October 18, 2017

Miami Heat Opening Night! How good do you expect team to be this season? Set the bar in poll. Vote now!; plus my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, new 'Back In My Day,' latest SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and find a hugely impressive spike. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Atlanta with DSM poll, The List (Fins), Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

The Godfather Speaks: My Pat Riley column: The Heat godfather, in a exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, reflects on 50 years in the NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for this Heat team and season as it opens tonight in Orlando. Click on The Godfather Speaks to read in full.

New BIMD: Cemetery Joggers!: From yesterday's LeBatard Show, a new Back In My Day segment railing against the gall of people who use cemeteries as a place to exercise. Click Cemetery Joggers to watch the video.

DragicwhitesideHEAT EXPECTATIONS POLL: SETTING BAR FOR THE 2017-18 SEASON: The Miami Heat last season finished 41-41 and (narrowly) missed the playoffs, though it seems better in the recollection because of the 30-11 record the second half of the schedule. That leads to an assumption of overall improvement from a team led by Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside (pictured). Yet outside expectations are somewhat modest as the season opens tonight in Orlando, and then Saturday at home vs. Indiana. For example, ESPN's Power Rankings entering the regular season has Miami slotted only seventh best in the Eastern Conference (eight make the playoffs) and 18th overall in the 30-team NBA. The Heat's projected record is put at 43-39. Now what do you think? What is your honest, realistic expectation for the season based on anticipated number of regular-season wins? Remember: Not asking what you hope happens ... but rather what you'd bet will. Vote now.

SMITH STAYS NO. 1 OVER BRADY, CUTLER INCHES UP / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: The Cardinals' Carson Palmer wins Week 6 honors with a 39.15- Arodgerspoint game (unusually low for a winning total), while the Chiefs' Alex Smith keeps his overall lead ahead of Patriot Tom Brady in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Packer Aaron Rodgers (pictured) is third but will fall week by week with his season-ending injury. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler inches up one spot, to 29th overall. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. 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. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK6       Season

1      1     Alex Smith, KC                   19.30      230.85

2      2     Tom Brady, NE                    22.85     223.95

3      3     Aaron Rodgers, GB               0.90     182.25

4      4     Carson Wentz, PHI             27.10     179.20

5      9     Carson Palmer, ARI             39.15    175.85

6      5     Drew Brees, NO                  25.30    174.05

7     12    Josh McCown, NYJ              32.70    165.70

8      6     Eli Manning, NYG                17.40    165.30

9    14     Philip Rivers, LAC               35.40     158.65

10    8     Matthew Stafford, DET       13.60     157.40

11   18    Kirk Cousins, WAS                37.50    154.70

12    7     Cam Newton, CAR                9.95     153.80

13    16    Deshaun Watson, HOU        27.25     149.85

14   13     Jared Goff, LAR                  15.20    147.45

15   17     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT       26.60    147.05

16   20     Matt Ryan, ATL                   25.40    136.85

17   10     Dak Prescott, DAL                BYE     135.60

18   11     Russell Wilson, SEA              BYE     135.10

19   23     Case Keenum, MIN              26.95    127.70

20   24     Trevor Siemian, DEN           23.80     124.20

29   30     Jay Cutler, MIA                   20.55       98.85

Bubble: Andy Dalton, CIN, 123.00. Week 6 best: Palmer, ARI, 39.15 (18-22, 283, 3-1 in win). Week 6 worst: Brian Hoyer, SF, minus-1.30 (4-11, 34, 0-0 in loss).  

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 6 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald Fripix Lobospredictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 6Herald picks: Improvement, at least. After a nightmarish recent slump, we'll take an 8-6 overall and do cartwheels over a 7-5-2 against the spread (two games were off the board when we picked 'em). Highlights: Nailed our Upset of the Week with Steelers over Chiefs ("Aawwk!"), hit another outright upset with Vikings over Packers, hit a third (barely) upset with Cardinals over Bucs, and had underdog Dolphins and Jets with the points. Greg's Lobos: Tough loss, 107.3-101.4, to Chris. Byes hit us hard but Lobos scrambled to put six in double figures, led by Jarvis Landry's 20.2, but lost it with only 11.5 from Drew Brees. What are the odds Saints top 50 points but Brees has an off game!? Oh well. 'Bos still 4-2 and only one game back. #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 7: CANES' ROSIER IN 3-MAN BATTLE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN'Miami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what keeps Sopylooking like a three-man race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Canes running back Mark Walton, out injured for the season, is seventh and falling. UM back Travis Homer is back in the chart in ninth place after a week-leading 200-point game. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               207.60         1,038 / 5

2    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             188.33         1,130 / 6

3    3    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  183.10          915.5 / 5

4    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                   134.50          807 / 6

5    4    Devin Singletary-FAU rb               134.33          806 / 6

6    8    Thomas Owens-FIU rec                109.25          655.5 / 6

7    5    Mark Walton-Miami rb                  107.40          537 / 5

8   --    Cam Akers-FSU rb                         103.20          516 / 5

9   --    Travis Homer-Miami rb                  100.20          501 / 5

10   9   Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec                 97.20          486 / 5

Bubble: D'Ernest Johnson-So Fla rb, 97.17. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 95.00. Week 7 best: Homer-Miami rb, 200 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (W3).

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

Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 12, 2017

Time for Dolphins to bench Jay Cutler? (Adam Gase won't take a public poll ... but I will). Vote now!; plus Eagles-Panthers pick, Herald Week 5 NFL QB rankings, our NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Snortgate column, Canes in latest SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12. Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite recent performances? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Titans with DSM poll, Fins line coach snorts way out of job, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Dolphins: On Chris Foerster / Snortgate: Assistant coach appears in scandalous video, snorts his way out of job. Can't make this stuff up, folks. Click Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season for my latest  column. On Jay Cutler, offense: Even winning, Dolphins offense continues woeful. Click It Isn't Just Cutler for my column from Sunday's game.

Thursday's Eagles-Panthers pick: Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's prediction capsule.

JaycutlerTHE JAY CUTLER POLL: TIME TO BENCH HIM?: You heard Dolfans in the stadium Sunday with their "We want Moore!" chants calling for backup quarterback Matt Moore to replace struggling starter Jay Cutler. You have heard media blowhards with no dog in the hunt lobbing opinions from afar, with Boomer Esiason, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and others calling for a change. You also have heard coach Adam Gase saying he has not intention of a change, saying blame for offensive woes is everywhere and that Cutler is "way down the list" of problems. I agree with Gase, as I wrote in this column from Sunday's game. Moore might be a popular fix, but not necessarily a smart one, or a fix at all. Gase said he wouldn't be swayed by outside views, saying Sunday, "We're not going to take public polls." OK, maybe he isn't. But I am! I'm taking a public poll! Right here and now. No idea how this vote will turn out (well, I think I do), but in any case vote and be heard, even if Mr. Gase doesn't want to listen:

SMITH RETAKES SEASON LEAD FROM BRADY, CUTLER CONTINUES TO FALL / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 5: The Chiefs' AlexsmithAlex Smith (pictured) wins Week 5 honors with a 51.20-point game and nudges past Patriot Tom Brady for the season lead in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler falls a few more spots, to 30th overall. As the season enters its heart we expand our weekly chart from a Top 15 to a Top 20. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. 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. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 5

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK5       Season

1      2     Alex Smith, KC                   51.20      211.55

2      1     Tom Brady, NE                    40.15     201.10

3      4     Aaron Rodgers, GB             34.05     181.35

4     10    Carson Wentz, PHI             41.20     152.10

5      3     Drew Brees, NO                  BYE       148.75

6      5     Eli Manning, NYG               20.25     147.90

7     22    Cam Newton, CAR              50.75     143.85

8      8     Matthew Stafford, DET       28.45     143.80

9    13     Carson Palmer, ARI             29.55     136.70

10  14     Dak Prescott, DAL               32.55     135.60

11  11     Russell Wilson, SEA             25.90     135.10

12  18     Josh McCown, NYJ              33.70     133.00

13   6      Jared Goff, LAR                   5.40      132.25

14  16     Philip Rivers, LAC               21.90      123.25

15  19     Andy Dalton, CIN                26.40      123.00

16  21     Deshaun Watson, HOU         29.05     122.60

17  12     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT       11.60     120.45

18   7      Kirk Cousins, WAS                 BYE      117.20

19  23     Jameis Winston, TB             25.70     115.90

20   9      Matt Ryan, ATL                    BYE       111.45

30  27      Jay Cutler, MIA                    7.60       78.30

Bubble: Tyrod Taylor, BUF, 106.50. Week 5 best: Smith, KC, 51.20 (29-37, 324, 3-0 in win). Week 5 worst: DeShone Kizer, CLE, 0.35 (8-17, 87, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 5 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with Fripix Lobosmy Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 5: Herald picks: Embarrassment continues! -- It won't end. And it's getting worse. The season is kicking my ass. The Dolphins offense is outperforming me. I went a horrific 6-8 overall last week and an even-worse 3-10-1 against the spread. I'd elaborate, but it's too painful. If this ain't rock bottom, I'm in trouble. much else went right. Greg's Lobos: And the W Train keeps rollin'! -- Opposite of our picks, the Lobos improved to 4-1 (tied for the league lead) by beating Mike, 100-85.8. We had starter Drew Brees on a bye and backup Sam Bradford iffy to play, so we signed and started (are you ready?) Brian Hoyer. And got a team-leading 22.1 points from him. That's coaching, baby! #GoLobosGo

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 6: CANES' ROSIER MAINTAINS 3RD PLACE IN 'STATE HEISMAN' RACE: Miami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what is Mmilton Sopylooking like a three-man race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Canes running back Mark Walton is in fifth place but will tumble week by week now that he is done for the season with an ankle injury. Season frontrunner McKenzie Milton of UCF is pictured. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 7:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               213.13          852.5 / 4

2    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             190.40         952 / 5

3    3    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  185.25          741 / 4

4    6    Devin Singletary-FAU rb               134.33          806 / 6

5    4    Mark Walton-Miami rb                  134.25          537 / 4

6    5    Alex McGough-FIU qb                   129.80          649 / 5

7    7    D'Ernest Johnson-SoFla rb            106.00          530 / 5

8    --    Thomas Owens-FIU rec                100.70          503.5 / 5

9    --    Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec                 98.25          393 / 4

10   8    Darius Tice-SoFla rb                       97.00         485 / 5

Bubble: Cam Akers-FSU rb, 93.75. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 90.20. Week 6 best: Milton-UCF qb, 223 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (Week 3).

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

Select other recent columns: Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 04, 2017

ESPN says your Dolphins will finish 3-13. Oy!; plus my new Jeter column, Herald NFL Week 4 QB rankings, NFL W4 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Canes' Rosier rising in updated SOPY rankings & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. They ugly! 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite the last two weeks' performance? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins suck in London with DSM poll, Stanton ends at 59, sickening tragedy in Vegas, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Derek Jeter says hello to Miami, makes no Marlins promises: My new column, from today's introductory press conference at which Jeter was making no promises about the future here of Giancarlo Stanton. Read Jeter Betting On Jeter to read.

DOLPHINS HEADED FOR 3-13 SEASON? HERE'S THE MAJOR OUTLET THAT PREDICTS IT: A major-outlet computer prediction model now has the Miami Dolphins with better than a 50 percent likelihood of winning in only two remaining games all season. Let's check the math. A current 1-2 record Sad1plus two more wins -- hang on, my calculator is smoking -- equals a 3-13 season. Or so predicts ESPN's Football Power Index. Sad2The FPI has the Fins favored (50%-plus) from here only this coming Sunday vs. Tennessee (52.3%) and Oct. 22 vs. the Jets (71.8%). And I'd remind that the Titans were seen as a dangerous "it" team before this past weekend's spanking, and the Jets recently clobbered Miami 20-7. To be fair, Miami's win probability is in the 40s in four games from here. It's all guesswork anyway. The point is, right now, a season topping out around 7-9 and capable of plunging to 3-13 seems likelier than a rally to a second straight playoff berth. Something as bad as the 3-13 FPI forecasts would put Miami in very interesting draft territory, with three quarterbacks -- USC's Sam Darnold, Wyoming's Josh Allen and UCLA's Josh Rosen -- routinely pegged for the top five overall. So. If Miami does finish as bad as this computer model spits out, the temptation to draft Ryan Tannehill's replacement could be intense. Hey, this is all speculation, of course. Premature. Maybe even reckless! Then again, when your team has scored two TDs in 12 quarters and but for luck would be 0-3, it helps to pass the time.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 4 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions Fripix Lobosand with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 4: Herald picks: Embarrassing ... again! -- The sad Dolphins and I are running in lockstep, straight to hell. I again went a terrible 7-9 straight-up and added a decent but not great 7-8-1 against the spread. (Yes, I was a victim of KC's last-second score Monday night). Had Bills and Niners with the points but not much else went right. Greg's Lobos: Woo woo! The W Train keeps rollin'! -- The Lobos improved to 3-1 by whipping Amin Elhassan 137.1-84.2, led by a beastly 34.5 from beastly Todd Gurley, who's way out front in the Lobo of the Year race. We are the Gurley men!!! Also got 23.5 from Jordy Nelson and a pleasant-surprise 22.5 from flex-play Tyrell Williams.

BRADY NUDGES INTO LEAD OVER SMITH, CUTLER FALLS FURTHER / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 4: The man Miami Dolphins fans love to hate, the TbradyPatriots' Tom Brady, narrowly nudges past the Chiefs' Alex Smith for the season lead in the Miami Herald's NFL Week 4 quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler -- not real popular with Miami fans at the moment, either -- slips a couple of more spots, to 27th overall. The Bengals' Andy Dalton wins the Week 4 title with a 51.30-point game, but after a slow start, that isn't enough to put him in the current Top 15 chart as he leaps from 30th place to 19th. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. 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.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 4

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK4       Season

1     2     Tom Brady, NE                     40.35     160.95

2     1     Alex Smith, KC                    39.65     160.35 

3     4     Drew Brees, NO                  41.40      148.75

4     3     Aaron Rodgers, GB              35.95     147.30

5     7     Eli Manning, NYG                31.40     127.65

6     5     Jared Goff, LAR                  29.75     126.85

7     8     Kirk Cousins, WAS               21.00      117.20

8     9     Matthew Stafford, DET       22.45      115.35

9     6     Matt Ryan, ATL                   15.10     111.45

10  11     Carson Wentz, PHI             23.10      110.90

11  16     Russell Wilson, SEA            35.75     109.20

12  12     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT      21.80     108.85

13  21     Carson Palmer, ARI            37.85      107.15

14  13     Dak Prescott, DAL             22.60      103.05

15  10     Derek Carr, OAK                12.15      101.65

27  25     Jay Cutler, MIA                 17.20        70.70

Bubble: Philip Rivers, LAC, 101.35. Week 4 best: Andy Dalton, CIN, 51.30 (25-30, 286, 4-0 in win). Week 4 worst: Matt Cassel, TEN, minus-6.95 (4-10, 21, 0-2 in loss).

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 5: CANES' ROSIER RISING IN RACE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN'After a big, history-equaling week for college football in the state of MalikFlorida, two Miami Hurricanes place high in the Herald’s latest State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings. All seven state FBS-level teams won this past weekend -- only the second time that has happened. The only other time the state rolled a 7-0 was Oct. 5, 2013. The state also has a record-tying four Sopyschools in the latest Associated Press Top 25: Miami 13th, South Florida 18th, Florida 21st and UCF entering at 25th. (What were the odds the one not ranked would be preseason No. 3 Florida State?). In our latest “state Heisman” offensive rankings UM’s Malik Rosier (pictured) bumps up to third off a 198-point week, while teammate Mark Walton sits fourth. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 6:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               209.83          629.5 / 3

2    3    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             190.40         952 / 5

3    4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  189.00          567 / 3

4    2    Mark Walton-Miami rb                  170.67          512 / 3

5    5    Alex McGough-FIU qb                   133.13          532.5 / 4

6    7    Devin Singletary, FAU-rb               120.20          601 / 5

7    9    D'Ernest Johnson, SoFla rb            106.00         530 / 5

8    8    Darius Tice-SoFla rb                       97.00         485 / 5

9    --   Adrian Killins-UCF rb                      96.67          290 / 3

10  6    Travis Homer-Miami rb                   90.67          272 / 3

Bubble: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 87.00. Other team leader: Auden Tate-FSU rec, 81.33. Week 5 best: Milton-UCF, 232.5 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla, 276 points (Week 3).

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

TcasasTOP SOUTH FLORIDA PROSPECTS IN 2018 MLB DRAFT: Baseball America is out with its Top 50 high-school prospects in the 2018 MLB Draft, and it includes five kids with local high-school or college ties: No. 14 overall is 1B Triston Casas (pictured) of Plantation American Heritage, committed to Miami; No. 15 is RHP Slade Cecconi from Winter Park, committed to Miami; No. 23 is SS Xavier Edwards of Coconut Creek North Broward Prep; No. 40 is LHP J.P. Gates from Spring Hill, Fla., committed to Miami; and No. 47 is IF Raynel Delgado of Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian, committed to FIU.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 21, 2017

Brady leaps, Cutler debuts in Herald Week 2 QB rankings; plus new Back In My Day video (Straws!), NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 2 results, SOPY Week 3 standings (new leader), Dolphins column on Parker/offensive potential, Hot Button Daily (Tue) & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21. Click on Straws! or our latest Back in My Day video from the LeBatard Show. Based on general reaction, it may be our most popular ever. 2) Florida Panthers opened preseason in Nashville this week with a doubleheader split vs. Predators. Hockey on, Heat soon, Dolphins underway, Marlins still going. Worlds collide! 3) Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win opener in L.A. with season-debut DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Tonight's NFL pick: Click on Thursday Gem for our predix capsule on tonight's Rams-49ers game. 

Latest Dolphins column: Lost a bit amid the drama of Hurricane Irma and AWOL Lawrence Timmons, Sunday's opener hinted at how good this Dolphins offense and breakout star DeVante Parker might be. Click on Potential & Promise to read.

BRADY CATAPULTS, CUTLER DEBUTS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 2: The Patriots' Tom Brady wins Week 2 with a 57.35-point game to catapult 18 spots to Jayc8th overall in the Miami Herald's NFL Week 2 quarterback rankings. The Chiefs' Alex Smith maintains his overall season lead. And the Dolphins' Jay Cutler (pictured) scores a solid 34.50-point game, eighth for this week, to land 24th in the overall chart. This is the 20th season of Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. 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.
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 2
RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK2            Season
1        1     Alex Smith, KC                  34.55            90.95
2        6     Derek Carr, OAK               43.50            79.60
3        3     Matthew Stafford, DET      26.10            71.70
4        8t    Aaron Rodgers, GB          36.15            70.70
5       13    Philip Rivers, LAC             42.55             69.15
6        8t    Drew Brees, NO                32.80             67.35
7       10    Ben Roethlisberger, PIT    34.15             67.30
8       26    Tom Brady, NE                   57.35            66.70
9        7     Matt Ryan, ATL                  30.60             66.65
10     15    Trevor Siemian, DEN         37.55            62.50
11      4      Carson Wentz, PHI           23.65             60.00
12     14     Mike Glennon, CHI           29.05             54.70
13      2      Sam Bradford, MIN            DNP             53.30
14      5      Jared Goff, LAR               16.20              52.50
15     11      Dak Prescott, DAL           21.90             52.30
24     -–      Jay Cutler, MIA                 34.50             34.50
    Bubble: Eli Manning, NYG, 51.95. Week 2/season best: Brady, NE, 57.35 (30-39, 447, 3-0 in win). Week 2 worst: DeShone Kizer, CLE, minus-0.90  (15-31, 182, 0-3 in loss).
    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.

Fripix LobosNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 2 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I'll tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 2: Herald picks: Uneven -- We went 11-5 overall (pretty good) and 7-9 against the point spread (not so good). Nailed an outright upset with Broncos over Cowboys and had three other 'dogs with points: Bills, Dolphins and and Lions. Greg's Lobos: Tough luck = tough loss -- The Lobos lost to Sarah Spain 126.2-117.5. Had three guys in 20s led by Lobo of the Week Todd Gurley's 26.6 and still had a shot into Monday night but the killer was Jordy Nelson's early injury and 0 points. Normal game from Nelson or a few more touches from Theo Riddick and we win. If, if, if.

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 3: NEW LEADER AS SEASON CRAWLS OUT FROM UNDER IRMA: Only three of seven state FBS teams were in action this past weekend
Qflowersafter only two were the week before. But we have a new season leader in our blog's State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- what we like to call our ongoing "state Heisman" race -- entering Week 4. That would be South Florida QB Quinton Flowers (pictured) out of Miami Jackson High, the defending champion. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven top-level FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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. Here is the statewide SOPY Top 10 entering Week 4:

2017 SOPY WEEK 3 TOP 10

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.

1    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb           214

2    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb             208

3    3    Mark Walton-Miami rb                168

4    4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                167.5

5    5    Travis Homer-Miami rb               133

6    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                 131.25

7    7    Daniel Parr-FAU qb                     120

8    9    Deondre Francois-FSU qb            102

9    --    Dredrick Snelson, UCF-rec           98

10  --    Darius Tice, SoFla-rb                   95

Bubble: DeAndre McNeal-FAU rec, 91. Other team leader: Tyrie Cleveland-Fla rec, 79.5. Week 3 best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276.

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

HOT BUTTON DAILY: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

We have discontinued the blog's Hot Button Daily. Hey, the bells 'n whistles come and go, right?

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 07, 2017

NFL 100% right to postpone Dolphins opener. But should UM have canceled road game? New poll. Vote now!; plus Chiefs-Pats pick, return of SOPY rankings find 3 Canes in Top 10, latest 'Back In My Day,' Reelin' in the Years, Hot Button Daily (Thu) & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Stay away, Hurricane Irma. Weaken and veer, you terrible thing. 2) Football time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins whup Bethune with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, other Collball Week 1 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Chiefs at Patriots prediction: Kansas City at New England kicks off the NFL season tonight. Will Dolfans girding for Hurricane Irma get the gift of a Pats loss? Click Week 1 Thursday Gem for my predix.

SOUTH FLORIDA'S MIND AIN'T ON FOOTBALL THIS WEEK. STAY SAFE, NEIGHBORS: [Click on NFL Right to Postpone Dolphins Opener for my complete latest column]. They could have rushed it and played the Dolphins-Bucs opener here tonight, but Dolfans have more important things on their minds in readying for Stadium PathHurricane Irma, such as how to survive this thing, and whether to stay or evacuate. This isn’t the week for a football game. They could have played the game Sunday as scheduled but at a neutral site. I’d heard one as far away as Pittsburgh or Philadelphia mentioned. But why rob Miami, team and fans, of a home game, or play at all on the very day when Irma is likely to wreak its worst havoc. There was some talk of still trying to play the game Monday night here, but that may have been the worst option of all. Even if Irma is kind enough to veer away from a direct hit, South Florida still will get the brunt of it. You’re going to ask fans without electricity, picking through rubble, trying to contact their insurance company about the roof, to drive through flooding to attend a football game? And cheer a first down as if their lives hadn’t just been walloped? Absurd. I'm not as certain the Miami Hurricanes needed to or should have canceled their game at Arkansas State -- although I support them doing it -- but moving Dolphins-Bucs to Week 11 when both had a bye was a no-brainer. Be safe, all.

Our most recent other columns: Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast: Off UM season opener  /  A Humbling Welcome Back: Butch Davis' return to coaching U loss  /  MVP: Stanton Has History On His Side: Case for Marlins slugger  /  Litmus Test: Beat FSU: Onus on Canes as season opens  /  2017 NFL Team Ranking: See where Dolphins fall in annual rank.

SOPY RANKINGS / 2017 SEASON DEBUT: THREE CANES IN INITIAL TOP 10: Today we launch the sixth season of the blog's State Offensive Player of the Year Sopy(SOPY) rankings -- what we like to call our ongoing "state Heisman" race. The weekly rankings measure the most productive Mmiltonquarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven top-level FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based on average yards per game: Total divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even though not all teams have played same number of games. (Even now, South Florida already has played twice). 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. UCF's McKenzie Milton (pictured) checks in as our season leader out the gate ahead of defending champion Quinton Flowers of South Florida. Canes Mark Walton and Malik Rosier rank 3-4. Here is the statewide SOPY Top 10 entering Week 2:

2017 SOPY WEEK 1 TOP 10

RK Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.

1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb          208

2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb          183

3    Mark Walton-Miami rb               168

4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb               167.5

5    Daniel Parr-FAU qb                    138.5

6    Travis Homer-Miami rb              133

7    Alex McGough-FIU qb               107.5

8    Thomas Owens- FIU rec             105

9    Deondre Francois-FSU qb          102

10t Dredrick Snelson-UCF rec           98

10t Willie Wright-FAU rec                 98

Bubble: DeAndre McNeal-FAU rec, 94. Other team leader: Florida--Josh Hammond-rec, 71. Week 1/season best: Milton-UCF, 208.

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

Roll Call of SOPY Champions: 2016—Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,917. 2015—Flowers, 2,077.5. 2014—Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968. 2013—Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107. 2012—Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: THU 9-7-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:
1. Kansas City at New England, 8:30 p.m.: NFL season opener from Foxborough.
2. U.S. Open tennis, 7 p.m.: All-U.S. women's semifinals begin in New York.
3. Marlins at Braves, 7:35 p.m.: Fish make a road show of their miserable slump.
4. Sam Houston at Prairie View, 7:30 p.m.: If you're desperate for college football.
 
LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': DISHWASHERS:


R.I.P., FAREWELL AND THANK YOU, WALTER BECKER:

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 30, 2017

Love it? Hate it? Rate my fantasy football team. Last day to vote in annual poll!; plus my Haden to Steelers, Hurricanes season-preview column, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30. So much for all the morning hooraw over Joe Haden's availability and Dolphins interest. Steelers got him. 2) Click here for best-of-podcast from yesterday's LeBatard Show. The new Back In My Day (tap water) kicks in around the 47-minute mark. 3) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Sunday Stanton column & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My new Hurricanes preview column: Hopes are way-high for Year 2 of the Mark Richt era even as a new QB, Malik Rosier, takes over. I preview the season that opens this Saturday vs. Bethune Cookman in my latest column. Click Litmus Test: Beat FSU to read.

Fantasy Fantasy2ANNUAL POLL: RATE MY FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM: We do this every year in the blog, a little boutique poll intended for my fellow fantasy football players. I don't go crazy, I'm in only two leagues. One is the LeBatard Show league, where my Greg's Lobos have developed a sort of cult following including regular on-air updates. The other is a family 'n friends league. The radio-show league hasn't held its draft yet, while my other league did so Sunday, so this poll is for that league: a standard PPR league with a 12-team snake draft and pretty basic rules. The poll shows the teams in draft order, 1 though 12. When we conclude the voting I'll tell you which team is mine and how it ranked -- based solely on each team's 1st, 2nd and 3rd-round top picks. Scan the dozen top threes and VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 3 TEAMS. Vote for the one you like best, or the one you'd be happiest having. Vote, then check back often to monitor evolving results:

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 3!

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 8-30-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at Washington, 4:05 p.m.: Stanton (51 HRs), Fish try to avoid 3-game sweep.

2. U.S. Open tennis, 1 p.m.: Second-round matches begin in New York.

Select other recent columns -- Stanton Chasing 1984. Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic Offense. Stanton the Litmus Test For New Owners. Also: Double QB Quandary A Rarity. New Owner, New Hope. A Diamond, Shining. Immortality Calling. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 26, 2017

Your polarizing predictions on tonight's Mayweather-McGregor fight; plus big reason for optimism on Dolphins (new column), Stanton pace at 63, latest 'Back In My Day' video, Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 26. R.I.P., Felo Ramirez: The Marlins Spanish-language broadcaster passed away this week at his Miami home at age 94. Ramirez called Marlins games since the franchise's inception in 1993 and was a legend in Latin American baseball circles. To an epic life well led, sir. 2) Mark Richt names Malik Rosier as Miami Hurricanes starting quarterback. But will it last? 3) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Happy Solar Eclipse Monday, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Stanton's chase for 60: After two more homers Friday giving him 49 for the season, Stanton's projected pace is now 63.

New column: Dolphins offense will make up for shortcomings on D: Can one feel excitement and dread all at once? We imagine those are the disparate yet oddly joined thoughts Miami Dolphins fans should be feeling as they now palpably face the coming NFL season. The question is who’s winning. Is it the optimist inside you? Or the pessimist within who always seems closer at hand? Side with optimism, I say. Here's why: This Dolphins offense will be better than the defense is bad. Click on Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic Offense to read.  

POLL RESULTS: YOUR POLARIZING VERDICTS ON TONIGHT'S MAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR FIGHT: We invited you in a pair of polls (see below) to say who you wanted to win tonight's big Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas, and who you predicted would win. After more than 1,100 votes were cast, your verdicts: On who you WANT to win the fight, it was the underdog McGregor winning your vote with 62.12 percent. On who you predict WILL win the fight, it was the favorite Mayweather with 69.70%.

PS3: PHILADELPHIA 38, DOLPHINS 31: Click on Alphabet Lesson: Jays Ready, D Not for my quick-hits column off last night's Miami loss in Philly in Fake Game 3 ..... In-game: Grant 69-yard catch and run ties it 31-31 ... Franks 56-yard FG just before half has Fins within 28-24 ... Dolphins 21-14 on Thomas 1-yard TD pass set up by end-zone interference call on Cutler bomb to Stills ... Miami 14-7 on another Ajayi 2-yard scoring run, this up by Jordan Phillips interception and return to Birds 3 ... Fins tie it 7-7 on 2-yard Ajayi TD run set by 72-yard Cutler completion to Parker. ..... Original post: The starters played so little in Miami winning then losing its first two exhibition games that little could be discerned about the season ahead. Tonight should tell more. Fake Game 3s (I think it's mandatory to call them the "dress rehearsal") are the one game of four in the preseason in Dolphiwhich the starters will play a lot -- likely the whole first half maybe seeping into the third quarter -- and the scoreboard matters a bit. You are putting your best Ps3out there and trying to win, after all, for the only time in August. Five things to watch tonight: 1) How will the offensive line look? Center Mike Pouncey plays in a game for the first time since November and tackle Ja'Wuan James plays for only time this preseason. It'll be a bad sign if the ground game doesn't percolate tonight. 2) Pass defense, please!? Carson Wentz, who ain't Tom Brady, shredded Miami's D in two shared practices this week. Return of free safety Nate Allen should (had better) help. 3) Jay Cutler. He threw only six passes in his debut last week so this will be our first real look at the named starter. A solid showing by him will see hopes for the season buoyed. 4) The running game. Jay Ajayi will see his first extensive action and Kenyan Drake should play a bunch. Behind a starting O-line, we'll be looking for something close to good-to-go performance from Ajayi, last season's breakthrough star. 5) Middle linebacker and left guard. Mike Hull and newly signed veteran Rey Maualuga are battling to replace injured MLB Raekwon McMillan. Third-stringer Jesse Davis has inherited the LG spot. Solid play from those two positions will earn an exhale of relief from Fins coaches.

Note: Our Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls will return again this year, but they start with the regular season. So look for the for the first DSM poll on Sept. 10.

MaymcLESSER OF TWO EVILS? YOUR PREDICTION(S) ON THE MAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR FIGHT: If you're like me, you don't particularly like Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor, who'll be in a boxing ring this Saturday in Las Vegas for their much ballyhooed boxing/UFC hybrid. You'd probably like it if they could both lose. But curiosity and hype will have you watching, and human nature says you'll pick a side. You'll have a rooting interest, even if it's driven by rooting against somebody. I'm curious how you all feel; hence, these two polls -- one asking who you want to win, the other who you predict will win. Vote one with heart, the other with head, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 8-26-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Mayweather-McGregor, 7 p.m.: You say it's a farce. You'll be watching anyway.

2. San Diego at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: After 2 more Friday, Stanton's next HR will be 50th.

3. Little League World Series, 3:30: U.S. championship, after International finale at 12:30.

4. L.A. Chargers at L.A. Rams, 8 p.m.: NFL exhibition game

5. South Florida at San Jose State, 7:30 p.m. USF Bulls 1st state FBS team to kick off season.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': GENDER-REVEAL PARTIES: The latest BIMD, from yesterday's LeBatrd Show With Stugotz. Key phrase: "It's Larry!" Enjoy:

Select other recent columns -- Stanton the Litmus Test For New Owners (Don't you dare trade him!) Double QB Quandary A Rarity (On Dolphins, Canes' shared upheaval). New Owner, New Hope (Let's party at news Loria agrees to sell to Jeter group). A Diamond, Shining (Giancarlo Stanton's great season). Immortality Calling (Jason Taylor in Hall, now who's next?). Also: Right Time, Right QuarterbackThe Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In DefeatAll-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 16, 2017

Me, Papi and 'Highly Questionable': The controversy escalates into name-calling; plus your verdict on confidence in Derek Jeter, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16. Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Marlins/Derek Jeter poll, your verdict on Jay Cutler signing & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Cote on ESPN's Highly Questionable again today: It's Me-Week on HIghly Questionable, according to me. I was in-studio on ESPN's HQ show Monday and yesterday and will be again for a final time today, in the middle of Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre. Shows airs 4:30 p.m. back on the main ESPN.

Latest columns: On Dolphins, Hurricanes, Marlins: Our latest Sunday column quantifies how rare it is that the Dolphins and UM both are going into a season with new quarterbacks, and both can blame plain rotten luck. Click on Double QB Quandary A Rarity to read. And a Marlins doubleheader: Jeffrey Loria agreeing to sell to the group fronted by Derek Jeter makes us wonder, "What's next?" But first ... LET'S PARTY! Click on New Owner, New Hope to read. Also: Underappreciated nationally, overshadowed in his own city, the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton is having one of the great seasons in Miami sports history, having hit his MLB-leading (and club-record) 43rd home run last night. My column is an unabashed appreciation. Click on A Diamond, Shining to read. 

PapiME, PAPI AND 'HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE': It's been fun doing ESPN's Highly Questionable this week. And funny, too, reading some of the Tweets and other reaction from people convinced I'm embroiled in a hostile takeover to replace beloved Papi in the middle of that table. There is no replacing Papi. But, this week, I find Mehq Papiandmemyself in between Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre on the set (pictured far left) as Dan and Papi are off on what I assume is vacation but on Papi's part also is an apparent contractual holdout. Fun fact: Bomani is way taller than Pablo and I but appears smaller in this photo. Magic? Also left, Papi and I, erstwhile friends, in happier days. It may surprise many of you to learn they asked me if I wanted to do this; I did not storm the studio heavily armed and commandeer the set. I considered the offer, quickly realized how much more TV pays than radio, and nonchalantly said, OH HELL YES!!! The producers have had me wearing a Papi-esque guayabera shirt and doing a few other Papi-esque things, which probably fanned the flame of controversy a bit. So did this: A LeBatard Tweet in which Papi accused me of being a "scab" for doing HQ in his place. Is Papi actually involved in a contractual dispute (#PayPapi) that has him off the air? No idea. No idea at all. Am I a "scab" for filling in for him, as Papi and a few of you have accused? That wounds me. Hence, the scab. Get it!?! Relax, all. It's just TV. It's just sports. I'll do my three lil' days of HQ this week and you'll likely not see me again on the tube (except on the televised radio show once a week). And soon, Papi will be back at the HQ desk. Well, I think. Probably. Maybe.

POLL RESULT: CONFIDENCE IN JETER STARTS WITH 'ANYBODY BUT LORIA' BOUNCE: We asked, "What best reflects your confidence that money-man Bruce Sherman and baseball-guy Derek Jeter will be successful Marlins owners?" Your verdict: 

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 8-16-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. San Francisco at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.: Fish (4-1), hot Stanton wrap up 6-game homestand.

2. Highly Questionable, 4:30 p.m.: I co-host again today on ESPN. My blog, my shameless plug!

3. Spanish Super Cup, 4:55 p.m.: Real Madrid-Barcelona in another El Clasico.

Select other recent columns -- Immortality Calling (with Jason Taylor in Hall, who's next?). Right Time, Right Quarterback (Dolphins should have gone with Kaepernick). Also: The Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsHe Missed a Heck Of a GameBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In DefeatAll-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 11, 2017

PS1: Dolphins 23, Atlanta 20: Our quick-read, quick-thought observations on preseason opener; plus the wonder of Giancarlo Stanton, Jay Cutler poll, latest 'Back In My Day,' Fins fantasy ranks, Hot Button Daily (Fri) & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 11. Click on Pencils for the new Back In My Day from this week's LeBatard Show. 2) R.I.P., Glen Campbell, the Rhinestone Cowboy, gone this week at 81. 3) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 led by Jay Cutler arrival, your Dolphins/Hurricanes QB calamity verdicts & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Latest column: On the wonder of Giancarlo Stanton: Underappreciated nationally, overshadowed in his own city, the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton is having one of the great seasons in Miami sports history. My new column is an unabashed appreciation. Click on A Diamond, Shining to read. 

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter is back ... but not yet: Another season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls is at hand, but, as always, they begin with the regular season, not in the preseason. Watch for the season's DSM debut on Sunday, Sept. 10.

PS1: DOLPHINS 23, ATLANTA 20: ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FAKEBALL!?: Click on Quick Thoughts On Fake Game 1 for our mini-column on Thursday night's preseason-opening Miami win. The one update I'd offer: Rookie Raekwon McMillan's torn-ACL knee injury will cause him to miss the season and overrides any good that came out of last night. Big blow. First Tannehill, now the starting middle linebacker ..... Original post: The biggest scam in all of sports is that NFL teams get away with including preseason exhibition games in their season-ticket packages, requiring fans to pay full fare for fakeball or fraudball games they wouldn't otherwise pay to see. I mean, seriously, if you plan to  attend tonight's first preseason game (7 Atlmiap.m., CBS) despite the forecast of gloomy weather and are actually and truly excited to do so -- you are a Dolfan deserving of a medal. No Jay Cutler tonight. In fact very few starters will play Ps1much if at all. Not for the visiting Falcons, either. This of course renders the result meaningless. Miami could win by 20 or lose by 20 and it would signify nada. The game does mean a lot to participants, naturally. To coaches who must make roster cuts. To borderline players trying to make it. From a fan standpoint, though, it's a micro/macro thing. If you're Macro and you just want to judge the finished product starting Sept. 10, not see how the sausage is made along the way, tonight probably isn't for you. If you're Micro and you care about the minutia, stuff like who might be the fifth wide receiver, the preseason is your Petri dish. Tonight will mostly be about rookies, and Miami draft-loaded on defense, so that's tonight's focus. On rookie middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan: He's a baby, not yet 21, but set to start. Whether he flies or fails will have a huge impact on whether the Fins' defense improves as much as it needs to. On rookie defensive tackle Davon Godchaux: Is he really beating out young veteran Jordan Phillips for the start, or are the reps right now more of a fire-starter under Phillips? And on rookie defensive end Charles Harris: Surprisingly little attention for the No. 1 draft pick, maybe because he'll begin as a rotation player. But tonight will be our first good look at that explosive first step of his. And on rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley: Can the third-round pick make the team? Needs to shine tonight. Offensively, tonight one of the "other guys" at quarterback will stake a claim to being kept as a No. 3 behind Cutler and Matt Moore. By the way, don't look for Cutler to be smoking a cigarette on the sideline tonight. That would violate stadium rules.

JaycutlerTHE CUTLER POLL: YOUR CONFIDENCE IN THE DOLPHINS' NEW QUARTERBACK: I have my say in this column; click New QB, Same Hopes to read. Although I preferred the Dolphins dare to sign Colin Kaepernick instead, hauling Jay Cutler out of retirement makes a ton of sense for Miami, given his experience, relationship with Adam Gase and knowledge of the offense Gase and the Fins use. The transition should be smooth. And I think with Cutler the Dolphins remain exactly what they were a week ago with Tannehill healthy, no more, no less: A pretty good team with a lot of "ifs" but a real shot at the playoffs. I know Cutler is a ripe target for lampooning. The nude photo. The cigarette photoshops. The celeb wife. And he has this habit of often seeming to convey apathy or boredom; see photo at right from yesterday's introductory media session. Still, a positive signing that makes the best of a bad situation and keeps Miami's season viable, I say. OK, now here comes your opinion. Express your degree of confidence in Cutler, or lack of, by taking a dip in our poll. Vote now and check back often to monitor evolving results.

AJAYI, LANDRY LEAD DOLPHINS IN FANTASY: Almost fantasy draft time, with Greg's Lobos on high alert. ESPN has a 10-team, 16-round mock fantasy draft here, and the four Dolphins selected, predictably, are: RB Jay Ajayi (2nd round/16th overall); WR Jarvis Landry (6th/51st); WR DeVante Parker (9th/85th); and WR Kenny Stills 12th/116th).

HOT BUTTON DAILY: FRI 8-11-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Colorado at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: After 2-5 roadie, Fish open 6-game homestand.

2. PGA Championship, 1 p.m.: Second round of season's final golf major.

3. Steelers at Giants, 7 p.m.: NFL preseason game.

4. USA Diving nationals, 9 p.m.: Nat'l championships From Columbus, Ohio.

5. Track world championships, ongoing: Track & field worlds continue in London.

Select other recent columns -- Immortality Calling (with Jason Taylor in Hall, who's next?). Right Time, Right Quarterback (Dolphins should have gone with Kaepernick). Also: The Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsHe Missed a Heck Of a GameBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In DefeatAll-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 26, 2017

It was easy answer, once. Not now. Who is Miami Dolphins' biggest star? Poll too close to call. Last day to vote!; plus soccer's Wonderful Wednesday with my 2 El Clasico Week columns, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 26. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the latest LeBatard Show podcast with your's truly in studio. 2) We Didn't Start the Fire. Billy Joel song title, and my reality. Follow me on Twitter here to watch my valiant but failed Sunday attempt to start a fire with two sticks. 3) Almost Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, El Clasico Miami Week, your Kyrie Irving-to-Heat verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Happy 74th birthday today, Mick Jagger. Thank you for making even me feel young." --Greg Cote

JUVENTUS-PSG IN MIAMI TONIGHT TOPS A WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY FOR SOCCER!: How's this, futbol fans. All tonight, in order: Barcelona vs. Manchester United, 7 p.m. in an International Champions Cup match in Maryland. Juventus vs. Paris Saint-Germain, 8:30 p.m. in ICC play from Miami's Hard Rock Stadium. U.S. men vs. Jamaica, 9:30 p.m. for the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship in Santa Clara, Calif. And then Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, 11:30 p.m. in an ICC game in Los Angeles. (Barcelona and Real Madrid, of course, will meet in El Clasico Saturday in Miami). My two columns on Miami's biggest soccer week ever:

It Began With An Accidental Infatuation: Today's special-section column on how this week in Miami began in '70s with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer. 

World-Sized Spectacle: Our Sunday column putting in perspective the magnitude of Miami hosting El Clasico, the first-ever Barcelona-Real Madrid match held in U.S.

DolphinstarAS DOLPHINS OPEN TRAINING CAMP ... WHO IS TEAM'S BIGGEST STAR?: As the Dolphins report for Davie training camp today/Wednesday and stage their first practice Thursday, it was interesting to me to see the cover of the Dolphins' new 2017 media guide. It depicts not any one player but three unidentified players hugging in celebration. Maybe this is by design to emphasize team over individual? But it also strikes me the Dolphins do not have one clear-cut "star," an unequivocal "face of the franchise" who merits a cover photo above all others. Is there that player in Miami? If so, who? I offer a poll here that aims to answer the question. For most of two decades here that answer was Dan Marino. Many other years the answer has been clear. Now? By however you would define the phrase "biggest star," what current Dolphins player most earns that title entering the 2017 season? Here are my top five candidates, alphabetically, plus an "other" category, and you may choose only one. Hey nobody said life was fair. Or easy. Take a dip in our poll and vote now!

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 7-26-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Int'l Champions Cup, 8:30 p.m.: Juventus vs. Paris Saint Germain in Miami.

2. Gold Cup, 9:30 p.m.: U.S. vs. Jamaica for the CONCACAF championship.

3. Int'l Champions Cup, 7 p.m.: Barca-Man U in Md., then Man City-Real 11:30.

4. Marlins at Texas, 8:05 p.m.: Fish wrap up 6-game road trip.

5. FINA World Championships, 11:30 a.m.: Major swim meet continues in Hungary.

Select other recent columns -- Blockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for Riley (on Kyrie Irving-to-Heat possibility). Paroled But Not Free (O.J. SImpson). Don't Hold Your Breath (LeBron/Wade return to Miami. An Ageless Wonder, Even In Defeat (Venus Williams' Wimbledon run). Also: All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era Ebbs. The Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports Hall. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty City. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote