December 05, 2015

College football's scintillating Saturday: CFP top four determined, Hurricanes bowl projections; plus LeBron's back (shhh!), Bonds' rehabilitation & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5. ICYMI, cick on Right Man, Right Time, Right Hire for my column on the Hurricanes hiring coach Mark Richt. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Richt wins introductory UM press conference, Dolphins/NFL Week 13 picks & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S CLARITY WEEKEND: Conference championship game results today will pretty much make known the College Football Playoff top four, although that won't be offically announced (ceremeonially, on TV, of course) until Sunday. In turn, today's results will tip the last dominoes that lead to all of the bowl-game pairings that will be revealed this weekend. A quick primer on the CFP's big day and the bowl outlook for the Miami Huirricanes and other state schools:

CfpCFP OUTLOOK:

Miami and Arlington, Tex. will host New Year's Eve semifinals, with the championship gamed Jan. 11 in Glendale, Ariz.

No. 1 Clemson (12-0) vs. No. 10 North Carolina (11-1), ACC title game, 8 p.m., Charlotte. Tigers a somewhat modest 4.5-point favorite. (Clemson wins, 45-37).

No. 2 Alabama (11-1) vs. No. 18 Florida (10-2), SEC title game, 4 p.m., Atlanta. Crimson Tide a big 17.5-point favorite. (Alabama wins, 29-15).

No. 3 Oklahoma (11-1) is done; Big 12 has no conference title game, which in this case is advantageous for Sooners.

No. 4 Iowa (12-0) vs. No. 5 Michigan State (11-1), Big Ten title game, 8 p.m., Indianapolis. Spartans, despite lower rank, a 3.5-point favorite in what effectively is a play-in game for CFP. (Michigan State wins, 16-13).

No. 7 Stanford, playing USC in Pac-12 title game, thinks it might have a chance to rise into the top four with a convincing win if Clemson or Alabama lose, but that's dubious. I could see Clemson losing and only dropping to fourth. I cannot see Alabama losing.

BOWL OUTLOOK FOR STATE TEAMS: 

PinstripeMiami Hurricanes (8-4): Hiring marquee coach Mark Richt this week only enhances UM as a desirable invite. Canes are hoping for the Dec. 26 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, where Indiana could be the foe. Other projections have UM in the Dec. 26 Sun Bowl in El Paso, vs. Utah, or the Dec. 30 Music City Bowl in Nashville, vs. Richt's former Georgia team.

Florida State (10-2): Likely destinations include the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta or the Dec. 29 Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.

Florida (10-2): Gators could end up in the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

South Florida (8-4): Bulls could land in the Dec. 21 Miami Beach Bowl or Dec. 26 St. Petersburg Bowl.

LebronTHE QUIET RETURN OF LEBRON WHO?: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are in town to face the Heat tonight. Is it just me, or is it less and less an event when LeBron comes to town? This is Return of LeBron III; he's 0-2. Part of it is that Steph Curry and unbeaten Golden State along with the retirement-announcement by Kobe Bryant have stolen much of the national spotlight that normally belongs to LeBron. Also, animus has faded. It doesn't seem as personal anymore. It just seems like a big test for Miami as a team. A Heat win tonight, on the heel of that exciting win over Oklahoma City, will verify the Heat's potential to play with anyone not named Warriors.

BarrybondsTHE REHABILITATION OF BARRY BONDS: Bonds, back in a baseball uniform this season as the Marlins' new fulltime hitting instructor, is a major step in the rehabiltation of his steroids-sullied image. He can't rewrite his past. He can't erase the metaphorical asterisk that sits next to his season and career home run records. But this will help, if only because it will humanize Bonds, put him back in the mainstream and convey his love for the game. I'm not sure how much it will thaw the voting freeze that is keeping him out of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown ... but it sure can't hurt.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 02, 2015

Marlins hiring Barry Bonds: New poll. Vote now!; plus Kobe Bryant poll, NFL Week 12 Pix 'n Greg's Lobos results, Dolphins latest All-50'ers, Miami Jackson's Flowers wins 'State Heisman' with 6 Canes in Top 25 & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2. Happy new month, all! Done your shopping yet? 2) See previous blogpost for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, but be warned: Ugly. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fire OC Bill Lazor after loss at Jets, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Hurricanes' next football: Who it is should be. Watch for my latest column online later today. 

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Club marks its 50th anniversary by naming top 50 all-time players in groups of five. The latest: Kim Bokamper, Earl Morrall, Louis Oliver, Keith Sims, Cam Wake. Wake was expected; Morrall too for his unique niche. Other three are more borderline, which is not to say unworthy.

BondsHIRING BARRY BONDS IS SO MARLINS: Reports indicate Barry Bonds has agreed to join the Marlins as a hitting coach, a classic splash move by the attention-needy ballclub and its owner Jeffrey Loria. This is so Marlins. The hiring (if it happens) would be dubious, and not mostly because of the steroids-tainted past that has kept Bonds -- MLB's all-time home run hitter with an asterisk -- out of the Hall of Fame. Bonds didn't kill anybody. Shame and the Hall ban arepunishment enough. No, this move sees its biggest potential pitfall in him "working alongside hitting coach Frank Menechino." Hmm. Two hitting coaches espousing different ideas as egos rub? The possibilities are why teams rarely have multiple hitting coaches. Let's hear more on this. For instance, might Bonds just be a spring instructor and then disappear? Or a roving "special" hitting instructor as he was for the San Francisco Giants two years ago? (That's his only experience in coaching). For now, what do you think of the Marlins trying to hire Bonds?

KobeHOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT KOBE BRYANT AS WE SAY GOODBYE?: This may not be an easy question to answer. The Los Angels Lakers' all-time great Kobe Bryant announced this week he would retire after this season, and I wonder how we feel. Has there been a more polarizing superstar? Many love Kobe; many others are far from that. I suspect that most NBA fans certainly respect his greatness yet do not particularly like him. But I may be wrong. Hence, this poll. The question posed is intentionally broad. It asks not what you think of him as a player, but your overall general impression of him. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 11: SO-SO, BAD, BAD: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams: Pix: Good and not: Our 10-6 mark overall Fripixis OK, but 6-10 against the spread isn't, despite the fact we nailed our Upset of the Week with Broncos beating Patriots ("Aawwk!") and hit another outright upset with Chargers over Jaguars. Greg's Lobos / family league: Eliminated: The original Lobos lost 140-131 to fall to 4-8, now eliminated from championship-round playoff contention with two weeks left. We got 89 combined points from Adrian Peterson, Odell Beckham and T.Y. Hilton but it still wasn't enough. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Playin' out the string: The LeBatard Show Lobos are losing big to Stugotz in the two-round consolation playoffs, after being eliminated from title contention by Billy a week earlier. Got 28.9 points from Phil (Mint) Rivers, but too little help.

