September 24, 2016

Chris Bosh, with latest setback, should retire from Heat and NBA: my new column. Agree or not? New poll. Vote now!; plus NFL Week 3 picks, has-interest-in-Heat-decreased poll, why Stanley Cup odds still are against Panthers, your Tebow verdict & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24. It's autumn! Are we feeling autumnal? 2) Click here for ESPN Radio podcast including my latest Back In My Day segment. It kicks in around the 41-minute mark. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tim Tebow launches baseball career with poll, Bosh says Heat docs wrote him off, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Demanding Racial Justice (the latest, on why those anthem protests keep going). Tebow's Dream (from his first Mets' instructional league workout). The Case for Zach Thomas and Canton (which about says it)Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration).

CHRIS BOSH SHOULD RETIRE FROM HEAT, NBA: MY NEW COLUMN: Click on Time is Right For Bosh to Retire to read my latest column in full. What led me to write it: Four days before the start of Heat training camp in the Bahamas, the Miami Herald reports today that complications involving continued clotting have derailed or at least indefinitely delayed Bosh's comeback hopes. The issue is not considered life-threatening but requires medication at odds with the rigors of the NBA. Bosh's past two Miami seasons have been substantially ruined by blood clot issues, and it now seems a near-certainly a third season in a row will be majorly affected. The Heat, just after noon today, released a statement saying, "Chris has now taken his pre-season physical. The Miami Heat regret that it remains unable to clear Chris to return to basketball activities, and there is no timetable for his return." Ominous. Update: Bosh, saying "little setbacks happen," says he will continue working toward an NBA comeback in Miami.

FripixIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY WEEK 3: OUR LATEST NFL PICKS: We continued the strong start to our 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald by going 12-4 overall and 10-6 against the spread last week. Click on Week 3 Gems as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our latest picks and prediction capsules for Dolphins-Browns, our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and every other matchup. Got off to another good start last night (see Thursday Gem) by accurately calling the Patriots' win over Houston -- one that found New England a rare home underdog, albeit by only 1 point. We also have an accompanying NFL column that leads with an analysis of the impact of state-school college players in the NFL, including a position breakdown of every current Miami Hurricane suiting up on Sundays. Click on We Got Some Canes Over Here to read the column plus NFL notes.

HeatPOST-WADE, WHAT IS YOUR INTEREST IN THE HEAT COMPARED TO BEFORE?: Incredibly, for the first time since 2002, the Miami Heat are about to open a preseason training camp without Dwyane Wade on the roster, after seeing him sign with the Chicago Bulls in free agency. The five-day camp runs this coming Tuesday through Saturday in Nassau, Bahamas. First LeBron James departs, now Wade. And with Chris Bosh still in limbo because of his medical situation, the Heat has gone from the BIg 3 to the BIg 2 to the BIg 1 ... maybe. And the team that reached four straight recent NBA Finals and won two of them is now judged as an also-ran that could struggle just to make the playoffs. I'm curious how that has impacted fans' interest in the coming season, post-Wade. Take a dip in our poll and let us know, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

STANLEY CUP? WHY ODDS STILL ARE AGAINST BIG-DREAMING PANTHERS: The Florida Panthers hit the ice to begin training camp today/Friday in Sunrise (Cats' first exhibition game is Tuesday and the season opens Oct. 13), and this may be the first season in franchise history in which winning the Stanley Cup is on minds and tips of tongues in a very Panthersnewlogoreal way. After winning its division last season, despite an unexpected first-round playoff ouster, this team believes it is really good. Florida finished with 103 standings points last year (tied for fifth in the NHL) and had a productive offseason of extending contracts on its youthful core of players. The future looks bright. But how bright will the present be? Odds remain against the Cats getting to the Stanley Cup Finals this season, and here's the reason: the best teams in the league will be roadblocks to get out of the Eastern Conference. Via Bovada, Florida's betting over/under on regular season points is 98.5, tied for eighth best. That's pretty good. Playoff good. But: the top three teams overall all are East rivals in Washington (107.5), Tampa Bay (106.5) and Pittsburgh (103.5). Before the puck ever drops on a meaningful game, the Panthers are trailing in the public perception that sets and moves betting lines. This is what happens when a non-traditional power thinks it's really good and ready to make a big move. The proving must come before the believing does. (That new logo is growing on me, by the way).

Poll result: He's polarizing, but a majority like Tebow: We asked, as he embarks on an attempted baseball career, what is your overall impression or feeling about Tim Tebow. And it was 

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 16, 2016

FIU moving on past AD Garcia in '18; plus NFL Week 2 predix, where Tannehill stands; also, are Canes fans worried about Appalachian State? (with poll), upcoming Dolphins book, your Bosh verdict, Brian Wilson review & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Dolphins opener and danger in 'moral victories,' Hot Button Top 10, updated SOPY rankings & more. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Timing Was Perfect, Not Wrong (on four Dolphins' 9/11 kneel-down). Week 1 Gems (our NFL picks) and Fearful Forecast (divisional and Super Bowl predictions). Awesome Vs. Awful (on UM's resounding season-opening victory). Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration).

If the presidential race were a football game: The fivethirtyeight.com presidential forecast as of yesterday had Hillary Clinton with a 63.6 percent chance of beating Donald Trump. The ESPN NFL Week 2 Football Power Index had Bills beating the Jets last night at 63.2%. Does that mean the Jets just elected Trump?

IT'S UPSET BIRD DAY WEEK 2: OUR LATEST NFL PICKS: Bounced to a nice start on our 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald by going 10-6 overall and a nifty 11-5
Fripixagainst the spread last week. Click on Week 2 Gems as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our latest picks and prediction capsules for Dolphins-Patriots, our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week, Dog of the Week and every other matchup. Got off to a good start last night by accurately calling the Jets' win at Buffalo in a pick 'em game; click Thursday Gem to read. We also have an accompanying NFL column that leads with an analysis of all the quarterbacks who've been rookie starters -- Miami's Ryan Tannehill included -- since 2008, when began an ongoing nine-year streak of at least one per season, 19 in all. We rank Tannehill only 11th of the 17 entering this season, when two more joined the club. Click on Where Tannehill Falls to read the column plus NFL notes.

FIU SCHEDULES GARCIA'S EXIT AS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: FIU president Mark Rosenberg today announced that executive director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia -- that's fancyspeak for Pgarciaathletic director -- would stay on through to July 31, 2018, and then depart. Said Garcia (pictured): "Leading FIU athletics has been one of my most rewarding and exciting experiences. However, after months of personal reflection, I believe it is important to explore new professional challenges." Garcia has led FIU sports since 2006, but not without controversy that left him unpopular with many. Today's announcement strikes us as a compromise: Officially a contract extension, but also a way to move past Garcia in the near future. Perhaps the decision was mutual, although it seems clear FIU was ready to move on, and rightly so.

UmappstIS A TRAP DOOR WAITING FOR CANES IN BOONE, N.C?: If walloping Florida A&M and then auto-piloting past Florida Atlantic didn't tell us much about the Miami Hurricanes, this Saturday should, in UM's first road test at Appalachian State. This isn't a major opponent; the Mountaineers are a Sun Belt team. But they're good. They nearly upset No. 9 Tennessee in the opener and are mere 3 1/2-point underdogs to No. 25-ranked Miami. Canes opened as a 5-point pick before betting dough started pouring in for App State. This is expected to be a sonic, school-record crowd and would be a seismic, season-making upset for the home team. I'm curious how concerned, fi at all, Hurricanes fan are approaching this game. Hence, the poll. Vote and check back often to monitor evolving results.

Finsat50DOLPHINS BOOK COMING: The Miami Herald is publishing Fins at 50, a book on the Dolphins' first half century, due out next week and available Sept. 20. Click on Fins at 50 for the book's Amazon page to see more or to pre-order now, at $24.95 or $14.99 on Kindle. It is  -- Shameless Plug Alert! -- the perfect holiday gift and must-have for all the Dolfans on your list! Runs the gamut of Dolphins history, from the expansion years to the Perfect Season to the Marino Era and right up to the hiring of Adam Gase and the current team. I had a lot to do with the book including an introductory essay and get author credit, but it's a collaborative effort, featuring hundreds of historic photographs as well as contributions from other Herald writers through the years including the legendary Edwin Pope. Soon, I'll be at Books & Books in Coral Gables discussing the book. Stay tuned for updates on that here or by following me on my Twitter.

NFL PICKS 'N FANTASY: DOUBLE THUMBS UP FOR WEEK 1: NFL picks: Had a solid Week 1 overall, going a decent 10-6 straight-up and a robust 11-5 against the spread. Bull's-eyed outright upsets by Broncos and Saints, nailed underdog Jets, Patriots, Lions and Jaguars with the points, and even had a rare exact-score for Green Bay's 27-23 win. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos rocked to 1-0 in the LeBatard Show league by beating Guillermo, 146.6-139.5. Got 31.4 points from Drew Brees -- expected. But while some of our big guns underperformed, we got the gift of 32.2 points from Willie Snead and 27.8 from Theo Riddick. Go 'Bos!

Poll result: Most think Bosh will be in Heat's opening night starting lineup: We asked for your best guess on that and it was 62.0 percent yes to 38.0 percent no.

ON THE BRIAN WILSON SHOW: Saw legendary Brian Wilson and his band Wednesday night at the Hard Rock, where the audience was surprisingly full and buoyant. He played about Bwilson1 hour 45 minutes and it was terrific. It was not a Beach Boys show per se, although it was hard to tell it wasn't, save for the rather pleasant absence of Mike Love in a Hawaiian shirt. Wilson was joiined by fellow original Beach Boy Al Jardine as well as longtime member Blondie Chaplin in a 10-piece band that was tighter than my belt when  I leave an all-you-can eat buffet. Wilson is 74 now, a bit unsteady on his feet and not daring a lot of high notes. He also is somewhat stiff and oddly peculiar as a frontman, more than once advising the standing, swaying crowd, "Please be seated." But you take him for what he is: a musical genius, and a survivor. Decades of drug abuse and mental health issues, the deaths of two brothers and bandmates, the acrimony with Love -- yet here he is, still performing. The show marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Pet Sounds album, which he played in its entirety in the middle. The show lagged there if all you were looking for was radio hits, but this was an audience that ate it all up. I have seen legendary artists so far past their prime in concert it was tough to watch (Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis), but Wilson remains inspiring to see still doing it. Great show.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 13, 2016

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 52.5%; plus Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.9%; also, near-shocker as Fins fall in Seattle 12-10, UM bops FAU 38-10, Collball Week 2 & more

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

9111) It is TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13. Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Take a moment, as we celebrate football, to reflect -- and not only once a year. Never forget! 2) Because this blogpost is so crowded, the latest Hot Button Top 10 will hit the blog early Tuesday morning this week. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Upset Bird in America and NFL Week 1 picks, King Sport unfurls with Super Bowl poll, heaviest-bet NFL over/unders, economic study slams subsidies for Marlins and others, your verdict on Heat's biggest acquisition & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Click on Week 1 Gems for our NFL picks and on Fearful Forecast for our divisional and Super Bowl predictions. Awesome Vs. Awful (on UM's resounding season-opening victory over Florida A&M). Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration). And Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American (QB sits to take a stand).

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter returns!: The ninth season of our blog's DSM postgame polls debuts immediately below, followed by our postgame thoughts.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 52.5%: Results are certified in the season-opening launch of the ninth season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 52.5 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the  wake of Sunday's 12-10 Miami loss at DsmSeattle. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

Analyzing the vote: Plus-50 is an unusually satisfied vote total following a loss, but it reflects the caliber of opponent on the road. The total was fueled by 43.4 percent "somewhat" satisfied, so the overall percentage has the potential to drop sharply if the performance in New England disappoints.

2016 DSM results

G1: 52.5% (following 12-10 loss at Seattle)

Next poll: Sept. 18 (following game at New England)

Yearly DSM Results: 2015--18.1% (following 6-10 season); 2014--2.7% (8-8); 2013--4.2% (8-8); 2012--29.8% (7-9); 2011--34.9% (6-10); 2010--3.8% (7-9); 2009--31.2% (7-9); 2008--96.9% (11-5/playoff loss).

G1: SEATTLE 12, DOLPHINS 10 (FINAL): SEAHAWKS SCORE IN FINAL MINUTE TO SPOIL OPENING-GAME SHOCKER: Postgame thoughts: If there are moral victories, this was one. Miami was the biggest Kickoff Weekend underdog in the entire NFL at Seattle on Sunday but it took a last-minute TD to beat Miami 12-10. Coaches and players won't admit it, but the Dolphins have to fly home encouraged to have gone toe to toe with an opponent many peg for the Super Bowl. I'd be surprised if most Dolfans were not encouraged as well. There were signs of encouragement on both sides of the line. The Miami team we just saw, even in defeat, is one that can compete for a playoff spot. ..... In-game: SEA up 12-10 with 38 seconds left on Wilson-Baldwin 2-yard scoring pass, but then Hawks miss extra point ... Tannehill 2-yard keeper has MIA up 10-6 with 4:08 left. Can the Fins shock the world? ... Just got back from a day of travel from Syracuse (wedding) to jinx the Dolphins. First live action I saw on my TV was Miami 1st and goal from the Seattle 5, after which they fizzled and then missed a short tying FG. ..... Original post: This thought or something like it must have occurred to new Dolphins coach Adam Gase if he noted the crosstown Miami Hurricanes won their season opener 70-3 over a much, much lesser opponent: Whatever the NFL Miasea
polar opposite of that soft opening is ... the Fins are hitting it head-on in Sunday's 4:05 p.m. kickoff of Miami's 51st season. King Sport might not have two scarier words to offer up than "at Seattle." Miami is a league-high 10 1/2-point underdog not only because most experts expect more mediocrity from the team, but because the Seahawks are really good -- dreaming Super Bowl-good -- and Seattle enjoys as strong a home-field advantage as any team in the league. That 2-2 preseason didn't tell us much about these Dolphins, but that shouldn't take long Sunday. Quick history lesson: Game 1 results matter, historically. They are a harbinger. Super Bowl winners were 40-9-1 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 27 times (59.3%), versus 5 of 22 times (22.7%) at 0-1. (That excludes one season-opening tie, in 1971). Running backs under a glare in this opener, on both sides. Arian Foster won Miami's starting job, Jay Ajayi didn't like that, pouted, and was left back in Miami. For Seattle, Marshawn Lynch's replacement Thomas Rawls will play on a tender ankle and be limited. Quick aside to Mr. Ajayi: Foster has accomplished a lot. You have not. Pay your dues. Be a team player. Grow up. Click here for my MIA-SEA prediction capsule. My pick: Seahawks, 30-16.

FauumG2: NO. 25 HURRICANES 38, FLORIDA ATLANTIC 10: [Note: We'll be unable to live-blog during tonight's game but will be back late tonight with postgame thoughts}. Routine win. Mark Walton and Joe Yearby with a combined 276 rushing yards. ..... Original post: Saturday's 6 p.m. home game back at The Rock surely will be a harder test for Miami than  last week's embarrassingly easy 70-3 rout of overmatched Florida A&M. (What wouldn't be?) Still, It would be a surprise if the 24 1/2-point-favorite Canes didn't ease past Florida Atlantic without much sweat or threat. Owls have a bit of offensive punch led by quarterback Jason Driskel, have recruited well lately and are on the ascent in Conference USA, but FAU lacks the defensive firepower to bother UM QB Brad Kaaya and his deep ground game. Also, Miami is ranked now for the first time since 2013 (up one spot to No. 25) and is too good and also too well-coached to suffer what would an early-season stumble of some magnitude. UM will be tested next week at Appalachian State as roughly a one-touchdown favorite, but that's later. Blinders on tonight. That's coaching, too. My pick: Hurricanes 45-17.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 91.9%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 91.9 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 38-10 home victory 1aa1csmvs. Florida Atlantic putting UM's season record at 2-0. This the eighth season of our blog's CSM postgame polls, which are your invitation after every Hurricanes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday.

2016 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 97.2% following 70-3 victory vs. Florida A&M

G2: 91.9% following 38-10 victory vs. Florida Atlantic

Next poll: Sept. 17 following game at Appalachian State

Other FBS Week 2 football:

Maryland 41, FIU 14: The Int'l now 0-2 after blowout loss Friday night in which Terps rolled over Panthers with 477 yards of offense. FIU was only one of seven state FBS teams to open with loss last week, and disappointed in Game 2 as 10 1/2-point 'dogs.

No. 3 Florida State 52, Charleston-Southern 8: Whatever Jimbo Fisher said at halftime Monday night, bottle it and sell it. Thought FSU might beat suspension-ravaged Cha-So by about a hundred points if they wanted.

Florida 45, Kentucky 7: Gators were bumped from No. 25 by Miami but were a comfy 16 1/2-point pick. Maybe because UF has beaten KY 29 times in a row in da Swamp. Gators back in poll this week.

Other state FBS games: No. 5 Michigan whipped UCF 51-14, and South Florida beat Northern Illinois 48-17.

National Collball Week 2 overview: We had the heart-pounding opening. Now comes the slow exhale. No. 3 Oklahoma led the sad parade of poll-jarring upset losers last week, but Week 2 should be noticeably calmer, with not a single Top 25 team facing a ranked opponent.

Poll result: Packers your pick to win Super Bowl, but it's wide open: We asked for your Super Bowl pick among betting favorites, and you had it Packers 19.7 percent, Panthers, Seahawks and Cardinals all knotted at 13.5%, Steelers 11.2%, Patriots 10.3% and Broncos 3.1%. The other 15.2% voted "other."

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 10, 2016

Upset Bird Day in America! Our NFL Week 1 picks; plus Super Bowl poll. Vote now; also, FIU falls, study slams subsidies for sports facilities including Marlins Park, your verdict on biggest Heat acquisition & more

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

Wingicecream1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10. Pictured right, what stars in a Greg Cote sweet dream? Yes. Yes it is. It's Chicken Wing-flavored ice cream! 2) Marlins worth watching tonight: Jose Fernandez vs. Clayton Kershaw. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat's biggest personnel move with poll, computer's gloomy prediction for Dolphins, debut of SOPY rankings, Arian Foster named starter, Canes crack Top 25, miserable Marlins & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

FIU falls hard: The now 0-2 FIU Panthers hosted and lost to Maryland 41-14 last night. The Int'l was only one of seven state FBS teams to open with loss last week, and followed that by allowing 477 yards oif offense to Terps in a blowout loss.

Recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Awesome Vs. Awful, our most recent, on UM's resounding season-opening victory over Florida A&M. Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? (Hard Rock unveiled). NFL Ranking (Best to worst teams, 1 through 32). Brad Kaaya (on UM's key player). She Never Quit (on FIU coach Ron Turner's inspiration). And Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American (QB sits to take a stand).

Heaviest-bet NFL team over/unders: Via Bovada: The heaviest-bet "overs" on win totals are Cardinals (84 percent on 9.5 wins), Patriots (79% on 10.5) and Panthers (72% on 10.5). Heaviest-bet "unders" are Eagles (82% on 7 wins), Colts (78% on 9.5) and Rams (74% on 7.5).

FripixIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN MIAMI. WAIT. NO. IN AMERICA!:It has arrived -- our historic 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald, today in the print edition and also online. A South Florida tradition that began in 1991 continues as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our 2016 Kickoff Weekend picks and prediction capsules for Dolphins-Seahawks, our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week, Dog of the Week and every other matchup. Click on Week 1 Gems for all our picks and on Thursday Night Gem for tonight's pick. (We rolled to a big start last night, nailing Denver's upset of Carolina). We also have an accompanying NFL column with our division-by-division forecasts and projected won-lost records along with our Super Bowl pick. Click on Fearful Forecast to read.  We'll also be updating you every Tuesday here in the blog on how we fared the previous weekend with our picks, and with our Greg's Lobos fantasy teams.

Nfl Sb51KING SPORT AWAKENS! IT'S FOOTBALL DAY IN AMERICA!: The college game had a one-week head start. Now let the pros take over, kids. The NFL regular-season begins tonight -- click on Thursday Night Gem for our pick on the Panthers-Broncos game -- and so starts a continuous six-month blitzkrieg of America's immersion in fantasy football and gambling as 32 teams set out to reach and win a Super Bowl. Las Vegas betting odds and the public's reaction to those estimates suggest there are a consensus of six teams pretty clearly above the rest in terms of being likeliest to win it all. We're curious about your thoughts so we have listed all six current betting favorites in our new poll, and we added a seventh team, Denver, in the sentimental belief every reigning champion deserves at least that small nod of respect. No matter the team you cheer for, vote with head, not heart, as if you were given $100 to lay on one team only, straight up, to be this season's champ. Vote and check back often to monitor evolving results.

NEW ECONOMIC STUDY SLAMS FEDERAL SUBSIDIES FOR SPORTS FACILITIES, INCLUDING MARLINS PARK: A new economic study by the respected Brookings BrookingsInstitute think tank says federal taxpayers have subsidized newly constructed or majorly renovated professional sports facilities at a cost of $3.2 billion since 2000, via tax-exempt federal municipal bonds. Because high-income bond holders receive that additional tax break for holding the bonds, the resulting loss in total revenue to the federal government is even larger at $3.7 billion. The Miami Marlins' new stadium is included in the study, and is shown to have received a $100 million tax subsidy at a lost-government-revenue pricetag of $132 million. The study looked at 48 stadiums and arenas in America's Big 4 sports. The Marlins received the 12th most in federal subsidy and caused the 10th most in lost revenue. Click on Brookings Study for the full story.

Poll result: Not LeBron, not Shaq, not Wade -- Riley is Heat's biggest acquisition: We asked what has been the Miami Heat's biggest personnel move or acquisition, and hiring executive Pat Riley was a runnaway winner with 50.3 percent. After that it was 24.7% for drafting Dwyane Wade, 16.9% for signing LeBron James/BIg Three, 6.7% for trading for Shaquille O'Neal, and 1.3% for trading for Alonzo Mourning.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 02, 2016

Magnifico! Dolphins unveil fab 'new' stadium in fake-game loss. Our review; plus FIU falls in opener, NFL team rankings, Brad Kaaya on expectations, Ron Turner's inspiration, quantifying Marlins' slide, your Kaepernick verdict & more

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

7 Fripix1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2. Happy new month, y'all! 2) Countdown: 7 days 'til the Upset Bird! NFL Friday Page predictions debut Sept. 9. 3) Dwyane Wade spoke on ABC's "Good Morning America" (it aired this morning) about gun violence and his role in trying to make things better in Chicago. Story here. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Colin Kaepernick protest with poll, Heat owe Chris Bosh a decision, your latest Greg's Lobos verdict, Gene Wilder & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Public relations faux pas? How about when you misspell "LeBron"?: The following just landed in my email inbox: "Rise Nation is where the fit get fitter! Case in point -- freshly off-season basketball stars LeBrone James and Dwyane Wade who visited the boutique fitness studio in West Hollywood yesterday..." Subsequent references by the future former PR person also had it as LeBrone. How great.

PS4: TENNESSEE 21, DOLPHINS 10: UNVEILING OF 'NEW' STADIUM WAS TONIGHT'S STAR, NOT GAME: Postgame thoughts: Miami ends a 2-2 preseason with a loss you can't really call disappointing because starters didn't play and it didn't matter except to bottom-third roster guys looking to keep their jobs. I was there and wrote a column on the public unveiling of the newly refurbished and impressive stadium. For our review of the overhauled stadium click on Now Can Dolphins, UM Look as Good as the Place They Call Home? to read. ..... Original post: The Dolphins' fourth and final preseason game is tonight at 7 vs. the Titans, but the star of the Hrstadnight is the official, formal unveiling of the newly refurbished and newly renamed Hard Rock Stadium, with its massive canopy against rain or sun and its four giant video screens. I've been inside the new-look stadium and I must say it's quite magnificent. (If only the Dolphins were guaranteed to be as good as their "new" home looks). As for the game itself, who wins won't weigh much at all because few starters will play much, if at all. Fake-games No. 4 are all about not getting anybody hurt and arriving at final roster decisions as the 75-man roster pares to a final 53 by Saturday. The "lower third" players fighting for jobs are guys you won't see on the field much beyond special teams, or miss if they're cut. Who'll be kept as a ninth offensive lineman? Who might be the eighth defensive back? These decisions are vitally important to coach Adam Gase and to media wonks trying to out-minutiae each other; not so much to most fans. The winner tonight will be Stephen Ross and his new-look stadium, not either team.

OPENING NIGHT: FIU FALLS 34-13 TO VISITING INDIANA IN OPENER:  Postgame thoughts: FIU led a tight game in the third quarter but collapsed a bit, falling 34-13 to the BIg Ten's Indiana in the Panthers' season opener here. Wasn't the scoring binge many expected (over/under was 62 points), but FIU wasn't good enough on either side of ball, especially struggling both to run and stop the run. ..... Original post: Panthers open their football season hosting the Indiana Hoosiers tonight at 7:30 at FIU Stadium, and fans who Fiuappreciate solid defense probably should get nowhere near the place. The betting over/under is 62 total points. That's all!? Indiana led the Big Ten in scoring and offensive yards last season and yet finished 6-7 (including a bowl loss to Duke). That happens when your defense is awful, and IU's D gave up 30-plus points nine times in 2015. FIU? Coach Ron Turner begins his fourth season in Miami and Conference USA feeling pretty good about his chances of bettering last season's 5-7 mark -- those hopes pinned mostly on offense. QB Alex McGough, RB Alex Gardner and a solid blocking front could form a nice attack. But FIU's defense is young, must coalesce and wasn't very good a year ago, beaten for 30-plus points six times. Hoosiers are a 10 1/2-point favorite. I wish I sensed an upset; instead I sense a pointfest with FIU on the wrong end. I spoke at length yesterday with Turner for my latest column. It was about the team and season but mostly about him, his challenging childhood, and the strong woman who inspires him to this day. Click on She Never Quit to read.

FOOTBALLFEST! COLUMNPALOOZA!: NFL RANKINGS AND KAAYA AND TURNER, OH MY: Celebrate the return of football season as the Miami Herald rolls out its NFL/Dolphins, UM/Colleges and Dade-Broward High Schools special sections today. I contribute my annual ranking of every NFL team and also a column on Canes quarterback Brad Kaaya, along with a separate daily column on FIU coach Ron Turner as the Panthers open their season tonight:

NFL Ranking: I slot the teams 1 through 32, best to worst, in our NFL/Dolphins section, an annual exercise in futility. A year ago I way-overestimated the Dolphins, ranking them sixth. No Kool-Aid this time; I have Miami ranked 19th. For complete rank and capsule outlook on each team, click NFL Ranking

Brad Kaaya: Hurricanes' star quarterback says, "Pressure is a good thing," as he begins what could be his final season at UM. Kaaya embraces expectations and wants to exceed them. For my UM/Colleges section column on UM's most important player, including our list of 10 greatest Canes QBs, click Brad Kaaya.

Ron Turner: Who FIU's football coach (and older coaching brother Norv) turned out to be is owed to the extraordinary strength of a mother who never quit after their father abandoned the family when Ron was a baby. For a different daily column by me as FIU opens its season tonight, click She Never Quit.

 Six other select recent columns, ICYMI: Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American (a QB's one-man sit). Gase, Richt and Hope (Dolphins and Canes' positive coach hires). All The Things That Could Go Right (combating Dolfan pessimism). Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter (new-name Hard Rock). The Weight Has Just Begun (inside office and expectations of Canes coach Mark Richt). A Chance for Football to Retake Miami (Wade's departure from Heat).

QUANTIFYING MARLINS' FAST FADE: It isn't just the 10-18 record in August, it's how the maudlin month ended (on a 2-7 run including five straight losses) and why (sleepy bats). Hitting coach OzunaBarry Bonds wins no-duh quote of the year in remarking Miami hitters have picked a bad time to collectively slump. So now the Fish enter Septemeber 3 1/2 games back in the wild-card race, and fifth in the jockeying for two spots. Clearly the bats are to blame. Marcell Ozuna (pictured) hit .162 in August, Ichiro .209, Adeiny Hechavarria .231 and Dee Gordon has been nothing special since his return. And of course , injured power-bats Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour have been dearly missed, leaving a crater in the lineup. As a result July-to-August team totals show a .277 to .250 drop in batting average, .754 to .680 in OPS and 4.62 to 3.46 in runs per game. Can't write off Marlins' playoff chances yet, not with 29 games to go. Pressure is on now, though. Margin for error has disappeared. Miami needs to be as good this month as it was bad in August.

Poll result: Strong majority oppose Kaepernick's stand on sitting during anthem: We asked what best reflects how you feel about 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, and a plurality of 43.4 percent voted that he's un-American and should be booed, while another 34.5% said they understood his cause but don't support his anthem sit. However, the other 22.1% said they fully support his cause and respect what he is doing.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 31, 2016

Are you with or against Kaepernick in his anthem protest? Poll. Last day to vote!: plus Free Chris Bosh! Heat owes its star and fans a decision on his future; also, your verdict on Greg's Lobos & more

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

Wilder1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31. R.I.P., Gene Wilder (pictured), 83, the great comic actor who passed away from complications of Alzheimer's, and also Hubbard Alexander, 77, a receivers coach who helped Miami Hurricanes win national titles in 1983 and '87. 2) Fading Marlins now 3 1/2 back in wild-card race. Wake bats, please. 3) Got a robo-call from actor Martin Sheen on behalf of a Congressman I'd never heard of. Thanks for the valuable input, Marty. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Your latest Greg's Lobos fantasy team verdict, Hot Button Top 10, introducing LeBatard Show Lobos & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.martin sheen, ronbo call. on behlaf of a confressman id never head of.

Column six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI: Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American (the latest, on a QB's one-man sit). Gase, Richt and Hope (Dolphins and Canes' positive coach hires). All The Things That Could Go Right (combating Dolfan pessimism). Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter (on new-name Hard Rock). The Weight Has Just Begun (inside the office and expectations of new Canes coach Mark Richt). A Chance for Football to Retake Miami (on Wade's departure from Heat).

CSM, DSM are returning: Our blog's Canesfan and Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls are back for another football season. Look for them right here immediately following every Hurricanes and Dolphins game, beginning this Saturday Sept. 3 for UM, and on Sept. 11 for the Fins.

ColinkDON'T HATE KAEPERNICK, HATE WHAT HAS MOTIVATED HIS PROTEST: The 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is being called un-American by many for sitting during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, often at the hands of police against unarmed black men. I hate that he is doing that; it saddens and angers me to see anyone disrespect our flag by sitting during the anthem. But I hate even more what makes him feel he must. And what he is doing is closer to very American than un-American, by the way. Protest is a huge and vital part of our history, from the Boston Tea Party to the Vietnam War to the next city where the next unarmed citizen is shot. Free speech is the foundation of our freedom. This is the topic of my latest column. Click on Kaepernick's Protest Does Not Make Him Un-American to read in full. But that's my opinion. I want your's. Take a dip in our poll and check back often to monitor evolving results.

FREE CHRIS BOSH! HEAT OWE HIM AND FANS A DECISION: Heat preseason training camp begins in less than a month, on Sept. 27, and yet the team still has not Boshcinformed Chris Bosh whether he will be cleared to play, or under what conditions, as he comes back from a second straight season interrupted by a blood-clots scare. Bosh says he is ready and able. Monday he posted videos of himself on Snapchat shooting and participating in basketball drills. rills on his Snapchat account. And on Twitter he wrote, "Everybody keeps asking if I'm hooping. Yes, I'm hooping. I'm a hooper." Well, actually, it's more accurate to say he's hoping to be hoping. He still needs the club to give him the OK. If they do not, ugliness and a legal battle may be in store. I get the team's abundant caution on Bosh. Whether he can return to a contact sport on blood-thinning medication is a real concern. But it has been a long time to figure that out and make that decision, and the new season draws near. Heat fans and especially Bosh deserve clarity from the Heat on Bosh's future with the team.

Poll result: Your rankings of my friends-n-family fantasy league teams, and where Greg's Lobos landed: We asked you which fantasy football team you'd most want to have based on each team's top four picks. Here was your order, and whose team it is in relation to me:

 

8.74% --

3.15% -- 

3.15% -- 

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 19, 2016

PS2: Dallas 41, Dolphins 14: Tannehill solid but defense blows; plus Greg's Lobos announce fantasy roster, with rate-the-team poll. Vote now!; also, Lochte's apology, Neil Diamond, your verdict on Hard Rock Stadium name & more

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

Iamisaid1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 20. Click here to read Ryan Lochte's apology for his behavior and falsehoods while at the Rio Olympics. 2) I have rediscovered a 1971 song, Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said." It's a shade melodramatic, as is Diamond's style, but really compelling and gorgeous in a way. Listen here. 3) Ohio man arrested for trying to have sex with parked van. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Newly named Hard Rock Stadium with poll, Hillary as Usain, fading Marlins, Joy Taylor, your verdict on MLB's Purgatory Four & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Column six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI: Name Of Stadium Doesn't Matter, the latest, on the Hard Rock rechristening of It's Still Joe Robbie Stadium to Me. A-Rod to Fish Made Sense, on what might've been. Time for Baseball and Cooperstown to Reconcile With Banished Stars, on the Purgatory Four. The Weight Has Just Begun, inside the office and expectations of new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt. A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Wade's departure from Heat creating opening for Dolphins and Canes. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chased 3,000 hits.

It's baa-aaack! Dolfan Satisfaction Meter to return: The DSM postgame blog polls will be back for another season this year, but they begin with the regular season, not in the preseason. Look for the first one the night of Sept. 11 immediately following the opener at Seattle.

PS2: DALLAS 41, DOLPHINS 14: TANNEHILL SHINES; DEFENSE, NOT SO MUCH: Postgame thoughts: NFL history made last night. Believed to be first game in league's 97 seasons that included quarterbacks named "Zac" and "Dak." Ryan Tannehill strong overall in an active evening, 12-for-20 for 162 yards and two TDs, a fat 119.2 passer rating. That'll work. And good they let him and the offense breathe a bit. Also, coach Adam Gase upgraded from last week's sideline T-shirt to an actual collared shirt. Progress! The rest? Not so good. Debut of Arian Foster an anticlimactic nothing: 2 carries, minus-5 yards. Ten Dolphins penalties. Defense? Awful. All over. Front to back. Especially against the pass. Awful. I saw in one fantasy draft ranking Miami's defense was ranked 28th. Thought that was low. Now I get it. I don't care if it's August or not. You don't give up 41 points. Work to do at 1-1 as the preseason pivots. Fake-game No. 3 -- fast, this Thursday vs. Atlanta in Orlando -- will be the full-ish dress rehearsal where the starters play a lot. Then will come the exhibition finale and only preseason home game at the newly refurbished and rebranded Hard Rock Stadium. Real season opener at Seattle chugging in hard. Uh oh. Original post: Last week Miami won its exhibition opener 27-10 at the Giants after trailing 10-0. In the real season that Doldalwould have been impressive with no yeah-buts. In fake-game context it was boring and proved little, mainly because Ryan Tannehill barely played (seven snaps, four Afosterpasses) and we saw little of Adam Gase's new offense. That should change tonight in Dallas as Tanny plays significantly more and we more substantively see what the quick-release/short-pass attack might actually be like. The preseason debut of RB Arian Foster (pictured) will also be a factor in tonight having more of a "this is the real offense" feel than last week. Foster, the former Pro Bowl star coming back from injuries at age 29 and obtained dirt-cheap, is a real wild card this season. He and young Jay Ajayi are fighting for the starting job and primary workload. Expectations for Foster may be modest, but there also is a big upside. Foster outranks Ajayi on most fantasy draft boards. Dolfans allowing themselves to dream big and imagine what has to go right for this to be a playoff season are surely including a bona fide return to form by Foster. If he can be who he was for most of 2010-14, or even close, the Dolphins will have a bargain, and a godsend. His skills catching passes out of the backfield, in addition to the ball carrying, dovetails with elements of the Gase offense. A first look at Foster, more Tannehill, and Tony Romo starting on the other side will give tonight a real-game feel -- however briefly.

GREG'S LOBOS REVEAL 2016 DRAFT RESULTS AND ROSTER: We had our fantasy draft Thursday night in the league that had the winning bid to have Greg's Lobos join this season. I was amazed how many leagues across the country bid for a good cause: ESPN's annual V Foundation fundraiser. I believe the winning  bid topped Lobos$2,000. There will be three Greg's Lobos this season: this team, the one in the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz league, and the original Lobos from our friends 'n family league. Last night we drew the overall No. 3 pick in a standard-league, 10-team snake draft. The Lobos draft, in order by round: 1st round--RB Todd Gurley; 2nd--RB Mark Ingram; 3rd--WR Jordy Nelson; 4th--RB Carlos Hyde; 5th--WR Jarvis Landry; 6th--QB Ben Roethlisberger; 7th; WE Donte Moncrief; 8th--RB DeAngelo Williams; 9th--TE Martellus Bennett; 10th--WR Kevin White; 11th--TE Julius Thomas; 12th--QB Jameis Winston; 13th--WR Travis Benjamin; 14th--RB Benjamin Cunningham; 15th--Vikings D/ST; 16th--PK Matt Prater. I am pinning my hopes on huge productivity from Big Ben, superstar breakout numbers from Gurley, and big stat seasons from Ingram/Nelson/Landry. (Click here for a video on Landry's training regimen). But the Lobos' secret weapon could be Hyde, who I see as poised to bust out as a top-tier back this season, especially in that Niners offense. I like my team. Do you? Let us know in the poll below. Here's the team based on projected starting lineup:

QB: Ben Roethlisberger

RB: Todd Gurley

RB: Carlos Hyde

WR: Jordy Nelson

WR: Jarvis Landry

TE: Martellus Bennett

FLEX: RB Mark Ingram

D/S: Vikings

PK: Matt Prater

Reserves: WRs Donte Moncrief, Kevin White and Travis Benjamin; RBs DeAngelo Williams and Benjamin Cunningham; TE Julius Thomas and QB Jameis Winston.

Poll result: A strong thumbs-up for the new Hard Rock Stadium name: We asked what best represents how you feel about "Hard Rock Stadium" as the new name for where the Dolphins and Hurricanes play. A plurality of 31.0 percent voted, "Whatever. It'll always be Joe Robbie Stadium to me." However, otherwise, the new name met with huge approval, with love/like swamping dislike/hate by a landslide 9-to-1 margin of 53.9% to 5.9%. The breakdown: Love 28.2%, Like 25.7%, Dislike 3.0% and Hate 2.8%. The remaining 9.3% chose the poll option, "

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 09, 2016

Should Marlins sign a soon-available Alex Rodriguez? Poll. Laast day to vote!; plus Mark Richt column, Radio Tuesday, latest Hot Button Top 10 starring Ichiro 3K, Rio, Canton, Fins, D-Wade; also, your verdict on win totals for Canes/Dolphins & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 9. We're back from a near two-week hiatus from the blog while we were away vacationing along California's Central Coast. Might have more on that later. The Hot Button Top 10 returns after taking last Sunday off. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

It's Radio Tuesday!: After a week's vacation we're back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. locally on 790 The Ticket, 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, with the national show also visible on ESPNU. We have a new Back In My Day ready to go.  

Step into the office, and expectations, of Mark Richt: We visited privately with Miami Hurricanes football coach Mark Richt yesterday, stepping into his office and his world. Click on The Weight Has Just Begun for the column that resulted.

Column six-pack: Six other select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: A Chance for Football to Retake Miami, on Dwyane Wade's departure from Heat creating a chance for Dolphins and Canes. Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, state of team as camp nears. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that says it all.

SHOULD MARLINS SIGN A-ROD FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON?: What happened on Sunday with the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez was weird. It was announced his final game for the team would be this Friday, and that he would then segue into a role as team consultant and spring instructor. Hmm. It seemed less like a sudden retirement than it did New York pretty much telling A-Rod Arodto get lost but showing him the respect to make it seem like his decision. Rodriguez, even at 41, didn't seem like a guy ready to call it quits -- certainly not with one third of a season left. "Of course, I think I can play baseball," Rodriguez said. "You always think you have one more hit in you." It is important to note that A-Rod, after Friday, will be free to sign with any other team if that chance arose, and that he did not rule out that possibility. Miami Marlins, perhaps? It makes enough sense to at least consider. From A-Rod's view, he is from Miami. He lives here. The Marlins would be the perfect situation for him to have a proper farewell to the game, not the awkward, sudden goodbye from New York. From the Marlins' view, signing A-Rod for the remaining 47 games (after Friday) would boost attendance at least somewhat as it gave him a chance to get the four more home runs needed to reach 700. Ichiro got to 3,000 MLB hits in a Marlins uniform. Might A-Rod's milestone also come in a Fish uni? There is little question Rodriguez-to-Marlins make sense from his perspective and from that of the club's marketing side. Though his career has been tainted by steroids, I think he would be embraced by most Marlins fans. (Maybe not; the poll below will shed light on that). The one determining factor, the only one that matters: Would A-Rod, in a reserve/pinchhitter role, help the Marlins as they chase an NL wild-card spot? Is there room for him on the roster? That is all that matters. Miami should not sign A-Rod to be nice or as a publicity stunt in pursuit of slightly bigger crowds. No room for that in a playoff race. But if Don Mattingly thinks adding A-Rod's bat and experience would be a plus, then yes. I doubt this will happen, of course, but it's plausible enough to make it fun to consider. Take a dip in our poll, share your thoughts and check back often to monitor evolving results.

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

Hotbutton1. MARLINS: Ichiro (finally) reaches 3,000 hits!: Marlins are in a pitched battle for that second NL wild-card spot as six-game homestand begins tonight vs. Giants, but the overriding news is Ichiro reaching 3,000 MLB hits with a triple last night in San Diego. He is only the 30th ever to do it. The Marlins should have sat Ichiro yesterday and let him reach the milestone at home. That's according to me and, I'd imagine, Jeffrey Loria. Nevertheless, congrats on a remarkable achievement -- one of the biggest ever by an athlete in a Miami uniform. 

2. OLYMPICS: Summer Games underway in Rio: Rio de Janiero is hosting the Summer Olympics through Aug. 21 and, other than crime, terrorist concerns, polluted water and other issues, all is going well. Back home, Hillary Clinton wished the U.S. athletes well. Donald Trump quickly Tweeted that crooked Hillary could not be more wrong.

3. ALEX RODRIGUEZ: A-Rod retiring, will become Yankees adviser: The Yankees and slumping veteran Alex Rodriguez of Miami announced Sunday that A-Rod would play his final game for the Yanks on Friday, then become a team adviser and instructor. So begins the five-year wait until Cooperstown first says no to steroids-tainted A-Rod.

4. NFL: First football game of season canceled in Canton: Saturday in Canton saw the induction of the six newest Pro Football Hall of Fame members led by Brett Favre. Sunday was to bring Colts-Packers in the season's first exhibition game, but the game was canceled because the paint used on the field was too hard, dried like cement and was a hazard to players. No, seriously. You can't make this s--- up, folks. Are you ready for some football? Apparently the field crew in Canton wasn't.

5. DOLPHINS: Fins three days from exhibition opener: Lots of extraneous stuff. Hard Rock looms as frontrunner for stadium naming rights. Training camp visitors include Peyton Manning and WWE star The Big Show. Ryan Tannehill's wife has a baby boy named Steel. NFL reinstates Dion Jordan, who immediately goes on injury list. But cutting through all that? Monday dawns the first game week of season, with exhibition opener this Friday at Giants. So here come your Dolphins. Ready or not...

6. HEAT: Wade's return to Miami set for Nov. 10: Dwyane Wade, in a Chicago Bulls uniform, makes his first return to Miami on Nov. 10, a Thursday night. That's in 94 days. Not that I'm counting.

7. HURRICANES: Media, fan events on deck as season draws nearer: UM's football media day was Monday, (click on The Weight Has Just Begun for my new column on Mark Richt), and then Canesfest fan events are this coming Saturday as Richt's debut season draws ever nearer. 

8. GOLF: Walker wins PGA Championship: Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship, the year's final major. It was the first time Walker had been in the news since starring as J.J. in Good Times in the '70s.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Playoff ends its New Year's Eve games: The College Football Playoff is ending its New Year's Eve semifinals after only one year. Explained a CFP official: "We really had our head up our a-- on that one!"

10. MICHAEL JORDAN: NBA icon breaks silence: Michael Jordan, always hesitant to share personal views, spoke out on the subject of gun violence. Turns out he's against it. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Giancarlo Stanton's 496-foot home run just landed ..... The Marlins unveiled their 2017 All-Star Game logo. Nothing went wrong and people thought it was pretty good ..... Dolphins owner Stephen Ross held a business seminar for five Fins players interested in post-football careers. His advice to them: Become a billionaire. Makes everything so much easier! ..... Michael Vick, 36, is working out in Broward hoping for one last NFL shot. Those who have watched him train tell us Vick is not doggin' it. (Sorry) ..... Steve Spurrier is back with the Florida Gators as ambassador and consultant. Also, as an ad-Visor ..... Jim Turner, fired as a Dolphins assistant coach for his role in Bulygate, has been suspended by Texas A&M for showing a sexually suggestive video during a women's football clinic. Turner is 51 but evidently still in middle school ..... FIU baseball player Nick Day saved the life of a man who'd been in an auto accident in Arizona. Player of the week? ..... Fort Lauderdale Strikers played heir final game at Lockhart Stadium. Hardly anybody cared, but the ghosts of 1977 wept ..... St. Thomas Aquinas' John Bosa is holding out as a Chargers rookie. How Not to Begin Your NFL Career 101 ..... It's a challenging year to be a Kyle Busch hater ..... A veteran scout who wished to remain anonymous has criticized as "uninformed" a veteran unnamed front-office official ..... Finally, a man died during Florida's annual lobster miniseason. I keep telling you cheapstakes to order a lobster at a restaurant or buy one at Publix. Much safer that way.

Poll results: Higher hopes for Hurricanes than for Dolphins: We invited you to set the bar on expectations for the coming Hurricanes and Dolphins seasons and you set it higher for UM than for the Fins. For the Canes overall it was 8.95 wins and for the Dolphins 8.29, even though UM plays at least four fewer games. The breakdown: Hurricanes--44.6% 9 wins; 31.6% 10-plus wins; 15.4% 8 wins; 4.5% 7 wins; and 3.9% 6-fewer wins. Dolphins--31.4 percent 9 wins; 29.6% 8 wins; 15.3% 10-plus wins; 14.2% 7 wins; and 9.5% 6-fewer wins.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 23, 2016

Is NBA right to pull '17 All-Star Game from Charlotte over anti-LGBT law? New poll. Vote now!; plus new NFL MVP odds, Canes' Richt at ACC Kickoff, ode to Original Strikers and Lockhart, your verdict on Ajayi vs. Foster & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, JULY 23. Ichiro is at 2,996 hits after going 0-for-1 in last night's homestand-opening Marlins loss, and is not in starting lineup tonight. Now likely his milestone hit wouldn't come before Monday at earliest. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins sign Arian Foster with poll, Canes football on "surprise" list, LeBron James parties & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or want a second look: Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham, the latest, an ode to the 1977 Strikers and Lockhart Stadium. Ichiro!, on wonder of ageless Marlin as he chases 3,000 hits. Riley Endures Tough Summer, Fights On, as Heat prez admits regrets over losing Wade. Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image, on impact of Brady suspension being upheld. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all.

New NFL MVP odds: Via Bovada, Packers' Aaron Rodgers opens as betting favorite to win NFL MVP award at 4-1 odds, followed by Ben Roethlisberger 7-1, Cam Newton 15-2, Russell Wilson 8-1 and Tom Brady 9-1, the latter devalued because of four-game suspension. Top Dolphin Ryan Tannehill is 150-1, tied for 34th.

NBA LEADS WAY IN LEAGUES/ATHLETES DELVING INTO POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES: The NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver made good on a threat Thursday and removed the league's 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, N.C., because that state's refusal to repeal a law that critics say is anti-LGBTQ and encourages discrimination based on sex and gender. But, that same day, Nbaasg17in that same Charlotte, the ACC Football Kickoff (including the Miami Hurricanes) was held. Clearly, sports is still feeling its way in terms of whether to act or not in decisions that are political or involve social issues. Also, clearly, the NBA is leading the way on action. Just last week, it was four NBA star who opened the ESPY Awards with powerful statements agsint gun violence and shooting by and of police. There still is uncertainty, though, as seen in the WNBA, which fined players from three teams for wearing T-shirts during warmups Thursday in protest of recent police-related violence, yet in a statement said, "We are proud of WNBA players' engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues." Hmm. What to do? Should leagues and athletes "stick to sports" and not blur the line on social activism? Or is it right that leagues and players, as role models, lead the way in weighing in on such stuff? I align with the latter view. We offer this poll as a microcosm or indication of how our readers feel on this broad question. I'll vote "yes," but it is your consensus that will paint the picture. Vote now, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

FAREWELL, LOCKHART STADIUM: AN ODE TO THE ORIGINAL STRIKERS: [Click on Original Strikers Set Template for Beckham for our latest column. An alternate blog-exclusive version follows here] This was circa 1977-83, pre-Major League Soccer, when the original North American Soccer League had earned a foothold in this country, and when the original Fort FtlstrikersLauderdale Strikers had done the same locally, winning a loyal and considerable following. Lockhart Stadium, off I-95 and Commercial, filled to near its 20,000- Rayhudsonseat capacity for most home games. It was intimate, conveying a Fenway or Wrigley vibe for the lads in the bumblebee uniforms. Tailgating was huge. Fans showed up hours early. Strikers flags waved in the parking lots amid the rising smoke from cookout grills. This was pre-Heat, Marlins or Panthers. Other than Dolphins and Canes the Strikers  were the biggest thing in town. Lockhart Stadium is where showman-coach Ron Newman once rose from a coffin at midfield to demonstrate his team's resilience. Where a young blond Brit named Ray Hudson (pictured) made the women swoon. Where European legends like Gerd Muller and Georgie Best played their career's winters. Where a Rotten to the Cor banner flew against Dutch coach Cor Van der Hart. I covered those early Strikers teams as a fulltime beat, my first big break and major assignment for the Miami Herald. Interest (and travel budgets) were high, so all of a sudden I'm a kid being sent to Vancouver to cover a team. It seemed like a big deal. And it was, for a time. Now fast forward almost 40 years, if you can believe that. MLS is futbol king in America now. The NASL is still Ronnewmanaround, but as a diminished, second-tier league. The Strikers are still around in their latest iteration, but a shell of their former selves. This week those Strikers, currently averaging a meager 1,310 fans per game, worst in the NASL, announced they are leaving Lockhart for Central Broward Stadium in Lauderhill (starting Aug. 20), which is one-fourth the capacity. It may be because Lockhart is now old and decrepit. Or because developers want to turn that area into a water theme park. Or because the Strikers are waving a white towel and admitting a team playing to 85 percent empty seats presents a depressing tableau. It may be some of all of that. What it also is: A chapter ending for a small but not insignificant piece of South Florida sports history. The Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Lockhart Stadium -- the original version. There was a time when that marriage was strong and supported buoyantly, back in the day, before Greater Miami boomed into a major sports town, and it should remain the template as David Beckham continues trying to realize his dream for an MLS team in Miami. Strikers home games were an event, Lockhart was home, and in the teeming crowd it felt like you were surrounded by friends and neighbors. Farewell, Original Strikers at Lockhart. It didn't end right, but those halcyon days as the late '70s turned to early '80s contributed some special snapshots to the album of our sports history.

Poll result: Foster edges Ajayi for Dolphins RB in closest vote ever: We asked which running back you expect will have the bigger role in Dolphins' offense this season, and it was newly acquired Arian Foster edging young Jay Ajayi by 50.9 percent to 49.1% as we called it final. I cannot think of a closer either/or vote in all the years of our blog polls. The lead went back and forth. You truly were torn.

WHAT MARK RICHT SAID TO ACC MEDIA THAT REALLY MATTERED: University of Miami's time slot was this week at the ACC Football Kickoff and media days in Charlotte. We cull though the boring stuff and bring you what we found most notable from coach Mark Richt: On the season and immediate outlook: "If we do things right and don't do things to hurt ourselves, there's a great chance to have Theusuccess. And then, once we get the ball rolling, I think people will say, 'Miami is back.' I don’t think people will say, 'Miami’s having a good year.' They'll say, 'Miami’s back.' You can say you’re back when you have the tradition of five national championships in the last 30 years." On his attitude with assistant coaches: "I got to cherry-pick guys that would really buy into how I like to do things. I told the coaches that I am coaching QBs again, I'm calling plays, I'm getting in the middle of this offense. I don't have time to baby-sit anybody. I tell them if I have to motivate you, we've got a problem. If I’ve got to motivate a staff member to do his job, I’m probably going to get another staff member." On his deep religious beliefs: "I happen to be a Christian. That's just what I am. I'm not using it. I think we need to be true to who we are, what we believe. I'm not trying to make anybody believe anything I believe. I just want to do things in a way that I think God would be pleased with me. That's my goal on a daily basis. I'm not trying to use anything. I'm just trying to be who I am." On recruiting and relationships: "The big thing is to make sure that the high school coaches know that they're welcome in our place, that we want to recruit their guys, we want the local guys to stay home, and we want to be honest with everybody and do our recruiting in a way that everybody appreciates." On his goal for UM in 2016: "Win the Coastal division. Get back to the ACC championship game." Pictured, apropos of nothing: Snoop (The U) Dogg.

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Twitter @gregcote

July 14, 2016

Wade and others' ESPY anti-violence video; plus Brady ban impact on Dolphins: My column with poll. Vote now!; also, grading 7 Marlins reps' All-Star performances, new MVP/Cy Young odds, Greg's Lobos news, latest 'Back In My Day' & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, JULY 14. See NBA stars' anti-violence video below, near end of this blogpost. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Strange fate of Heat's Big 3, mouth of Miko strikes again,UFC sells for $4B, history of Marlins in Home Run Derby, Ricky Williams/pot video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

The latest 'Back In My Day': Click on Retail Desperation for our latest Back In My Day segment from Tuesday's Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz. Link gets you to ESPN Radio podcast, and from there the new BIMD kicks in around the 1 hour 15 minute mark.

Six-pack: Six select recent columns, ICYMI or thought 'em so great they deserved another look: The Strange Dissolution of Heat's Big 3, the latest, on rocky departures of LeBron and D-Wade followed by medical uncertainty with Bosh. Mission Accomplished, Legacy Secure, our Sunday farewell-Wade column. These Marlins Deserve Support Despite the Owner, and that tagline says it all. Ali Legacy Should Include Other Athletes' Thanks, on Ali setting template for sports. A Baseball Odyssey Finds Its Mountaintop, on local kid Richard Bleier's long climb to Yankees. Nobody Wins When a 55-Year Marriage Ends In Divorce, on PGA Tour leaving Doral.

New MVP, Cy Young odds for MLB, Fish: New today via Bovada, NL and AL MVP favorites are Kris Bryant at 11-4 and Mike Trout at 7-2, respectively. Cy Young leaders are Clayton Kershaw at 11-10 and Chris Sale at 4-5. For Marlins, Jose Fernandez is 12-1 (6th place) for Cy and Giancarlo Stanton 33-1 (9th) for MVP. 

New Dolphins column in wake of Brady news: Click on Dolphins On Own to Escape Rut, Reshape Image for my new column, in wake of today's court ruling upholding Tom Brady's four-game suspension.

HOPE FOR DOLPHINS? BRADY 4-GAME SUSPENSION UPHELD: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady lost big in court this Wednesday morning when his four-game Deflategate suspension was upheld Bradyupheldin New York by the 2nd. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling essentially is that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was within his powers to suspend Brady for his role in the doctoring of footballs used in 2014-season playoff game vs. the Colts. It's a big victory for Goodell. It's also a win for AFC East rivals Miami, Buffalo and the New York Jets. Brady's final hope would be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Otherwise, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, not Brady, would start New England's first four games vs. the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills. Brady's season debut would then be in Week 5 vs.Cleveland. The Miami game Brady would miss is at New England. An oddsmaker buddy of mine told me this morning the Patriots still will be a decided favorite in the game, though likely now by around 6 points instead of around 9 points. Take a dip in our poll and tell us what best represents what you think will be the impact of Brady's suspension on the coming season. Not what you hope, but what you honestly believe. Then check back often to monitor evolving results.

GRADING MARLINS REPS' ALL-STAR BREAK PERFORMANCES: The Marlins had seven representatives at MLB's All-Star festivities in San Diego concluding last night. Grading them top to bottom:

StantonhrdGiancarlo Stanton: A+: I mean, he hit record 61 home runs to dominate Home Run Derby, including 20 of 21 longest dongs. He crushed it. Literally.

Marcell Ozuna: B: Started in CF at All-Star Game (because Yoenis Cespedes could not) and was 1-for-2 with an RBI.

Josh Naylor: B: Franchise's No. 2 prospect had two hits and an RBI as team's only representative in Futures Game.

Fernando Rodney: B: Pitched a neat, scoreless 2/3 inning with a strikeout.

A.J. Ramos: Inc.: Selected but did not appear in ASG.

Marlins Man: C-: Was relegated to the third row behind plate. And in first row was a man in a competing orange shirt. Oh the indignity!

Jose Fernandez: D: Sorry, Jose, but we always expect dominance. Gave up two hits and a run in 1 1/3 innings.

MIAMI HAD REASON TO WATCH ESPYS, AFTER ALL: The ESPYs were broadcast last night from Los Angeles, because ESPN doesn't get enough attention, and because there aren't enough awards shows. South Florida was close to bereft of nominees, save for Palm Beach's Serena Williams nominated (of course) for Best Female Tennis Player, one of 31 categories. Heat fans also saw the evening turn into the LeBron James Show, with him a winner for Best Male Athlete and Best Championship Performance. But! The show's highlight came at the beginning, when NBA friends LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul spoke out against gun violence and racial divide and exhorted fellow athletes to become involved as positive influences. Powerful stuff. Well said, and done. Video here:

 

Greg's Lobos earn $1,550 for charity: The ESPYs are a fundraiser for the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research, and one of the items up for bid this year, through ESPN Radio's Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, was for my Greg's Lobos to be in your fantasy football league. Astonishingly, there were 113 bids in only a 24-hour window, and the winning bid was $1,550 by a charitable buyer in San Luis Obispo, Cal. Thank you. Look forward to hooking up for the draft. Go Lobos!

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

Twitter @gregcote