October 18, 2017

Miami Heat Opening Night! How good do you expect team to be this season? Set the bar in poll. Vote now!; plus my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, new 'Back In My Day,' latest SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and find a hugely impressive spike. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Atlanta with DSM poll, The List (Fins), Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

The Godfather Speaks: My Pat Riley column: The Heat godfather, in a exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, reflects on 50 years in the NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for this Heat team and season as it opens tonight in Orlando. Click on The Godfather Speaks to read in full.

New BIMD: Cemetery Joggers!: From yesterday's LeBatard Show, a new Back In My Day segment railing against the gall of people who use cemeteries as a place to exercise. Click Cemetery Joggers to watch the video.

DragicwhitesideHEAT EXPECTATIONS POLL: SETTING BAR FOR THE 2017-18 SEASON: The Miami Heat last season finished 41-41 and (narrowly) missed the playoffs, though it seems better in the recollection because of the 30-11 record the second half of the schedule. That leads to an assumption of overall improvement from a team led by Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside (pictured). Yet outside expectations are somewhat modest as the season opens tonight in Orlando, and then Saturday at home vs. Indiana. For example, ESPN's Power Rankings entering the regular season has Miami slotted only seventh best in the Eastern Conference (eight make the playoffs) and 18th overall in the 30-team NBA. The Heat's projected record is put at 43-39. Now what do you think? What is your honest, realistic expectation for the season based on anticipated number of regular-season wins? Remember: Not asking what you hope happens ... but rather what you'd bet will. Vote now.

SMITH STAYS NO. 1 OVER BRADY, CUTLER INCHES UP / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: The Cardinals' Carson Palmer wins Week 6 honors with a 39.15- Arodgerspoint game (unusually low for a winning total), while the Chiefs' Alex Smith keeps his overall lead ahead of Patriot Tom Brady in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Packer Aaron Rodgers (pictured) is third but will fall week by week with his season-ending injury. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler inches up one spot, to 29th overall. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK6       Season

1      1     Alex Smith, KC                   19.30      230.85

2      2     Tom Brady, NE                    22.85     223.95

3      3     Aaron Rodgers, GB               0.90     182.25

4      4     Carson Wentz, PHI             27.10     179.20

5      9     Carson Palmer, ARI             39.15    175.85

6      5     Drew Brees, NO                  25.30    174.05

7     12    Josh McCown, NYJ              32.70    165.70

8      6     Eli Manning, NYG                17.40    165.30

9    14     Philip Rivers, LAC               35.40     158.65

10    8     Matthew Stafford, DET       13.60     157.40

11   18    Kirk Cousins, WAS                37.50    154.70

12    7     Cam Newton, CAR                9.95     153.80

13    16    Deshaun Watson, HOU        27.25     149.85

14   13     Jared Goff, LAR                  15.20    147.45

15   17     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT       26.60    147.05

16   20     Matt Ryan, ATL                   25.40    136.85

17   10     Dak Prescott, DAL                BYE     135.60

18   11     Russell Wilson, SEA              BYE     135.10

19   23     Case Keenum, MIN              26.95    127.70

20   24     Trevor Siemian, DEN           23.80     124.20

29   30     Jay Cutler, MIA                   20.55       98.85

Bubble: Andy Dalton, CIN, 123.00. Week 6 best: Palmer, ARI, 39.15 (18-22, 283, 3-1 in win). Week 6 worst: Brian Hoyer, SF, minus-1.30 (4-11, 34, 0-0 in loss).  

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 6 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald Fripix Lobospredictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 6Herald picks: Improvement, at least. After a nightmarish recent slump, we'll take an 8-6 overall and do cartwheels over a 7-5-2 against the spread (two games were off the board when we picked 'em). Highlights: Nailed our Upset of the Week with Steelers over Chiefs ("Aawwk!"), hit another outright upset with Vikings over Packers, hit a third (barely) upset with Cardinals over Bucs, and had underdog Dolphins and Jets with the points. Greg's Lobos: Tough loss, 107.3-101.4, to Chris. Byes hit us hard but Lobos scrambled to put six in double figures, led by Jarvis Landry's 20.2, but lost it with only 11.5 from Drew Brees. What are the odds Saints top 50 points but Brees has an off game!? Oh well. 'Bos still 4-2 and only one game back. #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 7: CANES' ROSIER IN 3-MAN BATTLE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN'Miami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what keeps Sopylooking like a three-man race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Canes running back Mark Walton, out injured for the season, is seventh and falling. UM back Travis Homer is back in the chart in ninth place after a week-leading 200-point game. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               207.60         1,038 / 5

2    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             188.33         1,130 / 6

3    3    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  183.10          915.5 / 5

4    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                   134.50          807 / 6

5    4    Devin Singletary-FAU rb               134.33          806 / 6

6    8    Thomas Owens-FIU rec                109.25          655.5 / 6

7    5    Mark Walton-Miami rb                  107.40          537 / 5

8   --    Cam Akers-FSU rb                         103.20          516 / 5

9   --    Travis Homer-Miami rb                  100.20          501 / 5

10   9   Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec                 97.20          486 / 5

Bubble: D'Ernest Johnson-So Fla rb, 97.17. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 95.00. Week 7 best: Homer-Miami rb, 200 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (W3).

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

Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 16, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 96.0%. UM approval rating stays in stratosphere!; plus UM rallies late past Georgia Tech 25-24 in thriller, stays unbeaten and atop ACC Coastal!; also, other FIU wins big one and state Collball & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14. Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite recent performances? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 6 predictions, your verdict on benching Jay Cutler & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Click Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble for my column from Saturday's game.

Click Canesfan Satisfaction Meter to vote in the latest postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 96.0%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 96.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 25-24 victory over visiting Georgia Tech putting No. 11 UM’s season record at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the ACC. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following game 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
Next poll: Oct. 21 following game vs. Syracuse

G5: GEORGIA TECH AT NO. 11 HURRICANES: MIAMI ON MAJOR UPSET ALERT IN HUGE ACC TEST: Postgame thoughts: In one of the greatest games we have seen at any level, the Hurricanes rallied to beat Georgia Tech 25-24 on a last-second 24-yard field goal Saturday. With a loss, it would have been hard to feel that Mark Richt's onside-kick decision to open the second half -- which backfired for a Georgia Tech TD -- was not the difference in this game. Miamim needed heroes. Plenty volunteered ..... 4Q: MIA up 25-24 late on Badgley 24Y FG ... Homer 27-yard scoring run in driving rain has Miami within 24-22 early in fourth after Rosier 2-point pass is deflected incomplete ... Heavy rain as fourth Q begins. Bad omen? ..... 3Q: UM within 24-16 on 21-yard FG. Settled, though, after a 70-yard Rosier-Thomas play play to the Tech 3 ... Tech now up 24-13, adds 31-yard FG ... Oh my. Miami opens second half with onside kick (why!?) and it is returned 42 yards by Simmons for a TD. Canes now trail 21-13 ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami's defense has been not great but OK; this Tech "flexbone" offense is going to get its ground yards. Miami's running game led by Travis Homer has been fine. The difference in this huge ACC Coastal game right now, with Canes down 14-13 at half, was a non-existent passing game until very late in the half. Malik Rosier was 3-for-10 for 20 yards. Some of that was coverage, much of it was inaccuracy. But the air game opened up late, including Rosiweer's `17-yard TD pass to Homer. This is where Miami will come back to win in the second half, or suddenly be "formerly unbeaten." Passing! ..... Halftime ceremony: UM has Ring of Honor ceremony for all-time greats Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and (posthumously) Sean Taylor. Reed was not present; the other three were putting up 'U's to huge ovations ..... 2Q: Miami within 14-13 on Homer 17-yard scoring pass from Rosier late in half. About time UM opened up the air game! ... Miami within 14-6 on Badgley 43-yard FG. UM settled, had 1st at GT 20 after 32-yard Homer run but drive fizzled ... Uh oh. GT now up 14-3 on Marshall-Green 3-yard TD pass after QB was under siege and in the grasp ..... 1Q: Georgia Tech up 7-3 on 5-yard Green run in series featuring 48-yard run by Lynch ... Miami up 3-0 on Badgley 33-yard FG on drive sparked by Berrios 34-yard punt return ..... Original postGeorgia Tech arrives 3-1 for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game at The Rock and is on the verge of rankdom, while the 11th-ranked Canes are 4-0 and feelin' it after last week's hex-busting win in Tallahassee. Finally beating 

GtmiaFlorida State (after seven straight losses) was bigger symbolically and emotionally for Mark Richt's program, but beating the Yellow Jackets today would be bigger tangibly, with both teams 2-0 atop the ACC Coastal division. Saturday may tell more G5than last week about whether UM has the mettle to get all the way to the ACC Championship Game. Miami is favored by 6 1/2 points but should be on major, major upset alert. Any post-FSU letdown will find the Canes with a first loss. And I say that knowing The U has beaten this rival seven of the past eight meetings, and that GT hasn't won in Miami since 2007. The key matchup, of course: The Hurricanes' daunting defensive front seven versus Tech's vaunted "flexbone" rushing attack. The Jackets average 396 rushing yards per game and have scored 16 TDs on the ground. Quarterback Ta'Quon Marshall alone has 523 yards running in four games. But, likewise, Tech has not faced an offense as potent as Miami's. Malik Rosier will have his chances downfield. The big question: What will be the dropoff (if any?) as Travis Homer replaces injured star Mark Walton as featured back. I like the Canes at home, but this one makes me nervous. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-27.
 
Other state FBS Week 7 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

Florida State 17, Duke 10: Seminoles now 2-3 after holding on on road. Another loss here and you'd have begun to wonder if preseason No. 3 FSU would  even climb up to bowl-eligible.

No. 22 UCF 63, East Carolina 21: Biggest opponent here was overconfidence, with Knights a five-touchdown home favorite and takin' care of biz.

FIU 23, Tulane 10: OK, you have our attention, Butch Davis. Panthers were 14-point home betting 'dogs, but the bowl-bound Butchers won a big one to improve to 4-2. 

Texas A&M 19, Florida 17: Newly unranked UF was a 3-point Swamp fave but falls to 3-3 on a late score. What's come easily this season for Florida? Now a tough home loss, plus those hideous reptilian uniforms they wore.

No. 18 South Florida 33, Cincinnati 3: Bulls cruise to 6-0 in drama-free rout.

Off this week: FAU (3-3), next vs. North Texas.

National Collball Week 7 overview: Not a single national Top 25 matchup this week and no CFP-dreaming team seems in peril. Game of the Week might have No. 12 Oklahoma beating Texas 29-24 in the annual Red River Showdown.

October 09, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 97.6%. Season-high CSM rating after hex-ending 24-20 win over FSU in Tally; also, other state Collball, Panthers win home opener, Cam Newton's problem, your World Series verdict & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7. Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite the last two weeks' performance? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Panthers open NHL season, NFL Week 5 picks, baseball postseason with World Series poll, Cam Newton, Derek Jeter & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

On Panthers as they open NHL home schedule: Florida beat Tampa Bay 5-4 in its home opener last night to begin the Cats' 24th NHL home opener after a 5-3 loss to the Lightning on the road the night before. Click on Back On Track & Ready To Roar for my optimistic season-preview column on a team that emerged stronger from last year's nightmare season.

On Cam Newton and women sports writers: Cam found it "funny" to hear a "female" asking a question about pass routes. Here's a few words about women sports writers from someone who actually respects them and what they put up with. Click on Here's What I Find Funny, Cam.

Alternate postgame-poll voting booth: Our latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll also appears online outside our blog. Click on CSM.  

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 97.6%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-high 97.6 percent overall approval rating -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of CsmSaturday’s 24-20 victory at Florida State ending a seven-game series losing streak and putting No. 13 UM’s season record at 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Monday.

2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following game 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: Next poll Oct. 14 following game vs. Georgia Tech 
 
G4: NO. 24 HURRICANES 24, FLORIDA STATE 20: MIAMI A RARE ROAD FAVORITE. CAN CANES LIVE UP? YES: Postgame thoughts: The hex: Done. The seven-game series losing streak: Over. The nemesis: Vanquished. The Litmus test: Passed. The sense that this could be the Miami Hurricanes’ most special football season in a long time: Growing exponentially. No. 13 UM did not quit in a 24-20 victory over Florida State on Saturday in Tallahassee, getting just enough Malik Rosier, Braxton Berrios and defense to stay perfect at 4-0 (2-0 in the ACC). Original post: State FBS teams went 7-0 last week for only second time ever, but it won't happen again as Miami and Florida State renew a great rivalry in the schools' 62nd meeting Saturday at 3:30 in Tallahassee. This was the game originally scheduled Sept. 16 but postponed Umfsu1by Hurricane Irma. FSU was a preseason No. 3-ranked team but has Umfsu2struggled at 1-2 since the injury loss of quarterback Deondre Francois and is unranked. UM is sailing at 3-0 and 13th-ranked. That's why the Canes are 2 1/2-point road favorites (down from 3) despite FSU having won seven in a row in the series. Jimbo Fisher has never lost to Miami since taking over for Bobby Bowden in 2010 but that run could finally end here. All recall last year's heartbreak, when Miami appeared to score the tying TD with 1:38 left but had the extra point blocked in a 20-19 Noles win. It just seems Miami is due in this series, right? FSU will rely on its very good defense, but I think Malik Rosier, Mark Walton and Ahmmon Richards will be up to the challenge -- Walton's tender ankle the concern and a key. Miami's offense has only two turnovers in three games and continuing that trend will be important. But I think it will be the Canes' defense that will turn this game. I have a feeling two or three Canes defenders will be wearing that Turnover Chain in disrupting FSU's true freshman QB James Blackman. By the way, in the fans photo at left, is it me, or does the guy putting up the 'U' look a little like Dwyane Wade? My pick: Hurricanes, 27-21.
 
Other state FBS Week 6 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

Middle Tennessee 37, FIU 17: Humbling road loss for Butch Davis' Panthers, now 3-2.

LSU 17, No. 21 Florida 16: Tough Swamp loss for Gators, now 3-2, the difference a missed extra point, and on a day they honored Gainesville boy Tom Petty with an emotional singalong of "Won't Back Down."

FAU 58, Old Dominion 28: Dominant road win for Lane Kiffin's Owls, now 3-3. "Old Dominion" sounds like a whiskey, and plays like Old Granddad.

No. 25 UCF 51, Cincinnati 23: No-doubt road triumph for the now 4-0 Knights, who got 374 yards passing and ifve TDs from Mckenzie Milton.

Off this week: No. 18 South Florida (5-0), next vs. Cincinnati.

National Collball Week 6 overview: Only two national Top 25 matchups this week and neither a huge one: No. 24 North Carolina State surprised No. 17 Louisville, 39-25, Thursday night; and 8-Texas Christian edged visiting 23-West Virginia, 31-24.

POLL RESULT: SUPPORT SPREAD, BUT INDIANS HAVE MOST FOR WORLD SERIES TITLE: We asked, "Who are you most rooting for to win the World Series?" and among the eight finalists the Indians led with 23.6 percent. After that it was bunched among the Yankees (16.4%), Astros (14.3%), Cubs (13.6%) and Dodgers (11.4%). Then it was a dropoff to the Red Sox (8.6%), Nationals (7.1%) and Diamondbacks (5.0%).

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 30, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 96.5%. Wow!; plus UM wins at Duke 31-6 in ACC opener; also, Stanton chasing 60, NFL Week 4 pix, your Trump vs. NFL verdict & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30. Click on Toys! for my latest Back In My Day segment from the LeBatard Show. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite last week's performance? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Trump vs. NFL with poll, UM hoops scandal, Herald NFL Week 3 QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 3 results, SOPY Week 4 standings, RIP Hugh Hefner & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Stanton column: In Search Of 60: Baseball is the one sport where history matters most, and the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton this weekend can make some. Click on Chasing History for my latest column.

Wade column: No villains in going to Cleveland: Dwyane Wade will end up in a Miami Heat No. 3 jersey again, because both sides sincerely want that. Until then, do not fault Wade his late-career meandering. He has earned the right. Click on Wade Will End Where He Belongs to read.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 96.5%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll -- and they could hardly be any Csmhigher. You put the overall CSM satisfaction at 96.5 percent -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Friday night's 31-6 victory at Duke putting No. 14 UM's season record at 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the ACC. Understand internet polls. Nothing gets 100%. The poll could ask, "Do you wish for the health of your loved ones?" and it wouldn't top 96.5%. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 p.m. tonight/Saturday.
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
Next poll: Oct. 7 following game at Florida State
 
G3: NO. 14 HURRICANES 31, @ DUKE 6: UM WINS ACC OPENER HANDILY, IMPRESSIVELY: [I'll half postgame thoughts here just before posting the new CSM postgame poll] Original post: Duke is 4-0 and one win from being ranked. The 14th-ranked Canes are 2-0 but this is the first big-conference foe, let alone Miami's ACC opener -- the biggest game of the young season for The U. The buildup to this 7 p.m. Friday nighter has been a look-back to UM's last trip to Durham in 2015 that ended in that 8-lateral miracle kickoff return on the last play for a 30-27 Canes win. That is because Your Friend The Media loves the easy rehash, the perfunctory storyline. But trust the '17 Canes better be focused and locked in on tonight, because, although Miami is a 6 1/2-point favorite, the upset potential is huge. In fact ESPN's computerized Football Power Index gives Duke a 55 percent likelihood of winning. Any frayed focus, such as minds wandering a week ahead to the FSU game in Tally, will cause a loss here. Canes lead the all-time series 12-2 including a 40-21 win last year but forget that. Duke has a quarterback, Daniel Jones, capable of getting the best of what has thus far been a weak UM secondary. Duke also has a very stout defense that leads the nation in allowing opponents only a 14% third-down conversion rate. The Blue Devils' run defense will pose the biggest test yet for Miami's excellent running back Mark Walton. Malik Rosier may be put in a spot of having to pass more than Mark Richt would like. The good news there: the likely season debut of top receiver Ahmmon Richards, who has been out with a hamstring injury. Overall I like Miami, but with shaky confidence. This would be a very nice and big road win in what looms as an extremely losable game. My pick: Hurricanes, 30-27.

Other state FBS Week 5 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

No. 21 Florida 38, Vanderbilt 24: The Gator rolls out five rushing TDs to move to 3-1.

No. 18 South Florida 61, East Carolina, 31: Bulls sky to 5-0 after halves of 31 and 30 points.

Florida State 26, Wake Forest 19: So weird to see the Seminoles unranked, dadgumit, but FSU got off the schneid and is 1-2, averting overtime with a late TD heading into Miami week.  

FIU 30, Charlotte 29: Butch Davis is making a lil' noise. Hope FIU students are listening. Panthers now 3-1 after rallying from 26-14 down at the half led by three TDs produced by QB Alex McGough.

FAU 38, Middle Tennessee 20: Big win for Lane Kiffin's Owls, now 2-3, fueled by Devin Singletary's 133 yards rushing and four TDs.

UCF 40, Memphis 13: Huge win over an unbeaten foe has Knights 3-0 and, maybe, knocking on the Top 25 door asking in.

National Collball Week 5 overview: Three national Top 25 matchups this week: No. 16 Washington State upset No. 5 Southern Cal 30-27; 13-Auburn crushed 24-Mississippi State 49-10; and 2-Clemson handled 12-Virginia Tech 31-17.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA: NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: DOLPHINS FELLED BY STRONG BREESAfter lucking to win their delayed opener at the L.A. Chargers and then sucking in a sleepwalk loss at the Jets last week, the Dolphins are in London to face Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. (Only the diabolical NFL makes you fly 4,500 miles for a "home" game). I don't see it going well for the local lads. Click on Week 4 Gems for our predix capsules on Dolphins-Saints, our Game of the Week (Raiders-Broncos), Upset of the Week (Giants-Bucs: "Aaawwwk!") and every other game. Our week got off to a strong start last night in the Packers' rout of Chicago. Had the Gee Bees covering 7 1/2, and they did.
 
POLL RESULTS: MOST SIDE WITH NFL PLAYERS OVER TRUMP: We asked if you agree with President Trump that NFL players who do not stand for the National Anthem should be "suspended or fired," and you don't, but it wasn't a landslide. The topic is polarizing, and the vote reflected that. It was 52.9 percent no and 44.9% yes, with only 2.2% undecided.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 22, 2017

Upset Bird Day in America: Picks for Dolphins-Jets, rest of NFL; plus hating Heat uniform patch and media coverage of it & more

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

Shanahtova1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22. Click on Straws! or our latest Back in My Day video from the LeBatard Show. Based on reaction, it may be our most popular ever. 2) In these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a hearty 'shanah tova' to all of our Jewish readers and listeners! 3) Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL Week 2 QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, SOPY Week 3 Standings & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA: NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: NEXT-EASIEST WEEK AFTER A BYE? DOLPHINS AT JETS!After lucking to win their delayed opener at the L.A. Chargers last week the Dolphins should roll to 2-0 Sunday at the stinky, Stinkin' Jets. They'd better. A season sweep of lowly NYJ is a prerequisite if Miami is to surprise doubters with a second straight playoff season. Click on Week 3 Gems for our predix capsules on Dolphins-Jets, our Game of the Week (Falcons-Lions), Upset of the Week (Seahawks-Titans: "Aaawwwk!") and every other game including Breakfast at Wembley -- the season's first of four London games. Our week got off to a mixed start last night in the Rams' unexpectedly exciting 41-39 pointfest over the 49ers. Had Rams winning, but missed out on the ATS win with the push against a 2-point spread. Rams were cover-bound the whole game, until late.

HeatpatchHATING HEAT'S UNIFORM PATCH, AND MEDIA'S COVERAGE OF IT: The NBA sold-out and is allowing teams to wear small advertising patches on the front of game uniforms starting this season, another reminder our teams are businesses, and your Miami Heat will wear the logo of a Broward-based company called Ultimate Software. Except it isn't even really a logo, just the words Ultimate Software in which the 'i' in Ultimate appears to be a person. The company sells a product that is a "cloud-based human capital management solution." Gawd. The patch is ugly and the idea of it uglier. The first domino has tipped toward a time when team names themselves will be will be for sale. "And today in the NBA, your Amazon Heat take on the Samsung Knicks." Pragmatically I get why the Heat and other teams like the uniform patches. The wrd is revenue. The mystery is why Your Friend the Media plays along like a bunch of lemmings, dutifully printing and broadcasting the names of corporate sponsors. Yesterday's business deal between the Heat and Ultimate Software was reported by the Herald and other outlets as if it was actual news. Why? Because the Heat announced it as such and Pat Riley was there and so reporters flocked. Sad.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 19, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 81.9%. See season-debut results; plus Fins beat Chargers 19-17, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), the Jay Cutler Experience (Sunday column), HB Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18. Dolphins season! Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 2 pix, Collball Week 3, method to Kaaya's madness & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Quick-thoughts column off 19-17 win: Click on Lucky, But Maybe That's Justice to read. 

Sunday column: Cutler's Wild Ride: Are you ready, kids? Click on Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be Dull to read.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 81.9%: Results are certified for the first week of our blog's 10th season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they 81.9 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 19-17 victory at the Los Angeles Chargers in Miami's Irma-delayed season opener. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its 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 morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2017 Game-by-Game DSM Results:

G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)

Next poll: Sept. 24 (following game at N.Y. Jets)

Yearly DSM Results: 2016--76.2% (following 10-6 season/playoff loss); 2015--18.1% (6-10); 2014--2.7% (8-8); 2013--4.2% (8-8); 2012--29.8% (7-9); 2011--34.9% (6-10); 2010--3.8% (7-9); 2009--31.2% (7-9); 2008--96.9% (11-5/playoff loss).

G1: DOLPHINS 19, @CHARGERS 17Final quick thoughts: The excuses were all lined up. Neat, right in a row. Hurricane Irma. A delayed opener. A quarterback new to the team. Practices moved across the country. Philip Rivers. A late distraction involving one of their own players, Lawrence Timmons, going AWOL on the eve of the game. The Miami Dolphins didn't any of those excuses. They did need some luck -- a narrowly missed 44-yard Los Angeles Chargers field goal in the last seconds -- but that seemed fitting, didn't it? The Dolphins endured a lot in the buildup to this season. Sunday? It felt like a reward. Quick takes? Trust this offense. No, 19 points isn't a lot, but all the J's showed up. New QB Jay Cutler was a sharp 24 for 33 for 23- yards and TD, a 101.8 passer rating. Jay Ajayi rushed 28 times for 122 yards. Jarvis Landry caught 13 balls for 78 yards. (Oh, and DeVante Parker was the deep threat we envisioned, and Kenny Stills caught a TD pass). This offense will percolate once everyone is comfy with it. The issue? Pass defense. Rivers sliced through Miami 31 of 39 for 331 yards and a TD. He led the game-winning late drive, but for the providence of an inexperienced kicker missing wide-right on a very makeable field goal. Bottom line? Yeah, the Dolphins were lucky to win in the end. But, after this week, it felt like this team sort of deserved that luck ..... 4Q: Dolphins win as Bolts missed last-second 44-yard FG! ... MIA 19-17 with 1:05 left on Parkey 54-yard FG ... MIA within 17-16, settling (again) for a short FG, mid-quarter ..... 3Q: MIA within 17-13 on 28-yard FG after after killer sack on 3rd down ... LAC back up 17-10 on Rivers-Gates hookup ... MIA 10-10 on Cutler 29-yard TD pass to Stills ..... Halftime thoughts: If I told you Jay Cutler was 13-for-16, Jay Ajayi was 11-for-56 and Jarvis Landry had 8 catches, would you have imagined Miami trailing 10-3 at the half? Me neither. The big issues: Fins need to open up the offense. Second, Philip Rivers is having his way. Miami pass defense needs to be much better ..... 2Q: LAC 10-3 on Gordon 1-yard run ... LAC 3-3 on 41-yard FG ..... 1Q: Low-watt first quarter. Meaning dull ... MIA 3-0 on Parkey 30-yard FG ..... [Click on Week 2 Gems for all latest NFL picks] Thanks to Hurricane Irma, today's 4 p.m. kickoff is the latest Game 1 on the calendar that Miami will have played since 1977. It also will be the now-it-counts debut for new Dolphins QB Jay SdmiaCutler, in for injured Ryan Tannehill. Oh, and of course this will mark the Chargers’ first real game in L.A. since 1960, after 56 years in San Diego. That’s lots of wild cards tossing unusual unpredictability into the mix here. But the drama doesn't end there. Sunday morning came the news that veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons, upset over something, had G1essentially gone AWOL from the team and will not play today, Chase Allen starting in his place. That's doubly troubling. First, he's supposed to be a team leader as a major offseason addition. Second, the LB line was weak/thin to begin with. Philip Rivers' eyes must be wide as saucers, his smile just as wide. But I'm still hedging my bet with Bolts winning outright but Fins covering the bet-line as 3 1/2-point road underdogs. Miami figures to pound the ball with Jay Ajayi vs. a run-D that gave up 140 yards last week. That gives Miami a big, big upset shot. Bottom line, though, for me? Rivers is really good, and I won’t quite trust MIA's pass-stopping (or defense in general) until shown why I should. Also, think the Irma-caused time off, distraction and practice-schedule havoc will hurt and find the Fins a step slow as they work through the rust and catch up to real-season pace. The Timmons mess doesn't help. Dolphins have a load to overcome today. My pick: Chargers, 27-24.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Finally, the Fins ... and they win!: Thanks to Hurricane Irma and its after-effects the Dolphins' season opener Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers was Miami's latest Game 1 since 1977. Worth the wait? Miami needed luck of a late missed field goal to win, but after what this team had endured, that felt deserved.

 2. HURRICANES: Irma'd Canes set to resume season: We should be talking about that great Miami-Florida State game on Saturday. Except it got Irma'd. With one game at Arkansas State canceled and another at FSU postponed 'til Oct. 7, UM will finally resume its season this coming Saturday at home vs. Toledo after practicing all week in Orlando. Irma, could you be any more annoying!? Seriously.

3. MARLINS: Can Stanton still do it?: Reeling Fish have lost 16 of past 19 entering three-game home series vs. Mets starting tonight, after three hurricane-displaced "home" games in Milwaukee. (Thanks again, Irma!) But big question is if Giancarlo Stanton, stuck at 54 homers, can still rally to get to Roger Maris' steroids-free record of 61.

4. BASEBALL: Indians set mark for consecutive wins: Cleveland Indians fans haven't cheered a World Series champion since Lou Boudreau's 1948, but at least they have this. Their 22nd consecutive victory broke the MLB record of 21 set by the Chicago Cubs in 1935. Hmm. Cavaliers, now this. Is there hope yet for the Browns? Naahh!

5. PANTHERS: Cats open training camp; preseason on deck: The Cats opened their NHL training camp Friday and will play their first preseason games this Tuesday with a doubleheader in Nashville. It snuck up on us but now it's here. Hockey!

6. NASCAR: Road to Homestead has begun with playoffs: Chicagoland on Sunday hosted the first NASCAR playoff race, won by Martin Truex Jr., leading to the season finale at Homestead, with 16 drivers making it. Unfortunately, no Dale Earnhardt Jr., so no shot at a storybook finish to Junior's final season. 

7. HEAT: Miami locks up Richardson, readies for camp: While we were busy tracking hurricanes, the Heat signed guard Josh Richardson to a four-year, $42 million extension and open training camp next week. If they can bottle last season's second half, conference finals aren't out of question.

8. GATORS: Florida beats Tennessee on Hail Mary: The Gators beats Vols 26-20 when a last-second Hail Mary touchdown bomb broke a tie in Gainesville. Not sure if this'll be a great season for UF. But it was a great Saturday.

9. FIGHTING: Canelo, Golovkin in an exciting draw: We all hate ties, but last night's Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin draw in Las Vegas was about as exciting as indecision gets. Rematch. Cha-ching!  

10. FAU: Owls win first game for Lane Kiffin: FAU won at home 45-0 over Bethune-Cookman for Lane Kiffin's first win as Owls coach. Muted celebration, I hope. FBS teams that lose to bethune have to wear dunce caps for a week. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Two brothers featured in the Netflix series "Last Chance U" were charged in connection with a fatal stabbing. Pardon me while I try to feign surprise ..... Floyd Mayweather said of Donald Trump: "He speak like a real man." Mayweather? He speak like a real man intent on dropping the second 's' off the word 'speaks' ..... Adrian Peterson said of his Saints debut, "I didn't sign up for nine snaps." A.P. ties for the NFL lead in earliest complaint ..... Marshawn Lynch was fined for showing middle fingers to TV cameras. Or, did that go without saying?

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 9-18-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. N.Y. Mets at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: The Marlins play a home game that's actually here!

2. Detroit at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.: Stafford vs. Manning on Monday Night Football.

3. Islanders at Rangers, 7 p.m.: Jonesing for hockey? It's the NHL preseason!

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 16, 2017

NEW: Great or god-awful, Cutler won't be dull; plus the method to Brad Kaaya's madness, NFL Week 2 pix for Dolphins-Chargers and rest of league, Collball Week 3 (Gators!), Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16. Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald Week 1 QB rankings, My Weekend With Irma, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 1 results, latest SOPY rankings & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

NEW: Sunday column, online now: Click on Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be Dull to read.

Dolphins, Canes & Irma: A football season born to Hurricane Irma gives Dolphins and UM an unusual opportunity if they'll take it. Click Storybook Ending Waits, But Can Dolphins Or Canes Write It? to read.

THE METHOD TO BRAD KAAYA'S MADNESS: Kaaya should have come back and played his senior season for the Miami Hurricanes to improve his draft stock, Samdarnoldwhich everybody knew was low -- verified by his being a late (sixth-round) draft pick. He already has been cut once (Lions) and is on his second team (Panthers). But at least now we know why he decided to enter the NFL in 2017 instead of '18. The evidence is on Mel Kiper's first 2018 Draft "Big Board" for ESPN. Kiper has quarterbacks ranked 1-2-3 overall in USC's Sam Darnold (pictured), UCLA's Josh Rosen and Wyoming's Josh Allen. He has two other QBs on his list and projected first round in Louisville's Lamar Jackson (13th overall) and Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph (25th). Even with that, though, I still believe Kaaya might have been drafted significantly higher than sixth round in '18 had he stayed and performed well. By the way, only one state-college player makes Kiper's first Big Board: Florida State safety Derwin James, ranked fifth overall.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA: WEEK 2: FINALLY, THE DOLPHINS: After an unscheduled Week 1 bye (way to go, Irma) the Dolphins finally get at it Sunday in what will be the club's latest season opener since 1977. But will it be worth the wait with a victory at the Los Angeles Chargers? Sorry, Dolfans. It'll take Fins awhile to shake off the delay-rust and catch up to regular-season speed. And I'm not sure I trust Miami's pass defense against Philip Rivers. Click on Week 2 Gems for our predix capsules on Dolphins-Chargers, our Game of the Week (Patriots-Saints), Upset of the Week (Packers-Falcons: "Aaawwwk!") and every other game. Our week got off to a stumbling start last night. Did not see the Texans winning (or covering) at Cincinnati. Ouch.

COLLBALL WEEK 3: THREE STATE FBS TEAMS BACK AT IT, BUT FOUR STILL IRMA'D: We ain't back to normal in state Collball yet, folks. Last week only two of our seven state FBS teams got games in; this week we're up to three, with the rest still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Irma.

State FBS Week 3 games (chronologically):

No. 22 South Florida 47, Illinois 23Quinton Flowers' 386 combined pass/run yards power Bulls at home to 3-0 start.

TenflaNo. 24 Florida 26, No. 23 Tennessee 20: Vols were 2-0 but 5 1/2-point road underdogs to the 0-1 Gators in Florida's SEC opener. Wirth reason, apparently. What a game, won on a last-second deep touchdown pass. Jim McElwain is so happy he's ready to lay naked on a shark in a boat!

FAU 45, Bethune-Cookman 0: Lane Kiffin's Owls get first win after 0-2 start. Good thing. Lose to Bethune and poor Lane might-a started wondering why he took this job.

Postponed: No. 17 Miami at No. 11 Florida State: Game is reset for Oct. 7. Because of season-ending injury to Noles star QB Deondre Francois, Canes as of right now would be a betting favorite in the 1 1/2 to 3-point range. 

Cancelled: FIU at Indiana: Butch Davis' Panthers denied shot at a second straight win.

Cancelled: Georgia Tech at UCF: Too bad. Had makings of an entertaining matchup.

National Collball Week 3 overview: Light week for mega-matchups. Beside Tennessee-Florida (which barely qualifies), the only other Top 25 duel was Saturday night's No. 3 Clemson at No. 14 Louisville, won easily by Clemson, 47-21.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 9-16-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Tennessee at Florida, 3:30 p.m.: Vols-Gators renew rivalry in Top 25 matchup.

2. Marlins at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.: Miami "home" again; lost 6 in row, last 3 by 28-3.

3. Clemson at Louisville, 8 p.m.: No. 3 visits No. 14 in national Collball game of week.

4. San Francisco at Miami FC, 7:30 p.m.: Locals host NASL soccer match.

5. Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin, 10 p.m.: Big middleweight bout from Vegas.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 09, 2017

Be safe, all. On sports' place in our lives as a hurricane hits; plus Upset Bird Day in America. Week 1 NFL pix; also, FIU wins, FAU plays, Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY/SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9-10. Be safe, South Florida. Looks like Hurricane Irma's western veer will help some of us, but not all. All the best to all of us. 2) Know any devoted Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Irma's impact on local sports with UM cancellation poll, SOPY Week 1 rankings, BIMD and Steely Dan videos & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Blog advisory: Because of Hurricane Irma concerns and an anticipated loss of electricity at some point, our Sunday Hot Button Top 10 list is taking the weekend off. We'll be back here checking in as long as we can, and then again once order (and power) are restored. 

ON SPORTS' PLACE IN OUR LIVES AS A HURRICANE HITS: Everything seems crazy, from North Korea and terrorism and the "alt-right" to Houston flooding and now Hurricane Irma. Sports -- playing games -- can seem so insignificant in the context of our overarching worries. Yet om some ways, to me, these difficult times make sports and our teams more important than ever. They are an anchor representing the balance and normalcy in our lives. This is my latest column. Click on A Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits to read in full.

FripixIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: Dolphins have a Week 1 bye thanks to scurrilous Hurricanes Irma but the rest of the NFL plows on, and so does our 27th season of Friday NFL picks. We got off to a mixed start last night. We didn't call Kansas City's outright upset win at New England but we did have Chiefs with the points against the spread. If we're going to split a result, we'll take the point-spread win, thanks. We had a nifty .560 ATS record last season and want to be even better this year. Click Week 1 Thursday Gem for the KC-NE pick. Click Week 1 Friday Gems for the rest of our picks. Highlights: Packers beat Seahawks 27-23 in our Game of the Week, and 49ers stun Panthers 24-21 in our Upset of the Week. "Aaawwwk!" Irma Schmirma. Nothing stops the Upset Bird!

COLLBALL WEEK 2: YOUR MIXED VERDICT ON CANES CANCELLATION CONTROVERSY: We asked if you agreed with No. 16 UM's Cancelleddecision to cancel its Saturday road game at Arkansas State due to Hurricanes Irma. Results were sharply mixed. Most, 62.3 percent, answered, "Yes. Coaches and players should be with family, and return might have been delayed." But another 31.9% answered, "No. Game was more than 1,100 miles away and not threatened by Irma." The other 5.8% answered, "Not sure." The Canes are hardly alone. UM is one of fve (of seven) state FBS teams that are a self-imposed idle, reduced to 11-game regular seasons. Another is FSU, which cancelled its home opener vs. Louisiana-Monroe due to Irma. (Or, perhaps due to not wanting UM to have an edge in preparation for next week's huge showdown in Tallahassee. Also not playing this weekend: UCF vs. Memphis, South Florida at Connecticut and Northern Colorado at Florida. The other two state FBS teams -- the stalwarts -- adjusted schedules and are managing to sneak in games this week:

State FBS Week 2 games:

FIU 17, Alcorn State 10: Butch Davis gets his first Panthers win in Friday night home game played in Birmingham, Ala., due to Irma. Alex McGough passes for 328 yards to lead the victory.

No. 9 Wisconsin 31, FAU 14: Lane Kiffin's Owls were 32-point road underdogs so count this as a credible performance for The Atlantic even as the Hooters fall to 0-2 start (and a likely delayed flight back home).

Miami, Florida, Florida State, UCF, South Florida -- CANCELLED!

National Collball Week 2 overview: Four Top 25 matchups on Saturday, led by No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 2 Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. in an early CFP-shaping duel. Other T25 games are Auburn at Clemson, Georgia at Notre Dame and Stanford at Southern Cal.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 9-9-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.: Wait. Fish actually won a game last night!?
2. U.S. Open tennis, 4 p.m.: Women's final: Sloane Stephens vs. Madison Keys.
3. Oklahoma at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m.: No. 5 visits No. 2 in game of week.
4. FAU at Wisconsin, noon: Lane Kiffin's Owls vs. No. 9 Badgers. Uh oh.
5. Liverpool at Manchester City, 7:30 a.m.: Tastiest match of day in EPL.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 07, 2017

NFL 100% right to postpone Dolphins opener. But should UM have canceled road game? New poll. Vote now!; plus Chiefs-Pats pick, return of SOPY rankings find 3 Canes in Top 10, latest 'Back In My Day,' Reelin' in the Years, Hot Button Daily (Thu) & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Stay away, Hurricane Irma. Weaken and veer, you terrible thing. 2) Football time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins whup Bethune with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, other Collball Week 1 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Chiefs at Patriots prediction: Kansas City at New England kicks off the NFL season tonight. Will Dolfans girding for Hurricane Irma get the gift of a Pats loss? Click Week 1 Thursday Gem for my predix.

SOUTH FLORIDA'S MIND AIN'T ON FOOTBALL THIS WEEK. STAY SAFE, NEIGHBORS: [Click on NFL Right to Postpone Dolphins Opener for my complete latest column]. They could have rushed it and played the Dolphins-Bucs opener here tonight, but Dolfans have more important things on their minds in readying for Stadium PathHurricane Irma, such as how to survive this thing, and whether to stay or evacuate. This isn’t the week for a football game. They could have played the game Sunday as scheduled but at a neutral site. I’d heard one as far away as Pittsburgh or Philadelphia mentioned. But why rob Miami, team and fans, of a home game, or play at all on the very day when Irma is likely to wreak its worst havoc. There was some talk of still trying to play the game Monday night here, but that may have been the worst option of all. Even if Irma is kind enough to veer away from a direct hit, South Florida still will get the brunt of it. You’re going to ask fans without electricity, picking through rubble, trying to contact their insurance company about the roof, to drive through flooding to attend a football game? And cheer a first down as if their lives hadn’t just been walloped? Absurd. I'm not as certain the Miami Hurricanes needed to or should have canceled their game at Arkansas State -- although I support them doing it -- but moving Dolphins-Bucs to Week 11 when both had a bye was a no-brainer. Be safe, all.

Our most recent other columns: Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast: Off UM season opener  /  A Humbling Welcome Back: Butch Davis' return to coaching U loss  /  MVP: Stanton Has History On His Side: Case for Marlins slugger  /  Litmus Test: Beat FSU: Onus on Canes as season opens  /  2017 NFL Team Ranking: See where Dolphins fall in annual rank.

SOPY RANKINGS / 2017 SEASON DEBUT: THREE CANES IN INITIAL TOP 10: Today we launch the sixth season of the blog's State Offensive Player of the Year Sopy(SOPY) rankings -- what we like to call our ongoing "state Heisman" race. The weekly rankings measure the most productive Mmiltonquarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven top-level FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based on average yards per game: Total divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even though not all teams have played same number of games. (Even now, South Florida already has played twice). 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. UCF's McKenzie Milton (pictured) checks in as our season leader out the gate ahead of defending champion Quinton Flowers of South Florida. Canes Mark Walton and Malik Rosier rank 3-4. Here is the statewide SOPY Top 10 entering Week 2:

2017 SOPY WEEK 1 TOP 10

RK Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.

1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb          208

2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb          183

3    Mark Walton-Miami rb               168

4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb               167.5

5    Daniel Parr-FAU qb                    138.5

6    Travis Homer-Miami rb              133

7    Alex McGough-FIU qb               107.5

8    Thomas Owens- FIU rec             105

9    Deondre Francois-FSU qb          102

10t Dredrick Snelson-UCF rec           98

10t Willie Wright-FAU rec                 98

Bubble: DeAndre McNeal-FAU rec, 94. Other team leader: Florida--Josh Hammond-rec, 71. Week 1/season best: Milton-UCF, 208.

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

Roll Call of SOPY Champions: 2016—Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,917. 2015—Flowers, 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.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: THU 9-7-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:
1. Kansas City at New England, 8:30 p.m.: NFL season opener from Foxborough.
2. U.S. Open tennis, 7 p.m.: All-U.S. women's semifinals begin in New York.
3. Marlins at Braves, 7:35 p.m.: Fish make a road show of their miserable slump.
4. Sam Houston at Prairie View, 7:30 p.m.: If you're desperate for college football.
 
LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': DISHWASHERS:


R.I.P., FAREWELL AND THANK YOU, WALTER BECKER:

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 04, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 69.5% in season debut; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), UM routs Bethune with my game column, other Collball Week 1, Hot Button Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4. Happy Labor Day! In which we celebrate the American workforce by all taking the day off. 2) R.I.P. Walter Becker, Steely Dan co-founder, dead today at 67. 3) Football time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Giancarlo Stanton's NFSW naughty video, Butch Davis returns with humbling FIU loss, Dolphins win Fake Game 4 to end preseason, your verdict on my fantasy team (ouch) & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Lions cut Brad Kaaya. Been saying it all along. He never should have left UM early. Misguided decision." --Greg Cote 

My Hurricanes game column: Click on Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast to read. Other recent columns: A Humbling Welcome Back -- Butch Davis returns to coaching in 61-17 FIU loss  /  MVP: Stanton Has History On His Side -- Case for Marlins slugger  /  Litmus Test: Beat FSU -- The onus on Canes as season opens  /  2017 NFL Team Ranking: See where Dolphins fall in annual ranking.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 69.5%: We're back for a ninth season of our blog staple -- Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls -- and the first shows 69.5 percent overall satisfaction (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the 1aa1csmwake of Saturday's 41-13 season-opening victory over visiting Bethune-Cookman. The CSM 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, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday.


2017 CSM results

G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman

Next poll: Sept. 9 following game at Arkansas State

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2016--97.2% (following 9-4 season); 2015--20.1% (8-5); 2014--2.7% (6-7); 2013--16.1% (9-4); 2012--80.9% (7-5); 2011--22.1% (6-6); 2010--4.2% (7-6); 2009--41.7% (9-4).

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM hammers Bethune in football opener: After a slow start Saturday's season opener at The Rock went about as easily as you imagined it would against an overmatched foe as Year 2 of the Mark Richt era kicked off with new QB Malik Rosier throwing three TDs. But with Florida State waiting in Tallahassee in two weeks, UM getting ready for that with this was like training for a prize fight with a game of patty cake.

2. DOLPHINS: It's NFL Kickoff Week as Fins host Tampa Bay: NFL seasons kicks off Thursday night (Chiefs at Patriots) and Miami pared its roster to 53 with its opener at home in six days -- Hurricane Irma willing -- against Jameis Winston's Buccaneers. A 2-2 preseason didn't tell much, but Dolfans seem really excited by what they've seen of Jay Cutler. I know, I know. I can hardly believe I wrote that last sentence, either.

3. MARLINS: Fish cool but Stanton stays hot (in video): Marlins on a 1-6 skid as homestand continues, but Giancarlo Stanton's 52nd homer keeps him on pace for 62. Stanton was even hotter in a steamy video out this week that depicted him in bed with a barely clothed internet chanteuse named Lexy Panterra. There's a "longball" joke here somewhere.

4. SEMINOLES/GATORS: FSU, Florida both drop openers, Francois out for year: Saturday delivered lopsided opening losses for No. 3 Florida State (to No. 1 Alabama) and No. 17 Florida (to No. 11 Michigan), but Noles lost even bigger with QB Deondre Francois out injured for the season. FSU-Bama presented Miami fans the awful choice of rooting either for the Noles or for Nick Saban.

5. TENNIS: U.S. Open reached midpoint in New York: Maria Sharapova, given a wild-card entry into her first Grand Slam event since a 15-month doping ban, won her first three matches -- all on the main court, drawing complaints from some rivals -- before losing. In other news, as sis Venus reached the quarterfinals,  Serena Williams had a baby girl, launching a million "G.O.A.T. has kid" references on social media.

6. FIU/FAU: Davis, Kiffin eras launch with humbling defeats:  Ouch. Butch Davis with FIU and Lane Kiffin with FAU suffered humbling debuts, losing their openers by combined score of 103-36. Those fancy resumes didn't much good, huh fellas. Turning around bad programs doesn't happen with fast magic even if you are a star coach.

7. BASEBALL: Astros acquire ace Verlander from Tigers: Houston staked its claim to AL pennant by acquiring Justin Verlander, meaning Detroit is in reboot mode. Anybody want a used Miguel Cabrera. Verlander is really good. His wife, model Kate Upton, is even better!

8. HEAT: NBA releases regular-season schedules: Heat will open the season Oct. 18 at Orlando, with the home opener Oct. 21 vs. Indiana. It will be the start of the Kelly Olynyk era in Miami.

9. PANTHERS: Cats set prospects tourney roster: Florida named a 26-man prospect camp roster that will play Sept. 9-12 in a four-team tournamnet in Estero, Fla., along with the Capitals, Lightning and Predators. Almost hockey, time!

10. INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL: Team USA wins FIBA gold: Team USA, coached by Jeff Van Gundy, beat host Argentina Sunday to win gold in the FIBA Americup championship game game. This is mostly no-names for the U.S., not the NBA-laden World Cup team. Still, not bad, apparently.

Missing the HB10 cut: Howard beating UNLV as a 45-point road 'dog made it the biggest point-spread upset in college football history. I don't know how Howard did it, but I congratulate him ..... Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is suing the NFL over his six-game suspension for battering a former girlfriend. Dallas awaits a decision. So do millions who rolled dice and drafted Elliott onto their fantasy teams ..... Are Mayweather and McGregor done counting their money yet?

G1: NO. 18 HURRICANES 41, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 13: ROSIER LEADS SOFT OPENING TO YEAR 2 OF RICHT ERA: Quick final thoughts: Click on Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast for my column from the game. Beating Bethune-Cookman 41-13 is perfunctory more than it is impressive, but the final margin hardly mattered (except to bettors gambling whether UM would cover a 51 1/2-point line). More important was that new QB Malik Rosier looked solid, pretty sharp (17-28, 217 yards, 3 TDs), and RB Mark Walton (148 yards) seemed in midseason form. Biggest disappointment might have been defensively, Bcatumespecially against the pass. UM's D was planning on a shutout but fell short ..... 4Q: UM Badgley 50Y FG = UM 41-13 ..... 3Q: UM Berrios 22Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 38-13 ... BC Jones 1Y TD run = UM 31-13 ... UM Walton 6Y TD run = UM 31-6 ..... Quick halftime thoughts: Sluggish start but a big second quarter for UM, and a 326-138 overall lead in yards. Walton has 124 yards rushing and Rosier has been solid (11-17, 132 yards, two TDs) as new starting QB. Be interesting to see how much Walton and Rosier continue to play in second half. Don't expect much more of Walton, but Rosier needs the work. ..... 2Q: BC 35Y FG = UM 24-6 ... UM Langham 5Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 24-3 ... UM Cager 5Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 17-3 ... UM Walton 5Y TD run = UM 10-3 ... 1Q: UM 27Y FG = tie 3-3 ... BC 36Y FG = BC 3-0 ..... Original post: This marks the first time since 2010 that Miami begins a season ranked in the Associated Press preseason Top 25, and suffice to say the odds of a stumble and major season-opening upset are roughly akin to the odds you'll be struck by lightning while walking to cash your winning Lotto ticket. ESPN's FPI (Football Power index) projections estimates the Canes' likelihood of winning at 99.7 percent. Bethune-Cookman, from Daytona Beach, is a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school, what we used to call Division 1AA, and its Wildcats will simply be overmatched against Mark Richt's guys. The upset would be if B-C kept it close for long. Weather could be an interesting factor. Heat from the diabolical 12:30 p.m. start will test both teams' conditioning, and there also is about a 40 percent chance of rain. Unfortunately I see a sad Week 1 attendance, given the early start, the foreboding weather and the low-watt opponent. A few things to watch even though the matchup is unlikely to be competitive: 1) Debut of Malik Rosier as Miami's starting quarterback. Looking for mistake-free, confidence-building performance from him. 2) Offensive line. There are three new starters on unit that struggled at times last year. If they struggle against this opponent, that'll be a bad sign. 3) Can questionable Canes secondary rise to match what should be excellent defensive front-7? This is an opponent against which even inexperienced DBs should shine. Richt predictably has been talking-up B-C all week and wouldn't say it, but UM has to be looking at this game as a glorified tuneup for what will be a fairly big step-up in challenge next week at Arkansas State as early schedule builds to the Week 3 armageddon in Tallahassee. Not that we're looking ahead! Back to Bethune, if we must. My pick: Hurricanes, 38-3.

Other state FBS Week 1 games, chronologically:

UCF 61, FIU 17: A Thursday night ass-whuppin' in Orlando gets the Butch Davis era off to a humbling start.

Navy 42, FAU 19: U.S. Navy sinks Lane Kiffin in Owls debut Friday in the Boca nest elongated by two weather delays.

No. 11 Michigan 33, No. 17 Florida 17: In Arlington, Tex., the final score flattered Florida. Dear Gators, even with those 10 suspended players, you'd-a still lost.

No. 19 South Florida 31, Stony Brook 17: Bulls now 2-0 after winning at San Jose State last Saturday.

No. 1 Alabama 24, No. 3 Florida State 7: Massive matchup was Collball Week 1's star attraction -- and a rout for Bama. More importantly, Noles lose QB Deondre Francois to an apparent knee injury, adding intrigue to UM's visit Sept. 16.

National Collball Week 1 overview: No. 2 Ohio State survived a scare at Indiana Thursday, and FSU failed miserably to shock Nick Saban in the Game of the Week. Florida-Michigan was opening week's only other Top 25 matchup other than a minor one in Sunday's 22-West Virginia vs. 21-Virginia Tech.

'SOPY' weekly rankings return: Every Tuesday starting next week, we'll have our updated standings in our State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, along with our weekly State of the State team rankings.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 9-4-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Washington at Marlins, 7:10: Fish try to shake off 1-3 home fizzle vs. lowly Phils.

2. U.S. Open tennis, 11 a.m: Round of 16 matches continue in New York.

3. Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m.: Wrapping up Week 1 in college football.

4. Slovakia at England, 2:30 p.m.: One of day's 6 World Cup qualifying matches.

Select other recent columns -- Stanton Chasing 1984Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic OffenseStanton the Litmus Test For New OwnersAlso: Double QB Quandary A RarityNew Owner, New HopeA Diamond, ShiningImmortality Calling. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote