September 30, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 96.5%. Wow!; plus UM wins at Duke 31-6 in ACC opener; also, Stanton chasing 60, NFL Week 4 pix, your Trump vs. NFL verdict & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30. Click on Toys! for my latest Back In My Day segment from the LeBatard Show. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite last week's 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): Trump vs. NFL with poll, UM hoops scandal, Herald NFL Week 3 QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 3 results, SOPY Week 4 standings, RIP Hugh Hefner & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Stanton column: In Search Of 60: Baseball is the one sport where history matters most, and the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton this weekend can make some. Click on Chasing History for my latest column.

Wade column: No villains in going to Cleveland: Dwyane Wade will end up in a Miami Heat No. 3 jersey again, because both sides sincerely want that. Until then, do not fault Wade his late-career meandering. He has earned the right. Click on Wade Will End Where He Belongs to read.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 96.5%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll -- and they could hardly be any Csmhigher. You put the overall CSM satisfaction at 96.5 percent -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Friday night's 31-6 victory at Duke putting No. 14 UM's season record at 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the ACC. Understand internet polls. Nothing gets 100%. The poll could ask, "Do you wish for the health of your loved ones?" and it wouldn't top 96.5%. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes 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 8 p.m. tonight/Saturday.
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
Next poll: Oct. 7 following game at Florida State
 
G3: NO. 14 HURRICANES 31, @ DUKE 6: UM WINS ACC OPENER HANDILY, IMPRESSIVELY: [I'll half postgame thoughts here just before posting the new CSM postgame poll] Original post: Duke is 4-0 and one win from being ranked. The 14th-ranked Canes are 2-0 but this is the first big-conference foe, let alone Miami's ACC opener -- the biggest game of the young season for The U. The buildup to this 7 p.m. Friday nighter has been a look-back to UM's last trip to Durham in 2015 that ended in that 8-lateral miracle kickoff return on the last play for a 30-27 Canes win. That is because Your Friend The Media loves the easy rehash, the perfunctory storyline. But trust the '17 Canes better be focused and locked in on tonight, because, although Miami is a 6 1/2-point favorite, the upset potential is huge. In fact ESPN's computerized Football Power Index gives Duke a 55 percent likelihood of winning. Any frayed focus, such as minds wandering a week ahead to the FSU game in Tally, will cause a loss here. Canes lead the all-time series 12-2 including a 40-21 win last year but forget that. Duke has a quarterback, Daniel Jones, capable of getting the best of what has thus far been a weak UM secondary. Duke also has a very stout defense that leads the nation in allowing opponents only a 14% third-down conversion rate. The Blue Devils' run defense will pose the biggest test yet for Miami's excellent running back Mark Walton. Malik Rosier may be put in a spot of having to pass more than Mark Richt would like. The good news there: the likely season debut of top receiver Ahmmon Richards, who has been out with a hamstring injury. Overall I like Miami, but with shaky confidence. This would be a very nice and big road win in what looms as an extremely losable game. My pick: Hurricanes, 30-27.

Other state FBS Week 5 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

No. 21 Florida 38, Vanderbilt 24: The Gator rolls out five rushing TDs to move to 3-1.

No. 18 South Florida 61, East Carolina, 31: Bulls sky to 5-0 after halves of 31 and 30 points.

Florida State 26, Wake Forest 19: So weird to see the Seminoles unranked, dadgumit, but FSU got off the schneid and is 1-2, averting overtime with a late TD heading into Miami week.  

FIU 30, Charlotte 29: Butch Davis is making a lil' noise. Hope FIU students are listening. Panthers now 3-1 after rallying from 26-14 down at the half led by three TDs produced by QB Alex McGough.

FAU 38, Middle Tennessee 20: Big win for Lane Kiffin's Owls, now 2-3, fueled by Devin Singletary's 133 yards rushing and four TDs.

UCF 40, Memphis 13: Huge win over an unbeaten foe has Knights 3-0 and, maybe, knocking on the Top 25 door asking in.

National Collball Week 5 overview: Three national Top 25 matchups this week: No. 16 Washington State upset No. 5 Southern Cal 30-27; 13-Auburn crushed 24-Mississippi State 49-10; and 2-Clemson handled 12-Virginia Tech 31-17.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA: NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: DOLPHINS FELLED BY STRONG BREESAfter lucking to win their delayed opener at the L.A. Chargers and then sucking in a sleepwalk loss at the Jets last week, the Dolphins are in London to face Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. (Only the diabolical NFL makes you fly 4,500 miles for a "home" game). I don't see it going well for the local lads. Click on Week 4 Gems for our predix capsules on Dolphins-Saints, our Game of the Week (Raiders-Broncos), Upset of the Week (Giants-Bucs: "Aaawwwk!") and every other game. Our week got off to a strong start last night in the Packers' rout of Chicago. Had the Gee Bees covering 7 1/2, and they did.
 
POLL RESULTS: MOST SIDE WITH NFL PLAYERS OVER TRUMP: We asked if you agree with President Trump that NFL players who do not stand for the National Anthem should be "suspended or fired," and you don't, but it wasn't a landslide. The topic is polarizing, and the vote reflected that. It was 52.9 percent no and 44.9% yes, with only 2.2% undecided.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 28, 2017

Trump vs. NFL: Poll. Vote now!; plus UM hoops scandal, R.I.P. Hefner, Herald NFL Week 3 QB rankings, new 'Back In My Day,' NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 3 results, 2 Canes Top 5 in latest SOPY standings & more

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

Lebpod1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27. #HelpPuertoRicoNow. 2) Click on Toys! for my latest Back In My Day segment from the LeBatard Show. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite last week's performance? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crushed by Jets with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"R.I.P., Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder, gone at 91. Red velvet smoking jackets are hanging at half-mast." --Greg Cote

Hurricanes men's basketball scandal: A member of Jim Larranaga's staff is implicated in the nationwide FBI investigation of corruption in college basketball recruiting. Click on Larranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now This to read my latest column. 

Bears-Packers pick: NFL Week 4 kicks off tonight at Lambeau Field with King Sport's oldest rivalry. Click on Thursday Gem for our prediction capsule.

Jose Fernandez tragedy: 1-year laterMy latest Sunday column reflects on the tragedy that rocked South Florida one year ago, and on one man's complicated legacy. Click on Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow to read.

TrumpathletesTRUMP VS. ATHLETE ACTIVISM. WHO'S RIGHT?: Some NFL players kneel during the National Anthem or in other ways protest police treatment of unarmed black men and other prejudice. President Donald Trump called such players a "son of a bitch" at an Alabama rally and suggested they should be required to stand or be "suspended or fired." I tackle this dense topic in today's latest column; click on Trump Is Wrong, Needs Lesson On What Freedom Means to read. My take: Not only do athletes have the right to not stand, they are doing so for a righteous cause. They are not being anti-American as Trump suggests. Their actions are not anti-country, flag, anthem or military. But that's just me. Your opinion is invited here:

SMITH-BRADY DEAD HEAT, CUTLER SLIPS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 3: The Patriots' Tom Brady (pictured) wins Week 3 with a 53.90-point game, his Tbradysecond straight weekly title, to pull nearly even with the Chefs' Alex Smith for the overall season lead in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler, off a below-par game, slips one spot to 25th but has played one fewer game than others in the chart, and these are cumulative ratings. 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 3
RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK3            Season
1        1     Alex Smith, KC                  29.75           120.70
2        8     Tom Brady, NE                   53.90           120.60
3        4     Aaron Rodgers, GB            40.65            111.35
4        6     Drew Brees, NO                40.00            107.35
5       14    Jared Goff, LAR                44.60              97.10
6        9     Matt Ryan, ATL                 29.70              96.35
7       16    Eli Manning, NYG              44.30              96.25
8       18    Kirk Cousins, WAS              52.25             96.20
9        3     Matthew Stafford, DET      21.20             92.90
10      2     Derek Carr, OAK                  9.90             89.50
11     11    Carson Wentz, PHI             27.80             87.80
12      7     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT     19.75              87.05
13     15    Dak Prescott, DAL             28.15              80.45
14     10    Trevor Siemian, DEN          14.95             77.45
15     22    Tyrod Taylor, BUF               35.65             74.10  
25     24    Jay Cutler, MIA                  19.00             53.50
    Bubble: Russell Wilson, SEA, 73.45. Week 3 best: Brady, NE, 53.90 (25-35, 378, 5-0 in win). Week 3 worst: Joe Flacco, BAL, minus-6.60 (8-18, 28, 0-2 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 3 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and Fripix Loboswith my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 3: Herald picks: Embarrassing! -- And you thought the Dolphins were bad!? I went a terrible 7-9 straight-up and a woeful 4-10-2 against the spread. If this isn't my worst week all year, I'm in trouble. Did nail an outright upset with Colts over Browns and had two 'dogs with points in Giants and Saints, but, otherwise my week was exemplified by having the Lions beating the Falcons and having that bull's-eye snatched from me. Greg's Lobos: Back on the W Train! -- The Lobos improved to 2-1 by whipping Pablo Torre 119.4-99.5, led by Todd Gurley's big 37.9 points. He's early frontrunner for Lobo of the Year. We are the Gurley men!

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 4: TWO CANES IN FOUR-MAN RACE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN' LEAD: With Irma's upheaval past and full schedules back, the State
MwaltonOffensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings are heating up. What we like to call our ongoing "state Heisman" race show the top four players separated from Sopythe pack including a pair of Hurricanes as we enter Collball Week 5. UM running back Mark Walton (pictured) bumps up to No. 2 in the standings off a state-FBS-best 214-point game vs. Toledo. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven top-level FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Here is the statewide SOPY Top 10 entering Week 5:

2017 SOPY WEEK 4 TOP 10

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.        Total-Games

1    2    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb             198.50      397-2

2    3    Mark Walton-Miami rb                191.00      382-2

3    1    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb           190.25     761-4

4    4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                184.50      369-2

5    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                 121.83      365.5-3

6    5    Travis Homer-Miami rb               111.50      223-2

7    --    Devin Singletary, FAU-rb            111.00      444-4

8   10    Darius Tice, SoFla-rb                 103.50      414-4

9    --    D'Ernest Johnson, SoFla-rb         101.25      405-4 

10  --    Auden Tate, FSU-rec                    95.50      191-2

Bubble: Tyrie Cleveland, Florida-rec, 92.33. Week 4 best: Walton, Miami, 214 points. Season best: Flowers, SoFla, 276 (Wk3).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 26, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: (Ouch) 4.8%; plus Miami embarrassed by Jets 20-6, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), reflections on 1-year anniversary of Jose Fernandez tragedy & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25. Click on Straws! or our latest Back in My Day video from the LeBatard Show. Based on reaction, it may be our most popular ever. 2) Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes crush Toledo with CSM poll, our SoFla sports cornucopia, other state Collball Week 4 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

JoseJose Fernandez tragedy: 1-year laterMy latest Sunday column reflects on the tragedy that rocked South Florida one year ago, and on the complicated legacy of Jose Fernandez. Click on Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow to read.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 4.8%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 4.8 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 20-6 loss at the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 1-1. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 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)

Next poll: Oct. 1 (following game vs. New Orleans in London)

G2: N.Y. JETS 20, DOLPHINS 6: Postgame thoughts: Losses do not get much worse than an offensively inept 20-6 Dolphins defeat at the New York Jets. One of these teams was supposed to be among the worst in the NFL. Miami played the role. Quarterback Jay Cutler was out of synch and misfiring much of the day, only averting a shutout on a last-second TD pass to DeVante Parker, followed -- fittingly -- by a missed extra point. I might have earlier inserted Matt Moore for a spark -- any spark. Jay Ajayi rushed for a mere 16 yards on 11 carries. The pass defense was horrible, turning journeyman Josh McCown into Tom Brady. The Dolphins are very fortunate to now be 1-1, not 0-2, as they fly home, pack and head Monday to London for next week's "home" game vs. New Orleans. I did not think an offense with Ajayi, Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills could be as bad as the Fins looked today. But the last word to Adam Gase, said perfectly: "They beat the shit out of us." ..... Halftime thoughts: Awfulness abounds for the Dolphins at 10-nil down. Cutler has 38 yards passing and Ajayi is bottled up with 16 amid 49 yards total offense. Meanwhile Miami's pass defense is making Josh McCown look like Tom Brady. Adam Gase was good a week ago with halftime adjustments. He'll need some here. Lose today and Dolphins will have zero claim to being playoff caliber. Lose today and you are the team Vegas disrespected with that7 1/2 over/under on wins ..... Original post: The 1-0 Dolphins are comfy 6-point road favorites for Sunday's 1 p.m. go at the 0-2 Jets. But is Miami good enough that fans might trust a stress-free afternoon? I still wonder. I've loved the easy narrative by Your Friend the Media Mianyjthe past week that the Dolphins' season-opening win on the road verified a resilient, tough team that overcame the distraction and upheaval of Hurricane Irma and therefore can overcome anything. Um, quick reminder: Miami beat the mediocre Los Angeles Chargers 19-17 only because of the plain luck of a rookie kicker being kind enough to choke on a 44-yard field goal try in the last seconds. Kid makes kick and the whole narrative flips? Keep proving how good you are, Fins, because we don't know yet, and that process continues Sunday with what should be a low-anxiety, comfortable win over the abysmal Jets. NYJ toyed with signing Jay Cutler during the offseason but settled to recycle Josh McCown because Cutler saw a TV booth as a better situation than the woebegone Planes. Now we find out why, although Cutler may be a supporting weapon here. Jay Ajayi fantasy owners who have seen the Jets' sorry run defense are looking at this game the way a fat man looks at an all-you-can-eat buffet. The question again, though: Is Miami is good enough to deliver an easy win? Let's find out. My pick: Dolphins, 34-13. [Click Week 3 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. DOLPHINS: Fins clobbered by Stinkin' Jets: Biggest challenge facing Dolphins as Sunday's Jets game neared? Talking up the opponent as a dangerous team with immense talent and doing so with straight faces. Or so we imagined. We thought Jets were one of worst teams in NFL. But it was Miami playing the role in Sunday's dispiriting 20-6 road loss.

2. HURRICANES: UM back in play with rout of Toledo: Soft opener vs. Bethune-Cookman, Hurricane Irma, game at Arkansas State canceled, trip to Florida State postponed, practices moved to Orlando, then play finally resumes vs. Toledo with a slow-starting 52-30 win. No idea how this Canes season will end, but it sure started bat-bleep crazy.

3. MARLINS: Stanton push, Jose anniversary: Fish down to seven games left as Giancarlo Stanton (now with 57) chases Roger Maris' untainted record of 61 home runs. More somberly, today/Monday marks 1-year anniversary of tragic boating accident that killed Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez and two friends.

4. HEAT: Miami set to open training camp: Erik Spoelstra's guys open training camp Tuesday at FAU working toward their first preseason game next Sunday vs. Atlanta. Outside expectations? Playoffs, but not much more even after last season's 30-11 second half. Heat are midpack with 14th longest championship odds of 30 NBA teams.

5. BASEBALL: Playoff grid takes shape as season ebbs: AL's Red Sox, Indians, Astros and Yankees and NL's Nationals, Dodgers and Diamondbacks have clinched playoff spots entering today and final week of MLB's regular season. If you aren't rooting for Cleveland's first World Series win since 1948, well ... what's wrong with you!?!

6. DEREK JETER: Purge targets 4 Fish notables: Jeter, frontman for the incoming new Marlins ownership group, ordered outgoing president David Samson to fire four notable (if ceremonial) "special assistants" in Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Jeff Conine and Jack McKeon. Geez. Is Derek getting tips on public relations from Jeffrey Loria or what!? 

7. DONALD TRUMP: President declares war on sports, apparently: Trump blasted NFL players' anthem protests and uninvited Stephen Curry to the White House, after which LeSean McCoy called Trump an "asshole" and LeBron James called him a "bum." The good news? Feuding with sports stars is somewhat less dangerous than name-calling with maniacal dictators with hydrogen bombs.

8. PANTHERS: Cats' preseason underway: Florida played its third of six preseason games Sunday in Tampa as Oct. 6 regular-season opener looms. Remember all the hype and Stanley Cup bravado a year ago? Not now. Cats' betting over/under of 86 ½ standings points ranks a lowly 25th in 31-team NHL.

9. SERENA WILLIAMS: Tennis G.O.A.T has kid: The Palm Beach-based tennis superstar had her first child, a daughter she named Alexis Olympia. Cannot confirm that, based solely on bloodlines, Alexis is now the betting favorite to win Wimbledon in 2037.

10. WNBA: Sparks up on Lynx in Finals: It's defending champion L.A. Sparks up 1-0 in WNBA Finals over 2015 champ Minnesota Lynx, led by Miami-born league MVP Sylvia Fowles, who played at Gulliver Prep. Probably still won't watch, but at least I might think about it.

Missing the HB10 cut: FIU now 2-1. Butch Davis early frontrunner for Coach of the State ..... Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony, 33, to OKC Thunder. Who's next to swap unis in the Still Got Something Left Division? Dwyane Wade, you say? ..... Heat uniforms now bear advertising patches for Ultimate Software. Ugh. And ugly.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 25, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 83.9%; plus UM bops Toledo 52-30 behind Rosier, Walton; also, our Sports Cornucopia, rest of Collball Week 4 (Noles lose) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23. Click on Straws! or our latest Back in My Day video from the LeBatard Show. Based on reaction, it may be our most popular ever. 2) Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week picks, hating Heat uniform patch and media reaction & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Jose Fernandez tragedy, 1-year later: My latest Sunday column. Click on Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow to read. 

IT'S A SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS CORNUCOPIA!: It's the grand intersection of our Big Five teams and sports. The Dolphins and Canes are playing the same weekend for the first time all season, going airborne vs. Jets and and Rockets. Giancarlo Stanton is still chasing 60 home runs. The Panthers' preseason is underway. And the Heat opens training camp Tuesday. Appreciate. Enjoy.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 83.9%Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 83.9 percent Csmoverall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 52-30 Hurricanes victory over visiting Toledo putting UM's season record at 2-0. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, 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 8:30 a.m. Monday.

2017 CSM results

G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman

G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo

Next poll: Sept. 29 following game at Duke

G2: TOLEDO (3-0) AT NO. 14 HURRICANES (1-0): FINALLY! A FULL STATE SLATE INCLUDING MIAMI!: Postgame thoughtsWhat seemed like calamity at the half turned out OK. The defense stepped up, Malik Rosier stepped up, Mark Walton came from back injury and all was well in a less-than-dominant-early and yet ultimate convincing 52-30 Miami Hurricanes home win over Toledo Saturday afternoon. Hey, Florida State earlier in the day fell to 0-2, so take the blessings when they present themselves, right? We still don't know how good UM really is after low-watt wins over Bethune-Cookman and now Toledo, but, when last I checked, 2-0 is 2-0. This win was formulaic, really. Smaller-conference team starts out strong, but then yields to the greater size, speed and depth of the bigger foe. The defense and Rosier really came on big and Walton, who missed a chunk of the game with a turned ankle, returned and finished with a career-best 204 yards rushing (on only 11 carries). The big concern: Miami's pass defense. Still, for me, for a team shaking off a three week Irma-related layoff and having its practice schedule in upheaval, this was a pretty impressive result ..... Halftime thoughts: Well this is embarrassing! No panic mode -- yet -- but trailing Toledo at the half at home? C'mon. Manny Diaz's pass defense has been out of synch and is getting dominated by Rockets QB Logan Woodside, who has 213 yards passing. Miami also getting dominated on the clock, with Toledo running 50 offensive plays to The U's 21. Mark Walton the only bright spot with 137 yards rushing, but he left injured. Turned-up defensive effort and more Malik Rosier (8-for-12, 50 yards) will be required from here if Miami is to avoid a shocking upset ..... Original postThanks to Hurricane Irma and its after-effects, this 

Toledomiami Toledomiami2Collball Week 4 marks the first time since Week 1 that all seven state FBS schools will be in action. Toledo's Saturday (3:30 p.m.) visit will be the Hurricanes' first game since Sept. 2, marking the longest gap between regular-season games in UM history, and following a week of displaced Canes practices held in Orlando. "Frustrating, to say the least," said Miami receiver Braxton Berrios. The schedule upheaval and rust factor weigh against the Canes here, but Miami is a 13 1/2-point favorite for a reason. Despite Toledo's unblemished record in the Mid-American Conference, the ACC Hurricanes will have the speed, size and depth advantages to pull away. This is only these schools' second all-time meeting and first in 30 years, since a 24-14 UM win in 1987. Defensively, UM's secondary had better be on its toes against a pass-happy Rockets attack. Offensively, new Canes starting QB Malik Rosier still may not have injured top receiver Ahmmon Richards at his disposal, but the air doesn't figure to be where UM will win this game. The Toledo defense gave up 423 rushing yards to Tulsa last week, so look for Canes running star Mark Walton to put up huge numbers. My pick: Hurricanes, 38-17.

Other state FBS Week 4 games (chronologically):

No. 21 South Florida 43, Temple 7: Quiet game from Quinton Flowers Thursday but Bulls still rolled to 4-0.

North Carolina State 27, No. 12 Florida State 21: FSU never led, falls to 0-2 and likely out of Top 25, hugely diminishing upcoming visit by Miami.

UCF 38, Maryland 10: Terps were 3 1/2-point home pick so this is nice road win for Knights, now 2-0.

Buffalo 34, FAU 31: Tough loss in winnable game drop Owls to 1-3. 

No. 20 Florida 28, Kentucky 27: fla 2-1 Gators, now 2-1, rally from 27-14 down early in fourth to stun Wildcats to keep alive 31-game series winning streak. Yes, 31.

FIU 13, Rice 7: Defense leads Panthers, who were 1 1/2-point road 'dogs, to a huge win and a 2-1 record under Butch Davis.

National Collball Week 4 overview: Only two national Top 25 matchups on Saturday, neither high-wattage: No. 16 TCU upset No. 6 Oklahoma State, 44-31, and 11-Georgia crushed 17-Mississippi State, 31-3.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 22, 2017

Upset Bird Day in America: Picks for Dolphins-Jets, rest of NFL; plus hating Heat uniform patch and media coverage of it & more

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

Shanahtova1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22. Click on Straws! or our latest Back in My Day video from the LeBatard Show. Based on reaction, it may be our most popular ever. 2) In these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a hearty 'shanah tova' to all of our Jewish readers and listeners! 3) Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL Week 2 QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, SOPY Week 3 Standings & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA: NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: NEXT-EASIEST WEEK AFTER A BYE? DOLPHINS AT JETS!After lucking to win their delayed opener at the L.A. Chargers last week the Dolphins should roll to 2-0 Sunday at the stinky, Stinkin' Jets. They'd better. A season sweep of lowly NYJ is a prerequisite if Miami is to surprise doubters with a second straight playoff season. Click on Week 3 Gems for our predix capsules on Dolphins-Jets, our Game of the Week (Falcons-Lions), Upset of the Week (Seahawks-Titans: "Aaawwwk!") and every other game including Breakfast at Wembley -- the season's first of four London games. Our week got off to a mixed start last night in the Rams' unexpectedly exciting 41-39 pointfest over the 49ers. Had Rams winning, but missed out on the ATS win with the push against a 2-point spread. Rams were cover-bound the whole game, until late.

HeatpatchHATING HEAT'S UNIFORM PATCH, AND MEDIA'S COVERAGE OF IT: The NBA sold-out and is allowing teams to wear small advertising patches on the front of game uniforms starting this season, another reminder our teams are businesses, and your Miami Heat will wear the logo of a Broward-based company called Ultimate Software. Except it isn't even really a logo, just the words Ultimate Software in which the 'i' in Ultimate appears to be a person. The company sells a product that is a "cloud-based human capital management solution." Gawd. The patch is ugly and the idea of it uglier. The first domino has tipped toward a time when team names themselves will be will be for sale. "And today in the NBA, your Amazon Heat take on the Samsung Knicks." Pragmatically I get why the Heat and other teams like the uniform patches. The wrd is revenue. The mystery is why Your Friend the Media plays along like a bunch of lemmings, dutifully printing and broadcasting the names of corporate sponsors. Yesterday's business deal between the Heat and Ultimate Software was reported by the Herald and other outlets as if it was actual news. Why? Because the Heat announced it as such and Pat Riley was there and so reporters flocked. Sad.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

BRADY CATAPULTS, CUTLER DEBUTS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 2: The Patriots' Tom Brady wins Week 2 with a 57.35-point game to catapult 18 spots to Jayc8th overall in the Miami Herald's NFL Week 2 quarterback rankings. The Chiefs' Alex Smith maintains his overall season lead. And the Dolphins' Jay Cutler (pictured) scores a solid 34.50-point game, eighth for this week, to land 24th in the overall chart. This is the 20th season of Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching.
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 2
RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK2            Season
1        1     Alex Smith, KC                  34.55            90.95
2        6     Derek Carr, OAK               43.50            79.60
3        3     Matthew Stafford, DET      26.10            71.70
4        8t    Aaron Rodgers, GB          36.15            70.70
5       13    Philip Rivers, LAC             42.55             69.15
6        8t    Drew Brees, NO                32.80             67.35
7       10    Ben Roethlisberger, PIT    34.15             67.30
8       26    Tom Brady, NE                   57.35            66.70
9        7     Matt Ryan, ATL                  30.60             66.65
10     15    Trevor Siemian, DEN         37.55            62.50
11      4      Carson Wentz, PHI           23.65             60.00
12     14     Mike Glennon, CHI           29.05             54.70
13      2      Sam Bradford, MIN            DNP             53.30
14      5      Jared Goff, LAR               16.20              52.50
15     11      Dak Prescott, DAL           21.90             52.30
24     -–      Jay Cutler, MIA                 34.50             34.50
    Bubble: Eli Manning, NYG, 51.95. Week 2/season best: Brady, NE, 57.35 (30-39, 447, 3-0 in win). Week 2 worst: DeShone Kizer, CLE, minus-0.90  (15-31, 182, 0-3 in loss).
    Formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

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

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

2017 SOPY WEEK 3 TOP 10

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.

1    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb           214

2    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb             208

3    3    Mark Walton-Miami rb                168

4    4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                167.5

5    5    Travis Homer-Miami rb               133

6    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                 131.25

7    7    Daniel Parr-FAU qb                     120

8    9    Deondre Francois-FSU qb            102

9    --    Dredrick Snelson, UCF-rec           98

10  --    Darius Tice, SoFla-rb                   95

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 19, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 81.9%. See season-debut results; plus Fins beat Chargers 19-17, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), the Jay Cutler Experience (Sunday column), HB Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18. Dolphins season! Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 2 pix, Collball Week 3, method to Kaaya's madness & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Quick-thoughts column off 19-17 win: Click on Lucky, But Maybe That's Justice to read. 

Sunday column: Cutler's Wild Ride: Are you ready, kids? Click on Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be Dull to read.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 81.9%: Results are certified for the first week of our blog's 10th season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they 81.9 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 19-17 victory at the Los Angeles Chargers in Miami's Irma-delayed season opener. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2017 Game-by-Game DSM Results:

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

Next poll: Sept. 24 (following game at N.Y. Jets)

Yearly DSM Results: 2016--76.2% (following 10-6 season/playoff loss); 2015--18.1% (6-10); 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: DOLPHINS 19, @CHARGERS 17Final quick thoughts: The excuses were all lined up. Neat, right in a row. Hurricane Irma. A delayed opener. A quarterback new to the team. Practices moved across the country. Philip Rivers. A late distraction involving one of their own players, Lawrence Timmons, going AWOL on the eve of the game. The Miami Dolphins didn't any of those excuses. They did need some luck -- a narrowly missed 44-yard Los Angeles Chargers field goal in the last seconds -- but that seemed fitting, didn't it? The Dolphins endured a lot in the buildup to this season. Sunday? It felt like a reward. Quick takes? Trust this offense. No, 19 points isn't a lot, but all the J's showed up. New QB Jay Cutler was a sharp 24 for 33 for 23- yards and TD, a 101.8 passer rating. Jay Ajayi rushed 28 times for 122 yards. Jarvis Landry caught 13 balls for 78 yards. (Oh, and DeVante Parker was the deep threat we envisioned, and Kenny Stills caught a TD pass). This offense will percolate once everyone is comfy with it. The issue? Pass defense. Rivers sliced through Miami 31 of 39 for 331 yards and a TD. He led the game-winning late drive, but for the providence of an inexperienced kicker missing wide-right on a very makeable field goal. Bottom line? Yeah, the Dolphins were lucky to win in the end. But, after this week, it felt like this team sort of deserved that luck ..... 4Q: Dolphins win as Bolts missed last-second 44-yard FG! ... MIA 19-17 with 1:05 left on Parkey 54-yard FG ... MIA within 17-16, settling (again) for a short FG, mid-quarter ..... 3Q: MIA within 17-13 on 28-yard FG after after killer sack on 3rd down ... LAC back up 17-10 on Rivers-Gates hookup ... MIA 10-10 on Cutler 29-yard TD pass to Stills ..... Halftime thoughts: If I told you Jay Cutler was 13-for-16, Jay Ajayi was 11-for-56 and Jarvis Landry had 8 catches, would you have imagined Miami trailing 10-3 at the half? Me neither. The big issues: Fins need to open up the offense. Second, Philip Rivers is having his way. Miami pass defense needs to be much better ..... 2Q: LAC 10-3 on Gordon 1-yard run ... LAC 3-3 on 41-yard FG ..... 1Q: Low-watt first quarter. Meaning dull ... MIA 3-0 on Parkey 30-yard FG ..... [Click on Week 2 Gems for all latest NFL picks] Thanks to Hurricane Irma, today's 4 p.m. kickoff is the latest Game 1 on the calendar that Miami will have played since 1977. It also will be the now-it-counts debut for new Dolphins QB Jay SdmiaCutler, in for injured Ryan Tannehill. Oh, and of course this will mark the Chargers’ first real game in L.A. since 1960, after 56 years in San Diego. That’s lots of wild cards tossing unusual unpredictability into the mix here. But the drama doesn't end there. Sunday morning came the news that veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons, upset over something, had G1essentially gone AWOL from the team and will not play today, Chase Allen starting in his place. That's doubly troubling. First, he's supposed to be a team leader as a major offseason addition. Second, the LB line was weak/thin to begin with. Philip Rivers' eyes must be wide as saucers, his smile just as wide. But I'm still hedging my bet with Bolts winning outright but Fins covering the bet-line as 3 1/2-point road underdogs. Miami figures to pound the ball with Jay Ajayi vs. a run-D that gave up 140 yards last week. That gives Miami a big, big upset shot. Bottom line, though, for me? Rivers is really good, and I won’t quite trust MIA's pass-stopping (or defense in general) until shown why I should. Also, think the Irma-caused time off, distraction and practice-schedule havoc will hurt and find the Fins a step slow as they work through the rust and catch up to real-season pace. The Timmons mess doesn't help. Dolphins have a load to overcome today. My pick: Chargers, 27-24.

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. DOLPHINS: Finally, the Fins ... and they win!: Thanks to Hurricane Irma and its after-effects the Dolphins' season opener Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers was Miami's latest Game 1 since 1977. Worth the wait? Miami needed luck of a late missed field goal to win, but after what this team had endured, that felt deserved.

 2. HURRICANES: Irma'd Canes set to resume season: We should be talking about that great Miami-Florida State game on Saturday. Except it got Irma'd. With one game at Arkansas State canceled and another at FSU postponed 'til Oct. 7, UM will finally resume its season this coming Saturday at home vs. Toledo after practicing all week in Orlando. Irma, could you be any more annoying!? Seriously.

3. MARLINS: Can Stanton still do it?: Reeling Fish have lost 16 of past 19 entering three-game home series vs. Mets starting tonight, after three hurricane-displaced "home" games in Milwaukee. (Thanks again, Irma!) But big question is if Giancarlo Stanton, stuck at 54 homers, can still rally to get to Roger Maris' steroids-free record of 61.

4. BASEBALL: Indians set mark for consecutive wins: Cleveland Indians fans haven't cheered a World Series champion since Lou Boudreau's 1948, but at least they have this. Their 22nd consecutive victory broke the MLB record of 21 set by the Chicago Cubs in 1935. Hmm. Cavaliers, now this. Is there hope yet for the Browns? Naahh!

5. PANTHERS: Cats open training camp; preseason on deck: The Cats opened their NHL training camp Friday and will play their first preseason games this Tuesday with a doubleheader in Nashville. It snuck up on us but now it's here. Hockey!

6. NASCAR: Road to Homestead has begun with playoffs: Chicagoland on Sunday hosted the first NASCAR playoff race, won by Martin Truex Jr., leading to the season finale at Homestead, with 16 drivers making it. Unfortunately, no Dale Earnhardt Jr., so no shot at a storybook finish to Junior's final season. 

7. HEAT: Miami locks up Richardson, readies for camp: While we were busy tracking hurricanes, the Heat signed guard Josh Richardson to a four-year, $42 million extension and open training camp next week. If they can bottle last season's second half, conference finals aren't out of question.

8. GATORS: Florida beats Tennessee on Hail Mary: The Gators beats Vols 26-20 when a last-second Hail Mary touchdown bomb broke a tie in Gainesville. Not sure if this'll be a great season for UF. But it was a great Saturday.

9. FIGHTING: Canelo, Golovkin in an exciting draw: We all hate ties, but last night's Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin draw in Las Vegas was about as exciting as indecision gets. Rematch. Cha-ching!  

10. FAU: Owls win first game for Lane Kiffin: FAU won at home 45-0 over Bethune-Cookman for Lane Kiffin's first win as Owls coach. Muted celebration, I hope. FBS teams that lose to bethune have to wear dunce caps for a week. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Two brothers featured in the Netflix series "Last Chance U" were charged in connection with a fatal stabbing. Pardon me while I try to feign surprise ..... Floyd Mayweather said of Donald Trump: "He speak like a real man." Mayweather? He speak like a real man intent on dropping the second 's' off the word 'speaks' ..... Adrian Peterson said of his Saints debut, "I didn't sign up for nine snaps." A.P. ties for the NFL lead in earliest complaint ..... Marshawn Lynch was fined for showing middle fingers to TV cameras. Or, did that go without saying?

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 9-18-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. N.Y. Mets at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: The Marlins play a home game that's actually here!

2. Detroit at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.: Stafford vs. Manning on Monday Night Football.

3. Islanders at Rangers, 7 p.m.: Jonesing for hockey? It's the NHL preseason!

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 16, 2017

NEW: Great or god-awful, Cutler won't be dull; plus the method to Brad Kaaya's madness, NFL Week 2 pix for Dolphins-Chargers and rest of league, Collball Week 3 (Gators!), Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16. Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald Week 1 QB rankings, My Weekend With Irma, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 1 results, latest SOPY rankings & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

NEW: Sunday column, online now: Click on Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be Dull to read.

Dolphins, Canes & Irma: A football season born to Hurricane Irma gives Dolphins and UM an unusual opportunity if they'll take it. Click Storybook Ending Waits, But Can Dolphins Or Canes Write It? to read.

THE METHOD TO BRAD KAAYA'S MADNESS: Kaaya should have come back and played his senior season for the Miami Hurricanes to improve his draft stock, Samdarnoldwhich everybody knew was low -- verified by his being a late (sixth-round) draft pick. He already has been cut once (Lions) and is on his second team (Panthers). But at least now we know why he decided to enter the NFL in 2017 instead of '18. The evidence is on Mel Kiper's first 2018 Draft "Big Board" for ESPN. Kiper has quarterbacks ranked 1-2-3 overall in USC's Sam Darnold (pictured), UCLA's Josh Rosen and Wyoming's Josh Allen. He has two other QBs on his list and projected first round in Louisville's Lamar Jackson (13th overall) and Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph (25th). Even with that, though, I still believe Kaaya might have been drafted significantly higher than sixth round in '18 had he stayed and performed well. By the way, only one state-college player makes Kiper's first Big Board: Florida State safety Derwin James, ranked fifth overall.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA: WEEK 2: FINALLY, THE DOLPHINS: After an unscheduled Week 1 bye (way to go, Irma) the Dolphins finally get at it Sunday in what will be the club's latest season opener since 1977. But will it be worth the wait with a victory at the Los Angeles Chargers? Sorry, Dolfans. It'll take Fins awhile to shake off the delay-rust and catch up to regular-season speed. And I'm not sure I trust Miami's pass defense against Philip Rivers. Click on Week 2 Gems for our predix capsules on Dolphins-Chargers, our Game of the Week (Patriots-Saints), Upset of the Week (Packers-Falcons: "Aaawwwk!") and every other game. Our week got off to a stumbling start last night. Did not see the Texans winning (or covering) at Cincinnati. Ouch.

COLLBALL WEEK 3: THREE STATE FBS TEAMS BACK AT IT, BUT FOUR STILL IRMA'D: We ain't back to normal in state Collball yet, folks. Last week only two of our seven state FBS teams got games in; this week we're up to three, with the rest still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Irma.

State FBS Week 3 games (chronologically):

No. 22 South Florida 47, Illinois 23Quinton Flowers' 386 combined pass/run yards power Bulls at home to 3-0 start.

TenflaNo. 24 Florida 26, No. 23 Tennessee 20: Vols were 2-0 but 5 1/2-point road underdogs to the 0-1 Gators in Florida's SEC opener. Wirth reason, apparently. What a game, won on a last-second deep touchdown pass. Jim McElwain is so happy he's ready to lay naked on a shark in a boat!

FAU 45, Bethune-Cookman 0: Lane Kiffin's Owls get first win after 0-2 start. Good thing. Lose to Bethune and poor Lane might-a started wondering why he took this job.

Postponed: No. 17 Miami at No. 11 Florida State: Game is reset for Oct. 7. Because of season-ending injury to Noles star QB Deondre Francois, Canes as of right now would be a betting favorite in the 1 1/2 to 3-point range. 

Cancelled: FIU at Indiana: Butch Davis' Panthers denied shot at a second straight win.

Cancelled: Georgia Tech at UCF: Too bad. Had makings of an entertaining matchup.

National Collball Week 3 overview: Light week for mega-matchups. Beside Tennessee-Florida (which barely qualifies), the only other Top 25 duel was Saturday night's No. 3 Clemson at No. 14 Louisville, won easily by Clemson, 47-21.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 9-16-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Tennessee at Florida, 3:30 p.m.: Vols-Gators renew rivalry in Top 25 matchup.

2. Marlins at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.: Miami "home" again; lost 6 in row, last 3 by 28-3.

3. Clemson at Louisville, 8 p.m.: No. 3 visits No. 14 in national Collball game of week.

4. San Francisco at Miami FC, 7:30 p.m.: Locals host NASL soccer match.

5. Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin, 10 p.m.: Big middleweight bout from Vegas.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 14, 2017

Let's laugh at Brady (while we can): Herald debuts QB rankings; plus my weekend with Irma, Texans-Bengals pick, NFL Week 1 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Marino documentary, SOPY rankings, Hot Button Daily (Thu) & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14. Happy to be back in the blog saddle after a few days knocked off by Hurricane Irma. 2) I refuse to believe the Indians have won 20 games in a row. Know it's true. Don't believe it. 3) Know any devoted Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Sports' place in our lives as a hurricane hits, Upset Bird Day in America, Collball Week 2 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Texans-Bengals pick: Two teams already desperate to bounce back from awful Week 1 performances. Only one will. Here's who: Click Thursday Night Gem.

Marino documentary debuts Friday: What I was first to tell you about a few months ago is ready to pop. NFL Films' "A Football Life" series stars Dolphins great Dan Marino in a documentary debuting this Friday -- Dan's 56th birthday -- at 9 p.m. on NFL Network. Yours truly was among people interviewed for the doc, although (I've seen the finished product) some of my best work was left on the cutting room floor (!).

The no-excuses challenge for Dolphins, Canes: Their seasons were born to a hurricane named Irma. Games were postponed or cancelled, schedules and plans disrupted. Now, the challenge for the Miami Dolphins and UM Hurricanes is to accept no excuses and make something special of what began in turmoil. Click on Storybook Ending Waits, But Can Dolphins Or Canes Write It? to read my latest column.

LET'S ALL MAKE FUN OF TOM BRADY (WHILE WE CAN) / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 1: The Chiefs' Alex Smith soars to the Week 1 crown with 56.40 Sadbradypoints, edging Viking Sam Bradford, as the Miami Herald launches its 20th season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. But here's the fun part. Miami's Jay Cutler had a better week than the Patriots' Tom Brady. Cutler threw zero interceptions by virtue of Hurricane Irma's unexpected gift of a bye week, while Brady stumbles out the gate in 26th place (with 9.35 points) of 31 passers who had at least 10 attempts. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (The exact formula is detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Here we go!
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 1
RK    '16    Player, Team                    Week 1/Season
1       16    Alex Smith, KC                    56.40
2         5    Sam Bradford, MIN              53.30
3         6    Matthew Stafford, DET        45.60
4       20    Carson Wentz, PHI              36.35
5       40    Jared Goff, LAR                  36.30
6        7     Derek Carr, OAK                 36.10
7        2     Matt Ryan, ATL                   36.05
8        1     Drew Brees, NO                  34.55
8        3     Aaron Rodgers, GB              34.55
10     15    Ben Roethlisberger, PIT       33.15
11      9     Dak Prescott, DAL               30.40
12     13     Eli Manning, NYG               28.00
13     19    Philip Rivers, LAC                26.60
14     52     Mike Glennon, CHI              25.65
15     24     Trevor Siemian, DEN           24.95
        Bubble: Tyrod Taylor, BUF, 23.20. Week 1/season best: Smith, KC, 56.40 (28-35, 368, 4-0 in win). Week 1/season worst: Andy Dalton, CIN, minus-2.50 (16-31, 170, 0-4 in loss).
        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-016); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, 2001); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002), Carson Palmer (2005) and Tom Brady (2007).
        Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

 

SwaleMY WEEKEND WITH IRMA: Thanks to all our readers and listeners who expressed concerned as we bunkered in against Hurricane Irma. We sustained a bunch of tree and landscape damage but otherwise made out fine. Pictured is a pile of felled trees and foliage on my swale, collected from my yard. It's about six feet high and at least 20 feet wide, and growing. (Click image for enlarged view). We were without power most of Sunday and Monday and had no Internet until late Tuesday, but I cannot complain. Not one bit. Not after so many of my fellow Floridians got hit so much worse. I feel very lucky, in fact. Very fortunate. Thoughts are with those in Key West and the state's west coast and everyone trying to rebuild their lives. Happy to be rid of awful Irma, and thrilled to again appreciate the small miracles of life, such as the flip of a switch magically producing light. My latest column, linked directly above, includes more on what our Irma experience was like. Thanks again for the concern, and it's great to be back!

Fripix LobosNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 1 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I'll tell you how I did the previous NFL week with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 1: Herald picks: So-so start -- We went 8-7 overall (not good) and also 8-7 against the point spread (not bad). Misfired badly on our Upset of the Week call (49ers over Panthers) but nailed another outright upset (Raiders over Titans) and had three other 'dogs-with-points (Chiefs, Jaguars, Chargers). Greg's Lobos: 1-0, baby! -- The Lobos crushed Lorenzo Rodriguez (TV producer), 115.1-72.4, led by 20.9 points from Lobo of the Week Jordy Nelson. Also got 20.6 from Todd Gurley.

SOPY RANKINGS / AFTER WEEK 2: LITTLE CHANGE, THANKS TO IRMA: Only two of seven state FBS teams (FIU and FAU) snuck in games in Week 2, while the Sopyother five were cancelling or postponing due to Hurricane Irma. Therefore there isn't much change in our blog's State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- what we like to call our ongoing "state Heisman" race -- entering Week 3. The weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven top-level FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based on average yards per game: Total divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Here is the statewide SOPY Top 10 entering Week 3:

2017 SOPY WEEK 2 TOP 10

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb             208

2    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb           183

3    3    Mark Walton-Miami rb                168

4    4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                167.5

5    6    Travis Homer-Miami rb               133

6    7    Alex McGough-FIU qb                 131.25

7    5    Daniel Parr-FAU qb                     110.75

8    8    Thomas Owens- FIU rec              105

9    9    Deondre Francois-FSU qb            102

10  --    DeAndre McNeal-FAU rec            101.5

Bubble: Dredrick Snelson-UCF rec, 98. Week 2 best: McGough-FIU, 155. Season best: Milton-UCF, 208 (W1).

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

HOT BUTTON DAILY: THU 9-14-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Houston at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m.: Texans, Bengals in Thursday Night Football.

2. Marlins at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.: It's now 14 losses in past 16 games for rotting Fish.

3. UEFA soccer, 12:45 p.m.: Five more matches happening today.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 09, 2017

Be safe, all. On sports' place in our lives as a hurricane hits; plus Upset Bird Day in America. Week 1 NFL pix; also, FIU wins, FAU plays, Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY/SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9-10. Be safe, South Florida. Looks like Hurricane Irma's western veer will help some of us, but not all. All the best to all of us. 2) Know any devoted Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Irma's impact on local sports with UM cancellation poll, SOPY Week 1 rankings, BIMD and Steely Dan videos & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Blog advisory: Because of Hurricane Irma concerns and an anticipated loss of electricity at some point, our Sunday Hot Button Top 10 list is taking the weekend off. We'll be back here checking in as long as we can, and then again once order (and power) are restored. 

ON SPORTS' PLACE IN OUR LIVES AS A HURRICANE HITS: Everything seems crazy, from North Korea and terrorism and the "alt-right" to Houston flooding and now Hurricane Irma. Sports -- playing games -- can seem so insignificant in the context of our overarching worries. Yet om some ways, to me, these difficult times make sports and our teams more important than ever. They are an anchor representing the balance and normalcy in our lives. This is my latest column. Click on A Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits to read in full.

FripixIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: Dolphins have a Week 1 bye thanks to scurrilous Hurricanes Irma but the rest of the NFL plows on, and so does our 27th season of Friday NFL picks. We got off to a mixed start last night. We didn't call Kansas City's outright upset win at New England but we did have Chiefs with the points against the spread. If we're going to split a result, we'll take the point-spread win, thanks. We had a nifty .560 ATS record last season and want to be even better this year. Click Week 1 Thursday Gem for the KC-NE pick. Click Week 1 Friday Gems for the rest of our picks. Highlights: Packers beat Seahawks 27-23 in our Game of the Week, and 49ers stun Panthers 24-21 in our Upset of the Week. "Aaawwwk!" Irma Schmirma. Nothing stops the Upset Bird!

COLLBALL WEEK 2: YOUR MIXED VERDICT ON CANES CANCELLATION CONTROVERSY: We asked if you agreed with No. 16 UM's Cancelleddecision to cancel its Saturday road game at Arkansas State due to Hurricanes Irma. Results were sharply mixed. Most, 62.3 percent, answered, "Yes. Coaches and players should be with family, and return might have been delayed." But another 31.9% answered, "No. Game was more than 1,100 miles away and not threatened by Irma." The other 5.8% answered, "Not sure." The Canes are hardly alone. UM is one of fve (of seven) state FBS teams that are a self-imposed idle, reduced to 11-game regular seasons. Another is FSU, which cancelled its home opener vs. Louisiana-Monroe due to Irma. (Or, perhaps due to not wanting UM to have an edge in preparation for next week's huge showdown in Tallahassee. Also not playing this weekend: UCF vs. Memphis, South Florida at Connecticut and Northern Colorado at Florida. The other two state FBS teams -- the stalwarts -- adjusted schedules and are managing to sneak in games this week:

State FBS Week 2 games:

FIU 17, Alcorn State 10: Butch Davis gets his first Panthers win in Friday night home game played in Birmingham, Ala., due to Irma. Alex McGough passes for 328 yards to lead the victory.

No. 9 Wisconsin 31, FAU 14: Lane Kiffin's Owls were 32-point road underdogs so count this as a credible performance for The Atlantic even as the Hooters fall to 0-2 start (and a likely delayed flight back home).

Miami, Florida, Florida State, UCF, South Florida -- CANCELLED!

National Collball Week 2 overview: Four Top 25 matchups on Saturday, led by No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 2 Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. in an early CFP-shaping duel. Other T25 games are Auburn at Clemson, Georgia at Notre Dame and Stanford at Southern Cal.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 9-9-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.: Wait. Fish actually won a game last night!?
2. U.S. Open tennis, 4 p.m.: Women's final: Sloane Stephens vs. Madison Keys.
3. Oklahoma at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m.: No. 5 visits No. 2 in game of week.
4. FAU at Wisconsin, noon: Lane Kiffin's Owls vs. No. 9 Badgers. Uh oh.
5. Liverpool at Manchester City, 7:30 a.m.: Tastiest match of day in EPL.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote