November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving, all! Our thanks to you and annual video (with me, Jeter, Richt, Shula and Snortin' Chris Foerster); plus Turkey Day NFL picks & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23. Happy Thanksgiving, all! 2) Holiday season! Give the Dolfan on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL rankings, SOPY standings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Our 3 latest columns: On Dolphins, NASCAR, Canes: Click Adam Gase Must Find A Way, on Dolphins' woes. Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The Day, from NASCAR finale at Homestead. And Heart and Fight Keep Canes' Perfect Dream Alive, from UM comeback win over Virginia.

Tg17HAPPY THANKSGIVING, ALL! MY GRATITUDE IN 30 SECONDS: My first byline in the Miami Herald appeared in late 1972. It is now 2017, and I am still going in a career I love. That is thanks to my three professional families: Miami Herald Sports, the Dan Lebatard Show on ESPN Radio, and mostly ... you. You all. I mean the people who are reading us (on the old-school page or by clicking online), following on social media, listening on the radio and caring about what I do. To all of you: Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you!

Tg17vidClick on Thanksgiving 2017 for our holiday video, starring myself, Marlins boss Derek Jeter, Dolphins legend Don Shula, Canes coach Mark Richt and the deposed Dolphins assistant coach, Snortin' Chris Foerster.

 

FripixNFL THANKSGIVING DAY GAMES: HOME COOKING, BABY!: This is the 12th straight season of NFL holiday triple-headers, and I like one upset (Lions win) and one maybe-upset (Cowboys win) among the troika. In other words, all three home teams win. Click On Thursday Gems for all of our Bird Day predix capsules.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 10, 2017

Ranking Top 10 Hurricanes wins since last national championship, and why beating Notre Dame would be No. 1; plus Dolphins-Panthers and other NFL Week 10 picks, Cutler wins Week 9 passing title, Owl crashes SOPY party, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall to Oakland with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

MiandMiami-Notre Dame Week: In my latest column I name the Top 10 Miami Hurricanes football wins of the post-dynasty era (since the last national title in 2001) and declare that beating the Fighting Irish here Saturday night would top them all. Click on Canes-Irish: Game For The Ages.  

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 10 PICKS: I THINK I SPRAINED AN ANKLE JUMPING OFF THE DOLPHINS BANDWAGON: After mistakenly picking the Dolphins to win the past two games, I'm done thinking they'll rise to the prime-time occasion. Click on Week 10 Gems for my picks on Dolphins-Panthers Monday nighter, Game of the Week (Saints-Bills), Upset of the Week (Jets-Buccaneers: "Aawwk!") and the rest. Our week got off to a nifty start last night. We said Seahawks would cover a 5-1/2-point line at Arizona, 24-16, and Seattle won 22-16.

SMOKIN'!: DOLPHINS' CUTLER WINS WEEK 9 PASSING TITLE / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 9: The Dolphins’ Jay Cutler scored a 50.55-point game to lead Cutlerall passers in Week 9 of the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings, while the Chiefs’ Alex Smith overtook Patriot Tom Brady for the overall season lead. 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 (such as Brady in Week 9) take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

HERALD NFL WEEK QB RANKINGS / Top 20 plus Dolphins

RK  LW  Player, Team                        WK9     SEASON

1     2    Alex Smith, KC                     32.15    318.20

2     1    Tom Brady, NE                      BYE       302.05

3     3    Drew Brees, NO                    41.15    287.70

4     4    Carson Wentz, PHI                29.95    268.10

5     7    Kirk Cousins, WAS                 28.35     250.35

6     6    Josh McCown, NYJ                23.00     250.00

7     5    Russell Wilson, SEA               17.85     246.25

8   11    Matthew Stafford, DET          48.05     235.60

9   10    Matt Ryan, ATL                     28.65     223.85

10  12   Dak Prescott, DAL                 32.45     218.90

11  13   Derek Carr, OAK                    32.00     217.70

12  21   Jared Goff, LAR                    38.55     209.75

13  22   Tyrod Taylor, BUF                  38.25     202.40

14   8    Philip Rivers, LAC                  BYE       197.40

15   9    Ben Roethlisberger, PIT          BYE       197.10

16 14    Cam Newton, CAR                 13.85     196.90

17 19    Eli Manning, NYG                   18.00     192.00

18 15    Aaron Rodgers, GB                 DNP       182.25

19t 25   Jacoby Brissett, IND              36.40      181.50

19t 16   Case Keenum, MIN                 BYE        181.50

26  29   Jay Cutler, MIA                      50.55      169.30

39  37   Matt Moore, MIA                    DNP          29.20

Bubble: tie, Carson Palmer ARI and Deshaun Watson HOU, both 180.95. Week 9 Best: Cutler MIA 50.55 (34-42, 311, 3-0 in loss). Week 9 Worst: Jameis Winston TB 4.35 (7-13, 67, 0-0 in loss).

FripixNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 9 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I 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. WEEK 9Herald picks: Mixed results. Went an awful 6-7 straight-up as my struggles there continued, but fashioned a solid 7-5-1 against the spread  including two exact-score bull's-eyes in Titans winning 23-20 and Panthers 20-17. Greg's Lobos: Win! Lobos rose to 6-3 with a 120.3-78.3 rout of Billy, fueled by 25.6 points from Matt Forte and 24.4 from Todd Gurley. #ReturnOfTheGurleyMen #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 10: AN OWL CRASHES THE PARTY, ENTERS 'STATE HEISMAN' RACE: It's been a three-man race all season for the Herald's 2017 State SopyOffensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Well, make it four now. Add Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary to the quarterback troika of South Florida's Quinton Flowers, UCF's McKenzie Milton and Miami's Malik Rosier. All had huge Week 10 performances, with Flowers overtaking the No. 1 spot with a season-high 341.5-point game, Singletary scoring 287, Milton 262 and Rosier 215.5. Also in the 200 club: Florida State RB Cam Akers with 229. 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 even because not all teams have played the same number of games at the same time. 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 11:

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

1      3   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb                  208.06 1,872.5 / 9

2      1   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb                    205.06 1,640.5 / 8

3      2   Malik Rosier-Miami qb                       197.00 1,576 / 8

4      4   Devin Singletary-FAU rb                     173.11 1,558 / 9

5      5   Alex McGough-FIU qb                        132.00 1,056 / 8

6      9   Cam Akers-FSU rb                             113.94 911.5 / 8

7      6   Thomas Owens-FIU rec                      107.31 858.5 / 8

8      7   Travis Homer-Miami rb                      105.88 847 / 8

9     --    Marquez Valdes-Scantling-SoFla rec     96.11 865 / 9

10   --    Adrian Killins, UCF rb                          95.63 765 / 8

Bubble: Darius Tice-SoFla rb, 94.11. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 74.50. Week 10 best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 341.5. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 341.5 points (W10).

