January 20, 2018

Rebooting Wayne Huizenga's legacy; plus Hurricanes football 2018 and a game-by-game case for a 12-0 regular season; also, our NFL Championship Sunday picks, Kiper's new mock-pick for Dolphins, your NFL Final Four verdicts & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 20. Need a late holiday gift? Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins history book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Final Four polls, rarity of UM football/basketball dual poll power, new Back In My Day video & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

The week's column platter: Wayne Huizenga, Larry Nassar, Miami Dolphins: Our newest column: His legacy needs a reboot, because South Florida's single most influential sports owner is too often remembered divisively. Click Appreciating Wayne Huizenga to read  ///  The empowerment of the #MeToo movement was crushing Dr. Larry Nassar this week in the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal, and it was an awesome thing to see. Click When Victims Seize The Power  ///  Looking at the AFC and NFC Championship Games and seeing why Dolphins fans might feel both renewed hope and increased frustration and impatience -- all at once. Click on For Dolphins, Hope and Frustration in Final Four.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! OUR NFL CONFERENCE-CHAMPIONSHIPS PLAYOFF PICKS: We're down to the final four teams, and Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship Games will be play-ins for the Super Bowl. It's Jaguars at Patriots and Vikings at Eagles. We explore the matchups, lay out the storylines and predict the winners. And, yes, there will be one upset. Click on Championship Sunday Gems for our full Final Four predix capsules as the Super Bowl Tournament reaches its penultimate round.

MrichtTHE CASE FOR A 12-0 HURRICANES FOOTBALL REGULAR-SEASON IN 2018: Next season's schedule just came out, and oh does it look (mostly) soft 'n friendly for the Hurricanes! It starts brutally tough with LSU in a neutral site kickoff classic, but then doesn't really scare you again until November brings back to back roadies at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Eight of 12 opponents played in recent bowl games, yes, but most of those were sneak-ins to lousy bowls. UM finished 10-3 and ranked No. 13 in 2017. Here's a game by game synopsis on why a 12-0 regular season in '18 looks plausible:

LsuSept. 2 vs. LSU (in Arlington, Tex.) -- Tigers were 9-4 and ended ranked No. 18 after losing to Notre Dame 21-17 in Citrus Bowl. This is UM's single toughest-looking game. LSU leads all-time series 9-3 and won most recent meeting 40-3 in the 2005 Peach Bowl. But with four weaker opponents to follow, Mark Richt can put all his offseason into this game, whereas LSU faces Auburn soon after. Canes Win Likelihood (CWL): 55%

Sept. 8 vs. Savannah State -- Home opener is a waltz. Savannah State, a lower FCS-division school, was 3-8 in Mid-Eastern and only previous meeting with a Miami was a 77-7 Canes rout in 2013. Games this lopsided shouldn't even be allowed. CWL: 99.99999%.

Sept. 15 at Toledo -- Toledo was 11-3 as a Mid-American power, but shouldn't be a problem. Rockets lost 34-0 to Appalachian State in Dollar General Bowl. Miami whipped Toledo last season 52-30. CWL: 90%.   

Sept. 22 vs. FIU -- OK, keep it clean. No brawling, kids! The brief history of this backyard rivalry (Miami is 2-0; last met in 2007) and Butch Davis facing The U will make the buildup delicious. But the game figures ugly. FIU was a credible 8-5 but lost 28-3 to Temple in the Gasparilla Bowl. CWL: 85%.

Sept. 27 vs. North Carolina -- Thursday game makes it a short week of prep, it's ACC opener, and Miami only beat Tar Heels by 24-19 last season. So, despite UNC being 3-9 in '17, got to pay attention to this one. CWL: 80%

FsuOct. 6 vs. Florida State -- New Noles coach is a wild card. FSU was 7-6 after 42-13 Independence Bowl win over Southern Miss and won't stay down long. UM's 24-20 win last season to end seven-game series losing streak was huge. Now it's home. Also huge. CWL: 60%.

Oct. 13 at Virginia -- Cavaliers ended 6-7 after losing to Navy 49-7 in Military Bowl. UM handled Virginia 44-28. Even on road, ought not be a real problem. CWL: 75%

Oct. 26 at Boston College -- Tough road challenge follows a bye. Eagles were 7-6 after losing to Iowa 27-20 in Pinstripe Bowl. UM sort of owns BC, leading all-time series 24-5, but Canes only got by 41-32 in last meeting in 2012, but gap since last meeting adds element of unpredictability. CWL: 70%.

Nov. 3 vs. Duke -- Duke isn't bad. Finished 7-6 after beating Northern Illinois 36-14 in Quick Lane Bowl. But Canes lead all-time series 13-2 and have won four straight including 31-6 last season. CWL: 80%.

Nov. 10 at Georgia Tech -- Yellow Jackets were down last year, a bowl-less 5-6. Nevertheless, it's on road, Miami only leads series by 12-11, and last season's meeting was a 25-24 escape by Canes. CWL: 65%

VtNov. 17 at Virginia Tech -- The most likely loss other than LSU opener. Hokies were 9-4 and ended No. 24 after 30-21 loss to Oklahoma State in Camping World Bowl. Miami handled Va-Tech 28-10 last season, but Blacksburg has traditionally been tough venue for Canes. CWL: 55%.    

Nov. 24 vs. Pittsburgh: Panthers were a bowl-less 5-7 last season but made their year with the 24-14 home upset of then-unbeaten Miami that dealt a severe blow to UM's national-title hopes at the time. Now the game is here, and revenge should be sweet. CWL: 80%.

McglincheyKIPER'S FIRST MOCK DRAFT PICK FOR DOLPHINS IS A TACKLE. NOOOOO!!!!!: ESPN mock-draft impresario Mel Kiper emits his Mock Draft 1.0 today and, with the No. 11 overall pick, Junior has your Miami Dolphins selecting Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (pictured). Says Mel: "The Dolphins are a tough team to pick for because the roster has so many questions. What's going to happen with free agent Jarvis Landry? Are they set long-term at quarterback? Is there a No. 1 back on the team? And that's just offense. For now I'll go with McGlinchey, who is my top-ranked tackle in a solid class. There are five tackles who could go in the first round. He has played on the left and right sides and could be the immediate starter at right tackle for the Dolphins, who have Laremy Tunsil slotted in on the blindside." Says me: You remember McGlinchey, right? Yeah he was on that dominant Fighting Irish blocking front that the Canes thoroughly dominated. I say "Nooooo!!!!!" to Kiper's pick because, with Tunsil on the left and top-graded Fins tackle Ja'Wauan James on the right, tackle should be one position that is buttoned-down solid. Click Are the Fins Feeling Bold? for my recent Dolphins draft-related column.  

POLL RESULTS: YOU PREDICT PATS WILL WIN SUPER BOWL, BUT WANT JAGS OR VIKES: We offered two different NFL Final Four polls. In the first we asked who you think WILL win the Super Bowl among the last teams standing, and it was Patriots 66.91 percent, Vikings 19.12%, Eagles 8.09% and Jaguars 5.88%. In the second we asked who you most WANT to win it all, and the results were far different. It was Jaguars 36.84%, Vikings 36.09% and Eagles and Patriots both 13.53%.

Select other recent columns: And Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameAre the Fins Feeling Bold? Also: Will Somebody Please Rise Up. Canes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaCanes-Irish: Game For The Ages. Appreciate Perfection -- PeriodThe Godfather SpeaksLatest Drama in Bizarre, Trying SeasonJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 15, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): A No. 1 that hasn't been there for awhile, and what else falls where; plus how we did on our NFL playoff picks, latest troika of columns & more

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

Mlk1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 15. It  is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America and I wold dare say that, these days, his life's mission and fight for racial equality is a a cause as vital as ever, and worth supporting and carrying forward against insidious resistance. 2) Whoa, Nellie! R.I.P., Keith Jackson, gone at 89. 2) Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Divisional-Round playoff picks, The List: Dolphins 1st-round picks ranked top to bottom, your verdict on Fins moving past Tannehill, Alabama's recent run in perspective & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our week's troika of latest columns: Call him Sasha. Call him Barky. Call him the future, the best hope for leading the Panthers back to relevance; click And Barkov Shall Lead Them to read. On the surreal reappearance of Tonya Harding; click No Way to Escape Her Shame. And on the Dolphins moving beyond Ryan Tannehill; click Are the Fins Feeling Bold?

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

Hot1. HEAT: Sizzlin' Heat win 7th in a row!: Dion Waiters may be done for the year, but without him Miami has won a season-high seven games in a row after Sunday's home win over Milwaukee. As a five-game road trip begins today at Chicago the Heat has climbed to fourth in the East -- and closing in on third-place Cleveland. Heat is now 55-28 the last half of last season and first half of this one. Um, can we start the playoffs now?
 
2. NFL: It's Patriots-Jaguars, Eagles-Vikings for AFC, NFC crowns: Two wild games Sunday -- Jags over Steelers 45-42 and Vikes over Saints 29-24 on a miracle finish -- completed the Divisional Round playoffs and set New-England-Jacksonville and Philadelphia-Minnesota as the two games that will be play-ins for the Super Bowl. So, yes, three of the last four QB standing are Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Blake Bortles. Meantime the Dolphins' contribution to the NFL conversation the past week was disgraced former assistant Chris Foerster admitting he'd done cocaine a week straight at the time of that leaked video. Line coach, indeed!
 
3. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men host Duke in big ACC test: No. 18 Miami hosts Mike Krzyzewski's No. 7 Duke Blue Devils Monday night in a game that will help shape the Atlantic Coast Conference race as March Madness draws ever nearer. Duke is 15-2 and Miami 13-3, but both already have two losses in ACC play. Duke once owned this series but Miami is 5-3 vs. the Diablos Azul ever since Jim Larranaga took over as coach in 2011-12 -- including two straight UM wins in the Gables.
 
4. PANTHERS: Week to celebrate young, old as Cats chase playoffs: Fans are thrilled that rising star and team centerpiece Aleksander "Sasha" Barkov will rep Florida in the NHL All-Star Game later this month. Meantime as play resumes this coming Friday the Panthers will honor Wayne Huizenga, 80, the franchise's founding owner. One man is the main reason the team is here. The man is the main reason there is hope for its future.
 
5. TENNIS: Australian Open opens with Venus 1st major upset: Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Romania's Simona Halep are the No. 1 men's and women's seeds as the year's first tennis Grand Slam event got underway in Melbourne. Halep, 26, is most known for having breast-reduction surgery but is yet to win her first major. So it's "Win Or Bust"? Meanwhile Venus Williams was upset on Day 1 as American women went 0-for-8.
 
6. GOLF: PGA Tour event in midst of missile-attack false alarm: The low-watt Sony Open was going on in Honolulu Saturday when when the (erroneous) news broke a ballistic missile was headed to Hawaii. Tournament leader Tom Hoge never got the text. He was entranced watching college basketball in his hotel room. 
 
7. BASEBALL: Strong get stronger as Astros get Cole: The reigning World Series champ Houston Astros added Pirates ace Gerrit Cole in a five-player trade Saturday. If all the other teams just conceded the 2018 crown to the Astros, imagine how much would be save in travel expenses?
 

8. BROADCASTING: Icon Keith Jackson dies at 89: The man who brought homespun charm to college football for decades has lapsed to memory. Farewell, Mr. Jackson, and R.I.P. I'm sure it won't but wouldn't it be perfect if his tombstone read: Whoa, Nellie!

9. OLYMPICS: New 'I, Tonya' movie resurrects 1994 skating scandal: Tonya Harding's goons clubbed rival Nancy  Kerrigan's knee 24 years ago, and now Harding is doing the promotional tour for the new movie that seeks to reboot her in a sympathetic way. You can't outrun your shame, sad Tonya.

10. MARLINS: Spring training now one month away: With the decimated Fish opening spring training Feb. 14, Starlin Castro has become the latest player to want out as new owner Derek Jeter severely cuts the player payroll. If only Marlins could demand to be traded.

Missing the HB10 cut: LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball were held scoreless in their second pro game in Lithuania. Ain't it great! ..... The Cavaliers slump has LeBron James beside himself. Ain't it even greater! ..... They're still partying in Tuscaloosa. Wait. They're always partying in Tuscaloosa ..... U.S. Army is contesting the NHL Las Vegas team's Golden Knights nickname. If Army paratroopers start dropping on the arena, then be worried ..... Headline: 'UFC is headed to Russia for first time ever'. My reaction: UM, can they stay there, please? ..... Dolphins hosted the 7th annual Dade vs. Broward football high-school All-Star Game, won by Dade. Many of the competing players will emulate their Dolphins heroes by also going on to pro careers that rarely ever end up in the playoffs.

FripixRESULTS ON OUR NFL DIVISIONAL-ROUND PLAYOFF PICKS: We missed both of Sunday's games straight-up (thanks Marcus Williams!), but had better fortune against the spread. Had Jags with the points at Pittsburgh, and Vikes by five was a push. For the round we were 1-3 straight-up and 2-1-1 ATS. On Saturday, we owned the Patriots' 35-14 win, calling it 31-13, but saw the favored Falcons taking care of business and blew that one. I thought the two AFC games were pretty simple, clear-cut picks, but the two NFC games I wrestled with. Divisional-Round Gems for all our second-round pick as the Super Bowl Tournament continues now with the Final Four -- King Sport-style.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 13, 2018

One upset ahead, but is it the one you want? Our NFL Divisional-Round picks; plus ranking every Dolphins 1st-round draft pick, our Sasha Barkov and Tonya Harding columns, your verdict on Fins thinking beyond Tannehill & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 13. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Looking beyond Ryan Tannehill poll, give the devil (Nick Saban) his due & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Panthers column: And Barkov shall lead them: Call him Sasha. Call him Barky. Call Aleksander Barkov the future, the best hope for leading the Panthers back to relevance in the NHL and in South Florida. Click on And Barkov Shall Lead Them for my latest column.

Other columns from this week: On bizarre reemergence of Tonya Harding, and on Dolphins and Tannehill: Click No Way to Escape Her Shame for my latest column, on efforts, 24 years later, to rebrand Tonya Harding as a sympathetic victim. And click Are the Fins Feeling Bold? for my earlier column on Dolphins moving beyond Ryan Tannehill.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! OUR NFL DIVISIONAL-ROUND PLAYOFF PICKS: We're down to eight teams now, with two weekend doubleheaders bringing us to the AFC and NFC Championship Game matchups -- the Final Four, King Sport style. I though the two AFC games were pretty simple, clear-cut picks. The two NFC games I wrestled with. and from the rasslin' emerged one major upset. Click Divisional-Round Gems for all our second-round pick as the Super Bowl Tournament continues.

THE LIST: DOLPHINS ALL-TIME FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICKS, RANKED TOP TO BOTTOM BASED ON MOST CAREER GAMES PLAYED FOR MIAMI: Games played for Miami including regular season and playoffs by the 48 first-round draft picks in franchise history. The Top 20, then the rest:

Year    Player, School                                    Pick     Games

Marino1983    QB Dan Marino, Pittsburgh                 27        260

1990    OT Richmond Webb, Texas A&M         9          177

1967    QB Bob Griese, Purdue                      4          173

1994    DT Tim Bowens, Mississippi                20        167

1982    OG Roy Foster, Southern Cal              24        144

1976    DE Kim Bokamper, San Jose State      19        140 

1979    OT Jon Giesler, Michigan                   24        138

1993    WR O.J. McDuffie, Penn State           25         126

2004    OT Vernon Carey, Miami                    19         122

Webb1969    DE Bill Stanfill, Georgia                     11        120

1980    CB Don McNeal, Alabama                   21        120

1977    LB A.J. Duhe, LSU                              13        119

1968    RB Larry Csonka, Syracuse                 8          118

1989    S Louis Oliver, Florida                        25        110

1976    LB Larry Gordon, Arizona State          17        107

2011    C Mike Pouncey, Florida                     15         93 [ACTIVE]

1968    OT Doug Crusan, Indiana                   27          90

1996    DT Daryl Gardener, Baylor                 20          89 

2005    RB Ronnie Brown, Auburn                  5           77

2012    QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M           8           77 [ACTIVE]

The rest:

21st through 30th -- 1984 LB Jackie Shipp, Oklahoma 76; 2008 OT Jake Long, Michigan 75; 1985 RB Lorenzo Hampton, Florida 72; 2006 CB Jason Allen, Tennessee 72; 1992 DE Marco Coleman, Georgia 68; 2010 DT Jared Odrick, Penn State 65; 1992 CB Troy Vincent, Wisconsin 62; 2007 WR Ted Ginn, Ohio State 49; 2014 OT Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee 48 [ACTIVE]; 1988 DE Eric Kumerow, Ohio State 44.

31st through 40th -- 2009 CB Vontae Davis, Illinois 44; 2015 WR DeVante Parker, Louisville 44 [ACTIVE]; 1989 RB Sammie Smith, Florida State 43; 1974 DT Don Reese, Jackson State 42; 2001 CB Jamar Fletcher, Wisconsin 41; 1966 QB Rick Norton, Kentucky 31; 1987 DE John Bosa, Boston College 31; 2016 OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi 30 [ACTIVE]; 1975 OT Darryl Carlton, Tampa 28; 1991 WR Randal Hill, Miami 28.

41st through 48th -- 2013 DE Dion Jordan, Oregon 26; 1995 OT Billy Milner, Houston 21; 1998 RB John Avery, Mississippi 19; 2017 DE Charles Harris, Missouri 16 [ACTIVE]; 1981 RB David Overstreet, Oklahoma 15; 1997 WR Yatil Green, Miami 8; 1966 RB Jim Grabowski, Illinois 0; 1972 DT Mike Kadish, Notre Dame 0.

POLL RESULT: CLEAR MAJORITY THINK DOLPHINS SHOULD THINK BEYOND TANNEHILL: We asked, "Is this the right offseason and draft for the Dolphins to think beyond Ryan Tannehill?" Your verdict: Yes. If Miami's future at QB is in this draft, go get him, 77.42 percent; No. Tannehill is good enough. Address other needs, 16.67%; Undecided. Like the Dolphins, I'm really not sure, 5.91%.

ALABAMA'S RECENT RUN IN PERSPECTIVE: Nick Saban just own Alabama's fifth national championship since he took over Crimson Tide football 11 seasons ago, in 2007. In that same time span the most championships by one of the Big Four pro teams is three, by the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins and MLB's San Francisco Giants. Althought two of the 11 teams with two titles since '07 -- the NFL's New England Patriots and NBA's Golden State Warriors -- have a big shot at a third title in seasons ongoing.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 08, 2018

Alabama-Georgia in CFP final: Who WILL win and who do you WANT to win? Two new polls. Vote now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), your verdict on biggest Miami sports story of '17, my NFL playoff pick-results, new Sunday column (Heat) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 8. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Biggest-Miami-sports-story-of-year poll, your biggest-national-story verdict, NFL playoff picks & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Sunday column: Heat still out front. A state-of on Miami's four pro teams: The Heat are out front largely because the Dolphins, Panthers and Marlins all are in a transitional flux, at a crossroads, looking for a way. Click Will Somebody Please Rise Up for my latest column on the state of South Florida Big Four pro teams as 2018 unfurls.

FripixNFL Wild-Card Weekend pick results: We nailed the Falcons' upset win: We hit a bulls-eye on the Falcons' big upset of the Rams. Overall we went 3-1 straight-up and 2-2 against the spread in the first round, including Panthers-with-points vs. Saints. Click Wild-Card Weekend Gems for all our first-round picks as the Super Bowl Tournament began.

AlagacfpCFP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: WHO WILL WIN, AND WHO YOU WANT TO WIN: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs tonight in Atlanta in the College Football Playoff championship game. Two polls here. First asks which team you think WILL win -- who you'd place a bet on straight-up. The second poll asks you you WANT to win -- where your rotting interest lies. Take a dip in both polls now!

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. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: It's Alabama-Georgia in Monday title game: Alabama is a small favorite in College Football Playoff's all-SEC championship, despite it being held in Atlanta, a home game for Georgia. Crimson Tide are in CFP final for third straight year but, for a change, Nick Saban might not be the least popular man in the stadium, because President Donald Trump plans to attend.
 
2. NFL: Four pretenders out, eight teams left as Super Bowl Tournament begins: Sayonara, Chiefs, Bills, Panthers and Rams. Nice barely knowin' ya. NFL playoffs are down to eight. Meantime ESPN reported a rift among Patriots owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady and suggested the empire may be crumbling. Um, the No. 1-seeded Pats, off a playoff bye, are Super Bowl favorites. Again. Oh to have such problems!

3. HEAT: Miami climbing in East standings: Heat has won four straight with Sunday's home win over Utah and risen to fifth in East, now only 1/2 game from fourth place. A now-reasonable goal: Host a first-round playoff series.

4. UM BASKETBALL: Hurricanes win to open three-game Litmus test: Canes' men's team started 10-0 and highly ranked then slumped. What are they trying to mimic the UM football team? (Ouch. Too soon?) But Jim Larranaga's guys are back on track at 13-2 after Sunday's big win over No. 24 Florida State. Two more ranked foes await in No. 25 Clemson and then home vs. No. 2 Duke.
 
5. DOLPHINS: Problem solved! Fins hire new offensive coordinator: The disappointing 6-10 Dolphins and coach Adam Gase demoted offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen after averaging only 17.6 points per game to rank 28th in the NFL. They replaced him with Dowell Loggains, whom the Bears just dismissed after Chicago averaged 16.5 points, ranking 29th. Well alrighty then!
 
6. MARLINS: Jeter's 'Project Wolverine' now underway: Derek Jeter's 'Project Wolverine' is his plan to reboot the now-decimated Marlins. It sees a spike in player payroll starting in 2021. Meantime, the carnivorous wolverine has disemboweled Marlins fans and turned their optimism to bloody entrails.

7. PANTHERS: Cats can't capitalize on streak: Sunday's loss made it three L's in a row after a five-game winning streak for Florida, which still lags seven points off playoff pace right at midseason. Check Lost & Found. The map to the postseason seems to have been  misplaced.

8. JON GRUDEN: He's back on the sideline with Raiders: Gruden is transmogrifying from the ESPN football booth back to Chucky, the sideline maniac, taking over the Oakland (soon Las Vegas) Raiders on a 10-year deal. So Redskins coach Jay is now not even the NFL's best Gruden.

9. WINTER OLYMPICS: U.S. names women's figure skating team: USA named its three-woman figure skating team for the upcoming South Korea Games. Somewhere, Dick Button is beside himself with excitement. 

10. RICKY WILLIAMS: Ex-Fin plans smoke-filled Super Bowl party: Former Dolphins running back and confirmed pothead Ricky Williams is hosting a "cannabis-friendly" Super Bowl party in Miami. The star of the event? Snacks! Mmm, lots of snacks to feed those munchies!

Missing the HB10 cut: Australian Open starts next week, and both Andry Murray (injury) and Serena Williams (baby) are out. Although Serena could play with the infant on her back in a papoose and still win the women's side ..... Paul Pierce says the Celtics' tribute to Isaiah Thomas should not be same night as his jersey retirement. Petty much? ..... ESPN fired NFL analysts Eric Davis and Donovan McNabb over a sexual abuse claim. Rough year for the Worldwide Leader ..... The Greek Freak (Giannis Antetokounmpo) leads the Akron Anomaly (LeBron James) in early NBA all-star voting ..... The Bills sent 1,440 chicken wings to the Bengals as a thank-your for beating the Ravens to assure Buffalo made the playoffs? Shouldn't Miami at least get some celery and blue cheese? ..... NFL ratings were down 9.7 percent this season. In an unrelated story, it is estimated 9.7% of players took part in protests during the anthem ..... UM baseball began preseason practice an the final season of Jim Morris. Omaha or bust? Heck, NCAA Regional or bust! ..... USA Today speculated the Dolphins as a possible landing spot for Tom Brady should the Patriots dynasty come apart. Hmm. Is wishing and hoping for a QB who'll be 41 next season not its own form of sadness?

ToumPOLL RESULT: TURNOVER CHAIN-FUELED CANES FOOTBALL RESURGENCE THE NO. 1 BIGGEST MIAMI SPORTS STORY OF 2017: We asked what was the biggest Miami/South Florida sports story of 2017, gave you 18 choices and allowed you six votes. More than 2,500 votes poured in. A six-vote ballot means the maximum percentage for any one story would be 16.67 percent and you'd multiply the percent total times six for any idea how often that story was included on ballots. That's IF everyone used all six votes. The fact the No. 1-voted story was off-the-grid-high suggests an organized effort by Canes fans who voted only for that story. In effect, UM fans hijacked the poll. But that's OK. All good. I should note that prior to the sharp spike we detected, UM's resurgence still was running No. 1, although by a much narrower margin over the Stanton/Jeter story. Your results on the biggest Miami/South Florida sports story of 2017:

  1. Turnover Chain-fueled Hurricanes achieve 1st 10-win season, 1st Orange Bowl in 14 years--31.32%
  2. Giancarlo Stanton traded after 59-HR year as new owner Derek Jeter begins Marlins reboot--12.71%
  3. Jason Taylor, Dolphins icon, inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame--8.60%
  4. Hurricane Irma wreaks havoc with start of football season--7.09%
  5. Dolphins O-line coach Chris Foerster resigns after video shows him snorting white powder--6.67%
  6. Edwin Pope, Miami Herald Sports legend, dies--5.39%
  7. Jay Cutler signed by Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill's season-erasing injury--5.23%
  8. Hurricanes baseball sees end of 44-year streak of consecutive NCAA playoff appearances--4.96%
  9. Miami hosts MLB All-Star Game, Home Run Derby for first time--4.42%
  10. Nick Buoniconti, Jim Kiick reveal football related brain-trauma woes to Sports Illustrated--2.60%
The rest: 11. UM men's basketball implicated in FBI probe of recruiting corruption--2.44%; 12. Heat misses playoffs despite 30-11 second half, fails to land free-agent target Gordon Hayward--2.40%; 13. Soccer's El Clasico, Barcelona-Real Madrid, plays Miami--1.78%; 14. Miami Open tennis sets move from Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium--1.67%; 15. Homestead hosts Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s last race in NASCAR finale--1.05%; 16. Ferdie Pacheco, The Fight Doctor, dies--0.70%; 17. Felo Ramirez, baseball broadcasting icon, dies--0.54%; 18. Gulfstream hosts first Pegasus World Cup, richest-ever horse race--0.43%.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 06, 2018

Last day to vote! What was Miami/South Florida's biggest sports story of 2017? Annual poll. Our 18 finalists, you pick top 6. Vote now; plus your biggest-national-story verdict, our NFL playoff picks & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 6. A happy birthday to Dolphins icon Don Shula, who turned 88 Thursday. Here's to many more! 2) Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual national-sports-story-of-the year poll, final SOPY standings, latest Back In My Day video, R.I.P. Mae Riback & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

WHAT WAS MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2017?We had it easy in 2016 with three stories that clearly stood out above the rest, although two made us sad. You voted the Miami17tragic death of Jose Fernandez the biggest story of the year, followed by the Dolphins ending their eight-year playoff drought and then Dwyane Wade leaving the Heat. Nothing else was close. But is anything as clear-cut for for 2017? We'll see. And you'll decide. Previously we asked you to name the past year's top national sports story and you did (with results below). Now we invite you to select the 2017 Miami/South Florida sports story of the year, from a randomly presented top 18 of my choosing. You may vote for your top six (6). I offer no synopsis beyond the description phrase in the poll, because if it needs further explaining, it obviously wasn't that big/impactful/important to you. OK. Ready? Vote!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP SIX (6)

Deciphering a 6-vote poll: A six-vote poll means the maximum percentage for any one story would be 16.67 percent if every participant voted the max six times. Any vote above 16.67 means some voted only for that story. Multiply the percents above times six for an idea how often that story is being included on the consensus top-six ballot.

NFL player protests voted biggest 2017 national story: We asked what was the biggest national sports story of 2017, gave you The Associated Press Top 10 in jumbled order, and allowed you to vote for your top three. That means the highest vote total possible would be 33.3 percent if every participant used all three votes. Triple the percentages below for an idea how often that story was included in the consensus of top threes. Your results:

1. NFL player protests over social justice draws critics led by President Trump--20.14

2. Astros win 1st World Series to lift city devastated by Hurricane Harvey--19.72

3. Patriots, in year of Tom Brady suspension, stage record rally to win Super Bowl--14.31

The rest: U.S., Italy fail to qualify for men's World Cup--12.21%; Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather--9.03%; Clemson rally beats Alabama for college football title--8.06%; College basketball investigated by FBI over recruiting corruption--5.69%; Golden State led by Kevin Durant wins NBA Finals--4.17%; USA Gymnastics rocked by sex-abuse scandal involving team doctor--3.75%; Russia banned from upcoming Winter Olympics over doping--2.92%.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 20, 2017

A few thoughts on Jeter's Marlins 'town hall' meeting; plus should fans of Dolphins, Heat, Marlins or Panthers be saddest? Poll. Vote now; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald QB rankings, Shameless Book Plug, FAU goes bowling & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. Not pretty. 2) Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It for our most recent general column. Sorry we haven't had as many lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this  month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl and I won't pretend to, but I will say Ndamukong Suh should have joined Reshad Jones as a Dolphins selection." -- Greg Cote 

A FEW THOUGHTS ON JETER'S MARLINS 'TOWN HALL': Happily, I did not attend the Derek Jeter "town hall" Q&A session with Marlins season-ticket holders last night, but have spoken with Jetertownhallfolks who were there, have read the accounts and would share a few thoughts. First, it was smart of Jeter to do, and and necessary. He has been the sniper-owner, making unpopular deals from a safe bunker and in hiding. Last night, he showed his face. It was a start. Second, fans need a forum to vent, to voice displeasure. It was a win-win for Jeter because there would be the appearance of openness and transparency without there actually being any. Jeter said a lot without saying much. No details of the master "plan" were shared. I did find interesting that Jeter justified the Giancarlo Stanton deal by emphasizing the Marlins gained $260 million in contract relief to help the club move forward. Hmm. Wouldn't/shouldn't saving $260M on Stanton have allowed the club to then not trade Marcell Ozuna, and not consider trading Christian Yelich? Shouldn't that $260M "saving" be put back into the team by either using it to keep the best remaining players or to be a major player in free agency? Or is that windfall of "saving" just going to pay off corporate debt or enrich the owners? Finally, I laughed out loud (LOL!) at reporters who were there actually interviewing Marlins Man as if he were a news source, not just the grandstanding fan who stood behind the mic last night and asked Jeter, "Do you know who I am?" Marlins Man. Puh-leeze. It would be like, back in the day, interviewing Dolfan Denny about the Dolphins' words. C'mon, media.

SadnessWHAT SOUTH FLORIDA TEAM'S FANS SHOULD BE SADDEST RIGHT NOW?: I refer a lot to Greater Miami's "Big 5" teams -- our four major pro franchises plus Canes football. Obviously in this poll I don't include UM, which is preparing for an Orange Bowl date with Wisconsin to cap the Hurricanes' first 10-win season since 2003. But our four pro teams are fair game for the dubious "most disappointing" crown that would have their fans saddest. The Marlins of course are in mid-fire sale/dismantling as the new Derek Jeter regime proves roughly as popular as the old Jeffrey Loria era. The Panthers are en route to making it a 21st consecutive season of either not making the NHL playoffs or not winning a postseason series. The Heat continue in post-Big 3 malaise, a starless doldrums, hanging around .500, with fans who became accustomed to thinking championship now relegated to hoping for a low playoff seed. And the Dolphins are back to mediocrity after last year's aberrant bump. I will volunteer that I think Heat fans have the least cause for sadness, but that the other three are in the mix. But his is your say. As you consider this poll question consider it literally: Which team's fans have the most cause right now to be the saddest?

Finsat50 Finsat50SHAMELESS BOOK PLUG! AND JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!: Know any Dolfans on your holiday shopping list? Of course you do. And that means you know Dolfans who are so sick of the current team they'd rather marinate in the heydays of Shula and Marino. Well I just so happen to have a book on the franchise's first half-century, called Fins At 50. Talk about a perfect gift! And reasonably priced, too. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to go directly to those site's page om the book to order and to learn more about it. You'll be glad you did, friend.

BRADY'S LEAD SHRINKS, CUTLER RETREATS / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 15: The 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo wins Week 15 with a 46.05-point game while Patriot Tom Brady's overall lead shrinks further in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Brady's margin over second place Drew Brees of the Saints has narrowed to only 8.40 points with two games to play. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler slips three spots, down to 24th place. 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. The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 16:

RK LW Player, Team                 WK15      Season

1    1  Tom Brady, NE               28.90       502.10

2    2  Drew Brees, NO             38.25       493.70

3    3  Alex Smith, KC              38.55       452.90

4    5  Matthew Stafford, DET  39.85       447.00

5    4  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  31.05      440.25

6    9  Kirk Cousins, WAS          30.80       406.80

7  11  Case Keenum, MIN         39.80       401.95

8    7  Russell Wilson, SEA         8.10       391.45

9    8  Philip Rivers, LAC           9.35       390.90

10  6  Carson Wentz, PHI          DNP       386.80

11 10 Jared Goff, LAR            21.00       386.40

12 12 Matt Ryan, ATL              21.60      376.50

13 16 Blake Bortles, JAC         43.30      337.35

14 13 Josh McCown, NYJ          DNP       336.30

15 14 Derek Carr, OAK            18.55      335.65

16 15 Dak Prescott, DAL         18.60      331.80

17 20 Eli Manning, NYG          44.70      319.65

18 19 Cam Newton, CAR        38.10      314.10

19 18 Joe Flacco, BAL            32.40      311.05

20 17 Andy Dalton, CIN           -0.35      281.00

24 21 Jay Cutler, MIA             11.70      260.70

Bubble: Jameis Winston, TB, 277.70. Week 15 Best: Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, 46.05 (31-43, 381, 1-0 in win). Week 15 Worst: Blaine Gabbert, ARI, minus-2.55 (16-41, 189, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 15 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 15: Herald picks: Went a nifty 13-3 overall but a just-OK 6-7-3 against the spread, with the wins by Patriots, Niners and Cowboys all pushing for the ties. Called the Chiefs' mini-upset of Rams and also had a pair of dogs-with-points in Jets and Giants. Greg's Lobos: We're done. The 'Bos reached the semifinals of a 14-team league (not bad) before falling to Allyson in a shootout, 157.7-139, despite 45 points from Todd Gurley. #GurleyMen #LobosMVP.
 
OWLS ON THE PROWL: FAU SMACKS AKRON IN BOWL: For only the third time in its 14-year history as an FBS-level football program, Florida Atlantic University played in a bowl game last night, hosting Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl, and winning in a 50-3 rout. The Owls were big three-touchdown home favorites to finish the season 11-3 under first-year coach Lane Kiffin and behind the running of Devin Singletary, and showed why. Kiffin earlier in the day signed a six-year contract extension. Still doubting he's an Owls lifer, but good for now. I'll say this: I'd love to see this traditionally overshadowed program get some love now with a final, post-bowls Top 25 ranking. They deserve the consideration.
 
 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 16, 2017

Derek Jeter: Grading his performance as Marlins boss 10 weeks into the job. New poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins-Bills and other NFL Week 15 picks & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16. ICYMI, click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It for my column on the Marlins trading their best player to the Yankees. 2) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 3) Holiday shopping? Giving all the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): How can Jeter show his face in this town?, your Stanton trade blame verdict, McShay mock pick for Dolphins, Herald NFL QB rankings, David Grisham = idiot, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

JeterintroJUDGING DEREK JETER SO FAR: It took him 10 weeks. Actually a little less. The press conference to introduce Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter as the new owners-out-front of the Miami Marlins happened Oct. 3. Now, in mid-December, the Jeter group already has traded Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in a salary dump, enraging many fans. We've had some of our say in a couple of columns linked-to here and also in this blog. Now it's your turn. Two months into an ownership is too soon to judge it, admittedly. But in this case, some fans already are missing Jeffrey Loria (which they'd never thought possible), while others may agree with the tear-down and reboot. This poll is meant simply to take a pulse, right now, on how Marlins fans and South Florida after feeling about Jeter so far. Tell me. Tell each other. Tell Jeter. Ready? Vote!

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 15 PICKS: ON DOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF THE CENTURY AND THE REST: Do you trust the Dolphins to replicate in freezing Buffalo on Sunday the same level of passion and performance they showed at home in stunning the Patriots Monday night? Sorry, but I do not. The team is too inconsistent and thus unreliable to expect that. Click Week 15 Gems for my full Fins-Bills predix capsule, my Game of the Century Week (Patriots-Steelers), Upset of the Week (also Pats-Steelers: "Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our week got off to a crappy start Thursday night as we hunched a win by the home-'dog Colts over Denver and instead the broke-down Nags clippity-clopped on their inexorable march toward the glue factory.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 14, 2017

How does Derek Jeter dare show his face in this town?; plus McShay's mock pick for Dolphins, Cutler's climb in QB rankings, Broncos-Colts pick, David Grisham = idiot, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results (Go Lobos!), your blame verdict on Stanton trade & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14. Am at Friday Page World Headquarters today making my Week 15 NFL picks. Uh oh. 2) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 3) Holiday shopping? Giving all the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Patriots with my 5 takeaways and DSM poll, thanks for the memories Giancarlo with blame poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

ICYMI, my column on Marlins trading Stanton: Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It.

Thursday's Broncos-Colts pick: Two bad teams and one awful matchup, but somebody gotta win tonight! Click Thursday Gem to find out who will.

STANTON, GORDON, NOW OZUNA ... HOW DOES JETER DARE SHOW HIS FACE IN THIS TOWN?: Dee Gordon going first sounded the fire (sale) alarm. JeterGiancarlo Stanton being traded was the bombshell that made it a three-alarm blaze. Now Marcell Ozuna is dealt and the flames climb higher. Three of the Marlins' best and most popular players -- gone. Three of the reasons for a local fan to go to Marlins Park and care about this team -- gone. Such high hopes were held for the new ownership group of Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. They had to be better than Jeffrey Loria ...right? Be careful what you wish for. You might get it. Recently new Jeter has been courtside at a Heat game (vs. Golden State) and then up in a suite for the Dolphins' Monday night game vs. New England (when he should have been upstate attending the baseball winter meetings instead of hiding from the tough questions). Honestly, I'm surprised at this point that Jeter has the nerve to show up anywhere in public in South Florida. He is now the guy dismantling the Marlins, running the fire sale. His cascade from heroic entrance to Loria 2.0 has been dizzying fast. It may already be too late to win back angry fans, but the new Litmus test is Christian Yelich, the last remaining star of any stature. Trade him, too, Jeter, and you'll never recover in this town. What the "new" Marlins have given away in a pure salary dump:

Giancarlo Stanton: Age 28, 59 homers, 132 RBIs, 1.007 OPS, NL MVP. 

Marcell Ozuna: Age 27, .312 average, 37 homers, 124 RBIs, .924 OPS.

Dee Gordon: Age 29, .308 average, 114 runs, leadoff man, 60 stolen bases. 

Poll result: Most blame Jeter for Stanton trade: We asked who you blame most for Giancarlo Stanton no longer being a Marlin, and offered four choices. Your verdict: 51.9 percent blame new owner Derek Jeter (pictured) for not committing to keeping Stanton and building around him; 31.5% blame former owner Jeffrey Loria for Stanton's huge, back-loaded contract that made keeping him difficult; 15.4% blame nobody because trading big contracts for prospects may prove smart; and only 1.2% blame Stanton himself for agreeing to be traded.

QnelsonFIGHTING IRISH TO FIGHTING FIN? MCSHAY'S EARLY MOCK-DRAFT PICK FOR MIAMI: Todd McShay today offers his 2018 Mock Draft 1.0 for ESPN. He has Southern Cal QB Sam Darnold going No. 1 overall to Cleveland. No Miami Hurricanes make his first round; in fact the only state player who makes it is Florida State safety Derwin James, going 13th to Washington. McShay projects the Dolphins selecting 14th overall and taking Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson (pictured). Says McShay: "Guard is a glaring need for the Dolphins, who need to protect whomever is at QB and get more push in the running game. Nelson is the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in this class and a road-grader (listed at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds). He's ready to start right away." Makes some sense. But I also think Miami may be tired of using first-round picks on offensive linemen, which they have done four times since 2008. 

JaycutlerBRADY'S LEAD NARROWS, CUTLER CLIMBS / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 14: The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger rode a 506-yard performance to a season-best 58.30-point game to win Week 14 and climb to fourth place overall in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Patriot Tom Brady maintains the overall season lead but his margin has slipped to less than 18 points over second place Drew Brees of the Saints — who is officially now in the passing lane with three weeks to play. Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ Jay Cutler (pictured) climbs three big spots to 21st overall off a solid 39.15-point game Monday night. 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. [Click here to see the latest QB rankings online].

The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 15:

RK LW Player, Team                    WK14      Season

1    1  Tom Brady, NE                   13.65      473.20

2    2  Drew Brees, NO                 33.55      455.45

3    3  Alex Smith, KC                   21.40      414.35

4    8  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT      58.30      409.20

5    6  Matthew Stafford, DET       49.05      407.15

6    7  Carson Wentz, PHI              32.55      386.80

7    4  Russell Wilson, SEA             16.55      383.35

8    9  Philip Rivers, LAC               31.95      381.55

9    5  Kirk Cousins, WAS               10.55      376.00

10 10 Jared Goff, LAR                  21.95      365.40

11 12 Case Keenum, MIN              24.00      362.15

12 11 Matt Ryan, ATL                   13.05      354.90

13 13 Josh McCown, NYJ              -0.70      336.30

14 14 Derek Carr, OAK                 14.55      317.10

15 16 Dak Prescott, DAL              40.60      313.20

16 18 Blake Bortles, JAC              33.40      294.05

17 15 Andy Dalton, CIN                  6.05      281.35

18 19 Joe Flacco, BAL                  21.45      278.65

19 19 Cam Newton, CAR              12.85      276.00

20 20 Eli Manning, NYG                24.40      274.95

21 24 Jay Cutler, MIA                   39.15      249.00

39 38 Matt Moore, MIA                  DNP         72.05

Bubble: Cutler, MIA, 249.00. Week 14 Best: Roethlisberger, PIT, 58.30, season high (44-66, 506, 2-0 in win). Week 14 Worst: Bryce Petty, NYJ, minus-4.30 (2-9, 14, 0-0 in loss).

'PASTOR' AND REAL-LIFE GRINCH DAVID GRISHAM IS A REPREHENSIBLE MORON: I have nothing against religion but believe it to be a very personal matter
Davidgrishamand do not appreciate aggressive evangelism, whether it be Jehovahs knocking on my door or this example from a mall in Amarillo, Texas, where a self-described pastor from Alaska's Last Frontier Evangelism started telling little kids there is no Santa Claus. Have you heard this? What a moron David Grisham is. What a reprehensible idiot. Little kids waiting in a line to sit on Santa's lap and this stranger starts crapping all over their childhood because he feels Santa is getting too much credit at the expense of Jesus. Or something. Angry parents started confronting this selfish Grinch. I almost wish somebody had decked him. I'd been in the long line of those volunteering to pay the bail. You can find the story and the wildly incriminating video this nut took of himself here. The off-his-rocker lunatic also is pictured.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 14 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with Fripix Lobosmy Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 14: Herald picks: Mixed bag. Went upset crazy and got hammered straight-up with only an 8-8 mark, but was a nifty 9-5-2 against the spread, with two games off the board. Hit outright upsets wins by the Falcons, Panthers, Broncos and Eagles, and also had three other 'dogs-with-points in Jaguars, Ravens and Dolphins. Greg's Lobos: Thriller! The playoffs began with a Lobos miracle: 24.6 points from Jarvis Landry Monday night and a 120-117.4 victory over No. 1 seed Chris. Man! We made the final four and face Allyson in a semifinal this week. #GoLobosGo

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 08, 2017

On Marlins' Gordon trade and on Jeter: Two new polls. Vote now!; plus Dolphins-Patriots, other NFL Week 14 picks & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8. It's the holidays! Which can mean only one thing: Giving the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL QB rankings, state-school FBS bowl games by importance, updated SOPY standings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My new column on Gordon trade, Jeter: Click on Do We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins? to read.

ON MARLINS' GORDON TRADE, YOUR FAITH IN JETER: Dee Gordon (.308, 114 runs, MLB-leading 60 stolen bases) is about the perfect leadoff hitter. He is Seattle's now, after the Marlins traded him Thursday for three Mariners prospects including their No. 1 minor-league pitcher, righty starter Nick Neidert. It was a
Djeter Dgordonway to restock the Fish farm system, which is needed. Mostly it was a salary dump, which the new owners fronted by Derek Jeter say is needed as they begin paring the payroll. Is this the beginning of a dismantling, a.k.a. fire sale? We anticipate and brace for a Giancarlo Stanton trade, but Gordon sort of came out of nowhere. Are Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna also on the block? We can't know for sure and Jeter isn't saying. These are apprehensive times, though, for Marlins fans, who longed for Jeffrey Loria to sell the team but may now be mindful of the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for." I explore in my latest column, which lists some of Jeter's public missteps preceding the Gordon trade. Click Do We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins? to read my opinions. Now it's time for yours. Two quick polls here. One one the Gordon trade, the other on Jeter. Weigh in. Vote now.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 14 PICKS: ON DOLPHINS-PATRIOTS AND EXPLOSION OF UPSETS: I call for a crazy seven betting-line upsets in this week's latest NFL predictions. Unfortunately for Miami, Dolphins beating Patriots Monday night ain't one of 'em. Click Week 14 Gems for my full Fins-Pats predix capsule, my Game of the Week (Rams-Eagles), Upset of the Week (Browns-Packers: "Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our week got off to a strong start Thursday night as we accurately called the Falcons' slight home upset win (+1 1/2) over the Saints to begin our serpentine parade of upset picks.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 07, 2017

Latest Herald NFL QB rankings; plus new 'Back In My Day' video, Saints-Falcons pick, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, state-school FBS bowl games ranked, updated SOPY standings & more

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

Pearl harbor1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7. On this date in 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, resulting in 1,500 deaths and a declaration of war. 2) R.I.P., Jose Orlando Padron, founder of Miami-based Padron Cigars. 3) It is holiday season, which can mean only one thing: Giving the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins clobber Denver with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Saints-Falcons pick: Click Thursday Gem for my pick on tonight's Saints-Falcons Thursday night game. There's a (small) upset brewing.

Latest 'Back In My Day' video: Christmas Decorations!: From yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and TV: Click Christmas Decorations to watch.

Our most recent Dolphins, Canes columns: Click Dolphins Find Needed Joy for my column from Sunday's 35-9 Miami home trouncing of Denver. Click Seeing Past the Pain for my column on UM's ACC title game loss to Clemson.

BRADY ON TOP, RIVERS HOT, SIEMIAN DREADFUL / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 13: The Chargers' Philip Rivers wins his second title in a row in Week Tombrady13 with a 44.20-point game, second-lowest winning total of the season. Meanwhile the Patriots' Tom Brady’s overall season narrows but remains comfortable in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler holds steady in 24th place. 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. Pictured right: Brady and wife Giselle celebrate his first-place standing in the Herald rankings. [Click HERE to see the NFL rankings online].

RK LW Player, Team                   WK13    Season

1   1   Tom Brady, NE                  26.90    459.55

2   2   Drew Brees, NO                37.45    421.90

3   3   Alex Smith, KC                 35.30    392.95

4   5   Russell Wilson, SEA           34.35    366.80

5   4   Kirk Cousins, WAS              27.55   365.45

6   7   Matthew Stafford, DET      33.60   358.10

7   8   Carson Wentz, PHI            30.40    354.25

8   9   Ben Roethlisberger, PIT     30.50   350.90

9  11  Philip Rivers, LAC              44.20   349.60

10 10 Jared Goff, LAR                 30.00   343.45

11 6   Matt Ryan, ATL                  11.65   341.85

12 13 Case Keenum, MIN             42.35   338.15

13 12 Josh McCown, NYJ             40.55   337.00

14 14 Derek Carr, OAK                30.35   302.55

15 16 Andy Dalton, CIN               23.70   275.30

16 15 Dak Prescott, DAL             16.10   272.60

17 19 Cam Newton, CAR             22.15   263.15

18 22 Blake Bortles, JAC             43.45   260.65

19 20 Joe Flacco, BAL                 34.45   257.20

20 17 Eli Manning, NYG                DNP    250.55

24 24 Jay Cutler, MIA                  21.75   209.85

38 37 Matt Moore, MIA                 DNP      72.05

57t -- David Fales, MIA                -1.00     -1.00

Bubble: Tyrod Taylor, BUF, 244.50. Week 13 Best: Rivers, LAC, 44.20 (31-43, 344, 1-0 in win). Week 13 Worst: Trevor Siemian, DEN, minus-2.00 (19-41, 200, 0-3 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 13 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions Fripix Lobosand with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 13: Herald picks: Finally! A big week in a down season! Went a sharp 13-3 straight-up and a solid 10-6 against the spread. Nailed our Upset of the Week with Seahawks over Eagles ("Aawwk!"), hit two other minor upsets with wins by Cowboys and Dolphins, and also had Giants covering. Greg's Lobos: The bad news: Ended regular season with a 143.8 to 104.8 loss to Mina Kimes. We were OK with six in double-figures led by Todd Gurley's 21.8, but Mina was en fuego. The good news: Lobos in the playoffs! We made it, at 7-6, barely, as the No. 8 and last seed. We open playoffs this week vs. No. 1 Chris Cote. Lobos currently are an 11.2-point underdog but we'll fiddle and shrink that, then shock the world. #GoLobosGo

RANKING THE STATE FBS-SCHOOL BOWL GAMES: Great season overall for the state' seven top-tier FBS schools. And what were the odds, heading into this season, that the FSU Seminoles and Florida Gators would be the least of them?: 

Bowls1. Orange Bowl: No. 10 Hurricanes vs. No. 6 Wisconsin, Dec. 30, Miami -- UM's first 10-win season since 2003. But you can't end it, at home, with a third straight loss ... can you?

2. Peach Bowl: No. 12 UCF vs. No. 7 Auburn, Jan. 1, Atlanta -- Well, 12-0 wasn't good enough for the College Football Playoff, so here's the consolation prize for the Knights of Orlando.

3. Birmingham Bowl: South Florida vs. Texas Tech, Dec. 23, Birmingham, Ala. -- Overshadowed by rival UCF but another strong season by the Bulls, who now must navigate their future without departed coach Charlie Strong.

4. Boca Raton Bowl: FAU vs. Akron, Dec. 19, Boca Raton -- Good for Lane Kiffin. Owls already have set school record for season wins with 10, and this would be The Atlantic's first bowl win since 2008. #FoulOwlOnTheProwl

5: Gasparilla Bowl: FIU vs. Temple, Dec. 21, St. Petersburg -- And good for Butch Davis,too, in his first season. Would be only FIU's second bowl win and first since 2010, and would set a school record for season wins with nine.

6. Independence Bowl: Florida State vs. Southern Miss, Dec. 27, Shreveport, La. -- A nothing bowl chasing the Seminoles' worst season since 1976? Marked by the departure of Jimbo Fisher? Seriously. If you are traveling to this game and are not related to or dating an FSU player, God bless you.

7. Oh, wait. Sorry Bowl: Florida Gators vs. Nobody -- No bowl for you, 4-7 UF. And based on the many Gator fans I know, the humbling will do you good.

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 14: BOWL GAMES WILL CROWN SEASON TITLE: [Click HERE to see the latest SOPY standings online] It will come down to the only Sopygames left — the bowl games — to decide the Herald’s 2017 state college Offensive Player of the Year winner. And that will come down to one of two quarterbacks: South Florida’s (and Miami Jackson High’s) Quinton Flowers, whose lead is narrow, or UCF’s McKenzie Milton, who drew close with a big 351-point game on Saturday. The two contenders are safely ahead of third-place Malik Rosier, with FAU running back Devin Singletary close enough to perhaps leapfrog Rosier into third place. 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 based on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams have played the same number of games at the same time. 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 bowl games

RK LW Player, School-Pos. Average Total points (Games)

1 1 Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb 223.45 2,458 (11)

2 2 McKenzie Milton-UCF qb 220.54 2,646.5 (12)

3 3 Malik Rosier-Miami qb 173.17 2,078 (12)

4 4 Devin Singletary-FAU rb 166.62 2,166 (13)

5 5 Alex McGough-FIU qb 144.63 1,735.5 (12)

6 6 Jason Driskel-FAU qb 109.96 1,429.5 (13)

7 8 Cam Akers-FSU rb 99.13 1,189.5 (12)

8 9 Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec 99.08 1,189 (12)

9 7 Travis Homer-Miami rb 97.83 1,174 (12)

10 10 Darius Tice-SoFla rb 87.00 957 (11)

Bubble: James Blackman-FSU qb, 85.04. Other team leader: Feleipe Franks-Florida qb, 71.27. Last week’s best: Milton-UCF qb, 351 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 383.5 (W13).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote