September 21, 2015

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


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

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

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

2015 CSM Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 14, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 31.0%; plus Radio Tuesday, Dolphins beat Redskins 17-10, Fins on Forbes $$ list, Dee Gordon honored, new Hot Button Top 10 (updated), farewell Sunday notes column & more


It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 790 The Ticket and 10-1 on ESPN Radio. Good morning!

1) It is TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15. Click on Random Evidence for the farewell edition of our Sunday notes column. See the bottom of this blogpost for an explainer. 2) Click on Howard's Night, Al's Burden for my column from Boca Raton on Friday's 44-20 Canes win. And see previous blogpost for first Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): UM wins at FAU, CSM poll, Upset Bird Day in America, LeBatard Show fantasy-draft results & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Marlins' Gordon honored, twice: Marlins 2B Dee Gordon received two nice award nominations today: For the Robert Clemente Award for sportsmanship, and for the MLBPA Marvin Miller Award. He's also still fighting (currently down seven points) for the NL batting title.

Dolphins mid-pack on franchise value list: Forbes' latest list has Dolphins as NFL's 16th-most valuable franchise at $1.85 billion. Click Money List for full rankings. 

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 31.0 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's season-opening 17-10 Dolphins 1aa1adsmvictory at Washington. The DSM, in its eighth year, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Yearly DSM results:

2014: 2.7% (following 8-8 season)

2013: 4.2% (following 8-8 season)

2012: 29.8% (following 7-9 season)

2011: 34.9% (following 6-10 season)

2010: 3.8% (following 7-9 season)

2009: 31.2% (following 7-9 season)

2008: 96.9% (following 11-5 season/playoff loss)

G1: DOLPHINS 17, WASHINGTON 10 (Final): SEASON OF (FAIRLY) GREAT EXPECTATIONS BEGINS WITH ROAD WIN: Final: Miami christens its 50th season right with 17-10 win at Washington. Reminded me a little of UM beating FAU the other night. Shaky early, but the better team emerging. Dolphins offense wasn't great today and defense was less than perfect against the run. But! Two interceptions by Miami's defense and a huge 69-yard punt-return score by Jarvis Landry made the difference. ..... Fourth Q: Miami stops a Skins 4th-and-7 from MIA 20. Fins in charge. ... Huge! McCain INT at Fins 2 denies a Skins threat. ... MIA with its first lead at 17-10 on Landry's 69-yard TD return of a punt. Money! ... Dolphins tie it 10-10 on Franks' short FG, but you gotta go into end zone on 4th and goal! MIA squanders red-zone chance to take lead. ... Third Q: Scoreless third, but Fins on the move. ... Oy! LT Albert injured, but walks off field on own, a good sign. ... Ugh. Tanny stripped of ball and loses fumble on half's opening series. ..... Dolfans Halftime: Dolfans should feel lucky to only be down 10-7. No cause for panic, but Fins must shore up their run defense in second half. ..... Second Q: Finally! Life for Fins! MIA within 10-7 on Tanny's 3y TD toss to Matthews just before half. ... Tanny misses a wide-open Stills. Hasn't been as accurate yet today as in preseason. ... Dolphins down 10-0 as defense beat up for 17-yard drive. Reed 3y TD catch over a fallen Jones ends series. ... Miami wastes the Grimes INT, denied on 4th-and-1 from Skins 12. Ballsy call; gave up an near-certain tying FG. ... TE Sims out injured trying to catch an end-zone overthrow by Tannehill. ... Grimes interception! MIA at WAS 21. ..... First Q: Olivier Vernon ankle injury; iffy return. ... Fins offense on field for only 5 plays in first quarter. Ugh. ... MIA catches small break in final seconds when Skins go wide right on 46y FG try. ... Fins fail to convert a 3rd-and-1. Not the opening quarter of Dolfans' dreams. ... Miami down 3-0 early is no worry. But the early run-defense is. ..... Pregame: I love that Your Friend The Media is making such a deal of Jarvis Landry and LaMike James having a minor shove-exchange four days ago. Zero bearing on what happens today. ..... Original post: As the Dolphins launch their 50th franchise season we bring you true math, NFL style: One season of unusually high hopes + one a bad opponent = one opener Miami really needs to win. The air would seep 1aa1adolredout of Dolfans' optimism like it does footballs on the Patriots sideline, only moreso, if Miami somehow falls flat today in Landover, Md. I doubt that happens. I'm sold on these Dolphins as a playoff team. Ryan Tannehill's multi-weaponed offense should not have a problem motoring and flying all over the field today, and the Ndamukong Suh-infused 1aa1adolredqbsdefense should make it a daytime nightmare for Redskins QB Kirk Cousins. (Tannehill and Cousins are pictured left). See it as a comfy win, maybe even a rout. This isn't Bethune-Cookman to the Hurricanes as season openers go, but if there were gimmies in the NFL, Washington would be close to one. Now let's quantify why winning one's season opener is so important. Quick history lesson: Super Bowl winners were 39-9-1 on opening day. Since the advent of the 16-game season in 1978, teams that started 1-0 made the playoffs 52.2 percent of the time, versus 23.9% for teams that began 0-1. Similar trends for Miami. Dolphins at 1-0 have made the playoffs 16 of 26 times (61.5%), versus 5 of 22 times (22.7%) at 0-1. That excludes one season-opening tie, in 1971. Join us back here during the game for a live running commentary.

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

1aa1ahotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins open 50th season right at Washington: Miami’s season of unusually high hopes and uncommonly buoyant fan optimism opened Sunday with a 17-10 win over a Redskins team seen as not very good. We’ve seen the Dolphins live down to expectations a lot since their last playoff win in 2000. Now we see if they can live up to expectations for a change.

2. HURRICANES: UM surges late past FAU, awaits visit by Nebraska: Canes rallied from a second-half tie to win at FAU 44-20 in Howard Bowl II, leaving many fans displeased. Miami is 2-0, albeit vs. Bethune-Cookman and the Owls. UM's real season starts this coming Saturday at home vs. Nebraska. This is when Al Golden turns down the heat a little, or starts to feel it singe.

3. NFL: Win by Patriots (fittingly) opens King Sport's season: Patriots and Tom Brady won the last game in 2014 and the first in '15, with Deflategate talk book-ending both games but evidently not bothering either. Now we booked the first Sunday of the regular season -- a de facto national holiday in America. By the way, Roger Goodell came out of hiding in Chicago.

4. TENNIS: U.S. Opens ends without a Grand Slam by Serena: Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer for men's title Sunday, but the women's side was the talk of the U.S. Open. Serena Williams fell short of sport's first calendar Grand Slam since 1988, but another great story took its place as little-known Italian Flavia Pennetta, 33, won the Open and then retired, redefining "going out on top."

5. MARLINS: Jose's back, but it isn't looking good for Giancarlo: Jose Fernandez won Saturday in his return and is now 16-0 in his career at Marlins Park. With this team though, the news is never all good. As Fish wrapped up homestand Sunday and now hit the road relegated to playing spoilers in a spoiled season, it's looking more and more like we won’t see Giancarlo Stanton again until Opening Day 2016.

6. HEAT: Riley really liking Heat roster as training camp nears: As Miami prepares to open its preseason training camp on Sept. 29, club prez Pat Riley said this week he thinks the Heat has "all the elements of a championship team." Hmm. That would be somewhat of a surprise to Las Vegas oddsmakers, who list Miami as the NBA’s ninth favorite at 40-1.

7. FIU: Hopes for second straight road upset wither in Indiana: After winning at Central Florida to open the season, FIU fell Saturday at Indiana 36-22. Glass half-full: Well, unbeaten for a week is better than not unbeaten for a week.

8. PANTHERS: NHL club to open training camp, exhibition play: Hockey's about back. The Panthers open training camp this Thursday and then play their first exhibition game next Sunday. This season, players swear, they'll make the playoffs. One of these years, by dumb luck, they may be right.

9. LEBRON JAMES: He's back in Miami. Temporarily: LeBron is Miami with several Cavaliers teammates this week for pre-training camp workouts. Heat fans aren’t sure whether to chase LeBron outta town with torches and pitchforks, or kidnap him and beg him to stay.

10. BOXING: Mayweather wins final (?) fight: Miamian Andre Berto lost a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Mayweather says it was his last fight. The national group, People Who Believe Him, meets tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth.

Missing the HB10 cut: Alex Rodriguez ties Hank Aaron with 15th 30-homer season. A-Rod’s steroids-free comeback year has been a marvel. The downside: Much tougher for me to make fun of him. ... R.I.P., Moses Malone. ... Speculation on the Marlins’ next manager heats up. The front-runner: Anybody but Dan Jennings. ... NBA will henceforth seed playoff teams by their records, not by division finish. The NFL would do that, too, but it makes too much sense. ... NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup begins next Sunday in Chicago, a nine-race tournament leading to the Nov. 22 championship race here. This is 14th year we’ve hosted the grand finale, and I still can’t believe they have it in Homestead. It’s like the NFL putting a Super Bowl in Fargo, North Dakota. ... Just read about something called a trumpetfish. My first reaction? Donald Trump bought a species and named it after himself. ... Reds had a Pete Rose Bobblehead Night on Saturday. The Rose figurine bobbles its head and then places 100 large in the fifth race.

FAREWELL, RANDOM EVIDENCE: Random Evidence, my long-running, fun-seeking Sunday notes column after which this blog was named, ends with today's column (link above). That's because the Herald prefers I instead write a general sports column on Sundays moving forward to coincide with a dramatic redesign that will debut with this Wednesday's newspaper. Part of the notes column still will run on Sundays in print: Our weekly Top 5 list. Many of the other notes I once saved for Sundays I'll now write throughout the week on Twitter or in this blog, so rest assured our followers @gregcote and our blog family won't miss a thing. My innate need to poke gentle fun at Jeffrey Loria and others will not be denied! Meanwhile we'll continue to have the Hot Button Top 10 every Sunday in the blog (sort of our Top 5 list on steroids), and Sunday's Hot List from the paper will become a blog feature starting next week. You got all that!?

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

August 12, 2015

Heat schedule out, all 82 games here; plus new 'Back In My Day' video, Mayweather vs. Rousey poll, Canes hoops, Drone Racing League, Tannehill on SI cover, Dolphins in fantasy, Marlins manager search & more


1aa1abradyct1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12. Here's why people make fun of courtroom sketch artists. Pictured right is supposed to be Tom Brady in federal court today. 2) 
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Your picks for 10 greatest Hurricanes, Hot Button Top 10, Weighing The Fish & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too. We have a new Periscope up from yesterday's radio show.

Honor for Canes men's basketball: In an indication of high expectation for UM's men's team, ESPN announced today Miami would host two of the network's "Big Monday" telecasts this season: Jan. 25 vs. Duke and Feb. 22 vs. Virginia, both at 7 p.m.on ESPN.

1aa1adroneDrone Racing League! A, because there aren't enough ridiculous sports and B, because Stephen Ross apparently has more money than he knows what to do with: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and his money are behind the new Drone Racing League. Yes I said Drone Racing League. Click here for the details. (Pictured, a young man racing his drone). A co-mingling of Ross' two sporting passions seems inevitable, so watch for it: Dolphin play-calls getting from sideline to huddle via drone. I apologize if I'm droning on. OY!

1aa1aheatHEAT SCHEDULE OUT, INCLUDES CHRISTMAS GAME HERE: Heat released its 2015-16 regular season NBA schedule today, and it opens Oct . 28 at home vs. Charlotte. Other highlights include a Christmas Day home game vs. New Orleans, and visits by LeBron James and Cleveland on Dec. 5 and Mar. 19. Here is the entire schedule:




30 Fri. @ Cleveland 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN


1 Sun. HOUSTON 6:00 PM SUN


5 Thurs. @ Minnesota 8:00 PM SUN

6 Fri. @ Indiana 8:00 PM SUN/ESPN

8 Sun. TORONTO 6:00 PM SUN

10 Tues. L.A. LAKERS 7:30 PM SUN

12 Thurs. UTAH 7:30 PM SUN

17 Tues. MINNESOTA 7:30 PM SUN

19 Thurs. SACRAMENTO 7:30 PM SUN



25 Wed. @ Detroit 7:30 PM SUN

27 Fri. @ New York 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

30 Mon. BOSTON 7:30 PM SUN





9 Wed. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM SUN

11 Fri. @ Indiana 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

13 Sun. MEMPHIS 6:00 PM SUN

14 Mon. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM SUN

16 Wed. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM SUN

18 Fri. TORONTO 7:30 PM SUN

20 Sun. PORTLAND 1:00 PM SUN

22 Tues. DETROIT 7:30 PM SUN


26 Sat. @ Orlando 7:00 PM SUN

28 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM SUN

29 Tues. @ Memphis 8:00 PM SUN


1 Fri. DALLAS 7:30 PM SUN

3 Sun. @ Washington 6:00 PM SUN



8 Fri. @ Phoenix 9:30 PM SUN

9 Sat. @ Utah 9:00 PM SUN

11 Mon. @ Golden State 10:30 PM SUN

13 Wed. @ L.A. Clippers 10:30 PM SUN/ESPN

15 Fri. @ Denver 9:00 PM SUN

17 Sun. @ Oklahoma City 7:00 PM SUN

19 Tues. MILWAUKEE 7:30 PM SUN

20 Wed. @ Washington 7:00 PM SUN

22 Fri. @ Toronto 8:00 PM SUN/ESPN

25 Mon. @ Chicago 8:00 PM SUN

26 Tues. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM SUN

29 Fri. @ Milwaukee 8:30 PM SUN

31 Sun. ATLANTA 6:00 PM SUN


2 Tues. @ Houston 8:00 PM SUN/NBA TV

3 Wed. @ Dallas 8:30 PM SUN

5 Fri. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM SUN

7 Sun. L.A. CLIPPERS 2:00 PM ABC


19 Fri. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM SUN


22 Mon. INDIANA 7:30 PM SUN


27 Sat. @ Boston 3:00 PM SUN

28 Sun. @ New York 7:30 PM SUN



3 Thurs. PHOENIX 7:30 PM SUN

4 Fri. @ Philadelphia 7:00 PM SUN


9 Wed. @ Milwaukee 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

11 Fri. @ Chicago 8:00 PM SUN/NBA TV

12 Sat. @ Toronto 7:00 PM SUN

14 Mon DENVER 7:30 PM SUN

17 Thurs. CHARLOTTE 7:30 PM SUN


22 Tues. @ New Orleans 8:00 PM SUN

23 Wed. @ San Antonio 8:30 PM SUN

25 Fri. ORLANDO 7:30 PM SUN

28 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM SUN

30 Wed. @ L.A. Lakers 10:30 PM SUN/NBA TV


1 Fri. @ Sacramento 10:00 PM SUN

2 Sat @ Portland 10:00 PM SUN

5 Tues. DETROIT 7:30 PM SUN

7 Thurs. CHICAGO 8:00 PM TNT

8 Fri. @ Orlando 7:00 PM SUN

10 Sun. ORLANDO 6:00 PM SUN

12 Tues. @ Detroit 7:30 PM SUN

13 Wed. @ Boston 8:00 PM SUN

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. VS. RONDA ROUSEY, NO HOLDS BARRED. HEY, IT'S FUN TO DREAM: I doubt we'll ever see this fight. I'd bet big on that. Yes, the boxing champion vs. the UFC champion would be a 1aa1afighthuge draw. And, yes, it could work weight-wise if Mayweather (151) dropped and Rousey (135) added. But too many male athletes including Mayweather himself have made too many ugly headlines for domestic violence to imagine that the possibility of a man pummeling a woman in a ring (or octagon) would ever be sanctioned for sport. Rousey keeps keeping the topic alive, though. Just Monday night, in an ask-me-anything chat on Reddit, Rousey was asked if she would beat Mayweather in a no-holds-barred, mixed martial arts-style bout, and she said: "Floyd is one of the best boxers of all time. He would definitely beat me in a boxing match. I unfortunately don't get into 'matches.' I fight for a living. In a no-rules fight, I believe I can beat anyone on this planet. Boxing is a sweet science with strict rules that I respect. But you said rule-less fight, and that's my honest answer." Is she right? Could she beat anyone no-holds-barred even including Mayweather? She is 10 years younger; I'd give her a real chance. What do you think? Remember, this is not asking who you'd want to win, but who you honestly think would win. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

THE NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': Many know that my Tuesday appearances with the Dan LeBatard Show on radio/TV include a "Back In My Day" segment that has grown quite popular with listeners and viewers. They're on Fusion TV's YouTube channel now, and here is the latest one, from yesterday:


WHERE DOLPHINS FALL IN 2015 FANTASY DRAFTING: If you're like Greg's Lobos you are preparing for your fantasy draft. And you may be wondering 1aa1almiller 1aa1asitannhow Dolphins players will be slotted. A good indication comes this week in's annual fantasy draft, based on a 12-team standard league and 16-round draft. Dolphins taken, in order, with round and overall selection: RB Lamar Miller, pictured (3rd round-30th overall); WR Jarvis Landry (7-75th); WR DeVante Parker (7-84th); QB Ryan Tannehill (10-113th); TE Jordan Cameron (10-117th); WR Kenny Stills (12-139th); RB Jay Ajayi (13-154th); Dolphins defense/special teams (15-171st); and PK Caleb Sturgis (16-192nd). Tannehill is pictured (left) on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2016 fantasy issue.

NFL MVP odds: Newly out via Bovada, it's Packer Aaron Rodgers the favorite out the gate at 5-1, followed by Colt Andrew Luck at 7-1. Only others under 20-1 are Viking Adrian Peterson and Texan J.J. Watt both 12-1, and Bronco Peyton Manning at 16-1. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill is 40-1, tied for 20th.

My Uber driver is a Dolphin: Dolphins defensive tackle A.J. Francis earned extra money as an Uber driver during the recent offseason. No, seriously. Not everybody makes Ndamukong Suh money. Click here for a feature video as's James Walker goes along for the ride. Not sure how much extra money A.J. made. I only hope he gets as much attention for football as he got doing this.xx

JUMP-STARTING MARLINS' MANAGER SEARCH: Worst record in MLB hosts worst record in AL in a two-game 1aa1afish4series ending today at Marlins Park, after Fish won 5-4 in 10 last night. So it's Stinkin' Fish vs. Bostgon Red Sux. Sorry. Truth hurts. I suggest in my latest column that the Marlins' managerial search should be on now, not wait until after the season. If their guy is out there and available -- and many are, including Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire -- why not make the move soon and give the new guy a chunk of this season to learn his team? An experienced manager with a track record is a must after the failed experiment that is Dan Jennings. This season has turned hopeless. Everything now should be about 2016. Click on Look Ahead to read the column in full. Meantime, fans last night received the poster pictured of the Marlins' "Franchise Four," part of an MLB promotion in which fans selected each team's Mount Rushmore. The Fish are Jeff Conine, Gary Sheffield, Mike Lowell and Giancarlo Stanton.

1aa1agoodyGOODBYE, GOODY: Joe Goodman, a Herald sportswriter since 2005 and most recently our main Heat beat guy, is leaving us to write for in his homestate Alabama. His hunger for college football will be well sated; his love of soccer, not so much. Joe's talented and we wish him well. He and I shared some good times on the road, including a memorable drinking night at New York's wonderful little Tribeca bar, Ward III. Joe and I are pictured at right doing a Heat postgame video. He's the one who's young, handsome and well-dressed.

THE LIST: MNF LONGEVITY: Broadcasters who have had the most tenure in the Monday Night Football booth (on ABC in 1970-05, on ESPN 2006-current):

Broadcaster        Years     Duration

Frank Gifford       27        1971-97

Al Michaels          20        1986-05

Howard Cosell     14        1970-83

Don Meredith       12        1970-73, '77-84

Dan Dierdorf        12        1987-98

Mike Tirico          10        2006-current

Check back often because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

August 30, 2014

FIU vs. Miami Herald. Who's right in fight? New poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins cut RB Thomas, D-Wade's wedding, SOPY, U-Bird & more

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 30. Click on Hard Line for my latest column, on the NFL's new policy against domestic violence. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolfan-optimism poll, Upset Bird Countdown, I invented the 'It Factor', Miami facial hair & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1apierrepelicanUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 6 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season 1aa1abird6of NFL Friday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 6 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following Froot Loops' Toucan Sam), we welcome Pierre the Pelican, the new mascot of the NBA's newly re-nicknamed New Orleans Pierres Pelicans.

Today's only Dolphins cuts you should give a crap about: As Miami pared to reach 53-man roster today, the only truly notable cuts were RB Daniel Thomas (former 2nd-round pick certified officially as a draft bust) and utilityman Marcus Thigpen (who was team's main kickoff/punt returner last year). That means one of my favorite players based solely on his name -- RB Orleans Darkwa! -- made the squad.

Invasion of the Football Sections!: Herald's annual preview sections are now out. My three contributions: Dolphins column (Angel, devil duel for the soul of Dolfans); NFL Ranking (I rate teams 1-32, slot Miami as playoff-bound); and Hurricanes column (search continues for Next Great Quarterback).

BETHUNE-COOKMAN 14, FIU 12: PANTHERS LOSE TO OPPONENT, MEDIA: FIU and second-year coach Ron Turner had enough on their hands tonight in their season opener with Bethune-Cookman, a Division 1aa1afiu
1aa1amiamiherald1AA power. FIU lost, 14-12. Coming off a 1-11 season, the Golden Panthers don't have the luxury of any automatic wins on their schedule. But unfortunately FIU is taking on more than its opponents this football season. It is taking on the Miami Herald in a self-defeating feud that is doing nothing but costing the football program coverage and attention and casting it in a terrible, dictatorial light. Click here for a news story to background you. Long-story short: FIU refused a credential tonight for David J. Neal, who covers FIU for the Herald. The school did approve a credential for a columnist (myself) and a photographer, but the newspaper decided it would send no one to cover FIU football as long as FIU continued to try to dictate that coverage. I strongly support the Herald's decision -- and I hope other media, local and beyond, will stand with us. Who is assigned to cover the team or what stories are written is not FIU's decision to make. Athletic director Pete Garcia evidently is upset with Neal over a couple of stories the school would rather have not seen not written, so he chose a strong-arm tactic from a point of weakness. He entered a battle he could not win. FIU, dying for coverage and attention in the long shadow of UM, has just alienated the only media outlet that regularly covers it. Welcome to the real world, Pete Garcia. Time to put on your big-boy pants here. You think UM appreciated the Herald's 1A story about those two football players kicked off the team over a sexual assault on campus? We cover the good and the bad, the whole program, and Neal does so professionally. What's stunning here isn't that Garcia would make an edict that his underlings -- his football coaches and players -- would be forced to suffer. Garcia's reign has been full of power grabs and strange decisions. The real stunning thing is that none of Garcia's superiors -- no FIU administrator -- has shown the spine (or belief in the First Amendment, or common sense) to stand up to him. Until somebody does, FIU football will wear the shame of this. OK that's my opinion. Time for your's. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

Other Collball Week 1 state FBS games: Penn State def. UCF, 26-24; No. 22 Nebraska def. FAU, 55-7; Idaho @ Florida, postponed by lightning/weather; USF def. Western Carolina, 36-31; No. 1 Florida State def. Oklahoma State, 37-31; and (Monday) Miami @ Louisville 8.

1aa1adwadewedDWYANE WADE'S NOT-SO-SECRET WEDDING: The Heat star and longtime girl Gabrielle Union, the actress, are to be married tonight at a secret location that didn't stay secret, thanks to TMZ. The wedding will be at Chateau Artisan (pictured), a castle surrounded by water in Redland in southern Miami-Dade. Guests have been prohibited from bringing cell phones or cameras and have been made to sign a confidentiality agreement promising no media leaks. (I love that the confidentiality agreement was itself leaked to the media). Unfortunately my invitation to the wedding evidently was lost in the mail. It's a shame because I'd planned to present Dwyane and Gabby with a lovely re-gifted fondue pot.

IT'S THE BLOG RETURN OF THE WEEKLY SOPY RANKINGS!: This is the third season of our blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, a cumulative weekly updated list of the most productive 1aa1asopyquarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. We like to think of this as the "state Heisman." Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Standings are for 12-game regular seasons and exclude conference championship games or bowls, so that all seven teams are on even footing. Here are the final Top 10s from the past two seasons:

2013 SOPY WINNER JAMEIS WINSTON FSU-qb 2,107 points; 2. Blakes Bortles UCF-qb; 3. Jacquez Johnson FAU-qb; 4. Stephen Morris Miami-qb; 5. Storm Johnson UCF-rb; 6. Allen Hurns Miami-rec; 7. Devonta Freeman FSU-rb; 8. Duke Johnson Miami-rb; 9. Rashad Greene FSU-rec; 10. Rannell Hall UCF-rec.

2012 SOPY WINNER STEPHEN MORRIS MIAMI-QB 1,900.5 points; 2. E.J. Manuel FSU-qb; 3. Blake Bortles UCF-qb; 4. B.J. Daniels SoFla-qb; 5. Graham Wilbert FAU-qb; 6. Jake Medlock FIU-qb; 7. Mike Gillislee Florida-rb; 8. Duke Johnson Miami-rb; 9. Latavius Murray UCF-rb; 10. Jeff Driskel Florida-qb.

Look for our SOPY rankings every Monday in the blog. However, our first rankings for 2014 will appear this Tuesday instead because Miami opens its season Monday night at Louisville.

Poll result: Preseason failed to increase Dolfans' optimism: In the wake of a 3-1 Miami preseason we asked in previous blogpost (you may still vote) if you thought the Dolphins would make the playoffs or not, and 61.9 percent said no. We asked the same question prior to the preseason and it was 61.0% no.

THE MYSTERIOUS LURE OF IKEA: The first Ikea furniture and home store in Miami-Dade opened the 1aa1aikeaother day in Sweetwater to absurd fanfare and manufactured media coverage. Here is a conversation I imagine between shoppers as they waited for the doors to open: First shopper--"I'm a huge fan of Ikea. I feel good that the nuisance of assembling my own furniture out of a box allows me the illusion I'm saving money." Second shopper--"I appreciate Ikea because what they sell is a perfect fit for my home's 'Dorm Room' motif." Third shopper--"Yeah, and so what if Ikea's founder was pro-Nazi!?"

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July 02, 2014

On Garo's biggest fight. The back story; plus was World Cup a success for U.S? Poll. Vote!; also, Dolphins' Jordan suspended, Tannehill ranked & more

1) It is THURSDAY, JULY 3. For those who are asking, my radio appearances on the Dan LeBatard Show are scheduled to resume on Tuesday July 15. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): U.S. ousted as World Cup reaches quarterfinals, Heat free agency and Big 3 poll result & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

Futblog! World Cup quarterfinals preview coming Friday: Apparently FIFA has decided to continue the World Cup in Brazil to its conclusion despite the elimination of the U.S. The nerve! Watch for our blog's round of 8/quarterfinals preview here Friday morning.

ON THE GARO YEPREMIAN COLUMN: I have a 1A column today on former Dolphin Garo Yepremian's fight with adrenal cancer and a brain tumor. You'd click Garo's Biggest Fight if you haven't yet read it. 1aa1agaroyMy email and Twitter response suggests the story has touched a lot of people. I won't reprint it here (you have the link), except to summarize by saying Garo, the lovable kicker from the '70s, has had a tough life but hasn't lost his spirit. The Garo Yepremian Foundation since 2001 has raised money for brain tumor research and now its founder was himself afflicted with a brain tumor. Can you imagine? The photo is from Garo's 70th birthday on June 2. The wide scar above his left eye is from his brain surgery to remove the tumor. I'd invite you to visit the Garo Yepremian Foundation at From there you can find its Facebook page, where best wishes may be expressed, and where you'd 'like' the page to get updates on his medical situation and health. I thank the Yepremian family, especially Garo, his wife Maritza and son Garo Jr., for reaching out to me with the honor of sharing their story. I was a novice reporter yoo young to have covered Garo in the '70s but met and spoke with Maritza last August in a Washington, D.C. hotel lobby, the day the '72 Perfect Season Dolphins were being honored at the White House. That casual, chance conversation led to my being trusted to share this story, which is filled with pain and loss but ultimately offers the steady beam of light that is Garo's spirit and will. If my column helps increase traffic or donations to Garo's foundation even a little bit, it will have mattered.

WAS THIS WORLD CUP RUN A SUCCESS FOR UNITED STATES?: The question isn't simple. How do you define "success"? We seem to do so differently in international soccer, where we accept the U.S. is 1aa1aussoccernot top-echelon (yet) and so judge more leniently. The American sports mindset most other places is "winning is everything," but on world-stage soccer we seem to be more OK with stuff like progress and effort. Consider: The Dolphins go 8-8, the epitome of right-in-between, of average, and no fan is happy about that. But the U.S. men reach the round of 16 and advance no further in a 32-team tournament -- also sort of in-the-middle-average -- yet the gut reaction to the eliminating 2-1 loss to Belgium seemed to be praise. We applauded heart and grit as we nominated goalkeeper Tim Howard for sainthood. Are our standards too low? Should we be more demanding? The World Cup was filled with images like the one pictured, but peel away the surrounding patriotism and simply judge the team for its performance, by however you define success, and in whatever context you think is fair. Now that the ouster has settled in ... was this World Cup run a success for the United States? Vote and say why.

Chunk of World Cup coming to Miami: Seventy-six players from 22 World Cup teams (though none from U.S.) will participate in upcoming annual Guinness International Champions Cup, featuring eight top club teams competing across the U.S.: Inter Milan, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, AC Milan, Olympiacos, Real Madrid and AS Roma. Dolphins stadium wil host the champion match Aug. 4.

DOLPHINS' DION JORDAN SUSPENDED: Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan today was suspended without pay for the first four regular-season games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances. "We were disappointed," said coach Joe Philbin. Said Jordan: "I tested positive for stimulants that are banned. I take full responsibility for the test results. I’m very sorry for the impact of this situation on my teammates, coaches, Stephen Ross, the entire Dolphins organization, fans and my family."

OY. TANNEHILL RANKED 23RD-BEST STARTING QB: The proving is hardly finished for Ryan Tannehill. 1aa1artannyTwenty-third of 32 starting NFL quarterbacks is hardly brag-worthy, but that's where 26 anonymous "league insiders" rank the Dolphins' QB in a new survey for ESPN. Click here for the full story and list. The usual Big 4 of Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers tie for first with a rating of 1.04 each. (So much for Brady's supposed accelerated demise). Tannehill is 23rd overall with a 3.32 rating, and included in the third of four "tiers."

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March 05, 2014

Thu pm 3-6: Two reasons LeBron should avoid Cleveland event; plus WGC/Doral update, Luongo trade, Herald, SI's pimping & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): xxxxx. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Darkness ends incomplete first round at WGC/Doral: Severe weather this afternoon including a tornado warning suspended play at 2:22 p.m. in the World Golf Championship event at Doral, but it play resumed at 4:46 p.m. before darkness ended the round just before 6. Only six of 69 golfers completed the first round. Five golfers will be tied for the lead at 3-under when play resumes Friday morning. Tiger Woods was 2-over, five strokes off the pace.

WHY LEBRON SHOULD AVOID SATURDAY'S EVENT IN CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers are retiring Zydrunas Ilkgauskas' No. 11 jersey Saturday night in Cleveland, and his longtime teammate and good friend 

1aa1alebronbigzLeBron James is pondering whether to attend. He'd like to be there. (The Heat, on the road, are off Friday and Saturday but play in nearby Chicago Sunday). There is zero doubt in mind that LeBron wants to be there for all the right reasons: simply to honor and respect his friend. They're pictured in their one shared season in Miami after seven as teammates in Cleveland. Now here are two reasons LeBron should avoid that event: 1) It would make the night about LeBron and totally take attention away from Ilkgauskas. That's reality. The fan reaction and media coverage would be all about LeBron. 2) It would send the message, whether intended or not, of another olive branch from LeBron to Cavs fans. It would become the latest circumstantial evidence in what will be the increasing debate over whether James might leave Miami in free agency after this season, and where he might go. My solution: Take the day off Friday to quietly visit your friend in Cleveland, LeBron. Have lunch. See a movie. Go through old scrapbooks. Then, on Saturday night, let Ilkgauskas have his spotlight while you're with your team getting rest and preparing for the Bulls.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: PANTHERS' SMART TRADE FOR LUONGO: [Update: Panthers yesterday traded goalie Tim Thomas, 39, to Dallas, a day after Luongo's acquisition made Thomas imminently expendable]. Reacquiring goaltender Roberto Luongo, a Panthers fixture in 2002-06, no doubt is popular with fans, and it's smart -- even though it 1aa1aluongomight not appear to be at a casual glance. At a glance you might wonder why a team out of the playoff race and supposedly forward-thinking would make a trade for a 34-year-old goalie and in turn trade away a goalie, Jacob Markstrom, who just turned 24 and supposedly was your netminder of the future? Here's the answer: Luongo wanted to return here (his wife is local), is playing very well and has several years left. And it had become obvious Markstrom would not be the long-term solution they'd hoped. The Cats stil need to develop that long-term answer, but in the short term they'll have much better goaltending to augment a nuclues of young, rising stars including Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson.

SHAMELESS SHILLING I: MIAMI HERALD SPORTS SCORES IN APSE AWARDS: The annual Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) 1aa1aheraldsportsnational awards announced this week are like the Oscars for sports journalism, and l'm pleased to say the Miami Herald for 2013 was named Top 10 in Daily and Special sections and honorable mention in Sunday sections. No other South Florida paper scored in any of those big-three categories. The Orlando Sentinel (Special sections) was the only other state paper to go Top-10 in any of the three. I'm honored to work on a staff of (mostly) great people led by our executive sports editor, Jorge Rojas.

1aa1aproseSHAMELESS SHILLING II: SI DEVOTES COVER TO PIMPING ITS OWN BOOK: Sports Illustrated's latest cover is on Pete Rose, on the 25th anniversay of his banishment from baseball. OK, fine. Slow news week. (Aside to SI: LeBron had a 61-point game). Not so fine? That the cover is a shameless pimp-job for a new book, "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma," coming out March 11. The author: SI assistant managing editor Kostya Kennedy. Tthe publisher: SI Books.

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February 25, 2014

Wednesday p.m.: The night Ali was born, 50 years ago later; plus the N-word, Marlins' projected win total, Team USA verdict, Hiassen/Pitts & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Team USA Olympic poll, Dale Jr., LeBron's nose & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO: CLAY BEATS LISTON IN MIAMI BEACH, AND MUHAMMAD ALI IS BORN: I spoke with Ferdie Pacheco, "The Fight Doctor," for yesterday's column on the golden anniversary 1aa1aclayliston1of a watershed event in American sports history, and arguably the biggest one we have hosted in greater Miami. Click on Ali Is Born for that column. Ferdie and I did not speak at length. He was tired. He 's 86 now, and he'd just done four hours with CBS Sports cameras in his Miami home for a 1aa1aclaylistonspecial. Being the last, best living link to those Clay-turning-Ali days makes Pacheco a treasure, living history. Ali himself, of course, is a shell in the terrible embrace of Parkinson's. It's as if Pacheco is his voice now, too. I was too young to know of that Feb. 25, 1964 fight, let alone to have attended, but the buzz about it helped kindle in me a fascination with boxing; more accurately, with Ali, the Greatest Of All Time. He was the first athlete of my generation, at the least the first on my radar, who transcended sports, and who brought politics, religion and outlandish (wonderful) braggadocio to our games. He was like nothing before, and there has been none like him since. It is fitting that the History Miami museum has an art and photo exhibit marking that event 50 years ago, and hosted a panel discussion last night. And it is fitting that The Fight Doctor was on that panel, the painter's brush strokes giving color to memories in black and white.

MARLINS' PROJECTED WIN TOTAL: It's 69.5 on the betting over/under, says Bovada. Good news: That's better than last season's 62 wins. Bad news: That's still tied for next to last in all of MLB, and last in the NL East, after Nationals 88.5, Braves 87.5, Phillies 76.5 and mets 73.5. Overall leader is Dodgers at 92.5.

Poll result: Mixed verdict on Team USA performance in Sochi: We asked in the previous blogpost and you all gave Team USA what amounts to silver or bronze at best. Most, 32.5 percent, rated the overall performance "good," 29.2% "fair" and 26.6% "disappointing." It was "a failure" to 6.5% and "excellent" to only 5.2%.

ON THE USE OF THE "N-WORD": First, yeah, I'm about as white as can be and yet here I am opining on the n-word. So what? No apologies. If I can speak up for gay rights even though I'm not gay, why can't I have an opinion on others using the n-word? I have not been hurt to have been called it in anger, 1aa1anwordderision or hatred like many older African-Americans (and some younger) may have, but I still am jarred by the sound of the word, no matter it's present-day connotation. I address its use not from a vantage of Civil Rights, but of civility, and Black History Month provides a natural vessel for discussion. I hear black friends and black athletes (though not all) defend using the word among themselves, but with an "-a" not an "-er" on the end. Rappers feel the same justification. Even some whites do, as if using the word includes them in some private club. That was an element of the Incognito/Martin dynamic in the Dolphins' Bullygate saga. I'm not audacious enough to tell anybody how they should speak among themselves, or in their art form, but I can suggest the continued use of the n-word, even ending in "a," feels self-defeating to me. It is clearly generational, as we saw in the recent ESPN Outside The Lines special on the word. It is significant to note most older blacks who actually were victims of segregation and racism abhor the word in all its forms. This, to me, is reason enough to erase the word in all its forms from our lexicon. That includes rap lyrics and collegial locker-room banter. It is a matter of respect, not so much respect for one's self as respect for generations past that suffered greatly, sometimes paying with their lives, when the n-word represented discrimination in its most violent, hateful form. I don't agree with the NFL considering making a penalty of the word, but only because not saying it should not require rules or legislation. Not saying it should spring from the conscience.

IN APPRECIATION OF HIASSEN, PITTS: Columnists Carl Hiaasen and Leonard Pitts Jr. make me proud of the Miami Herald, and honored to be a colleague over here on the sporting wing. The thought occured Sunday as I read the latest from each: Hiassen on the latitude and lunacy of Florida's Stand Your Ground gun law, and Pitts on gay rights and stubborn wrongs. Excellence. From them it almost always is.

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August 29, 2013

PS5: Dolphins 24, New Orleans 21 (Final); plus more on Shapiro letter and reaction, LeBron's oops, Morris/Manziel, U-Bird Countdown (8 days) & more

1aa1mjackson1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 30. Michael Jackson would have turned 55 yesterday. 2) Will the last Miami-Dade County mayor to not be arrested please turn out the light? 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): UM accuser Shapiro's letter from federal prison and my response, Schnellenberger poll result, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

Coming Sept. 8: Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Our sixth season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter polls appear in the blog right after every Dolphins game, beginning with the Sept. 8 season opener at Cleveland.

Coming tonight!/Friday: Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: The fifth year of Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls starts tonight right after the UM-FAU opener ends. Watch for it!

"NCAA, Texas A&M decide half-game penalty is too harsh, instead rule that Johnny Manziel may not sit by window on team bus ride to stadium."  --Greg Cote

PS5: DOLPHINS 24, NEW ORLEANS 21 (FINAL): MIAMI ENDS PRESEASON 2-3: Final: Miami wins it on a 56-yard Pat Devlin-to-Marvin McNutt TD pass with 3 minutes left and then a late win-preserving INT by DeAndre Presley. (Don't know why but I love the name Marvin McNutt! Sounds like the alter-ego of a Marvel Comics superhero). Mostly scrubs last night; RG John Jerry was the only Dolphins starter to start. So no weight in the result. The question is what to make of this 2-3 preseason overall and what kind of shape the team is in entering the season. Despite the issues and questions, I think that shape is pretty solid. Nine-win/wild-card type of solid. But solid. Can't wait to find out. ..... Halftime: Our scrubs lead their scrubs. Whooo! Most interesting to me is an uneven dossiere on QB Pat Devlin, who is 13-for-23 for 142 yards withg a TD and a pick. Good enough to secure a No. 3 roster spot? My guess is yes. I'll be back with some postgame thoughts. ..... Original post: NFL preseasons are interminably 1aa1dolnawltedious even when four games. When five games, like Miami this year, the preseason seems to 1aa1ps5drag on longer than a continuous loop of Barry Manilow singing "Mandy." Tonight the Dolphins host New Orleans, with both teams expected to field junior-varsity squads and play the starters little if at all. If you are actually attending tonight's game, chances are you lost a bet, or your TV is broken. Tonight matters vitally only to Miami's bottom-feeders, because by Saturday the roster must slash from 75 players to a final 53, meaning that the players you have barely heard of are playing for their professional lives tonight. There is real human drama in that; it just isn't a drama that interests me much. Right guard and nickel corner are two positions that still need settling as exhibition play wraps up. Coach Joe Philbin -- who provides basic information as if it was a state secret with national security at stake -- has not formally named a starting running back, either, but if it isn't Lamar Miller I'll hitchhike to Cleveland waving a Terrible Towel. The real season can't get here fast enough.

WHY I PUBLISHED NEVIN SHAPIRO'S LETTER, AND THE REACTION: I know many of you dislike that I gave a forum to Shapiro (in the previous blogpost), but like it or not he is the central figure/accuser in the NCAA's long investigation of Miami. I also found some of what he wrote illuminating, such as his obvious bitterness toward former Canes players and others he felt abandoned him. This, as I state in my reply, calls into question his credibility as a witness. The reaction to the letter and to my publishing it has been fierce, and not just in the Comments section of that blogpost. Reaction also has poured in on Twitter and in emails to me, a slight majority of it negative. Here I share snippets of a very small, representative sampling of the Twitter and email reaction:

Negative: "It is reprehensible you would publish that letter." --Scott Ramsden / "You should have replied: STFU you human excrement." -- Francis Colls / "Scum shouldn't even be allowed computer or mail." --Jorge Morales / "He is delusional. Why print such crap?" -- George Kitchens / "Giving the felon attention. Way to go Cote you turd." --Cane Fan / "Giving that liar a public forum is morally wrong." --Tony Foley

Positive: "Great rebuttal letter to Shapiro." --Deval Patel / "Thanks for posting. More evidence of his lunacy." --Chris Avros / "Great read and response on your part." --Jeff LaBelle / "Through Shapiro's noise you nailed it. Well done!" --Jason Mizrachi / "Thanks for letting us who follow you see inside his mind." --Steve Petrie

It always amazes me how two people can read the same thing with such opposite reactions. (It also amazes me that some people still use the word "turd.") Thanks to the above readers and to the dozens of others on either side who cared enough to respond.

HERALD FOOTBALL SPECIAL SECTIONS: NFL, College and High-School special preview sections appear today/Friday in the old-school, inky pulp newspaper version of the Miami Herald, but they have been available the past two days online -- yet another of myriad ways the newspaper industry astonishingly defeats itself by unnecessarily giving readers another reason to not buy the paper. But enough of that. Here are links to my three contributions to the special sections:

  • Dolphins column: No more excuses, Dolphins. This is it. Been too long. Don't preach patience. 'Almost' won't cut it. Playoffs, now!
  • NFL team rankings: I list the teams 1 through 32 and have Miami surprisingly high at No. 12, and in the playoffs. No, seriously.
  • Hurricanes column: "It's a Canes thing. You wouldn't understand." Al Golden understands. After the NCAA cloud, Golden sunshine lay ahead.

1aa1carmenoLEBRON IN RUMOR MINI-MESS: Heat star LeBron James, who is engaged to be married next month, is rumored to be involved in some sort of friendship/relationship with "bikini model" Carmen Ortega, who is pictured here, well, bikini-modeling I guess. The report is courtesy popular rumor-monger Jose Lambiet; read it here. I take it for what it's worth, which may be nothing. My guess? The future Mrs. James' wedding ring just got bigger.

CANES' MORRIS TOPS MANZIEL ON PROSPECTS LIST: Sports Illustrated trots out a Top 40 prospects list 1aa1morrissfor the 2014 NFL draft, and what jumped out at me is that Miami quarterback Stephen Morris (pictured) -- at No. 31 the only Cane listed -- slots ahead of Texas A&M Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, who is 37th. Morris is the fifth QB listed, after Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater (from Miami) at 2nd overall, Clemson's Taj Boyd 9th, UCLA's Brett Hundley 18th and Oregon's Marcus Mariota 22nd.

1aa1byrdsUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 8 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction 1aa1birdupages on Sept. 6, and we began a 10-day countdown honoring outstanding notable birds. Today, at 8 days, we spotlight The Byrds, seminal 1960s American folk-rock band out of L.A. The Byrds' 1965 version of Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," with its mesmerizing opening by Roger McGuinn on a 12-string Rickenbacker, was one of the first sounds to lure a then-very-young Greg Cote into the lifelong caress of music. This in turn would lead to the portal of serendipity in which, decades later, the Upset Bird was born.

UM-FAU / Collball Week 1 advisory: Note, our weekly in-season college football posts will debut here later today in the blog. Each week, I'll predict every game involving the seven state FBS teams and every national matchup of Top 25 teams. There was one state-school FBS game last night so I got on the record beforehand with my pick for that one: UCF 37, Akron 16. [UCF won, 38-7].

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July 10, 2013

Draw line on 'roids & Cooperstown. Poll. Vote!; plus Sedano leaving WQAM, Wade's ex-wife, LeBron raps, Birdman the movie, Farewell to "The" & more

Cote radio doubleheader: Am back in-studio with Le Batard again today starting at 3 p.m. on 790 the Ticket and FM 104.3. Ears welcome.

1) It is FRIDAY, JULY 12. Jorge Sedano is leaving WQAM for ESPN, according to my colleague Barry Jackson. The Worldwide Leader is making a big reach to Hispanic listeners. That doesn't mean it's why he is being hired. But it fits and is unsurprising. 2) Dwyane Wade's ex-wife won't quit. She's back after Wade in a new lawsuit. Click here for the details. 3) Happy birthday to one of my musical heroes, @Mavis_Staples, who turned 74. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Giancarlo Stanton cavorts nude, Dolphin calls out Pats, Bosh to India, 2 Canes honored, Shh to Silva and Shaq, Heat poll results, no-class Seahawks & more.

Join us on TWITTER @gregcote and INSTAGRAM @ upsetbird and VINE @ Greg Cote. Cost: Free. Return on investment: Commensurate with outlay.

Farewell to "The": The Miami Herald without ceremony has dropped the "The" from its name and is now officially simply Miami Herald. Farewell, The. I miss you already!

BASEBALL'S DIRTY DILEMMA: STEROIDS AND THE HALL OF FAME: The Home Run Derby and 84th All-Star Game are almost upon us, and what should be a wonderful time for baseball is decidedly not. The 1aa1bbhallroidsMiami-born Biogenesis scandal sees Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and four current All-Stars among 20 implicated players who could be suspended right after the break. Click on Baseball's Midsummer Nightmare for my latest column. Hall of fame voters so far have shown little inclination to forgive PED-tainted players and let them into Cooperstown's hallowed halls, rejecting otherwise-first-ballot guys such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, along with Mark McGwire and Samy Sosa -- all rebuffed earlier this year -- and many more. What if you had a Hall vote? You sort of do in the form of this poll. One option I have raised in the past (not found in the poll) is to induct the tainted guys whose numbers are too overwhelming to ignore, but with a scarlet S for steroids, with permanent mention of their scandal on their Hall plauque. OK, now you draw your own line. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

LEBRON JAMES TRIES RAPPING: On his Instagram account last night Heat star LeBron James posted 1aa1kingjtwo brief audio clips of him rapping, intro-ing himself as "the kid King James." It totals roughly a half-minute of sound that includes maybe half of that of him in acceptable mid-flow. Click HERE to listen. I am told it was recorded when he and some close friends were in Las Vegas on a recent bro-holiday. The idea of LeBron immersing himself in hip-hop and loving an open mic is nothing new, or any surprise. Click here to watch a 2010 video of LBJ on stage with Drake. Whether this latest little foray is the precursor of a James rap album is unknown, but LeBron's close friendhsip with Jay-Z, Drake and others in the genre suggests something could blossom. Meantime, X@#! you, Lil Wayne!

HOLLYWOOD CONTINUES SHAMELESS USURPING OF HEAT NICKNAMES!: Like it wasn't bad enough there is a new movie called The Heat, the popular Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy buddy flick. Now, in 1aa1theheatmovieproduction, is a new movie called Birdman, a comedy that began filming this spring in New York City. The movie stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and the ubiquitous Zach Galifianakis -- but conspicuously not the Heat's newly re-signed Chris (Birdman) Andersen. Andersen and his nickname had just begun making inroads on the long headstart of Birdman 1aa1birdmancaof Alcatraz; now, this new challenger. Pictured left: Birdman Andersen, saying, "C'mon, man!" at the idea of a new movie called Birdman. The mind casts back a year to Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse, the local short film that did not have Bosh's blessing. Where will the cinematic plundering of the NBA champions end!? Will actor Dwayne Johnson start spelling it "Dwyane"? How about a remake of the 1953 Western Shane, but not starring Battier? Enough, Hollywood. Enough.

1aa1heidiklumWHAT HEIDI KLUM DID ON HER VACATION: The former supermodel and Project Runway host recently vacationed in the Bahamas and Instagram'd this photo of her, um, tanline, with the caption, "Ouch!" We pass it along purely for educational purposes, as a reminder to always use sunscreen while tanning. As for a (mostly) sports blog showing this, well, ah, clearly this involved an outdoors activity, possibly beach volleyball. Yeah that's it!

JUSTIN BIEBER ENRAGES CHICAGO: An executive of the NHL champ Chicago Blackhawks made the 1aa1biebcuperror in judgement of Tweeting out this photo of pop star Justin Bieber posing with the hallowed Stanley Cup in the team's lockerroom. (Note the customized Bieber jersey in the background). Blackhawks' fans response has been swift, voluminous and full of rage. Three possible reasons: One, hockey is a very manly sport and Bieber, physically, looks as if he'd lose a slapfight to a female jockey. Two, Justin is a sports whore, by which I mean he poses as a fan of whatever city he's in, as when he wore a Heat cap during that playoff game here, that night he adopted the bling-n-whiteboy-thug persona and was booed when shown on the video screen. Three, if you don't love Bieber (an adoration confined mostly to adolescent girls who haven't defected to One Direction yet), then chances are you hate him.

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May 30, 2013

G5: Heat 90, Pacers 79: LeBron to the rescue as Miami seizes 3-2 lead; plus Heat poll, LeBron fined, hands-free Whopper, Salguero & more

1aa1cote1) It is THURSDAY, MAY 30. Have Dolphins' May practices ever seemed less important? A Heat title run will do that. 2) Thanks to ESPN SportsCenter for having us on to discuss Heat last evening. Dined at a local sports bar soon after and was jarred to see my interview replayed on a big screen. Cheap thrill, yet I found myself hiding behind a menu. Weird. My son took this pic. 3) Watched 'Behind the Candelabra' last night, the Liberace biopic with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and found it creepily interesting. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 4 loss, St. Elmo's shrimp cocktail, LeBron as QB, Marlins Sad-O-Meter. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote and now on Instagram at upsetbird.

UM's Morris out for regional baseball opener: Miami coach Jim Morris, still not cleared after a bout with pneumonia, will miss UM's Friday opener vs. Oklahoma State in the NCAA Regional in Louisville. Gino DiMare will take over. Morris hopers to be there for Miami's second game and we wish him well. 

Want to work for LeBron James?: LeBron's people are seeking college interns for jobs related to online content development and digital sports marketing. Click here for more.

G5: HEAT 90, PACERS 79: LEBRON'S 30 POINTS LIFT MIAMI: LeBron James led the way with 30 points but it was a magical third quarter of his -- 16 points and a hand in 25 of Miami's 30 overall -- that proved the difference. Udonis Haslem also came up big with 16 on 8-for-9 shooting. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for only 17 points but LeBron made sure that didn't matter on this night. Miami now with a 3-2 series lead entering Saturday's game in Indianapolis. Look for my game column online. ..... Original post: [Bulletin: Retiring soccer heartthrob David Beckham wil attend tonight's Heat game. No. No, he will not sign your underwear, sir! Now on to our G5 preview...] There really is no in-between here tonight, is there? If Miami wins for a 3-2 Eastern Conference finals lead, 1aa1heatpacersorder is restored and the Earth is back on its axis -- the Heat returns to likely repeat-champion-favorite status. But if Miami loses at home to put itself on the brink of elimination? If the Heat lose consecutive 1aa1g5games for the first time since early January? Oh my. Sky falling! Game 5 winners historically go on to win a 7-game series about 85 percent of the time, although Miami experienced it both ways in last year's playoff. The Pacers series also was 2-2 last ear, Miami won G5 and the series. But Miami then trailed 3-2 vs. Boston but still advanced. Suffice to say tonight is major-important, and that the keys for the Heat are pretty broad and simple: shoot better than that awful 39 percent in Game 4, get the rebounding differential a lot closer than 39-20, and get a lot more efficiency from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh than their combined 6-21 shooting in the last game. For the first time in this postseason I feel like there  may be more pressure on Miami than the opponent to perform tonight. This is a Heat team with great resolve and the ability to bounce back. Let's see them prove it.

FLASH POLL: 3-POI NT SHOOTING IS WHAT MOST NEEDS TO IMPROVE FOR HEAT VS. PACERS SERIES: A Flash Poll is a temporary poll meant to take a quick pulse. The question was what individual or facet of the Heat has most disappointed and/or most needs to get better in this Eastern Conference finals that continues tied 2-2 with Game 5 tonight in Miami. You may still vote, but the results are 3-point shooting 33.3 percent, rebounding 21.0%, Dwyane Wade 20.9%, Chris Bosh 18.7% and "other" 6.9%.

LEBRON, TWO PACERS FINED FOR FLOPPING: NBA today announced $5,000 fines to Heat's LeBron James and Pacers' David West and Lance Stephenson for flops during Game 4 in Indy. You flopping. It's when a player is lightly touched and theatrically falls as if gut-punched. A $5,000 fine! Isn't that cute!? You know how much 5K is to LeBron? It's about like you or I being pulled over for speeding and the ticket costs us 25 cents. Why bother.  

1aa1hfree2 1aa1hfree"SURE I LOVE TO EAT. I JUST CAN'T BE BOTHERED HOLDING MY FOOD!": Miami-born Burger King has developed a Hands-Free Whopper Holder that it is currently test-marketing in Puerto Rico. This is a blog. I couldn't say if if it weren't true. Step aside, Electric Toothbrush, this may be the new epitome in unnecessary products. I mean, how obsessed are you with multi-tasking if you can't be bothered using your hands to take a bite? The invention is pictured left, and seen right in action.

ME, ME, ME (DID I MENTION ME?): You obviously found my blog and you may know by now I'm on Twitter 1aa1insta 1aa1vine@gregcote. So I wanted to tell you about three new projects. 1) I'm now on Instagram as upsetbird sharing photos (many but not all work-related). 2) I'll very soon be on Vine as Greg Cote sharing 6-second videos. There already is a waiting list of followers; thank you! 3) Any fans out there of the old Staple Singers or of the R&B/gospel/funk of their enduring voice? If so follow on Twitter @Mavis_Staples. You are invited to follow any or all of these three new ventures.

ON THE SALGUERO CONTROVERSY: I was going to leave this alone until one too many emails or comments to me suggested my colleague Armando Salguero is un-American, should be fired or both. I'd vote neither. The controversy (click here) is that Armando and a reader got into an email back-and-forth that grew emotional and childish, and ended with him accusing the Vietnam veteran reader of "sucking as a soldier" and losing the war. The Herald's executive editor, no less, has apologized publicly, and so has Armando. None of us is perfect, and life is less about mistakes than about lessons learned. We move on.

SAD-O-METER: EIGHT LOSSES IN ROW DISMAL EVEN FOR MARLINS!: We have this new blog feature we 1aa1bbsadupdate as long as Marlins' winning percentage is under .300 -- as long as the New York Mets' infamous 1962 record of 40-120 (.250) is within dubious reach. Well, eight straight losses now have the S-O-M exploding on record pace. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-40 (.245). Season projection, 39.74 wins, 122.26 losses.

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