October 21, 2018

Who should be the Miami Hurricanes' starting QB? Rosier vs. Perry poll. Vote now!: plus Heat drop home opener but Wade stars (and my column), other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 7 picks, your Heat expectations verdict, The List & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwudHEAT HOME OPENER BEGINS THE FAREWELL TONIGHT: Heat lose 113-112 but Wade stars. One outta two ain't bad. For my column from Saturday night: Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss Him. Original post: Miami's 31st NBA home opener is tonight at 8 vs. Charlotte in the bayside arena. The season's earliest indication is that the Heat will be just what we thought they'd be: a competitive team that will be fighting for one of the East's lower playoff seeds, not luxuriating among the conference's elite. Tonight also begins the season-long goodbye for brothers in arms Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem in their final Heat season. My recent column on Wade's farewell season: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

Select other recent columns: Our latest NFL picks: Week 7 Gems. Also: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-GoodNo More Excuses, Florida Panthers. And Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback.

RichtHURRICANES' TO-DO LIST FOR THE BYE WEEK: "Things To Get Accomplished On Our Off-Week, by Mark Richt: No. 1--Settle on a starting quarterback I can trust and win with. No. 2--See No. 1." The Canes are humbled to be out of the Top 25 for the first time all season as they lick the wounds of last week's 16-13 loss at Virginia, take this week off, then come back next week (Friday night) at Boston College. That's no easy game, by the way. It's another loss-threat. BC is 5-2, also will be coming off a bye, and is 4-0 at home. Could be close to a pick-'em game. Richt benched Malik Rosier for N'Kosi Perry only to reverse field during the UVA game. So who's the starter moving forward? In a prime-time road game at BC, I guessed Richt (pictured) would make the safe call (Rosier), and am right. But this can't be a quarter to quarter thing. Miami needs a fulltime QB. At 5-2 UM still is fighting to return to the ACC Championship Game so it isn't as if the rest of this season is all tinkering and forward-looking. The bowl outlook has shrunk; Auburn in the Music City Bowl is one projection I've seen. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. For now: A quarterback, please! And I mean beyond just Friday night. Your UM QB thoughts are invited in this poll. It's alphabetical, by the way. P before R. Vote now.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Miami idle, here's chronological Week 8 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

Marshall (5-2) beats FAU (3-4), 31-7: Was surprised the Owls flew to Huntington, West Virginia as a 2 1/2-point road favorites. My surprise was borne out. Year 2 a struggle so far from Lane Kiffin.  

FSU (4-3) beats Wake Forest (3-4), 38-17: This game followed Miami and preceded visit by No. 3 Clemson, but Noles avoided the Sandwich Game letdown.

No. 10 UCF (7-0) beats East Carolina (2-5), 37-10: Starting quarterback out injured? No problem for Knights.

No. 21 South Florida (7-0) beats UConn (1-6), 38-30: Bulls, favored by 32, narrowly avoid shocking home defeat.

FIU (5-2) beats Rice (1-7), 36-17: The ButchCats are having a much better Year 2 under their new coach than is FAU, by the way.

Off this week: Miami (5-2; next at Boston College) and No. 11 Florida (6-1; next vs. No. 8 Georgia).

Week 8 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State; 16-North Carolina State at 3-Clemson; 22-Mississippi State at 5-LSU; and 12-Oregon at 25-Washington State.

Other select recent columns: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 18, 2018

Miami Heat open with loss in Orlando. You set bar on season expectations/wins. New poll. Vote now!; plus how Dolphins went from Dullphins to exciting and fun, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more

1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18. Find the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results in the previous blogpost or see them directly here. 2) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Bears in OT with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

OPENING NIGHT! HEAT BEGIN SEASON OF MYSTERIOUS EXPECTATIONS. YOU SET THE BAR IN NEW POLL: Heat lose opener in Orlando, 104-101, last night despite Goran Dragic's 26 points, Josh Richardson's 21 and Hassan Whiteside's 18 rebounds. Dwyane Wade has 9 off bench on only 3-of-13 shooting. Miami had an early 14-point lead but frittered it away against a bad Magic squad. Disappointing ..... Original post: Miami opens its 31st NBA season -- and Dwyane Wade's last -- tonight at 7 in Orlando, Dwadewhich has six straight losing seasons and is on its fifth coach since 2012. The Magic is the opposite of the steady Heat. It would be a surprise if Miami didn't come away 1-0, even though the Heat battle injury issues with James Johnson and (of course) Dion Waiters out, and Justise Winslow and Wayne Ellington both doubtful. Heat return a largely intact 44-38 team for Erik Spoelstra's 11th season, trying to find a way to get back in the playoffs and improve upon last season's 4-1 first-round ouster by Philadelphia. Wade and Udonis Haslem beginning their final Heat season tops the emotional marquee in Miami. But the trade that didn't happen (or at least hasn't yet) is on the mind. Jimmy Butler. In going hard after him Miami obviously felt it needed the impact player it now lacks to be a real player in the East. The Heat wins with great coaching, stout defense, balanced scoring and depth. But it lacks starpower and an elite playmaker, no knock on Wade (pictured), who is easing toward retirement at age 36. So, sans Butler, how good will the Heat be? Eight of 15 teams make the East playoffs, and Miami should be one of those. Based on ESPN's Power Rankings, Miami is fifth-best in the East. Based on Basketball Power Index win projections, Miami is seventh (at 42.3). The Heat must break into the clear upper tier of the East (Celtics, Raptors, 76ers, Bucks) to earn home-court advantage in the playoffs. Assuming no Butler trade, what are your expectations for this Heat season? Set the bar in this new poll and remember to vote not on what you're hoping for as a fan, but what you are logically expecting and would bet on. Vote now!

HighfiveEXCITING, EXPLOSIVE AND FUN. YES, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DOLPHINS: The Miami Dolphins at 4-2 are a lot of things they typically are not. They're fun. They're a big-play team. They have opponent-beating speed. I explain all the ways they suddenly have become an interesting team ... and why they should be a playoff team this season. Two of the big reasons -- Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant -- are pictured at left. This is the gist of my latest column. To read it, visit Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-Good.

Other select recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

RYAN WINS WEEK, COUSINS TAKES OVER, OSWEILER COMES UP BIG / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: Falcons' Matt Ryan scored a 52.70-point game to Brockowin Week 6 honors and vault to third place in the Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Viking Kirk Cousins displaces Saint Drew Brees for the overall season lead, owing largely to Brees' bye week. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. Dolphin Brock Osweiler (pictured), filling in for injured Ryan Tannehill, scored a 39.00-point game that ranked fifth for the week. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Formula 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. The Top 15 table entering Week 7:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK6           Season

1       2       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  30.65         250.55

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                    BYE            241.90

3       7       Matt Ryan, ATL                     52.70         231.75

4       3       Jared Goff, LAR                    12.05         221.40

5       5       Patrick Mahomes, KC             33.60         218.25

6       9       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         44.45         215.65

7       4       Philip Rivers, LAC                  20.35         213.10

8       8       Aaron Rodgers, GB                36.25         208.35

9       6       Andrew Luck, IND                 21.05         202.60

10     13     Tom Brady, NE                       38.00         196.95

11     11     Andy Dalton, CIN                   27.45         193.70

12     10     Derek Carr, OAK                    22.10         192.15

13     14     Joe Flacco, BAL                     29.90         188.40

14     12     Eli Manning, NYG                   16.05         180.10

15     15     Deshaun Watson, HOU           15.85         173.90

27     22     Ryan Tannehill, MIA               DNP           112.60

35     39     Brock Osweiler, MIA               39.00          46.75

        Bubble: Mitch Trubisky, CHI, 164.05. Week 6 best: Ryan, ATL, 52.70 (31-41, 354, 3-0 in win). Week 6 worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, 0.05 (6-12, 61, 1-2 in loss). 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.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 6 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: SOLID ON PICKS, BUT MORE OH-NO-LOBOS: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Pretty solid again. We were 11-4 overall but 7-8 against the spread -- our first week sub-.500 ATS, though a survivable stumble. We nailed another Upset of the Week with Steelers winning at Cincy ("Aawwk!"), scored another outright upset with Cowboys beating Jacksonville, and had Bills-with-point over Houston. This hurt: Wrote that our gut feeling was Dolphins over Chicago but changed our mind. Wish I hadn't! Greg's Lobos: Ouch ... again. The Lobos fell to 2-4 with an embarrassing fourth straight loss, beaten by the fruit of our own loins in falling 157.8 to 114.1 to Chris. Got a huge 39.2 points from Tyreek Hill and way too little from anyone else. A combined 20.9 from my QB and two RBs will get you beat most weeks. We've got problems beyond the Le'Veon Bell mess. But knowing that and finding a remedy are two different animals. Still plenty of time. #WeAreTheLobos

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (6-0); 2. Florida (6-1); 3. Miami (5-2); 4. South Florida (6-0); 5. Florida State (3-3); 6. FIU (4-2); 7. FAU (3-3).

Other select columns: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 16, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 75.0% after 31-28 OT thriller over Chicago. Plus our postgame thoughts; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 15. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes at Virginia with CSM poll, rest of state Collball, your Heat/Butler trade verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest CSM results in: Voting is complete in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll following Saturday's 16-13 loss at Virginia. Find it in the previous blogpost or directly here.

Our most recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers and Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Also: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 75.0%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 75.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-28 overtime home victory over Chicago putting Miami's season record 4-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 67% approval).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

Next poll: Oct. 21 following game vs. Detroit.

G6: CHICAGO AT DOLPHINS: BOUNCEBACK BY FINS DOUBLY TRICKY WITH TANNEHILL OUT: Postgame thoughts: The Dolphins' 31-28 overtime home win over favored Chicago today had to be one of the better regular season shows in franchise history. Ryan Tannehill sat out inactive with a shoulder injury. Miami should have had no chance against a vaunted Bears defense. But the Fins, down 21-10 deep ino the third quarterback, kept fighting back, kept answering. There were heroes everywhere. Brock Osweiler passed for 380 yards and three TDs. Albert Wilson had 155 yards receiving and two scores. Frank Gore rushed for 101 yards. The depleted O-line erased Khalil Mack and gave up zero sacks. But it allwould have zeroed in on Kenyan Drake's goalline lost fumble in OT had Miami not won on a last second 47-yard field goal. What an exhilarating win for a Dolphins team that overcame consecutive bad losses and is now 4-2 on the year ..... Halftime thoughts: With QB Ryan Tannehill unexpectedly inactive with a shoulder injury, Brock Osweiler has done well: 12-for-19 for 114 yards and a 5-yard TD pass to Nick O'Leary. Only a later interception has smudged his day so far. Meanwhile two big defensive  plays -- a Reshad Jones fourth-down stop and a Kiko Alonso goalline fumble -- have preserved the shutout. This would be a significant upset. But can Miami close the deal? ..... Original post: Miami coach Adam Gase has a brief history with the Bears, having served one year as their offensive Miachicoordinator in 2015, in between his time in Denver and his coming to the Dolphins. His relationship with Jay Cutler that year led to Cutler's ill-fated signing by the Dolphins last season. Alas, I don't see Gase getting much more from the Bears on Sunday. Chicago is 3-1 and coming off a bye as a 3-point favorite entering Sunday's 1 p.m. game here. Miami is 3-2 and coming off consecutive awful road losses. It's the right time for a home game for Miami. But the wrong opponent. Our NFL predictions get from conception to delivery in myriad ways. Here, the gut feeling out the gate was to go with Miami — one of seven home ‘dogs in Week 6 — in a pretty big upset. The gut is usually enough. I’m a bit superstitious about thinking one thing and then changing my mind. But I did on this. Yes, the Dolphins (2-0 at home) have a reasonable upset shot, although I’d feel better about that if I was sure left tackle Laremy Tunsil (concussion protocol) would play. I mean, Bears sackstar Khalil Mack will wreak havoc regardless, but the likelihood of a Ryan Tannehill nightmare spikes sharply without Tunsil. This game arrives as a rare treat; it is only these teams’ fifth meeting since 2002 realignment, and also carries the faint echo of the famous 1985 meeting at the Orange Bowl, when the Bears were 12-0 but Miami won 38-24 to protect the Perfect '72 Fins' place in history. Alas, this meeting finds Miami coming off two straight dispiriting losses in Foxborough and in Cincy while hot Chicago is percolating on both sides of the ball. That’s why the betting line opened dead-even but moved strongly as money poured onto the Bears. Tannehill must outperform (not to mention outscore) Mitch Trubisky, but that’s a bigger ask of Tanny versus a Bears defense I’d judge among the league’s top three. For a Dolphins squad trying to heal from consecutive road meltdowns, this home game is well-timed. If only this opponent were as well. My pick: Bears, 23-16.

Visit Week 6 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. Explainer: There was some confusion on two of my picks this week. I had Vikings winning and covering Sunday vs. Cardinals. I had Texans beating Bills, but Bills covering.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Butler deal dead (for now) as season tips off in 2 days: Preseason? Done. Jimmy Butler trade? On life support. Regular season? Upon us. Miami's 31st NBA season tips off with road games Wednesday and Thursday at Orlando and Washington, and then the home opener on Saturday vs. Charlotte. The season will be about Dwyane Wade's "last dance" with Miami. It might have co-starred Jimmy Butler, but it appears that would-be trade has left the building.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami beats Bears in overtime thriller: Consecutive awful road losses -- 38-7 in Foxboro and then a blown 17-point lead in Cincinnati -- had the Dolphins hoping for some home healing Sunday vs. Chicago, and finding it in a 31-28 OT triumph. Ryan Tannehill sat out unexpectedly with a shoulder injury. Didn't matter. Brock Osweiler, the Wizard of Os, threw for 380 yards.

3. HURRICANES: UM loses at Virginia as benched Perry fails in first road start: Miami was No. 16 and 5-1 entering Charlottesville Saturday night but a mere 6 1/2-point favorite over the 3-2 Cavaliers in N'Kosi Perry's first career road start. We saw why. Perry stunk, Miami lost 16-13 and it appears Mark Richt is a man without a quarterback. 

4. PANTHERS: Cats' launch 25th home season with losses: Florida fell down by two goals early only to fight for a 4-3 lead and then lose 5-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in Thursday night's home opener. Worse: Cats have played three games in the young season and are yet to win. Way too desperate way too soon is where this team finds itself.

5. MLB: NL, AL championship series underway: The Brewers and Dodgers are two games into their NLCS and tied 1-1 while the Red Sox pulled even with the Astros in their ALCS Game 2 Sunday night. Milwaukee, having never won a title in 50 seasons, is your Cinderella-designate of the final four. Amazing Christian Yelich had the season he did in those glass slippers.

6. MARLINS: Fish boot half of coaching staff after last-place finish: The Marlins fired four from their coaching staff including their pitching coach and popular longtime infield guru Perry Hill. Yeah, that'll solve it. It wasn't the massive payroll dump that caused the losing. It was coaching!

7. GATORS: Florida escapes Vanderbilt: The Gators trailed much of the game Saturday but a big second half carried UF, 37-27.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Upsets shake up CFP outlook: Georgia, West Virginia and Washington were among ranked upset losers Saturday, with Georgia's loss shaking up the College Football Playoff grid. The one constant: Alabama keeps winning

9. FIU: Rally, late stop lift Panthers: FIU beat Middle Tennessee State with an 11-point fourth quarter rally on then an end-zone interception in final minute. Nice win for the ButchCats.

10. MMA: Controversy throughout sport!: Scandal in the wake of the Conor McGrgeor fight and now controversy in Bellator, too. Or, did that go without saying?

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,808 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 12, 2018

Dolphins-Bears, other NFL Week 6 picks fresh out the oven!: plus Heat/Jimmy Butler poll. Last day to vote!; also, Panthers drop home-opener 5-4, the Tannehill column & more

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12. Happy birthday yesterday to my brother. Love you, big bro! 2) Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The Ryan Tannehill column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State college rankings, latest Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers and Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Also: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

PicksIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-BEARS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 6 PICKS: Consecutive bad, bad road losses make Sunday a well-timed home game for the Dolphins, but the hot Bears are hardly the right opponent. Ryan Tannehill and the Fins are going to find it another tough go against a very strong Chicago defense led by unstoppable Khalil Mack. Read the full predix capsule at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a blazing start. We are a stout 53-23-2 overall (.697) and more importantly a strong 45-30-3 against the spread (.600) entering Week 6. (Sad to say our new week got off to a rocky start last night thanks to a misplaced gamble on the rotten Giants, who laid down like mangy, pathetic dogs at home Thursday. Not that I'm bitter). Dive into Week 6 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included is a separate link to Thursday night's pick, unfortunately). 

JbutlerHOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH FOR HEAT TO GIVE UP FOR JIMMY BUTLER?: The Miami Heat really want Jimmy Butler (pictured), the Minnesota Timberwolves guard pushing to be traded. But at what cost? Some reports are that Miami has offered Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and a 2019 first-round draft pick. That to me is too much (hate to part with Richardson especially), but it's a close call. Butler is a 6-8 swingman, a four-time all-star, a 20-to-24 points scorer who absolutely would make Miami better this season -- maybe a team fighting for a top-four seed instead of scrambling for a seventh or eighth. But he also is 29, and could become a free agent in July. If you were the Heat would you make the deal being speculated? Take a dip in our poll. Vote now:

Cats CatsPANTHERS OPEN 25TH HOME SEASON WITH 5-4 LOSS: For my column from the arena on tonight's loss, visit: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers. Original post: I'll be at the Sunrise arena for tonight's home launch of the Florida Panthers' 25th hockey season and second under coach Bob Boughner. It began inauspiciously Saturday with a 2-1 shootout loss at Tampa Bay. Worse, goaltender Robert Luongo left with a knee injury and will miss at least a couple of weeks. Not a great omen when your 39-year-old goalie can't get out of the first game. Still, hopes are high because the Cats finished so strong last season. On Jan. 25 they were 19-22-6 (or nine games under .500 on wins/losses). After that they were 28-8-2 -- or 15 games over .500. The big finish very narrowly missed a playoff spot. The returning nucleus of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad and Aaron Ekblad forms much expectation. Will this be the season the Cats finally live up? Florida has made the playoffs only five times (last in 2016) and not won a playoff series since that stirring Year of the Rat run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996. It's time.

Other select columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 09, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.4%; plus Tannehill, Fins collapse, blow huge lead in 27-17 loss in Cincy; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 8. Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results (they're sky-high) may be found in the previous blogpost. 2) Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rally past FSU with CSM poll, other state Collball, your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: From Canes' comeback win over FSU: From the stadium on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, led by N'Kosi Perry's four touchdown passes: Kid QB Passes His Big Test. Also, voting continues all day in the latest Canesfan postgame poll. Find it in the blogpost directly below or get there directly here. 

Select recent other columns: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 6.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 6.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 27-17 road loss at Cincinnati putting Miami's season record at 3-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 20%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

Next poll: Oct. 14 following game vs. Chicago.

G5: CINCINNATI 27, DOLPHINS 17: COMPLETE COLLAPSE AS MIAMI BLOWS 17-POINT LEAD!Postgame thoughts at Bengals, 27-17: A tale of two Miamis. Saturday, the Hurricanes overcome a 20-7 halftime hole to beat FSU 28-27. Today, the Dolphins blow a 14-0 halftime lead, completely collapse and fall in Cincinnati 27-17. It was a Tannehill second-half meltdown, first with a 22-yard interception-return TD, then with a sack/fumble returned 19 yards for a score, and finally with another interception. Penalties hurt Miami again, too. As usual. So a season once 3-0 is now 3-2. And Dolfans are left to wonder which was worse: Getting blown out 38-7 in Foxboro. Or the 27 straight unanswered points given up today. Close call. No winning answer .....     Halftime thoughts at Dolphins, 14-0: A Kiko Alonso red-zone interception. A 22-yard Ryan Tannehill TD strike to Kenyan Drake. Vincent Taylor's block of a short field goal attempt. Jakeem Grant's late 70-yard punt=return score. Big plays are carrying the Dolphins so far in Cincinnati, a low-scoring upset in the making. Long way to go, but thus far a very impressive bounceback performance by Dolphins after last week's fiasco in Foxboro ..... Original post: Dolphins need a healing win after last week's 38-7 loss to the Patriots in the Fiasco at Foxboro, but finding Miacinthat remedy Sunday in Cincinnati will be tough in this duel of 3-1 teams and unlikely division leaders. Miami hasn't been 4-1 through five games since 2003, and I do not see them getting there on the road vs. the Bengals. This marks only these teams' seventh meeting since 2000, with Cincy winning the most recent, 22-7, in 2016. Andy Dalton is 1-2 in his career vs. Miami with five interceptions, but the Bengals' uptempo offense is the best and most balanced it has been in years, and the ‘Gals add two key pieces here, getting top defender Vontaze Burfict back from suspension and also expecting to have starting running back Joe Mixon back from injury. In contrast, Miami could be missing as many as six starters to injuries. Yes, there are reasons Cincy is favored by 5 1/2 points. This in some ways might be a bigger defensive challenge for Miami then even the Patriots were last week. Dalton to A.J. Green will be a handful for Xavien Howard, and Mixon and Gio Bernard form one of NFL’s better running back tandems. (Speaking of running backs, look for Dolphins coach Adam Gase to remember that Kenyan Drake is pretty good and start feeding him the ball again. That was the focus of this column by me. Maybe Adam read it). Ball control to limit Cincy’s offensive forays might be Miami’s best upset shot. I do think the Dolphins are a fair bet to cover the point spread. Bengals could be in letdown mode after last week’s last-second 37-36 upset win in Atlanta. But the Fins lost a lot of trust capital with me in that utter collapse last week. Also, the Dolphins are only 1-6 in their past seven road games, making this a strong venue call. My pick: Bengals, 30-20.

Watch for latest DSM postgame poll, right here and also on my Twitter site, right after today's game ends.

Visit Week 5 Gems for all of 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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Perry, defense lead miracle-rally past FSU: Miami trailed 20-7 at home into the third quarter Saturday. Little was going right. But N'Kosi Perry's three second-half TD passes and a mighty defense rising up worked the Miracle On Marino Boulevard. For my game column centered on Perry: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami blows 17-point in monumental collapse in Cincinnati: At 3-0 Dolfans were chanting "Su-per Bowl!" After a 38-7 loss in New England it was "Here we go again." And then came Sunday's 27-17 loss in Cincy after Fins blew 17-0 lead. Until further notice: Same ol' Dolphins.

3. HEAT: Butler trade reportedly falls apart: Heat is 0-3 halfway through its six-game preseason schedule as the Oct. 17 regular season opens draws nearer. More importantly, the push to trade for Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler, so close, fell apart over the weekend, ESPN reported.

4. PANTHERS: Cats open 25th season with loss, Luongo injury: A 2-1 season-opening shootout loss at Tampa Bay and goalie Roberto Luongo helped off the ice in the second period with a knee injury made for what you'd call an inauspicious debut Saturday night. Luongo will be sidelined two to four weeks, missing Thursday's home opener. 

5. MLB: Brewers first team to clinch division series: Brewers swept Rockies 3-0 while Dodgers are up 2-1 on Braves and can cinch today. In AL, Astros lead Indians 2-0 and can clinch today, while Red Sox and Yankees are tied 1-1 entering Game 3 today. Over/under on that one is what, 4 hours?

6. UFC: Nurmagomedov beats McGregor, brawl ensues: Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title in Las Vegas by submitting Conor McGregor in a chokehold, a highly anticipated and well-fought bout that devolved into a post-fight brawl. Admit it. Didn't you want both guys to lose?

7. GATORS: Florida drowns No. 5 LSU in the Swamp: No. 22 Florida impressively won a third straight SEC game Saturday with a big 27-19 win over favored and 5th-ranked LSU. The Gator defense will keep this team in every game and Dan Mullen is the mayor of Gainesville.

8. MARLINS: The sting of Yelich as Fish begin offseason: Off an NL-worst 63-98 record, the salary-cutting, rebuilding Marlins plan for 2019. But this hurts: Seeing Christian Yelich lead Milwaukee in the playoffs in a likely MVP season. So cheap to keep, Yelich was. (Shake my head...)  

9. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Controversial judge confirmed to Supreme Court: Several women testifying about his past lechery and sexual misconduct were not enough to derail Kavanaugh's approval to the Highest Court. Remember when saying "Only in America" was a good thing?

10. CRISTIANO RONALDO: Soccer god face rap allegation: Ronaldo has resumed league play for Juventus despite the Portuguese superstar facing a rape allegation in the United States stemming from a 2009 accusation he has steadfastly denied. No matter how it shakes out, Ronaldo may have a future on the U.S. Supreme Court!

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,815 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 08, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.1%; plus Perry leads 28-27 miracle-rally pat FSU! Our game column; plus other state Collball (Gators!), your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 5 picks, World Series rooting-interest poll, Rocketman trailer & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our column from Canes' rally past FSU: From the stadium today on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, visit: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

Recent select other columns: By Mark Richt's smartly calculated design, the Hurricanes' emerging young quarterback N'Kosi Perry has faced little to no pressure in his first three college appearances. That changes today: We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry. And for our latest NFL predictions: Week 5 Gems Also: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 91.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 91.1 percent overall approval -- the combination of Csm"very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 28-27 home victory over Florida State putting No. 17 UM's season record at 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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 9:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 55% approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

G6: 91.1% following 28-27 victory vs. FSU.

Next poll: Oct. 13 following game at Virginia.

G6: NO. 17 HURRICANES (5-1) BEAT FLORIDA STATE (3-3), 28-27: PERRY'S 4 TDS LEAD HUGE COMEBACK: For our column from the game: Kid QB Passes His Big Test ..... Final synopsis at Miami, 28-27: What to say? UM rallies from 20-7 halftime deficit as redshirt-freshman QB N'Kosi Perry throws four TD passes, three of them after halftime. Miami and FSU have played 63 times. Plenty of previous games have been bigger, with greater stakes. But few have left Miami fans spilling happier into the night than this one ..... 3Q synopsis at FSU, 27-21: Wow. Just when dirt was being shoveled onto UM's chances, TD passes from Perry to Cager and then Thomas have Miami right back in it ..... Halftime synopsis at FSU, 20-7: Miami ties it 7-7 on big 4th-and-2 gamble by Richt, who eschewed easy FG try to watch Perry toss 10-yard TD to Cager. It was downhill from there. Perry sack-fumble loss set up FSU field goal, then 44-yard Noles punt return set up TD pass. Then Richt 4th-and-3 gambled in last minute backfired, led to 53-yard FSU field goal. UM has dug itself big hole in what is unexpectedly a low-scoring game thus far ..... 1Q synopsis at FSU, 7-0: Noles QB Deondre Francois has been sharp, while Canes' attack sputtered to two punts in the quarter. Running game OK but N'Kosi Perry (2-6, 18 yards) off to quiet start ..... Original post: Visit We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry for my column previewing today's game. It isn't the 5-0 vs. 5-0 battle of unbeatens that danced through our heads leading up to the season, but FsumiaSeminoles at Hurricanes still resonates as special -- UM's biggest rivalry and biggest home game of the season even with FSU 3-2 and UM 4-1. Miami is a 14-point favorite for Saturday's 3:30 Hard Rock kickoff before ABC cameras, but that betting line feels fat. I see it closer. I see the first real challenge Miafsufor new Canes starting quarterback N'Kosi Perry in his fourth college game and second career start. The toughest test yet. UM seeks consecutive wins in the series for the first time since 2004, but to do that the Canes must beat FSU in Miami for the first time since '04. Miami lost the last two home games at the Orange Bowl to FSU, and all four at Hard Rock. "That's a meaningful history we need to change the course of," said UM coach Mark Richt, who sees the rivalry as undiminished: "Just the amount of great players who have been in this series," he noted. "How many great players have been on the field at the same time. It's kind of mind-boggling how many first-round, second-round, third-round draft picks that have played in one game." Saturday, UM's pass defense better show up vs. Deondre Francois, how has thrown for 646 yards the past two games. Richt said he envisions a day when Miami vs. FSU has national championship stakes again. "Right this minute I wouldn't say everybody is looking at this game saying it's going to decide who's in the College Football Playoff," he said. "I think for it to be really, really great, it's got to get back to that, and I think it will get back to that. "But it isn't there right yet." My pick: Hurricanes 34-26.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With the Miami-FSU game above, here's chronological Week 6 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 22 Florida (5-1) beats No. 5 LSU (5-1), 27-19: Unbeaten Tigers were 3-point faves in the Swamp, but I told you to beware the Gator. Florida has now won three straight SEC games and big defense rose up again Saturday.

South Florida (5-0) beats UMass (2-5), 58-42: Bulls, off a bye, were 14-point road picks to stay unbeaten and continue wooing the reluctant polls.

FAU (3-3) beats Old Dominion (1-5) at FAU, 52-33: Owls were comfortably favored in the home nest to get Lane Kiffin his misplaced mojo back.

No. 12 UCF (5-0) beats SMU (2-4), 48-13: Knights were favored by 24 at home to stay unbeaten and (maybe) crash the top 10.

Off this week: FIU (3-2; next vs. Middle Tennessee).

Week 6 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 19 Texas beats No. 7 Oklahoma, 48-45; Florida beats LSU (see above); and 6-Notre Dame beats 24-Virginia Tech, 45-23.

POLL RESULTS: NO CONSENSUS, BUT IT'S BREWERS, RED SOX FOR WORLD SERIES: We asked which of the eight final World Series contenders now in divisional play has your rooting-interest to win it all, and the vote was wildly without consensus. The Brewers and Red Sox led with 18.18 percent each, followed by the Yankees at 16.36% and Indians at 14.55%. The second tier: Braves 10.91%, Rockies 9.09%, Dodgers 7.27% and Astros 5.45%.

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 05, 2018

NFL Week 5 picks: Dolphins-Bengals winner and all the rest; plus World Series rooting-interest poll. Vote now!; also, Canes-Noles Week = first (real) test for N'Kosi Perry, Rocketman trailer & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tannehill falls in Herald QB rankings, NFL Week Pix 'n Fantasy, college State of State rankings, final 4-Man Outfield, latest Back In My Day video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram. 

PerryCanes-Noles Week column: Perry's first (real) test: Through Mark Richt's smartly calculated design, the Hurricanes' emerging young quarterback N'Kosi Perry (pictured) has faced little to no pressure in his first three college appearances. That changes this week. Our latest column: We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry. Select other recent columns: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? And: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-BENGALS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to find it a tough go Sunday in Cincinnati, where the Bengals have their best offense in years and now get top RB Joe Mixon back from injury, as well as top defender Vontaze Burfict back from suspension. Read the full predix capsule at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We are a stout 42-20-2 overall and more importantly a strong 36-25-3 against the spread after starting Week 5 off big Thursday night. We had the Patriots covering 10 1/2 by beating Colts 34-20, and Pats won 38-24. Let's keep it going! Dive into Week 5 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included is a separate link to Thursday's pick, or find it directly here.

MlbposBASEBALL POLL: EIGHT TEAMS STANDINGS. WHO YOU WANT TO WIN WORLD SERIES?: The two tiebreakers are out of the way. The two wild-card games are, too (sorry, Cubs and A's). Now we are down to the real postseason, the Last Eight Teams Standing, four in each league, with the division series having started Thursday in the NL and the AL unfurling today. And I'm curious: What's your rooting interest? Who do you want to win the World Series. Not who you predict will win -- who you hope does. Contending teams are listed alphabetically. Vote!

 

THE 'ROCKETMAN' TRAILER: As some know a movie is being made about the early years of Elton John. As others may know I'm a huge, lifelong fan of the man and his music (not to mention his philanthropic efforts et cetera). So I pass along this movie trailer with great anticipation...

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 11, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 86.8%; plus Fins win season opener 27-20 after 2 lightning delays in longest game ever, with my column; also, Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10. Happy birthday to me! 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rout Savannah State with CSM poll, other state Week 2 Collball, NFL Week 1 predictions & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Dolphins make a 7-hour wait worthwhile: Four hours of lightning delays, seven hours total and the Dolphins beat Tennessee 27-20 in their season opener. My column from the stadium, on the game it seemed might never end: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth It.

Our column from UM-Savannah State game: For the Hurricanes, more impressive than beating a really bad team 77-0 was Mark Richt playing all four QBs in an understanding he needs better play there -- from Malik Rosier or someone else. My column: Soft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QB. Also, voting is now final in the Game 2 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. Click HERE for details.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 86.8%: Results are certified in the 2018 season-debut of the 11th year of our blog's Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 86.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon-into-evening's twice-lightning delayed 27-20 season-opening home victory over Tennessee. 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. (The approval rating on Twitter @gregcote was 71%).

Yearly DSM Results: 2017--7.7% (following 6-10 season); 2016--76.2% (10-6/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).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

Next poll: Sept. 16 following game at N.Y. Jets.

TenmiaG1: DOLPHINS 27, TENNESSEE 17: TWO LIGHTNING DELAYS LATER, MIAMI WINS SEASON OPENER: My column from the game: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth It ..... Original post: One year ago, Miami’s season-opening home game was postponed by a hurricane. One year later, the only strong winds affecting this game are emanating from blowhard football media insisting how lousy the Dolphins will be. That Miami is a slight home underdog here on Sunday says much about the low outside expectations. Tennessee, after all, is a team the Fins’ own size, a middling bunch despite somehow getting into the playoffs last season (a mirage unlikely to be repeated under first-year coach Mike Vrabel). Mistake-prone Titans QB Marcus Mariota is in a new Rams-like offense, except notably without anything close to the Rams’ talent. This, plainly, is one of those teetering, winnable games Miami must win if it is to surprise the many skeptics and hang in as a playoff contender. I’m not claiming the Fins enjoy a home-field advantage that’s anything special — the cheapest aftermarket tickets for this game are priced second-lowest ($26) in the league in Week 1 -- but there will be some home bounce. More than that, I think Ryan Tannehill, beginning his comeback season for real, is better than Mariota. I think Kenyan Drake and a judiciously deployed Frank Gore could be a very interesting, successful running back tandem. And I believe the Dolphins in general are better than the doomsaying I have been hearing so much of the offseason. So, technically, if barely: Upset! My pick: Dolphins, 20-17.

[Visit Week 1 Gems for all of our NFL Kickoff Weekend predictions].

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami wins opener in (seriously) the longest game EVER: Miami beat Tennessee 27-20. It was a four-quarter game. It started at 1 p.m. It ended just past 7. There were two lightning delays totaling four hours. The Ming Dynasty didn't last as long as this game. "I'm ready to go home," sad coach Adam Gase afterward. Weren't we all!

2. HURRICANES: No amends for opening loss, but UM cruises at home: Well, 77-0 over Savannah State says more about the sorry state of the sad foe than about Miami, but it was an uplifting win after that massive buzzkill against LSU. Mark Richt trotted out all four QBs. Message to Malik Rosier: Be better.

3. TENNIS: Serena falls in controversial U.S. Open final: Serena Williams fell 6-2, 6-4 in the women's U.S. Open final to Japan's young Naomi Osaka, in a controversy-filled match that saw Serena call the chair umpire a thief and later accuse him of sexism. Among Serena's many strengths, losing gracefully has not always been one. Novak Djokovic beat Juan Martin Del Potro and elevated the decorum in the men's final.

4. HEAT: Haslem signs, but still waiting on D.Wade: With the start of training camp looming, Heat Lifer Udonis Haslem unsurprisingly agreed to re-up for a 16th season, signing a 1-year, $2.4 million deal. Only one of 20 roster sports remains open. What'll it be, No. 3? A farewell year? Or retirement? Says here Dwyane Wade will gift Miami with one more year. And should.

5. FIU: Panthers rally to win after two players shot, wounded: FIU rallied to win at Old Dominion 28-20 last night, two days after two Panthers players -- top RB Antonio Jones and OL Mershawn Miller -- were shot in a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, a calamity for the families involved and also the last thing coach Butch Davis could possibly need. Jones' wounds are more serious but said to be non-life threatening.

6. SEMINOLES: FSU escapes colossal embarrassment: May we understate that Tallahassee isn't real sure about new coach Willie Taggert at the moment? After big loss in opener, FSU last night barely prevailed over lowly Samford 36-26, rallying to narrowly escape what would have been a monumental embarrassment.

7. SOCCER: Miami MLS team unveils name and shield: The full name is Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, but it's Inter Miami for short. Shield colors are black and (you heard right) pink, owing to the appearance of two flamingos on the crest. David Beckham's Miami Flamingos (?) open play in Major League Soccer in 2020.

8. MARLINS: Fish on long road trip as they play out string: Miami continues on its 10-game road trip. The only consolation and goals left in this fire sale rebuilding season is whether the Marlins can finish above .400 and not lose 100 games. Currently it's a .394 winning percentage and a loss pace of 98.2. On the bright side, young Sandy Alcantara has been terrific in two starts.

9. GATORS: Ouch. Florida falls in Swamp to Kentucky: The Gator was ranked No. 25 and a 14-point home favorite. So long, poll ranking! It was nice knowin' ya for a minute. 

10. COLIN KAEPERNICK: Nike backs him in bold new ad campaign: Nike, a major business partner of the NFL's, makes blackballed Colin Kaepernick the centerpiece of its new ad campaign that debuted on Thursday Night Football. Trump hated it. Nike stock soared.

Missing the HB10 cut: It's NFL Kickoff Weekend and all I care about is that I gambled and drafted Le'Veon Bell and now I and millions of other fantasyheads are held hostage to his whim ..... Barcelona hopes to play a Spanish league match vs. Girona in January at Hard Rock. If they pack Lionel Messi for the trip, I'm watching ..... Lane Kiffin and FAU beat Air Force. When will Trump's Space Force have a football team? ..... The Seattle vs. Washington WNBA Finals are underway and I can name one player from each team (Sue Bird, Elena Delle Donna) which means my WNBA knowledge is likely greater than your's ..... Tiger Woods. There. Your latest Tiger update ..... Answer: "Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Jason Kidd led a field of 13 new inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame." Question: "What makes you say the Basketball Hall of Fame lets in too many people?" ..... Headlines I Never Thought I'd See (one in a series): 'Tigers Announcers in Physical Altercation After Disagreement Over Chair' ..... Kevin Garnett is suing an accountant for $77 million in lost month. Um, a little slow to notice there were you KG? ..... R.I.P., Burt Reynolds, 82, former FSU running back who, apparently, also was a successful actor ..... Update. Countdown now 2,843 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say ThanksNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 09, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (G2): 73.8%; plus UM routs Savannah State 77-0 as all 4 QBs play in home opener, with my game column; also, rest of state Collbal, NFL Week 1 picks, R.I.P. Burt, farewell Elton & more

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

Ejohn1) It's SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Elton John kicked off his three-year farewell tour last night. Elton's farewell tour will last longer than most others' entire music careers. 2) R.I.P., Burt Reynolds, gone at 82. Saw him as Vic Edwards in "The Last Movie Star" last year. A real actor. Forget the cheeky "Smokey and the Bandit" stuff. Check out the serious roles. He'll be missed. Also was an FSU running back in the '50s. 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy draft poll and results, MLS Miami gets name and logo, latest Back In My Day & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NEW: Tonight began soft stretch in Canes schedule that's all about the quarterback: Don't be overly impressed with Saturday's 77-0 UM win, considering the utterly outmanned opponent. Be more impressed that coach Mark Richt played all four quarterbacks in a newly introduced effort to find a better Malik Rosier ... or his replacement. That's my new column. To read it: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway. Other most recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... and NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 73.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 73.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of 1aa1csmSaturday night's 77-0 home victory over Savannah State putting No. 22-ranked Miami's season record at 1-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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 9 a.m. today/Monday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote; the unofficial approval there was 40%).  

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

Next poll: Sept. 15 following game at Toledo.

SavumG2: NO. 22 HURRICANES (1-1) 77, SAVANNAH STATE (0-2) 0: A PAUSE TO CORRECT THE FLAWS AS ALL FOUR QBS PLAY: For my column from the stadium off Saturday's UM home opener: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway ..... Original post: Here are two teams that could play, "Who's Coming Off the Worse Loss?" Savannah State, a second-tier FCS-level school, lost 52-0 to Alabama-Birmingham. But Miami's loss, given the stage and stakes, was worse: the 33-17 neutral-site collapse against LSU that sent the Canes cascading down the charts from a No. 8 national ranking to 22nd. Savannah State can't offer redemption this evening/Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hard Rock, but it is a chance for UM to get a little bit of feelgood back after a deflating opener. With the game off the betting boards because of its expected lopsidedness, it would be a bit concerning if Miami didn't cruise by a margin of at least 40 or 50 points. College coaches have it easy. Unlike in the NFL there are games like this one where winning is not a question, so you have the luxury to just flex your roster, tinker with what needs tinkering and not worry the least about the opponent or final score. In this case quarterback play will be under the microscope for coach Mark Richt, with starter Malik Rosier coming off an inaccurate opener that included a pick-six, and with at least two younger QBs expected to see action along with Rosier. The enthusiasm for this Hurricanes season took a huge hit with the opening-week loss. You don't get it back against an opponent like this one. But an impressive rebound win is a necessary first step. My prediction: Hurricanes, 62-3.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami game previewed above, here's chronological Week 2 schedule (all Saturday) for the rest:

South Florida (2-0) defeats Georgia Tech (1-1), 49-38: Bulls had no problem with a small opening opponent (Elon) but now took a  big step up in competition with slightly favored Ga-Tech. And delivered.

FAU (1-1) defeats Air Force (1-1), 33-27: Lane Kiffin got spanked at Oklahoma in a 49-point loss but here was a comfy 9 1/2-point pick in the Owls' home opener.

No. 19 UCF (2-0) defeats South Carolina State (0-2), 38-0: Knights throttled UConn and now got another softy in an off-the-board mismatch. 

FSU (1-1) defeats Samford (1-1), 36-26: Noles tumbled from rankings (19th) after a 24-3 spanking by 20-Virginia Tech that ended new coach Willie Taggert's honeymoon right quick. Now they get to take it out on poor lil' Samford, Bobby Bowden's alma mater. Except they almost lost! Lucky Noles needed a late rally to avoid a monumental embarrassment.

Kentucky (2-0) defeats No. 25 Florida (1-1), 27-16: Gators entered poll, albeit barely, after 53-6 rout of Charleston Southern but their stay will be short-lived after terrible loss as 14-point Swamp favorites.  

FIU (1-1) defeats Old Dominion (0-2), 28-20: FIU opened with 10-point loss to Indiana but was 1-point road fave in this conference game, and neatly rallied from 17 down to win behind James Morgan's three TD passes. Of more gravity, two FIU players -- top RB Antonio Jones and OL Mershawn Miller -- were shot in a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, a calamity for the families and the last thing coach Butch Davis needed. Miller's wound was minor. Jones' wounds are serious but non-life threatening and Davis said "encouraging reports" suggest a recovery.

Week 2 national Top 25 matchups: The only two: No. 3 Georgia defeats No. 24 South Carolina, 41-17; and 10-Stanford defeats 17-Southern Cal, 17-3.

Picks RtannyWELCOME BACK, UPSET BIRD! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Oh lord here come our 28th season of Friday (but online Thursday) NFL picks. When we started this endeavor in 1991 Ryan Tannehill was a 2-year-old toddling around Lubbock, Texas and (if memory serves) Tom Brady was an NFL rookie. All these years later we haven't been fired yet are still at it. For Kickoff Weekend we bring you our picks for Dolphins-Titans, our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and more. Dive into Week 1 Gems for the whole package. (It includes a link to last night's Falcons-Eagles pick. Atlanta led much of the way toward our upset call; alas, Philly prevailed late). By the way, the Upset Bird is back. But please follow our picks, anyway. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield. At left, Tannehill is shouting at you, "Hey, read Greg Cote's picks, everybody. But only when he picks us to win!"

Other select recent columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 06, 2018

Verdict in! See how you ranked teams in LeBatard Show/League of Lobos fantasy draft (and you won't believe won won!); plus tonight's Falcons-Eagles pick, MLS/Miami's new name and logo, latest Back In My Day video (Collecting!) & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6. See the previous blogpost for the result of the season's first Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. It ain't pretty. 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall hard to LSU in opener with CSM poll and results, other State Collball Week 1, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Picks Upsetbird"Aaawwwk!" NFL Friday predix are back! Here's tonight's pick: Our Friday NFL predictions (posted online Thursdays beginning late this afternoon) return starting this week. For tonight's Falcons-Eagles pick: Thursday Night Gem. Pictured: Our Friday picks shield, and an artist rendering of the Upset Bird, the never-photographed raven and trusted prognosticatory sidekick. "Aaawwwk!"

Latest column: Don't bail on Canes yet, but time for UM to remind us why we all thought The U was back: Here's my column off UM's 33-17 season-opening football loss to LSU: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... Other recent Canes columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsCanes Could Go 12-0 and Still Have Mountain to ClimbNow We See How Hurricanes Handle Burden Of ExpectationsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town.

Annual NFL team rankings: Dolphins higher than you think: It's NFL Opening Week, here are my annual NFL Team Rankings, and who's No. 1 might surprise you. So might how low the Patriots are ranked and how high the Dolphins are. Check it out, 1 through 32: NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

Wolfmoon TardshowHOW'D I DO? (VERY WELL, THANKS!) HERE'S HOW YOU RANKED THE LEBATARD SHOW'S 'LEAGUE OF LOBOS' FANTASY DRAFT IN A BLIND POLL: The NFL regular season starts Thursday night, so if you haven't done your league's fantasy draft yet, WAKE UP! ESPN's Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz had its League Of Lobos online draft Tuesday afternoon, a snake draft in a PPR league whose 14 members, alphabetically, are Roy Bellamy, Chris Cote, Greg Cote (that's me!), Amin Elhassan, Domonique Foxworth, Guillermo (Billy) Gil, Mina Kimes, Dan LeBatard, Lorenzo Rodriguez, Mike Ryan, Randy Scott, Sarah Spain, Allyson Turner and Jon (Stugotz) Weiner. In this poll, I listed every team's first four picks, in the draft order, without telling you (until after the vote) who the selector was. So you were ranking the teams 1 through 14 based on which of the first four picks you'd most want to have. Note: A few days ago I Tweeted out my first three picks in my other league, a friends 'n family deal. This is a different league, different draft. By the way, four Dolphins went in our 14-round, 196-player LeBatard Show draft: Kenyan Drake in the 3rd round (31st overall), Kenny Stills in the 8th round (109th), Danny Amendola in the 9th (114th) and DeVante Parker in the 9th (120th). You may still vote below, but we cut it off and made it official right at 1 p.m. after almost 1,000 votes (984) had been counted. Your verdict:

Lobos

 

 

 

 

CHAMPION!: GREG COTE (Team #2 led by Le'Veon Bell)--17.07%.

CONTENDERS: Guillermo "Billy" Gil (#10/Kareem Hunt)--14.23%; Jon "Stugotz" Weiner (#1/Todd Gurley)--13.11%; Chris Cote (#11/Christian McCaffrey)--12.70%.

PRETENDERS: Amin Elhassen (#8/Alvin Kamara)--6.50%; Mina Kimes (#14/Dalvin Cook)--5.18%; Domonique Foxworthy (#12/Leonard Fournette)--4.98%; Sarah Spain (#4/Antonio Brown)--4.78%.

ALSO-RANS: Randy Scott (#7/Ezekiel Elliott)--4.57%; Allyson Turner (#6/DeAndre Hopkins)--4.37%; Roy Bellamy (#5/Saquon Barkley)--4.17%; Dan LeBatard (#13/Julio Jones)--3.66%.

DREGS: Mike Ryan (#9/Odell Beckham)--2.95%; Lorenzo Rodriguez (#3/David Johnson)--1.73%.

Thanks to all who voted! #WeAreTheLobos!

MlsmiamiMLS MIAMI HAS A NAME AND LOGO: What we've been calling "MLS Miami" or "the Miami expansion soccer team fronted by David Beckham" now has a name and a shield/logo/crest. With an announcement this morning, Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami is born. It will begin play in Major League Soccer in 2020 at various sites, and move into its new stadium at the Melreese site (supposedly) in 2021. The new 13-syllable full name does not exactly roll off the tongue but Inter Miami will be the quickie version. The name reflects Miami's diversity. Said managing owner Jorge Mas: "Our city and our fans draw their strength from the dreams of a global population that calls Miami home. It is only fitting that our name pays tribute to the inclusiveness that makes us who we are." The circular crest depicts two tropical birds back to back with the sun behind them, and the Roman numeral MMXX, for 2020. The raised legs suggest the birds are flamingos, and there's an ibis flavor, too. But enough aviary talk. The Miami Flamingos (!) hit the field in about 18 months.

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': COLLECTING!: This debuted on yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. Not my favorite BIMD, but they can't all be, right?

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote