October 19, 2018

Will 'Mr. Brocktober' lead a Dolphins upset of Detroit on Sunday? All our latest NFL Week 7 picks, right here!; plus your detailed verdict of Miami Heat season expectations, The List (career TD passes) & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat open season with expectations poll, Dolphins turn exciting and fun, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's college State of the State rank & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

IT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-LIONS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: An exhilarating, exciting, comeback home win over the mighty (we thought) Bears last Picks
Detmiaweek left Miami 4-2 and ebullient. The bad news? The wins gotta keep comin' for the playoffs to loom into view. In a very-crowded-at-the-top AFC, six teams have two losses and five others have three. ESPN'S Football Power Index today slots Miami ninth in line for six playoff tickets, with a 20.9 percent postseason likelihood. So the Dolphins must keep winning games within reach of them. Enter Detroit on Sunday. Detroit is a road favorite, perhaps because Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) is out again and Brock Osweiler is in. Will the "Mr. Brocktober" magic continue? Read the full Fins-Lions predix capsule at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is sailing well. We are a stout 64-27-2 overall (.703) and more importantly a strong 52-38-3 against the spread (.578) entering Week 7. (Unfortunately our week got off to a shaky start Thursday night with badly misplaced faith on the miserable, cowardly Cardinals. Not that I'm bitter!). Dive into Week 7 Gems for all of our latest picks.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-Good. Also: No More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

POLL RESULTS: YOU SET HEAT EXPECTATIONS AT MODEST, BUT PLAYOFFS: Miami is 1-1 entering Saturdays home opener. Before the first game we asked, "What is the most likely number of Miami Heat regular-season wins in 2018-19?" Your results:

44.07% -- 45 to 49 wins,a solid playoff number.

28.81% -- 40 to 44 wins, a marginal/maybe playoff number.

11.86% -- 50 or more wins, top-four-seed territory.

10.17% -- 35 to 39 wins, no postseason for you.

5.08% -- 34 or fewer wins, thinking draft lottery.

THE LIST: NFL TOUCHDOWN PASS LEADERS: With Drew Brees on the doorstep of a milestone, the top 10 NFL career leaders in TD passes

1. Peyton Manning                       539

2. Brett Favre                                508

3. Tom Brady, Patriots                 501

4. Drew Brees, Saints                  499

5. Dan Marino                               420

6. Philip Rivers, Chargers          357

7. Eli Manning, Giants                 345

8. Fran Tarkenton                         342

9. Ben Rothelisberger, Steelers   341

10. Aaron Rodgers, Packers         325

Note: Next among active players are Falcons' Matt Ryan (274), Lions' Matthew Stafford (226) and Ravens' Joe Flacco (209).

Other select recent columns: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 18, 2018

Miami Heat open with loss in Orlando. You set bar on season expectations/wins. New poll. Vote now!; plus how Dolphins went from Dullphins to exciting and fun, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more

1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18. Find the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results in the previous blogpost or see them directly here. 2) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Bears in OT with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

OPENING NIGHT! HEAT BEGIN SEASON OF MYSTERIOUS EXPECTATIONS. YOU SET THE BAR IN NEW POLL: Heat lose opener in Orlando, 104-101, last night despite Goran Dragic's 26 points, Josh Richardson's 21 and Hassan Whiteside's 18 rebounds. Dwyane Wade has 9 off bench on only 3-of-13 shooting. Miami had an early 14-point lead but frittered it away against a bad Magic squad. Disappointing ..... Original post: Miami opens its 31st NBA season -- and Dwyane Wade's last -- tonight at 7 in Orlando, Dwadewhich has six straight losing seasons and is on its fifth coach since 2012. The Magic is the opposite of the steady Heat. It would be a surprise if Miami didn't come away 1-0, even though the Heat battle injury issues with James Johnson and (of course) Dion Waiters out, and Justise Winslow and Wayne Ellington both doubtful. Heat return a largely intact 44-38 team for Erik Spoelstra's 11th season, trying to find a way to get back in the playoffs and improve upon last season's 4-1 first-round ouster by Philadelphia. Wade and Udonis Haslem beginning their final Heat season tops the emotional marquee in Miami. But the trade that didn't happen (or at least hasn't yet) is on the mind. Jimmy Butler. In going hard after him Miami obviously felt it needed the impact player it now lacks to be a real player in the East. The Heat wins with great coaching, stout defense, balanced scoring and depth. But it lacks starpower and an elite playmaker, no knock on Wade (pictured), who is easing toward retirement at age 36. So, sans Butler, how good will the Heat be? Eight of 15 teams make the East playoffs, and Miami should be one of those. Based on ESPN's Power Rankings, Miami is fifth-best in the East. Based on Basketball Power Index win projections, Miami is seventh (at 42.3). The Heat must break into the clear upper tier of the East (Celtics, Raptors, 76ers, Bucks) to earn home-court advantage in the playoffs. Assuming no Butler trade, what are your expectations for this Heat season? Set the bar in this new poll and remember to vote not on what you're hoping for as a fan, but what you are logically expecting and would bet on. Vote now!

HighfiveEXCITING, EXPLOSIVE AND FUN. YES, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DOLPHINS: The Miami Dolphins at 4-2 are a lot of things they typically are not. They're fun. They're a big-play team. They have opponent-beating speed. I explain all the ways they suddenly have become an interesting team ... and why they should be a playoff team this season. Two of the big reasons -- Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant -- are pictured at left. This is the gist of my latest column. To read it, visit Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-Good.

Other select recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

RYAN WINS WEEK, COUSINS TAKES OVER, OSWEILER COMES UP BIG / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: Falcons' Matt Ryan scored a 52.70-point game to Brockowin Week 6 honors and vault to third place in the Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Viking Kirk Cousins displaces Saint Drew Brees for the overall season lead, owing largely to Brees' bye week. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. Dolphin Brock Osweiler (pictured), filling in for injured Ryan Tannehill, scored a 39.00-point game that ranked fifth for the week. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table entering Week 7:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK6           Season

1       2       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  30.65         250.55

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                    BYE            241.90

3       7       Matt Ryan, ATL                     52.70         231.75

4       3       Jared Goff, LAR                    12.05         221.40

5       5       Patrick Mahomes, KC             33.60         218.25

6       9       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         44.45         215.65

7       4       Philip Rivers, LAC                  20.35         213.10

8       8       Aaron Rodgers, GB                36.25         208.35

9       6       Andrew Luck, IND                 21.05         202.60

10     13     Tom Brady, NE                       38.00         196.95

11     11     Andy Dalton, CIN                   27.45         193.70

12     10     Derek Carr, OAK                    22.10         192.15

13     14     Joe Flacco, BAL                     29.90         188.40

14     12     Eli Manning, NYG                   16.05         180.10

15     15     Deshaun Watson, HOU           15.85         173.90

27     22     Ryan Tannehill, MIA               DNP           112.60

35     39     Brock Osweiler, MIA               39.00          46.75

        Bubble: Mitch Trubisky, CHI, 164.05. Week 6 best: Ryan, ATL, 52.70 (31-41, 354, 3-0 in win). Week 6 worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, 0.05 (6-12, 61, 1-2 in loss). Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 6 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: SOLID ON PICKS, BUT MORE OH-NO-LOBOS: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Pretty solid again. We were 11-4 overall but 7-8 against the spread -- our first week sub-.500 ATS, though a survivable stumble. We nailed another Upset of the Week with Steelers winning at Cincy ("Aawwk!"), scored another outright upset with Cowboys beating Jacksonville, and had Bills-with-point over Houston. This hurt: Wrote that our gut feeling was Dolphins over Chicago but changed our mind. Wish I hadn't! Greg's Lobos: Ouch ... again. The Lobos fell to 2-4 with an embarrassing fourth straight loss, beaten by the fruit of our own loins in falling 157.8 to 114.1 to Chris. Got a huge 39.2 points from Tyreek Hill and way too little from anyone else. A combined 20.9 from my QB and two RBs will get you beat most weeks. We've got problems beyond the Le'Veon Bell mess. But knowing that and finding a remedy are two different animals. Still plenty of time. #WeAreTheLobos

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (6-0); 2. Florida (6-1); 3. Miami (5-2); 4. South Florida (6-0); 5. Florida State (3-3); 6. FIU (4-2); 7. FAU (3-3).

Other select columns: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 16, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 75.0% after 31-28 OT thriller over Chicago. Plus our postgame thoughts; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 15. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes at Virginia with CSM poll, rest of state Collball, your Heat/Butler trade verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest CSM results in: Voting is complete in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll following Saturday's 16-13 loss at Virginia. Find it in the previous blogpost or directly here.

Our most recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers and Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Also: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 75.0%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 75.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-28 overtime home victory over Chicago putting Miami's season record 4-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its 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 morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 67% approval).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

Next poll: Oct. 21 following game vs. Detroit.

G6: CHICAGO AT DOLPHINS: BOUNCEBACK BY FINS DOUBLY TRICKY WITH TANNEHILL OUT: Postgame thoughts: The Dolphins' 31-28 overtime home win over favored Chicago today had to be one of the better regular season shows in franchise history. Ryan Tannehill sat out inactive with a shoulder injury. Miami should have had no chance against a vaunted Bears defense. But the Fins, down 21-10 deep ino the third quarterback, kept fighting back, kept answering. There were heroes everywhere. Brock Osweiler passed for 380 yards and three TDs. Albert Wilson had 155 yards receiving and two scores. Frank Gore rushed for 101 yards. The depleted O-line erased Khalil Mack and gave up zero sacks. But it allwould have zeroed in on Kenyan Drake's goalline lost fumble in OT had Miami not won on a last second 47-yard field goal. What an exhilarating win for a Dolphins team that overcame consecutive bad losses and is now 4-2 on the year ..... Halftime thoughts: With QB Ryan Tannehill unexpectedly inactive with a shoulder injury, Brock Osweiler has done well: 12-for-19 for 114 yards and a 5-yard TD pass to Nick O'Leary. Only a later interception has smudged his day so far. Meanwhile two big defensive  plays -- a Reshad Jones fourth-down stop and a Kiko Alonso goalline fumble -- have preserved the shutout. This would be a significant upset. But can Miami close the deal? ..... Original post: Miami coach Adam Gase has a brief history with the Bears, having served one year as their offensive Miachicoordinator in 2015, in between his time in Denver and his coming to the Dolphins. His relationship with Jay Cutler that year led to Cutler's ill-fated signing by the Dolphins last season. Alas, I don't see Gase getting much more from the Bears on Sunday. Chicago is 3-1 and coming off a bye as a 3-point favorite entering Sunday's 1 p.m. game here. Miami is 3-2 and coming off consecutive awful road losses. It's the right time for a home game for Miami. But the wrong opponent. Our NFL predictions get from conception to delivery in myriad ways. Here, the gut feeling out the gate was to go with Miami — one of seven home ‘dogs in Week 6 — in a pretty big upset. The gut is usually enough. I’m a bit superstitious about thinking one thing and then changing my mind. But I did on this. Yes, the Dolphins (2-0 at home) have a reasonable upset shot, although I’d feel better about that if I was sure left tackle Laremy Tunsil (concussion protocol) would play. I mean, Bears sackstar Khalil Mack will wreak havoc regardless, but the likelihood of a Ryan Tannehill nightmare spikes sharply without Tunsil. This game arrives as a rare treat; it is only these teams’ fifth meeting since 2002 realignment, and also carries the faint echo of the famous 1985 meeting at the Orange Bowl, when the Bears were 12-0 but Miami won 38-24 to protect the Perfect '72 Fins' place in history. Alas, this meeting finds Miami coming off two straight dispiriting losses in Foxborough and in Cincy while hot Chicago is percolating on both sides of the ball. That’s why the betting line opened dead-even but moved strongly as money poured onto the Bears. Tannehill must outperform (not to mention outscore) Mitch Trubisky, but that’s a bigger ask of Tanny versus a Bears defense I’d judge among the league’s top three. For a Dolphins squad trying to heal from consecutive road meltdowns, this home game is well-timed. If only this opponent were as well. My pick: Bears, 23-16.

Visit Week 6 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. Explainer: There was some confusion on two of my picks this week. I had Vikings winning and covering Sunday vs. Cardinals. I had Texans beating Bills, but Bills covering.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Butler deal dead (for now) as season tips off in 2 days: Preseason? Done. Jimmy Butler trade? On life support. Regular season? Upon us. Miami's 31st NBA season tips off with road games Wednesday and Thursday at Orlando and Washington, and then the home opener on Saturday vs. Charlotte. The season will be about Dwyane Wade's "last dance" with Miami. It might have co-starred Jimmy Butler, but it appears that would-be trade has left the building.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami beats Bears in overtime thriller: Consecutive awful road losses -- 38-7 in Foxboro and then a blown 17-point lead in Cincinnati -- had the Dolphins hoping for some home healing Sunday vs. Chicago, and finding it in a 31-28 OT triumph. Ryan Tannehill sat out unexpectedly with a shoulder injury. Didn't matter. Brock Osweiler, the Wizard of Os, threw for 380 yards.

3. HURRICANES: UM loses at Virginia as benched Perry fails in first road start: Miami was No. 16 and 5-1 entering Charlottesville Saturday night but a mere 6 1/2-point favorite over the 3-2 Cavaliers in N'Kosi Perry's first career road start. We saw why. Perry stunk, Miami lost 16-13 and it appears Mark Richt is a man without a quarterback. 

4. PANTHERS: Cats' launch 25th home season with losses: Florida fell down by two goals early only to fight for a 4-3 lead and then lose 5-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in Thursday night's home opener. Worse: Cats have played three games in the young season and are yet to win. Way too desperate way too soon is where this team finds itself.

5. MLB: NL, AL championship series underway: The Brewers and Dodgers are two games into their NLCS and tied 1-1 while the Red Sox pulled even with the Astros in their ALCS Game 2 Sunday night. Milwaukee, having never won a title in 50 seasons, is your Cinderella-designate of the final four. Amazing Christian Yelich had the season he did in those glass slippers.

6. MARLINS: Fish boot half of coaching staff after last-place finish: The Marlins fired four from their coaching staff including their pitching coach and popular longtime infield guru Perry Hill. Yeah, that'll solve it. It wasn't the massive payroll dump that caused the losing. It was coaching!

7. GATORS: Florida escapes Vanderbilt: The Gators trailed much of the game Saturday but a big second half carried UF, 37-27.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Upsets shake up CFP outlook: Georgia, West Virginia and Washington were among ranked upset losers Saturday, with Georgia's loss shaking up the College Football Playoff grid. The one constant: Alabama keeps winning

9. FIU: Rally, late stop lift Panthers: FIU beat Middle Tennessee State with an 11-point fourth quarter rally on then an end-zone interception in final minute. Nice win for the ButchCats.

10. MMA: Controversy throughout sport!: Scandal in the wake of the Conor McGrgeor fight and now controversy in Bellator, too. Or, did that go without saying?

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,808 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 15, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 13.0% following 16-13 UM loss at Virginia; plus I TOLD y'all it was a 'Nervous-Night Alert' for Canes!, other state Collball, your Heat/Butler verdict & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins-Bears and other NFL Week 6 picks, Heat/Jimmy Butler poll, Panthers drop home opener & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers and Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Also: Kid QB Passes His Big Test (N'Kosi Perry), Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

NFL Week 6 picks: Dolphins-Bears and the rest: Get 'em all right here. Dive into Week 6 Gems.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 13.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they 13.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of 1aa1csmSaturday night's 16-13 loss at Virginia putting No. 16 UM's season record at 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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 9:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval there was 19.0%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

G6: 91.1% following 28-27 victory vs. FSU.

G7: 13.0% following 16-13 loss at Virginia.

Next poll: Oct. 26 (after bye) following game at Boston College.

MiavaG7: @VIRGINIA BEATS NO. 16 HURRICANES, 16-13  AT VIRGINIA: NEITHER PERRY NOR ROSIER CAN AVERT BAD ROAD LOSS: Postgame thoughts: N'Kosi Perry stunk in his first career road start, threw two interceptions, and was benched. Deposed starter Malik Rosier came in, threw an interception and also was largely ineffective. The offensive line didn't enhance either QB's chances. We called it a danger game for UM, a letdown risk, and we were right. Original post: It isn't as dire as an official Upset Alert, no, but I issue a Nervous-Night Alert because so many tea leaves are telling me 5-1 UM may be in for a real fight at 3-2 Virginia Saturday night at 7. It's a road ACC division game at night, the Cavaliers aren't that bad and are 3-0 at home, Miami has lost three of the past four meetings in Charlottesville, and this will be N'Kosi Perry's first career game and start away from the friendly confines of Hard Rock. And those aren't even the main reasons for concern. This is: A letdown. For me, despite all of Mark Richt's preaching to his Canes, UM is at risk of a we-can-coast-a-little mindset in the wake of all the ballyhoo leading up to last week's FSU game and then Miami's dramatic comeback for a 28-27 win. It's tough to get up like that two weeks in a row. UM won't need that same level on Saturday, but neither can it afford to come out flat and hope to win on cruise-control. The U bumped up only one spot in the polls, so that rally past the Noles didn't impress the ranker-nerds all that much. Now UM is a modest 6 1/2-point favorite. (Florida is full of state FBS games designed to make fans nervous this week. Like UM, the Gators, UCF and South Florida all are ranked road favorites -- but by a single score. And FIU is favored at home by a scant 2 points). I see the Canes defense humbling a Cavaliers offense averaging 30 points. But this is another big test in Perry's development, and a turnover or two by him could keep it close. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-17.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Miami-Virginia above, here's chronological Week 7 schedule for the rest (all Saturday but where noted):

No. 23 South Florida (6-0) beats Tulsa (1-5), 25-24: Under the Friday lights on ESPN, Bulls needed a big fourth quarter road rally to escape a Tulsa squad not as bad as its record suggests.

No. 14 Florida (6-1) beats Vanderbilt (3-4), 37-27: Hot Gators risked road letdown after huge upset of No. 5 LSU last week, and needed 24-0 second half to rally poast Vandy.

No. 10 UCF (6-0) beats Memphis (4-3), 31-30: Knights were modest 4 1/2-point pick in AAC matchup, perhaps because Tigers were 4-0 at home, but rallied in second half. 

FIU (4-2) beats Middle Tennessee State (3-3), 24-21: Panthers, a 2-point fave, rallied in fourth quarter to  overtake the Conference USA East division lead.

Off this week: FAU (3-3; next at Marshall) and FSU (3-3; next vs. Wake Forest).

Week 7 national Top 25 matchups (3): No.13 LSU beats No. 2 Georgia, 36-16; 17-Oregon beats 7-Washington, 30-27 (OT); and 12-Michigan beats 15-Wisconsin, 38-13.

POLL RESULT: NO! HEAT SHOULD NOT GIVE UP TOO MUCH FOR BUTLER!: We asked, "Should the Miami Heat trade Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and a 2019 first-round draft pick to acquire Jimmy Butler?" and offered four choices, with a plurality of 48.31 percent, voting a strong no. Then it was 23.60% a soft no, 16.05% a strong yes, and 11.24% a soft yes. Broken down to yays and nays, it was 71.91% no and 28.09% yes.

Other select columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 12, 2018

Dolphins-Bears, other NFL Week 6 picks fresh out the oven!: plus Heat/Jimmy Butler poll. Last day to vote!; also, Panthers drop home-opener 5-4, the Tannehill column & more

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12. Happy birthday yesterday to my brother. Love you, big bro! 2) Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The Ryan Tannehill column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State college rankings, latest Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers and Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Also: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

PicksIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-BEARS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 6 PICKS: Consecutive bad, bad road losses make Sunday a well-timed home game for the Dolphins, but the hot Bears are hardly the right opponent. Ryan Tannehill and the Fins are going to find it another tough go against a very strong Chicago defense led by unstoppable Khalil Mack. Read the full predix capsule at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a blazing start. We are a stout 53-23-2 overall (.697) and more importantly a strong 45-30-3 against the spread (.600) entering Week 6. (Sad to say our new week got off to a rocky start last night thanks to a misplaced gamble on the rotten Giants, who laid down like mangy, pathetic dogs at home Thursday. Not that I'm bitter). Dive into Week 6 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included is a separate link to Thursday night's pick, unfortunately). 

JbutlerHOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH FOR HEAT TO GIVE UP FOR JIMMY BUTLER?: The Miami Heat really want Jimmy Butler (pictured), the Minnesota Timberwolves guard pushing to be traded. But at what cost? Some reports are that Miami has offered Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and a 2019 first-round draft pick. That to me is too much (hate to part with Richardson especially), but it's a close call. Butler is a 6-8 swingman, a four-time all-star, a 20-to-24 points scorer who absolutely would make Miami better this season -- maybe a team fighting for a top-four seed instead of scrambling for a seventh or eighth. But he also is 29, and could become a free agent in July. If you were the Heat would you make the deal being speculated? Take a dip in our poll. Vote now:

Cats CatsPANTHERS OPEN 25TH HOME SEASON WITH 5-4 LOSS: For my column from the arena on tonight's loss, visit: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers. Original post: I'll be at the Sunrise arena for tonight's home launch of the Florida Panthers' 25th hockey season and second under coach Bob Boughner. It began inauspiciously Saturday with a 2-1 shootout loss at Tampa Bay. Worse, goaltender Robert Luongo left with a knee injury and will miss at least a couple of weeks. Not a great omen when your 39-year-old goalie can't get out of the first game. Still, hopes are high because the Cats finished so strong last season. On Jan. 25 they were 19-22-6 (or nine games under .500 on wins/losses). After that they were 28-8-2 -- or 15 games over .500. The big finish very narrowly missed a playoff spot. The returning nucleus of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad and Aaron Ekblad forms much expectation. Will this be the season the Cats finally live up? Florida has made the playoffs only five times (last in 2016) and not won a playoff series since that stirring Year of the Rat run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996. It's time.

Other select columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 09, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.4%; plus Tannehill, Fins collapse, blow huge lead in 27-17 loss in Cincy; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 8. Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results (they're sky-high) may be found in the previous blogpost. 2) Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rally past FSU with CSM poll, other state Collball, your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: From Canes' comeback win over FSU: From the stadium on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, led by N'Kosi Perry's four touchdown passes: Kid QB Passes His Big Test. Also, voting continues all day in the latest Canesfan postgame poll. Find it in the blogpost directly below or get there directly here. 

Select recent other columns: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 6.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 6.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 27-17 road loss at Cincinnati putting Miami's season record at 3-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its 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 morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 20%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

Next poll: Oct. 14 following game vs. Chicago.

G5: CINCINNATI 27, DOLPHINS 17: COMPLETE COLLAPSE AS MIAMI BLOWS 17-POINT LEAD!Postgame thoughts at Bengals, 27-17: A tale of two Miamis. Saturday, the Hurricanes overcome a 20-7 halftime hole to beat FSU 28-27. Today, the Dolphins blow a 14-0 halftime lead, completely collapse and fall in Cincinnati 27-17. It was a Tannehill second-half meltdown, first with a 22-yard interception-return TD, then with a sack/fumble returned 19 yards for a score, and finally with another interception. Penalties hurt Miami again, too. As usual. So a season once 3-0 is now 3-2. And Dolfans are left to wonder which was worse: Getting blown out 38-7 in Foxboro. Or the 27 straight unanswered points given up today. Close call. No winning answer .....     Halftime thoughts at Dolphins, 14-0: A Kiko Alonso red-zone interception. A 22-yard Ryan Tannehill TD strike to Kenyan Drake. Vincent Taylor's block of a short field goal attempt. Jakeem Grant's late 70-yard punt=return score. Big plays are carrying the Dolphins so far in Cincinnati, a low-scoring upset in the making. Long way to go, but thus far a very impressive bounceback performance by Dolphins after last week's fiasco in Foxboro ..... Original post: Dolphins need a healing win after last week's 38-7 loss to the Patriots in the Fiasco at Foxboro, but finding Miacinthat remedy Sunday in Cincinnati will be tough in this duel of 3-1 teams and unlikely division leaders. Miami hasn't been 4-1 through five games since 2003, and I do not see them getting there on the road vs. the Bengals. This marks only these teams' seventh meeting since 2000, with Cincy winning the most recent, 22-7, in 2016. Andy Dalton is 1-2 in his career vs. Miami with five interceptions, but the Bengals' uptempo offense is the best and most balanced it has been in years, and the ‘Gals add two key pieces here, getting top defender Vontaze Burfict back from suspension and also expecting to have starting running back Joe Mixon back from injury. In contrast, Miami could be missing as many as six starters to injuries. Yes, there are reasons Cincy is favored by 5 1/2 points. This in some ways might be a bigger defensive challenge for Miami then even the Patriots were last week. Dalton to A.J. Green will be a handful for Xavien Howard, and Mixon and Gio Bernard form one of NFL’s better running back tandems. (Speaking of running backs, look for Dolphins coach Adam Gase to remember that Kenyan Drake is pretty good and start feeding him the ball again. That was the focus of this column by me. Maybe Adam read it). Ball control to limit Cincy’s offensive forays might be Miami’s best upset shot. I do think the Dolphins are a fair bet to cover the point spread. Bengals could be in letdown mode after last week’s last-second 37-36 upset win in Atlanta. But the Fins lost a lot of trust capital with me in that utter collapse last week. Also, the Dolphins are only 1-6 in their past seven road games, making this a strong venue call. My pick: Bengals, 30-20.

Watch for latest DSM postgame poll, right here and also on my Twitter site, right after today's game ends.

Visit Week 5 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Perry, defense lead miracle-rally past FSU: Miami trailed 20-7 at home into the third quarter Saturday. Little was going right. But N'Kosi Perry's three second-half TD passes and a mighty defense rising up worked the Miracle On Marino Boulevard. For my game column centered on Perry: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami blows 17-point in monumental collapse in Cincinnati: At 3-0 Dolfans were chanting "Su-per Bowl!" After a 38-7 loss in New England it was "Here we go again." And then came Sunday's 27-17 loss in Cincy after Fins blew 17-0 lead. Until further notice: Same ol' Dolphins.

3. HEAT: Butler trade reportedly falls apart: Heat is 0-3 halfway through its six-game preseason schedule as the Oct. 17 regular season opens draws nearer. More importantly, the push to trade for Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler, so close, fell apart over the weekend, ESPN reported.

4. PANTHERS: Cats open 25th season with loss, Luongo injury: A 2-1 season-opening shootout loss at Tampa Bay and goalie Roberto Luongo helped off the ice in the second period with a knee injury made for what you'd call an inauspicious debut Saturday night. Luongo will be sidelined two to four weeks, missing Thursday's home opener. 

5. MLB: Brewers first team to clinch division series: Brewers swept Rockies 3-0 while Dodgers are up 2-1 on Braves and can cinch today. In AL, Astros lead Indians 2-0 and can clinch today, while Red Sox and Yankees are tied 1-1 entering Game 3 today. Over/under on that one is what, 4 hours?

6. UFC: Nurmagomedov beats McGregor, brawl ensues: Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title in Las Vegas by submitting Conor McGregor in a chokehold, a highly anticipated and well-fought bout that devolved into a post-fight brawl. Admit it. Didn't you want both guys to lose?

7. GATORS: Florida drowns No. 5 LSU in the Swamp: No. 22 Florida impressively won a third straight SEC game Saturday with a big 27-19 win over favored and 5th-ranked LSU. The Gator defense will keep this team in every game and Dan Mullen is the mayor of Gainesville.

8. MARLINS: The sting of Yelich as Fish begin offseason: Off an NL-worst 63-98 record, the salary-cutting, rebuilding Marlins plan for 2019. But this hurts: Seeing Christian Yelich lead Milwaukee in the playoffs in a likely MVP season. So cheap to keep, Yelich was. (Shake my head...)  

9. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Controversial judge confirmed to Supreme Court: Several women testifying about his past lechery and sexual misconduct were not enough to derail Kavanaugh's approval to the Highest Court. Remember when saying "Only in America" was a good thing?

10. CRISTIANO RONALDO: Soccer god face rap allegation: Ronaldo has resumed league play for Juventus despite the Portuguese superstar facing a rape allegation in the United States stemming from a 2009 accusation he has steadfastly denied. No matter how it shakes out, Ronaldo may have a future on the U.S. Supreme Court!

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,815 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 02, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 17.2%; plus Fins get clobbered at New England 38-7, with our postgame thoughts; also, new Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 1. Happy new month, y'all. Welcome to autumn. Can't stop the holidays now. 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes clobber North Carolina with CSM poll, Dolphins' Moment Of Truth, NFL Week 4 pix & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Most recent columns: Dolphins, Canes, Heat: Unbeaten Miami could have staked its claim to a power shift in the AFC East. Oh well. My column is on how this loomed as a defining moment in modern Fins history: For The Dolphins, The Moment Of Truth Is Here. Also: Finding Great QB is Now Richt's Holy Grail. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 17.2%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a steep dip to 17.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday Dsmafternoon's 38-7 road loss at New England putting Miami's season record at 3-1. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its 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 morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 32%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

Next Poll: Oct. 7 following game at Cincinnati.

G4: NEW ENGLAND 38, DOLPHINS 7: IT WAS A MOMENT OF TRUTH GAME, AND MIAMI WAS A NO-SHOW: Postgame thoughts: Everything stunk for Miami on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill was lousy (replaced late by Brock Osweiler). The running game couldn't run. The defense couldn't stop (or pressure) Tom Brady, or stop the Pats run. Miami kept killing itself with penalties, and got dominated in time of possession. It was a thorough humbling, an embarrassing comeuppance, for a Fins team that brought a 3-0 record to Foxboro with dreams of a power shift in the AFC East. The Dolphins came looking to make a statement and got steamrolled instead. Moving forward? A 3-1 mark is still a nice place to be. This can still be a playoff season. Sunday was a slap in the face, though. A needed one, perhaps? Original post: I wrote in this preview column that winning in Foxboro on Sunday would be a defining moment in recent DolpatDolphins franchise history, and why. Now I'm here to tell you it's going to happen. I have drawn a deep swig of the Kool-Aid and gulped it down with gusto. Perhaps by mid-afternoon Sunday there will be signs I have drank poison, but, for now, it is pure ambrosia — the nectar of the gods! I believe the Dolphins will be the best team on this field starting at 1 p.m. I believe that the Patriots’ shortcomings (especially on defense) are real. And I believe the combination will see Miami finally beating Tom Brady in Foxboro. Yes, I get why most would think otherwise. I get all the disclaimers that have New England a 7-point favorite. Miami is 0-14 at Gillette in games Brady starts. The Fins have lost nine consecutive away games in this series (the last win over Matt Cassel) by an average f 18.4 points. The 1-2 Pats haven’t lost three in a row since 2002, and have won their last eight in a row at home. Yes, the Patriots, home and desperate, are a dangerous thing, and the Fins are 3-0 vs. a less-than-ferocious schedule. I get all that! But this I know, too: Ryan Tannehill has been in command and excellent, not just good. The Dolphins offense possesses a quick-strike, chunk-play element not seen in years. Adam Gase’s trick plays have been a delight. Ex-Pat Danny Amendola will be a strong fantasy play. And the big-playmaking defense has been a huge surprise. I’m not saying that when you say Miami, you’re talkin’ Super Bowl. But this is a playoff-contending team with all cylinders pumping, a Dolphins team catching Brady at just the right time for a damned change. My pick: Upset! Dolphins, 30-24.

Visit Week 4 Gems for all of out latest NFL predictions. And watch for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, right here and also on my Twitter feed, right after Sunday's game ends.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: The day Miami failed to rise to its Moment Of Truth: The Dolphins are now 0-15 against nemesis New England in Foxboro in games that Tom Brady starts, after Sunday's 38-7 shellacking. If this was Miami staking its claim to a power shift in the AFC East at long last, it failed spectacularly.  

2. HURRICANES: UM routs North Carolina as QB audition continues: Canes dominated North Carolina 47-10 at home Thursday night as redshirt-freshman N'Kosi Perry made his first career start in place of Malik Rosier. With a visit by FSU on deck, Mark Richt has a decision to make. Or has he already made it?

3. HEAT: As Butler talk swirls, let the (preseason) games begin!: Miami opened its six-game preseason Sunday with a 104-100 loss in San Antonio today, the ceremonial start of Dwyane Wade's (and Udonis Haslem's) farewell season. Highlight: Hassan Whiteside 20 points and 13 boards on 8-for-10 shooting. Of more pressing urgency, Heat continue maneuvering to acquire four-time all star Jimmy Butler from Minnesota.

4. MLB: Finally! Baseball playoffs are on deck: Two NL tiebeakers for the division title take place today before the wild-card games go on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, followed by the NL and AL Division Series. Football's on and basketball's close, but let's give baseball a couple of weeks to grab us, shall we?

5. GOLF: Europe drubs Team USA in Ryder Cup: The best American players and the finest from Europe ended three days of competition Sunday on a course just outside Paris, with Europe in command and victorious. The U.S. roster? It consisted of, well, Tiger Woods & 17 Other Guys, none of them good enough. 

6. MARLINS: Fish wrap up first year of Jeter era on Sunday: For Miami the long season ended Sunday at the Mets, the rebuilt Marlins team avoiding 100 losses, at least. Trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna took the toll you'd expect. Now it's up to Derek Jeter to deliver signs of progress.

7. PANTHERS: Cats end preseason, await opener: Florida Panthers wrapped up their seven-game preseason Saturday night and now prepare for Oct. 6 NHL season opener at Tampa Bay. Hopes are high. Nothing new. Let's see if Cats meert or exceed expectations. That would be new.

8. URBAN MEYER: Ohio State coach back with a bang: Meyer returned unrepentant from suspension to see his No. 4 Buckeyes win at No. 9 Penn State 27-26 in the maybe the college Game of the Year Saturday night, and everybody on the planet Earth outside of Columbus, O., was hoping Urban would get his a-- kicked.

9. GATORS: Florida should be poll-bound: Gators' big defensive road win at No. 23 Mississippi State, 13-6, should have Florida back in Top 25 in new polls.

10. FIU: Panthers roll up 55 points: FIU clobbered visiting Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 55-9, last night. Quick aside: FIU now has a better record than rival FAU. Just sayin'.

Missing the HB10 cut: David Beckham, president of new MLS team Inter Miami, is still fighting a speeding ticket he got in London last January for going 59 in a 40. Um, can we start a GoFundMe page to pay the fine? ..... Headlines I Never Thought I'd See (one in a series): 'GoPro Captures Seal Slapping Kayaker With Octopus' ..... HBO will no longer televise boxing after 45 years. Howard Cosell is spinning in his grave. Unless he was cremated ..... Update. Countdown now 2,822 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 26, 2018

Emotional Dwyane Wade gets real on his 'last dance' with Heat. My latest column; plus new 'Back In My Day' video, Tannehill soars in Herald NFL QB rankings, Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results (Go Lobos!), Cote's State of the State rankings & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26. Results are complete in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll -- and they are buoyant! Scroll to the previous blogpost or find them directly HERE. 2) Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins rally past Oakland with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, The List & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Dwade DWYANE WADE GETS EMOTIONAL AS HE ENTERS FINAL HEAT SEASON: MY NEW COLUMN: Dwyane Wade was introspective at Monday's Heat media day as he ceremonially entered his final NBA season --just a few days after opting in for "one last dance" rather than retiring. I particularly loved this reflection by him: "In class I was shy. Never raised my hand because I didn’t want to get the answer wrong. [But] when I was on the basketball court I was a different person. I liked that person." One more season of that, one more chance for us to say goodbye to Wade, and for him to say goodbye to his fans, too. We never got that chance with Dan Marino; we'll have it now. No matter how good, bad or in-between the Heat do in 2018-19, Wade's farewell will be The Reason For The Season. I wrote an unabashedly sentimental, from-the-heart column on Wade. To read: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

BREES ROCKS THE WEEK, TANNEHILL MAKES BIG LEAP / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 3: Saints' Drew Brees wins Week 3 with a season-high 62.80- Tannypoint game to regain the overall season lead in the Herald's latest NFL QB Rankings. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill (pictured) scored a season-best 38.45-point game vs. the Raiders to move up five big spots, to No. 12 in the chart. (Pats' Tom Brady, if you wondered, tumbles to 20th). Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Exact formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table entering Week 4:
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 3
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK3            Season

1       2       Drew Brees, NO                    62.80         166.90

2       1       Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB             30.55         137.50

3       3       Patrick Mahomes, KC            39.70         129.80

4       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  39.80         121.75

5       12     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         50.15         118.00

6       14     Jared Goff, LAR                    50.70         115.05

7       4       Philip Rivers, LAC                 23.30         113.30

8       6       Aaron Rodgers, GB                29.25         105.10

9       18     Eli Manning, NYG                  46.85         103.00

10     9       Joe Flacco, BAL                    31.85         101.45

11     24     Matt Ryan, ATL                     50.70           98.85

12     17     Ryan Tannehill, MIA              38.45           97.35

13     13     Derek Carr, OAK                   29.25           96.80

14     7       Andy Dalton, CIN                 23.60           94.00

15     19     Matthew Stafford, DET         39.10           93.75

        Bubble: Alex Smith, WAS, 93.35. Week 3 best: Brees, NO, 62.80 (39-49, 396, 3-0 in win). Week 3 worst: Tyrod Taylor, CLE, minus-5.05 (4-14, 19, 0-0 in win).

        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-16); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, '01) and Tom Brady (2007, '17); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002) and Carson Palmer (2005). Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 3 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: SOLID ... AND HEARTBREAK: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the just-past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Solid again. We navigated a tough week full of upsets for a 10-6 record overall and 8-8 against the spread, including an Upset of the Week bull's-eye ("Aawwk!") on Saints winning at Falcons, a checkmark on Dolphins winning, and Giants with the points at Houston. Cost myself a game ATS with a clerical error on my part. I wrote, "Like Tennessee with points," but then had a score not reflecting that. DumbGreg's Lobos: The Lobos fell to 2-1 with a 129.4-112 loss to Randy Scott, thanks to a disappointing Monday. We had a very narrow lead entering the game, and it was my DeSean Jackson vs. his Mike Evans. Well, Evans' game shouted. My guy's ... didn't. So 25 points from Deshaun Watson and 24 from Adrian Peterson go for naught.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (3-0); 2. Miami (3-1); 3. South Florida (4-0); 4. Florida (3-1); 5. Florida State (2-2); 6. FAU (2-2); 7. FIU (2-2).

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': GROCERY STORE SHOPPING!: When an army clad in olive green plays active defense against our shopping experience...

Other select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 13, 2018

On Dwyane Wade's big (and delayed) Heat decision. New column; plus Dolphins' Tannehill makes Top 15 in Herald NFL QB rank debut, tonight's Ravens-Bengals pick, latest Back In My Day, Week 1 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State ranking & more

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

Never1) It's THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13. There are some thing we never forget. Hope you took a moment to reflect this week, but not just on 9/11. 2) Scroll to our previous blogpost or get there directly HERE for the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter season-debut results. They're strong! 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win lightning-delayed season opener with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Week 2 NFL Thursday pick: Bengals are mere 1-point home favorites over Ravens this week in a Thursday night matchup that should interest Dolfans. For my pick: Thursday Gem.

DwadeNEW COLUMN: ON DWYANE WADE'S BIG DECISION: The Heat venerable No. 3 is about to decide (or to reveal) whether he is returning for another NBA season in Miami ... or retiring. Pat Riley has said he hoped for a decision by mid-August. One month later, still no word. What does it mean? Some fans and media have begun to criticize Wade for his delay. That's unjustified, and I explain why in my latest column, which explores the likely what-and-when of Wade's pending decision. While South Florida immerses itself in football, its single most beloved athleteis about to make a decision affecting Miami's only three-time champion pro franchise. For my latest column: On Dwyane Wade's Big Decision.

Most recent other columns: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins. Also: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth It (on Fins' season-opening win) and Soft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QB (on Hurricanes' home-opening win).

BreesBREES-FITZPATRICK SHOOTOUT LEADS THE WAY! / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 1: You'd think the Saints' Drew Brees would look happier about leading the Herald's NFL QB Rankings after Week 1, but I guess the glum look comes from having lost the game to standings runnerup Ryan Fitzpatrick. This launches the Miami Herald's 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. Dolphins Ryan Tannehill lands a respectable 13th in the initial Top 15. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Exact formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Here we go!
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 1
RK    '17    Player, Team                    Week 1/Season

1       2       Drew Brees, NO                    59.95

2       34     Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB             51.85

3       6       Philip Rivers, LAC                 44.20

4       NR    Andrew Luck, IND                 43.95

5       13     Joe Flacco, BAL                    41.80

6       26     Aaron Rodgers, GB                38.30

7       1       Tom Brady, NE                      37.85

8       4       Alex Smith, WAS                   35.75

9       18     Andy Dalton, CIN                  34.15

10     50     Patrick Mahomes, KC            32.80

11     7       Case Keenum, DEN               32.45

12     NR    Sam Darnold, NYJ                 28.90

13     NR    Ryan Tannehill, MIA              28.50

14     9       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 27.20

15     11     Jared Goff, LAR                   25.65

        Bubble: Derek Carr, OAK, 24.15. Week 1/season best: Brees, NO, 59.95 (37-45, 439, 3-0 in loss). Week 1/season worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, minus-12.80 (5-18, 24, 0-2 in loss).
        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-16); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, '01) and Tom Brady (2007, '17); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002) and Carson Palmer (2005).
        Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

ThillNFL WEEK 1 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD AND GOOD!: Every Tuesday in the blog starting today I'll update you on how I did the just-past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and Picks Loboswith my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. So let's get it started in here! Herald picks: Solid week!. Went 10-5-1 overall (Steelers-Browns tied) and also a nifty 10-5-1 against the spread (Seahawks-Broncos pushed at 3). Nailed our Upset of the Week with Bengals over Colts ("Aaawwwk!"). Also called mini-upset by Dolphins, had underdog Bears and Jets with the points, and hit a rare Exacto with Patriots' 27-20 win. Greg's Lobos: What a comeback! Trailed deep into Sunday before heroically rallying to trounce Lorenzo 141-121, behind a giant 42 points from Tyreek Hill (pictured). Also got 23 from old Adrian Peterson, a last-minute start for me. I'm one of the millions of fantasy owners being held hostage by the Le'Veon Bell situation. Given that, we survived opening week nicely.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday starting today I'll rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The kickoff: 1. UCF (2-0); 2. Miami (1-1); 3. South Florida (2-0); 4. Florida (1-1); 5. FAU (1-1); 6. FIU (1-1); 7. Florida State (1-1).

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': BINOCULARS!: This debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Other select recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say ThanksNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 29, 2018

Dolphins? Canes football? Heat? Who owns this town? New poll. Vote now!; plus latest 'Back In My Day' (Rear-View Mirrors!), your verdict on No. 1 fantasy pick & more

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

1) It's Wednesday, August 29. Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins fall to 0-3 in preseason, fantasy football who's-No. 1 poll, R.I.P. John McCain, 4-Man Outfield, The List, your Stanton verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

CanesfbLATEST COLUMN: FOR NOW, AT LEAST, CANES FOOTBALL OWNS THIS TOWN: I write in my latest column that Miami Hurricanes football is poised to own this town Dolphins Heat Canesin a way it did not even during its run of five championships in that 19-year span from 1983-2001. That's because the Dolphins were interesting and competitive at that time. It was the Dan Marino era, a time in which the Fins had only one losing season in those 19 years. Now, the rising Canes (safety Sheldrick Redwine is pictured) are really good at a time when the Dolphins are deep-stuck in mediocrity, and when the Heat are downsized and nobody's idea of a title contender. I explore all of this and more in that new column. To read it, click Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town. But that's my opinion. I want yours. Take a dip in our poll. Vote now!

 
POLL RESULT: GURLEY REIGNS AS NO. 1 FANTASY PICK: We asked in a blog poll, "Who among these ESPN-projected top 10 fantasy players would you most want on your team in a PPR league this season?" Todd Gurley won easily with 45.98 percent, followed by Le'Veon Bell at 18.39% and Antonio Brown with 12.64%. Nobody else was in double digits. Then we asked in a poll on our Twitter site which of those top-three votegetters you'd want. The results: Gurley 45%, Bell 28% and Brown 13%, with "somebody else" drawing 14%.
 
NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': REAR-VIEW MIRRORS!: This debuted on yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio:

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

Twitter @gregcote