August 27, 2015

Who's the 2015 Athlete of the Year? 4 finalists. New poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins optimism, dissing Larry Csonka, latest NFL playoff odds, Ashley Madison and ESPN, Greg's Lobos news & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 27. R.I.P. to the TV reporter and cameraman murdered yesterday in Virginia. So awful and senseless. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Prediction Machine's rosy Dolphins outlook, my fantasy draft annual poll, Schnellenberger sabotage continues, note to anti-government crowd & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

Optimism surrounding Dolphins is well-founded: That is the theme of today's latest column by me. A new computer projection by PredictionMachine.com has Miami with a better than 50 percent likelihood to win 13 of its 16 games, further augmenting a sense of confidence among fans. Click on Dolphins, Rising to read the column in full. PredictionMachine's Paul Bessire elaborated to us today in an email: "The Dolphins currently rank fifth in our Power Rankings and are favored in 13 of 16 games. That’s the good -– if not great -– news for Dolphins fans. The most reasonable expectation, though, is a nine-win season and a wild card [playoff] berth with a better than 50 percent chance to make the playoffs. Given that the Dolphins play at a fast pace, tend to make critical mistakes and have so many young or new pieces, they are one of the most volatile teams in the league."

1aa1ashoeFunny joke: A friend thought I'd enjoy this recent Shoe comic strip. He was right. First woman: "So, tell me about this Shoe fellow you're dating." Second woman: "Well, he's a journalist. He's been married five times. He smokes, he's cheap, he's selfish, he uses foul language, he drinks way too much, and I'm not sure he's faithful." First woman: "Oh, you poor dear. He's a journalist?!"

FRAMING THE RACE FOR 2015 AMERICAN ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Our friend Christine Brennan, the very good USA Today columnist, inspires this poll with her latest column framing the 2015 Athlete of the Year race. (Click here to read). Her four finalists are hard to argue, probably all deserving, and an 1aa1aathleteyearinteresting mix of two individual-sport stars, a team and a horse. American Pharoah ended thoroughbred racing's 37-year Triple Crown drought. Golfer Jordan Spieth, at 21 turning 22, won two major championships and nearly won the other two. The U.S. women's soccer team won its first World Cup title since 1999. And tennis star Serena Williams is going for her fifth consecutive major and the sport's first calendar-year Grand Slam in 27 years as the U.S. Open begins on Monday. Brennan writes, "If Serena wins the Open, becoming the first woman or man to win the Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988, she would be my choice as sportsperson of the year. She would not only have won all four majors in the same year, she also would have tied Graf for the most Grand Slam titles won by a tennis player, male or female, in the Open era, with 22." I tend to agree. But I'm curious what the rest of you think right now. This has been a year when no major team-sport star (such as NBA MVP Steph Curry) has risen to the level of extraordinary accomplishment that these four have: Serena, dominating. Spieth, the phenom with the breakout year. Pharoah and U.S. women's soccer, both making history. Now pick just one. Hey, nobody said this was easy.

DEAR HBO AND BALLERS: SPELL-CHECK, PLEASE?: I watch HBO's Ballers, the Dwayne Johnson/football
vehicle that just ended its first season and got renewed, mainly because it is set in Miami and based 1aa1acsonka(without approval) on the Dolphins. There are cameos by guys like Giancarlo Stanton and Birdman Andersen, which is kind of neat. The acting is sort of lame and the writing cliched; I only watch because of the local angle. Anyway, Dolphins Hall of Famer Larry Csonka -- that's C-S-O-N-K-A -- has a recurring minor role as a gruff Dolphins assistant coach. Pictured right is a screen grab of the closing credits from the season finale. Dear HBO: How do you misspell the last name of a famous football player who stars in your own bleepin' show!? Jesus.

LATEST DOLPHINS/NFL PLAYOFF ODDS: Updated today, courtesy Bovada, with New England currently off-the-board due to Tom Brady suspension flux. Top five most likely playoff teams overall are Seahawks (1-8), Colts (1-6), Packers (2-11), Broncos (1-3) and Cowboys (4-7), though Pats would be in that group. AFC odds (including the Pats) find Miami tied for seventh at 6-5 in jockeying for six spots, meaning odds see Fins just past the far edge of being playoff-caliber. AFC East odds are Pats (off), Dolphins (6-5), Bills (7-4) and Jets (7-2).

ON ESPN AND THE HACK OF ASHLEY MADISON: The lovable muckrakers over at Deadspin report today that, of the millions of Ashley Madison users exposed when the infidelity website was hacked, at least 39
1aa1aashleymaccounts were registered with ESPN email addresses. (Click here for the story). No names are named. Yet. Deadspin reports around 100 ESPN employees may be involved (about 20 percent of them women) based on former or current ESPN-related IP addresses. Look for ESPN folks on the air today who seem to be unusually nervous, distracted or sweating profusely. Although in fairness Chris Berman tends to sweat profusely at all times, so that may not mean anything or be incriminating. I rule out LeBatard; he isn't married. In all seriousness, which is dumber: Needing the help of a website to cheat on your spouse? Doing it with a work email? Or doing it with a work email if you happen to be on TV and sort of famous? This story needs one of those triangular yellow road signs: EMBARRASSING FALLOUT AHEAD.

1aa1alobosGREG'S LOBOS -- THAT'S ME! -- WINS FANTASY POLL: I swear it wasn't rigged. It was a blind poll. You voted not knowing who ran what team; you voted simply based on each team's top four draft picks in our 10-team friends 'n family league. The results, with each team's top pick, and the owner:

 

12.2%:
 
5.1%: Team 1 ( 
 
 
2.4%: Team 5 (Antonio Brown). My older son, Christopher, who some may know as "Fat Chris" from the LeBatard Show even though he isn't fat.
 
1.7%: 
 
1.7%: 
 
1.0%: 

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August 25, 2015

Major annual computer analysis projects stunningly rosy outlook for Dolphins; details here; plus rate my fantasy team. Poll, last day to vote!; also sabotage of Schnellenberger's Hall of Fame chances continues, note to anti-government crowd & more

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

No radio today: I'll be off today along with vacationing Dan LeBatard and Stugotz as Jorge Sedano continues to fill in for them on The Ticket Miami. Sedano asked me to sit in with him today but conflicting Herald duties will prevent.

1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 25. School's back in session in Broward, as anyone who has confronted morning traffic this week was reminded. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins-Panthers and Rappin' Joe, Entercom's undercut of local radio, NFL popularity verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

1aa1afinsat50Herald's 'Fins at 50' project: ICYMI,the Miami Herald's massive "Fins at 50" coverage commemorating the Dolphins' upcoming 50th season is now online. Click FINS AT 50 to access entire project and all its parts. My contributions: COACHING LEGEND is my column and accompanying video on Don Shula. 50 GREATEST is my list of the 50 greatest figures (not just players!) in franchise history. ALL-TIME TEAM are my picks for that honor. And VIDEO INTERVIEWS includes my conversations with Shula, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas.

NFL COMPUTER PROJECTION OFFERS BRIGHTS NEWS FOR DOLPHINS: Our friends at PredictionMachine.com offer their respected annual forecast of the coming NFL season based on its 1aa1apredixcomputers playing the entire season schedule 50,000 times (so you don't have to), and there is good news for the Dolphins. Spoiler alert: They say Green Bay will win the Super Bowl 31-28 over Indianapolis. Of greater interest in Miami, they have the Dolphins as a playoff team, albeit a No. 5 seed losing in the wild-card round to Baltimore. Their computerized win projections for the AFC East: Patriots 10.0, Dolphins 9.1, Bills 7.9 and Jets 6.5. They say Miami has a 56.9 percent likelihood of a winning record, 28.2% to win the division, 37.2% to be a wild-card team, and 4.8% to win the Super Bowl. But dig this (as we used to say): The computers project Miami has more than a 50 percent likelihood to win 13 games. Seriously. Here is PredictionMachine.com's game-by-game analysis, a computerized breakdown of Miami's most- to least-likely wins: 73.1% win likelihood--G2 at Jaguars; 69.4--G4 vs Jets; 65.7--G7 vs Texans; 63.7--G6 at Titans; 62.0--G14 vs Giants; 61.3--G3 vs Bills; 61.2--G13 vs Ravens; 59.4--G12 at Jets; 56.9--G1 at Redskins; 55.8--G11 vs Cowboys; 54.3--G15 at Chargers; 52.6--G9 at Bills; 50.2--G16 vs Colts; 50.0--G17 vs Patriots; 44.4--G10 at Eagles; and 36.6--G8 at Patriots.

1aa1adraftBLIND-RATE GREG'S LOBOS' FANTASY DRAFT:  My 10-team friends 'n family 1aa1aglobosfantasy football league held its annual draft on Sunday, a technological wonder involving Skyping from Washington DC, Jacksonville and Orlando. Now I invite you (as I do
every year) to rate what you think is the best team in our league -- the one you'd most like to have -- based on each team's first four picks. I know that's tough but who said life was fair? Which quartet would you most like to start a team with? It's a standard PPR (point-per-reception) league hosted by ESPN.com. Teams in the poll are listed in the draft order. This is a blind list so you don't know which team is mine, Greg's Lobos, but of course I'll tell you after today's final day of voting who all the teams belong to. It was my draft, now it's your verdict. Vote and say why.

THE WELL-INTENDED SABOTAGING OF HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER CONTINUES: Recently I wrote a column exhorting the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame to bend its
1aa1ahowardeligibility rules to induct Howard Schnellenberger; click on Let Howard In! to read. But in that column I warned: "A well-meaning group of supporters led by major FAU booster John Sasko has undertaken a letter-writing and media campaign to exert pressure to induct their guy. The trouble is, this effort is rubbing wrong some of the very people who need to be convinced to make an exception for Schnellenberger." Update: The public campaign by the "Howard Schnellenberger Hall of Fame Committee," i.e. Sasko and Eugene R. Dunn of Medford, NY, continues, and continues to do a disservice to Schnellenberger's chances. The campaign is well-meaning but stridently tone deaf and plainly hurting Howard's chances. The presidents and athletic directors at Miami, FAU and Louisville should be working proper channels for this to happen. A loud, rogue campaign by two boosters isn't helping. It is doing the opposite.

1aa1afiremanANTI-GOVERNMENT ... EXCEPT WHEN YOU NEED IT: I love this photo because it perfectly encapsulates so much of what I believe about the "anti-government" crowd. Here is a man who wearing a T-shirt that reads "Lower Taxes + Less Government = More Freedom" as he thanks local firefighters for saving his home. Perfect! People want lower taxes ... except when they need what those taxes subsidize. People love to shout, "Get government out of our lives!" ... except when their potholed street needs repaving. People are funny.

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August 21, 2015

Have NFL controversies made you less a fan? Poll. Vote now!; plus our exclusive on LeBatard's move, Ryan the Giant Slayer, Kiper's rookie rank, 2 Canes get honor, 'Weighing The Fish,' judging Miami team unis, best-fans verdict & more

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


1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 21. I'n back up at Random Evidence Laboratories today raising from the slab the Sunday notes-column package. 2) Miami Hurricanes are offering their fans "personalized web pages," with your surname seen on the back of a jersey. Um, OK then. 3) 
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Grading South Florida teams' fans (with poll), 'Fins at 50' project, Louis Delmas, Heat projection, dog-saving Jarvis Landry, The List & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

1aa1afinsat50Herald's 'Fins at 50' project: The Miami Herald's massive "Fins at 50" coverage commemorating the Dolphins' upcoming 50th season is now online. Click on FINS AT 50 to access the entire project and all of its parts. My contributions: COACHING LEGEND is my column and accompanying video on the great Don Shula. 50 GREATEST is my list of the 50 greatest figures (not just players) in franchise history. ALL-TIME TEAM are my picks for, well, for the Dolphins' all-time team. And VIDEO INTERVIEWS includes my conversations with not only Shula but also with Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. Enjoy!

1aa1ajamisonrRyan the Giant Slayer: David used a slingshot to drop Goliath. This guy wielded a 9-iron on the field. Click on Meet Ryan Jamison for today's latest column by me, on how a little-known Division II college golf coach from Nova Southeastern University beat Erik Spoelstra and every other bigger-name in the Miami Herald's best-current-coach-in-South Florida poll.

Kiper's rookie rank: As fantasy drafts near ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. vomits this list of his top 12 fantasy rookies for 2015, fronted by Chargers RB Melvin Gordon. Of special note in South Florida, Colts WR Phillip Dorsett, the ex-Hurricane, ranks sixth, and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker ranks seventh.

OUR OBSESSIVE LOVE OF NFL FOOTBALL OUTWEIGHS ALL OF ITS CONTROVERSIES: The preceding headline puts in a nutshell the premise of Thursday's column by me; click on Arrows Bouncing Off The 1aa1agoodell 1aa1adolfansShield to read in full. The vast majority of my media brethren think differently, even though by most every measure of popularity the NFL withstands every scandal that has hit it -- the ongoing Tom Brady federal-court case just the latest. I believe America's love of the NFL is so deep, augmented by fantasy leagues and gambling, that interest has not been diminished even a little by Ray Rice or Deflategate or anything else that has made for ugly headlines. Of course, I may be wrong! I invite you to tell me if I am in this poll. Be honest: Are you less interested in the NFL -- watching or following less -- because of all that has made life rough for Roger Goodell? Vote and say why.

EXCLUSIVE: LEBATARD ESPN RADIO SHOW EXPECTED TO MOVE TO EARLIER IN DAY: It is not official yet. ESPN has yet to announce it. But readers of this blog knew it first, whether our exclusive 1aa1adanwas properly credited by others repeating the news or not: The popular, ratings-winning Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz is planning a move from its current afternoon radio time slot to earlier in the day. Barring an unexpected last-minute snag, the show will air 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on ESPN Radio in the space vacated by departing Colin Cowherd, still with a possibility of adding a local hour from 9 to 10. Currently the show airs 4-7 p.m, with a local-only hour from 3-4. The change is expected to take effect around mid-September. LeBatard will continue to air locally as well on The Ticket Miami. His local afternoon slot may be filled by Izzy Gutierrez and Ethan Skolnick, although that is not yet official.

2 CANES GET FWAA 'ALL-75TH' HONORS: The Football Writers Association of America this week unveiled
1aa1ahendrickstedits 75th Anniversary college All-America team, honoring 75 players on three teams of 25 each. (Complete teams here). Two Miami Hurricanes are honored -- DE Ted Hendricks (pictured) on the first team and S Ed Reed on the second. Three Florida State Seminoles are mentioned -- CB Deion Sanders first team, WR Fred Belitnikoff second and punter Rohn Stark third. Two Florida Gators honored are QB Tim Tebow second team and DE Jack Youngblood third.

WEIGHING THE FISH (120 GAMES): We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and 1aa1afishweighthis year we debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- WTF! -- is a once-every-10-games cumulative ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Ten qualify for our latest ranking (we eliminated the now-departed Michael Morse). WTF factors six offensive categories, serving as an ongoing de facto team MVP race -- a race drawn close by Stanton's continuing injury absence. The numbers below might not mean much by themselves, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who is having the best overall season or is hot/cold. Here's the WTF after 120 games (at 49-71):

Rank Player                   WTF#  @110

1  Dee Gordon                402.4    2

2  Giancarlo Stanton      362.5    1

3  Adeiny Hechevarria   344.3   3

4  Christian Yelich         280.5   4

5  Jacob Realmuto          280.1   5

6  Martin Prado              265.9   6

7  Justin Bour                 235.2    8

8  Marcell Ozuna            228.3   7

9  Ichiro Suzuki              215.3   9

10  Derek Dietrich          178.6   10

Note: Season WTFs leader-count is now Stanton 8, Gordon 3.

MIAMI UNIFORMS LAGGING IN SARTORIAL SPLENDOR: ESPN.com's "Uni Watch" ranks the 20 cities with at least three teams in the Big Four sports and the top-5 best-dressed are Boston (9.13 average score), 1aa1abig4unisPittsburgh (8.83), Chicago (8.50), Philadelphia (8.38) and San Francisco Bay (8.17). The hobos in the rear are Tampa Bay 19th (3.00) and Atlanta dead last (2.67). Miami (5.50) falls just below average in 12th place. ESPN's synopisis: "The Heat are an interesting case. They keep rolling out one alternate uniform after another (black, white, red, sleeved, nicknames on the back, etc.), but they all look good because their core design is so strong. As for the rest of Miami's teams, they're a mixed bag. But hey, at least the Marlins have gone back to wearing their gray jerseys on the road this season. The previous two seasons, they only wore black on the road." MIA's 5.5 is an average of: Heat 8, Panthers 6, Dolphins 5, Marlins 3.

Poll result: Heat, Dolphins (in that order) dominate for best fans: We asked which major South Florida sports team has the best fans, and it was the Heat with 41.3 percent and the Dolphins with 34.6% combining for about three-quarters of all votes among eight choices. Hurricanes football was a distant third with 10.6%.

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August 19, 2015

Grading South Florida sports fans: We examine attendance for our 15 most prominent pro and college teams. Who has best fans? Poll. Vote!; plus Herald's 'Fins at 50' project, Heat projection, Jarvis Landry saving dogs' lives & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with UM's Al Golden being ranked No. 1 in a preseason list of college football's "hottest coaching seats." 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): My Don Shula video, Hot Button Top 10, fashionista Serena, Heat/Christmas verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

Delmas out for season: Dolphins safety Louis Delmas will miss the entire 2015 season with a knee injury (torn ACL) sustained in practice, it was announced today. That's a fairly big blow to the defense, but hardly an insurmountable one. 

NFL yardage-leader odds: Via Bovada, Andrew Luck is betting favorite to lead NFL in passing yards at 7-2, with Dolphin Ryan Tannehill 33-1 (13th). Adrian Peterson is 7-2 fave to lead in rushing yards, with Miami's Lamar Miller 50-1 (tie 17th). And Antonio Brown is receiving yards pick at 11-2 odds, with Dolphin Jarvis Landry 66-1 (tie 21st). 

Con-men and South Florida sports: There's an in-depth piece this week at Grantland.com (click here to read) on how South Florida's hustler culture and engulfed Heat players in financial scams. All of this has been well-covered, but this is a comprehensive overview worth your time.

1aa1afinsat50 1aa1afinsat50HERALD'S 'FINS AT 50' SPECIAL PROJECT: The Miami Herald's massive "Fins at 50" coverage commemorating the Dolphins' upcoming 50th season is now online. Click on FINS AT 50 to access the entire project and all of its parts. My contributions: COACHING LEGEND is my column and accompanying video on the great Don Shula. 50 GREATEST is my list of the 50 greatest figures (not just players) in franchise history. ALL-TIME TEAM are my picks for, well, for the Dolphins' all-time team! And VIDEO INTERVIEWS includes my conversations with not only Shula but also with Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. Enjoy! 

1aa1acardreportGRADING THE FANS: EXAMINING ATTENDANCE FOR SOUTH FLORIDA'S 14 MOST PROMINENT PRO AND COLLEGE TEAMS: We examined the attendance of South Florida's 15 most visible sports teams (five pro, 10 college), compared how it ranks among others in its leagues, and doled out grades out how each team is doing drawing fans. Only two of the 14 earned a better than average grade. Our results:

GRADE A

1aa1aheatMiami Heat: Heat averaged 19,712 last season, officially 100.6 percent of capacity. That attendance ranked sixth of 30 NBA teams, even with no LeBron James and a non-playoff team. What Pat Riley has built continues to be a South Florida juggernaut of interest.

GRADE B

1aa1adolfansMiami Dolphins: The Fins averaged 70,035 per game last season, 92.7 percent of capacity. That attendance ranked 14th of 32 NFL teams. For a franchise that last made the playoffs in 2008 and hasn't won in the postseason since 2000, that isn't bad. An improved team and stadium-makeover both will help.

Miami Hurricanes baseball: Canes averaged 2,738 per game last season, which ranked 27th among NCAA Division I schools. UM was one of only 18 schools to surpass 100,000 (101,296) in total home attendance.

GRADE C

1aa1acanesfbMiami Hurricanes football: The Canes averaged 52,518 per game last season. That ranked 40th of 125 NCAA teams at the premier FBS level. "C" means average, and that is what UM attendance, like the team itself, has become.

Miami Hurricanes men's basketball: UM averaged 5,777 per game last season, 93rd of 344 NCAA Division I teams. Canes under Jim Larranaga have ranged from competitive to quite good and must find way to more consistently fill their modestly-sized (just under 8,000) campus arena.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers: The Strikers averaged 3,626 per game in 2014 (combined spring and fall seasons), which ranked ninth of 10 NASL soccer. But attendnace through seven home games in 2015 has risen to 5,551, ranking seventh of 11 teams.

GRADE D

1aa1aballparkMiami Marlins: The Marlins are averaging 22,263 this season through 58 of 81 home games, or 59.5 percent of capacity. That attendance ranks 27th of 30 MLB teams. Clearly, the new ballpark has not been a panacea. But this season has been a major disappointment and will mark a sixth straight losing season, which would be debilitating for most any city's attendance.

Miami Hurricanes women's basketball: UM's women averaged 1,254 per game last season, which ranked 113th of 344 NCAA Division I teams. The good news? That's better than 231 others schools did. The  bad news? Coach Katie Meier consistently fields a quality product that deserves better.

FAU football: The Owls averaged 14,122 last season, roughly half of the stadium's capacity. That attendance ranked 117th of 125 FBS teams. The nifty little campus stadium that Howard Schnellenberger saw built has not been the fan kick-starter hoped.   

GRADE F

1aa1afiufbFIU football: The Panthers averaged 11,966 last season, about half of capacity. That attendnace ranked 123rd of 125 FBS schools, ahead of only Akron and Ball State. FIU must grow to meet the NCAA's 15,000 standard or risk demotion from the top-tier FBS level.

Florida Panthers: The Cats averaged 11,265 per game last season, 66.1 percent of capacity. That attendance ranked dead last in the NHL, 30th of 30 teams. You can't get lower than that, so shouldn't the grade be rock-bottom, too? I can't see how this franchise can survive long-term in South Florida unless it starts consistently winning and the fan interest jumps commensurately.

FIU men's basketball: Panthers averaged 1,474 per game last season, 268th of 344 Division I men's teams.  

FAU men's basketball: Owls averaged 1,346 per game last season, 281st of 344 teams.

FAU women's basketball: Owls women averaged 601 per game last season, 294th of 344 teams.

FIU women's basketball: And playing the caboose, Panthers women averaged 355 per game last season, 310th of 344 teams. That's officially "friends 'n family" territory.

NFL: IF THE BACKUP QB'S WERE STARTERS...: PredictionMachinbe.com, evidently with time on its hands, used its computers to figure how each team's playoff likelihood would change if the No. 2 quarterback were to start all 16 games. The biggest dropoff was New England's minus 54.4 percent from Tom Brady to Jimmy Garoppolo. The least was Jacksonville's plus 2.3% from Blake Bortles to Chad Henne. Miami had a modest 11.4% dropoff from Ryan Tannehill to Matt Moore, which ranked midpack (17th) in the league. It was 52.7% with Tannehill and 41.3% with Moore, who had the third-highest percentage of any backup.

WHY PLAY THE SEASON? HERE'S HOW HEAT WILL FINISH: ESPN.com's eighth annual NBA "Summer Forecast" is out, and its experts panel says Miami will finish fourth in the Eastern Conference at 47-35, after Cleveland (59-23), Chicago (50-32) and Atlanta (50-32). I think that's overestimating the Hawks and think the Heat have a great shot at third. Miami would host fifth place Washington in the first round of the playoffs if the forecast holds true. So there. Why even play the season?

JARVIS LANDRY WANTS TO SAVE YOUR DOG'S LIFE: The Dolphins' second-year receiver has recorded a public-service video for PETA urging you to avoid baking your dog in a closed car. Sounds like good advice! Here it is:

 

SEMI-HOT MARLINS: In a respite from The Lost Season, a small island in the roiling sea, your Marlins have won five of their past seven games, despite Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich all being on the DL. This rivals the second-best stretch Miami has had all season, deferring only to a 9-1 run April 22 to May 2. I continue to think this team can be very good next season, with a real manager and much better health the starting requisites.

THE LIST: NFL COACHING VICTORIES: The 10 winningest coaches for combined regular season and playoff career victories, and their percentage of losing seasons:

Coach                     Wins       Losing seasons

Don Shula               347          6.1% (2 of 33)

George Halas          324        15.0% (6 of 40)

Tom Landry            270        31.0% (9 of 29)

Bill Belichick          233        25.0% (5 of 20)

Curley Lambeau     229        18.2% (6 of 33)

Paul Brown            222         16.0% (4 of 25)

Chuck Noll             209         30.4% (7 of 23)

M. Schottenheimer 205           9.5% (2 of 21)

Dan Reeves            201         39.1% (9 of 23)

Chuck Knox           193         36.4% (8 of 22)

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August 14, 2015

PS1: @Chicago 27, Dolphins 10 (Final): Forget the score. Dolfans should be more encouraged than discouraged. My postgame thoughts; plus why is NBA ruining Christmas? New poll. Vote!; also Fins playoff likelihood, tennis sex scandal & more

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

1aa1acolinbeer1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 14. Defrocked ESPN voice Colin Cowherd now has his own beer. Oh Lord how I wish I were kidding. Click on image at left to see enlarged version. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Jam-packed! Mayweather-Rousey poll, complete Heat schedule, Dolphins in fantasy, Marlins' next manager, latest 'Back In My Day,' Drone Racing League, Joe Goodman, MNF broadcasters list & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

1aa1abuffettHey, waaaiiit a minute, Jimmy!: I thought Jimmy Buffett was our guy!? Mr. Key West, Mr. Landshark, a Heat fan, Fins Up, all that. Wasn't Buffett assumed to be a Dolphins fan too? Well, hmm. Here's Jimmy pictured today attending a Saints practice, standing beside former Dolphins and now Saints PR guy Fitz Ollison. Say it ain't so, Jim!

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Our DSM postgame blog polls will be back for another season this year -- but not tonight or during the preseason. They begin with the regular season. 

Fins playoff shot guesstimated at 44%: Numberfire.com, an analytics site, has its AFC East preview out today (read here) and predicts Miami for second in the division behind the Patriots. It puts Dolphins' playoff shot at 44.2 percent, with a 24.4% shot to be division champ and a wins over/under of 8.4. 

THE DAY OF THE DOLPHINS: FOOTBALL'S BACK!: Final thoughts--This may strike some as strange after a 27-10 loss pockmarked by four turnovers, but I'd think Dolphins fans ought not be real disappointed right now. When it was Ryan Tannehill out there, and Ndamukong Suh on the other side -- when it was the Miami starters vs. Chicago's starters -- Miami looked very good. It was the backups and scrubs who squandered the early lead and the win. That suggests Miami's depth may be suspect. But if you judge this game, as you should, by how Miami looked at its best, the night was more encouraging than discouraging. ..... 4Q--Freeman INT is Miami's fourth turnover. Ugh. ... Dolphins scrubs give up 54Y scoring run for 27-10 score. MIA has done nothing since the starters went out. ... Josh Freeman in at QB for Miami. ... Oy! Bethel-Thompson (soon to be a former Dolphin) is intercepted again, leads to  Bears FG and 20-10 score. ..... 3Q--Bethel-Thompson intercepted to put Dolphins lead in peril. Sure enough, CHI coverts for TD run and two-point conversion for 17-10 lead in quarter's last seconds. MIA safety Cedric Thompson had chance to be a hero on 4th-down scoring run but was not. ... Pandas within 10-9 as Fins D stiffens in the red zone. ... A man named "Aultman" just caught a pass for Miami. Preseason opener! ... Penalties, now a lost fumble. Certainly not a flawless game by Fins. ..... 2Q--MIA 10-3 on Sturgis 31Y FG after squandered drive into red zone. ... You know it's a preseason opener when you look up and notice your QB is a person named "McLeod Bethel-Thompson." He replaced Matt Moore, who replaced Tanny. ... True to expectations, most defensive starters now out, too. ..... 1Q--Defense looking stout, too, but what a dropoff in run-D when Ndamukong Suh isn't in. ... Tannehill, many other offense starters out after only one series. He was 6-for-7. Like a razor, he was. ... MIA 7-0: Bottle that drive. Save it for September. Tannehill sharp enough to overcome two holding penalties. ..... Original post: The Day of the Dolphin was a not-very-good 1973 sci-fi thriller starring George C. Scott. This is the Day of the Dolphins -- the preseason opener tonight at 1aa1adayof 1aa1adayof2Chicago that tangibly kicks off the franchise's 50th anniversary season. Will the Dolphins be very good as the buzz suggests? Let the hints begin, although whether Miami wins or loses tonight won't be much of a barometer. Exhibition openers rarely are, as I detail in today's latest column. Click on Results Don't Matter (Yet) For Dolphins, But Football's Back to read in full. Look for Dolphins starters to play only the first quarter, if that. I'd expect Ryan Tannehill goes one series, maybe two. Trained eyes will be on the guard play as a handful of contenders try to determine if Miami has two suitable starters to flank center Mike Pouncey. It also will be interesting to see Ndamukong Suh, in a new uniform, facing his longtime former division rivals, albeit briefly. Coach Joe Philbin will devote the first two exhibitions to settling his depth chart and roster, with an eye on making the third exhibition the first real we-wanna-win dress rehearsal.

JESUS! NBA'S CHRISTMAS DAY OBSESSION AGAIN RUINS MIAMI'S HOLIDAY: In the previous blogpost we 1aa1achristmasnbalisted the entire 2015-16 Heat regular-season schedule released yesterday. It includes a Heat home game vs. the New Orleans Pelicans on Christmas Day -- a noon tipoff that will be the first of a record five NBA games played on the holiday. I can tell you from past conversations that neither NBA players nor TV announcers like working on Christmas. I know I don't. For many of us, whether it's for religious or family reasons, Christmas is a day to be home, and certainly not a day to work. Yet the NBA embraces Christmas as its own stage to a degree beyond other leagues. I wonder whether the NBA's leadership being Jewish -- David Stern to Adam Silver -- weighs anything in this league treating Christmas not as an occasion to be off but as just another play day? Hey, I'm just asking!

TENNIS SEX SCANDAL!: So Stan Wawrinka, the reigning French Open champion and world's No. 5- 1aa1adonnavranked man, is playing Nick Kyrgios in the Montreal Masters last night in a heated match and, during a walk past each between sets, an open on-court mic picks up Kyrgios saying to Wawrinka, "Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that, mate." The reference was to a fellow ATP player, Thanasi Kokkinakis, and to Wawrinka's girlfriend, WTA player Donna Vekic, 19. Kyrgios did not deny what was heard, explaining Wawrinka had been getting "lippy." Wawrinka has responded angrily on Twitter, calling for the tour to discipline Kyrgios. Vekic is pictured. She may or may not be gesturing that she has two lovers, one for each hand. Ouch. Too soon?

Updated World Series odds: Out today via Bovada, Toronto Blue Jays are the new World Series favorites at 4-1. Others sub 10-1 are Royals at 5-1, Dodgers and Cardinals both 8-1 and Mets -- the Mets! -- at 9-1. Your Marlins are a tidy bargain at 2,000-to-1.

Poll result: Rousey beats Mayweather in no-holds-barred fight: Very few of our poll results surprise me, but this one sort of did. We asked who'd win in a no-holds-barred, MMA-style fight, and it was Ronda Rousey over Floyd Mayweather Jr., 56.1 percent to 43.9. 

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

August 12, 2015

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

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


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

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

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

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

DATE DAY OPPONENT TIME TV

OCTOBER

28 Wed. CHARLOTTE 7:30 PM SUN

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

NOVEMBER

1 Sun. HOUSTON 6:00 PM SUN

3 Tues. ATLANTA 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

5 Thurs. @ Minnesota 8:00 PM SUN

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

8 Sun. TORONTO 6:00 PM SUN

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

12 Thurs. UTAH 7:30 PM SUN

17 Tues. MINNESOTA 7:30 PM SUN

19 Thurs. SACRAMENTO 7:30 PM SUN

21 Sat. PHILADELPHIA 7:30 PM SUN

23 Mon. NEW YORK 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

25 Wed. @ Detroit 7:30 PM SUN

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

30 Mon. BOSTON 7:30 PM SUN

DECEMBER

3 Thurs. OKLAHOMA CITY 7:00 PM TNT

5 Sat. CLEVELAND 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

7 Mon. WASHINGTON 7:30 PM SUN

9 Wed. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM SUN

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

13 Sun. MEMPHIS 6:00 PM SUN

14 Mon. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM SUN

16 Wed. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM SUN

18 Fri. TORONTO 7:30 PM SUN

20 Sun. PORTLAND 1:00 PM SUN

22 Tues. DETROIT 7:30 PM SUN

25 Fri. NEW ORLEANS 12:00 PM SUN/ESPN

26 Sat. @ Orlando 7:00 PM SUN

28 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM SUN

29 Tues. @ Memphis 8:00 PM SUN

JANUARY

1 Fri. DALLAS 7:30 PM SUN

3 Sun. @ Washington 6:00 PM SUN

4 Mon. INDIANA 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

6 Wed. NEW YORK 7:00 PM SUN/ESPN

8 Fri. @ Phoenix 9:30 PM SUN

9 Sat. @ Utah 9:00 PM SUN

11 Mon. @ Golden State 10:30 PM SUN

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

15 Fri. @ Denver 9:00 PM SUN

17 Sun. @ Oklahoma City 7:00 PM SUN

19 Tues. MILWAUKEE 7:30 PM SUN

20 Wed. @ Washington 7:00 PM SUN

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

25 Mon. @ Chicago 8:00 PM SUN

26 Tues. @ Brooklyn 7:30 PM SUN

29 Fri. @ Milwaukee 8:30 PM SUN

31 Sun. ATLANTA 6:00 PM SUN

FEBRUARY

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

3 Wed. @ Dallas 8:30 PM SUN

5 Fri. @ Charlotte 7:00 PM SUN

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

9 Tues. SAN ANTONIO 7:30 PM SUN

19 Fri. @ Atlanta 8:00 PM SUN

20 Sat. WASHINGTON 7:30 PM SUN

22 Mon. INDIANA 7:30 PM SUN

24 Wed. GOLDEN STATE 7:30 PM SUN

27 Sat. @ Boston 3:00 PM SUN

28 Sun. @ New York 7:30 PM SUN

MARCH

1 Tues. CHICAGO 7:30 PM SUN/NBA TV

3 Thurs. PHOENIX 7:30 PM SUN

4 Fri. @ Philadelphia 7:00 PM SUN

6 Sun. PHILADELPHIA 6:00 PM SUN

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

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

12 Sat. @ Toronto 7:00 PM SUN

14 Mon DENVER 7:30 PM SUN

17 Thurs. CHARLOTTE 7:30 PM SUN

19 Sat. CLEVELAND 7:30 PM SUN

22 Tues. @ New Orleans 8:00 PM SUN

23 Wed. @ San Antonio 8:30 PM SUN

25 Fri. ORLANDO 7:30 PM SUN

28 Mon. BROOKLYN 7:30 PM SUN

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

APRIL

1 Fri. @ Sacramento 10:00 PM SUN

2 Sat @ Portland 10:00 PM SUN

5 Tues. DETROIT 7:30 PM SUN

7 Thurs. CHICAGO 8:00 PM TNT

8 Fri. @ Orlando 7:00 PM SUN

10 Sun. ORLANDO 6:00 PM SUN

12 Tues. @ Detroit 7:30 PM SUN

13 Wed. @ Boston 8:00 PM SUN

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Broadcaster        Years     Duration

Frank Gifford       27        1971-97

Al Michaels          20        1986-05

Howard Cosell     14        1970-83

Don Meredith       12        1970-73, '77-84

Dan Dierdorf        12        1987-98

Mike Tirico          10        2006-current

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

August 08, 2015

Who are the Top 10 greatest Hurricanes football players of all-time? Poll. Close. Last day to vote!; plus ESPN's college 100, Jon Stewart's farewell, Republican debate & more

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 8. R.I.P. former news anchor Peter Jennings, 67, taken by lung cancer. 2) Click on Let Howard In! for our latest column, which makes the case why Howard Schnellenberger should be in the College Football Hall of Fame. 3) Random Evidence, the Sunday notes column, is taking the week off. However we'll have our blog-exclusive Hot Button Top 10 here as usual on Sunday. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Top 10 Greatest Dolphins of All-Time results, reunions and Key West & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

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

WHO ARE THE TOP 10 GREATEST HURRICANES IN MIAMI FOOTBALL HISTORY?: We just completed the Dolphins version of this poll (results in previous blogpost) and now it's your turn, Hurricanes fans. I found
1aa1acanessmoke 1aa1acanesuarriving at a 30-man Fins ballot much easier than here. Not only has UM football been going on some 30 years longer than the Dolphins, but in college you have only two or three seasons to judge a player, not a long career. So admittedly our 30 Canes finalists may not be a perfect list. No doubt an omitted name or two may jump out at you. We did our best to span the eras and not leave out deserving players from a time we recall in black-and-white, which forced us to omit more recent players we would have liked to include. At any rate, scan our alphabetical ballot and vote for your Top 10. Call it "greatest " players, "favorite," "most important," whatever -- the criteria is yours. I ask, though, that you give more weight to what these guys did while at UM than to their subsequent NFL careers or lack of. OK, ready? Vote! And then check back often to monitor evolving results.

Remember, you may vote for up to 10 players and are encouraged to do so!

Deciphering results in a 10-vote poll: A player's maximum voting percentage above (if everyone casts the full 10 votes) is 10 percent. Multiply the percentage by 10 to get the number of ballots including that player. In other words, a player at 5.2% is being included on slightly more than half of all ballots.

3 NOLES, 1 CANE, 1 GATOR IN ESPN'S TOP 100: ESPN.com's preseason Top 100 players in college football is complete (click here for list), and the five state of Florida guys in it are: No. 4--Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III; No. 10--FSU DB Jalen Ramsey; No. 39--FSU RB Dalvin Cook; No. 97--Miami QB Brad Kaaya; and No. 98--FSU OT Roderick Johnson. Ohio State dominates rankings including No. 1 overall with DE Joey Bosa from St. Thomas Aquinas.

ON JON STEWART, REPUBLICAN DEBATE: Interesting juxtaposition of major, must-watch TV events last night with the first Republican presidential debate followed immediately by Jon Stewart's final 1aa1ajonstewartepisode of 1aa1adonaldtrumpThe Daily Show on Comedy Central. (Watch Stewart's entire last show here). I was amazed to remember and appreciate how many careers Stewart's show has launched. More than just liberals (but, admittedly, mostly liberals) will miss Stewart. I always considered him an equal-opportunity skewerer with a neutral nose for bulls----, but I'm sure many -- likely including last night's 10 Republican debaters -- might not agree. The debate reaffirmed that Stewart is leaving a year too soon, because presidential politics is smack in his wheelhouse. Quick debate thoughts: Donald Trump stole the show with cartoonery, as was his intent. The clown-candidate is a fascinating study as he unabashedly divides America and inflames partisan politics by calling opponents idiots and offending in the name of honesty. Ted Cruz is plain scary. I was somewhat impressed by Ben Carson, who seemed to get shortchanged on airtime. I thought Sons of Miami Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio both did pretty well. For me Bush and Chris Christie, who is reasonably moderate, may be the GOP's most electable guys, or certainly the most palatable to Democrats and independents. As for anybody who thinks Trump is electable, sober up and get back on your meds. (Click on FiveThirtyEight.com to read a very smart analysis of Trump's vulnerability by Nate Silver). 

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

August 06, 2015

Who are the 10 greatest players in Dolphins history? A special 50th Anniversary poll. Voting ends at noon today!

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

1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 6. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Miami's greatest sports streaks, Walter the Lion Killer & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

DOLPHINS GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: NAME THE TOP 10 PLAYERS IN FRANCHISE HISTORY: As 2015 training camp is underway and the club's 50th anniversary season nears, we have poured 49 seasons of Dolphins players into a giant funnel and
1aa1adollogofirst 1aa1atop10 1aa1adoltwo1let through only the best of the best -- who we think of as the 30 greatest players in Fins history. That's why the (alphabetical) poll below is uncommonly long. We are giving you 30 prime contenders and inviting you to select the top 10. Make it "greatest," "most important," "favorite" -- whatever criteria you choose. Think it'll be easy? It won't bet. For me, about half of the list, 15 or 16 guys, may be Top 10-worthy. Chances are you'll be leaving out Hall of Famers or others you hate to omit. Hey, nobody said life was fair! (Or easy). From a consensus of all readers' ballots we'll eventually get to an overall Top 10. I'll be largely away from the blog on holiday for a few days so we leave you this to chew on. We'll be back here Wednesday night or Thursday morning to make official the final Top 10. Ready? Vote!

Remember, you may vote for up to 10 players and are encouraged to do so!

Deciphering a 10-vote: A 10-vote poll means 10 percent would be the maximum voting percentage if everyone cast the maximum 10 votes. Any total over 10% means some voters are voting only for that person. A percentage over 5 means that person is being included on at least half of all ballots. 

Check back often to monitor continually evolving results...

July 30, 2015

Uncommon, refreshing bravado from Dolphins: the new column; plus Fins Training Camp Primer, who Marlins got from Dodgers, Brady's legacy (w/ poll), 1 big reason to call Marlins' lost season a success, latest 'Weighing The Fish' & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, JULY 30. No music but apparent mysterious farting sounds from the Marlins Park PA system greeted the Nationals as they took batting practice. An investigation supposedly is underway. #Fartgate. 2) Click here for a primer on, and videos of, the Robot World Cup. Love soccer? Love robots? You might still hate this. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins trust-the-buzz poll, Miami stamp on MLB under-25 list, Junior Seau, Al Golden's Car Wash & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

1aa1amehatUncommon, refreshing bravado Dolphins as training camp opens: Fins owner Stephen Ross today called this Miami roster the team's best "in many, many years" and left no doubt he expects the Dolphins will make the playoffs and challenge to reach Super Bowl. Asked if his patience has run out and he's antsy to see results, Ross said, "Goddamn right!" Click on Refreshing Bravado to read my latest column, online a now shipping to Friday's inky pulp editions. Photo at right is from today's Ross media session. My favorite part: the guy in the background with the goofy hat and shades who looks an awful lot like me.

Marlins acquire 3 Dodgers pitchers for Latos, Morse: The Marlins today completed the trade of pitcher Mat Latos and first baseman Michael Morse to the Dodgers for three righty minor-league pitchers: Kevin Guzman (age 20), Jeff Brigham (23) and Victor Araujo (22), all Single-A bound. Guzman and Brigham are starters. Araujo, perhaps the best prospect of the three, is a reliever. The Marlins dealing Latos, a pending free agent, was expected. Getting rid of Morse was no shock, either, considering he had underperformed and lost his job to Justin Bour.

Dolphins' Top 50: Fans may vote for franchise's all-time 50 greatest players now through Sept. 15 at Dolphins.com, from among 100 finalists, as part of club's 50th anniversary activities. Click here for ballot.

1aa1acamp1 1aa1acamp2DOLPHINS TRAINING CAMP PRIMER: TEN THINGS THAT SHOULD INTEREST YOU, FOR BETTER OR WORSE: The Dolphins' 50th anniversary season kicks off in a tangible way with today's first practice signalling the official start of training camp. Optimism is high (see poll result below). Hopes for a playoff season (at last) will be in the humid air as Dolfans flock to the club's Davie training center. Here are 10 things that should have a Dolfan's interest, as positives or concerns or shades in between:

1aa1ansuh1. Ndamukong Suh: Uncage the beast: Suh, pictured right, was the Dolphins' signature offseason acquisition, the state-of-the-art defensive tackle who by himself upgrades Miami's run-stopping and overall D to formidable. That's the idea, anyway.

2. New receiving corps: In like a gust of fresh air: Fins bring in top draft pick DeVante Parker, veteran Greg Jennings, young veteran Kenny Stills and tight end Jordan Cameron to augment second-year star Jarvis Landry and TE Dion Sims. On paper, an improvement to excite.

3. Ryan Tannehill: Now earn it: Entering his fourth season, Tannehill is newly enriched with the big contract ensuring financial and future stability. But that new deal, and the new receiving corps, increases the pressure on the QB to lead a playoff season.

1aa1adparker4. DeVante Parker: How's the foot?: The foot injury that dogged Parker's senior year at Louisville continues to bother and limit him. Yesterday the club placed him on the PUP list, which suggests the No. 1 draft pick, pictured right, will likely miss training camp though team still hopes he'll be ready by start of regular season. Missing camp would be a blow, though. Parker needs to get in sync with Tannehill and with Bill Lazor's offense.  

5. The guards: Can anybody play this position?: Dallas Thomas? Billy Turner? Lot of warm bodies out here. But will Miami find two of them hot enough to be capable, solid NFL starters?

6. Branden Albert: Get well soon: Albert can be the Richmond Webb/Jake Long-type left tackle pillar when healthy. But he's coming off major knee surgery. His complete recovery in time for the season opener remains in question but seems likely.

1aa1aajayij7. Running back: Will a battle materialize?: Ex-Cane Lamar Miller, entering the final year of his contract, is the guy. But rookie Jay Ajayi, pictured right, will get a big chance to impress and unseat Miller if he can. Ajayi could get the nod if it's too close to call, because he'd be cheaper to keep beyond this season.

8. The secondary: Big 2 and then...: Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes and PB-quality safety Reshad Jones are rock-solid starters back there. Then there's a dropoff. Lots of depth, but which guys will step up to augment the Big 2.

9. The linebackers: How good?: Jelani Jenkins had a break-through season last year and Chris McCain shows much promise. If those two continue to develop and team can find a home for Koa Misi (middle? outside?), then Fins could have a solid nucleus. LBs still must prove, though, that they aren't the weak link of the three defensive groups.

1aa1ajoep10. Joe Philbin and overall pressure: This could be higher on our list. Much. Overriding everything this year is the onus on coach Joe Philbin, pictured right, to lead a playoff season. His job likely depends on it. The 50th anniversary events will call much attention to the franchise's storied past -- and heap that much more pressure on the '15 squad to create some new glory days.

Dolfan optimism running higher than usual: We asked, on the eve of training camp, about your optimism for this coming Dolphins season relative to how you feel most years, and almost 75 percent of readers called themselves either "slightly" (43.0 percent) or "much" (31.7%) more optimistic than usual. Another 13.7% said they feel about the same, and 11.6% were pessimistic and don't trust the buzz.

TOM BRADY AND THE DAMAGE DONE: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is making it harder and harder for anyone to buy his innocence in the Deflategate mess. Now the appeal of his four-game suspension is denied 1aa1abradytombecause he ordered his cellphone destroyed -- the phone with the incriminating texts. I say in my latest column -- click on Take The Loss, Brady to read in full -- that he should forget pursuing this further in federal court, instead swallowing his medicine and serving his four games to start the coming season. But let's look ahead, beyond Brady's playing career, to the weight this controversy will or should have on his legacy, on how he is remembered. As I write in the column, I don't think this rises to the level (or sinks to the depth) of what Watergate was to Nixon, but it's definitely a permanent stain. The question is, how big? How noticeable? Dolfans, I challenge you to be fair by imagining how you would feel if, say, Ryan Tannehill were embroiled in the very same controversy and accused of the same actions. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

ONE BIG REASON TO CALL THIS LOST MARLINS SEASON A SUCCESS: Two words. Jose Fernandez. 1aa1ajosefThat's where you start in assessing the Marlins 100 games in. Barring a sporting miracle the season will be an overall disappointment, with too many key injuries spelling no playoffs. The big salvation, though, is that Fernandez has done it. He has come back successfully --wonderfully -- from Tommy John surgery. That's something you can never be sure of until you see it. We are seeing it. In five starts he is 4-0 with a 2.53 ERA and 37 strikeouts (against only seven walks) in 32 innings. And that full recovery eases the sting of the overall losing. By the way, the team's premature managerial change through 100 games continued to have an eerily negligible effect. Fish were winning at a .421 clip (16-22) under Mike Redmond, and it's .419 (26-36) under Dan Jennings.

1aa1afishweighWEIGHING THE FISH (100 GAMES): We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and this year we debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- WTF! -- is a once-every-10-games cumulative ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Ten qualify for our latest ranking. WTF factors six offensive categories, serving as an ongoing de facto team MVP race -- a race drawn somewhat closer by Stanton's injury. The numbers below might not mean much by themselves, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who is having the best overall season or is hot/cold. Here's the WTF after 100 games (at 42-58):


Rank Player                   WTF#  @90

1  Giancarlo Stanton      362.5    1

2  Dee Gordon                330.5    2

3  Adeiny Hechevarria   285.4   3

4  Jacob Realmuto         242.8    5

5  Christian Yelich        237.9   4

6  Martin Prado              229.4   6

7  Marcell Ozuna            215.6   7

8  Justin Bour                 199.9    8

9  Ichiro Suzuki              161.6   9

10  Michael Morse          115.5   10

Note: Season WTFs leader-count is now Stanton 7, Gordon 2.

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July 28, 2015

How much do you trust the buzz about the Dolphins? New poll. Vote now!; plus Miami flavor to MLB 25-and-under list, Golden's schedule on ESPN 'Car Wash' today, Seau induction controversy & more

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

It's Radio/TV Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 p.m. on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio and Fusion TV. New Back In My Day, new Periscope both possible. Ears and eyes welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, JULY 28. Dolphins re-sign QB Josh Freeman after just releasing him, a contractual maneuver to lessen team's financial risk. 2) Miami-raised Alex Rodriguez, with a home run on his 40th birthday, became only fourth player in MLB history to homer in his teens and his 40s, joining Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub and Gary Sheffield. 3) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Harvard loves Dolphins, Hot Button Top 10, Stanton-Tannehill and Cosby-O.J. verdicts & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

Canton should waive its dumb policy for Seau: Click on Let His Family Speak for today's latest column by me. It's on the Pro Football Hall of Fame not allowing a member of his family to speak for the late Junior Seau at next week's induction ceremony.

HOW MUCH DO YOU TRUST THE BUZZ ABOUT THE DOLPHINS?: Maybe some of it was Miami being at the 1aa1ansuhcenter of the offseason's biggest free-agent signing in defensive star Ndamukong Suh (pictured). Maybe it was the long-term commitment to Ryan Tannehill, or the receiving corps overhaul. Heck, maybe it's just the law of averages -- the sense the Fins are simply due for a big season after this long run of mediocrity. In any case there is a buzz about the team this season, a cautious expectation about the playoffs. (You saw in our previous blogpost that even a Harvard University analytic study has forecast Miami to be in the Super Bowl). But I'm more curious what you think than what Harvard does. With the Dolphins hitting the practice field this Thursday for the start of training camp, who does how you feel about the Dolphins' upcoming season differ from how you typically feel? Take a dip in our poll and say why.

DISTINCT SOUTH FLORIDA STAMP ON BASEBALL 25-AND-UNDER LIST: With Jose Fernandez on the mound as Marlins return home tonight, it's a good time to bring you MLB.com's new list of the top 25 1aa1ammachadoplayers 25-and-younger. (Complete list here). After Mike Trout and Bryce Harper at 1-2, there is a distinct South Florida flavor, with five of the next 23 players having local ties: No. 3--Orioles 3B Manny Machado, pictured left (Hialeah and Brito High); No. 4--Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton; No. 6--Marlins pitcher Fernandez; No. 9--Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo (Fort Lauderdale and Stoneman-Douglas High); and No. 23--Royals 1B Eric Hosmer (South Miami and American Heritage High).

GOLDEN RUNS THE 'CAR WASH' GAUNTLET: Hurricanes coach Al Golden is run through ESPN's 'Car Wash'
today in Bristol, Conn., answering the same questions dozens of times and gamely pretending to enjoy
1aa1agoldencarwashthe experience. Theme most likely to be pounded into the ground: "The media and fans have put you on the hot seat, Al. How do you respond to that criticism and pressure?" Here's where to catch Golden on radio or TV today: 10:25 a.m. on SportscenterU on ESPNU; 10:50 on ESPN Front Row; 11:20 on SportsCenter (pictured at right); 11:40 on ESPN Digital Video with Chris Low; 12:15 p.m. on Championship Drive Podcast; 12:30 with Freddie Coleman; 1 with Jorge Sedano; 1:20 on College Football Live; 1:40 with Joe Schad; 2:20 with Paul Finebaum; and 2:35 on College Football Daily. Golden, embattled off a 6-7 season, opens his fifth UM year with the start of fall practice Aug. 6. Season starts Sept. 5 at home vs. Bethune-Cookman.

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