Cote's State of the State rankings: 1. Miami (8-0); 2. UCF (8-0); 3. South Florida (8-1); 4. Florida State (3-5); 5. Florida (3-5); 6. FIU (6-2); 7. FAU (6-3).

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 02, 2017

On Dolphins' Jay Ajayi trade: Poll. Vote now!; plus Herald NFL QB rankings, Bills-Jets pick, Stephen Ross' big win, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, new Back In My Day video, updated SOPY standings (Canes' Rosier makes his move), a message for UM fans & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2. Click Thursday Gem for my pick on tonight's Bills-Jets Thursday Night Football game. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite last Thursday? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes win at North Carolina with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 , state Collball Week 9, The List (college coach-salaries) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Miami, Stephen Ross win big: Miami and Hard Rock Stadium are awarded the 2020-season college football national championship game and it's a huge win for the city, Stephen Ross and (maybe) the Hurricanes. Click Miami Wins Again for my latest column.

Dolphins' Jay Ajayi trade: Dumb!: Miami traded its young, really good No. 1 running back and got in exchange the NFL equivalent of a tackling sled and a box of kicking tees. Dumb. Dumb! Dumbdumbdumb. Click How to Make a Bad Offense Worse for my column.

A message for Hurricanes fans: Quit finding fault at 7-0: Desperate Gators turn to Randy Shannon. Embarrassed Seminoles are 2-5. Is this really the season you want to look at Hurricanes' 7-0 record and complain it hasn't been dominant enough? Click Appreciate Perfection -- Period.

JayaON DOLPHINS' JAY AJAYI TRADE: YAY OR NAY? VOTE NOW: I have had my say. The link to my column is just above here. I think the Dolphins trading their top young running back and getting next to nothing in return made a bad offense worse, erased somebody the team should have made a part of its future, and was just plain dumb. No spinning it. No yeah-buts. No equivocation. DUMB! But that's just me. Now have your say:

BRADY OVERTAKES SMITH FOR SEASON LEAD / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 8Miami’s favorite quarterback -- not -- has
Tbradyovertaken first place after Week 8 in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback season rankings. That would be the Patriots’ Tom Brady (pictured) surpassing the Chiefs’ Alex Smith, who has led all but one week this season. Seattle’s Russell Wilson climbs to fifth place overall on the strength of a 47.60-point week that gave Wilson his second straight weekly title. 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.

RK LW Player, Team                  Wk8       Season

1     2 Tom Brady, NE                  41.65     302.05

2     1 Alex Smith, KC                 15.10     286.05

3     4 Drew Brees, NO               37.95      246.55

4     3 Carson Wentz, PHI           22.55      238.15

5   10 Russell Wilson, SEA           47.60     228.40

6     6 Josh McCown, NYJ           37.85      227.00

7     5 Kirk Cousins, WAS             26.15     222.00

8     7 Philip Rivers, LAC             14.60     197.40

9   12 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT     23.85     197.10

10 16 Matt Ryan, ATL                 30.70     195.20

11 19 Matthew Stafford, DET     30.15      187.55

12 14 Dak Prescott, DAL             18.15     186.45

13 18 Derek Carr, OAK               25.65      185.70

14 15 Cam Newton, CAR            16.70      183.05

15  8 Aaron Rodgers, GB             BYE       182.25

16 21 Case Keenum, MIN            33.40     181.50

17t 20 Deshaun Watson, HOU     31.10     180.95

17t  9 Carson Palmer, ARI           BYE       180.95

19 11 Eli Manning, NYG              BYE       174.00

20 17 Jameis Winston, TB          8.50       172.65

29 29 Jay Cutler, MIA                 DNP       118.75

37 38 Matt Moore, MIA              8.80         29.20

Bubble: Jared Goff, LAR, 171.20. Week 8 best: Wilson, SEA, 47.60 (26-41, 452, 4-1 in win). Week 8 worst: Mitch Trubisky, CHI, 1.20 (14-32, 164, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 8 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my FripixMiami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 8Herald picks: Disappointing. Went an OK 9-4 straight-up and a poor 5-8 against the spread. That included a huge misfire in believing Dolphins would win at Baltimore. Greg's Lobos: Lobos sank to 5-3 (still tied for second in the league) with a 83.3 to 66.6 loss to Roy. Is it even possible to score fewer points? We got bitten by the bye bug bad. Still, no excuses. Never a good sign when your leading score is tight end Kyle Rudolph with 14.7 points. #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 9: MIAMI'S ROSIER JUMPS TO 2ND IN 'STATE HEISMAN' RACE: Malik Rosiers' 216-point game at North Carolina (second-best among state FBS schools this past weekend) lifted him one spot to second place, now narrowly trailing only UCF's McKenzie SopyMilton, in the race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Devin Singletary's 279-point game for FAU, a statewide season high, solidified his hold on fourth place. 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 even because not all teams have played the 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 10:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total (Games)

1     1   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               196.93         1,378.5 (7)

2     3   Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  194.36          1,360.5 (7)

3     2   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             191.38         1,531 (8)

4     4   Devin Singletary, FAU-rb               158.88         1,271 (8)

5     5   Alex McGough-FIU qb                   132.93            930.5 (7)

6     6   Thomas Owens-FIU rec                 111.64           781.5 (7)

7     7   Travis Homer-Miami rb                 103.71           726 (7)

8     9    Darius Tice-SoFla rb                      98.13           785 (8)

9     8   Cam Akers-FSU rb                          97.50           682.5 (7)

10  --   D'Ernest Johnson-SoFla rb               90.13           721 (8)

Bubble: Marquez Valdes-Scantling-SoFla rec, 88.38. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 85.14. Week 9 best: Singletary-FAU rb, 279 points. Season best: Singletary-FAU rb, 279 points (W9).

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

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': HALLOWEEN!: In our latest LeBatard Show BIMD rant I lay out my rules for Halloween. How many did you observe followed or broken on your street last night?

Select other recent columns: Along For the Ride On the Road to 'Back' (UM at7-0). Dolphins Debacle (quick hits 40-0 loss in Baltimore). Time Is Right For Dolphins To Prove Doubters Wrong (on three straight prime-time games). The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Also: Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying SeasonIt Isn't Just CutlerBack On Track & Ready To Roar. Jeter Betting On JeterHope 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. 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

October 25, 2017

See where Dolphins' Matt Moore debuts in latest Herald NFL QB rankings; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 7 results (Lobos win again!), latest SOPY standings show Canes' Rosier in 3-way fight for 'state Heisman' & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25. Sorry again I had to miss yesterday's LeBatard Show because of illness. Hope to be back on next Tuesday. 2) See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. It's a season best. 3) 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. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Jets with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

SMITH MAINTAINS LEAD OVER BRADY, DOLPHINS' MOORE DEBUTS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 7: The Seahawks' Russell Wilson wins Week 7 honors with Mattmoorea 45.70-point game, edging Tampa's Jameis Winston by less than one point, in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Chiefs' Alex Smith maintains his overall season lead over Patriots' Tom Brady. Now-injured Jay Cutler holds steady in 29th place overall, while Miami starter-for-bow Matt Moore (pictured) debuts in 38th place. 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 7

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK7       Season

1      1     Alex Smith, KC                   40.10      270.95

2      2     Tom Brady, NE                    36.45      260.40

3      4     Carson Wentz, PHI              36.40      215.60

4      6     Drew Brees, NO                  34.55      208.60

5     11    Kirk Cousins, WAS                41.15      195.85

6      7     Josh McCown, NYJ              23.45      189.15

7      9     Philip Rivers, LAC               24.15      182.80

8      3     Aaron Rodgers, GB              DNP        182.25

9      5     Carson Palmer, ARI              5.10       180.95

10   18     Russell Wilson, SEA            45.70      180.80

11    8      Eli Manning, NYG                8.70       174.00

12   15     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT      26.20      173.25

13   14     Jared Goff, LAR                 23.75      171.20

14   17     Dak Prescott, DAL              32.70      168.30

15   12     Cam Newton, CAR             12.55       166.35

16   16     Matt Ryan, ATL                  27.65       164.50

17   23     Jameis Winston, TB           45.20       164.15

18   22     Derek Carr, OAK                40.85       160.05

19   10     Matthew Stafford, DET       BYE         157.40

20   13     Deshaun Watson, HOU        BYE         149.85

29   29     Jay Cutler, MIA                 19.90        118.75

38   --      Matt Moore, MIA               20.40          20.40

Bubble: Case Keenum, MIN, 148.10. Week 7 best: Wilson, SEA, 45.70 (27-39, 334, 3-0 in win). Week 7 worst: Drew Stanton, ARI, minus-3.90 (5-14, 62, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 7 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Fripix LobosHerald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 7Herald picks: Mixed bag. Went 10-5 straight-up, not bad, but had to scramble to go 5-8-2 against the spread, not good, with two games pushing with 3-point lines. Had Browns with the points but not a lot else to brag about. Greg's Lobos: Lobos improved to 5-2, tied for second in the LeBatard Show league, with a 119.4 to 77.9 rout of Dan. Got 25.4 points from Todd Gurley -- the Gurley Men are back! -- 22.3 from Jarvis Landry, 19.1 from Drew Brees and an unexpected 17.3 from Latavius Murray on a last-minute flex play. That's coaching, baby! #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 8: 3-WAY BATTLE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN' INTENSIFIESMiami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what continues to be Jdriskela three-way race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." UM running back Travis Homer also finds himself in the state Top 10, along with a pair of FIU Panthers. FAU quarterback Jason Driskel (pictured) won Week 8 honors with a 264.5-point game, elevating his season average to 92.00 -- just outside the Top 10. Rosier (229) and Quinton Flowers (219.5) also bagged 200-plus games to solidify their spots in the chart's upper reaches. 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 9:

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

1     1   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb                201.33         1,208 / 6

2     2   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb              192.79         1,349.5 / 7

3     3   Malik Rosier-Miami qb                   190.75         1,144.5 / 6

4     5   Devin Singletary, FAU-rb                141.71            992 / 7

5     4   Alex McGough-FIU qb                    134.50            807 / 6

6     6   Thomas Owens-FIU rec                  109.25            655.5 / 6

7     9   Travis Homer-Miami rb                   104.83            629 / 6

8     8   Cam Akers-FSU rb                          101.67            610 / 6

9    --   Darius Tice-SoFla rb                        99.00             693 / 7

10  --   Adrian Killins-UCF rb                       98.83             593 / 6

Bubble: D'Ernest Johnson-So Fla rb, 97.57. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 95.00. Week 6 best: Jason Driskel-FAU qb, 264.5 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (W3).

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

Select recent columns: The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). 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 17, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 79.7%. Huge spike in DSM approval after upset in Atlanta; plus Fins stun Falcons 20-17 with rally as offense, defense come alive; also, see who's No. 1 and what falls where in latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 16. 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. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes' 'minor miracle' beats Georgia Tech with CSM poll, other state Collball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Sunday column on Canes' huge win over Georgia TechClick Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble for my column from Saturday's 25-24 UM triumph keeping The U unbeaten. Also, voting continues in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll, both in the blogpost directly below and here.

Vote in DSM poll online, too: Click here.

DOLPHINS RALLY, STUN FALCONS IN ATLANTA, 20-17: The Dolphins' huge second half Sunday in Atlanta beats the Falcons 20-17 to complete an exhilarating weekend of football for South Florida fans, after the Hurricanes beat Georgia Tech 25-24 the day before. What a second half by Miami in recovering from a 17-0 deficit Sunday. Whatever Adam Gase said at the half, bottle it and sell it. Jay Cutler and offense came alive with two touchdown passes and the defense arose to limit Atlanta to 106 total yards after halftime. Fins now 3-2 after the upset of the season in the NFL, with Miami a 14-point road underdog coming in. This will alleviate tremendous heat from Cutler. I'd predicted that Miami would lose narrowly (I said 27-23) but with an effort that would see a wakeup by the offense and be encouraging to fans. Now let's see how encouraged fans really are with the latest DSM poll. Vote now.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 79.7%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 79.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 20-17 upset victory at the Atlanta Falcons putting Miami's season record at 3-2. That's a huge spike from three straight weeks in single digits. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2017 Game-by-Game DSM Results:
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)
Next poll: Oct. 22 (following game vs. N.Y. Jets)

G5: DOLPHINS AT ATLANTA: SEE ENCOURAGING SIGNS FOR MIAMI, EVEN IN DEFEAT: Final thoughts: What a second half by Miami in recovering from a 17-0 deficit. Whatever Adam Gase said at the half, bottle it and sell it. Jay Cutler and offense came alive with two touchdown passes and the defense arose to limit Atlanta to 106 total yards after halftime. Fins now 3-2 after the upset of the season in the NFL, with Miami a 14-point road underdog coming in. This will alleviate tremendous heat from Cutler ..... 4Q: Jones interception inside final minute denies Atlanta tying FG try, seals 20-17 upset, comeback win for Miami! ... Fins take first lead 20-17 on Parkey 38-yard FG with just over 2 minutes left in regulation ... MIA ties it 17-17 on Parkey 49-yard FG after big 4th-down gamble and conversion ... Momentum is all Miami's right now. Fins with ball near midfield after muffed Falcons punt play ..... 3Q: MIA within 17-14 on Cutler-Landry 7-yard TD pass after roughing penalty negates Cutler scrimmage-line interception ... Pouncey out under concussion protocol. Cannot keep that man on the damned field! ... Gase sticks with Cutler and it pays off. MIA with 17-7 on his 11-yard scoring pass to Stills ..... Halftime thoughts: How much longer will Gase's support for Cutler continue? QB is 8-for-14 for 64 yards and a pick (39.0 rating) in half as offensive woes go on. Ajayi (11 carries, 71 yards) the lone bright spot. Not even the defense (233 yards allowed) is playing great. If Cutler cannot lead this offense to the end zone, why not try Moore? ..... 2Q: ATL misses 59-yard FG to end half ... Miami driving to finally score (seemingly), but Cutler picked off at Atlanta 10. Ugh ... ATL 17-0 on Coleman 6-yard scoring run. My forecast of a close game and an encouraging Dolphins effort not coming true -- so far. Still early ... It failed, but totally agree with MIA going for it on 4th-and-3 from ATL 39 ..... Ajayi  1Q: Ajayi 51 rush yards on five carries the 1Q bright spot for MIA ... Ryan 40-yard scoring strike to hall and 10-0 Falcs lead ... ATL 3-0 on opening-drive 50-yard FG ..... Pregame: Final betting line at Falcons by 14. Wow. The 2-2 Dolphins being treated like 0-4 out of Vegas ... WR Parker notable among inactives today, a hinderance to MIA upset chances ..... Original post: Miami rarely finds itself the week's biggest NFL underdog -- that's why the Browns and Jets were invented! -- but it does this week, by 11 1/2 points, and, alas, with fair reason. The 3-1 Atlanta Falcons are coming off a bye week and Miaatlexpect to have two key players, receiver Julio Jones and sackman Vic Beasley, back from injury. The 2-2 Miami Dolphins are coming off a week in which the two biggest topics of distracting conversation (not necessarily in this
G5order) were Jay Cutler's tepid, barely scoring offense, and the assistant coach forced to resign in shame over a cocaine/stripper scandal. Still, I like Miami with the points in this 1 p.m. CBS tilt and give the Fins a medium shot at an outright upset, believe it or not. Atlanta is not invincible; it lost its last game at home to Buffalo, 23-17. Falcons' defense is good but not great; Miami's may be better. Jay Ajayi should find the running easier than Devonta Freeman will. I cannot bring myself to predict what might be the league's biggest upset of Week 6. But I do foresee a performance that may encourage Dolfans, even in defeat. Have you ever experienced a 2-2 start enveloped in such gloom? Miami will gradually find itself offensively, and there should be signs here. And I believe this team has the coaching, leadership and lockerroom mettle to not only overcome this week's Snortgate scandal, but maybe even to use it as coalescing fuel. Let's see if I'm anywhere close right. My pick: Falcons, 27-23. [Click on Week 6 Gems for all our latest NFL picks].

THE LIST: DOLPHINS SLOW STARTS OFFENSIVELY: Fewest points scored in Dolphins' first four games of a season:

Points    Year        Starting QB / Coach

32          2004       Feeley (3), Fiedler (1) / Wannstedt

41          2017       Cutler / Gase

42          1967       Griese (2), Norton (2) / Wilson

50          1988       Marino / Shula

51          2006       Culpepper / Saban

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM 'minor miracle' beats Georgia Tech for ACC lead: Finally beating Florida State last week was bigger for The U symbolically. But beating Georgia Tech 25-24 Saturday was bigger tangibly, as the No. 11 Canes -- now No. 8 -- earned sole possession of the ACC Coastal lead. The road to all the way “Back” starts there. 

2. HEAT: It's Opening Week for Miami, NBA: The meaningless six-game exhibition schedule is done, now Miami opens its regular season Wednesday in Orlando, then has its home opener in six days, Saturday vs. Indiana. Soon we see if last season's 30-11 second half was a harbinger or a mirage. 

3. DOLPHINS: Fins shed off-field, on-field woes with huge win in Atlanta: The second-worst four-game scoring start in Dolphins history. An assistant coach resigned in a cocaine/stripper scandal. It all went away Sunday in Dolphins' big 20-17 comeback win in Atlanta, the NFL upset of the week -- and maybe of the season.

4. SOCCER: Shocker! Embarrassed U.S. men fail to make World Cup: Team USA failed to qualify for men's World Cup for first time since 1986, thanks to humiliating, eliminating 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago that saw coach Bruce Arena resign in shame. Guys, can't you just be half as good as the U.S. women?

5. BASEBALL: AL, NL championship series underway: MLB's final four includes the team that just won (Cubs), the team that wins the most (Yankees) and the team that spends the most (Dodgers). Your process-of-elimination independent rooting interest if you like a true underdog? Houston Astros, who've never won it all dating to 1962 Colt .45s.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Four more Top 10 teams lose: You know what that means, right Miami Hurricanes fans? UM rising from No. 11 to 8th in the new polls.

7. PANTHERS: Cats underway, name new alt-governor: The Panthers, 2-2 through four games with an encouraging 16 goals scored, named retired Army general Raymond Odierno as chairman and alternate governor. Cannot confirm he has ordered strategic bombing of select Eastern Conference opponents.

8. NFL: Anthem/kneeling hot topic at owners meetings: Fall owners meetings in New York this week will center on polarizing issue of players using NFL platform to protest social injustice during national anthem. Solution expected? None whatsoever!

9. MARLINS: Jeter imprint begins to show: This is Derek Jeter's first significant, major hire as the guy running the Marlins. Period. Gary Denbo, 56, his mentor from the Yankees, will oversee the Fish player development and scouting departments, a crucial job for a club with cupboards bare.

10. TENNIS: Sharapova wins first post-ban title: Maria Sharapova won the Tianjin Open, her first women's title since May 2105 following a doping ban. Yes, evidently a minor title in China counts.

Missing the HB10 cut: Miami Hurricanes' men's basketball preparation underway for the Nov. 10 season opener as national FBI probe of recruiting in the sport continues. Here's hoping the season doesn't arrive with a cloud attached  ..... Newly freed O.J. Simpson is out and about in Las Vegas, boozing, schmoozing, playing golf, posing for photos, shamelessly pushing memorabilia and allegedly staging fake altercations with paparazzi to then sell to TMZ. Welcome back. O.J! Missed ya!!

Select recent columns: 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 10, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 9.9%; plus big Miami D beats Titans 16-10 but team embroiled in Snortgate; also, see what else falls where in latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

Columbus1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 9. Happy Columbus Day, if it hasn't become politically incorrect to still think of Christopher positively. 2) See previous blogpost for results in latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter. They're buoyant, a season high. 3) 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. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes win at FSU with CSM poll, other state Collball Week 6, Panthers open, Cam Newton's problem, your World Series verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Dolphins column off Sunday's game: Ah, yesterday. The halcyon days when the Dolphins' biggest problem was a lousy offense, not a soon-to-be-former offensive line coach snorting lines of a certain white powdery substance. Click on It Isn't Just Cutler for my game column.

Dolphins column on Foerster/Snortgate: NEW! Click Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 9.9%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 9.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 16-10 victory over the visiting Tennessee Titans putting Miami's season record at 2-2. That's a slight bump up, but a minimal one following a victory. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

2017 Game-by-Game DSM Results:
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
Next poll: Oct. 15 (following game at Atlanta) 
 

G4: TENNESSEE AT DOLPHINS: EARLY IN SEASON FOR MUST-WIN FEEL, BUT HERE WE ARE: Postgame thoughts: One theory is there are no unsatisfying wins in the NFL. But if there were, this would be close: A 16-10 Miami win, at home, against a Tennessee team without its starting QB, a team that last week gave up 57 points. The Dolphins defense was as good as its offense was bad. That's the glass half-full. The D produced six sacks and two fumble recoveries -- the D won the game. But Jay Cutler and the offense were mostly anemic again, producing only six points on their own. With Miami 2-2, the Cutler offense has yet to generate a 20-point game as the schedule toughens from here ..... 4Q: Huge sack by top-pick rookie Charles Harris ... MIA up 16-10 on Cutler-Landry 6-yard hookup, but then a missed extra point wide right. Uh oh ..... 3Q: And the puntfest/snoozefest continues, with 15 combined punts through three ... Near-safety for MIA defense; ball marked at 1 leading to punt from end zone ... Miami punting on 4th and 1 from TEN 47 tells you how much confidence Adam Gase has in his offense right now ... TEN ties it 10-10 on 69-yard drive ending in 11-yard scoring pass. First opponent series Miami D has looked less than dominant ... DeVante Parker won't return today. Just the news an anemic offense didn't need ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami's defense, even considering Titans were without Marcus Mariota, was fantastic, limiting Tennessee to 80 total yards on 29 plays.  Four sacks and Reshad Jones' two fumble recoveries, one returned for a TD, made it among the most dominating defensive halves in memory. But! The Dolphins offense was just as bad as the defense was good, totaling a measly 63 yards. Miami scored zero points not set up by the D. Jay Cutler was 5-for-11 for 21 yards with an interception, and heard booing and "We want Moore!" chants. About as ugly as it gets for a team with the lead ..... 2Q: Cutler  intercepted on deflected ball. Pass was high, though, so it's mostly on him ... A very brief "We want Moore!" chant just bloomed following another Dolphins punt ... TEN within 10-3 on 45-yard FG set up by Ajayi turnover ... Ugh. Ajayi lost fumble gives Titans ball at MIA 24 ..... 1Q: Wow! MIA 10-0 after Jones' 38-yard TD return on fumble forced by Alonso hard hit on QB Cassel. Seemed like incomplete pass at first. Jones returned it anyway. Good thing ... MIA 3-0 late in quarter on Parkey 41-yard FG set up by takeaway ... Little Jakeem Grant had a TD catch but two defenders broke it up ... First big play is by MIA's defense as Jones recovers fumble at Titans 42 ... Noticeable booing as Fins punt for third straight time ... MIA's first 2 series have started at 7 and 3 yard lines. Not good ... Long-snapper Denney playing in 196th game, tie-3rd in Dolphins history. Promise never to mention the long snapper again ... Swapping punts to start game ..... Pregame: Marcus Mariota inactive a  huge boost for TenmiamiMiami's upset shot. Bet-line immediately fell from Dolphins -3 to -1.5. And then to even/pick-'em ..... Original post: I don't need a reminder that Miami started 1-4 last year, rose like Lazarus and made the playoffs. It is both true and means nothing. This Dolphins team at 1-2 will be in deep trouble if it falls to 1-3 today and all know it. Tennessee at 2-2 is a 3-point road favorite, which tells you a little something about regard for the Fins. But I like Miami in an upset. That's right. Eureka! Dolphins sleeping offense finally awakens! It hardly feels like an upset, especially with the strong possibility that Titans QB Marcus Mariota (hamstring) either won't play or will be G4limited. The dropoff to lousy Matt Cassel is extreme. But I'd like Miami anyway in the Fins' second-latest home opener in franchise history to one in 1987. Dolphins' offense can't possibly be as bad as it's looked the past two weeks (right?), and this is a Tennessee defense that just gave up 57 points (!) to Houston. Miami needs to recommit to the ground and Jay Ajayi, first, and the O-line must give Jay Cutler a cleaner pocket and another second to throw against a beatable Titans pass defense. Meanwhile the Dolphins run-stopping has been pretty solid; now, if only the pass-D was as stout. The key may be Ajayi's health, after he missed practice Thursday, babying a tender knee. Still not sure this will prove to be much beyond an average Dolphins team, or a playoff team, but it is a team that wins this game at home. (Or better be). My pick: Dolphins, 24-17. [Click on Week 5 Gems for all our latest NFL picks].

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Finally! UM gets Litmus-test win over FSU, but loses Walton: Canes fans had waited since 2009, through seven straight losses to Florida State and then a Hurricane Irma delay, to finally beat their ACC rival and nemesis again. Wait: Worth it. Still-unbeaten Canes 24, Noles 20. Costly, though, with season-ending ankle injury to top RB Mark Walton.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins' D beats Titans, but Snortgate scandal erupts: Offense was lousy again as defense carried Miami past Titans 16-10 Sunday. But now team is scandalized by video on social media appearing to show offensive line coach Chris Foerster snorting lines of a white substance that looks an awful lot like cocaine.

3. PANTHERS: Hopeful Cats christen 24th NHL season: Florida opened with state doubleheader, losing Friday in Tampa then winning Saturday vs. Lightning here. New Panthers coach Bob Boughner is franchise's 15th, none lasting longer than three seasons. Club never got that memo about patience being a virtue.
 
4. MARLINS: Fish introduce Jeter as new ownership era begins: The Marlins introduced the public front of the new ownership group, money man Bruce Sherman and baseball man Derek Jeter. They aren't haven't lost a game yet and, mostly, they are not Jeffrey Loria, so for now Miami loves them.
 
5. HEAT: 9 days now 'til season opener: Heat is halfway through its six-game exhibition schedule, with regular season opener Oct. 18. Miami basically stood pat with last year's team that went 30-11 in second half. But is it good or bad when you're convinced your one missing piece is Kelly Olynyk?

6. BASEBALL: Postseason underway with divisional series: The Astros (at Red Sox) and Indians (at Yankees) are up 2-1 and in position to clinch their 5-game AL divisional series tonight. Raise your hand if you still think of the Astros as an NL team.

7. SOCCER: U.S. men breathe easier after rout of Panama: Team USA walloped Panama 4-0 Friday night in a qualifying match in Orlando to all but assure itself of advancing to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. U.S. can clinch Tuesday with a win (or likely even a tie) at Trinidad & Tobago.

8. CAM NEWTON: Carolina QB belittles woman sports writer: Newton called it "funny" to hear a "female" talk about route-running. Dear Cam: You play football for a living. What I find funny is someone who plays a game for living believing that game's intricacies are beyond the grasp of anybody.

9. UM BASKETBALL: Canes expect no problem with FBI probe: A Hurricanes assistant coach was implicated but not charged in that national FBI investigation of college men's basketball recruiting, and UM now says it expects a complete exoneration. Exhale, please.

10. WNBA: MInnesota continues its mini-dynasty: A fourth championship in seven seasons. Does that qualify the Minnesota Lynx as dynastic? If only I cared enough to consider further.

Missing the HB10 cut: Headlines I Never Thought I'd See (one in a series): 'Washington Nationals assistant suspended related to revenge porn suit' ..... O.J. Simpson continues to be as free as a man can be when everyone who looks at him believes he got away with double-murder ..... A new poll indicates most Americans disapprove of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, but also disapprove of President Trump calling for their firing. What the hell do we approve of!? 

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 06, 2017

On Cam Newton and women sports writers; plus Panthers launch 24th NHL season looking for reboot; also, NFL Week 5 predix for Dolphins-Titans and the rest, World Series poll (vote now) & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6. 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. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins pegged for 3-13, Derek Jeter takes over, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald's NFL QB rankings, SOPY Week 5 standings, top SoFla baseball draft prospects & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

On Cam Newton and women sports writers: Cam found it "funny" to hear a "female" asking a question about pass routes. Here's a few words about women sports writers from someone who actually respects them and what they put up with. Click on Here's What I Find Funny, Cam.

On Derek Jeter taking over as Marlins frontman: The new boss makes no promises on payroll or Giancarlo Stanton's future or anything else, but believes he has the reputation and cache' to convince Marlins fans whatever he does will be right. Read Jeter Betting On Jeter for this week's column.

HOCKEY, EH! PANTHERS OPEN 24TH NHL SEASON TONIGHT LOOKING FOR REBOOT: Strange franchise, this one. Panthers have not won a playoff series since 1996, by far the longest drought in the NHL. They are coming off a disappointing season that got two coaches (head and interim) fired. They are judged Boughnerthe only 25th best of 31 teams in ESPN's current hockey Power Rankings. And yet! There is a great feel of optimism around Nhlthe Panthers. Much enthusiasm that GM Dale Tallon is back in charge, that Bob Boughner (pronounced boog-ner) seems a great coaching hire, and that the young core of rising stars led by Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Aaron Ekblad -- the Kiddie Cats -- is ready for a breakout season. Tallon (pictured with his new coach) thinks this team is faster, more skilled and grittier than last year's. They lost a 30-goal scorer (Jonathan Marchessault) in the expansion draft and parted ways with popular legend Jaromir Jagr, but the dressing room brims with confidence as the team opens the season tonight in Tampa, and then at home Saturday also vs. the Lightning. Just two years ago the Panthers won the division and set a club record with 103 standings points, before last year's tumultuous nightmare. Can Boughner help them recapture that? Click on Back On Track & Ready To Roar for my Panthers season preview column.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: DOLPHINS (HOME AT LAST) HANDLE TITANS: Miami plays its second-latest-ever home opener Sunday vs.  Tennessee as a three-point home underdog but should pull off the needed win, even if questionable Marcus Mariota ends up playing. Click on Week 5 Gems for our predix-capsules on Dolphins-Titans, our Game of the Week (Packers-Cowboys), Upset of the Week (Vikings-Bears: "Aaawwwk!") and every other game. Our week got off to a mixed start last night. Had Patriots winning in Tampa; they did. But had them covering 5 1/2 points; they narrowly did not in a 19-14 game, that late Bucs TD a killer for me.

Mlb17BASEBALL POSTSEASON: AND YOU HOPE [FILL IN BLANK] WINS THE WORLD SERIES?: While Derek Jeter sets out to fix the Marlins and fans of the wild-card losing Twins and Rockies wonder if they actually were in the playoffs at all, the surviving eight teams begin their October hunt for World Series rings. The two AL division series start today, with the NL launching Friday. Even if your favorite team didn't make it this far, chances are you have a rooting interest. Maybe a rooting against interest? Or perhaps your wishes are steered by a wager? If you're neutral, here's our Misery Index to help steer you, with the teams ranked based on how long each fandom has waited since last cheering a World Series championship. I'm a Red Sox fan (dating to Yaz and Impossible Dream '67), but if I had no dog in the hunt, how could I not root for Cleveland to end its drought?

MISERY INDEX: Team, years waiting since most recent World Series championship: Indians 69 years (1948); Astros 55 years (none since 1962); Dodgers 29 years (1988); Diamondbacks 16 years (2001); Nationals 12 years (none since 2005 as Washington Nats); Yankees 8 years (2009); Red Sox 4 years (2013); and Cubs 1 year (2016).

Betting odds before the start of play showed the Indians (9-4) and Dodgers (5-2) as virtual co-favorites. Then it's Astros 6-1, Red Sox 9-1, Cubs and Nationals both 10-1, and Diamondbacks and Yankees the longshots at 14-1 each. Back to our Misery Index, the serious droughts are by the Indians (four times in the World Series since last winning, including 2016); the Astros (in the WS only once, losing in 2005); and the Dodgers (not back in it since last winning). Who would you most like to see win the World Series? Our poll is alphabetical based on city name. Vote now:

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

October 03, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.8%. Rock bottom!; plus tragedy in Vegas, Saints crush Miami 20-0 in London, Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Stanton stays at 59 (with column) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 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. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes whip Duke with CSM poll, other Collball Week 5, NFL Week 4 pix, your Trump vs. NFL verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

MADNESS CONTINUES WITH MASS SHOOTING IN VEGAS: Was it terrorism? I'm not even sure how to define the word anymore. It was not the type associated with radical Islamic extremists; so, do we call it domestic terrorism? Or was it just a deranged lunatic who had no business being in possession of a military-grade automatic weapon? More than 50 are dead and more than 200 wounded at a country music concert on the Vegas strip at the hands of one coward on a balcony. The worst shooting in U.S. history. I'm sure the well-meant "Prayers For Vegas" sentiments are already all over social media. Not enough. Who has an answer to the madness attacking civilization by degrees? OK now back to sports! Christ almighty.   

Latest column: For Giancarlo Stanton, hope last night wasn't goodbye: He struck out in the ninth to end at 59 home runs. Standing ovation. Curtain call. Doffed cap in thanks. Or was that a farewell gesture? Click on Hope That Wasn't Goodbye for my column from the game.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 3.8%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 3.9 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 20-Dsm0 loss to New Orleans in London putting Miami's season record at 1-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. You may vote here, immediately below, or also online by clicking DSM G3. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2017 Game-by-Game DSM Results:

G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)

G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)

G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)

Next poll: Oct. 8 (following game vs. Tennessee)

G3: SAINTS 20, DOLPHINS 0 IN LONDON: FOR MIAMI, AWFUL GOT WORSE: Postgame thoughts: You thought the performance at the Jets last week was bad? Bad got worse. Miami was awful offensively in Sunday's 20-0 loss to New Orleans in London -- pitifully so after an opening 81-yard drive that ended with a Jay Cutler end-zone interception that seemed to thoroughly deflate the team. The Fins' defense was OK, closer to pretty good than bad considering Drew Brees slices through everybody. But the offense? A punt-fest after that opening drive. Nothing happening. Miami is lucky to not be 0-3. At 1-2 the season is not lost, but will be unless offensive answers are found soon. Right now, Ryan Tannehill has never looked better to Dolphins fans ..... 4Q; Sack by Wake. Sadly, might be highlight of game for Miami ... Saints 45-yard FG for 13-0 lead. Dolphins offense today making that seem insurmountable ..... 3Q: Fins are inept offensively right now, but give Saints credit. Much better than in past years on D ... Saints 10-0 on Brees 3-yard screen to Thomas. Only in this game, against this Miami offense, does 10-nil feel like a big lead ... Saints on 4th and 1 get the 1st by at least a full millimeter ..... Halftime thoughts: Ugh. Ugly. Do not mistake this soccer-like 3-0 score for great defense. Mostly it has been inept offenses, a rhythm-less game full of penalties, punts and miscues -- the worst an end-zone pick by Cutler that really seemed to deflate Miami. To say that Brits are not seeing the best of American football is to massively understate the awfulness of this game so far. Miami has three punts and six penalties. What is wrong with Miami's offense!? ..... 2Q: Saints 3-0 on 43-yard FG on half's final play ... Penalties killing Fins ... Saints miss 42-yard FG try. So still 0-0. Common in EPL soccer. In NFL, not so much ..... 1Q: With CB Maxwell inactive (hamstring), Brees really picking on rookie Tankersley ... Cutler throws end-zone interception to instantly snuff promising opening drive. Awful choice by him. Demoralizing end to opening drive that took half the quarter ... Unsurprisingly, clearly a pro-Dolphins crowd ..... Original postTally ho and cheerio and all that stuff we think Brits say but they really don't. Ready for a lil' Breakfast at Wembley? Miami and N'Awlins go at it at 9:30 this morning in the U.S. East in what is (ludicrously) a home game Mialondonfor Miami. How good the Dolphins are — whether they’re any good — was cast in serious doubt with that display of public flatulence at the Jets last week, so this is a true test. I do not believe (yet) that Miami is that bad. But I also do not believe that Sunday’s matchup with the Saints is a particularly favorable one that will be an instant cure. Main reason: Drew Brees, even pushing 39, is still really, really good, while Miami’s pass defense really, really isn’t. At least thus far. And that includes failings underneath due to thin linebacking, even with the return from AWOL suspension of Lawrence Timmons, who undoubtedly still would be in the penalty box if the Jets loss didn’t turn things so dire. N’Awlins' defense of course is famously bad, so Fins have an upset shot if the Double Jays, Cutler and Ajayi (running on a babied knee), are appreciably better than they were last week. Londoners could be in for a bloody shootout! Bottom line, though? Dolphins pass defense made Josh McCown look like a superstar last week. Now here comes Brees. Uh oh. My pick: Saints, 27-23. [Click on Week 4 Gems for all our latest NFL picks].

Dolfact: History, almost: With the Dolphins' scheduled home opener postponed by Hurricane Irma until Week 11 and the second "home" game taking place in London, Miami's actual first home game of the regular season -- next Sunday Oct. 8 vs. Tennessee -- will be the second-latest on the calendar in the club's 52 seasons. The only later home debut was Oct. 11, 1987, a season that saw Week 3 canceled by a players strike and three consecutive Dolphins road games.

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

Hotbutton1. MARLINS: Stanton chases history to season's end: Marlins ownership change is official effective today, but the weekend spotlight belonged to Giancarlo Stanton as he chased baseball history. At 59 homers entering Sunday, he had one game left to reach 60 or even the PED-untainted record of 61 and be King Clean. He fell short, staying at 59. Let's hope he'll be back.
 
2. DOLPHINS: London falling. Hard. Fins blow, again: It was a home game 4,500 miles from home as Dolphins took on Saints as slight underdogs Sunday morning at Wembley Stadium -- and got clobbered 20-0. We thought Fins could not possibly be as awful as they were last week. But oh we were wrong!
 
3. HURRICANES: UM gets big win at Duke in ACC opener: Mark Richt's guys sailed 31-6 in Durham Friday night behind big defense and three TDs from Malik Rosier, and now No. 14 UM is 3-0 and it prepares to face rival Florida State in Tallahassee. And what seemed impossible five weeks ago is true: The Canes will be favored.
 
4. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Canes men's program part of FBI probe: FBI investigation of corruption in men's college basketball recruiting already has toppled Louisville's Rick Pitino in what could be seismic scandal, and UM has acknowledged a member of its staff is implicated. Football team a nice diversion, but high anxiety in the Gables.
 
5. HEAT: Wade makes nice, Heat open preseason: You know NBA season is getting close when the fake games begin! On a week when Dwyane Wade, now of Cleveland, made nice by saying he wants to end his career in a Heat jersey, Miami opened its six-game preseason here by beating Atlanta Sunday. Oh, and Heat are now mobile-only on ticket entry, so you, Luddite, better go buy a smartphone.

6. PANTHERS: Cats wrap exhibitions, await regular season: Panthers ended their preseason with a promising 4-2 mark and now await regular-season NHL opener in Tampa Friday, then home vs. Lightning Saturday. Last year: Big hype, no results. Now: No hype ... so we'll see.

7. BASEBALL: Wild-card games commence postseason: AL wild-card game Tuesday (Twins-Yankees) and NL Wednesday (Rockies-Diamondbacks) begin the MLB playoffs. These are like those play-in games in NCAA Tournament. Sorry, wild-carders, but you didn't really make the playoffs, now did you?

8. NFL POLITICS: Trump vs. Protest war continues: War between President Donald Trump and NFL social-justice protesters continues. Dear Trump: Fewer Tweets on NFL, more action on Puerto Rico. I mean ... just sayin'! 

9. RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Signs mega contract extension: Oklahoma City Thunder lavished Westbrook with a five-year, $205 million contract extension. Wait. Weren't max contracts around $20 mill about a minute ago? 

10. O.J. SIMPSON: Parolee heads to Florida: Our man O.J. Simpson gets out of prison on parole this week and is believed headed to South Florida to take up residence. Remember, if the glove does not fit, you must ... say welcome, Neighbor!

Missing the HB10 cut: FSU finally off the schneid, FIU and FAU both with big wins ..... Game 4 of the WNBA Finals is Sunday. Note to self: Look up who's playing.

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

Twitter @gregcote