite. Tonight also begins the season-long goodbye for brothers in arms Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem in their final Heat season. My recent column on Wade's farewell season: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

Select other recent columns: Our latest NFL picks: Week 7 Gems. Also: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-GoodNo More Excuses, Florida Panthers. And Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback.

RichtHURRICANES' TO-DO LIST FOR THE BYE WEEK: "Things To Get Accomplished On Our Off-Week, by Mark Richt: No. 1--Settle on a starting quarterback I can trust and win with. No. 2--See No. 1." The Canes are humbled to be out of the Top 25 for the first time all season as they lick the wounds of last week's 16-13 loss at Virginia, take this week off, then come back next week (Friday night) at Boston College. That's no easy game, by the way. It's another loss-threat. BC is 5-2, also will be coming off a bye, and is 4-0 at home. Could be close to a pick-'em game. Richt benched Malik Rosier for N'Kosi Perry only to reverse field during the UVA game. So who's the starter moving forward? In a prime-time road game at BC, I guessed Richt (pictured) would make the safe call (Rosier), and am right. But this can't be a quarter to quarter thing. Miami needs a fulltime QB. At 5-2 UM still is fighting to return to the ACC Championship Game so it isn't as if the rest of this season is all tinkering and forward-looking. The bowl outlook has shrunk; Auburn in the Music City Bowl is one projection I've seen. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. For now: A quarterback, please! And I mean beyond just Friday night. Your UM QB thoughts are invited in this poll. It's alphabetical, by the way. P before R. Vote now.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Miami idle, here's chronological Week 8 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

Marshall (5-2) beats FAU (3-4), 31-7: Was surprised the Owls flew to Huntington, West Virginia as a 2 1/2-point road favorites. My surprise was borne out. Year 2 a struggle so far from Lane Kiffin.  

FSU (4-3) beats Wake Forest (3-4), 38-17: This game followed Miami and preceded visit by No. 3 Clemson, but Noles avoided the Sandwich Game letdown.

No. 10 UCF (7-0) beats East Carolina (2-5), 37-10: Starting quarterback out injured? No problem for Knights.

No. 21 South Florida (7-0) beats UConn (1-6), 38-30: Bulls, favored by 32, narrowly avoid shocking home defeat.

FIU (5-2) beats Rice (1-7), 36-17: The ButchCats are having a much better Year 2 under their new coach than is FAU, by the way.

Off this week: Miami (5-2; next at Boston College) and No. 11 Florida (6-1; next vs. No. 8 Georgia).

Week 8 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State; 16-North Carolina State at 3-Clemson; 22-Mississippi State at 5-LSU; and 12-Oregon at 25-Washington State.

Other select recent columns: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 08, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.1%; plus Perry leads 28-27 miracle-rally pat FSU! Our game column; plus other state Collball (Gators!), your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 5 picks, World Series rooting-interest poll, Rocketman trailer & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our column from Canes' rally past FSU: From the stadium today on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, visit: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

Recent select other columns: By Mark Richt's smartly calculated design, the Hurricanes' emerging young quarterback N'Kosi Perry has faced little to no pressure in his first three college appearances. That changes today: We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry. And for our latest NFL predictions: Week 5 Gems Also: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 91.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 91.1 percent overall approval -- the combination of Csm"very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 28-27 home victory over Florida State putting No. 17 UM's season record at 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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 9:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 55% approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

G6: 91.1% following 28-27 victory vs. FSU.

Next poll: Oct. 13 following game at Virginia.

G6: NO. 17 HURRICANES (5-1) BEAT FLORIDA STATE (3-3), 28-27: PERRY'S 4 TDS LEAD HUGE COMEBACK: For our column from the game: Kid QB Passes His Big Test ..... Final synopsis at Miami, 28-27: What to say? UM rallies from 20-7 halftime deficit as redshirt-freshman QB N'Kosi Perry throws four TD passes, three of them after halftime. Miami and FSU have played 63 times. Plenty of previous games have been bigger, with greater stakes. But few have left Miami fans spilling happier into the night than this one ..... 3Q synopsis at FSU, 27-21: Wow. Just when dirt was being shoveled onto UM's chances, TD passes from Perry to Cager and then Thomas have Miami right back in it ..... Halftime synopsis at FSU, 20-7: Miami ties it 7-7 on big 4th-and-2 gamble by Richt, who eschewed easy FG try to watch Perry toss 10-yard TD to Cager. It was downhill from there. Perry sack-fumble loss set up FSU field goal, then 44-yard Noles punt return set up TD pass. Then Richt 4th-and-3 gambled in last minute backfired, led to 53-yard FSU field goal. UM has dug itself big hole in what is unexpectedly a low-scoring game thus far ..... 1Q synopsis at FSU, 7-0: Noles QB Deondre Francois has been sharp, while Canes' attack sputtered to two punts in the quarter. Running game OK but N'Kosi Perry (2-6, 18 yards) off to quiet start ..... Original post: Visit We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry for my column previewing today's game. It isn't the 5-0 vs. 5-0 battle of unbeatens that danced through our heads leading up to the season, but FsumiaSeminoles at Hurricanes still resonates as special -- UM's biggest rivalry and biggest home game of the season even with FSU 3-2 and UM 4-1. Miami is a 14-point favorite for Saturday's 3:30 Hard Rock kickoff before ABC cameras, but that betting line feels fat. I see it closer. I see the first real challenge Miafsufor new Canes starting quarterback N'Kosi Perry in his fourth college game and second career start. The toughest test yet. UM seeks consecutive wins in the series for the first time since 2004, but to do that the Canes must beat FSU in Miami for the first time since '04. Miami lost the last two home games at the Orange Bowl to FSU, and all four at Hard Rock. "That's a meaningful history we need to change the course of," said UM coach Mark Richt, who sees the rivalry as undiminished: "Just the amount of great players who have been in this series," he noted. "How many great players have been on the field at the same time. It's kind of mind-boggling how many first-round, second-round, third-round draft picks that have played in one game." Saturday, UM's pass defense better show up vs. Deondre Francois, how has thrown for 646 yards the past two games. Richt said he envisions a day when Miami vs. FSU has national championship stakes again. "Right this minute I wouldn't say everybody is looking at this game saying it's going to decide who's in the College Football Playoff," he said. "I think for it to be really, really great, it's got to get back to that, and I think it will get back to that. "But it isn't there right yet." My pick: Hurricanes 34-26.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With the Miami-FSU game above, here's chronological Week 6 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 22 Florida (5-1) beats No. 5 LSU (5-1), 27-19: Unbeaten Tigers were 3-point faves in the Swamp, but I told you to beware the Gator. Florida has now won three straight SEC games and big defense rose up again Saturday.

South Florida (5-0) beats UMass (2-5), 58-42: Bulls, off a bye, were 14-point road picks to stay unbeaten and continue wooing the reluctant polls.

FAU (3-3) beats Old Dominion (1-5) at FAU, 52-33: Owls were comfortably favored in the home nest to get Lane Kiffin his misplaced mojo back.

No. 12 UCF (5-0) beats SMU (2-4), 48-13: Knights were favored by 24 at home to stay unbeaten and (maybe) crash the top 10.

Off this week: FIU (3-2; next vs. Middle Tennessee).

Week 6 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 19 Texas beats No. 7 Oklahoma, 48-45; Florida beats LSU (see above); and 6-Notre Dame beats 24-Virginia Tech, 45-23.

POLL RESULTS: NO CONSENSUS, BUT IT'S BREWERS, RED SOX FOR WORLD SERIES: We asked which of the eight final World Series contenders now in divisional play has your rooting-interest to win it all, and the vote was wildly without consensus. The Brewers and Red Sox led with 18.18 percent each, followed by the Yankees at 16.36% and Indians at 14.55%. The second tier: Braves 10.91%, Rockies 9.09%, Dodgers 7.27% and Astros 5.45%.

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 29, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 98.7%;plus UM crushes North Carolina 47-10 as QB Perry plays whole game; also, our latest Canes/Dolphins/Heat columns, NFL Week 4 picks & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29. Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): D.Wade emotional on farewell season, Herald Week 3 NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State rankings, latest Back In My Day video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our columns from this week:

HURRICANES: A coach, still looking for his magic man: It wasn't Brad Kaaya. Evidently isn't Malik Rosier. Is it N'Kosi Perry? Finding a great quarterback remains Mark Richt's elusive Holy Grail. That column: Finding Great QB Defines Canes' Season.

DOLPHINS: Defining moment in modern club history is at hand: Unbeaten Fins can stake claim to a power shift in AFC East but to do so must do Sunday what hasn't been done: Beat Tom Brady in Foxborough. That column: For Fins, Moment Of Truth Is Here.

HEAT: On Wade's farewell year: From Heat Media Day as training camp began, an emotional Dwyane Wade discusses his final Heat season.That column: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 98.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-high 98.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 47-10 home victory vs. North Carolina putting No. 16 UM's season record at 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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 10 a.m. today/Saturday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 70%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

Next poll: Oct. 6 following game vs. FSU.

G5: NO. 16 HURRICANES 47, NORTH CAROLINA 10: PERRY AT QB, BUT HARDLY NEEDED: Canes have the national stage to themselves Thursday night at 8 vs. North Carolina before ESPN
Uncmiacameras at The Rock. It's an ACC Coastal Division game -- UM's conference opener -- so, as much as the season-opening loss to LSU hurt, losing this one would hurt Miami more tangibly in terms of eventually getting back to the ACC Championship Game. With UM an 18-point favorite over the weaker-than-usual Tar Heels, such a loss isn't seen as likely. The U's quarterback situation will be squarely in the spotlight tonight, after N'Kosi Perry replaced Malik Rosier early in last week's win over FIU and played well. Who is Miami's starter from here? Perry? Rosier? Some of both? Whomever has the hot hand? Richt declined to say on Wednesday. Surely we'll know more after tonight. (UNC's QB situation also is up in the air, pun intended, with a likelihood Nathan Elliott and Chazz Surratt both might play). For Miami, dynamic big-play receiver/returner Jeff Thomas should be good to go after dehydration issues last week, but safety Jaquan Johnson and WR Ahmonn Richards are battling knee concerns. Richards' draft stock slips by the day as he continues to display proneness to injury. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-16.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Thursday night's Miami game above, here's chronological Week 5 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 13 UCF (4-0) beats Pittsburgh (2-3), 45-14Knights rolled big to make a run at top 10.

FSU (3-2) beats Louisville (2-3), 28-24: Seminoles (UM's next foe) rallied to get a little mo' going for Willie Taggert.

Florida (4-1) beats No. 23 Mississippi State (3-2), 13-6: Huge defensive road upset should get Gators ranked.

Middle Tennessee (2-2) beats FAU (2-3), 25-24: Bad last-second loss for Owls continues rough sophomore year for Lane Kiffin.

FIU (3-2) beats Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-4), 55-9: A no-worries home win for Butch Davis' Panthers.

Off this week: South Florida (4-0).

Week 5 national Top 25 matchups (5): No. 12 West Virginia beats No. 25 Texas Tech, 42-34; 4-Ohio State beats 9-Penn State, 27-26; 8-Notre Dame beats 7-Stanford, 38-17; 11-Washington beats 20-BYU, 35-7; and 19-Oregon beats 24-Cal, 42-24.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-PATRIOTS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: The Dolphins are going into dreaded Foxboro on Sunday and beating Tom Brady, who is 14-0 starting at home vs. Miami. It will be a watershed road win that signals a power shift in the AFC East. Well, at least that's what I think! I say why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We are a stout 30-16-2 overall and more importantly a strong 27-20-1 against the spread entering Week 4. Now let's keep it going! Dive into Week 4 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included within is a separate link to Thursday night's Vikings-Rams pick, or find it directly here. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing the height of giddy optimism.

Other select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 24, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 84.0%; plus UM handles FIU 31-17 as N'Kosi Perry comes off bench to star. Our thoughts on UM's QB situation: also, why Dolphins will beat Raiders and rest of our NFL Week 3 predictions & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22. Football's back! That makes this the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL Week 2 QB Rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State, Marlins Man, the real FitzMagic & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal update: As many know from following me on Twitter, I had recent thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest and am in recovery mode. I'm on pain meds and on rest and no-drive orders this week. That's why I've cut back on a bunch of stuff such as a temporary reduction in Herald workload, no LeBatard Show and so forth. Thanks for the understanding. Hope to be back at it starting Monday.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 84.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-best 84.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 31-17 home victory over FIU putting No. 21 UM's season record at 3-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there showed 51% overall approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

Next poll: Sept. 27 following game vs. North Carolina.

Battle305G4: NO. 21 HURRICANES (3-1) BEAT FIU (2-2), 31-17Final: Miami, 31-17. Synopsis: On the day UM honored its 1983 championship team, the men who set the template, Miami may have found its next quarterback. N'Kosi Perry was pretty great Saturday in the 31-17 rout of FIU, replacing Malik Rosier with the game scoreless and taking impressive charge (17-25, 224 yards, 3 TDs), one interception his only blemish. I say rout because the final score does not reflect the lopsidedness. Miami never trailed and was never in jeopardy. But! This was FIU for Perry, a game where the idea of losing was no real concern. This coming Thursday night in prime time vs. North Carolina -- the season's ACC opener -- will tell more about The U's QB situation than Saturday did. The Tar Heels are not great, but, unlike FIU, they are a team UM's size. A fair fight. A challenge. Who starts that game at QB for Miami -- and how he performs -- will shape Mark Richt's ultimate decision more than what we just saw ..... 3Q: Miami, 31-0. Synopsis: An even bigger mismatch than imagined, but the story of the game is N'Kosi Perry replacing Malik Rosier and QB and lighting it up, although his third-quarter interception was a youthful mistake ..... Half: Miami, 24-0. Synopsis: Score doesn't show it even show UM's utter dominance. FIU has no shot, cannot move the ball (13 total net yards) on this Canes defense. N'Kosi Perry is 12-for-13 for 170 yards, two TD passes and all four scoring drives in relief of Malik Rosier. Mark Richt has himself a decision to make moving forward. Or, maybe it's already made? .....  1Q: Miami, 7-0. Synopsis: N'Kosi Perry in at QB for Malik Rosier is the news. Perry looks sharp. Travis Homer 35-yard TD for the score. Earlier 78-yard Jeff Thomas punt-return TD negated by penalty. FIU offense doing nothing. Miami in charge ..... I'll be semi-live blogging here throughout today's game, with up-to-the-minute scoring updates plus quick thoughts after every quarter ..... Original post: Here we go today/Saturday at 3:30 at Hard Rock, in front of ESPN2 cameras, the Hurricanes coming off a solid win at Toledo that failed to move them up in the polls, and crosstown neighbor FIU having hung 63 points on UMass and (as always) looking for respect. Emotion frames the matchup, of course, because so many players on either team grew up friends in MiafiuMiami, and mostly because of what happened when they met 12 years ago, in the 2006 season. BRAAAWWWLLL!!! Both benches emptied, a melee ensued, eight Panthers and five Canes were ejected, and 31 players from both teams were later suspended. Both coaches (Larry Coker, Don Strock) would lose their jobs after that season. The Backyard Brawl obviously was not the sole reason, but it was a shared embarrassment that helped shelve the natural rivalry as a regular series. UM won the brawlgame 35-0. The schools met the next season without incident, Miami winning 23-9. Today is the schools' first meeting since, the first in 11 years and only the third ever. Nobody anticipates an ugly reprise of '06. Said UM coach Mark Richt: "There will be guys getting their blood pumping. But I don't really anticipate anything foolish. I've not mentioned one thing [about the '06 brawl]to our guys." Second-year FIU coach Butch Davis, formerly with UM, of course, recruited the players who would win the 2001 national championship (Miami's most recent), but has a long way to go to hoist FIU onto a competitive par with UM. As we'll likely see Saturday. My pick: Hurricanes, 41-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami-FIU game previewed above, here's chronological Week 4 schedule for the rest:

No. 16 UCF (3-0) beats FAU (2-2), 56-36: Teams got the national ESPN spotlight Friday night with Knights coming off an unexpected bye after Hurricane Florence erased last week's game at North Carolina. UCF, a 2-TD fave, used big second half to crush Lane Kiffin's Owls.

FSU (2-2) beats Northern Illinois (1-3), 37-19: Most recent years this would have been a walkover for Seminoles, but now-struggling FSU was a rather modest 9 1/2-point home favorite as new coach Willie Taggert bought an ounce of patience.

Florida (3-1) beats Tennessee (2-2), 47-21Gators seem to be finding their groove, and this was impressive road win in a big SEC matchup.

South Florida (4-0) beats East Carolina (1-2), 20-13: A win is a win, but this one likely won't be enough vault Bulls up into the Top 25.

Week 4 national Top 25 matchups (2): No. 1 Alabama beats No. 22 Texas A&M, 45-23; and and 7-Stanford beats 20-Oregon, 38-31 in OT.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-RAIDERS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to defend The Rock and beat the Raiders here Sunday to forge a 3-0 start for only the fourth time since 1998. I explain why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We were a stout 20-10-1 overall and more importantly a strong 19-12-1 against the spread entering Week 3. Now let's keep it going! Dive into Week 3 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included within is a separate link to Thursday night's Jets-Browns pick, or find it directly at Week 3 Thursday Gem. Got off to another win-win start to our new week, only one point off a rare Exacto on the final score. Thank you, Baker Mayfield!) Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing the height of giddy optimism.

Select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 17, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.7%; plus No. 21 Hurricanes ride Rosier's 5 TDs at Toledo, NFL Week 2 picks, Bachelor Dan gets engaged & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15. Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald debuts weekly NFL QB rankings, Week 1 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State rankings, new Back In My Day video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Newest columns: On D.Wade's decision, Dolphins running game: Dwyane Wade is taking longer than most (including Pat Riley) would like to make his Heat-or-retire decision. I explore the delay, why it isn't bad and what Wade will do: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right Call. And: Ryan Tannehill is better when he throws less, and running more leads to Dolphins success. Enter Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. To read: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3 76.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 76.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 49-24 road victory at Toledo putting No. 21-ranked Miami's season record at 2-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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 10:45 a.m. today/Monday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote; the CSM vote there for this game was 62%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

Next poll: Sept. 22 following game vs. FIU.

G3: NO. 21 HURRICANES (2-1) WINS AT TOLEDO (1-1), 49-24: Original Post: Guaranteed: Saturday's noon matinee in Ohio will not be nearly the breeze Miami enjoyed Toledo Theuwith last week's 77-0 home rout of woefully overmatched Savannah State. Toledo is an actual competitive team. Smaller than The U. But competitive. Miami is only a 10-point favorite. Toledo's little 26,000-seat stadium will be jammed and this will be a season-maker for them. As Canes coach Mark Richt said: "We'll get everything they've got." His Toledo counterpart John Candle: "I think everybody on our team wanted to play this game on June 1. This is not just another game." Toledo beat VMI 66-3 in its opener and is coming off a craftily positioned bye week. In last year's meeting at Hard Rock the Canes trailed Toledo 16-10 at the half and were only up 38-30 in the middle of the fourth quarter before pulling away to win 52-30. None of this is to suggest Miami should be worried. As Candle put it: "Whoever made that saying up, 'You always get better from Week 1 to Week 2,' didn't have to play the Hurricanes in Week 2." Still, unlike last week, this is not a game where Richt will likely enjoy the luxury of playing all four quarterbacks. Malik Rosier will start and I doubt any other QB will play unless Rosier is struggling. Richt: "Bottom line is we're going to play who we think gives us the best chance of winning. As long as [Rosier] is that, he'll start. If we think someone else gives us a better chance, we'll start that guy." Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence for Malik. This is a game that must not slip away from UM if the Canes are to rebound from that opening loss to LSU and still make this a special season. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-23.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami game previewed above, here's chronological Week 2 schedule (all Saturday) for the rest:

No. 18 UCF (2-0) at North Carolina (0-2), POSTPONED: No game as scheduled on account of Hurricane Florence. Schools are discussing makeup date.

Syracuse (3-0) beats FSU (1-2), 30-7: After barely beating lowly Samford, humbled 'Noles were mere 3-point road faves. Can Willie Taggert survive this?

South Florida (3-0) beats Illinois (2-1), 25-19: Off nice win over Georgia Tech, Bulls should be headed for Top 25 od at least rappin' on the door.

Florida (2-1) beats Colorado State (1-3), 48-10: Gators seem to be finding their a feet after slow start.

FAU (2-1) beats Bethune-Cookman (1-2), 49-28, 6: Fowl Owl on the Prowl! The Lane Train is back on track.  

FIU (2-1) beats UMass (1-3), 63-24: Panthers off nice win at Old Dominion were narrow home faves but showed up big.

Week 3 national Top 25 matchups: No. 12 LSU beats No. 7 Auburn, 22-21; 24-Oklahoma State beats 17-Boise State, 44-21; and 4-Ohio State beats 15-TCU, 40-28.

PicksDOLPHINS-JETS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 2 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to go on the road and upset the Jets on Sunday. I explain why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday (but online Thursday) NFL picks launched with a bang last week as we rolled a nifty 10-5-1 mark against the spread. That's solid. Strong. Now we need to keep it going. Dive into Week 2 Gems for all my latest picks. (Included there is a separate link to Thursday night's Ravens-Bengals pick). Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing wishful thinking.

DanvalerieBACHELOR DAN FINALLY GETS ENGAGED!: As you may know I broke the news on Thursday of Dan Le Batard's recent engagement to girlfriend Valerie Scheide. Go to Le Batard Headed to the Altar for the controversial full story -- controversial in the sense that I didn't warn Dan I was writing it or get his permission and he was less than pleased at being scooped on his own announcement. (Oops!) I think he'll forgive me. I may have to rethink that if you don't hear me on the air this coming Tuesday. Meantime here is the lovely couple and congrats to them both!  

Other select recent columns: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 09, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (G2): 73.8%; plus UM routs Savannah State 77-0 as all 4 QBs play in home opener, with my game column; also, rest of state Collbal, NFL Week 1 picks, R.I.P. Burt, farewell Elton & more

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

Ejohn1) It's SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Elton John kicked off his three-year farewell tour last night. Elton's farewell tour will last longer than most others' entire music careers. 2) R.I.P., Burt Reynolds, gone at 82. Saw him as Vic Edwards in "The Last Movie Star" last year. A real actor. Forget the cheeky "Smokey and the Bandit" stuff. Check out the serious roles. He'll be missed. Also was an FSU running back in the '50s. 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy draft poll and results, MLS Miami gets name and logo, latest Back In My Day & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NEW: Tonight began soft stretch in Canes schedule that's all about the quarterback: Don't be overly impressed with Saturday's 77-0 UM win, considering the utterly outmanned opponent. Be more impressed that coach Mark Richt played all four quarterbacks in a newly introduced effort to find a better Malik Rosier ... or his replacement. That's my new column. To read it: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway. Other most recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... and NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 73.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 73.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of 1aa1csmSaturday night's 77-0 home victory over Savannah State putting No. 22-ranked Miami's season record at 1-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote; the unofficial approval there was 40%).  

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

Next poll: Sept. 15 following game at Toledo.

SavumG2: NO. 22 HURRICANES (1-1) 77, SAVANNAH STATE (0-2) 0: A PAUSE TO CORRECT THE FLAWS AS ALL FOUR QBS PLAY: For my column from the stadium off Saturday's UM home opener: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway ..... Original post: Here are two teams that could play, "Who's Coming Off the Worse Loss?" Savannah State, a second-tier FCS-level school, lost 52-0 to Alabama-Birmingham. But Miami's loss, given the stage and stakes, was worse: the 33-17 neutral-site collapse against LSU that sent the Canes cascading down the charts from a No. 8 national ranking to 22nd. Savannah State can't offer redemption this evening/Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hard Rock, but it is a chance for UM to get a little bit of feelgood back after a deflating opener. With the game off the betting boards because of its expected lopsidedness, it would be a bit concerning if Miami didn't cruise by a margin of at least 40 or 50 points. College coaches have it easy. Unlike in the NFL there are games like this one where winning is not a question, so you have the luxury to just flex your roster, tinker with what needs tinkering and not worry the least about the opponent or final score. In this case quarterback play will be under the microscope for coach Mark Richt, with starter Malik Rosier coming off an inaccurate opener that included a pick-six, and with at least two younger QBs expected to see action along with Rosier. The enthusiasm for this Hurricanes season took a huge hit with the opening-week loss. You don't get it back against an opponent like this one. But an impressive rebound win is a necessary first step. My prediction: Hurricanes, 62-3.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami game previewed above, here's chronological Week 2 schedule (all Saturday) for the rest:

South Florida (2-0) defeats Georgia Tech (1-1), 49-38: Bulls had no problem with a small opening opponent (Elon) but now took a  big step up in competition with slightly favored Ga-Tech. And delivered.

FAU (1-1) defeats Air Force (1-1), 33-27: Lane Kiffin got spanked at Oklahoma in a 49-point loss but here was a comfy 9 1/2-point pick in the Owls' home opener.

No. 19 UCF (2-0) defeats South Carolina State (0-2), 38-0: Knights throttled UConn and now got another softy in an off-the-board mismatch. 

FSU (1-1) defeats Samford (1-1), 36-26: Noles tumbled from rankings (19th) after a 24-3 spanking by 20-Virginia Tech that ended new coach Willie Taggert's honeymoon right quick. Now they get to take it out on poor lil' Samford, Bobby Bowden's alma mater. Except they almost lost! Lucky Noles needed a late rally to avoid a monumental embarrassment.

Kentucky (2-0) defeats No. 25 Florida (1-1), 27-16: Gators entered poll, albeit barely, after 53-6 rout of Charleston Southern but their stay will be short-lived after terrible loss as 14-point Swamp favorites.  

FIU (1-1) defeats Old Dominion (0-2), 28-20: FIU opened with 10-point loss to Indiana but was 1-point road fave in this conference game, and neatly rallied from 17 down to win behind James Morgan's three TD passes. Of more gravity, two FIU players -- top RB Antonio Jones and OL Mershawn Miller -- were shot in a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, a calamity for the families and the last thing coach Butch Davis needed. Miller's wound was minor. Jones' wounds are serious but non-life threatening and Davis said "encouraging reports" suggest a recovery.

Week 2 national Top 25 matchups: The only two: No. 3 Georgia defeats No. 24 South Carolina, 41-17; and 10-Stanford defeats 17-Southern Cal, 17-3.

Picks RtannyWELCOME BACK, UPSET BIRD! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Oh lord here come our 28th season of Friday (but online Thursday) NFL picks. When we started this endeavor in 1991 Ryan Tannehill was a 2-year-old toddling around Lubbock, Texas and (if memory serves) Tom Brady was an NFL rookie. All these years later we haven't been fired yet are still at it. For Kickoff Weekend we bring you our picks for Dolphins-Titans, our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and more. Dive into Week 1 Gems for the whole package. (It includes a link to last night's Falcons-Eagles pick. Atlanta led much of the way toward our upset call; alas, Philly prevailed late). By the way, the Upset Bird is back. But please follow our picks, anyway. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield. At left, Tannehill is shouting at you, "Hey, read Greg Cote's picks, everybody. But only when he picks us to win!"

Other select recent columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 04, 2018

G1: Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 9.2%: plus Radio Tuesday!, UM drops opener to LSU, 33-17 with my game column, Opening Week for rest of state collball, latest Hot Button Top 10 & more

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

Labor1) It's TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4. Hope y'all  had a Happy Labor Day, the date on which we all celebrate work by not working! 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): What team owns this town with poll, latest Back In My Day video, your verdict on No. 1 fantasy pick & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, 9 to 1 on Miami's 790 The Ticket and 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Join us! 

DON'T BAIL ON CANES, BUT TIME FOR MIAMI TO REMIND US WHY WE THOUGHT THE U WAS BACK: NEW COLUMN: To read my column of UM's 33-17 season-opening loss to LSU Sunday night: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... Other most recent Canes football columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsCanes Could Go 12-0 and Still Have Mountain to ClimbNow We See How Hurricanes Handle Burden Of ExpectationsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town.

Annual NFL team rankings: Dolphins higher than you think: My annual NFL Team Rankings are out, and who's No. 1 might surprise you. So might how low the Patriots are ranked, how high the Dolphins are, and a bunch of other stuff, too. Check it out, 1 through 32: NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

CsmG1: CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: 9.2%: Results are certified in the season-first Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 9.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday night's season-opening 33-17 Miami Hurricanes loss to LSU in Arlington, Texas. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football 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, the season as a whole, the 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 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote).

 

CaneslsuG1: NO. 25 LOUISIANA STATE DEFEATS NO. 8 HURRICANES, 33-17: RUGGED OPENER FOR UM'S SEASON OF HIGH HOPES: Turnover Chain made no appearance and Malik Rosier was pretty bad until a late spurt in Miami's 33-17 loss to LSU. [Find link to my game column above] ..... Original post: Miami opens its much-anticipated season a slim 3 1/2-point favorite over LSU in this nationally televised, neutral-site matchup at the Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas. Will LSU fans turn the joint into Death Valley? Or will RichtCanes fans win the crowd? In either case a loss out the gate will feel devastating, while the winner gets to feel like a national contender. Said third-year UM coach Mark Richt: "Until you play somebody, you really don't know. There are no warm-up games here. We will be physically and mentally tested. It will be a gut check." Veteran Canes quarterback Malik Rosier will be expected to outplay LSU transfer Joe Burrow, making his first college start against Miami's havoc-wreaking, Turnover Chain-getting defense. But the Tigers' defense figures to be a big challenge for Rosier, too. I feel like the two team's rankings are accurate, that UM is better all-round, including Richt's coaching edge over Ed Orgeron. And I'll be surprised if that Turnover Chain doesn't change hands at least twice. My prediction: Hurricanes, 24-16.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL WEEK 1: There are seven FBS-level college football teams in Florida. With Sunday's Miami game previewed above, here's Week 1 chronological schedule for the rest:

No. 21 UCF defeats UConn, 56-17: Strong Thursday night debut for self-proclaimed 2017 national champs and new coach Josh Heupel, behind McKenzie Milton's five TD passes. 

No. 7 Oklahoma defeats FAU, 63-14: Sooners, a three-TD home fave, absolutely spanked Lane Kiffin to open his second Owls season, after last year's 11-3 gem.

South Florida defeats Elon, 34-14: Bulls roll comfortably here but will have tough time matching last year's 10-2 season.  

Indiana defeats FIU, 38-28: FIU was a 10-point home underdog and played to the odds as Year 2 began for Butch Davis following progress of last year's 8-5 season.

Florida defeats Charleston Southern, 53-6: Gators with a big Swamp debut for new coach Dan Mullen as Feleipe Franks tosses 5 TD passes.

No. 20 Virginia Tech defeats No. 19 Florida State, 24-3, 8 Monday: Seminoles a 7-point pick as new coach Willie Taggert debuts and Week 1 wraps up.

Week 1 national Top 25 matchups: In addition to Miami-LSU and Virginia Tech-FSU, there was No. 9 Auburn beating No. 6 Washington 21-16, and 12-Notre Dame beating 14-Michigan, 24-17.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Ouch! UM crushed by LSU tonight as season of high hopes begins: Ready, set ... hype! Hurricanes fans had the swagger back. An ESPN prediction model had UM going 12-0. The College Football Playoff was the goal. All Mark Richt's Canes had to do was not lose Sunday night to keep that buzz going. Instead, a buzz-kill opener: 33-17, LSU.

2. DOLPHINS: Ready or not, Fins, here come the real games: An encouraging 34-7 win in Atlanta closed a 1-3 preseason for Miami, but forget that. All that matters now is the season opener next Sunday here vs. Tennessee. Opposite UM, it's a season of low expectation for the Dolphins. Can they erase the prevailing doubts?

3. GATORS/SEMINOLES: Florida coasts in opener, FSU on deck: Florida began the Dan Mullen era with a 53-6 Swamp rout of Charleston Southern, meaning Mullen ain't done nuthin' yet. Willie Taggert takes his first bow Monday night for No. 19 FSU vs. No. 20 Virginia Tech. Now that's an opener.

4. HEAT: We're still waiting, Mr. Wade: With the first preseason game coming at the end of this month, it might be an opportune time for free agents Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem to inform the Heat whether they'll be re-signing with Miami. Wade says it's Heat or retire. We know you'll be back, guys. So say it, already!

5. SOCCER: Miami MLS team to unveil name, colors: A source, whom I prefer to call "a Little Birdie," tells us the Jorge Mas/David Beckham group's Miami Major League Soccer team set to begin play in 2020 will unveil its name, colors and other details this week. Alas, despite my suggestion, they won't be the Miami Lobos.

6. FIU/FAU: Davis, Kiffin both fall in openers: Years 2.0 for FIU's Butch Davis and FAU's Lane Kiffin began with losses Saturday. Panthers fell to Indiana 38-28, after Owls got crushed at No. 7 Oklahoma, 63-14. A little humbling isn't a bad thing, Lane.

7. TENNIS: U.S. Open reaches midpoint: Men's No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal and 17th seeded woman (but favored -- c'mon) Serena Williams are in action today/Sunday as tennis' fourth major of the year. Serena routed sis Venus. Even more impressive: Serena's purple tutu dress.

8. MARLINS: Fish win but continue mired in elongated slump: Miami beat Toronto Saturday as Martin Prado returned from the DL with three RBIs before losing Sunday. Fish are only 8-22 since July 30 as homestand continues. Latest from the 100-Loss Meter: Current pace 64-98. 

9. COLIN KAEPERNICK: His grievance will go to trial: Kaepernick's collusion grievance against the NFL will go to trial, a big legal win for the quarterback blackballed (though not officially!) because he instigated the anthem-kneeling protests now in their third year. His best evidence? Still unemployed! 

10. NFL: It's fantasy draft weekend: Has your league had its fantasy draft yet? Better get to it, with NFL season opening this Thursday night. Only sure bet with fantasy drafts? You'll think your team is a lot better than it really is. Me, too.

Missing the HB10 cut: You know outspoken Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is doing something right when I can't decide if the NFL needs more players like him or I want him to shut up ..... The national group, People Who Feel Sorry For Urban Meyer is meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth ..... Just to torment Marlins fans, Giancarlo Stanton became the fifth-fastest to 300 career home runs ..... Marlins released their 2019 spring and regular season schedules. Based on this year -- can't wait!! ..... In the WNBA playoffs, four teams are alive in the conference finals entering Sunday games, and I can't name any of them ..... The Big 3 basketball league crowned a champion, and nobody cared ..... Headlines I Never Imagined Seeing (one in a series): "Usain Bolt Makes Pro Soccer Debut In Australia" ..... Update. Countdown now 2,850 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 27, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus the good, bad and ugly of Fins' 3rd preseason loss; also, fantasy football poll, 4-Man Outfield, Fins in fantasy Top 300, The List, your Stanton verdict & more

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

Mccain1) It's Monday, August 27. R.I.P., John McCain, the war hero, great statesman and independent thinker who passed away last evening at age 81 from brain cancer. 2) Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Stanton back in Miami with poll, me back from vacation, Herald endorses alien-abduction survivor, Canes' recycled uniforms, R.I.P. Aretha & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday and updated-Monday feature -- back for the first time since August 5 after three weeks' vacation -- is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Countdown 6 days until UM football season opener: It's No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU next Sunday in prime time on ABC in a neutral-site season opener in Arlington, Texas and the only football game in the nation that day. Canes' most anticipated season in years has a chance to be special but starts with a major challenge. This ain't no soft opening, folks.

2. DOLPHINS: Tannehill sharp again but Fins fall to 0-3 in preseason: Miami played its starters much of the game Saturday night at The Rock. Ravens did not. Baltimore won, 27-10, dropping Miami to 0-3 in fake games. The good news? Comeback-strong Ryan Tannehill is a sharp 29-for-39 this preseason for 247 yards, one TD and zero picks. 

3. HEAT: Wade, Haslem re-signing with Miami seems nearly certain: Isn't official yet, or announced, but you'd probably be safe to bet on Heat legend Dwyane Wade and franchise lifer Udonis Haslem, both free agents, each signing again with Miami. Welcome back, fellas.

4. MARLINS: Miami ends its Braves jinx: Rebuilding Marlins had lost nine in a row to Atlanta before winning two straight prior to Sunday's series-ending loss up there. Now it's two straight at Fenway against the best team in baseball. Fish are fighting to avoid a 100-loss season. Current pace: 65-97.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: And we're underway!: Week 1 of Division 1A college football began Saturday night with four minor games. There are three opening-week Top 25 matchups. Beside Miami-LSU, they are No. 14  Michigan at 12-Notre Dame next Saturday, and 20-Virginia  Tech at 19-FSU a week from Monday. 

6. FIU: Davis' second season launches in 5 days: FIU Panthers begin second season under Butch Davis this coming Saturday at home vs. Indiana (and three weeks later face the Hurricanes). Can Cats build on success of last year's 8-5 record?

7. FAU: Kiffin 2.0 opens with brutal opening test: Colorful, attention-getting Lane Kiffin's second season with the FAU Owls begins this coming Saturday with a bang (and very likely a loss) at No. 7 Oklahoma. Owls ended last season 11-3 with 10 straight wins, so Kiffin is the King of Boca Raton until further notice.

8. TENNIS: French Open tells Serena how to dress: The French Open instituted a new dress code pretty much specifically designed to prevent Serena Williams from again wearing her skin-tight "cat suit." Some saw it as an affront to women's right. Um, let's save our outrage for causes that are actually important, shall we?

9.YOUTH BASEBALL: LLWS crown decided Sunday: Hawaii defeated South Korea on Sunday ("U-S-A! U-S-A!") for the Little League World Championship title. From what I've seen of some of these "kids," let's check those birth certificates, OK?

10. GOLF: Another week with Tiger not winning: The PGA Tour's Northern Trust in New Jersey wrapped up Sunday and somebody won but it wasn't Tiger Woods.

Missing the HB10 cut: A Los Angeles restaurant jokingly presented Astros pitcher Justin Verlander a $1 million lunch bill after he beat the Dodgers. Um, what'd be the 15 percent tip on that? ..... Jemele Hill and ESPN are parting ways. Meaning she can now criticize Donald Trump without fear of admonishment or suspension ..... Update. Countdown now 2,857 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

BaldolPS3: BALTIMORE 27, DOLPHINS 10: A FEW POSITIVE SIGNS AMID OVERALL BLIGHT: Ryan Tannehill (11-for-16, 115 yards, 110.2 rating) looked sharp -- again -- including a 75-yard TD drive finished by a Danny Amendola catch last night. But there isn't a lot else good to say about a 27-10 loss to Baltimore and an 0-3 fake-game record -- especially because, while Miami treated the game as a dress rehearsal, the Raven sat most of their key players. Overall the Dolphins were dominated in possession time, allowed 223 hyards rushing, had eight penalties, were 2-for-12 on third down conversions, and the backup QB stunk again. Oh, and the offensive line gave up five sacks. We thought last night would be true gauge, with both teams playing starters and trying to win. We wrote so here: Unveiling: The Dolphins Are About To Be Revealed. Instead the Dolphins tried harder to win, making the result all the more jarring. Perfect snapshot of the night: Fins linebacker Kiko Alonso getting lost and running toward the Ravens sideline before sheepishly being turned around, embarrassed, and making the long trek across the field to his own sideline. Kiko and his team. Befuddled. And without much time left to discover answers. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL POLL: WHO'S YOUR NO. 1 OVERALL PICK?: My two fantasy league drafts are almost here. Yours probably are, too. IN the poll below are the top 10 projected players, via ESPN.com, based on a PPR league, with the list alphabetical, not by ranking. Vote who among these top 10 would be your No. 1 pick. Click here for ESPN's complete top 300. To save you time, Dolphins making the list are: RB Kenyan Drake (42nd), WR DeVante Parker (94th), WR Kenny Stills (102nd), WR Danny Amendola (112th), RB Frank Gore (206th), QB Ryan Tannehill (220th), WR Albert Wilson (225th), TE Mike Gesicki (247th) and RB Kalen Ballage (277th). I thik Amendola would be my first pick among Dolphins receivers. And I like Tannehill as a backup. Anyway, who's No. 1 overall? Vote now!

POLL RESULT: WE'D HAVE CHEERED A HOMER BY YANKS' STANTON: We asked, "Should Miami fans have cheered if the Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton hit his 300th career home run here this week at Marlins Park?" And the vote was 

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): YELICH, STANTON BATTLINGThroughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current (though injured) Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the most highly regarded prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog when we remember to. The latest:

Player, Team                                  OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers           .906  116 463 89 143   67  27-4-23     .309

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees       .879  129  505 84 141   82  27-1-32    .279

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals           .728  123 484  52 133   69  13-2-16     .275

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins               .570   84  290  22  54   30   6-4-10     .186

THE LIST: UNBEATEN AND WINLESS DOLPHINS PRESEASONS: With Miami now 0-3 in the preseason, we were curious how rare that unbeaten and winless preseasons (including no ties) have been in the Dolphins' 52 seasons -- and how that correlated to that year's regular season record. Well, there have been a total of only eight, and there is a correlation to season success:

UNBEATEN (5x)

Year (Record)        Coach/QB                Regular season

1976 (6-0)             Shula/Griese            6-8, no playoffs  

1979 (4-0)             Shula/Griese            10-6, won division, 0-1 playoffs

1981 (4-0)             Shula/Woodley         11-4-1, won division, 0-1 playoffs 

1998 (4-0)             Johnson/Marino       10-6, 2nd in division, 1-1 playoffs

2009 (4-0)             Sparano/Henne        7-9, no playoffs

WINLESSS (3x)

Year (Record)        Coach/QB                Regular season

1966 (0-4)             Wilson/Wilson Jr.     3-11, no playoffs

1989 (0-4)             Shula/Marino           8-8, no playoffs

2012 (0-4)             Philbin/Tannehill     7-9, no playoffs

Note: QB refers to most regular season games started that year. 

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 05, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): A new No. 1 not used to being there, and see what else falls where; plus our APSE-winning columns, Miami's Top 25 Sports Figures & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 5. Surprise and delight the Dolfans in your life with our Fins At 50 book. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ranking Miami's Top 25 Sports Figures for 2018, thank you APSE & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Ranking Miami's 2018 Top 25 Sports Figures: I last did one of these in late 2015 and man has a lot changed around here in two-plus years. Does Dwyane Wade hang on to No. 1? Where do newcomers Derek Jeter and David Beckham land? Who's the top Dolphin? You're a click away from those answers and more. For the column and full list, click Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hot1. PANTHERS: Six straight! Cats surging toward playoff pace: The HB10 doesn't often smile this much on the Panthers, but they've been as good as any team in NHL the past five weeks, winning 13 of the past 16 games including six straight after Sunday's 4-1 win over Philly in a home matinee. Florida is today one only one point off playoff pace but with three games in hand. Cats failed to make a trade-deadline deal, but apparently no help is needed, thanks.

2. HURRICANES: UM men open ACC tourney; women out: Jim Larranaga's Cardiac Canes ended regular season with four straight wins by three points or less to finish 22-8 entering the men's ACC Tournament in Brooklyn. UM opens Thursday night vs. winner of North Carolina  vs. Syracuse or Wake Forest. Meanwhile Katie Meier's Canes women followed a 20-9 season with a 1-1 ACC run, beating Wake Forest then being eliminated by Florida State. Both UM teams should get an NCAA Tournament invite, the men more assuredly.

3. DOLPHINS: Combine, Landry, Quinn fill busy week: With top receiver Jarvis Landry hot on the trading block, Miami dealt a 4th-round draft pick to the Rams for starting-caliber defensive end Robert Quinn. Meantime the NFL Scouting Combine in Indy wrapped up this weekend with coach Adam Gase giving incumbent QB Ryan Tannehill a strong vote of confidence ... and Dolfans left to wonder if that's a good thing.

4. HEAT: Miami gets lift from homestand: Miami hardly seemed a playoff team in that defenseless 131-113 home loss to the Lakers but is 3-1 on this homestand. As Heat hosted its annual Family Fest for fans on Sunday, team had lost nine of its past 12 before beating Detroit here Saturday -- the team chasing Miami for that eighth and last East playoff spot. Heat is erratic but it appears depth will earn a postseason ticket.

5. MARLINS: Hot spring so far for Fish: Little is expected this season of the Fire-Sale Fish, but they're 6-3-1 this spring entering Monday. I know. It's meaningless. A mirage. A dream. Still, um, can we start the playoffs right now!? 

6. HORSE RACING: Big upset in Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream:  Quite a spring for the Hallandale Beach track. The Pegasus World Cup just ran and the Florida Derby is coming; now, Sunday brought the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a Kentucky Derby prep race highlighted by 7-5 betting pick Good Magic. Alas, 18-1 longshot Promises Fulfilled led wire to wire to cast the Derby picture into unfocused confusion.

7. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Six days 'til Selection Sunday: Brackets ready? March Madness will be upon us in six days, after this week's conference tournament results dole out automatic bids and let the bubble teams make their case.

8. ALY RAISMAN: Olympic gymnast sues over Nassar scandal: Gold-medalist Aly Raisman is suing the U.S. Olympics Committee and USA Gymnastics over the Dr. Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Right on! This will settle, because there's no way those two shamed groups will want to endure further shame in open court. 

9. SOCCER: MLS in Miami, yes, but where still in doubt: Major League Soccer's 23rd season began this week. Miami will have an expansion team in the 25th. But where will team's permanent home be? Overtown as assumed? A larger site in Doral? Somewhere else? If David Beckham doesn't even know, we sure can't.

10. UM BASEBALL: Canes face rival FIU, begin ACC play this week: Slow-starting UM is 5-6 after two straight wins, but the season gets interesting starting this week. Wednesday the Canes visit rival FIU, then host Notre Dame in a series launching the ACC schedule. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Well, [bleep], I made the national Top 10 in column writing from the Associated Press Sports Editors this week, a pretty big deal in the sports journalism biz, and if Greg Cote can't brag in his own damned blog, where can he  brag!? ..... When do the Winter Olympics start? In South Korea, right? ..... Jerry Jones vs. Roger Goodell. Any way they can both lose? ..... Sentences I Never Imagined Writing, one in a series: "New manager Dave Martinez had a trio of camels brought to Nationals spring training to help players get over franchise playoff hump" ..... And another: "J.R. Smith threw soup at a Cavaliers assistant coach." What a terrible waste of soup! ..... Keep doing what you're doing, Stoneman Douglas survivors and other students. Show us the way. The world is watching.

ICYMI: OUR APSE CONTEST-WINNING COLUMNS: These were the five submitted 2017 columns that earned us a Top 10 national designation from the Associated Press Sports Editors:

March 1: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing.

April 22: Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose.

May 15: NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering.

July 24: What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer.

October 1: With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional recent columns: For One Night: Magic City  /  Fins Must Find Their Future  /  Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed  /  Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season  /  Will You Make The Leap Of Faith The Marlins Are Asking? And our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing. Also: UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them? LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Others: Richt Building Something Big & Something To LastDear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameThe Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksWade Will End Where He BelongsRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 03, 2018

Ranking Miami/SoFla's Top 25 Sports Figures in 2018. New column!; plus thank you, APSE: 3 ways I'm grateful, and 1 reason it doesn't matter; also, Magic City for one night & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MARCH 3. Happy to be done with sad February. Welcome, new month! 2) Surprise and delight the Dolfans in your life with our Fins At 50 book. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): This is week Dolphins must find their future, latest Back In My Day video (Uber!) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwadeRANKING MIAMI/SOFLA'S 2018 TOP 25 SPORTS FIGURES: I last did one of these in late 2015 and man has a lot changed around here in two-plus years. Does Dwyane Wade hang on to No. 1? Where do newcomers Derek Jeter and David Beckham land? Who's the top Dolphin? You're a click away from all of those answers and many more. For the column and full list, click Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018.

Our most recent other columns:  For One Night: Magic City  /  Fins Must Find Their Future  /  Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed  /  Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season  /  Will You Make The Leap Of Faith The Marlins Are Asking? And our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing.

THANK YOU, APSE: THREE WAYS I'M GRATEFUL, AND ONE REASON IT DOESN'T MATTER: Yesterday the Associated Press Sports Editors completed its annual contest judging, and look who turned up as Top 10 in column writing. Yep, me. The five columns the Miami Herald entered for me are listed below. I'd like to tell you three reasons why I'm honored by this, and one reason why it doesn't matter:

Apse(*) I'm honored because the APSE awards are to written sports journalism what the Oscars are to actors. It's national. It's the big prize. And in my case, the Miami Herald is in the major-outlet category (over-175,000 circulation), and so our competition is the likes of the New York Times, Boston Globe, USA Today, L.A. Times and ESPN.com. It was me against the giants, so it pleases me to be placed in their company. (By the way, I laughed out loud the first time I saw on Twitter that, in my case, some joked that they thought "over 175,000" was an age category. Funny!).

(*) I'm honored because variety is the thing I like most about my job. I have been a beat writer who covers the same team every day, and, for me, it got boring. Column writing presents me a blank palette, more freedom to roam. I go for variety in my subject matter, and so it was very pleasing to me that of the five 2017 columns chosen by my boss to enter in the contest, none were standard Dolphins/Heat/UM football fare. All were off the beaten path to a degree.

(*) And I'm honored because the columns of mine that got me in the top 10 offer a little bit of a lesson, I think, for the evolving newspaper business, which, in its increasing and understandable emphasis on the digital product over the print product, is increasingly obsessed with writing only stuff that generates a lot of online "clicks," and eliminating subject matter that does not. I think most of my five winning columns were probably not click monsters, but resonated very much with those who did read them. Sometimes, that still needs to be enough.

(*) Now, why it doesn't matter is because of the capriciousness of contests and judging, the randomness of it. I have always believed that about writing awards; now I can say it without it sounding like sour grapes. There is no validation here. I have had better years and better columns, but got lucky that these five happened to resonate with enough judges who liked them. Hundreds of sports writers who've never been handed a plaque are doing good work every year, every day. Keep it up, brothers and sisters, because it's always about readers, not judges.

Thanks to all of our readers, listeners, followers, clickers and thinkers -- especially those loyal long-timers. Now here are the five 2017 columns that happened to win for me:

March 1: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing.

April 22: Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose.

May 15: NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering.

July 24: What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer.

October 1: With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional columns: UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them? LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Also: Richt Building Something Big & Something To LastDear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameThe Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksWade Will End Where He BelongsRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote