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:

SOPY FINAL 2014

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:

 

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November 25, 2014

Ouch. Computers put Dolphins playoff shot at mere 19.7%; plus Canes' Duke nears "state Heisman," NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, (barely) remembering JFK, naughty names & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio on South Beach today with the Dan Le Batard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. A new "Back In My Day" is prepped and ready. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolfan and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter polls. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

DOLPHINS PICK A BAD YEAR TO BE PRETTY GOOD; PLAYOFF HOPES SLIM: Miami at 6-5 has a slightly less than 1 in 5 chance (19.7 percent) to reach the postseason, according to the computer analytics at a site I 1aa1adol19.7have come to respect: makenflplayoffs.com. Following last night's end of NFL Week 12 the three clear AFC frontrunners, all but in, are the Patriots (94.3%), Colts (92.0%) and Broncos (83.1%). Then it's a mad five-team scrum for the last three spots among the Bengals (61.9%), Chiefs (50.2%), Steelers (47.6%), Chargers (47.4%), Ravens (39.9%) and Browns (38.8%). Then comes Miami, 10th overall in the hunt for six AFC tickets. The Fins' path to the playoffs from here seems pretty clear: Beat the three teams you should (Jets, twice, and Vikings) and find a way to beat either the Ravens or Patriots. Doable. But daunting.

SOPY: UM'S DUKE WITH SAFE BUT NOT INSURMOUNTABLE LEAD ENTERING FINAL GAME: Miami's Duke Johnson leads Florida State's Jameis Winston by 103.5 points entering each player's final game in our 1aa1asopyblog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." That's a nice but not insurmountable lead. 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 weekly list 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. Our past two season SOPY winners have been Winston (in 2013 with 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (in 2012 with 1,900.5 points). 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 SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 14:

SOPY WEEK 13 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk13    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         132     1,857

2 (2)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb         142.5   1,753.5

3 (3)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      223     1,622.5

4 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           143     1,383.5

5 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb           104.5    1,352

6 (8)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb           165      1,220

7 (6)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       106      1,176

8 (7)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb              8       1,063.5

9 (10)     Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb       131       911

10 (9)       Matt Jones, Florida-rb            27        895

Bubble: Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 839. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Florida and UCF have played 10 games; Miami, FSU, FAU and USF have played 11; and FIU has played 11.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (11-0); 2. UCF (7-3); 3. Miami (6-5); 4. Florida (6-4); 5. SoFla (4-7); 6. FIU (4-8); 7. FAU (3-8).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: PICKS, LOBOS BOTH SLIP IN WEEK 12: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team, 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixand this week's report ain't pretty. Pix: We went a mediocre 9-6 overall but only 6-9 against the spread -- breaking a season-long string of 11 straight weeks at no worse than .500 ATS. Had four 'dogs-with-points including Dolphins, but misfired badly on our Cards-over-Seahawks upset call, a bad pick. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos' three-game win streak ended with a mighty thud, 144-54. Never a good sign when your high scorer (Philip Rivers) has 13 points. The bigger issue was six guys in single-figures. Oy! The good news? At 5-7 I'm only one game off playoff pace (not counting tiebreakers) with two weeks left, so I'll have a shot if I can win out. Rally, Lobos!

REMEMBERING JFK (IF BARELY): This is what insidious time does. It fades even the most memorable of us. A year ago the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination was big news. The 51st 1aa1ajfkanniversary, this past Saturday, passed quietly. Do any of us even know when Abe Lincoln was assassinated? It was on an April 15, 149 years ago. So we may expect a proper media remembrance on the big-One-Five-Oh next spring, at least. JFK's murder is one of my faintest childhood memories. I vaguely recall us being sent home from school early and finding my mother weeping at the black-and-white TV set. On Saturday I was on a weekend cruise in the Bahamas and didn't give the date a fleeting thought. But I do now.

NAUGHTY 'N NICE NAMES: The Daily Mail of London reports a recent study of 63,000 (presumably British) school 1aa1anameschildren determined which kids tend to be naughty misbehavers and nice angels, based on first names. Ten nicest girls: Amy, Georgia, Emma, Charlotte, Grace, Sophie, Abigail, Hannah, Emily and Alice. Ten naughtiest girls: Ella, Bethany, Eleanor, Olivia, Laura, Holly, Courtney, Amber, Caitline and Jade. Ten nicest boys: Jacob, Daniel, Thomas, James, Adam, Harry, Samuel, Jack, Oliver and Ryan. Ten naughtiest boys: Joseph, Cameron, William, Jake, Joshua, Jamie, Lewis, Benjamin, Ethan and Luke. All I can say is, if Ella and Joe get together, watch out!

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November 22, 2014

G11: Virginia 30, Hurricanes 13: Playing for bowl position, and slipping; CSM coming Monday; plus FSU, Gators, FIU finale & more

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 12 picks, Jeffrey Loria publicly slammed & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1acsmCSM change: It'll be Monday, not tonight!: The Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll will not appear immediately following tonight's game. With apologies, because of logistical issues, this time only, the latest CSM will appear in the blog Monday. The same issues will prevent us from updating here live during the game. Thanks for the understanding.

G11: VIRGINIA 30, HURRICANES 13: ALL ABOUT BOWL POSITION NOW: Beating Florida State last week would have been a season-maker for Miami, leaving UM ranked and still in the hunt for an ACC title, 1aa1acanesvaand shaking up the College Football Playoff top four. Instead, the Canes' fall-from-ahead 30-26 loss left Miami left to wonder only about its bowl destiny. Current speculated destinations are the Sun Bowl/El Paso or Music City Bowl/Nashville, but that stock could rise or fall depending on results Saturday at Virginia and in next week's finale at home vs. Pittsburgh. Clearly, the Hurricanes must not have a cavalier attitude (sorry) about Virginia. UM is only favored by 5 or 6 points, and it's understandable. Canes have lost two straight and three of past four trips to Charlottesville, the only win in OT. So this is an opponent not to look past. Having said that, Virginia has lost four in a row and should fall prey to The U's Brad Kaaya/Duke Johnson attack as long as Miami doesn't demonstrate the post-FSU blues and come out flat. My pick: Hurricanes, 30-27.

Other Collball Week 13 state FBS games:

Florida 52, Eastern Kentucky 3: Last week Gators you lost to Steve Spurrier and South Carolina in The Swamp to get coach Will Muschamp canned. Now all your attention is on upsetting rival Florida State next week. Better not look past second-tier EKY. They didn't.

Florida State 20, Boston College 17: On home stretch to berth in first College Football Playoff, Noles were a 17-point fave but had to beware Sandwich Effect. BC isn't terrible but would be easy to ignore, coming between last week's 30-26 rally at Miami and next week's traditional rivalry vs. Florida. Sure enough, a Noles escape.

North Texas 17, FIU 14: G-Panthers were a narrow 'dog in their season finale, hoping to end year on two-game win streak. But they lost narrowly to end a 4-8 season.

Middle Tennessee 35, FAU 34: Underdog Owls were in final roadie before ending season back home at Howard's House next Saturday vs, Old Dominion. 

Also: UCF def. Southern Methodist, 53-7; and Memphis def. South Florida, 31-20. Off this week: None.

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November 08, 2014

Are you rooting for or against LeBron? New poll. Vote now!; plus state collball Week 11 & more

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ross screws team and Dolfans with London call, NFL Week 10 Pix & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

ARE HEAT FANS ROOTING FOR OR AGAINST LEBRON?: I watched Cleveland win at Denver late last night to improve to 2-3 as LeBron James scored 22 with 11 assists. Still saw a Cavs team that looked 1aa1ajameslmore like individual pieces trying to work, but the ball movement was much improved. Even Kyrie Irving passed it! Still no low-post impact from LeBron, though. He's less suited for the role, at 20 pounds lighter, and is showing no interest in it. I appreciate the recent Tweet LeBron sent out. "RELAX!" was all it said. There has been much premature media chewing over the Cavs' slow start and how he's looked. ESPN talking heads Mike Golic and BIll Simmons even got into a little Twitter war over it. Remember how the 2010-11 Heat started 9-8 and the sky was falling? Why would the Cavs' rocky start now surprise anybody? I'm more interested here in whether Miami fans are following James and whether they are rooting for or against him. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

STATE COLLBALL WEEK 11: NO CANES, BUT PLENTY ELSE: Miami is idle preparing for next Saturday's big showdown with Florida State, but college football rages on with four other Collball Week 11 state FBS games:

1aa1afiu
Old Dominion 38, FIU 35:
 FIU loses a heartbreaker on last-second field goal to doom its season non-bowl-eligible, now at 3-7. G-Panthers were a 5-point road 'dog here but I gave them a big chance against an O.D. defense giving up an average of 48.8 points in its six losses.

No. 2 Florida State 34, Virginia 20: Miami and its fans surely were watch-scouting as 'Noles tried to breeze by as three-TD (20-point) faves but instead came away with a less-than-dominating performance. FSU is now 2-7 against the spread and I'd made Virginia a fair bet to cover, though not to threaten Tally's winning streak from hitting 25 games. Bingo.

North Texas 31, FAU 10: You know the opponent is dreadful when a now 3-7 FAU was favored (by 3) on the road. The result in turn tells you how good the Owls are, alas.

1aa1acommodores
Florida 34, Vanderbilt 10:
 Gators were favored by two touchdowns (13.5) and handled Lionel Richie & The Commodores pretty easily. The concern if you're a UF fan was the letdown factor, after team spent so much emotion and want-to shocking Georgia in that Brick House-win at the Cocktail Party last week. But, no such problem. Also good to see UF let young QB Treon Harris throw it a little, not just hand off.

Off this week: Miami, UCF and USF.

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November 04, 2014

What can hot Dolphins, Canes and Heat accomplish? New poll. Vote!; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY rankings, governor election & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Fins crush San Diego, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

On Heat's first loss: Click on Reality Hasn't Changed for my column from the arena off last night's Heat loss. Losing to very good Houston wasn't a reality chcek for Miami because the reality is the same now as it was at 3-0. Heat is competitive, not a contender, and the moving on from LeBron James will be a season-long challenge.

HAPPINESS IS A MIAMI SPORTS FAN (FOR NOW, AT LEAST): My earlier column is unabashedly rah-rah, me as Homer Guy, banging the civic drum in celebration of our local teams' collective Big Weekend. 1aa1abig3Why not? I live here. I wish our teams well. Doesn't mean I can't be objective or won't be critical, but when the Dolphins, Heat, football Hurricanes and hockey Panthers are all winning on the same weekend for only the fourth time ever, well, that's good with me. Click on Happy Days for the column. It's pretty remarkable each team's turnaround the past few weeks. Dolphins, three straight wins for 5-3 at midyear. Heat, last unbeaten team left in Eastern Conference (before Tuesday night''s first loss). Canes, 6-3 after three wins in a row. Our blog's Dolfan and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter polls both set season highs this week, and Heat fans were celebrating the smooth start to Life After LeBron. The hot streaks raise hope that all three possibilities mentioned in this poll could happen, although the argument could also be made that all three remain doubtful. Vote for only as many of the three as you honestly think will happen, and say why.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: SO-SO AND GOOD IN WEEK 9: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: So- 1aa1afripix 1aa1aarkstateso. Having a great season so far, but not helped much by going 8-5 overall and 7-6 against the spread last week. Stayed scorching hot on Upset of the Week calls by bull's-eyeing Patriots over Broncos ("Aawwk!"). But let's not mention that I picked San Diego, OK? Please? Fantasy: Good. Woebegone Greg's Lobos finally won, rising to 3-6 with a 134-107 triumph led by Marshawn Lynch's 30 points. I'm now within two games of playoff pace with five weeks left. Go 'Bos!

SOPY: CANES' DUKE OF GABLES IS RUNNING AWAY WITH IT!: Another big game from Miami's Duke Johnson last week has increased his overall lead in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the 1aa1asopyYear (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list 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. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 11:

SOPY WEEK 10 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk10    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         244     1,552

2 (2)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb     150.5   1,336 

3 (3)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        215.5    1,291.5

4 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            97.5    1,072.5

5 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           158      1,061 

6 (6)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            58        957

7 (7)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        62        875

8 (8)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb             61       781

9 (10)      Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb        95       741

10 (--)      Matt Jones, Florida-rb            216      713

Bubble: Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb, 667. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Miami, FIU, FAU and USF have played 9 games; FSU and UCF have played 8; and Florida has played 7.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (8-0); 2. Miami (5-3); 3. Florida (4-3); 4. UCF (5-3); 5. SoFla (3-6); 6. FIU (3-6); 7. FAU (3-6).

COTE'S TAKE ON FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL RACE: For what it's worth (not much), but because I love politics and because my blog veers occasionally from sports, I size up the three candidates: Rick Scott 1aa1aflaflag(Rep.)--Incumbent has been the worst Florida governor of my lifetime and also ran a campaign of negative ads, but nevertheless won. That's because... Charlie Crist (Dem.)--That he also was largely unlikeable to voters, with cause, was the sole reason this race was even close. A better candidate would have sailed to victory over the unpopular Scott. Adrian Wyllie (Lib.)--In theory, a vote for Wyllie was a noble statement against the two mainstream contenders. In reality, support for Wyllie may well be to blame for Scott's return to office. Decision '14: I voted Crist as the less-damnable of unsatisfying choices, but respect the verdict. Whomever was your choice, I hope you voted!

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November 01, 2014

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 92.2%; plus UM crushes North Carolina 47-20; also FIU falls, Gators stun Georgia, other collball & more

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1. Happy new month, all! 2) Hope y'all had a fun Halloween. We continued a tradition at our house, which is that I eat more candy than we hand out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 9 pix, howling at LeBron's awful homecoming, props to Noles, '15 World Series odds & more. 4)Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Find our Canes-North Carolina gamepost and postgame thoughts directly below the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 92.9 percent overall satisfaction -- a season high -- in the wake of Saturdays' 47-20 home victory over North Carolina putting UM's season record at 1aa1acsm6-3 overall and 3-2 in the ACC. The CSM, in its sixth 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, 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 8:45 a.m. today/Monday.

2014 CSM results

G1: 6.7% (following 31-13 loss at Louisville) 

G2: 35.9% (following 41-7 victory vs. Florida A&M)

G3: 71.8% (following 41-20 victory vs. Arkansas State)

G4: 11.6% (following 41-31 loss at Nebraska)

G5: 73.3% (following 22-10 victory vs. Duke)

G6: 3.3% (following 28-17 loss at Georgia Tech)

G7: 29.6% (following 55-34 victory vs. Cincinnati)

G8: 80.4% (following 30-6 victory at Virginia Tech)

G9: 92.9% (following 47-20 victory vs. North Carolina)

Next poll: Nov. 15 (following game vs. Florida State)

G9: HURRICANES 47, NORTH CAROLINA 20: Final: UM now a bowl-eligible 6-3 witha third straight win, and an easy one, 47-20. Duke Johnson had 226 total yards and three TDs, including a 90-yard run and 37-yard catch. And defense was solid, especially early, and throughout against the run. Al Golden's Canes are playing their best football of the year the past few weeks. ..... Halftime: What an a-- whuppin'! Miami at 30-6 leads 322-46 in total yards, Brad Kaaya has two TD passes, Duke Johnson has 172 yards rushing and two more scores, and the Canes defense is dominating. ..... Original post: The nation's eye will be on No. 3 Auburn and No. 4 Ole Miss playing today to knock each other off the College Football Playoff grid. South Florida's eye will be on this expected shootout at Dolphins stadium. A third straight win for Miami in today's 12:30 matinee would make the Canes bowl-eligible but, more important, keep The U alive for the ACC Coastal 1aa1acanesunctitle and a shot at the conference championship. The Hurricanes are playing their best right now and should handle a Tar Heels squad that can score a bunch but plays pretty awful defense. This could be a WNBA score. UM will have more than Duke Johnson, Brad Kaaya and a better defense on its side. It will have emotion on a "Kelly Tough" homecoming day that honors ex-quarterback great Jim Kelly 1aa1acanesunc2and also sees the Ring of Honor indiction of former defensive stalwarts Russell Maryland and the late Jerome Brown. To Kelly, the 1979-82 Cane, the Buffalo Bills might be his immediate family but The U is his extended family. The fact he has been battling cancer and other serious health issues adds emotion, but Kelly deserves honoring just for what he meant to Miami on the field. He engineered perhaps the biggest UM win ever at the time with a 17-14 upset of No. 1 Penn State on Oct. 31, 1981 -- a game that got the nation's attention. It was Kelly (and Lou Saban) who set the plate for Howard Schnellenberger and the '83 champs. If the emotion of the day carries onto the field, the Canes won't lose. My pick: Hurricanes, 41-27.

Other Collball Week 10 state FBS games:

No. 2 Florida State 42, Louisville 31: Jameis Winston and his maligned but resilient Seminoles overcame a 21-0 hole on road Thursday night to affirm their catbird seat (for now) in the first College Football playoff.

Rice 31, FIU 17: The G-Panthers, scrambling to get bowl-eligible, were 7-point home 'dogs but I gave them a big upset shot against half-cooked Rice. Oh well. FIU now 3-6.

Florida 38, No. 11 Georgia 20: Gators used to own The World's Largest Cocktail Party. Alas, Tim Tebow is long gone, the Swamp is drying and it looked like Bulldog time in the annual neutral-field game in Jax. Proud, hurting underdogs are always dangerous in a rivalry, and so UF was here, but I thought Dawgs by double digits was the safer bet. Wrong! A huge ground game with Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones and big defense gave Florida (now 4-3) its season highlight. And maybe saved coach Will Muschamp's job?

Alabama-Birmingham 31, FAU 28: Owls and dangerous Jacquez Johnson were slight home faves but I rightly gave UAB a big chance. Late field goal sent The Atlantic to 3-6.

Also: UConn def. UCF, 37-29; and Houston def. South Florida, 27-3. Off this week: None.

Check back a lot becase we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

October 16, 2014

Which Miami team's leadership do you most trust (or not)? Poll. Vote!; plus latest NBA odds, two Canes top new SOPY ranking, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15. See results of the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in blogpost directly below this one. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall to Green Bay, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

The State of The Big 5: Dolphins. Heat. Canes football. Marlins. Panthers hockey. Those are Greater Miami's Big 5 teams. I provide a state-of report and prognosis for each in today's latest column, which is a companion to the poll directly below. Click on The Big 5 to read.

WHO DO YOU TRUST: WHICH OF OUR BIG 5 TEAMS IS IN THE BEST HANDS MOVING FORWARD?: I think this poll is well-timed for two reasons. First, October is the only time of year when football, baseball, basketball and hockey are all going on. Second, these are strange times for South Florida teams, with 1aa1atrustthe Heat sans LeBron, Dolphins and Canes fans less than happy, the Marlins (though improved) continuing their playoff drought and the Panthers off to a bad start in hockey. I am asking whose current leadership you have faith in, and you may vote for as many or as few as you like. I purposely didn't include "None" as an option because I'm after a realistic view, not morose pessimism. If you honestly don't have faith in anybody, vote for the team and leadership that come closest for you. When I say "leadership" I'm generally thinking owner/GM/coach, as in: Dolphins--Stephen Ross, Dennis Hickey, Joe Philbin. Heat--Micky Arison, Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra. Marlins--Jeffrey Loria, Michael Hill, Mike Redmond. Panthers--Vincent Viola, Dale Tallon, Gerard Gallant. With Hurricanes football I guess I pretty much mean Al Golden. Vote for one team, all five or any number in between. Your call.

LEBRON-GONE EFFECT SHOWS IN HEAT BETTING ODDS: New NBA individual betting odds from Bovada: MVP--Cavs' LeBron James the favorite at 5-6; Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade tied for 18th at 100-1. Rookie--Bucks' Jabari Parker fave at 5-2; Heat's Shabazz Napier tie-11th at 30-1. Coach--Spurs' Gregg Popovich fave at 3-1; Erik Spoelstra tie-15th at 35-1. Scoring leader--Thunder's Kevin Durant pick at 3-2; Bosh/Wade tie-16th at 100-1. Rebounds--Pistons' Andre Drummond pick at 9-5; no Heat player listed; Assists--Clippers' Chris Paul pick at 2-3; no Heater listed.

SOPY: TWO CANES, JAMEIS 1-2-3 IN STATE COLLBALL RANKINGS: Canes Duke Johnson and Brad Kaaya and FSU's Jameis Winston are a clear 1-2-3 in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the 1aa1asopyYear (SOPY) rankings --"the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). 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 SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 8:

SOPY WEEK 7 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk7    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         184     1,010

2 (2)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            154      923

3 (3)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        173.5    919.5

4 (4)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      BYE    741 

5 (5)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       107      699

6 (8)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb          174.5    671

7 (--)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           207     665.5 

8 (6)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb             67      653

9 (7)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb            87.5     626

10 (--)     Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec       155       580

Bubble: Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 535. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF and Florida have played 5 games; FAU, FSU and USF have played 6; Miami and FIU have played 7.

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

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: DOWN AND FROWN FOR WEEK 6: We update you briefly every Tuesday 1aa1alobos 1aa1afripixon how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: That I had Dolphins in my Upset of the Week pretty  much summarizes my fortunes. Went 7-7-1 overall but at least 1aa1agorelsalvaged 8-7 against the spread thanks to four 'dogs-with-points (including Miami). Fantasy: Greg's Lobos fell to 2-4 with a 112-95 loss, getting 26 from Philip Rivers, 21 from DeSean Jackson and not enough else. Had a shot Monday night but needed a big game from Frank Gore, who didn't come through. Lesley Gore (pictured left) would have helped me as much.

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October 05, 2014

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.3%; plus Ga-Tech grounds UM 28-17; also new Hot Button Top10 w/ college upheaval, Heat, MLB, Cats, Fins & more

Watch for new blogpost coming midday today...

1) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-forecast poll, NFL Week 5 pix, FIU wins Shula Bowl, World Series poll result, Headlines I Never... & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Find our UM postgame thoughts directly below the latest CSM poll, and our new Hot Button Top 10 at the bottom of this post.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 3.3 percent overall satisfaction -- a season low -- in the wake of Saturday night's 28-17 loss at Georgia Tech putting UM's season record at 3-3 1aa1acsmoverall and 1-2 in ACC play. The CSM, in its sixth 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, 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 wwas around 9 a.m. today/Monday.

2014 CSM results

G1: 6.7% (following 31-13 loss at Louisville) 

G2: 35.9% (following 41-7 victory vs. Florida A&M)

G3: 71.8% (following 41-20 victory vs. Arkansas State)

G4: 11.6% (following 41-31 loss at Nebraska)

G5: 73.3% (following 22-10 victory vs. Duke)

G6: 3.3% (following 28-17 loss at Georgia Tech)

Next poll: Oct. 11 (following game vs. Cincinnati) 

G6: GEORGIA TECH 28, HURRICANES 17: Miami falls to 3-3 and host Tech skies to 5-0 on a night that saw too little from the Canes on both run defense and offense. G-Tech ran 72 plays to UM's 44 and more than doubled the Canes in time of possession, while steamrolling for 311 rushing yards and converting 9 of 14 third downs. UM didn't help itself with two Brad Kaaya interceptions. Hurricanes led 14-7 at one point and thereafter got very little done. A disappointing night in what -- right now -- seems pointed to a disappointing season for coach Al Golden and the Canes. ..... Original post: Miami handled the Yellow Jackets 45-30 down here last year, but the Bees lead the series 8-4 in Atlanta. Tonight's 7:30 duel is an ACC Coastal game, so it's that much bigger. It's also all but a pick-'em game, with Miami 1aa1acanesgtechfavored by a scant 1 point. I think that is because G-Tech padded its record with wins over three flyweights to start the year before a notable victory at Virginia Tech. That result and the fact the Jackets are home and coming off a bye make me a bit surprised UM is not an underdog here. The reason to like The U tonight: Miami brings a big offense, and Brad Kaaya and Duke Johnson should be salivating to play a defense that gave up 38 points and 528 yards to Georgia Southern. The reason a Canes fan might be worried: Remember how Miami's run defense got obliterated by Nebraska? Well, GT's option attack has averaged 292 run-yards per game, 11th in the nation, so Mark D'Onofrio's guys had better be doing a lot better in Atlanta than they were in Lincoln. I can see this game going either way. (Surprisingly I don't feel like that about a lot of games). Bottom line, though: I trust Kid Kaaya and The Duke here to outscore both the opponent and their own defense's shortcomings. My pick: Miami, 38-31.

Other Collball Week 6 state FBS games:

Florida 10, Tennessee 9: Good day to be a Gator fan. You got a road win, and you got rid of Jeff Driskel. UF now 3-1 and Tennessee 2-3 with a 10th straight Florida win in series. The pressure was really on coach Will Muschamp and QB Driskel, because Gator Nation is turning into Hater Nation for those two, and The Swamp is beginning to boil. Driskel was horrid -- 11-for-23, 59 yards, three INTs -- before being benched for Treon Harris. Big defense and 10 fourth-quarter points were enough to win despite Driskel. I had a gut feeling Florida might quiet Neyland with a much-needed upset, but then again I thought that might be osmosis from my knowing too many so many UF alums.

No. 1 Florida State 43, Wake Forest 3: College Football Playoff is blowing up. Oregon loses, now, today, Alabama. At least FSU did its business. Noles now 5-0, Wake 2-4. Point spread was a ridiculous 38. I pictured FSU covering to the tune of 48-3 or something, so had it close. No way to pretend this game would be competitive even briefly. And the Seminoles -- still on top of the main AP poll but losing first-place votes and belief -- seriously needed a big, voters-impressing, lopsided win. This worked.

FIU 38, FAU 10: Miami's Golden Panthers over Boca Raton's Owls in the 13th Shula Bowl, on a weather-ravaged Thursday night, thanks to big defense. FIU now 3-3 overall and 2-0 in Conference USA; FAU 2-4, 1-1. (See previous blogpost for a fuller report on the game).

AlsoUCF def. Houston 17-12 on Thursday night. Off this week: USF.

Poll result: Heat expectations are realistically modest: We asked in previous blogpost how far you realistically expect the post-LeBron Heat to advance in this season's playoffs, and a plurality of 37.7 percent said conference semifinals. Another 31.0% said conference finals, 17.2% said first round and 14.1 said NBA Finals. The results strike me as realistic.

HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our Random Evidence Sunday notes-column package has returned in print from summer hiatus (click HERE for today's latest edition), but due to semi-popular demand an updated, expanded Hot Button continues as an exclusive Sunday feature of the blog. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. Hurricanes: D'Oh-no-frio! UM defense gets run over again: Canes defensive chief Mark D'Onofrio is in trouble with fans again after Miami (now 3-3) yielded 311 ground yards in Saturday night's 28-17 loss at Georgia Tech. Combined distance Nebraska and G-Tech ran on UM would circle the globe 2.4 times.

2. College football: Saturday shockers shatter playoff picture: Oregon, Alabama and Oklahama, ranked 2-3-4, all lost this weekend to throw into upheavel the first College Football Playoff picture, leaving the four-team outlook as Florida State, then Question Mark & The Mysterians. Anything is possible now. Dream big, FIU! OK maybe not but you get my point.

3. Heat: Preseason underway; six days 'til LeBron: The new reality introduced itself last night as Miami lost its preseason opener to New Orleans Pelicans. Team makes home debut Tuesday vs. Orlando but circled date is next Saturday vs. LeBron James and Cleveland in Rio de Janeiro. How funny would it be if LeBron was "resting" and didn't play?

4. MLB playoffs: Three of four division series are 2-0: With postseason play resuming Sunday only Cards-Dodgers are tied 1-1, with Orioles, Royals and Giants all enjoying 2-0 leads in the best-of-five ALDS and NLDS. Well, looks like at least the AL will give us a Cinderella. 

5. Panthers: Bad preseason, now real games here: Florida last night completed a 0-6 preseason under new coach Gerard Gallant. The good news: Maybe Cats are saving all their wins for the regular season? That starts Thursday at Tampa, then Saturday at home vs. New Jersey, ready or not. 

6. Dolphins: Bye week. Rest up, defensive backs: The win in Londond was nice, but Oakland is, like, a CFL team. Actual NFL opponents are on deck with Green Bay here next Sunday, then at Chicago. Aaron Rodgers, then Jay Cutler. Sleep easy today, Fins DBs. Your nightmare s are coming. 

7. Marlins: Games done, but Fish have good week: Jose Fernandez threw a baseball for the first time since surgery, the team extended manager Mike Redmond’s contract and said it would soon offer a long-term deal to Giancarlo Stanton. That’s a better week than any the Marlins had playing this year.

8. NASCAR: Chase field reduced to 16: NASCAR’s new system has reduced the Chase for the Cup field from 16 drivers to 12. If your favorite driver is still in it, the new format is great. If not, it needs tweaking.
 
9. Ryder Cup: Europe beats U.S. yet again: Europe beat the United States for the eighth time in the past 10 Ryder Cups. Those people act like they invented golf. What? Oh.

10. Michael Phelps: Olympic champ in trouble again: On the comeback trial, Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps was arrested for DUI, his second such offense. He also has been photographed with a bong. Much more off-field embarrassment and Michael will be ready for the NFL.

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October 04, 2014

What do you realistically expect of Heat this season? Poll. Vote now!; plus NFL Week 5 pix, FIU routs FAU, World Series poll result, giant balls & more

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4. I'm buttoned into Random Evidence Laboratories today conjuring the Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): MLB postseason poll, Heat/NBA odds, Tannehill's task, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN: HOW FAR WILL HEAT GO IN PLAYOFFS?: The NBA is close now, ready or not. Miami's first preseason game is Saturday as the post-LeBron era begins. Heat fans have seen the projections and betting 1aa1aheatunknownodds, and 1aa1aheatunknown1they are not particulally encouraging. The over/under on Heat wins is generally 43.5, or fifth in the Eastern Conference. Bovada puts Miami's championship odds at 40-1; that's tied for 10th in the league and tied for fourth in the East. There isn't a hoops expert around who doesn't think Cleveland and Chicago are the new beasts of the East. I'm curious how you think this first Heat season of the LeGone era will play out. A playoff berth is all but assured. An NBA title is all but impossible. Somewhere in between is the likely landing spot. For me, winning the first round and reaching the conference semifinals would be expected. Reaching the conference finals could mean beating the Cavs or Bulls, an unlikelihood at this point. What do you think? Remember this is asking what you realistically expect of the season, not what you hope. Vote and say why.

NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: Uneven start last night. Had Pack winning but thought Vikes would cover; they 1aa1afripixdidn't come close. Made my pick under the impression Teddy Bridgewater would play but don't think it would have made the difference, even though Christian Ponder was beyond awful. Click on Week 5 Gems for all our latest prediction capsules (I predict Dolphins are off on a bye week), and on Sitting Pretty for our Friday Page NFL column. I quantify how rare it was last week when Miami won and all three AFC East rivals lost, and how the Pats, Bills and Jets quarterback calamities have Ryan Tannehill looking better and better. Also provide my King Sport First Quarter Awards.

FIU 38, FAU 10: DEFENSE DECIDES WEATHER-DELAYED SHULA BOWL:  Am beginning to think FIU's stadium is meteorologically cursed, smack in the middle of Lightning Alley or something. Anyway, the game eventually ended early this morning and FIU won 38-10, its defense forcing four more turnovers to make it 21 takeways in six games. The big play: At 17-10, FAU about to tie it, Richard Leonard's 100-yard fumble return made it 24-10. Think of this as a neighborhood rivalry, if it's a really
big neighborhood. Miami's Golden Panthers vs. Boca Raton's Owls in the 13th annual Shula Bowl, with bragging 1aa1afaufiurights, a trophy and the Conference USA standings on the line. FIU now 3-3 overall and 2-0 in the conference; FAU is 2-4, 1-1. I saw FAU as the slightly better all-round squad here with the best player in quarterback Jacquez Johnson; hence the favorite's role (6 1/2 points). And I didn't see FIU with the discernable home-field advantage to make me think upset. What I didn't see was FIU's defensive domination. [One other state FBS game last night: UCF with a nice road win at Houston, 17-12].

Poll result: You most wanted Pirates, Royals to win World Series: We asked in the previous blogpost which of the10 MLB postseason teams you most wanted to win it all (you may still vote), and the teams in double-figure votes were the Pirates with 16.1 percent, Royals 15.5%, Nationals 14.3%, Orioles 13.0% and Tigers 12.4%. (The Pirates were eliminated in the wild-card game but the Royals advanced).

HEADLINES I NEVER THOUGHT I'D READ (ONE IN A SERIES): I am not making fun of this, because it's a noble cause. But it neverthless is a headline that made me smile. Click here.

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September 28, 2014

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 73.3%; plus UM bops Duke 22-10 with big D, postgame report; FIU wins big; also Heat, Philbin & more

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat moves on from What's-his-name, Philbin/Tannehill poll, NFL Week 4 pix, LeBron plays what-if, three-breasted woman & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Heat moves on from That Guy Who Left: I write an entire column about the Heat moving on from What's-his-name without ever mentioning his name. Click on Life After [Blank] to read.

New Canes column: Click on Appreciate for my column off last night's Miami win; erase the phrase "it was only Duke" from your mind. Find our live in-game blog directly below the CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-high 73.3 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Saturday night's 22-10 home victory over Duke putting UM's season record at 3-2 and 1-1 in ACC play. The CSM, in its sixth 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, 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.

;

2014 CSM results

G1: 6.7% (following 31-13 loss at Louisville) 

G2: 35.9% (following 41-7 victory vs. Florida A&M)

G3: 71.8% (following 41-20 victory vs. Arkansas State)

G4: 11.6% (following 41-31 loss at Nebraska)

G5: 73.3% (following 22-10 victory vs. Duke)

Next poll: Oct. 4 (following game at Georgia Tech)

G5: HURRICANES 22, DUKE 10: BIG DEFENSIVE SHOW LIFTS MIAMI: Final: Miami improves to 3-2 and drops Duke to 4-1 in a pretty thorough win. Brad Kaaya (226 yards, two TDs) and Duke Johnson (144 yards rushing) carried the offense, but the story was a strong showing by Mark D'Onofrio's much-criticized defense. It held Duke to 260 total yards, forced nine punts and had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Overall, a solid win. ..... Second half: Kaaya 47-yard TD strike to Joseph Yearby for a 22-10 Canes lead with 8:27 to play. Lead now seeming safe-ish. ... Canes lead narrowed to a scary 16-10 on a Devils FG. ... UM up 16-7 on a 4th-and-19 TD from 28 yards, Brad Kaaya to Herb Waters. Gamble made sense; would have been a long FG try in what was then a hard rain. ... Denzel Perryman causes fumble that UM recovers at Duke 32 to start half. ..... Halftime: A dangerous 9-7 lead for Miami. Should be much bigger. UM leads in total yards 241-115 and has forced seven Duke punts but has little edge to show for it. Both teams only 1-for-8 on third-down conversions. Scattered booing chased the Canes from the field into halftime. ..... First half: Canes: miss 52-yard FG try after apparent Phillip Dorsett TD catch (by my eye) was ruled a non-catch in end zone. ... Duke within 9-7 on 7-yard run after 73-yard drive in second quarter. ... Canes 9-0 (missed kick) after 7-yard scoring run by Duke Johnson. ... UM 3-0 on 29-yard FG on opening drive. ..... Original post: Nobody wants to hear that Duke is pretty good in football now. Not Mike Krzyzewski across-campus good, but good enough to crash the Top 25 with an upset here. 1aa1adukemiamiTo Canes fans Duke is still Duke, the doormat you roll over. That proves Canes pride dictates fans still believe the team is better than it is, and it also proves old habits die hard, considering Duke throttled UM up there last season, 48-30. That's why tonight's 7:30 game puts the Hurricanes in a tough spot. Beat Duke and they won't really get credit for beating a top team ("It was only Duke."). But lose? At home? To Duke? To fall to 2-3? Oh my. You don't want to imagine it. I know Al Golden and Mark D'Onofrio sure don't. I think Brad Kaaya and Duke Johnson et al can outscore this opponent. I trust Miami's offense. It can be special. The onus instead will be on D'Onofrio and the Canes' defense, as usual. Last year was an embarrassment and Duke (albeit against lesser foes) has 174 points in this year's four wins. Step up, Canes D. Or be stepped on again. This is a must win for The U in every sense but the literal one. I'll be at the park columnizing, not knowing if I'll be writing a celebration or a wake. That's sports! My pick: Miami, 34-24.

Other Collball Week 5 state FBS games:

No. 1 Florida State 56, North Carolina State 41: FSU now 4-0, N.C. State 4-1. Jameis Winston returned just in time, because N.C. State is pretty good and had won five of past seven home meetings with FSU when 'Noles were ranked. The Winstons won last year's meeting 49-17 in Tally but this one figured much closer, closer (I'd said) than the 18-point bet-line. Wolfpack led 24-7 early before FSU charged back to avoid a shakeup of the national playoff picture.

FIU 34, UAB 20: FIU now 2-3, UAB 2-2. This one I did not foresee. Saw Alabama-Birmingham as clearly superior to FIU. Well, not today. G-Panthers' defense had four interceptions to lead a major (UAB was favored by 17) road upset. Sorry, Wagner, but this is season highlight for The Int'l. By a lot.



1aa1alcoker
FAU 41, UTSA 37:
 FAU now 2-3, UTSA 1-3. Yes, that was the effervescence of Larry Coker, the former UM coach (2001-06), on the visitors' sideline. The Canes' last championship boss ('01) is now 20-18 flying under-radar into his fourth year at Texas-San Antonio. What a comedown, Lar'. Ouch. UTSA was favored by six here but I rightly sniffed an Owls upset. It happened with a 14-point fourth-quarter rally. Hooooot!

Also: No. 19 Wisconsin def. South Florida, 27-10. Off this week: Florida and UCF.

Poll result: Philbin slammed for QB handling: We asked in previous blogpost whose side you took on Larry Coker lookalike Joe Philbin's non-committal handling of the Dolphins' QB situation this week (you may still vote), and 78.5 percent blamed Philbin for the distraction. It was 16.3% pro-Philbin, with 5.2% undecided.

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