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. 3) Join 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.
UPSET 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.
THE 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:
Sept. 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%.
Oct. 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%.
Nov. 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%.
KIPER'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 Them. No Way to Escape Her Shame. Are the Fins Feeling Bold? Also: Will Somebody Please Rise Up. Canes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was Born. Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It. Do We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?. Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The Day. A QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, America. Canes-Irish: Game For The Ages. Appreciate Perfection -- Period. The Godfather Speaks. Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season. Jeter Betting On Jeter. Hope That Wasn't Goodbye. Wade Will End Where He Belongs. Larranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now This. Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae Riback. Thank You, Edwin Pope.
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