SOPY: MIAMI JACKSON'S FLOWERS WINS 'STATE HEISMAN,' 6 CANES IN FINAL TOP 25: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- finds South Florida dual- Flowersthreat quarterback Quinton Flowers out of Miami Jackson (pictured) edging Florida State running back Dalvin Cook out of Miami Central for the title. Flowers is the first player outside of the traditional Big 3 state schools to win our 'State Heisman.' Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, 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. And we close it off after the regular season, excluding bowl games, to give every school's players an equal shot. The final SOPY Top 25 for 2015:

FINAL 2015 SOPY TOP 25

Rk    Player, team-pos.                    Season

1      Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb         2,077.5

2      Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                  1,990

3      Alex McGough, FIU-qb               1,594

4      Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb                1,531

5      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb               1,438

6      Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                 1,262

7      Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb            1,260

8      Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb            1,206

9      Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb           1,145 

10    Treon Harris, Florida-qb              924.5

11. Everett Golson FSU-qb 921; 12. Justin Holman UCF-qb 869; 13. Jenson Stoshak FAU-wr 828; 14. Kermit Whitfield FSU-wr 807; 15. Will Grier Florida-qb 789; 16. Rodney Adams SoFla-wr 776; 17. Travis Rudolph FSU-wr 751; 18. Tre'Quan Smith UCF-wr 748; 19. Mark Walton Miami-rb 729; 20. Thomas Owens FIU-wr 687; 21. D'Ernest Johnson SoFla-rb 685.5; 22. Stacy Coley Miami-wr 678; 23. Greg Howell FAU-rb 670; 24. Rashawn Scott Miami-wr 650; 25. Herb Waters Miami-wr 637.

Roll Call of SOPY Champions:

2015--Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,077.5

2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968

2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107

2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5

Cote's final pre-bowl State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (10-2); 2. Florida (10-2); 3. Miami (8-4); 4. South Florida (8-4); 5. FIU (5-7); 6. FAU (3-9); 7. UCF (0-12).

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 01, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.7%; plus Fins fire OC Lazor after losing at Jets 38-20, new Hot Button Top 10 with Canes, Noles/Gators, Heat, Hutton, Warriors, Cats & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30. Hope y'all had a terrific long Thanksgiving weekend. ICYMI, click on Being Thankful In These Times for my Thanksgiving Day column. 2) See previous blogpost for latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results, which are trending upward. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): UM bops Pitt with CSM poll, Noles-Gators and other state Collball, NFL Week 12 picks, bacon underwear & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

DOLPHINS FIRE OC LAZOR: The Dolphins this morning fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in the midst of a 4-7 season that has seen Miami surpass 20 points only two times in 11 games. The team's 20.5-point average ranks 27th of 32 teams. Miami has now fired its head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators the same season -- the obvious sign of a complete reboot and start-over for this reeling franchise. Find our Dolphins-Jets live in-game blog and final postgame thoughts immediately below the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: 3.7%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 3.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 38-20 loss at the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 4- Dsm7. The DSM, in its eighth year, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2015 DSM Results

Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)

Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)

Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)

Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)

Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)

Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)

Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)

Game 8: 4.8% (following 33-17 loss at  Buffalo)

Game 9: 44.6% (following 20-19 victory at Philadelphia)

Game 10: 3.8% (following 24-14 loss vs. Dallas)

Game 11: 3.7% (following 38-20 loss at N.Y. Jets)

Next poll: Dec. 6 (following game vs. Baltimore)

G11: DOLPHINS AT N.Y. JETS: WILL MIAMI EVER WIN ANOTHER BLEEPIN' DIVISION GAME!?: Final postgame thoughts: The game wasn't as close as the score suggests. Dolphins got dominated and now are 0-5 in division this year by combined 175-72 score. Tannehill ended with strong numbers (351 yards, 3 TDs) but got outplayed  by Ryan Fitzpatrick. And Jets had excellent pass-run balance while Miami had nine carries for 12 yards all day. At 4-7 the Fins are not mathematically out of the playoff hunt -- but they realistically are. ..... Fourth Q: MIA makes it 38-20 on DeVante Parker's 33-yard pass from Tanny with five seconds left, a final score that makes game seem closer than it really was. ... Planes 38-14 on 41-yard late FG.... MIA within 35-14 on Tanny's 5-yard TD strike to Greg Jennings but by now it's way too little, way too late. ... This has become an embarrassment for Miami. It's 35-7 now on a Chris Ivory 31-yard TD run that included four missed tackles by Fins' D. ... NYJ back up 28-7 as Marshall owns Grimes again on 3-yard TD. Marshall is six inches taller and playing like it's 16. ..... Third Q: Fins within 21-7 on Landry 5-yard TD from Tanny. Landry's 40-yard catch set up the score. ... Miami now in a huge 21-0 hole after Eric Decker 2-yard TD pass from Fitzpatrick. ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami's defense: Not good enough. Miami's offense: Absymal. The Fins with the ball have stunk. Tannehill has 83 yards passing and a 39.8 rating. The ground game has a negligible 8 yards all day. Trailing 14-0 at the half is something hardly insurmountable? But the way Miami's offense is playing make it seems so. ..... Second Q: Dolphins yield 92-yard drive ending in 16-yard TD pass to Devin Smith and 14-0 hole just before half. Smith beat Jamar Taylor in the end zone. ... Fins now 4 carries for 7 yards rushing all day. Been true all season: When Miami trails early it tends to give up on the run. ... Ugh. Miami outagined 122 yards to 35 in first quarter. ..... First Q: NYJ 7-0 late in quarter on Marshall 17-yard scoring catch from Ryan Fitzpatrick over smaller Brent Grimes. ... Not a good sign. Dolphins first two series start at Jets 45 and at 50 -- and zero points to show for it. Ryan Tannehill interception stops the second drive. ... MIA with big 4th-down defensive stop at NYJ 45, but then offense fizzles and punts. Fins were 0-12 on 3rd-down conversions in first Jets meeting, now a big 0-1 today. ..... Original post: Ryan Tannehill’s career struggles against AFC East rivals is well-known to all Dolfans and amply documented, so I’ll skip the mass regurgitation and cut to the gist: He is 6-15 against the Patriots, Bills and Jets, and his Finsjetsplay has been worst of all — a 67.2 passer rating with eight interceptions in seven games — vs. the Jets he’ll face again today at 1 up there. That includes an 0-4  mark vs. the A-East this season. That is the No. 1 reason Tannehill is hurtling toward another 0-4: His personal record on Dolphins seasons and playoffs made. None of this inspires me to venture an upset pick here. NYJ handled Miami 27-14 in London on Oct. 5 in a game that didn’t seem as close as that score suggested, and has won three of past four over the Fins. Having said that, the Planes really disappointed in losing to Houston last week, and Tannehill is 3-0 vs. the Planes at the Meadowlands. Plus Darrelle Revis out. So I’ll take Miami against the spread with that dangling half-point on the 3.5 betting line in what I figure as a low-scoring affair. Planes are 5-5 to Fins' 4-6, so both teams are hanging on in the wild-card chase and need to play with desperation here. By the way, DT Ndamukong Suh getting more outspoken and challenging his teammates is fine. But his leading by example, with sacks and dominance, would be even better. Click on Week 12 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. As a quick aside, this once-bitter Fins-Jets rivalry really misses the cartoon bluster of Rex Ryan. But at least ridiculous Fireman Ed, World's Angriest Man, made a comeback, so that’s something. My pick: N.Y. Jets, 23-20.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOV. 29): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SP0ORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami's playoff hopes all but disappear in loss at Jets: The home loss to Dallas last week meant today’s game at the rival Jets was all but must-win in terms of the playoff chase. But in 38-20 loss the Dolphins became first NFL team with 0-5 division record, meaning Miami, now 4-7, has been at its worst against the teams it knows best. Oy.

