October 10, 2015

G5: Hurricanes @ Florida State: What time is it? Tonight it's time, at last, for Al Golden's signature win; plus Panthers open NHL season, FIU wins big, Gators' Red Rubber (foot)Ball, loving the Cubbies & more


1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The odds against Dan Campbell reviving Dolphins but why he might, NFL Week 5 picks, World Series poll, my MLB postseason picks and Rootability Scale, Philbin-firing verdict & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Watch for new CSM poll: The latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll magically will appear right here soon after tonight UM-FSU game in Tallahassee ends. Estimated posttime: Midnight.

College Football Playoff updated odds: To get to the final four: Ohio State 5-8, LSU 7-4, Baylor 9-4, Alabama and TCU tied 3-1. Florida State is 7-1 and Florida 13-1.

G5: HURRICANES AT FLORIDA STATE: TIME FOR AL GOLDEN'S SIGNATURE WIN: It's 3-1 Miami at No. 12-ranked and 4-0 Florida State tonight at 8 in Tally, and the Canes are this victory away from being back up in the polls -- and from coach Al Golden taking a huge step to start winning back support from 1aa1acanesfsuan agitated fan base. FSU is favored by 8 1/2 points but I don't know about that. I'm sensing a not so major upset in Miami's ACC opener. Noles star running back Dalvin Cook (from Miami) is hobbled by a tender left hamstring that likely won't keep him out but likely will limit him. And FSU's offense beyond Cook has not been special; transfer QB Everett Golson has been closer to OK than great. Brad Kaaya and Joe Yearby give UM just as much offensive pop if not more. They key will be the Canes' defense ruining FSU's clean slate of zero turnovers. Miami has much to overcome to make my upset call come true. FSU has won five straight in this traditional series and conference rivalry entering its 60th meeting. Golden is 0-4 vs. the Seminoles and 0-12 with UM vs. teams that finished a season ranked. That makes valid the criticism that Golden hasn't won big games and doesn't yet have a signature win. Tonight will change all that -- or only underline the truth of it. My pick: Hurricanes 27-24.

College Week 6 state FBS games (in chronology; all games Saturday):

FIU 52, Texas-El Paso 12: FIU level at 3-3 with a home bopping leading one to wonder why the UTEP Miners bother fielding a team.

Rice (2-3) at FAU (1-3), 2:30: Owls a narrow home-nest favorite coming off a bye.

Syracuse (3-1) at South Florida (1-3), 3:30: Bulls minus-2, but I'm liking 'Cuse.

Connecticut (2-3) at UCF (0-5), 3:45: Knights favored by 2.5 to get off the schneid.

No. 11 Florida (5-0) at Missouri (4-1), 7:30: Defense-strong Gators rocketed 14 spots up the polls after Swamping No. 3 Ole Miss 38-10, and now are a 4.5-point pick over Mizzou. UF coach Jim Elwain referenced a somewhat obscure American pop band called The Cyrkle and its 1966 hit "Red Rubber Ball" in challenging his Gators to not be a one-hit wonder. That song was huge, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard charts; however The Cyrkle actually was a two-hit wonder, as its followup single, "Turn-Down Day," peaked at No. 16. Maybe sneaky McElwain knew that and is counting Missouri as that second big hit?


PANTHERS OPEN 22ND SEASON TONIGHT SEEKING PLAYOFFS, FRANCHISE STABILITY: Overshadowed though it is on the larger SoFla sports plate by Miami-FSU football tonight, the Florida Panthers open 1aa1aflacatstheir 22nd NHL season at home vs. the Philly Flyers. That's typical Cats luck: Not even the star in town on their Opening Night. Florida has made the Stanley Cup playoffs only four times -- in 1996 '97, 2000 and '12. Doing it this season will be tough in a dense Eastern Conference, but optimism is founded coming off last season's league-leading 25-point standings improvement under first-year coach Gerard Gallant. The future seems bright. The Panthers are ascending, led by young blades like Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad, as well as veterans like Jaromir Jagr and goalie Roberto Luongo. A healthy Luongo could see the Cats in the playoffs. The stakes for this franchise are not just on the ice, of course. Florida was dead-last in NHL attendance last season, averaging only 11,265 fans per game and 66.1 percent capacity in the Sunrise arena. Rumors about the team relocating to Quebec City (or elsewhere) will only amplify if we don't see a playoff-caliber team that begins to spark a rebirth in interest reflected in noticeably bigger crowds.

Poll result: "Let's Go Cubs!": We are all Cubs, apparently. In the previous blogpost I asked who you're rooting for to win the World Series among the final eight teams, and the Chicago Cubs had 46.9 percent, with no other team closer than 10.5%.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 03, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 4.6%; plus how our teams' rank in ESPN Ultimate Standings, Dolphins/NFL Week 4 picks, UM falls at Cincy, why ticket brokers hate Fins, D. Wade, doubting 'Marlins Man,' Heat-expectations verdict & more


1) Ii is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3: Like to see Howard Schnellenberger in the College Football Hall of Fame? There's a new petition at change.org. 2) Marlins 2B Dee Gordon named a finalist for MLB Players Choice Award for Man of the Year, encompassing off-field good works. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-expectations poll, 'Marlins Man' to Golden's rescue, Philbin firing odds, SOPY standings, NFL Pix 'n Lobos Fantasy update, Pope Francis' new single & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Dolphin Brent Grimes says the arrest of his wife is not a distraction. The national group, People Who Believe Him, is meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth." --Greg Cote

Find our UM-Cincy in-game blog and postgame thoughts immediately under the latest CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 4.6%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan 1aa1acsmSatisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 4.6 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Thursday's 34-23 loss at Cincinnati putting UM's season record at 3-1. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Saturday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 10 (following game at Florida State)

Interpreting the latest vote: Expected a huge fall, and saw one. A plunge this steep seems, for me, a bit harsh for a team 3-1, but I get it. Losing at Cincy was a bad defeat, one that underlined all the worst feelings about The U being stuck in mediocrity and doubts about Al Golden being the answer.

G4: CINCINNATI 34, HURRICANES 23: Final: Where to start in counting the ways UM lost? Settling for too many field goals and missing two of them. Seeing a 50-yard punt return TD negated by a penalty. Being stopped on downs late at the Cincy 5. Three points in the second half. Miami didn't score enough, or stop enough, and so the Canes are now 3-1 heading into FSU Week. Cincinnati isn't bad, but this definitely is a game UM needed to win -- and a result that will feed the flames under coach Al Golden. ..... Fourth Q: Killer. UM stopped on 4th down at Cincy 5, wasting a 45-yard pass to Herb Waters. ... Miami in trouble now, down 34-23 with 6:54 left after getting burned for 52-yard Cincy pass to set up short TD. ... Miami settles for 26-yard FG to pull within 27-23 after failing on 3rd-and-6. Weird call, to run, and to run inside. ..... Third Q: Scoreless third playing into Cincy's hands, not The U's. ... Late third, another missed chance. ... Man, this hurts. Penalties hurting UM, especially this one: Hold negates 50-yard Corn Elder punt-return TD, then UM misses FG. ..... Half: At 27-20, Cincy, Miami fans who think dominance is a birthright as well as the anti-Al Golden crowd will be fuming. The more reasoned among the fan base will take a deep breath and understand that 4-0 is still very much in play. I'd not worry much at this point. Not yet. But that's just me. ..... Second Q: Cincy adds short FG just before halftime for 27-20 lead at the break. UM pass defense better improve or Canes could be headed for an upset loss. ... Canes miss 51-yard FG, fail to take advantage of short Cincy punt and great field position. That in turn gives Cincy good field position and it scores for 24-20 lead. ... UM back in charge 20-17 as 40-yard pass sets up short Joe Yearby TD run. ... Cincy 17-13 on 51-yard FG. ... Getting safety Deon Bush back for second half will help. But enough? ..... First Q: Big INT by Miami defense. Told you (in the preview below) that Cincy mistakes might help UM. Takeaway is parlayed into short Mark Walton TD run to make it 14-13. ... Canes within 14-6 on 47-yard FG. ... Another "Fire Al Golden" banner above Nippert Stadium. Relentless. ... Wow. UM gives up 69-yard punt return to set up quick TD pass and sudden 14-3 hole. ... Canes defense dominated in opening Cincy drive capped by 29-yard run, and Miami trails for first time all season at 7-3. ... UM 3-0 on 41-yard FG to end opening drive. ... Hate those Canes uniforms. Gawd. ... Fun Nissan "Heisman House" commercial featuring Vinny Testaverde. ..... 1aa1abearcats 1aa1acanesOriginal post: Miami's last game before the Oct. 10 huge one at No. 11 Florida State, a duel that could find the Canes ranked to make it a Top 25 matchup if Miami avoids stumbling here. And the biggest danger of that? UM players looking ahead to FSU, of course! This game will be about focus on the task at hand as 3-0 Miami visits the 2-2 Cincy Bearcats in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN. UM is a modest 6-point favorite -- neither oddsmakers nor the polls are quite yet sold on Miami -- but I think the Hurricanes will cover that in a high-scoring game. Cincy has 10 turnovers and UM has nine takeaways, a combination that suggests the B-Cats may have a hand in their own defeat. And that's accentuated  by the fact redshirt-freshman QB Hayden Moore will make his first start for Cincy. He threw for a ridiculous 557 yards in three quarters off the bench last week, though, so the Canes need to get in his pocket and make his feel his inexperience. Meanwhile Cincy's defense has allowed 87 points in its two losses. Brad Kaaya, Joe Yearby and Rashawn Scott, et al, could have a field day. My pick: Hurricanes, 48-24.

College Week 5 state FBS games (in chronology; games Saturday unless noted):

Memphis 24, South Florida 17: Credible every last night vs. unbeaten foe, but Bulls fall to 1-3.

Tulane 45, UCF 31: It's official, then. The 0-4 Knights really suck.

Massachusetts 24, FIU 14: Disappointing road show by Panthers, now 2-3.

No. 11 Florida State (3-0) 24, Wake Forest 16: Perfunctory Noles road win in advance of UM visit.

No. 25 Florida 38, No. 3 Ole Miss 10: Wow. Enormously impressive Swamp upset by Gators should have UF rocketing up the polls.

Off this week: FAU (1-3).

DOLPHINS, MARLINS LAG IN ESPN'S ANNUAL 'ULTIMATE STANDINGS': There is where ESPN The Mag ranks all 122 teams in America's Big Four sports. No. 1 overall are the San Antonio Spurs and other sport leaders are Tampa Bay Lightning 3rd, Seattle Seahawks 5th and Pittsbrgh Pirates 8th. Rankings are based on eight criteria including owner, coach, players, fan relations and affordability. Locally, the Heat slip in at a solid 21st overall and the Panthers a respectable 48th. The opthers? Not so good. The Dolphins are 92nd and the Marlins 106th. Dead last? Sorry, Toronto Maple Leafs.

UPSET BIRD DAY/NFL WEEK 4: Bounced back last week to go 13-3 straight-up and 10-6 against the spread, but our Week 4 got off to an unlucky start last night. We have an exact-score 23-20 bull's-eye if 1aa1afripixPittsburgh attempts and makes that 50-yard field goal in overtime. Instead, boneheadedly, Mike Tomlin goes for it, fails, and Ravens win. Oh well. Click on Week 4 Gems for all our latest NFL picks and full prediction capsules. Highlights: Dolphins fail to overcome tough Jets defense in London (sorry, folks); return of Drew Brees gets Saints off the schneid; and Giants win at Buffalo in our Upset Bird Special ("Aawwk!"). Also click on Fresh Attack On Redskins Name for my accompanying Friday Page NFL notes column, which leads with the Philadelphia Eagles now refusing to acknowledge their division rival's controversial nickname.

WHY TICKET BROKERS HATE THE MIAMI DOLPHINS: An interesting sports-business article today in the Wall Street Journal flies under the very headline I've used have here, with the subhed, "In bid to control the resale market, team owner Stephen Ross is investing in one brokerage -- while cutting off others." Anyone who's delved into the secondary ticket market for Dolphins seats might find it worth a read. Click here to do so.

1aa1adriveoceanDWYANE WADE: BASKETBALL STAR, FASHIONABLE MAN: Heat star Dwyane Wade graces the cover of the new Ocean Drive magazine, accompanied by a story (click HERE to read) in which he talks about his oft-criticized fashion sense and also about his life, wife and kids. There's even a little bit of basketball talk, although Wade's style and fashion are clearly the focal point.

Poll result: Much optimism for improved Heat: We asked you to set the bar on Heat expectations and 37.2 percent predicted high seed/deep playoff run and another 24.0% predicted Eastern finals or better. Less optimistic were the 25.8% forecasting no playoffs or first-round ouster, and 13.0% seeing a low seed and maybe first-round advance.

CONTROVERSY! 'MARLINS MAN' ALLEGIANCE TO GOLDEN QUESTIONED!: In the previous blogpost we had an item on 'Marlins Man' Laurence Leavy's plan to fly a pro-Al Golden 1aa1aleavynolebanner over the next UM home game Oct. 17 vs. Virginia Tech. But several readers have since questioned his motives, suggesting he's feigning support so that Golden will stay and the Canes' mediocrity might continue because [dramatic pause] ... LEAVY IS A 'NOLES FAN! That's right. The man purporting to be a big Golden supporter is pictured here in an FSU hat. He is a major FSU financial booster; click here for a brief video of him being honored for his financial contributions before a game in Tallahassee. This takes the UM football Air Wars to a whole new and potentially sinister level. Are the anti- and pro-Golden banners what they seem? 

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 26, 2015

What do Hurricanes fans think of those anti-Al Golden flyovers? New poll. Vote now!; plus the rarity of the Big 3 all at 3-0, FIU falls, miracle Gators & more


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26. Our Random Evidence blog turned 10 this week. We were MiamiHerald.com's first online blog and we're still the only sports blog that covers local teams, national issues and also delves outside sports, all with an eye on humor. Thanks for joining us on the ride! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphin/NFL Week 3 picks, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson retires right, Jaromir Jagr thwarts a blackmailer, happy birthday to us, Bullygate, Weighing the Fish & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Why do some in the media keep treating Heath Evans -- a grain of sand on the beachhead of Dolphins history -- as if anybody cares what he thinks?" --Greg Cote

WHAT DO HURRICANES FANS THINK ABOUT THOSE ANTI-AL GOLDEN FLYOVERS AT GAMES?: You've seen them. Some simply state, 'Fire Al Golden.' Some are more creative. They are banners pulled by
1aa1aalgolden 1aa1abannersmall planes that have become a fixture above most every Miami Hurricanes home game. Me? I think they are tacky, rude and unfair when the team hasn't even lost a game yet this season. They do the program a disservice. They must make potential recruits wonder about the loyalty of Miami fans. But this poll is about you, not me. I wonder how 'Canes fans feel. Many I've talked to are anti-Golden but also against those banners. Your turn. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

A RARE START FOR STATE'S (ORIGINAL) 'BIG 3,' BUT STILL DOUBTS HOW GOOD CANES, NOLES AND GATORS REALLY ARE: Long before it came to mean LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, "Big 3" in Florida sports meant college football and the Miami Hurricanes, Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles 1aa1abig3(in whatever order you chose). Well, all three teams have 3-0 records, and I was curious how rare that was. I doubted before researching it that it was unusual at all. I was shocked to find out otherwise. As you can see by the list/chart below, 2015 marks only the fourth time in the 62 seasons all three have had teams that all three are 3-0 together. It last happened in 1996. There are doubts, though, if any of the three are really that good. FSU (off this week) is ranked No. 10 but barely got by Boston College last week and is not getting great quarterbacking from Everett Golson. Noles look to be a clear underdog Nov. 7 at No. 11 Clemson. Miami (also off this week) almost blew a 23-point lead vs. Nebraska, and must face both the Noles and Clemson coming up soon. Florida miracle-rallied past Tennessee Saturday (to go 4-0) but now faces four ranked opponents in a row.

Seasons when Hurricanes, Seminoles and Gators all have been 3-0 

Year        Miami coach/QB                   FSU coach/QB                    Florida coach/QB

2015       Golden/Kaaya                        Fisher/Golson                     McElwain/Grier

1996       Davis/Clement (9-3)              Bowden/Busby (11-1)        Spurrier/Wuerffel (12-1)

1993       Erickson/Costa (9-3)             Bowden/Ward (12-1)          Spurrier/Wuerffel (11-2)

1980       Schnellenberger/Kelly (9-3)  Bowden/Stockstill (10-2)   Pell/Peace (8-4)    

College Week 4 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all games today/Saturday):

South Carolina 31, UCF 14: Knights fall to 0-4. Oy.

Louisiana Tech 27, FIU 17: Panthers, now 2-2, 14-point 'dogs, gave it a decent go on road.

Florida 28,Tennessee 27: Miracel Swamp rally for now 4-0 Gators. Good thing. UF now faces four straight ranked opponents.

FAU 17, Charlotte 7: Owls finally off the winless schneid with big defense.

Off this week: Miami (3-0), Florida State (3-0), South Florida (1-2).

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 21, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 35.9%; plus UM beats Nebraska 36-33 in OT; also FIU wins, other state Collball Week 3, early verdict on new Herald look & more


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19. Click on Random Evidence for the farewell collector's edition of our last Sunday notes column. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami Herald redesign with poll, NFL Week 2 picks, Seminoles & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My Canes-Nebraska game column: Find our in-game blog directly below the new CSM poll. Click on This Won't Help Golden Much for my game column from the stadium, newly online.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 35.9%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame 1aa1acsmpoll, and they show 35.9 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very"and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday's 36-33 overtime victory over visiting Nebraska putting UM's season record at 3-0. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 1 (following game at Cincinnati)

Interpreting the latest vote: Majority dissatisfaction over UM's blown 23-point lead was balanced by the ultimate win and by the 3-0 record for a slight favorable bump in the overall approval rating. Still significantly below what you'd think the record would indicate, with Al Golden's unpopularity a major factor.

G3: HURRICANES 36, NEBRASKA 33 (FINAL/OT): UNRANKED? NO MATTER. IT WAS A HUGE GAME: Final: Miami led 14-0 fast and then 30-10 and then blew it and saw Nebraska force overtime before surviving 36-33. Wow. So much to like, so much not to. I'll have my game column online soon. ..... Overtime: What an escape! UM wins 36-33 on Michael Badgley 28-y FG after a Corn Elder INT thwarts Nebraska's drive to start OT. That is correct: A team named Cornhuskers were just beaten by a man named Corn. ..... Fourth Q: The unthinkable just happened. Nebraska tied it 33-33 with an 8-yard TD pass and 2-point conversion with 33 seconds to play. Overtime. Nightmare. ... Uh oh. Cornies within 33-25 on 21-y TD pass with 3:46 left. Miami can't possibly blow this game. can it? ... NEB within 33-18 on 10-yard TD pass and 2-point conversion with 8:36 left. ... UM settles for a fourth FG to make it 33-10. Kaaya up to 366 yards, a career high, still with 11 minutes left. ... Kaaya throws end-zone interception, his first turnover of season. ..... Third Q: Deon Bush pickoff for Miami defense brings third quarter to a close. ... UM settles for 41y FG and 30-10 lead after holding penalty negates 19y Mark Walton scoring run. ... Nebraska bags first TD, moves within 27-10 on 22-y pass mid-quarter. ... UM up 27-3 quickly on Joe Yearby's tackle-busting 41-y scoring run. ..... Halftime: Kaaya with 226 yards passing and two TDs and dominant defense spell the first half. Now we see if UM can pull away and make it an impressive rout, or allow a Cornhuskers comeback. ..... Second Q: Huge INT by Artie Burns, his third already this season, for Miami. NEB was driving, threatening to pull within 20-10 and make a game of it late in half. ... Cornies get on board with 49y FG, Canes counter with 27-yard for 20-3 lead. Settled, though, wasting a 53-yard Kaaya completion to Rashawn Scott. ..... First Q: UM adds FG for 17-0 lead. Near-perfect quarter for The U. Three for three on scoring drives; three Nebraska punts. ... Told ya so! Said Brad Kaaya would have a huge day against Nebraska's lousy pass-D and already in the first quarter it's 14-0 on his 10-y TD pass to Chris Herndon and then his 11-y strike to Tyre Tyre Brady. ..... Original post: You know that Nebraska is 1-1 under a new coach, that Miami is 2-0 over little guys Bethune-Cookman and FAU, that neither team is ranked and that both programs are trying to recapture their old mojo and get back to who they 1aa1acanesnebwere. You also know none of that will seem to matter today when the ball kicks off at 3:30 in Miami Gardens. It will feel big. Special. It will be Nebraska's first trip here since the '95 Orange Bowl. It will be a rematch of a titan series that provided UM three of its five national championships and Nebraska one of its five. OK. That's enough with nostalgia, backstory and hype. On to this game! It's seen as a tossup, with Miami favored by three points based on the home field. But that's guesswork because this will be UM's first 2015 test against someone its own size, someone capable of beating the Canes. But will the Cornhuskers win? No. Nebraska has a porous secondary that has given up almost 700 yards passing (692) in its first two games. Brad Kaaya should have a huge day. Miami will show more on offense and defense than we have yet seen in what will be the coming-out party for the '15 Canes. Because of that, the pressure is all on UM, the home favorite. Of course that means the pressure is all on coach Al Golden, as usual. The legitimate rap on Golden is he hasn't won the biggest games in his four-plus seasons here -- that he lacks "signature win"-type victories. This would fit the category, silence the critics if even for a little while. Nebraska may be 1-1, but the stage is big. ABC is televising. The crowd could approach a sellout. Anticipation has been high. Bigger tests lay ahead, yes, but for UM and Golden, shouldn't the credit for winning today mirror what the damnation would be for losing? My pick: Hurricanes 34-23.

Other college Week 3 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all today unless noted):

No. 9 Florida State 14, Boston College 0: A rarity last night. Noles win with defense!

Maryland 35, South Florida 17: Flat roadie for now 1-2 Bulls.

Buffalo 33, FAU 15: Owls stay winless with very disappointing home result.

Furman 16, UCF 15: Stunning, embarrassing home loss has Knights 0-3.

FIU 39, North Carolina Central 14: Panthers now 2-1. QB Alex McGough? Not bad!

Florida 14, Kentucky 9: Florida won a 29th straight game over KY. Some doubted they would. Not me.

Poll result: Reaction mixed to Herald's new look: We invited you to weigh in on the Miami Herald's re-design that debuted this week, and it was 37.6 percent positive, 40.0% negative and 22.4% "still not sure."

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 18, 2015

Do you like the Miami Herald's new redesigned look? New poll. Vote now!; plus Hurricanes-Nebraska hype video, list of UM's 21 current NFL starters, NFL Week 2 picks, Canton betting odds, FSU tonight & more


1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18. Dolphins DE Cam Wake and S Reshad Jones both questionable for Sunday with hamstring injuries, although, in the NFL, "questionable" usually means they'll play. 2) Sorry we've been a bit stagnant with the blog this week; been under the weather. 3) Click on Random Evidence for the farewell collector's edition of our last Sunday notes column. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Butch Davis invades Al Golden's backyard, SOPY rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Headline: 'Russian Pranksters Fool Elton John With Fake Phone Call from Vladimir Putin.' My reaction: "Who knew Russia had pranksters?" --Greg Cote

Top party schools: Noles No. 3: Playboy's dubious annual list of Top Party Schools is out, with a Top 5 of Ohio U., Iowa, Florida State, Tulane and Illinois. Click here for the full list. FSU ranked that high is a surprise, considering Jameis Winston left.

I LIKE THE HERALD'S NEW REDESIGNED LOOK. DO YOU?: I've been known to complain, even to occasionally say and write things about the Miami Herald that annoy my bosses. For example, when we 1aa1aheraldchanged the website last fall in a way that fundamentally discouraged comments in blogs, I hated that and said so. This week we changed the look of both the print (newspaper) and digital (online) Herald, and I think it looks terrific. Congrats to all involved. I like the emphasis on visual presentation and the compatibility across all formats. Also like the emphasis and on our personalities and other things unique to the Herald. Honestly, you can get basic news anywhere. But you can't get Leonard Pitts and Carl Hiaasen and our investigative journalism anywhere else, for example. Still getting used to the near-lifesize, full-length photo of me that now runs with my columns, but that's another story. Hey, we need to change, improve. We're fighters. We don' quit. We are an industry adapting to evolving, turbulent times for the business. I think this week is a positive step. Do you? I know change is often hard. Our knee-jerk reaction is often to not like it, to resist. We like things we're used to. With that understanding, I'm curious how you feel about the new look. Vote and say why.

UPSET BIRD DAY/NFL WEEK 2: Our 25th Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions got off to a boffo start last week with an 11-5 mark overall and 10-5-1 vs. the spread. [Boffo: Slang adjective, now 1aa1afripixrarely used, meaning extremely successful; great]. Week 2 took off swell as well as I bull's-eyed last night's outright Broncos upset at Kansas City. Did I get lucky? Lucky schmucky. Those breaks go both ways. I'll take it. Click on Week 2 Gems for all our latest NFL picks and full prediction capsules. Highlights: Dolphins handle Jax easily, Pats turn back Rex Ryan in Game of the Week, and Lions win at Minny in Upset of Week. Also click on Canes' NFL Influence Is Graying for my accompanying Friday Page column. I examine the state-college players currently on rosters, and list the dozen players (10 UM, 1 FIU, 1 FAU) from SoFla schools who are both current starters and have made at least one Pro Bowl. Our observation: the top Canes are a graying lot (think Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, Vince Wilfork) that could use replenishing. Only LSU with 40 has more than UM's 38 active NFL'ers, a list infused with this year's seven drafted rookies. But the Canes are looking for their next big star. The youngest Pro Bowl Cane is Jimmy Graham (who wasn't even a football recruit). Who's next? See The List below for the Canes' 21 current NFL starters.

Canton betting odds: Via sportsbettingdime.com, favorites for the next Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class are Brett Favre at a should-be-off-the-board 1-25, Orlando Pace at 1-3, Kevin Greene at 1-3, Kurt Warner at 5-6, Marvin Harrison at 2-3 and Tony Dungy at 2-3. (I'm not nearly that certain on Greene). Reasonable longshots are Terrell Davis 2-1, Don Coryell 5-2, Roger Craig 3-1, Terrell Owens 10-3 and ex-Cane Edgerrin James 4-1.

CANES-HUSKERS HYPE VIDEO: If you're not already pumped for UM-Nebraska tomorrow a 1-minute video might not help, but here's one anyway, via The U today:

 THE LIST: HURRICANES STARTERS IN THE NFL: There are 38 former Hurricanes on current NFL rosters. Here, by team, are the 21 (on 15 teams) who are listed as starters on their team's current depth chart:

ARI: DE Calais Campbell

ATL: P Matt Bosher, RET Devin Hester

BUF: OT Seantrel Henderson

CAR: TE Greg Olsen

CHI: P Pat O'Donnell, S Antrel Rolle

GB: CB Sam Shields

HOU: DT Vince Wilfork

IND: RB Frank Gore, WR Andre Johnson

JAC: WR Allen Hurns, OG Brandon Linder

KC: DE Allen Bailey

MIA: RB Lamar Miller, DE Olivier Vernon

NYG: LB Jon Beason, OT Ereck Flowers

OAK: LB Ray-Ray Armstrong

SD: OG Orlando Franklin

SEA: TE Jimmy Graham

SEMINOLES FACING UPSET?: No. 9-ranked Florida State is a modest 7 1/2-point favorite at 2-0 Boston College tonight at 8, and an upset would not shock me. (Surprise, yes. Shock, no). Fans of the Miami Hurricanes, who visit FSU Oct. 10, will be scout-watching keenly on ESPN.

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 17, 2015

May be unintentional, but Butch Davis just turned up the heat on Al Golden; plus Broncos-Chiefs pick, Ryan Tannehill's burden, Ron Turner, SOPY Week 2 standings, Yelich's doppelganger, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results & more


1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16. I'm holed up in Friday Page Headquarters today calling forth my NFL Week 2 picks. 2) Click on Random Evidence for the farewell edition of our Sunday notes column. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Redskins, DSM poll, Hot Button, goodbye-notes-column explainer & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our two most recent columns: Click on Tannehill's Test for today's latest column on how it's on Ryan Tannehill and nobody else to make the Dolphins a playoff team. Click on Enjoy The Wins for my previous column, admonishing Dolphins and Hurricanes fans to spend more time feeling good about their teams' winning starts and less less time kvetching and finding fault.

On FIU's Ron Turner: USAFootball.com has a fairly interesting, in-depth new feature story on FIU coach Ron Turner. Click here to read.

Broncos-Chiefs tonight: Upset!: Click on Thursday Gem for the full prediction capsule. 

BUTCH DAVIS SUBTLY TURNS UP THE HEAT ON AL GOLDEN: It may mean nothing in terms of his desire to get back into college coaching, but I find it interesting that, quietly this week, Butch Davis accepted 1aa1abdavisthe job of honorary chairman of the Miami Beach Bowl's new 16-member Bowl Game Committee. Davis (pictured) is in his second year as an ESPN college football studio analyst but it is an open secret among those who know him that he wants back into coaching and would be receptive to coming back to the University of Miami, which he coached in 1995-2000, should UM make a change and move on from Al Golden after this season. The interest, at least among UM fans, may be mutual. We have seen 'Bring Back Butch' signs at games.' Last week a small plane pulled a banner over the game at FAU that read, 'Make Miami Great Again -- Butch Davis 2016.' Davis' involvement with the Miami Beach Bowl, even if mostly ceremonial, increases his visibility right in Golden's backyard. "It's a great honor," Davis said of his new role. "I look forward to contributing where I can and connecting with the local college football fan base and business community." Suffice to say he may be getting an earful from that fan base and those business leaders along the lines of please-come-back-Butch. I'm not cynical enough to think that is why Davis took on this local role ... or naive enough to think it never crossed his mind.

SOPY: NOLES' DALVIN COOK TAKES WEEK 2 LEAD; TWO CANES CRASH TOP 10: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings -- State Offensive Player of the Year -- are off and rocking with Florida State 1AA1ACOOKDALVINrunning back Dalvin Cook out of Miami Central High (pictured) our new "state Heisman" leader after Week 2. Two Canes bust into the Top 10 including Joe Yearby at No. 3. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 for Week 2:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 2

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W2        Season

1 (2)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             284        465

2 (7)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         172.5     320.5

3 (--)         Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       255        309

4 (5)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb    112.5     264

5 (6)          Greg Howell, FAU-rb            113        263

6 (--)         Thomas Owens, FIU-wr         178        256 

7 (1)          Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      11.5       252

8 (3)          Everett Golson, FSU-qb         72.5       247.5

9 (--)         Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb           143.5     242

10 (8t)       Will Grier, Florida-qb            97.5       240.5 

Bubble: Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb, 235. Other team leader: Jordan Akins, UCF-wr, 164. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 284 (Wk2). Note: All teams 2 games each. Past SOPY champions: 2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb; 2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb; 2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb.

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

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 1: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosweekend with our published predictions and with our two fantasy teams. Pix: Strong start!: Opened 11-5 overall and (better yet) 10-5-1 vs. the spread. That included outright upsets by Chiefs and 49ers and Giants-with-points. Fantasy/family league: Big opener: The original Greg's Lobos won 144-117 in our family league, led by Carlos Hyde's 32 points. Fantasy/radio league: Not so good: The new Lobos lost 142.3-116.7 in the radio-show league. Travis Kelce bagged 28.6 but not enough help. Plus Dez Bryant got hurt. Oy.

1aa1acyelichYELICH FINDS HIS DOPPELGANGER: Young Marlins star Christian Yelich resembles Saturday Night Live player Pete Davidson (or vice versa), and the two came together, pictured right, before last night's Mets game in New York. Any dose of fun to make The Lost Season seem a bit brighter is OK by me.

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 09, 2015

Serena Williams is the G.O.A.T. Isn't she? New poll. Vote now!; plus Upset Bird Countdown (2 days), Stephen Colbert, playing what-if with Schellenberger, Marlins 2016 home schedule, Riley on Heat, LeBatard to a.m., SOPY Week 1 rankings & more


1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Marlins Park will host teams from Venezuela and Dominican Republic Nov. 21-22 in the first 'Serie de las Americas' tournament. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, the next-to-last that will appear in the print edition, meaning the newspaper. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canesfan Satisfaction Meter Game 1 poll and results, Hot Button Top 10, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

1aa1acolbertOn Stephen Colbert: His debut last night helming CBS' Late Show was uneven and found him seeming a bit nervous, as you'd expect. The interviews with George Clooney and Jeb Bush weren't great. Some of the bits failed. Make no mistake, though: Colbert is a smart comedic genius or close enough for me, his band is great, and the show will be terrific. Give it time to breathe.


UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 2 DAYS: Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions 1aa1aazcards 1aa1a2in 1aa1afripix

the Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11. We are doing a 10-day countdown. This year's countdown theme is bird-related nicknames from America's Big Four sports, newest to oldest. Today, at No. 2: Arizona Cardinals, born 1920. [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66; #6--Baltimore Orioles/'54; #5--Atlanta Hawks/'51; #4--Philadelphia Eagles/'33; #3Chicago Blackhawks/'26].

SERENA: G.O.A.T. (GREATEST OF ALL TIME)?: Compelling. Watching Serena Williams defeat her sister Venus 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in the U.S. Open last night was great sports, great TV, great theater. I have seldom seen Venus play better; not for years, anyway. Neither have I seen Serena more intense in a match vs. 1aa1aserenawher sister -- a passion she needed to keep alive her dream of accomplishing the sport's first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. Winning the Open this week would also tied Graf's 22 career Grand Slam titles for second all-time, trailing only Margaret Court's 24. Serena, who lives in Palm Beach, will turn 34 on Sept. 26. She is a marvel, a rarity -- playing her best tennis, at this age. I think she will surpass Court and make it mathematically official but, for me, that isn't required. For me, right now, Serena is the greatest women's player of all time. Some of it may be generational (athletes are just better now). Just as it's hard to imagine Bill Russell defending Shaq, it's hard to imagine Chris Evert dealing with Serena's physical game and power. I doubt most will agree with me that Serena is the G.O.A.T. A fraction of the resistance may be racial. I think most of it is simply that Serena is not the easiest athlete to like. She has some diva in her, some temper. But that is part of her game, too. Gives her some of her swagger. In any case, take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: THE ULTIMATE GAME OF "WHAT IF...": Call it Schnellenberger Week in South Florida, with FAU hosting the Miami Hurricanes this Friday night in a battle of the two football programs he built from scratch (Owls) or saved and made powerful (Canes). The occasion was bigger, 1aa1ahow1 1aa1ahow2more historic, in 2013 when these schools met for the first time, but I'll take any opportunity to appreciate Schnellenberger, now 81. (Some may recall my column from Aug. 5 promoting the man for the college Hall of Fame; click on Howard Deserves the Hall to read). This week invites the ultimate game of "What If," Miami sports edition. What if Schnellenberger had never left UM, after that '83 national championship, to pursue that ill-fated Miami USFL job that never materialized? Wouldn't at least some of those subsequent four UM national titles been on his watch? Isn't it very possible he'd have become Miami's Bobby Bowden -- the long-serving Canes coach Miami never has managed in its modern era? Howard is reluctant to admit regrets about leaving UM when he did. "If I had the same group of facts I would have made the same decision a second time," he says. But, with hindsight 20/20, the regret seeps through when he adds, "Common sense says we probably would have been able to continue in the direction we were going, which would include some [additional] championships." Bottom line: "I make a decision and I live with it," he says. And here's the glass, half-full, not empty: Had Howard stayed at UM, he might never have gone on to resurrect the Louisville program or start the one at FAU -- the one with the great little 30,000-seat stadium that is hosting Friday's game because Schnellenberger saw it built. Pictured are two of Schnellenberger's lasting monuments: UM's first national championship, and FAU's campus stadium.  

1aa1adanshowBREAKFAST WITH LEBATARD!: The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz made its ballyhooed move from afternoons to mornings yesterday, debuting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on The Ticket Miami and 10-1 on ESPN Radio. No me, though. I'm the regular Tuesday guest-host, but the show wanted the new-time debut to be feature regulars only, no guest host. My ego had a slight bruise, but I was a little upset totally understood!

Heat's Riley sort of not quite says he has a championship roster: On LeBatard yesterday Heat president Pat Riley said, "This team has all of the elements of a championship team." And, "This team has the opportunity and the possibilities of being a contender. I’m excited about this season." Um, but Pat also said: "You know what I’m going to say. I was a coach, and if I had five guys off the street, I would say we could win a championship. That’s either my naivete' or competitive will."

MARLINS COMPLETE 2016 HOME SCHEDULE: Miami will open the season at home with two games vs 1aa1abbmarlinsthe Detroit Tigers next April 5-6. The complete 81-game home schedule: APRIL: 5-6 vs. Tigers; 15-17 vs. Braves; 18-21 vs. Nationals. MAY: 3-5 vs. Diamondbacks; 6-8 vs. Phillies; 9-11 vs. Brewers; 20-22 vs. Nationals; 23-24 vs. Rays; 30-31 vs. Pirates. JUNE: 1-2 vs. Pirates; 3-5 vs. Mets; 17-20 vs. Rockies; 21-22 vs. Braves; 23-26 vs. Cubs. JULY: 8-10 vs. Reds; 11-14: All-Star Break; 22-24 vs. Mets; 25-27 vs. Phillies; 28-31 vs. Cardinals. AUGUST: 8-10 vs. Giants; 12-14 vs. White Sox; 23-25 vs. Royals; 26-28 vs. Padres. SEPTEMBER: 5-7 vs. Phillies; 9-11 vs. Dodgers; 19-21 vs. Nationals; 22-25 vs. Braves; 26-28 vs. Mets.

SOPY: FAU'S JOHNSON TAKES EARLY LEAD IN 'STATE HEISMAN': Welcome back to the fourth season of 1aa1asopy 1aa1ajjohnsonour blog's SOPY: State Offensive Player of the Year -- our weekly rankings of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams. This is a cumulative ranking that encompasses Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Our Week 1 leader is Jacquez Johnson (pictured), the dual-threat FAU Owls QB the Hurricanes will face in Boca Raton this Friday. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 for Week 1:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 1

Rk      Player, team-pos.                W1/Season

1        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      240.5

2        Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                 181

3        Everett Golson, FSU-qb            175

4        Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                155

5        Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb      151.5

6        Greg Howell, FAU-rb                 150

7        Alex McGough, FIU-qb              148

8t       Will Grier, Florida-qb                143

8t       Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb             143

10       Treon Harris, Florida-qb          142.5

Bubble: Justin Holman, UCF-qb, 140.5. Other team leader: Rashawn Scott, Miami-wr, 106. Season best: Johnson, FAU-qb, 240.5, Week 1. Note: All teams 1 game each.

SOPY Champions: 2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968; 2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107; 2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5.

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

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 05, 2015

Lightning strikes! UM clubs Bethune-Cookman 45-0 in opener; plus CSM poll, Dolphins change kickers, Izzy tells the truth, Marino makes wine, Upset Bird Countdown & more


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. Are the Dolphins the sixth-best team in the NFL? Well, this nut says so. Click on The Order for my annual NFL team rankings, 1 through 32. 2) Note, Sunday's Random Evidence notes column will be the next-to-last in print, meaning in the newspaper. Details to come. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Dolphins preseason finale, FIU wins, Brady-wins poll, Fins U-25s, Jimmy Johnson reigns, UM hoops & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins rookie kicker Franks unseats Sturgis: The two players who put the foot in football -- the placekicker and punter -- both will be new for the Dolphins this year. Rookie kicker Andrew Franks beat out incumbent Caleb Sturgis today as the Fins met the 53-man roster max. Last week rookie punter Matt Darr Matt unseated veteran Brandon Fields. You know it has been an uneventful Cut Day when the big new is the kicker. Still, this will be first season since 2007 that Miami has had two new foot-men. That was when Jay Feely replaced PK Olindo Mare and Fields replaced P Donnie Jones.

UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 6 DAYS: Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions in 1aa1afripix


1aa1abaltosthe Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11. We are doing a 10-day countdown. This year's countdown theme is bird-related winged-creature nicknames from America's Big Four sports, from newest to oldest. Today, at No. 6: Baltimore Orioles, born 1954. [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66].

On Al Golden: As the Miami Hurricanes open the new season tonight at 6 vs. visiting Bethune-Cookman, I write why this must be the no-excuses season when UM's coach restores fans' faith and his own future here. Click on Golden Opportunity to read.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: Welcome back to another season of Canesfan Satisfaction Meter 1aa1acsmpostgame polls -- this first one in the wake of tonight's season-opening 45-0 victory vs. visiting Bethune-Cookman. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 9 a.m. Monday.

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2014--2.7% overall satisfaction (following 6-7 season); 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).

G1: HURRICANES 45, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 0: SOFT-OPENER, BUT UM DOMINATES: Final--UM 1-0 after an impressive, maybe easier-than-expected 45-0 home rout in a game delayed 75 minutes by lightning. Corn Elder stood out with two long punt-return TDs, though one was nullified. Tough to judge the Canes off this considering the lesser opponent, but it nevertheless was an opening performance tough to criticize. ..... 4Q--UM 45-0 after Gray 2y TD run. ..... 3Q--UM 38-0 on Walton 5y TD run. ... Third and fourth quarters will be 10 minutes, not 15, because of earlier delay. ..... 2Q--UM 31-0 on Elder 72y punt-return TD. ... UM 24-0 on Yearby 25y TD run. ... UM 17-0 on Kaaya-Scott 17y TD pass after 75-minute lightning delay. ... UM denied 17-0 lead on apparent Corn Elder 70y punt-return TD because Herb Waters made an arm gesture that suggested to officials the punt would not be returned. ... UM 10-0 on 25y FG. ..... 1Q--UM 7-0 on Kaaya-Dobard 5y TD pass after Canes gambled to take three points off board following roughing-kicker penalty. ..... Original post: Dolphins stadium is all made-over, aqua seats replacing orange, and tonight starting at 6 p.m. we see if under-pressure
1aa1acanesopenercoach Al Golden's Miami Hurricanes look as good as their refurbished home. They'd better considering the opponent is Division 1AA Bethune-Cookman of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Bethune isn't bad for its size (it was 9-3 last season), but still is a second-tier program that The U had better handle without much trouble. Miami won these teams' most recent meeting in 2012 by 38-10, for example. It will be hard to gauge how good Miami really is tonight, but I'll be especially looking to see how the offensive line is protecting QB Brad Kaaya. My pick: Canes, 41-7.

Other college Week 1 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all today unless noted):

Tulsa 47, FAU 44 (OT): I'd called a road upset by Owls. If only close counted.

South Florida 51, Florida A&M 3: Bulls rout fang-less Rattlers.

Florida 61, New Mexico State 13: Swamp serves up big debut for coach Jim McElwain.

No. Florida State 59, Texas State 16: Ex-Irish Everett Golson sharp in Noles debut.

Thursday: FIU 15, UCF 14: Nice upset as FIU opens 1-0 with road win for first time since '04.

Preseason conference-title odds for state's 7 FBS schools: Percentage likelihoods are based on ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI). ACC--Florida State is favorite at 27.0 percent and Miami is sixth at 5.1%. (Clemson is near co-favorite at 26.8%). SEC--Florida is at 1.2%. (Georgia is favorite at 35.5%). Conference USA--FIU at at 1.0% and FAU at 0.4%. (Louisiana Tech is favorite at 45.3%). American--UCF is at 5.9% and South Florida at 0.3%. (Cincinnati is favorite at 40.9%).

1aa1aizzyFREEDOM: ISRAEL GUTIERREZ COMES OUT: Our friend and former Miami Herald colleague Izzy Gutierrez, now an ESPN star and heard regularly on local radio, revealed yesterday that he is gay. Family and close friends have known for years; the "coming out" is that all now know, a bigger deal -- in scope, not importance -- when one is a public figure. Click HERE to read his simple, riveting truth written in his personal blog, something that I think he'd agree took him a whole lifetime to write. The piece is very honest (of course), and I think it is important to read. I think it was especially interesting how he'd been inspired by others who had come out. Gutierrez in turn will continue that cycle of honesty, by example helping others who are working up the courage to fully be themselves. I'm happy for the freedom and unburdening Gutierrez must now feel. I also congratulate him on his upcoming marriage to his partner; they are pictured here, with Izzy in the shades. He'll be applauded by many for being "brave" or "courageous." I doubt he wants to be seen as that. I think he'd rather just be a guy living his truest life.

1aa1adanwineDAN MARINO WINE. NO, SERIOUSLY: Dolphins icon Dan Marino and former backup quarterback Damon Huard have partnered in a Washington State winery called (pun intended), Passing Time. Huard was the Dolphins backup late in Marino's career, in 1997-99. Their winemaking venture was launched in the spring of 2014 and their first cabernet sauvignon, retailing at around $75, rolled out this year. Marino has been a longtime wine collector and has a cellar in his home. He brings the marquee name to the partnership, while Huard mans the daily operation. The partners are pictured working their vineyard. Below is a short video as they describe their passion.


Poll result: Mixed verdict on court overturning Brady suspension: Most, 56.2 percent in our blogpoll, think Tom Brady got away with cheating and that the federal court was wrong to overturn his four-game suspension. But another 40.1% said it was the right call because the NFL failed to make its case. The other 3.7% were undecided.

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

August 08, 2015

Who are the Top 10 greatest Hurricanes football players of all-time? Poll. Close. Last day to vote!; plus ESPN's college 100, Jon Stewart's farewell, Republican debate & more

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 8. R.I.P. former news anchor Peter Jennings, 67, taken by lung cancer. 2) Click on Let Howard In! for our latest column, which makes the case why Howard Schnellenberger should be in the College Football Hall of Fame. 3) Random Evidence, the Sunday notes column, is taking the week off. However we'll have our blog-exclusive Hot Button Top 10 here as usual on Sunday. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Top 10 Greatest Dolphins of All-Time results, reunions and Key West & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.


WHO ARE THE TOP 10 GREATEST HURRICANES IN MIAMI FOOTBALL HISTORY?: We just completed the Dolphins version of this poll (results in previous blogpost) and now it's your turn, Hurricanes fans. I found
1aa1acanessmoke 1aa1acanesuarriving at a 30-man Fins ballot much easier than here. Not only has UM football been going on some 30 years longer than the Dolphins, but in college you have only two or three seasons to judge a player, not a long career. So admittedly our 30 Canes finalists may not be a perfect list. No doubt an omitted name or two may jump out at you. We did our best to span the eras and not leave out deserving players from a time we recall in black-and-white, which forced us to omit more recent players we would have liked to include. At any rate, scan our alphabetical ballot and vote for your Top 10. Call it "greatest " players, "favorite," "most important," whatever -- the criteria is yours. I ask, though, that you give more weight to what these guys did while at UM than to their subsequent NFL careers or lack of. OK, ready? Vote! And then check back often to monitor evolving results.

Remember, you may vote for up to 10 players and are encouraged to do so!

Deciphering results in a 10-vote poll: A player's maximum voting percentage above (if everyone casts the full 10 votes) is 10 percent. Multiply the percentage by 10 to get the number of ballots including that player. In other words, a player at 5.2% is being included on slightly more than half of all ballots.

3 NOLES, 1 CANE, 1 GATOR IN ESPN'S TOP 100: ESPN.com's preseason Top 100 players in college football is complete (click here for list), and the five state of Florida guys in it are: No. 4--Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III; No. 10--FSU DB Jalen Ramsey; No. 39--FSU RB Dalvin Cook; No. 97--Miami QB Brad Kaaya; and No. 98--FSU OT Roderick Johnson. Ohio State dominates rankings including No. 1 overall with DE Joey Bosa from St. Thomas Aquinas.

ON JON STEWART, REPUBLICAN DEBATE: Interesting juxtaposition of major, must-watch TV events last night with the first Republican presidential debate followed immediately by Jon Stewart's final 1aa1ajonstewartepisode of 1aa1adonaldtrumpThe Daily Show on Comedy Central. (Watch Stewart's entire last show here). I was amazed to remember and appreciate how many careers Stewart's show has launched. More than just liberals (but, admittedly, mostly liberals) will miss Stewart. I always considered him an equal-opportunity skewerer with a neutral nose for bulls----, but I'm sure many -- likely including last night's 10 Republican debaters -- might not agree. The debate reaffirmed that Stewart is leaving a year too soon, because presidential politics is smack in his wheelhouse. Quick debate thoughts: Donald Trump stole the show with cartoonery, as was his intent. The clown-candidate is a fascinating study as he unabashedly divides America and inflames partisan politics by calling opponents idiots and offending in the name of honesty. Ted Cruz is plain scary. I was somewhat impressed by Ben Carson, who seemed to get shortchanged on airtime. I thought Sons of Miami Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio both did pretty well. For me Bush and Chris Christie, who is reasonably moderate, may be the GOP's most electable guys, or certainly the most palatable to Democrats and independents. As for anybody who thinks Trump is electable, sober up and get back on your meds. (Click on FiveThirtyEight.com to read a very smart analysis of Trump's vulnerability by Nate Silver). 

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December 19, 2014

Dolphins, NFL Week 16 picks: 0.725%; plus Fleetwood Mac, state bowl-game winners, Heat 'n Panthers morphing, Marlins-Yanks trade, NBA-on-Christmas verdict & more

1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20. No Random EVidence this week. The Sunday notes-column package is off for the holidays. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NBA-on-Christmas poll, Heat skid, Panthers surge, Philbin/Golden verdict, U.S.-Cuba relations & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

DOLPHINS, NFL WEEK 16 PICKS: "0.725%": The percentage at left represents the less than 1-in-100 playoff likelihood for Miami right now as it hosts the Vikings on Sunday, according to computer estimations 1aa1afripixfrom makenflplayoffs.com. Miami has the second-worst odds of any of 21 teams still mathematically alive (ahead of only Cleveland). It'll be win-and-pray for the Dolphins and several other teams as the better clubs clinch remaining playoff spots. Click on Week 16 Gems for all our latest NFL prediction capsules, which have a playoff-piocture theme. (Strong start to our week Thursday night with a near exacto. Jags beat Titans 21-13; I had it 20-13). Also, click on Overlooking Landry for my weekly Friday Page column. It posits that the Fins' Jarvis Landry is having a season that, most years, would merit offensive rookie-of-the-year consideration, but that, unfortunately for him, this is a particularly bounteous year for rookie wide receivers.

LET'S GO BOWLING: The glut of 39 bowls games begins Saturday. Astonishingly, 11 of the bowls (28%) either involve a Florida team or are played in our state. We rank those 11 by interest in South Florida, with state ties underlined, and with predictions by ESPN's Mark Schlabach:

1aa1adepend1. Rose (College Football Playoff semifinal): Oregon 42, Florida State 31. Jan. 1, 5 p.m., Pasadena, CA.

2. Duck Commander Independence: Miami 27, South Carolina 20. Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m., Shreveport, LA.

3. Birmingham: East Carolina 27, Florida 23. Jan. 3, noon, Birmingham, AL.

4. Capital One Orange: Georgia Tech 34, Mississippi State 30. Dec. 31, 8 p.m., Dolphins stadium.

5. Miami Beach: Memphis 31, BYU 24. Dec. 22, 2 p.m., Marlins Park.

6. Boca Raton: Marshall 45, Northern Illinois 38. Dec. 23, 6 p.m., FAU Stadium.

7. Bitcoin St. Petersburg: North Carolina State 21, UCF 20. Dec. 26, 8 p.m., St. Pete.

8. Outback: Auburn 42, Wisconsin 35. Jan. 1, noon, Tampa.

9. Russell Athletic: Oklahoma 31, Clemson 20. Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m., Orlando.

10. Citrus: Missouri 24, Minnesota 20. Jan. 1, 1 p.m., Orlando.

11. Taxslayer: Tennessee 28, Iowa 17. Jan. 2, 3:20 p.m., Jacksonville.

ON FLEETWOOD MAC: Saw the legendary band at the Sunrise arena last night and thought it was a great show. I've never been a huge FM fan beyond the obligatory heydays love of the Rumours LP, but as a huge pop music fan I am drawn to seeing all-time great perfomers I've not seen before. Thoughts: Lindsay Buckingham is a better guitar player live than is heard on records, but is rather insufferable as a frontman, his ego unhidden. Founding father Mick Fleetwood is terrific on drums and a delight to watch. Bassist John McVie gets too lost; he's too invisble, not musically, but onstage. Stevie Nicks is still playing the gypsy-poet. Not a huge fan of her voice but she is a commanding stage presence. The star, for me, is Christine McVie on vocals and keyboards. I don't think I would have gone to the show had she not rejoined the band.


1aa1ampradoMARLINS-YANKEES MAKE TRADE: Marlins today acquired infielder Martin Prado (pictured), pitcher David Phelps and cash from Yankees for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, first baseman Garrett Jones and minor league pitcher Domingo German. I'd call it a medium trade, certainly not a big one. Prado, 31, who hit .282 with 26 doubles and 12 homers last year, will compete to start at third base. Phelps, 28, could emerge as a No. 5 starter.

HEAT, PANTHERS HAVE BECOME SAME TEAM: For years the Heat preened and reigned, and the Panthers were the forgotten and forlorn afterthought. Now the two teams have met in the middle: Mediocrity. They have morphed into the same team. The previous four seasons, the Heat's winning percentage was .718 and the Panthers' .381. This season:

Team        Record            Pos.    L10    Strk

Panthers    14-16, .467    T-7th   6-4    W2

Heat          12-14, .462     7th      3-7    L1 

Poll result: Most don't like NBA playing on Christmas: With the LeBron-at-Heat Christmas Day game looming, we asked what you thought of the NBA playing games on the holiday, and 61.2 percent were against versus 34.0% who were OK with it. The other 4.8% were undecided.

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