What is Dolphins biggest draft need? New poll. Vote now!; plus happy birthday Don Shula, new Hot Button Top 10, Stuart Scott & more
1) It is MONDAY, JANUARY 5. At right, seen this morning on an 826 West overpass, via Twitter. Looks like a waste of perfectly good red Solo cups to me! 2) Click on Random Evidence for the return of the Sunday notes-column package after a two-week holiday hiatus. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild-Card Weekend picks, Oregon-Ohio State finale, college football vs. pro poll, top Miami sports story of 2014 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
"I don't give a flying crap that U-Miami is switching from Nike uniforms to Adidas, and neither should you. I do care what players they put in those uniforms." --Greg Cote
WHAT IS DOLPHINS' BIGGEST DRAFT NEED?: Don't give me any of that "best available athlete" crap. Assume there will be is a quality athlete at just about every position at the 14th pick in the first round. In that case, what do you think is the Dolphins' greatest need to target with that top pick? Vote and say why.
HAPPY 85TH, DON SHULA!: The great Don Shula, Dolphins icon and winningest NFL coach, turned 85 yesterday. Here's to many more, Don! No coach in football and few in any sports
enjoyed a greater, more innovative career combining excellence and longevity. Shula is best-known for the back-to-back 1972-73 Super Bowl wins including the still-unique '72 Perfect Season. But, for me, Shula's record 347 combined regular-season and playoff victories with the Dolphins (1970-95) and the Colts in Baltimore (1963-69) comprise the accomplishment that is most unassailable. Put it this way. Bill Belichick leads active coaches and is fourth all-time with 230 wins. He'd have to average 10-plus wins for 12 more seasons, until age 74, to surpass Shula. Nobody will catch or pass The Don of the NFL.x
STUART SCOTT, 1965-2015: R.I.P., Stuart Scott, the longtime ESPN anchor who passed away this morning after a long fight with cancer. Scott once said, "You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live." With due respect, no you don't. You beat cancer if you are very lucky. I have had friends die of cancer, and nobody "loses" that fight because they have done nothing wrong, nothing to cause that loss.
HOT BUTTON JAN. 4: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature, back after a two-week hiatus, is an expanded, updated version of what appears in the Sunday pulp editions. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:
1. NFL: Wild-Card Weekend wraps up playoffs' first round: Carolina beat Arizona and Baltimore upset Pittsburgh on Saturday, now it's on to Bengals-Colts and Lions-Cowboys. By the way, if you didn't think Panthers belonged in playoffs, what does that say about Cardinals?
2. College football: Oregon, Ohio State in first playoff title game: Oregon handled Florida State and Ohio State upset Alabama to set up first College Football Playoff title game Jan. 12. Oddsmakers have established Oregon Ducks as heavy favorites to both win the game and wear the most hideous uniforms.
3. Heat: Struggling team loses fourth in a row: Miami is 14-20 after a fourth straight loss Saturday, is barely hanging onto playoff pace and is only 6-12 at home entering today's date with Brooklyn. Then it's off on a nine-game road trip. Probably just as well.
4. Dolphins: Philbin back despite no playoffs: Team missing playoffs for sixth straight year and third in row under Joe Philbin didn't keep owner Stephen Ross from saying Philbin would return in 2015. What does Ross have in common with a sadist running a limbo contest? Both set the bar low.
5. Hurricanes: Men's basketball team falls to No. 3 Virginia: UM men’s basketball is 10-4 after Saturday's double-overtime home loss to No. 3 Virginia in the ACC opener. It’s fair to say Hurricanes fans really like coach Jim Larrañaga. I mean in general, but especially compared with Al Golden.
6. Duke Johnson: Star UM running back turns pro: No surprise as Canes career rushing leader Duke Johnson announces he'll skip his senior senior and enter NFL Draft. Fans' wishes got all mixed up. They were hoping Duke would stay and Golden would go.
7. Panthers: Cats sign Bjugstad long term: Florida is only two points off NHL playoff pace and this week signed scoring star Nick Bjugstad, 22, to a six-year deal. The Panthers are a team on the rise and have fans feeling optimistic. Repeat that last sentence. It's a rare one.
8. Marlins: Big-spending Fish win the offseason: Too bad they don't give a trophy for winning the Winter World Series. Careful on the high hopes, though. Last time fans felt this good, Ozzie Guillen praised Fidel Castro, tream fizzled and a fire sale broke out.
9. Gators: Florida ends Muschamp era with bowl win: Gators sent departed coach Will Muschamp off with a 28-20 win over East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl. That's played in Alabama. Which explains the field being soaked with tears.
10. Jim Harbaugh: Coach leaves 49ers for Michigan: That means Michigan vs. Ohio State (Urban Meyer) will now be America's most-disliked-coaches matchup other than Alabama (Nick Saban) vs. anybody else.
Poll result: You'd watch Super Bowl over college championship: We asked, and the Super Bowl beat the College Football Playoff title game as a viewing choice, 59.35 to 40.65 percent. The SB broke down to 44.86 strong support and 14.49 weak. The college finale broke down to 24.76 strong and 15.89 weak.
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