2. HURRICANES: UM closes with win at Pitt, awaits bowl destination: Canes could earn a bid to the desired Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium after winning Saturday at Pitt 29-24 to finish 8-4, including 4-1 under interim coach Larry Scott. Things are looking up. The downside to that? Complaint-driven UM fans must adjust to the bizarre notion of feeling somewhat positive.

3. NOLES/GATORS: FSU humbles Florida in the Swamp: The suspicion was Florida was a shaky 10-1, underlined by last week's narrow OT escape over lowly FAU, and further verified last night in a 27-2 home loss to rival Florida State. Gators might have made it up into College Football Playoff final four by beating FSU and then Alabama in SEC title game. Now, no shot. llege Football Playoff top four.

4. HEAT: Solid defense is helping keep the Heat hot: While NBA fans have been focused on Golden State’s record unbeaten start, Miami’s defense, No. 1 in the Eastern Conference and No. 2 in the league, has helped Miami win seven of its past nine games entering four-game homestand starting Monday vs. Boston. Remember, you can't spell "Heat" with D. Wait...

5. TOMMY HUTTON: Marlins shoot themselves in foot. Again: The public relations-challenged Marlins inexplicably and without just cause fired Tommy Hutton, their popular, talented, passionate TV analyst of 19 years. You have a choice, and both options are depressing: Either Marlins management is generally incompetent , or just doesn't give a s--- what you think.

6. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: That moment we were the epicenter of the sport: UM rocketed to No. 15 but then lost at home to underdog Northeastern. Meanwhile, the Heat’s bayside arena hosted No. 1 Kentucky in the Miami Hoophall Invitational. If you blinked you missed it but there was a magical moment this week when we were a college basketball town.

7. GOLDEN STATE: OK, this is getting ridiculous, Warriors. Lose, already!: Golden State is now 18-0, a record NBA start, entering their next game Monday at Utah. They are approaching one-quarter of the way to perfection in an 82-game season. Even the '72 Dolphins are getting nervous. 

8. PANTHERS: Cats off NHL playoff pace and on the road. Oy: Florida has won only nine of its first 22 games and is five points off NHL playoff pace as it begins a five-game road trip starting today in Detroit. Is it too early for beleaguered Cats fans to starting saying, "Wait'll next year!"?

9. NASCAR: Homestead still celebrating Busch, Gordon's big show: Ears are still ringing from Kyle Busch winning the race and season championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway last week, and Jeff Gordon sailing into retirement to cheers. Gordon going out a champ would've been only thing to top it.

10. INTERNATIONAL BASEBALL: Marlins host Serie de las Americas: Marlins Park hosted four top teams from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela in the Serie de las Americas last weekend. It was the place to be for fans of international baseball . Also, for fans of hearing no English spoken.

Missing the cut: Dolphins to raise ticket prices on almost half of all seats. Think of it as a "thank you" for supporting all these years of disappointment ... South Florida not among 10 U.S. hoss cities for next year's 100th Copa America soccer ... College Football Playoff Top 4 all won Saturday. Take the week off, Condi ... Browns bench Johnny Manziel for latest eff-up ... High-school football playoffs ... St. Louis Ram Steadman Bailey spends bye week here, gets shot in drive-by in Miami Gardens. Things tourism officials don't tout in those brochures ... Miami native Cristie Kerr wins 18th LPGA tournament. Which, if anybody cared about women's golf, would be a big deal ... New line of NBA apparel for Heat bugle the alternate 786 area code, not the main 305. Please make fun of anyone caught wearing a shirt proclaiming "the 7-8-6" ... Tyson Fury beats Wladimir Klitschko for heavyweight title. A boxer named Tyson Fury. Seriously

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 29, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.7%; plus UM wins at Pitt 29-24 to end regular season 8-4; also 'Noles crush Gators, NFL Week 12 picks, bacon underwear & more

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

1) It is SATURAY, NOVEMBER 28. Hope y'all are having a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend! 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our Thanksgiving Day column, Bird Day NFL predictions & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My Thanksgiving column: ICYMI, our Thanksgiving Day column seemed to strike a chord based on overwhelming positive email response. Click on Being Thankful In These Times to read.

Our UM-Pitt postgame thoughts: Find our in-game blog and UM-Pitt postgame thoughts below, directly beneath the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. (There will be an additional, final CSM poll following the bowl game).

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 76.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 76.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 29-24 victory at Pitt putting UM's final regular-season Csmrecord at 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC. 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/Sunday.

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)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Game 11: 63.4% (following 38-21 victory vs. Georgia Tech)

Game 12: 76.7% (following 29-24 victory at Pitt)

Next/final poll: Following bowl game, date to be determined. 

G12: HURRICANES 29, PITT 24: UM COULD NOW BE STRONG BET FOR PINSTRIPE BOWL INVITE: Postgame thoughts: Miami squandered a 23-3 lead in the third quarter and made it a tad too close for comfort toward the end; still, a 29-24 road win over favored Pitt is a nice way to end the regular season. UM will go bowl-ing at 8-4, including a 4-1 marks since interim coach Larry Scott replaced the fired Al Golden. A typically solid day from QB Brad Kaaya today with 261 yards passing, augmented by 99 rushing from Joe Yearby and five field goals from Michael Badgley, who set a UM record for most FGs in a season. Defense was dominant early but beaten against the run late. All in all, a strong afternoon for The U. ..... Halftime thoughts: Not displeased to point out I'm dead wrong on my pregame prediction thus far. UM defense is dominating, limiting Pitt to 102 total yards off offense in a 23-3 game at the half. Canes have rolled up 248 yards with the ball, led by Brad Kaaya's 166 yards passing. ..... Note: We'll be live-updating the score and key plays throughout today's game, and be back here with halftime and postgame thoughts prior to the arrival of the latest postgame CSM poll. ..... Original post: Miami's 7-4 Hurricanes visit Pitt's 8-3 Panthers in a noon matinee today, with Pittsburgh a 7-point home favorite. A small example why: Pitt

Miapittrouted Duke, 31-13, the team UM needed a last-second miracle to beat. I expect a shootout, and give the Canes a fair upset shot. Miami, 3-1 under interim coach Larry Scott, has much to play for. The nine-win season still in play would equal Miami's best since joining the ACC in 2004. And a win over Pitt could very well vault UM into the preferred Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, a stage the Canes program would love. I have little doubt Brad Kaaya willl put up plenty of points today. But enough? I have greater concerns about Miami's defense, which has tended to struggle on the road and now faces a Pitt offense that has put up 106 points over the past three games. My pick: Pitt, 31-27.

Other college Week 13 state FBS games (listed in chronology):

South Florida 44, UCF 3: Bulls finish 8-4 after a Thursday rout ending Knights' futility at 0-12. South Florida will be in American conference championship game if UConn beat Temple on Saturday.

FAU 33, Old Dominion 31: If you're going to have a bad season, might as well end it with a nice lil' road win. Owls finish 3-9.

No. 14 Florida State 27, No. 8 Florida 2: Dalvin Cook and huge defense carried FSU tonight to an unexpected rout of Florida in the Swamp, leaving both teams 10-2. Florida State has now won past three over Gators and was a 2 1/2-point road favorite here. This was 16th time but only the third time since 2001 that the rivals had met with both in the Top 15. Seminoles all but assured themselves a New Year's bowl. UF going in still had hopes for a spot in the College Football Playoff top four if they'd beaten FSU and then somehow beaten Alabama in the Dec. 5 SEC title game. Those dreams are done.

Note: FIU completed its season at 5-7.

UPSET BIRD DAY: DOLPHINS/NFL WEEK 12 PICKS: We got off to a wobbly start to our week on Thanksgiving, going 1-2 straight-up and against the spread. Knew we took a big risk picking against FripixCarolina, but Green Bay losing at Lambeau? I'd pick Pack again in a heartbeat. Anyway, onward! Click on Week 12 Gems for all of our latest picks and full prediction capsules. Notably: Ryan Tannehill's AFC East struggles continue in a Dolphins loss at Jets, and Broncos end Patriots perfection in our Game and Upset of the Week. ("Aawwk!"). Also, click Oh, Johnny for my latest weekly Friday Page NFL notes column, leading with the gradual self-destruction of Johnny Manziel.

BACON-SCENTED UNDERWEAR: Ready to start your holiday shopping? Seattle-based J&D's Foods has announced the launch of bacon-scented underwear, which it calls "the world’s first underwear that looks and smells like bacon." Safe bet, that one. Another bold claim: That this is the first line of apparel "marrying the ultimate in comfort and cured meat" to attain "the smell of breakfast cooking in your pants." Want some? They're $19.99 a pair at www.baconunderwear.com. All of this is for real, by the way. This is a blog! Could I say it if it weren't true?

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 21, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 63.4%; plus UM bops Ga-Tech 38-21, Gators escape FAU in OT, FIU routed, your odd love of Butch Davis & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21. Pray for Paris, and for peace on Earth. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes next-coach poll, Hassan Whiteside's shot-blocking in historical perspective, NFL Week 11 predix & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our UM-Georgia Tech postgame thoughts: Find them below in our live in-game blog, directly beneath the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: 63.4%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 63.4 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 38-21 home victory over Georgia Tech putting CsmUM's season record at 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the ACC. 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 8:45 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)

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

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Game 11: 63.4% (following 38-21 victory vs. Georgia Tech)

Next poll: Nov. 27 (following regular-season finale at Pitt)

G11: HURRICANES38, GEORGIA TECH 21: KAAYA, DEFENSE LEAD BIG SHOWING IN HOME FINALE: Final thoughts: I was right in saying that Georgia Tech would get its rushing yards but that Miami could withstand and overcome that. And the Canes did. They did with Brad Kaaya passing for 300 yards. And they did with four defensive turnovers including one for six points. As it searches for a new head coach for next season UM, now 7-4, is jockeying for bowl position to make the most of this one heading into this coming Friday's regular season finale at Pitt. Today had to impress bowl scouts. What surely did not was the small crowd -- small even factoring in the rain and lightning delay. Bowls worry about how a team's fans "travel." I worry about why UM's fans don't even travel to home games. ..... Halftime thoughts: Impressive half by Miami, which gave up the first score and then reeled off 24 unanswered points. Brad Kaaya's 193 yards passing and two defensive takeaways -- one for a TD -- led the way. I though it was strange UM was an underdog today (see original post below) and Canes are proving me right so far. ..... Note: I'll have live score updates throughout the game and be back with halftime and postgame comments. ..... Original post: Georgia Tech is 3-7 (after a 2-0 start) and the Canes are 6-4 entering today's 12:30 p.m. home matinee -- and yet the Yellow Jackets are 2 1/2-point favorites. Hmm. The wiseguys who set the CanestechVegas odds are usually on the mark or close enough to be profitable, but this line seems weird to me. The visiting will miss a bowl game for the first time since 1996, while the home team will go bowling ... somewhere. (Pinstripe Bowl?) UM being a slight underdog may be easily explained, though. Ga-Tech isn't that bad; five of their losses have been by one score. They beat Florida State, 22-16. More than that, the one thing the Jackets still do right, even in the midst of a lost year, is run the ball. That triple-option of theirs is averaging a big 257 yards rushing per game. And Miami's run defense? It is on track to be the first in UM history to allow a 5-yard opponent average per run since (are you ready?) 1944! So that's it. Miami is a slight 'dog because nobody thinks they'll adequately stop that triple-option today. This is a factor, too. The wildly undisciplined Canes had 96 penalties entering this week to lead the nation, having not yet figured out they're not good enough to be their own worse enemy at times. Despite all this I like Miami today. Senior Day for the season's final home game will add a positive emotional element, and UM's offense will strafe GT's D enough to give up a ton of rushing yards and still prevail. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-23.

Other college Week 12 state FBS games (listed in chronology):

East Carolina 44, UCF 7: Thursday rout in Orlando left Knights 0-11 and one loss from winless season.

South Florida 65, Cincinnati 27: Bulls were 2-point home 'dogs but swamped Cincy Friday night to go to 7-4 and stay alive to reach American conference title game.

No. 8 Florida 20, FAU 14: (2-8) at No. 8 Florida (9-1), Saturday noon: The now 10-1 Gators were favored by 31 but need overtime to escape now 2-9 FAU in The Swamp, 20-14. Florida was likely on auto-pilot with FSU and then SEC title game on deck. Florida could still make College Football Playoff by running table, but barely getting by the Owls won't help. FAU now is 0-16 in its history vs. Top 25 teams, but this was its best showing. Today arguably was a bigger day for FAU football than any win the program has had.

Western Kentucky 63, FIU 7: Ugly. Ug-ly! Sorry, but continuing this game, at 63-7, after a lightning delay was cruel and unusual punishment for both FIU fans who stuck around. Panthers finish season 5-7, one win shy of a bowl.

No. 14 Florida State 52, Chattanooga 13: FSU cruises with a 9-2 record into next week's test with rival Florida Gators.

Poll result: The odd fascination with Butch Davis continues: We asked in previous blogpost who you like as next UM football coach from among eight candidates (including a "someone else" option), and Butch Davis romped with 49.7 percent. Only others with sizable, double-digit support were Mario Cristobal at 15.6% and Charlie Strong at 12.8%. (Totals are from earlier this morning; you may still vote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 15, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 49.5%; plus UM routed at UNC 59-21; also Gators, Noles, FIU's tall task & more

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

Paris1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14. PRAY FOR PARIS, AND FOR PEACE ON EARTH. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Paris attacks, NFL/Dolphins Week 10 picks, Canes and Butch Davis, kiss Jose Fernandez goodbye, UM hoops, college basketball rankings 1 through 351, Heat yays/nays, Lobos T-shirts update & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our UM-North Carolina postgame thoughts: Find them here below, immediately after the new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: 49.5%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter Csmpostgame poll, and they show 49.5 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 59-21 loss at North Carolina putting UM's season record at 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the ACC. 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 8:45 a.m. today/Monday.

Deciphering the latest result: An understandable sharp drop to the lowest approval rating since Week 4. Probably still higher than it should be, perhaps owing to UM fan still on a cloud over Al Golden's dismissal.

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)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Game 10: 49.5% (following 59-21 loss at North Carolina)

Next poll: Nov. 21 (following game vs. Georgia Tech)

G10: NORTH CAROLINA 59, HURRICANES 21 (Final): Postgame thoughts: OK, divest of your stock in interim coach Larry Scott keeping the job. I believe today took that off the table (if that possibility ever was there, which I doubt). Like the Dolphins' Dan Campbell, Scott had begun 2-0 only to see the interim honeymoon end with a crash. Weird game, this 59-21 loss at North Carolina. Miami led in time of possession, nearly was equal in total yards, had a 300-yard day from Brad Kaaya and yet still lost big, dare say embarrassingly. Three turnovers to none by the Tar Heels will do that. So will giving up a punt-return touchdown. So will an abysmal run-defense allowing some 300 ground yards. A sobering defeat. One that sadly answers the question, "How close is The U to being 'back'?" ..... Halftime: Let us count the ugliness. Zero points. Thirty-one points allowed. Nineteen net yards rushing. Nine penalties for 80. Nine penalties -- in one half. Three turnovers. Awful. This is beginning to feel like the 58-0 loss to Clemson that got Al Golden fired. Somehow, Miami has more time of possession and total yards. But the scoreboard says it all. ..... Note: I'll be updating the score throughout the game and be back with halftime and postgame analysis prior to the posting of the postgame poll. ..... Original post: I'm not sure if beating the Tar Heels at their place would qualify as the "signature win" that always seemed to 

Canesuncelude Al Golden, but it'd be close enough for interim replacement Larry Scott and maybe for Miami fans, too. North Carolina is good, 8-1 and ranked No. 23 to UM's 6-3 and unranked. The 3:30 p.m. game finds the Canes uncommonly big 13-point underdogs. Why? One reason: The Duke team that Miami needed a disputed last-second miracle to beat was just walloped 66-31 by UNC. The Heels have a big-time passing game. Brad Kaaya's Canes may need a ton of points to pull off an upset. Heck the betting over/under is around Fedora66 points, high even for college. UNC with a win would stay on track for the ACC Coastal Division crown
and eliminate Miami's faint hopes. Miami with a win would still be alive to reach the conference title game. The Hurricanes have owned this series lately, winning two in a row and four of past five over UNC including 47-20 in Miami last year. But keeping that trend going looks like a mighty task. Quick aside: UNC's coach is the wonderfully named Larry Fedora (pictured left). My pick: North Carolina, 38-24.

Other college Week 11 state FBS games (all today, in chronology):

No. 10 Florida 24, South Carolina 14: Gators now 9-1 and trying to run the table and somehow still rise into the College Football Playoff's top four. 

Middle Tennessee 24, FAU 17: One of of those seasons for the now 2-8 Owls.

No. 16 Florida 34, North Carolina State 17: Lots of Dalvin Cook as Noles go to 8-2.

Marshall 52, FIU 0: FIU, now 5-6 after this humbling loss, must win next week to gain bowl-eligibility. Tall task, with 8-2 Western Kentucky up after tough Marshall.

South Florida 44, No. 22 Temple 23: Marlon Mack (Truck) leads upset that has Bulls 6-4 and bowl-eligible for first time since 2010.

Off this week: UCF. Knights are 0-10. Will they find a way to lose to the bye week?

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 07, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.8% (season high); plus UM beats Virginia 27-21, is bowl-eligible; also, FSU falls, Gators survive, FIU wins & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7. IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 9 picks, sad turn of Heat's Gerald Green, Dolphins stadium's latest big loss, Bernie Sanders rap video & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Our postgame thoughts on UM's win today: Find them here, immediately below the new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 91.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 91.8 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-21 home victory over Virginia putting UM's season record at 6-3 Csmoverall and 3-2 in the ACC. That is a season-high approval rating. 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/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)

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

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Game 9: 91.8% (following 27-21 victory vs. Virginia)

Next poll: Nov. 14 (following game at North Carolina) 

G9: HURRICANES 27, VIRGINIA 21: KAAYA, DEFENSE ENOUGH AS MIAMI GETS BOWL-ELIGIBLE: Final: Solid showing by UM, not overwhelmingly so, but enough to make the Canes 2-0 under interim coach Larry Scott and now bowl-eligible at 6-3. Miami trailed only once, briefly, and basically was in charge of this game. I can say the defense played well, giving up only one Virginia touchdown. Brad Kaaya also shone in his return from a concussion, passing for two TDs and 286 yards, almost half of them to Stacy Coley. All in all in a positive day in UM's Homecoming game. ..... Halftime: Canes defense playing well at 14-8, limiting Virginia to a pair of FGs, with other points on a safety. Lead is more nerve-wracking than it should be. Brad Kaaya (151 yards, 2 TDs, 1 pick) must take even more advantage of a soft Cavs pass defense in second half. ..... Note: I'll have live score updates during today's game as well as halftime and postgame analysis. Original post: Hurricanes players in today's 3 p.m. home game will be wearing military-themed uniforms (pictured left) in advance of
CanesvaVeterans Day, with game-worn jerseys and helmets then being auctioned off to benefit VA-related causes. (And by VA I mean Veterans Affairs, not Virginia!) The 5-3 Canes are modest 6-point faves over
Canesmilthe 3-5 Cavs and this most certainly is a should-win game, for two reasons that bob first to mind. One,
Virginia's pass defense is really bad, a boon for either questionable Brad Kaaya or Malik Rosier. Two, the road-kill Cavaliers have lost 13 away games in a row. But don't get too cocky, either, UM fans. Virginia has won four of its past five meetings with the Canes, and the Cavs just beat Georgia Tech, which beat FSU. This is the home debut for interim coach Larry Scott, who is 1-0 after the contentious Miracle at Duke and must make sure his troops are back to Earth with a concentrated effort after last week's emotion. (I wonder: Will there be "Fire Larry Scott" flyovers planned if UM is an upset loser today?) Miami gets bowl-eligible with a win. A decent bowl game is about Miami's best realistic ending this season. The ACC title game via a Coastal division crown is not yet out of play, but the Canes likely would have to win out to finish 9-3, and even that might not be enough unless Coastal-leading North Carolina stumbles at least twice. Anyway, let's not get ahead of ourselves. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-17.

Other college Week 10 state FBS games (all today, in chronology):

Western Kentucky 35, FAU 19: Credible road show by now 3-6 Owls against gods of Conference USA. 

Tulsa 45, UCF 30: (0-9): Sad Knights, now 0-10, see dwindling chances to avoid winless ignominy.

FIU 48, Charlotte 31: Nice home win has Ron Turner's Panthers 5-5 and on edge of bowl-bound after another productive day by QB Alex McGough.

No. 11 Florida 9, Vanderbilt 7: The win was hardly impressive but it gets the now 8-1 Gators into the SEC title game. UF's Grand Plan: Climbing up into College Football Playoff top four still is not out of the question if Gators can win out, because a one-loss SEC champion would be tough to exclude. But this narrow escape won't impress Condi Rice and the rest of the CFP committee.

No. 3 Clemson 23, No. 17 Florida State 13Clemson, sitting atop the first CFP ranking, climbs into SEC champ-game with this win, a hard-fought one that found underdog FSU in it and in it and in it, until it wasn't. Dalvin Cook was amazing. Wasn't enough. I tried to picture an upset win by FSU. Couldn't.

South Florida 22, East Carolina 17: Nice mini-road upset has Bulls 5-4, one win from bowl-eligibility.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 02, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 82.7%; plus UM's (controversial) last-play miracle beats Duke; also, new Hot Button Top 10 (updated), message from Society Against Fraudulent Pumpkins & more

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


1) It is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2. Happy new month! Hope y'all had a safe and fun Halloween. 2) I
The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crushed by Pats with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 predix, Marlins and Mattingly, Heat begin, FAU's letter for Howard & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

On Loria hiring Mattingly: Click on Trusting The Hire for my latest Sunday column, on Marlins hiring Don Mattingly as their new manager -- which is being formally announced this morning. It seems like a good move. But, with Marlins, everything must be seen through the Loria Lens, which is sort of the opposite of rose-colored.

Hot Button Top 10: Scroll down to find our latest HB10 toward the bottom of this blogpost.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 82.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 82.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and Csm"somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 30-27 victory at Duke putting UM's season record at 5-3 overall and 2-2  in the ACC. 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/Monday.

Interpreting the latest results: An 82.7 percent approval, second-highest of the year, seems steep but reflects the euphoria of a wild, last-second, miracle kick-return TD to beat Clemson -- a play appreciated no less by Canes fans because it is controversial, with the ACC suspending the officiating crew. I think the high number also reflects most UM fans feeling good about the coaching change.

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)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: 54.3% (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Game 8: 82.7% (following 30-27 victory at Duke)

Next poll: Nov. 7 (following game vs. Virginia)

G8: HURRICANES 30, @ NO. 22 DUKE 27: MIRACLE WIN ENDS EMOTIONAL WEEK, BEGINS POST-GOLDEN ERA: Final thoughts: At least nine Canes touched the ball on a desperate, lateral-filled, miracle kickoff-return touchdown for a last-second 30-27 Miami victory -- a final-play that withstood an Miracleexcruciatingly long review by the officials. When anybody, anytime, compiles a list of most memorable plays in this program's history, this one will qualify. Wow. Shout-out to Artie Burns for the emotional fuel, playing so soon after the death of his mom. And to QB Malik Rosier, for a stout performance subbing for injured Brad Kaaya. And to interim-coach Larry Scott, miracle-winning his first game since the firing of Al Golden. This will get lost in the crazy win -- a win that keeps UM alive, however remotely, for the ACC Coastal Division crown -- but Miami somehow prevailed despite 23 penalties for 194 yards. Those are ridonkulous totals. That's lawlessness, an egregious lack of discipline. Nevertheless: Miracle win! Maybe it was for Al Golden. Maybe it was for Artie Burns. Maybe it was plain luck and maybe it wasn't. Whatever. Enjoy. ..... Halftime thoughts: QB Malik Rosier has been very good. The defense has been very good. And never underestimate the power of emotion, apparently. ..... Note: I'll be providing live score updates but not a live running commentary. However I'll be back with halftime and postgame observations. ..... Original post: After the week the Canes have had, this game had to be on Halloween night, right? Saturday's 7 p.m. roadie brings us full circle on one of the most tumultuous weeks in UM football history. Started with the stunning 58-0 home loss to Clemson that got Al Golden fired (and replaced Canesdukeby interim guy Larry Scott). QB Brad Kaaya's  concussion in that game will sideline him vs. CanespumpkinDuke. Canes also mourned for cornerback Artie Burns, whose mom died. A different UM player was arrested for domestic violence and suspended. Just a miserable week. A benevolent football god might give 4-3 UM the salve of an upset win here, but it doesn't seem likely against a 6-1, No. 22-ranked Duke squad that has won four in a row and is fighting for the ACC Coastal division crown that once was Miami's goal. Burns has said he plans to play despite his mother's passing, but I'm not sure that emotional lift will be enough. Kaaya's absence is huge. His backup, redshirt-freshman Malik Rosier, has struggled in limited action this season and looked lost vs. Clemson last week after replacing Kaaya. The betting line catapulted from 7 points favoring the Blue Devils to 13 as it became evident Kaaya would not play. Duke might also find itself emotionally drained, coming off last week's 45-43, four-overtime win at Virginia Tech. Miami has dominated this series, leading 10-2 including a 22-10 win last year, but this is a different, better Duke. With Kaaya augmenting the week's emotion, I'd have toyed with an outright upset. With Rosier, I just can't see it. My pick: Duke, 27-16.

Other college Week 9 state FBS games (in chronology; all Saturday):

No. 17 Florida State 45, Syracuse 21: No Dalvin Cook? No Everett Golson? No worries. 'Noles now 7-1 and still fighting to reach ACC title game. Cook should be healthy and back for the big Clemson game next week. Golson should be ready, too -- although the starting QB job may be Sean Maguire's now.

Cincinnati 52, UCF 7: No wonder coach George O'Leary resigned. The now 0-9 Knights might be the worst team in the country.

Navy 29, South Florida 17: Bulls drop to 4-4, see bowl hopes take broadside hit from a Navy ship.

No. 11 Florida 27, Georgia 3: World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party found Gators a scant 2-point fave but running away with it. Impressive. UF maintains hopes of reaching SEC title game. With rumors Georgia and coach Mark Richt might party ways after season, any Canes fans interested in Richt as Golden's possible eventual UM replacement was rooting for exactly what happened.

FAU 31, FIU 17: Told you a home FAU upset would not surprise in the Shula Bowl, and I was right. Owls now 2-6 in a lost season but this is a big blow to FIU's bowl hopes, at 4-5 now.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOV. 1): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature (updated Mondays) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Al Golden firing to The Miracle at Duke in a wild, emotional week for UM: Embattled, unpopular coach Al Golden is fired after an unfathomable 58-0 home loss to Clemson. A concussion sidelines quarterback Brad Kaaya. A player’s mother dies. Another player is arrested and suspended. The poor Hurricanes, making so much news for so many sad reasons. Then, that last-play, eight-lateral miracle Saturday night and a 30-27 win at Duke. There is a football god. And, oh, by the way: Canes fans don't care if you or the ACC think it shouldn't have counted.

2. DOLPHINS: Loss at Patriots, Wake injury bring Fins back to Earth: Thud! That was the Dolphins falling back down to reality Thursday night, in New England, after back-to-back rousing wins had made an instant hero of their interim coach. And now sack-man Cameron Wake is lost for the season. On the bright side? Good seats at reduced rates are newly available on the Dan Campbell Bandwagon.

3. HEAT: Miami wins opener, but LeBron delivers reality check: Thud II! An impressive season-opening Heat home win and a big rally to beat Houston sandwiched a Friday night reminder from LeBron James and Cleveland of who’s still boss, at least for now, in the Eastern Conference. Miami’s one-man Swat Team, Hassan Whiteside, had six blocked shots in that game. (“One-man Swat Team.” That’s mine. Patent pending.) 

4. MARLINS: Fish introduce Don Don Mattingly as new manager: Former Yankees great Don Mattingly, who managed the Dodgers the past five years, is being introduced this morning as Miami’s new skipper. Which, given owner Jeffrey Loria’s track record, makes “Donnie Baseball” the Marlins’ latest future ex-manager. Not sure of the odds on how long he’ll last, but Loria’s impatience usually makes the “under” a safe bet.

5. BASEBALL: Royals win World Series 4-1 over Mets: Kansas City beat New York again last night to silence the ballpark in Flushing, N.Y. and clinch the Royals' championship since 1985. KC catcher Salvador Perez was named World Series MVP. That means he has earned baseball's most coveted title: Mr. Early-November!

6. PANTHERS: New and improved or same ol'? Still deciding...: After a strong start Florida has lost five of its past seven games entering a three-game road trip starting Wednesday. Cats are supposed to be better. Playoff-good. Let them prove it, OK?
 
7. UM HOOPS: "Soft opening" this week for Canes men: Jim Larranaga's guys host an exhibition game vs. Dowling this Wednesday night as they prepare to open the season Nov. 13. Free tickets to anybody who knows who or what "Dowling" is.

8. NASCAR: Gordon headed to storybook finish at Homestead?: As the Nov. 22 NASCAR season finale at Homestead looms, Jeff Gordon -- who is retiring after this season -- on Sunday earned one of four spots to win the season title. Can you say storybook ending? 

9. SHULA BOWL: FAU upsets visiting FIU in annual rivalry: FIU's hopes for a bowl invitation took a big hit in an upset loss at visiting FAU. I know you don't care, but I give a hoot.

10. HORSE RACING: Triple Crown champ Pharoah wins, retires: American Pharoah capped a magical season Saturday by winning the Breeders' Cup by 6 1/2 lengths, and then retiring. Pharoah reportedly will retire to Century Village and beat all the other retired horses in bingo.

Missing the cut: First College Football Playoff ranking due out Tuesday ... Gregg Popovich to replace Mike Krzyzewski as U.S. basketball coach. ... Major League Soccer playoffs ... Abby Wambach retires from U.S. women's soccer team ... Miami FC to play at FIU ... R.I.P., Flip Saunders. Second-greatest Flip after Wilson?

AN URGENT PLEA: STOP THE SCOURGE OF FAKE HALLOWEEN PUMPKINS!: We've all seen them. Your neighbor may have one. It's a beautifully carved pumpkin ... except it isn't. He didn't carve it. It isn't even a pumpkin! It's a machine "carved" fake, a fraudulent non-pumpkin probably made of plastic or, Fakesmore likely, some sort of a Styrofoam-ish conglomeration. The fake pumpkin is un-American, a national scourge, 
and must be stopped. The fakes, as seen at left, may be good enough for the shelves of Walmart or Target, but they are not good enough for the U.S.A., dammit. Reject the very idea. Respect Mother Earth. Buy a real pumpkin, grab a knife or two, get creative, carve it yourself and feel great. And when you run across a fraudulent non-pumpkin, do not be afraid to tell the lazy, corner-cutting homeowner -- but politely! -- that you wouldn't put a fake pumpkin out front any more than you'd serve a beautifully painted papier-mache turkey on Thanksgiving. Thanks for listening. I'm Greg Cote, founder, Society Against Fraudulent Pumpkins (SAFP).

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 24, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 54.3%; plus UM blown out by Clemson 58-0, worst loss in program history all but dooms Golden's Canes future

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins-next-manager poll, Dolphins/NFL Week 7 picks, Bosh dethrones Wade, new Elton & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

UM-Clemson postgame thoughts below: Our postgame thoughts on today's UM debacle may be found directly below the new he new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 54.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 54.3 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 58-0 loss to visiting Clemson putting UM's season record at 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. 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 9:15 a.m. today/Monday.

Interpreting the latest vote: Of course 54 percent approval after a 58-0 home loss is absurd, but it reflects the large number of Canes fans who wanted Al Golden gone and figured (accurately) that a loss such as this would do the trick.

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)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: Voting now underway (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Next poll: Oct. 31 (following game at Duke)

G7: NO. 6 CLEMSON 58, HURRICANES 0: Final. Postgame thoughts: Coach Al Golden called this a statement game and thought his Hurricanes were ready for it. Unfortunately for Al, the statement a 58-0 loss makes might be, "Miami needs a new coach." I wrote of the Dolphins' Joe Philbin after the 41-14 loss to Buffalo in the home opener that embattled coaches don't survive losses like that one. I feel the same way about Golden now after today's debacle against Clemson. It is numerically the worst loss in program history. The previous worst was a 56-point defeat (70-14) against Texas A&M in 1944. Could the afternoon have gone any worse for Miami? Clemson had 567 yards of offense to Miami's 146. It was 42-0 by halftime. QB Brad Kaaya was knocked out of the game by a concussion. It was a plain embarrassment. Miami is 4-3 now, and 1-2 in the ACC. Nothing short of reaching the conference title game may save Golden's job. I doubt if getting to a second-tier bowl game will. This was a bad, bad day for UM football, and an even worse one for Al Golden. ..... Original post: Top-ten Clemson (6-0) is a fairly modest 7 1/2-point favorite over Miami (4-2) in Saturday's High Noon kickoff broadcasting on ABC-TV. Hope for UM is the Canes swearing they are over the post-FSU letdown that has
Clemsonmiamiseen The U go 2-6 the past two seasons after losing to its instate rival. A bigger hope for Miami is that Clemson tends to turn relatively mortal and beatable when not luxuriating in the maniacal home confines of Death Valley. This will be only the Tigers' second road game this season, and in the first they barely escaped Louisville, 20-17. Of course this factor would require UM posing a palpable home-field advantage at Dolphins stadium, which tends to be an iffy proposition. Clemson has a formidable passing game led by QB Deshaun Watson, and Brad Kaaya may be called upon to counter that. Clemson's last trip to Miami was a thriller, a 40-37 Tigers win in 2009, and another pointfest would not surprise. This would be the elusive "signature" win that embattled coach Al Golden needs. Unbeaten Clemson is dreaming of a spot in the four-team CFB playoffs (with the city of Miami hosting one of the semifinals in this same stadium on New Year's Eve). An upset would plunder Clemson's hopes, likely get UM ranked and feather Miami's dream of reaching the ACC championship game. Now all they have to do is do it. Tall task. My pick: Clemson, 31-26.

Other college Week 8 state FBS games (in chronology; all games Saturday):

No. 21 Houston 59, UCF 10: Knights now 0-8 as coach George O'Leary heads for exit.

South Florida 38, Southern Methodist 14: Bulls now 4-3 and thinking bowl.

FIU 41, Old Dominion 12: Panthers level at 4-4 after huge win sparked by QB Alex McGough's big day.

Texas-El Paso 27, FAU 17: The 1-6 Owls are seeing their season turn miserable.

Georgia Tech 22, No. 9 Florida State 16: Final-play shocker hands FSU its first defeat.

Off this week: No. 13 Florida (6-1).

Poll result: Marlins fans want Mattingly: We asked who you prefer as Marlins next manager, and 66.5 percent voted for Don Mattingly, the newly available ex-Dodgers skipper. "Someone else" not on the ballot was second with 15.3%. Of the five men to have interviewed for the job thus far, Larry Bowa led with 7.1%.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 22, 2015

Who is Heat's best player? Easy answer or tough? Poll. Vote now!; plus MLB in Cuba?, UM hoops pump-up video, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos Fantasy Week 6 results, Dolphins' latest All-50ers, updated SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22: I'm back up at Friday Page HQ today bringing forth this week's NFL Week 7 predictions. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's Seahawks-49ers pick. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins rout Tennessee with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"More 'Back to the Future' references! Please!!" --Greg Cote

MLB in Cuba?: Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred tells the The Hollywood Reporter: "We're working hard to try to get to a position where we might be able to do an exhibition game in Cuba as early as 2016 -- so next spring." Logistically it would be natural for the Miami Marlins to be one of the participating teams, although the backlash from many Cubans in Miami might give the Marlins pause.

Dolphins I: Wake wins AFC honor: Cam Wake is AFC Defensive Player of Week for his sackfest vs. Tennessee. It's third straight year he's been that, team's longest defensive streak since Jason Taylor's five in a row in 2002-06. Dolphins II: All-50 team: Club is revealing its 50 greatest players five at a time in random order and latest are DT Tim Bowens, DT Manny Fernandez, OG Larry Little, RB Mercury Morris and DE Bill Stanfill -- all expected, all deserving. Dolphins III: Our latest column: Hope grows, but belief must be earned. As schedule toughens we need to see a lot more of the Dolphins we saw last week. Click The Parade Isn't Here Yet for our latest column.

CLEAR CUT? TOUGH CALL? WHO IS THE HEAT'S BEST PLAYER?: With the Heat's season opener in six days, some see Miami as a greatly improved team capable of maybe reaching the NBA's Eastern BoshwadeConference finals to challenge presumptive power Cleveland. Others see Dragicdoubts; they see a lower-tier playoff team. The varying opinions are underlined in recent surveys. In NBA.com's annual general managers survey no Heat player received a best-in-the-league vote at any of the five positions. Complete shutout. Yet in ESPN.com's annual #NBARank, Miami is one of only five teams to place all five starters in the overall list of Top 100 players. Chris Bosh will be in the top 25 (exact slot still unknown), Goran Dragic is 38th, Dwyade Wade is 46th, Hassan Whiteside is 68th and Luol Deng is 92nd. Is Bosh now clearly the Heat's best player? Has Wade fallen to No. 3? I'm more curious what you think than what an ESPN experts panel thinks. Hence, this poll! It is alphabetical. And it is not a favorite player poll. It is asking who the team's best player is, right now, heading into this season. Vote and say why.

UM MEN'S HOOPS SETS SEASON-TICKET RECORD: Jim Larranaga's program announced it has set a UM season-ticket sales record and that fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for most games. Hurricanes begin the season in three weeks. Anticipation is high. Here's a pump-up video:

 

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 6: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our 1lobos Fripixtwo Greg's Lobos fantasy teams. Pix: Cooling off a bit: We were due for an off-week and had one at 9-5 overall and 6-7-1 against the spread (Lions pushed). Bull's-eyed two outright upsets with wins by Dolphins and 49ers and had 'dog Browns and Panthers with points, too, but misfired badly on our Aawwk pick Monday night. Greg's Lobos / family league: Tough year continues: The original Lobos fell to 2-4 with a 112-94 loss. You're doomed when  nobody has even 20 points for you, and Odell Beckham led us with 19. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Hot hot hot!: The new Lobos are now 4-2 with a fourth straight win -- 151.8 to 122.7 over assistant producer Allyson. Devonta Freeman was our MVL once again with a big 35.6 points.

SOPY: FSU'S COOK CONTINUES SURGE, UM'S KAAYA NOW THIRD: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- find Florida State running back Dalvin Cook now Sopyfirmly in first place through Week 7. The Canes' Brad Kaaya has risen to No. 3. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, 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. Because they are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 7

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W7        Season

1 (2)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             235      1,152

2 (1)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         132       1,052.5

3 (4)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          151       917

4 (5)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   194.5    916.5

5 (6)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             125       823

6 (3)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            DNP       789

7 (9)         Everett Golson, FSU-qb         176       770.5

8 (7)          Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          117       750

9 (8)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb      117        736

10 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       47        617

Bubble: Thomas Owens, FIU-wr, 553. Other team leaders: Greg Howell, FAU-rb, 492; Justin Holman, UCF-qb, 356.5. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 287 (Wk6). Note: Florida, FIU and UCF have played seven games each; all others six.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote