December 02, 2015

Marlins hiring Barry Bonds: New poll. Vote now!; plus Kobe Bryant poll, NFL Week 12 Pix 'n Greg's Lobos results, Dolphins latest All-50'ers, Miami Jackson's Flowers wins 'State Heisman' with 6 Canes in Top 25 & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2. Happy new month, all! Done your shopping yet? 2) See previous blogpost for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, but be warned: Ugly. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fire OC Bill Lazor after loss at Jets, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Hurricanes' next football: Who it is should be. Watch for my latest column online later today. 

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Club marks its 50th anniversary by naming top 50 all-time players in groups of five. The latest: Kim Bokamper, Earl Morrall, Louis Oliver, Keith Sims, Cam Wake. Wake was expected; Morrall too for his unique niche. Other three are more borderline, which is not to say unworthy.

BondsHIRING BARRY BONDS IS SO MARLINS: Reports indicate Barry Bonds has agreed to join the Marlins as a hitting coach, a classic splash move by the attention-needy ballclub and its owner Jeffrey Loria. This is so Marlins. The hiring (if it happens) would be dubious, and not mostly because of the steroids-tainted past that has kept Bonds -- MLB's all-time home run hitter with an asterisk -- out of the Hall of Fame. Bonds didn't kill anybody. Shame and the Hall ban arepunishment enough. No, this move sees its biggest potential pitfall in him "working alongside hitting coach Frank Menechino." Hmm. Two hitting coaches espousing different ideas as egos rub? The possibilities are why teams rarely have multiple hitting coaches. Let's hear more on this. For instance, might Bonds just be a spring instructor and then disappear? Or a roving "special" hitting instructor as he was for the San Francisco Giants two years ago? (That's his only experience in coaching). For now, what do you think of the Marlins trying to hire Bonds?

KobeHOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT KOBE BRYANT AS WE SAY GOODBYE?: This may not be an easy question to answer. The Los Angels Lakers' all-time great Kobe Bryant announced this week he would retire after this season, and I wonder how we feel. Has there been a more polarizing superstar? Many love Kobe; many others are far from that. I suspect that most NBA fans certainly respect his greatness yet do not particularly like him. But I may be wrong. Hence, this poll. The question posed is intentionally broad. It asks not what you think of him as a player, but your overall general impression of him. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 11: SO-SO, BAD, BAD: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams: Pix: Good and not: Our 10-6 mark overall Fripixis OK, but 6-10 against the spread isn't, despite the fact we nailed our Upset of the Week with Broncos beating Patriots ("Aawwk!") and hit another outright upset with Chargers over Jaguars. Greg's Lobos / family league: Eliminated: The original Lobos lost 140-131 to fall to 4-8, now eliminated from championship-round playoff contention with two weeks left. We got 89 combined points from Adrian Peterson, Odell Beckham and T.Y. Hilton but it still wasn't enough. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Playin' out the string: The LeBatard Show Lobos are losing big to Stugotz in the two-round consolation playoffs, after being eliminated from title contention by Billy a week earlier. Got 28.9 points from Phil (Mint) Rivers, but too little help.

SOPY: MIAMI JACKSON'S FLOWERS WINS 'STATE HEISMAN,' 6 CANES IN FINAL TOP 25: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- finds South Florida dual- Flowersthreat quarterback Quinton Flowers out of Miami Jackson (pictured) edging Florida State running back Dalvin Cook out of Miami Central for the title. Flowers is the first player outside of the traditional Big 3 state schools to win our 'State Heisman.' Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. And we close it off after the regular season, excluding bowl games, to give every school's players an equal shot. The final SOPY Top 25 for 2015:

FINAL 2015 SOPY TOP 25

Rk    Player, team-pos.                    Season

1      Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb         2,077.5

2      Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                  1,990

3      Alex McGough, FIU-qb               1,594

4      Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb                1,531

5      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb               1,438

6      Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                 1,262

7      Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb            1,260

8      Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb            1,206

9      Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb           1,145 

10    Treon Harris, Florida-qb              924.5

11. Everett Golson FSU-qb 921; 12. Justin Holman UCF-qb 869; 13. Jenson Stoshak FAU-wr 828; 14. Kermit Whitfield FSU-wr 807; 15. Will Grier Florida-qb 789; 16. Rodney Adams SoFla-wr 776; 17. Travis Rudolph FSU-wr 751; 18. Tre'Quan Smith UCF-wr 748; 19. Mark Walton Miami-rb 729; 20. Thomas Owens FIU-wr 687; 21. D'Ernest Johnson SoFla-rb 685.5; 22. Stacy Coley Miami-wr 678; 23. Greg Howell FAU-rb 670; 24. Rashawn Scott Miami-wr 650; 25. Herb Waters Miami-wr 637.

Roll Call of SOPY Champions:

2015--Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,077.5

2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968

2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107

2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5

Cote's final pre-bowl State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (10-2); 2. Florida (10-2); 3. Miami (8-4); 4. South Florida (8-4); 5. FIU (5-7); 6. FAU (3-9); 7. UCF (0-12).

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 29, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.7%; plus UM wins at Pitt 29-24 to end regular season 8-4; also 'Noles crush Gators, NFL Week 12 picks, bacon underwear & more

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

1) It is SATURAY, NOVEMBER 28. Hope y'all are having a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend! 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our Thanksgiving Day column, Bird Day NFL predictions & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My Thanksgiving column: ICYMI, our Thanksgiving Day column seemed to strike a chord based on overwhelming positive email response. Click on Being Thankful In These Times to read.

Our UM-Pitt postgame thoughts: Find our in-game blog and UM-Pitt postgame thoughts below, directly beneath the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. (There will be an additional, final CSM poll following the bowl game).

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 76.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 76.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 29-24 victory at Pitt putting UM's final regular-season Csmrecord at 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Sunday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Game 11: 63.4% (following 38-21 victory vs. Georgia Tech)

Game 12: 76.7% (following 29-24 victory at Pitt)

Next/final poll: Following bowl game, date to be determined. 

G12: HURRICANES 29, PITT 24: UM COULD NOW BE STRONG BET FOR PINSTRIPE BOWL INVITE: Postgame thoughts: Miami squandered a 23-3 lead in the third quarter and made it a tad too close for comfort toward the end; still, a 29-24 road win over favored Pitt is a nice way to end the regular season. UM will go bowl-ing at 8-4, including a 4-1 marks since interim coach Larry Scott replaced the fired Al Golden. A typically solid day from QB Brad Kaaya today with 261 yards passing, augmented by 99 rushing from Joe Yearby and five field goals from Michael Badgley, who set a UM record for most FGs in a season. Defense was dominant early but beaten against the run late. All in all, a strong afternoon for The U. ..... Halftime thoughts: Not displeased to point out I'm dead wrong on my pregame prediction thus far. UM defense is dominating, limiting Pitt to 102 total yards off offense in a 23-3 game at the half. Canes have rolled up 248 yards with the ball, led by Brad Kaaya's 166 yards passing. ..... Note: We'll be live-updating the score and key plays throughout today's game, and be back here with halftime and postgame thoughts prior to the arrival of the latest postgame CSM poll. ..... Original post: Miami's 7-4 Hurricanes visit Pitt's 8-3 Panthers in a noon matinee today, with Pittsburgh a 7-point home favorite. A small example why: Pitt

Miapittrouted Duke, 31-13, the team UM needed a last-second miracle to beat. I expect a shootout, and give the Canes a fair upset shot. Miami, 3-1 under interim coach Larry Scott, has much to play for. The nine-win season still in play would equal Miami's best since joining the ACC in 2004. And a win over Pitt could very well vault UM into the preferred Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, a stage the Canes program would love. I have little doubt Brad Kaaya willl put up plenty of points today. But enough? I have greater concerns about Miami's defense, which has tended to struggle on the road and now faces a Pitt offense that has put up 106 points over the past three games. My pick: Pitt, 31-27.

Other college Week 13 state FBS games (listed in chronology):

South Florida 44, UCF 3: Bulls finish 8-4 after a Thursday rout ending Knights' futility at 0-12. South Florida will be in American conference championship game if UConn beat Temple on Saturday.

FAU 33, Old Dominion 31: If you're going to have a bad season, might as well end it with a nice lil' road win. Owls finish 3-9.

No. 14 Florida State 27, No. 8 Florida 2: Dalvin Cook and huge defense carried FSU tonight to an unexpected rout of Florida in the Swamp, leaving both teams 10-2. Florida State has now won past three over Gators and was a 2 1/2-point road favorite here. This was 16th time but only the third time since 2001 that the rivals had met with both in the Top 15. Seminoles all but assured themselves a New Year's bowl. UF going in still had hopes for a spot in the College Football Playoff top four if they'd beaten FSU and then somehow beaten Alabama in the Dec. 5 SEC title game. Those dreams are done.

Note: FIU completed its season at 5-7.

UPSET BIRD DAY: DOLPHINS/NFL WEEK 12 PICKS: We got off to a wobbly start to our week on Thanksgiving, going 1-2 straight-up and against the spread. Knew we took a big risk picking against FripixCarolina, but Green Bay losing at Lambeau? I'd pick Pack again in a heartbeat. Anyway, onward! Click on Week 12 Gems for all of our latest picks and full prediction capsules. Notably: Ryan Tannehill's AFC East struggles continue in a Dolphins loss at Jets, and Broncos end Patriots perfection in our Game and Upset of the Week. ("Aawwk!"). Also, click Oh, Johnny for my latest weekly Friday Page NFL notes column, leading with the gradual self-destruction of Johnny Manziel.

BACON-SCENTED UNDERWEAR: Ready to start your holiday shopping? Seattle-based J&D's Foods has announced the launch of bacon-scented underwear, which it calls "the world’s first underwear that looks and smells like bacon." Safe bet, that one. Another bold claim: That this is the first line of apparel "marrying the ultimate in comfort and cured meat" to attain "the smell of breakfast cooking in your pants." Want some? They're $19.99 a pair at www.baconunderwear.com. All of this is for real, by the way. This is a blog! Could I say it if it weren't true?

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 21, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 63.4%; plus UM bops Ga-Tech 38-21, Gators escape FAU in OT, FIU routed, your odd love of Butch Davis & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21. Pray for Paris, and for peace on Earth. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes next-coach poll, Hassan Whiteside's shot-blocking in historical perspective, NFL Week 11 predix & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our UM-Georgia Tech postgame thoughts: Find them below in our live in-game blog, directly beneath the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: 63.4%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 63.4 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 38-21 home victory over Georgia Tech putting CsmUM's season record at 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Game 11: 63.4% (following 38-21 victory vs. Georgia Tech)

Next poll: Nov. 27 (following regular-season finale at Pitt)

G11: HURRICANES38, GEORGIA TECH 21: KAAYA, DEFENSE LEAD BIG SHOWING IN HOME FINALE: Final thoughts: I was right in saying that Georgia Tech would get its rushing yards but that Miami could withstand and overcome that. And the Canes did. They did with Brad Kaaya passing for 300 yards. And they did with four defensive turnovers including one for six points. As it searches for a new head coach for next season UM, now 7-4, is jockeying for bowl position to make the most of this one heading into this coming Friday's regular season finale at Pitt. Today had to impress bowl scouts. What surely did not was the small crowd -- small even factoring in the rain and lightning delay. Bowls worry about how a team's fans "travel." I worry about why UM's fans don't even travel to home games. ..... Halftime thoughts: Impressive half by Miami, which gave up the first score and then reeled off 24 unanswered points. Brad Kaaya's 193 yards passing and two defensive takeaways -- one for a TD -- led the way. I though it was strange UM was an underdog today (see original post below) and Canes are proving me right so far. ..... Note: I'll have live score updates throughout the game and be back with halftime and postgame comments. ..... Original post: Georgia Tech is 3-7 (after a 2-0 start) and the Canes are 6-4 entering today's 12:30 p.m. home matinee -- and yet the Yellow Jackets are 2 1/2-point favorites. Hmm. The wiseguys who set the CanestechVegas odds are usually on the mark or close enough to be profitable, but this line seems weird to me. The visiting will miss a bowl game for the first time since 1996, while the home team will go bowling ... somewhere. (Pinstripe Bowl?) UM being a slight underdog may be easily explained, though. Ga-Tech isn't that bad; five of their losses have been by one score. They beat Florida State, 22-16. More than that, the one thing the Jackets still do right, even in the midst of a lost year, is run the ball. That triple-option of theirs is averaging a big 257 yards rushing per game. And Miami's run defense? It is on track to be the first in UM history to allow a 5-yard opponent average per run since (are you ready?) 1944! So that's it. Miami is a slight 'dog because nobody thinks they'll adequately stop that triple-option today. This is a factor, too. The wildly undisciplined Canes had 96 penalties entering this week to lead the nation, having not yet figured out they're not good enough to be their own worse enemy at times. Despite all this I like Miami today. Senior Day for the season's final home game will add a positive emotional element, and UM's offense will strafe GT's D enough to give up a ton of rushing yards and still prevail. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-23.

Other college Week 12 state FBS games (listed in chronology):

East Carolina 44, UCF 7: Thursday rout in Orlando left Knights 0-11 and one loss from winless season.

South Florida 65, Cincinnati 27: Bulls were 2-point home 'dogs but swamped Cincy Friday night to go to 7-4 and stay alive to reach American conference title game.

No. 8 Florida 20, FAU 14: (2-8) at No. 8 Florida (9-1), Saturday noon: The now 10-1 Gators were favored by 31 but need overtime to escape now 2-9 FAU in The Swamp, 20-14. Florida was likely on auto-pilot with FSU and then SEC title game on deck. Florida could still make College Football Playoff by running table, but barely getting by the Owls won't help. FAU now is 0-16 in its history vs. Top 25 teams, but this was its best showing. Today arguably was a bigger day for FAU football than any win the program has had.

Western Kentucky 63, FIU 7: Ugly. Ug-ly! Sorry, but continuing this game, at 63-7, after a lightning delay was cruel and unusual punishment for both FIU fans who stuck around. Panthers finish season 5-7, one win shy of a bowl.

No. 14 Florida State 52, Chattanooga 13: FSU cruises with a 9-2 record into next week's test with rival Florida Gators.

Poll result: The odd fascination with Butch Davis continues: We asked in previous blogpost who you like as next UM football coach from among eight candidates (including a "someone else" option), and Butch Davis romped with 49.7 percent. Only others with sizable, double-digit support were Mario Cristobal at 15.6% and Charlie Strong at 12.8%. (Totals are from earlier this morning; you may still vote).

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 15, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 49.5%; plus UM routed at UNC 59-21; also Gators, Noles, FIU's tall task & more

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

Paris1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14. PRAY FOR PARIS, AND FOR PEACE ON EARTH. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Paris attacks, NFL/Dolphins Week 10 picks, Canes and Butch Davis, kiss Jose Fernandez goodbye, UM hoops, college basketball rankings 1 through 351, Heat yays/nays, Lobos T-shirts update & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our UM-North Carolina postgame thoughts: Find them here below, immediately after the new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: 49.5%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter Csmpostgame poll, and they show 49.5 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 59-21 loss at North Carolina putting UM's season record at 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Monday.

Deciphering the latest result: An understandable sharp drop to the lowest approval rating since Week 4. Probably still higher than it should be, perhaps owing to UM fan still on a cloud over Al Golden's dismissal.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Next poll: Nov. 21 (following game vs. Georgia Tech)

G10: NORTH CAROLINA 59, HURRICANES 21 (Final): Postgame thoughts: OK, divest of your stock in interim coach Larry Scott keeping the job. I believe today took that off the table (if that possibility ever was there, which I doubt). Like the Dolphins' Dan Campbell, Scott had begun 2-0 only to see the interim honeymoon end with a crash. Weird game, this 59-21 loss at North Carolina. Miami led in time of possession, nearly was equal in total yards, had a 300-yard day from Brad Kaaya and yet still lost big, dare say embarrassingly. Three turnovers to none by the Tar Heels will do that. So will giving up a punt-return touchdown. So will an abysmal run-defense allowing some 300 ground yards. A sobering defeat. One that sadly answers the question, "How close is The U to being 'back'?" ..... Halftime: Let us count the ugliness. Zero points. Thirty-one points allowed. Nineteen net yards rushing. Nine penalties for 80. Nine penalties -- in one half. Three turnovers. Awful. This is beginning to feel like the 58-0 loss to Clemson that got Al Golden fired. Somehow, Miami has more time of possession and total yards. But the scoreboard says it all. ..... Note: I'll be updating the score throughout the game and be back with halftime and postgame analysis prior to the posting of the postgame poll. ..... Original post: I'm not sure if beating the Tar Heels at their place would qualify as the "signature win" that always seemed to 

Canesuncelude Al Golden, but it'd be close enough for interim replacement Larry Scott and maybe for Miami fans, too. North Carolina is good, 8-1 and ranked No. 23 to UM's 6-3 and unranked. The 3:30 p.m. game finds the Canes uncommonly big 13-point underdogs. Why? One reason: The Duke team that Miami needed a disputed last-second miracle to beat was just walloped 66-31 by UNC. The Heels have a big-time passing game. Brad Kaaya's Canes may need a ton of points to pull off an upset. Heck the betting over/under is around Fedora66 points, high even for college. UNC with a win would stay on track for the ACC Coastal Division crown
and eliminate Miami's faint hopes. Miami with a win would still be alive to reach the conference title game. The Hurricanes have owned this series lately, winning two in a row and four of past five over UNC including 47-20 in Miami last year. But keeping that trend going looks like a mighty task. Quick aside: UNC's coach is the wonderfully named Larry Fedora (pictured left). My pick: North Carolina, 38-24.

Other college Week 11 state FBS games (all today, in chronology):

No. 10 Florida 24, South Carolina 14: Gators now 9-1 and trying to run the table and somehow still rise into the College Football Playoff's top four. 

Middle Tennessee 24, FAU 17: One of of those seasons for the now 2-8 Owls.

No. 16 Florida 34, North Carolina State 17: Lots of Dalvin Cook as Noles go to 8-2.

Marshall 52, FIU 0: FIU, now 5-6 after this humbling loss, must win next week to gain bowl-eligibility. Tall task, with 8-2 Western Kentucky up after tough Marshall.

South Florida 44, No. 22 Temple 23: Marlon Mack (Truck) leads upset that has Bulls 6-4 and bowl-eligible for first time since 2010.

Off this week: UCF. Knights are 0-10. Will they find a way to lose to the bye week?

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 07, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.8% (season high); plus UM beats Virginia 27-21, is bowl-eligible; also, FSU falls, Gators survive, FIU wins & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7. IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 9 picks, sad turn of Heat's Gerald Green, Dolphins stadium's latest big loss, Bernie Sanders rap video & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our postgame thoughts on UM's win today: Find them here, immediately below the new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 91.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 91.8 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-21 home victory over Virginia putting UM's season record at 6-3 Csmoverall and 3-2 in the ACC. That is a season-high approval rating. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Next poll: Nov. 14 (following game at North Carolina) 

G9: HURRICANES 27, VIRGINIA 21: KAAYA, DEFENSE ENOUGH AS MIAMI GETS BOWL-ELIGIBLE: Final: Solid showing by UM, not overwhelmingly so, but enough to make the Canes 2-0 under interim coach Larry Scott and now bowl-eligible at 6-3. Miami trailed only once, briefly, and basically was in charge of this game. I can say the defense played well, giving up only one Virginia touchdown. Brad Kaaya also shone in his return from a concussion, passing for two TDs and 286 yards, almost half of them to Stacy Coley. All in all in a positive day in UM's Homecoming game. ..... Halftime: Canes defense playing well at 14-8, limiting Virginia to a pair of FGs, with other points on a safety. Lead is more nerve-wracking than it should be. Brad Kaaya (151 yards, 2 TDs, 1 pick) must take even more advantage of a soft Cavs pass defense in second half. ..... Note: I'll have live score updates during today's game as well as halftime and postgame analysis. Original post: Hurricanes players in today's 3 p.m. home game will be wearing military-themed uniforms (pictured left) in advance of
CanesvaVeterans Day, with game-worn jerseys and helmets then being auctioned off to benefit VA-related causes. (And by VA I mean Veterans Affairs, not Virginia!) The 5-3 Canes are modest 6-point faves over
Canesmilthe 3-5 Cavs and this most certainly is a should-win game, for two reasons that bob first to mind. One,
Virginia's pass defense is really bad, a boon for either questionable Brad Kaaya or Malik Rosier. Two, the road-kill Cavaliers have lost 13 away games in a row. But don't get too cocky, either, UM fans. Virginia has won four of its past five meetings with the Canes, and the Cavs just beat Georgia Tech, which beat FSU. This is the home debut for interim coach Larry Scott, who is 1-0 after the contentious Miracle at Duke and must make sure his troops are back to Earth with a concentrated effort after last week's emotion. (I wonder: Will there be "Fire Larry Scott" flyovers planned if UM is an upset loser today?) Miami gets bowl-eligible with a win. A decent bowl game is about Miami's best realistic ending this season. The ACC title game via a Coastal division crown is not yet out of play, but the Canes likely would have to win out to finish 9-3, and even that might not be enough unless Coastal-leading North Carolina stumbles at least twice. Anyway, let's not get ahead of ourselves. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-17.

Other college Week 10 state FBS games (all today, in chronology):

Western Kentucky 35, FAU 19: Credible road show by now 3-6 Owls against gods of Conference USA. 

Tulsa 45, UCF 30: (0-9): Sad Knights, now 0-10, see dwindling chances to avoid winless ignominy.

FIU 48, Charlotte 31: Nice home win has Ron Turner's Panthers 5-5 and on edge of bowl-bound after another productive day by QB Alex McGough.

No. 11 Florida 9, Vanderbilt 7: The win was hardly impressive but it gets the now 8-1 Gators into the SEC title game. UF's Grand Plan: Climbing up into College Football Playoff top four still is not out of the question if Gators can win out, because a one-loss SEC champion would be tough to exclude. But this narrow escape won't impress Condi Rice and the rest of the CFP committee.

No. 3 Clemson 23, No. 17 Florida State 13Clemson, sitting atop the first CFP ranking, climbs into SEC champ-game with this win, a hard-fought one that found underdog FSU in it and in it and in it, until it wasn't. Dalvin Cook was amazing. Wasn't enough. I tried to picture an upset win by FSU. Couldn't.

South Florida 22, East Carolina 17: Nice mini-road upset has Bulls 5-4, one win from bowl-eligibility.

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November 02, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 82.7%; plus UM's (controversial) last-play miracle beats Duke; also, new Hot Button Top 10 (updated), message from Society Against Fraudulent Pumpkins & more

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


1) It is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2. Happy new month! Hope y'all had a safe and fun Halloween. 2) I
The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crushed by Pats with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 predix, Marlins and Mattingly, Heat begin, FAU's letter for Howard & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

On Loria hiring Mattingly: Click on Trusting The Hire for my latest Sunday column, on Marlins hiring Don Mattingly as their new manager -- which is being formally announced this morning. It seems like a good move. But, with Marlins, everything must be seen through the Loria Lens, which is sort of the opposite of rose-colored.

Hot Button Top 10: Scroll down to find our latest HB10 toward the bottom of this blogpost.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 82.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 82.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and Csm"somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 30-27 victory at Duke putting UM's season record at 5-3 overall and 2-2  in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

Interpreting the latest results: An 82.7 percent approval, second-highest of the year, seems steep but reflects the euphoria of a wild, last-second, miracle kick-return TD to beat Clemson -- a play appreciated no less by Canes fans because it is controversial, with the ACC suspending the officiating crew. I think the high number also reflects most UM fans feeling good about the coaching change.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Next poll: Nov. 7 (following game vs. Virginia)

G8: HURRICANES 30, @ NO. 22 DUKE 27: MIRACLE WIN ENDS EMOTIONAL WEEK, BEGINS POST-GOLDEN ERA: Final thoughts: At least nine Canes touched the ball on a desperate, lateral-filled, miracle kickoff-return touchdown for a last-second 30-27 Miami victory -- a final-play that withstood an Miracleexcruciatingly long review by the officials. When anybody, anytime, compiles a list of most memorable plays in this program's history, this one will qualify. Wow. Shout-out to Artie Burns for the emotional fuel, playing so soon after the death of his mom. And to QB Malik Rosier, for a stout performance subbing for injured Brad Kaaya. And to interim-coach Larry Scott, miracle-winning his first game since the firing of Al Golden. This will get lost in the crazy win -- a win that keeps UM alive, however remotely, for the ACC Coastal Division crown -- but Miami somehow prevailed despite 23 penalties for 194 yards. Those are ridonkulous totals. That's lawlessness, an egregious lack of discipline. Nevertheless: Miracle win! Maybe it was for Al Golden. Maybe it was for Artie Burns. Maybe it was plain luck and maybe it wasn't. Whatever. Enjoy. ..... Halftime thoughts: QB Malik Rosier has been very good. The defense has been very good. And never underestimate the power of emotion, apparently. ..... Note: I'll be providing live score updates but not a live running commentary. However I'll be back with halftime and postgame observations. ..... Original post: After the week the Canes have had, this game had to be on Halloween night, right? Saturday's 7 p.m. roadie brings us full circle on one of the most tumultuous weeks in UM football history. Started with the stunning 58-0 home loss to Clemson that got Al Golden fired (and replaced Canesdukeby interim guy Larry Scott). QB Brad Kaaya's  concussion in that game will sideline him vs. CanespumpkinDuke. Canes also mourned for cornerback Artie Burns, whose mom died. A different UM player was arrested for domestic violence and suspended. Just a miserable week. A benevolent football god might give 4-3 UM the salve of an upset win here, but it doesn't seem likely against a 6-1, No. 22-ranked Duke squad that has won four in a row and is fighting for the ACC Coastal division crown that once was Miami's goal. Burns has said he plans to play despite his mother's passing, but I'm not sure that emotional lift will be enough. Kaaya's absence is huge. His backup, redshirt-freshman Malik Rosier, has struggled in limited action this season and looked lost vs. Clemson last week after replacing Kaaya. The betting line catapulted from 7 points favoring the Blue Devils to 13 as it became evident Kaaya would not play. Duke might also find itself emotionally drained, coming off last week's 45-43, four-overtime win at Virginia Tech. Miami has dominated this series, leading 10-2 including a 22-10 win last year, but this is a different, better Duke. With Kaaya augmenting the week's emotion, I'd have toyed with an outright upset. With Rosier, I just can't see it. My pick: Duke, 27-16.

Other college Week 9 state FBS games (in chronology; all Saturday):

No. 17 Florida State 45, Syracuse 21: No Dalvin Cook? No Everett Golson? No worries. 'Noles now 7-1 and still fighting to reach ACC title game. Cook should be healthy and back for the big Clemson game next week. Golson should be ready, too -- although the starting QB job may be Sean Maguire's now.

Cincinnati 52, UCF 7: No wonder coach George O'Leary resigned. The now 0-9 Knights might be the worst team in the country.

Navy 29, South Florida 17: Bulls drop to 4-4, see bowl hopes take broadside hit from a Navy ship.

No. 11 Florida 27, Georgia 3: World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party found Gators a scant 2-point fave but running away with it. Impressive. UF maintains hopes of reaching SEC title game. With rumors Georgia and coach Mark Richt might party ways after season, any Canes fans interested in Richt as Golden's possible eventual UM replacement was rooting for exactly what happened.

FAU 31, FIU 17: Told you a home FAU upset would not surprise in the Shula Bowl, and I was right. Owls now 2-6 in a lost season but this is a big blow to FIU's bowl hopes, at 4-5 now.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOV. 1): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive 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: Al Golden firing to The Miracle at Duke in a wild, emotional week for UM: Embattled, unpopular coach Al Golden is fired after an unfathomable 58-0 home loss to Clemson. A concussion sidelines quarterback Brad Kaaya. A player’s mother dies. Another player is arrested and suspended. The poor Hurricanes, making so much news for so many sad reasons. Then, that last-play, eight-lateral miracle Saturday night and a 30-27 win at Duke. There is a football god. And, oh, by the way: Canes fans don't care if you or the ACC think it shouldn't have counted.

2. DOLPHINS: Loss at Patriots, Wake injury bring Fins back to Earth: Thud! That was the Dolphins falling back down to reality Thursday night, in New England, after back-to-back rousing wins had made an instant hero of their interim coach. And now sack-man Cameron Wake is lost for the season. On the bright side? Good seats at reduced rates are newly available on the Dan Campbell Bandwagon.

3. HEAT: Miami wins opener, but LeBron delivers reality check: Thud II! An impressive season-opening Heat home win and a big rally to beat Houston sandwiched a Friday night reminder from LeBron James and Cleveland of who’s still boss, at least for now, in the Eastern Conference. Miami’s one-man Swat Team, Hassan Whiteside, had six blocked shots in that game. (“One-man Swat Team.” That’s mine. Patent pending.) 

4. MARLINS: Fish introduce Don Don Mattingly as new manager: Former Yankees great Don Mattingly, who managed the Dodgers the past five years, is being introduced this morning as Miami’s new skipper. Which, given owner Jeffrey Loria’s track record, makes “Donnie Baseball” the Marlins’ latest future ex-manager. Not sure of the odds on how long he’ll last, but Loria’s impatience usually makes the “under” a safe bet.

5. BASEBALL: Royals win World Series 4-1 over Mets: Kansas City beat New York again last night to silence the ballpark in Flushing, N.Y. and clinch the Royals' championship since 1985. KC catcher Salvador Perez was named World Series MVP. That means he has earned baseball's most coveted title: Mr. Early-November!

6. PANTHERS: New and improved or same ol'? Still deciding...: After a strong start Florida has lost five of its past seven games entering a three-game road trip starting Wednesday. Cats are supposed to be better. Playoff-good. Let them prove it, OK?
 
7. UM HOOPS: "Soft opening" this week for Canes men: Jim Larranaga's guys host an exhibition game vs. Dowling this Wednesday night as they prepare to open the season Nov. 13. Free tickets to anybody who knows who or what "Dowling" is.

8. NASCAR: Gordon headed to storybook finish at Homestead?: As the Nov. 22 NASCAR season finale at Homestead looms, Jeff Gordon -- who is retiring after this season -- on Sunday earned one of four spots to win the season title. Can you say storybook ending? 

9. SHULA BOWL: FAU upsets visiting FIU in annual rivalry: FIU's hopes for a bowl invitation took a big hit in an upset loss at visiting FAU. I know you don't care, but I give a hoot.

10. HORSE RACING: Triple Crown champ Pharoah wins, retires: American Pharoah capped a magical season Saturday by winning the Breeders' Cup by 6 1/2 lengths, and then retiring. Pharoah reportedly will retire to Century Village and beat all the other retired horses in bingo.

Missing the cut: First College Football Playoff ranking due out Tuesday ... Gregg Popovich to replace Mike Krzyzewski as U.S. basketball coach. ... Major League Soccer playoffs ... Abby Wambach retires from U.S. women's soccer team ... Miami FC to play at FIU ... R.I.P., Flip Saunders. Second-greatest Flip after Wilson?

AN URGENT PLEA: STOP THE SCOURGE OF FAKE HALLOWEEN PUMPKINS!: We've all seen them. Your neighbor may have one. It's a beautifully carved pumpkin ... except it isn't. He didn't carve it. It isn't even a pumpkin! It's a machine "carved" fake, a fraudulent non-pumpkin probably made of plastic or, Fakesmore likely, some sort of a Styrofoam-ish conglomeration. The fake pumpkin is un-American, a national scourge, 
and must be stopped. The fakes, as seen at left, may be good enough for the shelves of Walmart or Target, but they are not good enough for the U.S.A., dammit. Reject the very idea. Respect Mother Earth. Buy a real pumpkin, grab a knife or two, get creative, carve it yourself and feel great. And when you run across a fraudulent non-pumpkin, do not be afraid to tell the lazy, corner-cutting homeowner -- but politely! -- that you wouldn't put a fake pumpkin out front any more than you'd serve a beautifully painted papier-mache turkey on Thanksgiving. Thanks for listening. I'm Greg Cote, founder, Society Against Fraudulent Pumpkins (SAFP).

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 31, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 32.4%; plus Patriots remind Miami who's boss, 36-7; also, Heat lose at Cavs, NFL Week 8 predix, Mattingly-Marlins, FAU letter for Schnellenberger & more

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

Tim1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30: Homestead-Miami Speedway announced that country superstar Tim McGraw will perform at NASCAR's season ending race there Nov. 22. 2) Marlins surprised nobody yesterday by announcing that Dan Jennings, already out as manager, would not return to the front office at all. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Opening Night with poll, Fox Sports' embarrassment, racist Halloween costumes & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Heat fall at Cavaliers: As last night was a measuring stick for the Dolphins, so would tonight be for the Heat facing LeBron James in Cleveland. Heat was 1-0 after beating Charlotte, the Titans/Texans of the NBA. The Cavs are the Patriots. Or something like that. Cleveland 102, Miami 92. LeBron 29, D.Wade 25.

UPSET BIRD DAY / NFL WEEK 8: No sugarcoating: I was about as bad with my NFL picks last week as the FripixDolphins were in New England last night. Stumbled to 8-6 overall and sank to 4-9-1 against the spread. If those numbers aren't my season's nadir, I'm in trouble. Our Week 8 got off to a split start last night as I had Patriots winning but not covering. Click on Week 8 Gems for all of our latest picks and full prediction capsules. Click on Rare History for my latest weekly Friday page NFL notes column. I lead with Sunday night's Packers-Broncos matchup, which is only the fourth meeting ever between teams 6-0 or better, and only the second career head-to-head for Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

See our Dolphins-Pats in-game blog and postgame thoughts immediately below the new DSM poll.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 32.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they shows 32.4 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 36-7 loss at New England putting Miami's Dsmseason record at 3-4. The DSM, in its eighth year, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Saturday.

Interpreting the latest vote: This was a tough vote, having to weigh a really disappointing loss at New England against the elation of the previous two weeks. But a fresh loss to the Patriots weighs heaviest, and 3-4 is 3-4. So 32.4 percent sounds about right. 

2015 DSM Results

Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)

Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)

Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)

Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)

Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)

Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)

Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)

Next poll: Nov. 8 (following game at  Buffalo)

G7: NEW ENGLAND 36, DOLPHINS 7: MEASURING STICK SPANKS MIAMI, WAKE LOST FOR YEAR: Postgame thoughts: Wow. This is the difference between Titans/Texans and Patriots. Miami was never really in this game after being down early. Tom Brady was his usual excellent self, with 356 yards passing and four TDs. Ryan Tannehill countered with a 300-yard game that demeans the standard, with a meager 64.6 rating and two interceptions. Fins also managed a mere 15 yards rushing on 13 carries, the third-worst total in the franchise's 50 seasons. And cloaking the whole night like a sinister cloud: Cam Wake's injury. An Achilles. That is never good, and I'd expect it to be confirmed today what ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report this morning: That it's a torn Achilles and that Wake is done for the season. To summarize: Miami falls to 3-4, is 0-3 vs. the AFC East, just got embarrassed on national TV by its biggest rival, and now has lost its most impactful defender. The legend of Dan Campbell has taken a broadside hit. The rollicking, jam-packed DC Bandwagon suddenly has a few good seats available. ..... [Note: A computer gremlin zapped our live third and fourth quarter snippets. Apologies]. ..... Second Q: Miami tries 63-yard FG on last play of half, misses badly. ... Pats 19-0 just before half on short Brady pass to Dion Lewis. Man, this has turned into a rout. Miami defense barely OK, offense abysmal. ... Tannehill intercepted, leading to 52-yard Pats FG. Miami has 39 net yards of offense late in first half. Ugh. ... NE 9-0 on dumb safety against Miami. Tannehill in shotgun, not ready for snap, and Pouncey hikes it past Tanny and out of the end zone. ..... First Q: Brady ends 1Q 9-for-11 for 128 yards. ... Pats quick 7-0 lead on Gronkowski 47-yard catch and run from Brady. Missed tackle by Reshad Jones let Gronk loose. ..... Original post: They are both hot, and they are what makes this Dolphins-Patriots matchup extra special. Red-hot QBs Tom Brady vs. Ryan Tannehill? Oh that, too, I guess, now that you mention it. But I meant Gisele Bundhcen vs. Lauren Tannehill.. Anyway, the revitalized Dolphins we have seen the past two games look good enough to beat anyone, anywhere -- and that might even include the mighty Patriots in chilly Foxborough tonight on national TV. An upset win by Dolpat
Miami (an 8-point 'dog) would mildly surprise but certainly not shock. This feels like a great matchup to kick off NFL Week 8. Miami will have a big chance especially if the Cam Wake-led sack party continues and gets in Brady's pocket ... and in his head. This game is the ultimate challenge, though, and until the Dolphins prove they can pass a test this Dolpatlauren Dolpatgiseledifficult, then thinking they will remains risky. The Titans and Texans that Miami dominated have a combined 3-10 record. The Patriots fronted by Bill Belichick and Brady are a whole different animal. One with claws and fangs. The palpable lift interim coach Dan Campbell has given the


Fins is real; I respect that. But what I respect even more is that "at New England" might be any opponent's scariest three words. Too many trends pointing Pat-ward make an outright upset too tall a call here. NE has won 21 of its past 22 home games. Brady is 12-1 with eight wins in a row at home over Miami. Tannehill is 0-3 with five picks at Gillette Stadium. Having said all of that, the point spread still feels a bit fat. I trust the Dolphins' improvement enough to see this one TV-pleasing close. Click on Thursday Night Gem for our full prediction capsule. My pick: Patriots, 28-24.

MARLINS REPORTEDLY HIRE MATTINGLY: The news site Vice Sports reports today (story here) that the DonmMiami Marlins have agreed to terms on a four-year contract with manager and former Yankees star Don Mattingly, who led the Los Angeles Dodgers for five years until the team and he parted ways after this past season. His Dodgers record was 446-363, .551. The deal reportedly will not be announced until after the World Series. Mattingly would be the third high-profile "star" manager in Marlins history, after Jim Leyland and Ozzie Guillen. He'll also be the eighth Marlins manager (including interims) just since 2010, crazy instability that needs to stop. Mattingly feels like a smart hire initially but we'll ponder further. In any case his Yankees ties can't hurt in a South Florida market filled with NY transplants.

FAU SENT "LETTER OF SUPPORT" FOR SCHNELLENBERGER IN COLLEGE HALL: In a recent column pushing Howard Schnellenberger for the College Football Hall of Fame I noted that none of the three Howardsschools stamped by his success -- Miami, Louisville and FAU -- had formally nominated him for induction, a necessary first step. Well, this from FAU Athletic Director Patrick Chun: "I have spoken directly to the National Football Foundation. Per their suggestion, Dr. [John] Kelly [FAU president] has drafted and submitted a letter directly to the NFF expressing our support of Howard Schnellenberger entering the Hall of Fame. We have been told this is the most effective and appropriate manner to show our support for Howard in the quest to get him into the College Football Hall of Fame." The NFF still would need to make an exception to one of its rules: that entrants have at least a .600 career winning percentage. Because he does not meet that criteria a school may not submit a "formal" nomination, but FAU's official letter of support is a step never before taken. It at least opens a door and gives Howard, 81, a fighting chance.

BOSH, HEAT OPEN SEASON RIGHT: Click on Opening Night, Opening Right for my column off BoshWednesday's Heat season debut, leading with Chris Bosh's big game in his official return from blood clots. Three other takeaways: Miami's Gerald Green-led 3-point shooting will be better than expected. Heat's depth is so obviously improved, led led by impressive rookie sparkplug Justise Winslow, whose defense especially impressed last night. And Pat Riley, who has cultivated an un-dyed white beard, looks like a too-thin non-finalist in a Hemingway lookalike contest.

Poll result: Most see Heat in 46-50 win range: We invited you to to predict the Heat's regular-season win range and a plurality of 41.9 percent had it 46-50 victories, with another 36.5% saying 51-55. Less popular: 11.6% for 56-plus, 8.7% for 41-45 and 1.3% for 40 or less.

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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October 27, 2015

Welcome to the Wild, Wild Week, South Florida sporties. Heat open, Dolphins-Pats, post-Golden Canes, World Series, Cats, Mattingly, oy!; plus NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy Week 7 results, new SOPY standings, landslide approval for UM firing & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Al Golden fired with poll, betting odds on his UM replacement & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Sizing up World Series from three perspectives: Mets-Royals begins tonight in Kansas City. The view from three angles: Betting--Bovada has it dead-even in terms of betting odds. ESPN experts--It's Royals by a nearly 2-1 margin (17-9), say ESPN's experts panel. Greg Cote--My gut says New York because of starting pitching but the idea of imagining Mets fans that happy is so abhorrent that I must pick the Royals.

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Five at a time in random order the Fins are revealing their 50th anniversary top-50 all-time players, and the latest five are Brent Grimes, Jim Langer, Reggie Roby, Paul Warfield and Ricky Williams. My thoughts: Langer and Warfield are no-brainer obvious. Williams and Roby sure would have been on my top-50 and I'm pleasantly surprised they made it. Grimes is a stunner. Hasn't served long enough. But Miami hasn't had a lot of great cornerbacks, so maybe that's it.

BUCKLE UP FOR A WILD WEEK IN LOCAL SPORTS: Sports fans -- and Your Friend The Media, too, yes --

are prone to hyperbole. Everything is the biggest game ever, most exciting week ever, et cetera. Having said that, you'd have a pretty strong hand playing this week as one of the fullest and best we've had in South Florida in a long while. A primer:

OhweekHeat: Will the improved Heat be pretty great or just pretty good? We start to find out on Opening Night this Wednesday vs. Charlotte. 

Dolphins: The Fins are 2-0 under interim god Dan Campbell but put the mjo to the ultimate test Thursday night at New England.

Hurricanes: Most fans are elated over the firing of Al Golden but now, as speculation about his replacement percolates, interim coach Larry Scott must try to divine a win Saturday at No. 22-ranked Duke.

Panthers: Playoff-thinking Cats have a three-game hockey homestand Tuesday vs. Colorado, Friday against Boston, then Saturday Washington.

Marlins: It appears increasingly likely the Fish might actually land Don Mattingly as their next manager as soon as this week.

FIU: It's FIU at FAU on Saturday in the annual "Shula Bowl" college football rivalry. It ain't Michigan-Michigan State, but it's still kind of nice.

Oops, almost forgot: The World Series, Mets-Royals, starts Tuesday night.

Buckle up, sporties!

Poll result: Landslide approval for Golden firing: we asked if you approved of YUM firing Al Golden and it was 91.6 percent yes, 6.2% no and 2.2% undecided.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 7: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams. Pix: Fripix LobosMini-slump continues: We went an unsatisfactory 8-6 overall and a closer-to-embarrassing 4-9-1 against the spread, with nothing positive worth even mentioning. Greg's Lobos / family league: A needed win!: The original Lobos improved to 3-4 with a 134-86 triumph, led by 32 points apiece from FIU's T.Y. Hilton ans from Todd (Welcome Back) Gurley. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Upset loss ends streak: After four straight wins the Lobos fell to 4-3 with a 96.2-90.6 loss to Roy. Came down to Monday night and not quite enough from Michael Floyd. Byes really hurt us this week. Andrew Luck was our MVL with 24 points; the killer was four players scoring in single-digits.

SOPY: FSU'S COOK REMAINS IN COMMAND FOR 'STATE HEISMAN': The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- find Florida State running back Dalvin Cook still Sopyfirmly in first place through Week 7, with a narrow lead but a game in hand over the runnerup. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because they are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 9:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 8

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W7        Season

1 (1)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             138      1,290

2 (2)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         209       1,261.5

3 (4)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   267.5    1,184

4 (5)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             114       937

5 (3)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          14.5       931.5

6 (7)         Everett Golson, FSU-qb          93        863.5

7 (6)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            BYE       789

8 (9)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       46        782

9 (8)          Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          DNP       750

10 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       BYE       617

Bubble: Thomas Owens, FIU-wr, 590. Other team leaders: FAU--Jacquez Johnson, qb, 580; UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 470. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 287 (Wk6). Note: FIU and UCF have played eight games each; all others seven.

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

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 24, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 54.3%; plus UM blown out by Clemson 58-0, worst loss in program history all but dooms Golden's Canes future

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins-next-manager poll, Dolphins/NFL Week 7 picks, Bosh dethrones Wade, new Elton & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

UM-Clemson postgame thoughts below: Our postgame thoughts on today's UM debacle may be found directly below the new he new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 54.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 54.3 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 58-0 loss to visiting Clemson putting UM's season record at 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 9:15 a.m. today/Monday.

Interpreting the latest vote: Of course 54 percent approval after a 58-0 home loss is absurd, but it reflects the large number of Canes fans who wanted Al Golden gone and figured (accurately) that a loss such as this would do the trick.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: Voting now underway (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Next poll: Oct. 31 (following game at Duke)

G7: NO. 6 CLEMSON 58, HURRICANES 0: Final. Postgame thoughts: Coach Al Golden called this a statement game and thought his Hurricanes were ready for it. Unfortunately for Al, the statement a 58-0 loss makes might be, "Miami needs a new coach." I wrote of the Dolphins' Joe Philbin after the 41-14 loss to Buffalo in the home opener that embattled coaches don't survive losses like that one. I feel the same way about Golden now after today's debacle against Clemson. It is numerically the worst loss in program history. The previous worst was a 56-point defeat (70-14) against Texas A&M in 1944. Could the afternoon have gone any worse for Miami? Clemson had 567 yards of offense to Miami's 146. It was 42-0 by halftime. QB Brad Kaaya was knocked out of the game by a concussion. It was a plain embarrassment. Miami is 4-3 now, and 1-2 in the ACC. Nothing short of reaching the conference title game may save Golden's job. I doubt if getting to a second-tier bowl game will. This was a bad, bad day for UM football, and an even worse one for Al Golden. ..... Original post: Top-ten Clemson (6-0) is a fairly modest 7 1/2-point favorite over Miami (4-2) in Saturday's High Noon kickoff broadcasting on ABC-TV. Hope for UM is the Canes swearing they are over the post-FSU letdown that has
Clemsonmiamiseen The U go 2-6 the past two seasons after losing to its instate rival. A bigger hope for Miami is that Clemson tends to turn relatively mortal and beatable when not luxuriating in the maniacal home confines of Death Valley. This will be only the Tigers' second road game this season, and in the first they barely escaped Louisville, 20-17. Of course this factor would require UM posing a palpable home-field advantage at Dolphins stadium, which tends to be an iffy proposition. Clemson has a formidable passing game led by QB Deshaun Watson, and Brad Kaaya may be called upon to counter that. Clemson's last trip to Miami was a thriller, a 40-37 Tigers win in 2009, and another pointfest would not surprise. This would be the elusive "signature" win that embattled coach Al Golden needs. Unbeaten Clemson is dreaming of a spot in the four-team CFB playoffs (with the city of Miami hosting one of the semifinals in this same stadium on New Year's Eve). An upset would plunder Clemson's hopes, likely get UM ranked and feather Miami's dream of reaching the ACC championship game. Now all they have to do is do it. Tall task. My pick: Clemson, 31-26.

Other college Week 8 state FBS games (in chronology; all games Saturday):

No. 21 Houston 59, UCF 10: Knights now 0-8 as coach George O'Leary heads for exit.

South Florida 38, Southern Methodist 14: Bulls now 4-3 and thinking bowl.

FIU 41, Old Dominion 12: Panthers level at 4-4 after huge win sparked by QB Alex McGough's big day.

Texas-El Paso 27, FAU 17: The 1-6 Owls are seeing their season turn miserable.

Georgia Tech 22, No. 9 Florida State 16: Final-play shocker hands FSU its first defeat.

Off this week: No. 13 Florida (6-1).

Poll result: Marlins fans want Mattingly: We asked who you prefer as Marlins next manager, and 66.5 percent voted for Don Mattingly, the newly available ex-Dodgers skipper. "Someone else" not on the ballot was second with 15.3%. Of the five men to have interviewed for the job thus far, Larry Bowa led with 7.1%.

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 19, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 89.1% (season high); plus UM bops Va-Tech 30-20 behind Kaaya, defense; also Gators lose, Noles win, FIU falls, verdicts on Tannehill/Spurrier & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Faith-in-Ryan Tannehill poll, Stephen Ross' anti-racism initiative, NFL Week 6 picks, Spurrier-quitting poll & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My column off the UM-VT game: Click on A Most Necessary Win for my column on the Hurricanes -- and Al Golden -- beat Virginia Tech last night. And find our live in-game post directly beneath the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 89.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 89.1 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday's 30-20 victory over visiting Virginia Tech putting UM's season 1aacsmrecord at 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. That's a season high. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:15 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Next poll: Oct. 24 (following game vs. Clemson)

G6: HURRICANES 30, VIRGINIA TECH 20: A STEP CLOSER TO SAVING A SEASON, AND A COACH: Final report: It was not an altogether impressive home win over a mediocre Virginia Tech but it was what it needed to be for Miami: A conference victory that keeps alive UM's hope of somehow working itself into the ACC championship game and saving Al Golden's job. The 30-20 win makes Miami 4-2 and 1-1 in conference play, led today by Brad Kaaya's 296 yards passing and four defensive takeaways. ..... Fourth Q: Artie Burns with his second INT of the game for Miami's fourth defensive takeaway. ... Miami with a comfy 30-20 lead now with 2:44 left after Kaaya's 2-yard TD pass to Rashawn Scott. ... Tech pulls within 23-20 with 7:20 to play. Uh oh. Miami gives up 33-yard TD pass to Isaiah Ford. ... Defense is winning the game to this point. Three takeaways by Canes, two of which have led directly to 10 points. ..... Third Q: UM now up 23-13 with 21-yard FG in final minute of quarter but its a letdown. Canes had 1st-and-goal at 2 and somehow couldn't push it in. A false start penalty really hurt. ... Big interception by Juwon Young is UM's third takeaway and sets up Canes deep in Tech territory. ... Artie Burns with a big INT for UM defense after Tech had driven to Canes 30. Artie Burns sounds like the name of a Borscht Belt comedian from the '50s. ... A needed win here for the taking. Two quarters to go get it. ..... Halftime report: A 20-13 lead at home against a mediocre opponent is OK but not great. It took a 79-yard drive in 54 seconds to end the half with a go-ahead TD to make it OK. Prior to that, Miami's only touchdown had been set up by a defensive takeaway at the VT 3. UM in the second half must show that same offensive spark it showed on that last drive. ..... Second Q: UM up 20-13 on 7-yard Kaaya pass to Rashawn Scott four seconds before halftime. A 45-yard pass to Herb Waters made it happen. ... Tech knots it again at 13-13 on 38-yard FG with about a minute left in half after defense toughens in time. ... Canes turn it over on downs with incomplete pass from VT 33. ... UM back up 13-10 on career-long 49-yard FG by Michael Badgley. ..... First Q: VT equalizes 10-10 as quarter ends with 9-yard pitch-pass finishing 75-yard drive. Canes defense shabby on that series. ... UM 10-3. Miami settles for 24-yard FG after offensive pass interference against UM's Christopher Herndon negates 14-yard Kaaya TD pass to Mark Walton. Canes now 14 TDs in 30 red-zone trips, not a good percentage. Must finish. ... VT within 7-3 on 30-yard FG. Not a bad result for Canes considering it was 1st-and-10 from UM 13. ... UM 7-0 on Joe Yearby 3-yard run after Trent Harris fumble recovery for Canes at the Va-Tech 3. Miami now an ACC-leading plus-10 on turnovers this season ... Must win. Gotta have it. Period. ..... Pregame: It's a flyover frenzy! Two small planes pulling the usual anti-Al Golden banners have been countered by two other planes pulling pro-Golden banners. Banner of the day based on originality: "Al's only signature win is his contract." ..... Original post: Head coaches are paid to have their team well-prepared for a game. That means X's and O's stuff tailored to the particular opponent, but it also means having your team mentally prepared for the situation they're in. CanesvatechThis is Al Golden's challenge as his 3-2 Hurricanes host 3-3 Virginia Tech at 3:30 p.m Saturday with UM a 4-point favorite. See, this is a "sandwich" game for Miami, one it might be easy to be distracted from or look past. Va-Tech comes right after last week's big, emotional loss at No. 11 Florida State, the game the Canes had circled in red, and just before next week's big home game vs. No. 5 Clemson. To beat the Hokies, a worthy if not special opponent, Golden must see that his Canes marshal their focus, which means leaving the FSU disappointment behind and not glancing ahead to Clemson. UM, plainly, is not good enough to look ahead and beat Virginia Tech on auto-pilot. Golden must instill in his team that the ACC Coastal Division title is still very much in play but that no more losing winnable games can happen. Losing at Cincinnati was one of those bad losses. A home loss to Va-Tech would be another one, and better not be. Miami is 2-6 the past two seasons following a loss to FSU. The same post-Noles letdown cannot happen again. The 2015 UM season has become about showing fight, finishing strong and saving Golden's job in the process. But can they do it? My pick: Hurricanes, 27-20.

Other college Week 7 state FBS games (in chronology; all games Saturday):

South Florida 28, Connecticut 20: Nice lil' road upset levels Bulls at 3-3.

Marshall 33, FAU 17: Owls fall to 1-5 with home defeat.

Middle Tennessee 42, FIU 34: Panthers 3-4 after shootout road loss.

No. 11 Florida State 41, Louisville 21: Convincingly routine win for now 6-0 Noles. Dalvin Cook with 163 yards rushing, ho hum.

No. 6 LSU 35, No. 8 Florida 28: Gators started QB Treon Harris for suspended Will Grier but dropoff was minimal, if any, in this battle of unbeatens. Bigger key in game was UF's very good defense not looking it against LSU super-back Leonard Fournette and that big offense.

Temple 30, UCF 16: Temple stays unbeaten, drops Knights to an abysmal 0-7.

Poll result: Faith in Tannehill is shaky and wavering: We asked your degree of faith in Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill, and only 12.3 percent answered "strong." Then it was 29.3% "medium," 32.1% "wavering" and 26.3% "weak." Clearly, Tannehill must rebuild the faltering trust that he's the right guy.

Poll result: Mixed verdict on Spurrier abruptly quitting: We asked if you thought less of Steve Spurrier because he abruptly quit as South Carolina's coach this week, and a plurality of 48.1 percent said no. But another 29.6% said yes, and 22.3% answered "maybe a little."

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote