September 30, 2012

G4: Arizona 24, Dolphins 21 (Final/OT): Heartbreak (again); 2nd straight overtime loss overshadows big day for Tannehill, Hartline

1aa1mevid21NEW VIDEO: CANES' AND MORRIS BIG DAY!: Our video channel is back with a new mini-commentary on Saturday's record performance by Hurricanes QB Stephen Morris in UM's win over North Carolina State. Click on YoutTube/TheGregCote. Also voting continues in our latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in blogpost directly below this one. 

[1) It is SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30. U.S. chokes, blows Ryder Cup, loses to Europe. 2) New college Associated Press poll is out. Hurricanes are denied. Still in the "also receiving votes" category. 3) Join our Live Blog Q&A/Chat tomorrow/Monday 1-2 p.m. 4) Join us on Twitter@gregcote. That's a lot of joining right there...]

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Voting underway in latest DSM in separate blogpost directly above this one.

G4: DOLPHINS @ ARIZONA: Final: Another heartbreak for Miami and Dolfans, a second straight OT defeat. Tannehill passed for 431 yards to break Dan Marino's club rookie record, and Hartline caught 253 yards in passes to break Chris Chambers' club record, but, alas, neither feat can be celebrated much tonight. ..... OT: Killer. Ex-Dolphin Jay Feely boots 46-yard FG for 24-21 'Zona win. ... Tannehill, while being hit, throws interception. ... Looking for a better overtime finish than a week ago vs. Jets. ..... 4Q: said it was easy being a Dolfan? Kolb 15-yard TD pass to Roberts ties it 21-21 with 29 seconds left ... Tannehill loses fumble on sack. ... That was about the nuttiest minute of football I can remember. First Legedu Nannee's fumbled catch is returned inside the Dolphins' 10. Then Sean Smith's second INT rescues Miami. Then Tannehill and Hartline hook up for an 80-yard TD, after which the 2-point conversion pass is good. Wow. ... Andre Roberts 46-yard pass from Kolb gives 'Zona first lead at 14-13 with about 9 minutes left. Richard Marshall is not an NFL-capable starting cornerback. Tannehill with his chance to be a hero ..... 3Q: Tannehill intercepted. This one counts. Momentum shifting? ... Lucky break. Tannehill called interception by Adrian Wilson reversed on review. ... Larry Fitzgerald 3-yard scoring pass from Kevin Kolb has Cacti within 13-7. ... Carpenter just wide on 51-yard FG try. ... Half: dreamy half for Miami, with the defense limiting Arizona to 68 total offensive yards and Ryan Tannehill a sharp 15-for-21 for 219 yards -- 196 of them to Brian Hartline (110) and Davone Bess (86). Very, very impressive start for the visitors. ..... 2Q: Carpenter 27-yard FG and 13-0 lead set up by Smith pickoff. ... Sean Smith interception in final minute secures shutout half for Miami. ... Jorvorskie Lane bulls in on a 4th-and-1 for a 10-0 Miami lead just inside 2-minute warning. Like that gamble. Would have liked the call even if they'd failed. ... Cameron Wake-s up, goes from zero season sacks to three in the first half. ... The excitement is palpable, can't you feel it? But enough about the Ryder Cup. Back to the football game. ... Former goat Dan Carpenter with 32-yard FG and 3-0 Miami lead. ..... 1Q: Ryan Tannehill very sharp in a scoreless first quarter (8-10, 86 yards). Encouraging start for Miami. ..... Original post: Somehow, when we weren't looking, the once lowly Arizona Cardinals became mighty. At 3-0 they are one of only three remaining unbeatens. Their record is 10-2 dating to last 1aa1cardsdolsmidseason, best in the league. Their defense is very good. They have won seven home games in a row. For these reasons and dash of Larry Fitzgerald I think your Dolphins will have a tough time today out in the desert. The Cacti can get to the opposing QB so Ryan Tannehill needs to be careful and not rookie-acting. I do give Miami a medium upset shot assuming Reggie Bush plays as expected. The Dolphins' D-line should dominate 'Zona's weak offensive line, and, in what figures as a low-scoring game, one or two freak plays could turn this, such as a return TD or defensive score. Your thoughts welcome. (Quick observation on the two logos pictured. You can give them an angry look and a mean stare, but it is nevertheless remains very difficult to make either a bottlenose dolphin or a small bird appear all that menacing). My pick: Arizona, 20-10.

August 20, 2012

Tannehill era begins: Rookie named starting QB (with new video); plus Dolphins playoff odds, Hank Jr., Upset Bird (15), Giancarlo, Augusta & more

1aa1me14[1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 23. New blogpost coming later this morning. 2) TANNEHILL NAMED STARTER: LATEST VIDEO! Watch our "The View From Miami" mini-commentaries on our new video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote. Latest is on rookie Ryan Tannehill being named Dolphins starting QB, a TVFM record-setter for most views. (Thank you). (I say in the vid that Miami's last Super Bowl win was 1972. Oops. Of course I know it was '73). 3) Showtime pulled the plug a week early on "The Franchise" reality show starring the Marlins. Finale episode aired last night, not Aug. 29 as first planned. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1mepick 1aa1cparkerUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 15 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages Sept. 7, and began a 21-day countdown that each day is honoring notable birds. Following the NBA great Larry Bird, today we welcome the influential jazz saxophonist who died in 1955, Charlie "Bird" Parker.

1aa1rtRYAN TANNEHILL NAMED DOLPHINS STARTING QB: It begins. The Ryan Tannehill era in Miami. The rookie takes over as starting quarterback beginning this Friday night in preseason game No. 3 vs. Atlanta and will open the season as the starter. It was announced mid-afternoon yesterday by coach Joe Philbin, and it is welcome news -- the right decision. Also it is a decision [Brag Alert!] that I have been advocating since the first day of training camp, the first and one of few in the media to do so. Click on The Right Decision for my new column, now online and in today's/Tuesday's pulp editions. Click HERE to listen to Philbin's press conference explaining the choice. 

DOLPHINS HAVE 8TH-LONGEST ODDS TO MAKE PLAYOFFS: Bovada issues odds for each NFL team making the playoffs and the Dolphins -- at yes/plus-350 -- are tied with Arizona for the eighth-longest odds. The most likely playoff teams are seen as the Patriots at yes/minus-900 and the Packers and Texans both at yes/minus-600. The seven teams given even longer odds than Miami are the Redskins +450, Buccaneers +500, Rams +600, Colts and Jaguars both +700, Vikings +800 and Browns +1,000.

AN OPEN LETTER TO HANK WILLIAMS JR.: "Dear Bocephus: You lost me, hoss. I have been a huge fan of your music since the '70s. I still think Whiskey Bent & Hell Bound is one of the great country songs of all time. You didn't lose me because of your music. You lost me because of the man you've become. Because of the hatred. You shouted to a crowd at the Iowa State Fair: "We've got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S. and we hate him!" One of the lyrics on your lates album is, "Hey Barack, pack your bags, head to Chicago, take your teleprompter with you so you'll know where to go." Almost forgot. Last year you compared Obama to Hitler. Enough. This is hate-mongering, inciteful, and by my view un-American. Most of all, perhaps, it is just so damned disrespectful. You have every right to think it, and say it. I have every right to consider myself a disappointed former fan."

AUGUSTA NATIONAL DESERVES NO CONGRATULATIONS: The venerable home course of The Masters golf tournament has (finally) been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, admitting its first female members, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina banking executive Darla Moore. Years of public pressure and protests led to Augusta to at last act. Some might say congratulations are in order and heap the club and its directors with profound credit. I'd leave it at, "It's about damned time," and move on.

GIANCARLO STANTON: THE REASON TO STILL WATCH: The 2012 Marlins are almost unbearably sad. 1aa1giaThe dubious fight to catch up to .500 seems lost. The season cannot end soon enough, but for one reason: Giancarlo Stanton's at-bats. Despite missing a chunk of season injured Stanton (pictured) has become the 32nd Marlin in 20 seasons to hit 24 or more home runs -- he hit his 25th and 26th Monday night -- and among those we present the top five HR-per-at bat ratios, updated through Monday's game. Conclusion: Call Mike Jacobs an aberration. Stanton ranks second for now only to Gary Sheffield among the most dangerous home run hitters in club history: 

11.93   Gary Sheffield, 1994 (27/322)

12.36   Sheffield, 1996 (42/519)

12.81   Giancarlo Stanton, 2012 (26/333)

14.91   Mike Jacobs, 2008 (32/477)

15.18   Stanton, 2011 (34/516)

ON MELKY CABRERA: Cabrera, of course, is the San Francisco Giant suspended 50 games for a failed 1aa1cabmdrug test in the stretch run of a possible NL MVP season for him. It is a sad reminder MLB is not yet fully past its steroids era, and that stars are still liable to be swept up in the net. Cabrera's shame is compounded by the news he cooked up a bizzare alibi for himself, creating a fake website selling fake cream that he supposedly bought and used unaware of its illegal contents.That's rich! Here's what else should happen to Melky: 1) The All-Star Game MVP he recently won should be vacated and the trophy ordered returned. 2) He should be ineligible for league MVP votes. 3) He should be ineligible to win the NL batting title for which he currently stands second.

Click back. Says here we'll be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

August 17, 2012

PS2: Carolina 23, Dolphins 17: Tannehill so-so, Miami now 0-2; plus new video (Dolphs-Cats), U-Bird Countdown (18), Canes, food stamps, Pussy Riot & more

1aa1meps2[1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 20. Watch for a new blogpost later today. 2) LATEST VIDEO! Watch our newest video -- a post-mortem of the Dolphins' loss at Carolina -- at YouTube/TheGregCote. All 13 "The View From Miami" mini-commentaries I've done so far are there. 3) Marlin's Giancarlo Stanton hit a 495-foot home run the other night. Good lord. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1mepick 1aa1chirubUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 18 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages Sept. 7, and began a 21-day countdown that each day will honor a notable bird. Following the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, today we welcome the classic comedic prop, Rubber Chicken.

PS2: CAROLINA 23, DOLPHINS 17: TANNEHILL FAILS TO NAIL DOWN STARTING JOB, MIAMI DROPS TO 0-2 IN PRETEND GAMES: Miami hopes and plans to name a starting quarterback this coming week, before preseason game No. 3. Friday night's 23-17 loss at Carolina didn't make coach Joe Philbin's decision any easier. Rookie Ryan Tannehill, who started Friday, failed to maintain momentum from last week, only going 11-for-23 for 100 yards, and incumbent Matt Moore was a mere 3-for-10 for 33 yards. Reserve Pat Devlin looked pretty good late before throwing a last-second end-zone interception. If only shaky QB play was the only issue. Receivers had a lousy, drop-filled game, underlining WR as a Dolphins soft spot. The offensive line was shaky, especially the second unit. The defense wasn't very good; Panthers QB Cam Newton had his way early on. And is anybody but me a bit concerned that for a second straight game no real attention was paid to the running game? Beyond that a combined 27 penalties made the game nearly unwatchable. Now, midway through the preseason for Miami, there remain lots of issues to correct and one major decision (QB) still unresolved. ..... Original post: The Dolphins will likely name a season-opening starting quarterback in a few days, in time for the third preseason game, and so it is logical to 1aa1cardolthink the job will swing unmistakably to either Matt Moore or rookie Ryan Tannehill if either is clearly better tonight at Carolina. Since Moore started last week (in lieu of injured David Garrard) I'd be surprised if Tannehill did not start tonight and I was right. He's starting. Let's see what he can do against a starting defense. Miami will sit several slightly injured starters this evening but still will want to see improvement from last week's loss to Tampa Bay, especially on pass defense. For this team right now, though, it's all about the quarterback, about somebody stepping forward. LeBron James had "The Decision." Joe Philbin faces one of those, too, and I suspect tonight will help make it for him.

PATRIOTS TO SIGN DEMPS: The Dolphins' climb in the AFC East just got steeper because the Patriots just got better. Or at least faster. Olympic silver-medalist sprinter Jeff Demps is signing with New England, according to various reports. Seven or eight teams were interested in the former Florida Gators star running back. Would have been an interesting fit for Miami.

1aa1altuniHURRICANES TO SEE DEBUT OF AWFUL NEW NOTRE DAME UNIFORMS: This week Notre Dame revealed its new alternate football uniforms that will first be worn Oct. 6 vs. the University of Miami at Soldier Field. The helmets pictured are particularly bad.

Poll result: LeBron will (or might) surpass Michael Jordan: Few of our poll votes surprise me, but this did. In the previous blogpost I asked if you thought LeBron James will someday be considered greater than Michael Jordan (you can still vote), and a plurality of 38.5 percent said yes, another 36.9% said possibly, and only 24.6% said no. Take away votes from Florida, where Heat-related bias would most be a factor, and the 'yes' or 'possibly' votes still outnumber 'no' votes.

FOOD STAMPS FOR DESSERT?: This story interests me. Andrea Taber (pictured), owner of Ever So 1aa1andreatHumble Pie, a Massachusetts bakery, is controversially in the news for refusing to accept food stamps, saying, "American taxpayers should not be footing the bill for people's dessert." To some the case has racial tones; she says not. I think her stand is valid. Sensible. Food stamps are supposed to be for essentials, not luxuries. You can't use them for cigarettes or lottery tickets, for example. Doesn't seem unreasonable that pies and cakes might join the no-buy list.

PUSSY RIOT SENT TO JAIL: You thought Russia had softened its intolerance of dissent? It hasn't. A Moscow judge has sentenced the three members of Russian female punk band Pussy Riot each to two years in prison on "hooliganism" charges stemming from a cathedral protest against Vladimir Putin. Click here for the story. The case has drawn much attention because of the band's support from human rights groups and from major music artists including Paul McCartney.

HEADLINES YOU THOUGHT YOU'D NEVER SEE: Click here. (It's the parents who named him who should be arrested).

1aa1beckDAVID BECKHAM, LARGER THAN LIFE: Ten-foot almost-nude statues (pictured) of soccer star/underwear model/apparent heartthrob David Beckham will soon appear all over the United States in an ad campaign for his "underwear collection." For some reason this makes me sad. But I am thankful at least that the woman in the photo isn't doing to the Beckham statue what she might have been. (Use your imagination...)

Click back. It says here I'll be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

August 15, 2012

Is it time to admit LeBron James could overtake Michael Jordan? Vote now! (with poll and new video); plus the Tannehill Bandwagon & more

1aa1me12BRAND NEW VIDEO: LEBRON VS. JORDAN: Less than a month ago I launched a video channel and we'll soon surpass 2,000 views. Thanks for the interest and support. Click on YouTube/TheGregCote to find all 12 "The View From Miami" mini-commentaries we've done so far including the latest on how LeBron James maybe being better than Michael Jordan no longer is the blasphemy it once was. Subscribe (it's free) to automatically get the latest videos as they are posted.

[1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 17. Anybody out there the least bit surprised that Stephen Morris was named Hurricanes starting QB? Hands, please. Yeah that's what I thought. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

LEBRON OVER JORDAN: IT ISN'T CRAZY TALK ANYMORE: Don't get me wrong and I'm going to underline it so you don't: To say it now would be 1aa1debatepremature. But the possibility of it is emerging. Outside of Chicago, perhaps, it no longer is blasphemous to suggest. For the first time I think the NBA has an active player -- and it is the Heat's LeBron James -- who could retire having surpassed Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player ever. LeBron in 2012 and Jordan in 1992 are the only two men to have won an NBA title, been regular-season and Finals MVP, and won a gold medal all in the same year. I doubt very much LeBron will ever catch Michael for number of championship rings but otherwise could be seen someday as having been a greater all-round player. There is growing momentum to at least have this conversation, to consider it. ESPN's First Take chewed it around today/Wednesday. Charles Barkley and John Salley both have said LeBron overtaking Jordan could happen. Today, Syracuse coach and U.S. Olympic assistant Jim Boeheim told radio's Colin Cowherd: "I've always thought Jordan was the best player I had ever seen. It wasn't close. Now, I'm not so sure." I'm not, either. Are you? Vote and say why.

Poll result: Strong approval for Chad Johnson being cut: We asked in the previous blogpost if you approved of the Dolphins releasing Chad Johnson (you can still vote) and 71.8 percent said yes, versus 21.6% no and 6.6% undecided.

THE TANNEHILL BANDWAGON WELCOMES YOU: Welcome aboard the Tannehill Bandwagon. I'm your driver. We're filling up fast so please grab a seat. I wrote on the first day of 1aa1laurenttraining camp that rookie Ryan Tannehill unequivocally should be named Dolphins starting quarterback, right now, and shouted it again after the first preseason game. Glad to see some of you are coming around. To the fans who thought me an idiot because Tannehill supposedly wasn't ready, welcome aboard. I forgive you. To my media brethren who wrote that either of the team's veteran QBs would give Miami a better chance to win but who have since magically done a 180 and are now calling Tannehill the Next Marino -- hey, anybody can change his mind. (Whoa, though. Hold on. Don't want the bandwagon to be ticketed for speeding!) Welcome aboard one and all. (Best part about the Tannehill Bandwagon? Ryan's wife Lauren, pictured, will be walking up and down the aisle handing out refreshments).

Highlights of last night's Hard Knocks: Most notable from Tuesday night's episode: 1) Coach Joe Philbin is shown telling Chad Johnson he's done. Chad: "I let you down a little. A lot. " Joe: "I don't see the mesh right now." 2) The news that QB David Garrard injured his knee not on the field but at home watching his kids in the pool. 3) Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's blistering talk to his unit, including telling rookie TE Michael Egnew, "Get your head out of your ass!" 4) Tannehill, made to sing as all rookies must, serenading the team with the perhaps prescient "Lean On Me." 5) GM Jeff Ireland on his wide receivers: "We got 4's, 5s and 6s. We gotta find who the 1s, 2s and 3s are." Bonus gem: Sherman's charmingly Bobby Bowden-esque expletive, "Gosh-daggit!"

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

August 13, 2012

Hard Knocks and Chad Johnson knockout (w/ poll); plus UM/FIU football odds, my latest video, LeBron's gold, D-Wade news, Romney/Ryan & more

1aa1mechadLATEST VIDEO! ON DOLPHINS CUTTING CHAD JOHNSON: Click on YouTube/TheGregCote for my channel of frequent mini-commentaries, including the newest on the departure of receiver Chad Johnson. Click Chad Johnson's Out Pattern for today's latest column by me. I say the Dolphins were right to cut Johnson. Have your say in the poll below. 

[1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15. Marlins lost a third straight game by shutout last night. OK the plastic-bat experiment is not working. Back to the wood. 2) Thanks again for ESPN's Outside The Lines for having us as a guest for a LeBron James/Tiger Woods-related segment. Lots of face-time for me. Ratings must have been plummeting! 3) Thanks, too, to old friend Dan Le Batard for having us on 790 The Ticket for his entire show yesterday. Fun. Maybe we'll do it again, who knows? 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

On the Latest Hard Knocks: Most notable from Tuesday night's Dolphins/Hard Knocks on HBO: 1) Coach Joe Philbin is shown telling Chad Johnson he's done. Chad: "I let you down a little. A lot. " Joe: "I don't see the mesh right now." 2) The news that QB David Garrard injured his knee not on the field but at home watching his kids in the pool. 3) Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's blistering talk to his unit, including telling rookie TE Michael Egnew, "Get your head out of your ass!" 4) QB Ryan Tannehill, made to sing as all rookies must, serenading the team with the perhaps prescient "Lean On Me." 5) GM Jeff Ireland on his wide receivers: "We got 4's, 5s and 6s. We gotta find who the 1s, 2s and 3s are." Honorable mention: Sherman's Bobby Bowden-esque expletive, "Gosh-daggit!" 

DOLPHINS CUTTING CHAD JOHNSON: RIGHT OR WRONG?: The Dolphins cut receiver Chad Johnson 1aa1chadjSunday night in the wake of his dropping the only pass thrown to him Friday night and then his arrest a day later for head-butting his wife in a domestic incident. Monday morning, Dolphins defensive leader Karlos Dansby blasted the team for not giving Johnson a second chance. Coach Joe Philbin later took a mild swipe at Dansby ("I'm of the opinion you should keep things in-house") and explained Johnson was released based on an "overall body of evidence" that Johnson and the Dolphins were not a "good fit." I support the Dolphins' decision on Johnson. Maybe you side with Dansby. Vote and say why.

Poll result: Dear Hanley: Boooo!: We asked in the previous blogpost how Marlins fans should react to Hanley Ramirez in his first return as a Dodger (you can still vote) and booing led with 44.2 percent. Another 27.2 voted for silence and 24.1 for cheering, with 4.5 not sure.

HURRICANES FOURTH-RANKED TO WIN ACC: Bovada's preseason college football coneference odds find Miami a surprisingly high fourth at 9-1 to win the ACC, after Florida State (an even 1-1), Virginia Tech (3-1) and Clemson (5-1). FIU is the Sun Belt favorite at 5-2, with FAU next to last at 30-1. The power-packed SEC is topped by Alabama 2-1 and LSU 5-2, with Florida sixth at 12-1. Other major-league faves are USC in the Pac-12 at a prohibitive 5-9; UCF topping Conference USA at 11-4; Oklahoma an even 1-1 in the Big 12; Louisville 2-1 to take the Big East with South Florida next at 7-2; and the Big Ten co-led by Michigan and Wisconsin at 9-5.

NFL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS ODDS: Also from Bovada, Packer Aaron Rodgers is MVP favorite at 11-2, followed by Patriot Tom Brady at 13-2, then a dropoff to Saint Drew Brees at 9-1 and Eagle Michael Vick and Bronco Peyton Manning both 10-1. Offensive rookie pick is Colt Andrew Luck at 5-2, then Redskin Robert Griffin III at 9-2. Defensive rookie pick is Panther Luke Kuechly at 4-1. Passing yards fave is Brees at 9-2, rushing yards Texan Arian Foster 9-2, and receiving yards Lion Calvin Johnson 7-2. The only Dolphin appearing in any category is Ryan Tannehill, sixth for offensive rookie at 10-1.    

BASKING IN THE GLOW OF GOLD: Ghurka, manufacturer of upscale leather goods, is coming out in 1aa1olychampsSeptember with a line of "man bags" called the Ghurka Cavalier series inspired by LeBron James and partly designed by LeBron' personal stylsit, Rachel Johnson. (Who knew LeBron had a personal stylist?) The three sizes will range in price from $695 to $1,495. I'm guessing the biggest of the three bags will be large enough to hold an NBA championship trophy, an Olympic gold medal and the adulation of millions. At left: One of the he-purses in LeBron's collection. Above: LeBron (lower left) and his Team USA mates exalt as well they should in Sunday's gold-medal triumph over Spain.

D-Wade's fantasy camp: Men, would you spend big bucks to hear Dwyane Wade pretend that he is truly impressed by your mad skills on a basketball court? Read on! Wade's second annual fantasy camp for men 35 and older is this Thursday through Sunday, August 16-19 at Loews Miami Beach. And it's only $12,500! But at least the list of coaches is seriously impressive, including Wade, Erik Spoelstra, Tim Hardaway, Rick Barry, Frank Martin and Jim Larranaga. Visit dwyanewadefantasycamp.com to register or for more info.

OLYMPIC WRAP-UP: I guess I'm the only soul on Earth who was disappointed with Sunday night's Closing Ceremonies from London, a very disjointed music-themed extravaganza. There were rumors of a big closing number by the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Paul McCartney, which might have redeemed the whole show. Never happened. Rule of thumb: When your show's most talked-about aspect is a Spice Girls reunion, you're in trouble. Pertinent final medals leaders.

United States 46G - 29S - 29B -- 104

China 38 - 27- 23 -- 88

Russia 24 - 26 - 32 -- 82

Great Britain 29 - 17 - 19 -- 65

Germany 11 - 19 - 14 -- 44

Cote d'Ivoire 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0

Cote, the Official National Team of This Blog, disappointed with nary a single medal. You let us down, d'Ivores. You did not do my name proud. Sincerely yours, Greg d'Ivoire, The Miami Herald.  

UH-OH. HERE COMES A POLITICAL ITEM: ("What the--this is supposed to be a bleepin' sports blog you 1aa1rr 1aa1rr1moron!") Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate is interesting. Ryan looks like Romney's son. At left, Romney relays a story about that time Paul broke curfew as a teen and Dad took away the keys to the yacht for an entire week. A movie about this campaign could be called WHITE & WHITER. The Republicans fight the perception they are for the rich in terms of tax breaks. Given that, I'm not sure if I think the Romney/Ryan campaign logo (right) is a smart idea. Cannot confirm rumors that, if this ticket is elected, the presidential residence would henceforth be called The Whitest House. (Note: Since the preceding item will be seen as pro-Democrat, let me balance that by pointing out that Barack Obama has comically big ears, leading directly to America's staggering 8.3 percent unemployment rate).

Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this latest blogpost. Maybe even some sports stuff...

August 06, 2012

Dolphins' gloomy outlook: Win odds for each game; plus my latest video (U-S-A!), Canes football over/under, Garrard, Uncle Luke, naked sushi & more

1aa1gc8NEW VIDEO! WHY YOU SHOULD BE ROOTING FOR U.S. WOMEN'S SOCCER MORE THAN FOR LEBRON'S TEAM USA: Click on YouTube/TheGregCote for my latest video, the eighth we've done so far.

[1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8. Marlins activate Giancarlo Stanton. 2) Happy to be back from a week's vacation (more on that below) and in the Blog Saddle again. 3) Join us at Twitter.com/gregcote. 4) U.S. places land rover on Mars. Obama links his administration with NASA triumph. Not to be outdone, Romney says he invented Mars]

"U-S-A!" WOMEN'S SOCCER WINS OLYMPIC THRILLER: America's women's soccer team played itself into the gold-medal match vs. Japan with a 4-3 overtime thriller over Canada yesterday. Extra time in the second overtime, seconds from a penalty-kicks tiebreaker, when Alex Morgan's goal decided it. USA rallied from three deficits to win. One of the best moments of these London Games. (In more of a ho-hum result, LeBron James and Team USA routed Argentina 126-97 in men's basketball).

DOLPHINS ONLY FAVORED TO WIN FIVE GAMES, SAYS MEAN-SPIRITED COMPUTER: The good folks at predictionmachine.com have run the coming NFL season 50,000 times (so you don't have to) and what spits out is not good news for Miami. Dolphins are given more than a 50 percent chance of winning in only 5 games and, factoring upsets, are given an overall victory over/under of 6.5. Best bets to win the Super Bowl are the Eagles (18% likelihood), Patriots (14.2), Packers (9.2), Texans (9.2) and Steelers (7.2), with Miami's title shot put at 0.2%. Game-by-game, here is how the computer sees the Dolphins chances of winning, from most to least likely: 65.8% vs Titans (Game 9); 61.6 vs Jaguars (G14); 60.2 @ Colts (G8); 54.6 vs Rams (G6); 52.3 vs Raiders (G2); 48.5 vs Jets (G3); 44.5 vs Seahawks (G11); 41.1 vs Bills (G15); 37.8 @ Cardinals (G4); 33.7 @ Jets (G7); 32.5 @ Bills (G10); 31.1 @ Bengals (G5); 27.5 vs Patriots (G12); 27.0 @ Texans (G1); 20.7 @ 49ers (G13); and 15.6 @ Patriots (G16).

Garrard out the gate as starting QB: Dolphins' first official in-season depth chart is out and has David Garrard at No. 1 quarterback ahead of Matt Moore and rookie Ryan Tannehill. But, as coach Joe Philbin said in a late-morning news conference, "It's a fluid situation." Offensive chief Mike Sherman today, on his QB situation: "That will not be a weakness of our football team. We'll have a good starter when we get done." Dolphins open their preseason schedule this Frday night at home vs. Tampa Bay.

Poll result: Dolfans not a real optimistic bunch: In the previous blogpost we invited you all to set expectations for the coming Dolphins season (you can still vote) and a plurality of 37.3 peercent voted "short again: 7 or 8 wins." Next came "wild-card contention: 9 wins" with 32.6%, followed by "not pretty: 6 or fewer wins" with 20.9%. Only 9.2% voted for "playoffs: 10-plus wins."

CANES FOOTBALL PEGGED FOR 7 WINS: The latest Bovada over/unders on regular-season college football wins peg UM for 7, trailing fellow in-staters FSU (10), Central Florida (8.5), Florida (8) and South Florida. Nothing for FIU or FAU, although I'd guess Panthers for around 9 and Owls for about 4. Nationally, joining Noles in double-digits are Alabama, Oregon and Southern Cal at 10.5 and LSU and Oklahoma at 10.

1aa1camlukeUNCLE LUKE PREVAILS: Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell (pictured), former notorious 2 Live Crew frontman turned Miami high-school football coach, has won a court fight to regain his full coaching certificate to continue as Northwestern's defensive coordinator. It was a victory over the Florida Department of Education, which was letting its view of Luke's past obscure the good he does now. Congrats to Luke and to his terrific attorney, our friend Mike Carney of Kubicki Draper.

1aa1goldclubOLYMPICS UPDATE: PHELPS PARTIES WITH GOLD MEDALS, PINOCCHIO IN JAVELIN: TMZ.com reports that swimmer Michael Phelps has been partying in London with his gold medals (pictured left), which is considerably more acceptable than partying in London with his bong. Note to regular guys in London bars: You have no pickup line that will compete with Michael 1aa1googlejavelinPhelps whipping out his gold. Pictured right: Google's latest Olympics-related icon appears to picture Pinoccio throwing a javelin. Serious Olympic comment: Serena Williams' gold-medal obliteration of Maria Sharapova was about as dominant a major championship performance as I can recall. Click here to hear a Jacksonville sportscaster rant against Bob Costas signing off past midnight. Updated pertinent Summer Olympics medal leaders are below, entering today's/Tuesday's action:

China 31 gold - 19 silver - 14 bronze -- 64 total

United States 29 - 15 - 19 -- 63

Great Britain 19 - 12 - 12 -- 43

Cote d'Ivoire 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0

Let's go Cote, Official National Team of This Blog!

Spoiler Alert! LeBron, Team USA win basketball gold!: I am tired of media outlets giving Olympic Spoiler Alerts. This is the instant-information age. If you honestly desire a self-imposed info blackout so that you can be surprised by a result eight hours after it happened, well, you're on your own, pal.

1aa1naked sushiEATING SUSHI OFF A NAKED WOMAN: Well who hasn't, right? A Miami Beach restaurant, Kung Fu Kitchen & Sushi, offers -- for $500 -- a platter of sushi served atop a nude woman (pictured). I see at least one health-code violation (no hair net). Personally, I'll stick with a standard dinner plate, thanks. Although I wouldn't mind being at the table next to the person ordering the Nudie Roll.

LATEST WORLD SERIES ODDS: Bovada's post-trade-deadline, stretch-run odds to win the World Series have it Yankees at 19-4, Rangers 5-1, Angels 15-2, Nationals 9-1 and Reds/Tigers both 10-1. Bleepin' Nats! Your disappointing Marlins are slotted 21st and can't imagine many takers even at 90-1.

MY SUMMER VACATION: Just returned from an eight-day New England holiday around Massachusetts and Maine. We started and ended in Boston, around the Wharf/North End area, and in between we hit 1aa1gcvacBar Harbor, Boothsbay Harbor and Ogunquit in Maine, and then Salem and Provincetown in Mass. The latter is proudly self-proclaimed as the gayest city in America and was, for its everybody-gets-along diversity, as impressive and memorable in its way as the vista of rocky coastline. Special thanks to that Minke whale for the impressive breaching. (Who knew there were Minke whales?) The scale says I gained only three pounds while away, which is stunning because I think I ate approximately 415 pounds of lobster and also may have consumed a beer or two, as indicated here.

1aa1dograftDEAR GREG...: "...your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a photo of an unbearably cute dog with plaintive eyes wearing a nautical life-vest. Thank you." Dear reader: Doubt I can find such a photo, sorry.

Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this Back From Vacation Jubilee Blogpost...

July 23, 2012

NCAA hammers Penn State. Fair? Vote! (with poll); plus farewell, Hanley Ramirez? (new video), ACC predix, Aurora & more

1aa1gcnewvidMY NEWEST VIDEO: FAREWELL, HANLEY RAMIREZ?: I have launched a new YouTube channel for daily one-minute commentaries called 'The View From Miami.' My fifth and latest video -- on speculation the Marlins are about to trade Hanley Ramirez -- is newly posted. View that and others at YouTube/TheGregCote.

We're on ESPN Outside the Lines today: I'll be a guest toady at 3 p.m. for a segment on the Penn State penalties.  

[1) It is TUESDAY, JULY 24. Click on Punishment Fits Crime for today's latest column by me, on the NCAA sanctions against Penn State. 2) Go, Molli, go! Am thrilled to report that the neighbor I wrote about a few blogposts ago, Molli Serrano, who overcame pancreatic cancer, did win that Kona Inspired vote and is headed to the Hawaii Ironman triathlon. Thanks to all of you who voted and passed along the link! 3) Reports are the Heat will open next season at home vs. Boston on Oct. 30, and host Oklahoma City Christmas Day. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

PENN STATE FOOTBALL SURVIVES, BUT THE SLEDGEHAMMER COMES DOWN: There had been talk of a 1aa1pssicoverpossible death penalty, which the NCAA has only done once (Southern Methodist, 1987). Instead, Penn State football has survived the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal -- but barely. Announced this/Monday morning: A $60 million fine, a bowl ban for the next four seasons, a total reduction of 80 scholarships over four years, 112 victories from 1998 through 2011 all vacated, plus five years of 1aa1pstateprobation. The erased wins means legendary-turned-shamed former coach Joe Paterno, whose statue came down Sunday in the wake of his implication in years of coverup, sees his career wins cascade from a record 409 to 298. And that's not to mention the damage to the name Penn State that might be indelible. Pictured right: The new Sports Illustrated cover. The penalties are harsh, but fair. But that's me. Do you think Penn State deserved more punishment, perhaps even the death penalty? Or do you feel the sanctions are too harsh or about right? Your vote and thoughts are welcome.

MARLINS WAVE THE WHITE TOWEL WITH SELLERS' TRADE: The disappointing, underperforming Marlins effectively gave up on the 2012 season yesterday by trading starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and starting second baseman Omar Infante to the Tigers in exchange for starting-pitching prospect Jacob Turner, young catcher Rob Brantley and lefty pitcher Brian Flynn, ages 21, 23 and 22, respectively. On the face of this deal it looks like Miami gave up two solid -- if unspectacular -- players for three question marks, three might-bes. Obviously if any of the three turn out to be great this trade will look much better in retrospect. For now, it looks like the Marlins are hitting the refresh button and starting again. Not sure anyone is untouchable except maybe Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Reyes. Speculation has the Red Sox after Josh Johnson, and Hanley Ramirez seems forever in the middle of rumors.

Poll result: No ads on NBA jerseys!: I hope David Stern weighs public sentiment as his league moves forward with plans to add advertising patches to NBA jerseys starting in 2013. I asked in the previous blogpost if you approved of the plan, and only 17.2 percent said yes, compared to 79.2% no and 3.6% undecided. Are you listening, Stern?

CANES PICKED FOR FIFTH PLACE IN ACC DIVISION: Ouch. The media think very little of the Miami football Hurricanes for this season. In voting at the ACC Kickoff event in North Carolina today, UM was picked to finish fifth in the Coastal Division, ahead of only Duke. The top four were Virginia Tech (overwhelmingly), Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia. Florida State was a landslide pick to win the other division.

OCHOCINCO IS CHAD JOHNSON AGAIN: Chad Ochocinco is now officially back to being the man he was: Chad Johnson. Now if he can go back to being the receiver he was, the Dolphins and their fans would be mighty thankful.

THE BRITISH OPEN MELTDOWN: Watched yesterday as Adam Scott blew a four-shot lead with four holes to play and made it Too Easy for the Big Easy, Ernie Els, to win the British Open. Els' first major victory in 10 years was a nice story, but this was Scott losing more than Els winning. Meltdowns in golf are more compelling than in most other sports, because they happen gradually and you are alone out there, your collapse spot-lit.

SOMEBODY OUT-DESPICABLES JERRY SANDUSKY: He is James Holmes, the piece of s--- who 1aa1jholmesmassacred 12 people (oops, allegedly) in that Aurora, Colo., movie theater. If this crime is not justification for the death penalty, there is  none. If this crime does not agitate a national discussion on toughening gun control, nothing will. The (alleged) puddle of scum is pictured in a court appearance today. That clown-orange hair should be shaved off his head and, were I the barber, I'm not sure I'd be all that careful with the straight razor.

Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this latest blogpost...

July 18, 2012

Yes. Yes, Ozzie DID say that; plus Marlins trade rumors, The View From Miami (new video!), Olympic pole dancing, Heat, Dolphins, Gaga & more

1aa1tvfm2NEW VIDEO! Greg Cote's The View From Miami #2 * 7-19-12 * U.S. Olympic Uniforms -- This week I launched a series of one-minute videos about various stuff called The View From Miami (TVFM). Might be daily, maybe a few a week, maybe occasional, we'll see how it goes. Click on TVFM#2 for my YouTube channel to access the latest vid or to see both.

[1) It is FRIDAY, JULY 20. 2) UM dismisses senior safety Ray-Ray Armstrong. Good for Al Golden. Armstrong's bad decisions painted his own departure. 2) Ex-Dolpins LB Joey Porter is retiring as a Steeler. 3) Dez Bryant arrested for attacking his mother. Ma hasn't had this much attention since Jeff Ireland saw to it. 4) Knicks did the right thing letting Jeremy Lin go to Houston. Does Linsanity even exist anymore? 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

OZZIE: TIME FOR MARLINS TO STICK THEIR "D--K IN THE DIRT": Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen displayed inventive variation in his vulgarity Wednesday night in Episode 2 of Showtime's The Franchise. 1aa1ozgAnyone who thought Oz was a one-trick pony with the F-bombs has undersold the man severely. About 25 minutes into the 30-minute segment, Guillen is in the clubhouse addressing his underperforming team as it returns from the All-Star Break, tells his players he hopes they had a nice rest and adds: "Now it's time to stick your d--k in the dirt." I re-watched the show on-demand today and re-wound that part several times to make sure that is what he said. It is. I'm as vulgar as the next guy (well, unless the next guy is Guillen) but had not heard that phrase. Is sticking one's d--k in the dirt a good thing? I consulted urbandictionary.com and discovered the phrase can be a negative condition of having been knocked to the ground, but also a reference to knocking someone out, so we'll assume Guillen meant the latter to inspire his team. It's like a Gipper speech, but R-rated. Never a dull moment with Guillen, or a moment free of !@#$%s and [bleep]s, apparently.   

Marlins willing to trade Hanley, others?: Reports yesterday had the Marlins exploring trades involving third baseman Hanley Ramirez and others prior to 1aa1carlcthe July 31 deadline. USA Today had the Marlins pondering a deal with Boston to send left fielder Carl Crawford (pictured) and a prospect here for Ramirez and closer Heath Bell. FoxSports had Boston approaching Miami about dealing Crawford for either Ramirez or shortstop Jose Reyes. USA Today also floated a suggestion the club has discussed trades involving Josh Johnson, Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez. However, ESPN's Buster Olney then Tweeted that the Crawford/Ramirez deal was "brought up briefly as concept, immediately died." A Marlins source of mine said the club is torn whether to be a buyer or seller. I wouldn't deal Reyes or Ramirez for Crawford, who turns 31 in August and has dealt with wrist and elbow issues. Interesting, though, the speculation. The Marlins distance themselves from any truth to the rumors. But where there's smoke...

DENIED LONDON, POLE DANCERS SET SIGHTS ON 2016 OLYMPICS: This is one of those stories that is at once serious and silly: A petition, fueled by the Pole Fitness Association and other advocacy groups, to get pole dancing into the Olympics. Or, as they prefer to call it: "Vertical dance." 1aa1poled 1aa1rio2016Pictured: KT Coates, a pole dance advocate from the United Kingdom who failed in efforts to get her sport into the 2012 London Games. Advocates are now taking aim at the '16 Summer Games in (a perfect city for pole dancing!) partying Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pole dancing, though suburbanized as a fitness outlet for moms and other non-strippers, unfortunately maintains its seedier connotation associated with gentlemen's clubs, lap dances and athletes making it rain. I am picturing the first Olympic pole-dance medal ceremony. The gold medalist bends forward to receive her medal as a leering IOC official discreetly slips a $100 bill into her cleavage. Well, as discreetly one one can in an internationally televised event!

Poll result: Basketball, track, swimming win your Olympic medals: We asked in the previous blogpost what Summer Olympics sports you are most looking forward to, inviting you to select your top two from eight options (you may still vote), and the winners were basketball (gold, 28.3 percent); track and field (silver, 27.1%); and swimming (bronze, 18.8%).

DOLPHINS' YOUNG-PLAYERS RANKING: ESPN.com presents NFL "Organizational Rankings" in the category of players 25 and younger. Patriots are No. 1 overall and Dolphins are 25th -- but ahead of the Bills (29th) and Jets (30th). AFC East'ers among the Top 25 prospects are Jets WR Jeremy Kerley (13th), Patriots QB Ryan Mallett (16th) and Pats OL Marcus Cannon (19th). I might have ranked Miami higher in the U25s. To mind come the names Vontae Davis, Reshad Jones, Jared Odrick, Mike Pouncey, Sean Smith and Ryan Tannehill.

WHITE HOUSE HONORS 'GREEN' HEAT: The Heat will be among teams honored at the White House today in an event focusing on sports franchises and facilities that lead the way in recycling, energy efficiency and other green initiatives. Jackie Ventura, operations coordinator for the Heat's arena, will represent the club. [On the court, Heat developmental team fell to 2-1 in the Las Vegas Summer League in a 65-62 loss to Golden State last night. Norris Cole had 15 points].

1aa1dumervilbbMAKING FUN OF DUMBASS ATHLETES: Someone in Denver paid for the billboard pictured to poke fun (albeit gently) at Broncos defender Elvis Dumervil for his recent arrest in Miami in a road-rage incident involving a gun. It reads, "Dumervil: Sticks with the Guns that made you a Star." I see this as a promising trend. More athletes might be dissuaded from appearing on police reports if the shame included mocking billboards in the cities in which they play. Fans, make it a grass-roots movement!

1aa1gagaadLADY GAGA'S NEW PERFUME AD: What is it about celebrity that celebrities think lends itself to a signature cologne or perfume? It seems everybody in entertainment has one now. Am waiting for a Larry the Cable Guy Body Spray. I think fandom might be traversing a dark, creepy road when we not only want to be like our favorite star but also smell like them. I digress. Here is the new ad for the inevitable new Lady Gaga scent. The good news? Ladies, this perfume will have men crawling all over you. The bad news? They'll all be tiny little men with tiny little ... let's move on.

Click back. Will be adding/updating to this latest blogpost and that's a fact....