September 07, 2017

NFL 100% right to postpone Dolphins opener. But should UM have canceled road game? New poll. Vote now!; plus Chiefs-Pats pick, return of SOPY rankings find 3 Canes in Top 10, latest 'Back In My Day,' Reelin' in the Years, Hot Button Daily (Thu) & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Stay away, Hurricane Irma. Weaken and veer, you terrible thing. 2) Football time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins whup Bethune with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, other Collball Week 1 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Chiefs at Patriots prediction: Kansas City at New England kicks off the NFL season tonight. Will Dolfans girding for Hurricane Irma get the gift of a Pats loss? Click Week 1 Thursday Gem for my predix.

SOUTH FLORIDA'S MIND AIN'T ON FOOTBALL THIS WEEK. STAY SAFE, NEIGHBORS: [Click on NFL Right to Postpone Dolphins Opener for my complete latest column]. They could have rushed it and played the Dolphins-Bucs opener here tonight, but Dolfans have more important things on their minds in readying for Stadium PathHurricane Irma, such as how to survive this thing, and whether to stay or evacuate. This isn’t the week for a football game. They could have played the game Sunday as scheduled but at a neutral site. I’d heard one as far away as Pittsburgh or Philadelphia mentioned. But why rob Miami, team and fans, of a home game, or play at all on the very day when Irma is likely to wreak its worst havoc. There was some talk of still trying to play the game Monday night here, but that may have been the worst option of all. Even if Irma is kind enough to veer away from a direct hit, South Florida still will get the brunt of it. You’re going to ask fans without electricity, picking through rubble, trying to contact their insurance company about the roof, to drive through flooding to attend a football game? And cheer a first down as if their lives hadn’t just been walloped? Absurd. I'm not as certain the Miami Hurricanes needed to or should have canceled their game at Arkansas State -- although I support them doing it -- but moving Dolphins-Bucs to Week 11 when both had a bye was a no-brainer. Be safe, all.

Our most recent other columns: Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast: Off UM season opener  /  A Humbling Welcome Back: Butch Davis' return to coaching U loss  /  MVP: Stanton Has History On His Side: Case for Marlins slugger  /  Litmus Test: Beat FSU: Onus on Canes as season opens  /  2017 NFL Team Ranking: See where Dolphins fall in annual rank.

SOPY RANKINGS / 2017 SEASON DEBUT: THREE CANES IN INITIAL TOP 10: Today we launch the sixth season of the blog's State Offensive Player of the Year Sopy(SOPY) rankings -- what we like to call our ongoing "state Heisman" race. The weekly rankings measure the most productive Mmiltonquarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven top-level FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based on average yards per game: Total divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even though not all teams have played same number of games. (Even now, South Florida already has played twice). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. UCF's McKenzie Milton (pictured) checks in as our season leader out the gate ahead of defending champion Quinton Flowers of South Florida. Canes Mark Walton and Malik Rosier rank 3-4. Here is the statewide SOPY Top 10 entering Week 2:

2017 SOPY WEEK 1 TOP 10

RK Player, School-Pos.                     Avg.

1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb          208

2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb          183

3    Mark Walton-Miami rb               168

4    Malik Rosier-Miami qb               167.5

5    Daniel Parr-FAU qb                    138.5

6    Travis Homer-Miami rb              133

7    Alex McGough-FIU qb               107.5

8    Thomas Owens- FIU rec             105

9    Deondre Francois-FSU qb          102

10t Dredrick Snelson-UCF rec           98

10t Willie Wright-FAU rec                 98

Bubble: DeAndre McNeal-FAU rec, 94. Other team leader: Florida--Josh Hammond-rec, 71. Week 1/season best: Milton-UCF, 208.

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

Roll Call of SOPY Champions: 2016—Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,917. 2015—Flowers, 2,077.5. 2014—Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968. 2013—Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107. 2012—Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: THU 9-7-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:
1. Kansas City at New England, 8:30 p.m.: NFL season opener from Foxborough.
2. U.S. Open tennis, 7 p.m.: All-U.S. women's semifinals begin in New York.
3. Marlins at Braves, 7:35 p.m.: Fish make a road show of their miserable slump.
4. Sam Houston at Prairie View, 7:30 p.m.: If you're desperate for college football.
 
LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': DISHWASHERS:


R.I.P., FAREWELL AND THANK YOU, WALTER BECKER:

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 04, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 69.5% in season debut; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), UM routs Bethune with my game column, other Collball Week 1, Hot Button Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4. Happy Labor Day! In which we celebrate the American workforce by all taking the day off. 2) R.I.P. Walter Becker, Steely Dan co-founder, dead today at 67. 3) Football time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Giancarlo Stanton's NFSW naughty video, Butch Davis returns with humbling FIU loss, Dolphins win Fake Game 4 to end preseason, your verdict on my fantasy team (ouch) & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Lions cut Brad Kaaya. Been saying it all along. He never should have left UM early. Misguided decision." --Greg Cote 

My Hurricanes game column: Click on Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast to read. Other recent columns: A Humbling Welcome Back -- Butch Davis returns to coaching in 61-17 FIU loss  /  MVP: Stanton Has History On His Side -- Case for Marlins slugger  /  Litmus Test: Beat FSU -- The onus on Canes as season opens  /  2017 NFL Team Ranking: See where Dolphins fall in annual ranking.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 69.5%: We're back for a ninth season of our blog staple -- Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls -- and the first shows 69.5 percent overall satisfaction (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the 1aa1csmwake of Saturday's 41-13 season-opening victory over visiting Bethune-Cookman. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday.


2017 CSM results

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

Next poll: Sept. 9 following game at Arkansas State

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2016--97.2% (following 9-4 season); 2015--20.1% (8-5); 2014--2.7% (6-7); 2013--16.1% (9-4); 2012--80.9% (7-5); 2011--22.1% (6-6); 2010--4.2% (7-6); 2009--41.7% (9-4).

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM hammers Bethune in football opener: After a slow start Saturday's season opener at The Rock went about as easily as you imagined it would against an overmatched foe as Year 2 of the Mark Richt era kicked off with new QB Malik Rosier throwing three TDs. But with Florida State waiting in Tallahassee in two weeks, UM getting ready for that with this was like training for a prize fight with a game of patty cake.

2. DOLPHINS: It's NFL Kickoff Week as Fins host Tampa Bay: NFL seasons kicks off Thursday night (Chiefs at Patriots) and Miami pared its roster to 53 with its opener at home in six days -- Hurricane Irma willing -- against Jameis Winston's Buccaneers. A 2-2 preseason didn't tell much, but Dolfans seem really excited by what they've seen of Jay Cutler. I know, I know. I can hardly believe I wrote that last sentence, either.

3. MARLINS: Fish cool but Stanton stays hot (in video): Marlins on a 1-6 skid as homestand continues, but Giancarlo Stanton's 52nd homer keeps him on pace for 62. Stanton was even hotter in a steamy video out this week that depicted him in bed with a barely clothed internet chanteuse named Lexy Panterra. There's a "longball" joke here somewhere.

4. SEMINOLES/GATORS: FSU, Florida both drop openers, Francois out for year: Saturday delivered lopsided opening losses for No. 3 Florida State (to No. 1 Alabama) and No. 17 Florida (to No. 11 Michigan), but Noles lost even bigger with QB Deondre Francois out injured for the season. FSU-Bama presented Miami fans the awful choice of rooting either for the Noles or for Nick Saban.

5. TENNIS: U.S. Open reached midpoint in New York: Maria Sharapova, given a wild-card entry into her first Grand Slam event since a 15-month doping ban, won her first three matches -- all on the main court, drawing complaints from some rivals -- before losing. In other news, as sis Venus reached the quarterfinals,  Serena Williams had a baby girl, launching a million "G.O.A.T. has kid" references on social media.

6. FIU/FAU: Davis, Kiffin eras launch with humbling defeats:  Ouch. Butch Davis with FIU and Lane Kiffin with FAU suffered humbling debuts, losing their openers by combined score of 103-36. Those fancy resumes didn't much good, huh fellas. Turning around bad programs doesn't happen with fast magic even if you are a star coach.

7. BASEBALL: Astros acquire ace Verlander from Tigers: Houston staked its claim to AL pennant by acquiring Justin Verlander, meaning Detroit is in reboot mode. Anybody want a used Miguel Cabrera. Verlander is really good. His wife, model Kate Upton, is even better!

8. HEAT: NBA releases regular-season schedules: Heat will open the season Oct. 18 at Orlando, with the home opener Oct. 21 vs. Indiana. It will be the start of the Kelly Olynyk era in Miami.

9. PANTHERS: Cats set prospects tourney roster: Florida named a 26-man prospect camp roster that will play Sept. 9-12 in a four-team tournamnet in Estero, Fla., along with the Capitals, Lightning and Predators. Almost hockey, time!

10. INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL: Team USA wins FIBA gold: Team USA, coached by Jeff Van Gundy, beat host Argentina Sunday to win gold in the FIBA Americup championship game game. This is mostly no-names for the U.S., not the NBA-laden World Cup team. Still, not bad, apparently.

Missing the HB10 cut: Howard beating UNLV as a 45-point road 'dog made it the biggest point-spread upset in college football history. I don't know how Howard did it, but I congratulate him ..... Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is suing the NFL over his six-game suspension for battering a former girlfriend. Dallas awaits a decision. So do millions who rolled dice and drafted Elliott onto their fantasy teams ..... Are Mayweather and McGregor done counting their money yet?

G1: NO. 18 HURRICANES 41, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 13: ROSIER LEADS SOFT OPENING TO YEAR 2 OF RICHT ERA: Quick final thoughts: Click on Good Start, But Canes Must Be Better -- Fast for my column from the game. Beating Bethune-Cookman 41-13 is perfunctory more than it is impressive, but the final margin hardly mattered (except to bettors gambling whether UM would cover a 51 1/2-point line). More important was that new QB Malik Rosier looked solid, pretty sharp (17-28, 217 yards, 3 TDs), and RB Mark Walton (148 yards) seemed in midseason form. Biggest disappointment might have been defensively, Bcatumespecially against the pass. UM's D was planning on a shutout but fell short ..... 4Q: UM Badgley 50Y FG = UM 41-13 ..... 3Q: UM Berrios 22Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 38-13 ... BC Jones 1Y TD run = UM 31-13 ... UM Walton 6Y TD run = UM 31-6 ..... Quick halftime thoughts: Sluggish start but a big second quarter for UM, and a 326-138 overall lead in yards. Walton has 124 yards rushing and Rosier has been solid (11-17, 132 yards, two TDs) as new starting QB. Be interesting to see how much Walton and Rosier continue to play in second half. Don't expect much more of Walton, but Rosier needs the work. ..... 2Q: BC 35Y FG = UM 24-6 ... UM Langham 5Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 24-3 ... UM Cager 5Y TD pass from Rosier = UM 17-3 ... UM Walton 5Y TD run = UM 10-3 ... 1Q: UM 27Y FG = tie 3-3 ... BC 36Y FG = BC 3-0 ..... Original post: This marks the first time since 2010 that Miami begins a season ranked in the Associated Press preseason Top 25, and suffice to say the odds of a stumble and major season-opening upset are roughly akin to the odds you'll be struck by lightning while walking to cash your winning Lotto ticket. ESPN's FPI (Football Power index) projections estimates the Canes' likelihood of winning at 99.7 percent. Bethune-Cookman, from Daytona Beach, is a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school, what we used to call Division 1AA, and its Wildcats will simply be overmatched against Mark Richt's guys. The upset would be if B-C kept it close for long. Weather could be an interesting factor. Heat from the diabolical 12:30 p.m. start will test both teams' conditioning, and there also is about a 40 percent chance of rain. Unfortunately I see a sad Week 1 attendance, given the early start, the foreboding weather and the low-watt opponent. A few things to watch even though the matchup is unlikely to be competitive: 1) Debut of Malik Rosier as Miami's starting quarterback. Looking for mistake-free, confidence-building performance from him. 2) Offensive line. There are three new starters on unit that struggled at times last year. If they struggle against this opponent, that'll be a bad sign. 3) Can questionable Canes secondary rise to match what should be excellent defensive front-7? This is an opponent against which even inexperienced DBs should shine. Richt predictably has been talking-up B-C all week and wouldn't say it, but UM has to be looking at this game as a glorified tuneup for what will be a fairly big step-up in challenge next week at Arkansas State as early schedule builds to the Week 3 armageddon in Tallahassee. Not that we're looking ahead! Back to Bethune, if we must. My pick: Hurricanes, 38-3.

Other state FBS Week 1 games, chronologically:

UCF 61, FIU 17: A Thursday night ass-whuppin' in Orlando gets the Butch Davis era off to a humbling start.

Navy 42, FAU 19: U.S. Navy sinks Lane Kiffin in Owls debut Friday in the Boca nest elongated by two weather delays.

No. 11 Michigan 33, No. 17 Florida 17: In Arlington, Tex., the final score flattered Florida. Dear Gators, even with those 10 suspended players, you'd-a still lost.

No. 19 South Florida 31, Stony Brook 17: Bulls now 2-0 after winning at San Jose State last Saturday.

No. 1 Alabama 24, No. 3 Florida State 7: Massive matchup was Collball Week 1's star attraction -- and a rout for Bama. More importantly, Noles lose QB Deondre Francois to an apparent knee injury, adding intrigue to UM's visit Sept. 16.

National Collball Week 1 overview: No. 2 Ohio State survived a scare at Indiana Thursday, and FSU failed miserably to shock Nick Saban in the Game of the Week. Florida-Michigan was opening week's only other Top 25 matchup other than a minor one in Sunday's 22-West Virginia vs. 21-Virginia Tech.

'SOPY' weekly rankings return: Every Tuesday starting next week, we'll have our updated standings in our State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, along with our weekly State of the State team rankings.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 9-4-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Washington at Marlins, 7:10: Fish try to shake off 1-3 home fizzle vs. lowly Phils.

2. U.S. Open tennis, 11 a.m: Round of 16 matches continue in New York.

3. Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m.: Wrapping up Week 1 in college football.

4. Slovakia at England, 2:30 p.m.: One of day's 6 World Cup qualifying matches.

Select other recent columns -- Stanton Chasing 1984Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic OffenseStanton the Litmus Test For New OwnersAlso: Double QB Quandary A RarityNew Owner, New HopeA Diamond, ShiningImmortality Calling. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 30, 2017

Love it? Hate it? Rate my fantasy football team. Last day to vote in annual poll!; plus my Haden to Steelers, Hurricanes season-preview column, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30. So much for all the morning hooraw over Joe Haden's availability and Dolphins interest. Steelers got him. 2) Click here for best-of-podcast from yesterday's LeBatard Show. The new Back In My Day (tap water) kicks in around the 47-minute mark. 3) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Sunday Stanton column & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My new Hurricanes preview column: Hopes are way-high for Year 2 of the Mark Richt era even as a new QB, Malik Rosier, takes over. I preview the season that opens this Saturday vs. Bethune Cookman in my latest column. Click Litmus Test: Beat FSU to read.

Fantasy Fantasy2ANNUAL POLL: RATE MY FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM: We do this every year in the blog, a little boutique poll intended for my fellow fantasy football players. I don't go crazy, I'm in only two leagues. One is the LeBatard Show league, where my Greg's Lobos have developed a sort of cult following including regular on-air updates. The other is a family 'n friends league. The radio-show league hasn't held its draft yet, while my other league did so Sunday, so this poll is for that league: a standard PPR league with a 12-team snake draft and pretty basic rules. The poll shows the teams in draft order, 1 though 12. When we conclude the voting I'll tell you which team is mine and how it ranked -- based solely on each team's 1st, 2nd and 3rd-round top picks. Scan the dozen top threes and VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 3 TEAMS. Vote for the one you like best, or the one you'd be happiest having. Vote, then check back often to monitor evolving results:

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 3!

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 8-30-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Marlins at Washington, 4:05 p.m.: Stanton (51 HRs), Fish try to avoid 3-game sweep.

2. U.S. Open tennis, 1 p.m.: Second-round matches begin in New York.

Select other recent columns -- Stanton Chasing 1984. Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic Offense. Stanton the Litmus Test For New Owners. Also: Double QB Quandary A Rarity. New Owner, New Hope. A Diamond, Shining. Immortality Calling. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 26, 2017

Your polarizing predictions on tonight's Mayweather-McGregor fight; plus big reason for optimism on Dolphins (new column), Stanton pace at 63, latest 'Back In My Day' video, Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 26. R.I.P., Felo Ramirez: The Marlins Spanish-language broadcaster passed away this week at his Miami home at age 94. Ramirez called Marlins games since the franchise's inception in 1993 and was a legend in Latin American baseball circles. To an epic life well led, sir. 2) Mark Richt names Malik Rosier as Miami Hurricanes starting quarterback. But will it last? 3) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Happy Solar Eclipse Monday, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Stanton's chase for 60: After two more homers Friday giving him 49 for the season, Stanton's projected pace is now 63.

New column: Dolphins offense will make up for shortcomings on D: Can one feel excitement and dread all at once? We imagine those are the disparate yet oddly joined thoughts Miami Dolphins fans should be feeling as they now palpably face the coming NFL season. The question is who’s winning. Is it the optimist inside you? Or the pessimist within who always seems closer at hand? Side with optimism, I say. Here's why: This Dolphins offense will be better than the defense is bad. Click on Dolphins' Double-Jay Attack Portends Dynamic Offense to read.  

POLL RESULTS: YOUR POLARIZING VERDICTS ON TONIGHT'S MAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR FIGHT: We invited you in a pair of polls (see below) to say who you wanted to win tonight's big Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas, and who you predicted would win. After more than 1,100 votes were cast, your verdicts: On who you WANT to win the fight, it was the underdog McGregor winning your vote with 62.12 percent. On who you predict WILL win the fight, it was the favorite Mayweather with 69.70%.

PS3: PHILADELPHIA 38, DOLPHINS 31: Click on Alphabet Lesson: Jays Ready, D Not for my quick-hits column off last night's Miami loss in Philly in Fake Game 3 ..... In-game: Grant 69-yard catch and run ties it 31-31 ... Franks 56-yard FG just before half has Fins within 28-24 ... Dolphins 21-14 on Thomas 1-yard TD pass set up by end-zone interference call on Cutler bomb to Stills ... Miami 14-7 on another Ajayi 2-yard scoring run, this up by Jordan Phillips interception and return to Birds 3 ... Fins tie it 7-7 on 2-yard Ajayi TD run set by 72-yard Cutler completion to Parker. ..... Original post: The starters played so little in Miami winning then losing its first two exhibition games that little could be discerned about the season ahead. Tonight should tell more. Fake Game 3s (I think it's mandatory to call them the "dress rehearsal") are the one game of four in the preseason in Dolphiwhich the starters will play a lot -- likely the whole first half maybe seeping into the third quarter -- and the scoreboard matters a bit. You are putting your best Ps3out there and trying to win, after all, for the only time in August. Five things to watch tonight: 1) How will the offensive line look? Center Mike Pouncey plays in a game for the first time since November and tackle Ja'Wuan James plays for only time this preseason. It'll be a bad sign if the ground game doesn't percolate tonight. 2) Pass defense, please!? Carson Wentz, who ain't Tom Brady, shredded Miami's D in two shared practices this week. Return of free safety Nate Allen should (had better) help. 3) Jay Cutler. He threw only six passes in his debut last week so this will be our first real look at the named starter. A solid showing by him will see hopes for the season buoyed. 4) The running game. Jay Ajayi will see his first extensive action and Kenyan Drake should play a bunch. Behind a starting O-line, we'll be looking for something close to good-to-go performance from Ajayi, last season's breakthrough star. 5) Middle linebacker and left guard. Mike Hull and newly signed veteran Rey Maualuga are battling to replace injured MLB Raekwon McMillan. Third-stringer Jesse Davis has inherited the LG spot. Solid play from those two positions will earn an exhale of relief from Fins coaches.

Note: Our Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls will return again this year, but they start with the regular season. So look for the for the first DSM poll on Sept. 10.

MaymcLESSER OF TWO EVILS? YOUR PREDICTION(S) ON THE MAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR FIGHT: If you're like me, you don't particularly like Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor, who'll be in a boxing ring this Saturday in Las Vegas for their much ballyhooed boxing/UFC hybrid. You'd probably like it if they could both lose. But curiosity and hype will have you watching, and human nature says you'll pick a side. You'll have a rooting interest, even if it's driven by rooting against somebody. I'm curious how you all feel; hence, these two polls -- one asking who you want to win, the other who you predict will win. Vote one with heart, the other with head, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 8-26-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Mayweather-McGregor, 7 p.m.: You say it's a farce. You'll be watching anyway.

2. San Diego at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: After 2 more Friday, Stanton's next HR will be 50th.

3. Little League World Series, 3:30: U.S. championship, after International finale at 12:30.

4. L.A. Chargers at L.A. Rams, 8 p.m.: NFL exhibition game

5. South Florida at San Jose State, 7:30 p.m. USF Bulls 1st state FBS team to kick off season.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': GENDER-REVEAL PARTIES: The latest BIMD, from yesterday's LeBatrd Show With Stugotz. Key phrase: "It's Larry!" Enjoy:

Select other recent columns -- Stanton the Litmus Test For New Owners (Don't you dare trade him!) Double QB Quandary A Rarity (On Dolphins, Canes' shared upheaval). New Owner, New Hope (Let's party at news Loria agrees to sell to Jeter group). A Diamond, Shining (Giancarlo Stanton's great season). Immortality Calling (Jason Taylor in Hall, now who's next?). Also: Right Time, Right QuarterbackThe Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In DefeatAll-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 14, 2017

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See what falls in newest ranking; plus Jeter/Marlins poll. Vote now!; also, Me Week on Highly Questionable, my Sunday column on Fins/Canes QBs, your verdict on Cutler signing, Hot Button Daily (Mon) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 14. Click on Pencils for our new Back In My Day from last week's LeBatard Show. 2) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins-Atlanta preseason opener, Jay Cutler poll, Fins in fantasy rankings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Cote on ESPN's Highly Questionable Uh oh: It's Me-Week on HIghly Questionable, according to me. I'll be in-studio on ESPN's HQ show today, Tuesday and Wednesday, in the middle of Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre. Shows airs 4:30 p.m.

Latest Sunday column: The anomaly of Dolphins, Canes' simultaneous QB upheaval: Quantifying how rare it is that the Fins and UM both are going into a season with new quarterbacks. And both can blame plain rotten luck. Click on Double QB Quandary A Rarity to read.   

JetermiaMARLINS: ON SALE OF CLUB TO JETER GROUP, GREATNESS OF STANTON: Jeffrey Loria agreeing to sell to the group fronted by Derek Jeter of course makes us wonder, "What's next?" But first ... LET'S PARTY! Click on New Owner, New Hope to read my latest column. On Stanton: Underappreciated nationally, overshadowed in his own city, the Marlins' slugger is having one of the great seasons in Miami sports history, having hit his MLB-leading 41st home run last night, one from tying Gary Sheffield's 1996 club record. My column is an unabashed appreciation. Click on A Diamond, Shining to read. Now, weigh in on what Marlins fans are talking about. Take a dip in our poll and check back often to monitor evolving results:

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

Hotbutton1. DEREK JETER: Group fronted by 'The Captain' gets winning bid for Marlins: Jeffrey Loria has agreed to sell the Marlins for $1.2 bllion to the group led by New York venture capitalist Bruce Sherman and fronted by ex-Yankees star Derek Jeter. Will they be great owners? That's for later. For now, that they're not Loria is good enough. 

2. DOLPHINS: Ready or not, here comes Cutler!: Fins won preseason opener without him, and now host Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night with new QB Jay Cutler expected to start in first game action as a Dolphin. He's 'Club's best Jay since Fiedler!' Dolfans hope they can set the bar a bit higher.

3. MARLINS: At least Stanton's worth price of admission: Fish are sinking to 14th straight year sans playoffs as six-game homestand continues, but at least Giancarlo Stanton is reason to still pay attention, with an MLB-leading 42nd home run yesterday now projecting to season total of 59. Going, going ... Gone-Carlo!

4. HURRICANES: UM marks CanesFest with QB battle still unsettled: The Hurricanes' annual CanesFest fan event was held Saturday at Hard Rock after a closed morning scrimmage. Fans, three weeks from your season opener, do you know who your starting quarterback is? If so, would you please let Mark Richt know?

5. GOLF: Thomas wins PGA as season's final major wraps up: Little-known Justin Thomas, 24, won year's fourth and last major, the PGA Championship, in Charlotte, N.C. Did you know that when The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open get together for drinks they privately make fun of the PGA?justin thomas, 24

6. HEAT: Historic foreign game scheduled: Leaked highlights of next season's NBA schedule find Heat opening Oct. 18 in Orlando, playing club's first-ever international game Dec. 9 in Mexico and hosting Cleveland just once, March 27. So now LeBron has plenty of time to plan that "rest day."

7. SOCCER: EPL leads way as international soccer league play opens: League seasons began in English Premier League and across globe. Storybook start? Top English star Wayne Rooney, 31, scoring only goal of game in his emotional return to Everton after 12 years at Manchester United.

8. WRESTLING: Downtown Miami hosts WWE event Sunday: WWE was back in South Florida with a non-televised "house show" Sunday evening at the Heat's bayside arena. It featured SmackDown performers as part of SummerSlam Heatwave Tour, whatever the hell any of that means.

9. TRACK: World championships going on. And on. And...: The IAAF track and field world championships have been going on seemingly forever in London. Dear track: We sort of like you for two weeks every four years during the Summer Olympics. Otherwise, don't push it.

10. CIVIL UNREST: White supremacists wreak havoc in Charlottesville: This would be No. 1 in overall importance, of course. My question: What genius granted a demonstration permit to a bunch of hateful, racist, neo-Nazi losers?

Missing the HB10 cut: Countdown 13 days 'til McGregor vs. Mayweather, the only fight I've ever been sick of even before it happened ..... Has Kenny Easley's Hall of Fame induction speech in Canton ended yet?

POLL RESULT: CUTLER POLARIZING, BUT MOST POSITIVE ON SIGNING: We asked, "What best reflects your opinion of the Dolphins signing of quarterback Jay Cutler?" Your answer: Very positive, 14.91 percent; Positive, 42.34%; We'll see, 23.17%; Negative, 6.52%; and Very negative, 13.05%. Broken down, that's 57.25% thumbs-up versus 19.57% thumbs-down, nearly 3-to-1 in favor, with the rest in between.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: MON 8-14-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. San Francisco at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: Fish, sizzlin' Stanton welcome Giants.

2. Highly Questionable, 4:30 p.m.: I'm cohost on ESPN. Hey my blog, my shameless plug.

3. Dolphins practice, ongoing: Readying Cutler for his Thursday preseason debut.

Select other recent columns -- Immortality Calling (with Jason Taylor in Hall, who's next?). Right Time, Right Quarterback (Dolphins should have gone with Kaepernick). Also: The Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsHe Missed a Heck Of a GameBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In DefeatAll-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 11, 2017

PS1: Dolphins 23, Atlanta 20: Our quick-read, quick-thought observations on preseason opener; plus the wonder of Giancarlo Stanton, Jay Cutler poll, latest 'Back In My Day,' Fins fantasy ranks, Hot Button Daily (Fri) & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 11. Click on Pencils for the new Back In My Day from this week's LeBatard Show. 2) R.I.P., Glen Campbell, the Rhinestone Cowboy, gone this week at 81. 3) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our new book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 led by Jay Cutler arrival, your Dolphins/Hurricanes QB calamity verdicts & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Latest column: On the wonder of Giancarlo Stanton: Underappreciated nationally, overshadowed in his own city, the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton is having one of the great seasons in Miami sports history. My new column is an unabashed appreciation. Click on A Diamond, Shining to read. 

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter is back ... but not yet: Another season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls is at hand, but, as always, they begin with the regular season, not in the preseason. Watch for the season's DSM debut on Sunday, Sept. 10.

PS1: DOLPHINS 23, ATLANTA 20: ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FAKEBALL!?: Click on Quick Thoughts On Fake Game 1 for our mini-column on Thursday night's preseason-opening Miami win. The one update I'd offer: Rookie Raekwon McMillan's torn-ACL knee injury will cause him to miss the season and overrides any good that came out of last night. Big blow. First Tannehill, now the starting middle linebacker ..... Original post: The biggest scam in all of sports is that NFL teams get away with including preseason exhibition games in their season-ticket packages, requiring fans to pay full fare for fakeball or fraudball games they wouldn't otherwise pay to see. I mean, seriously, if you plan to  attend tonight's first preseason game (7 Atlmiap.m., CBS) despite the forecast of gloomy weather and are actually and truly excited to do so -- you are a Dolfan deserving of a medal. No Jay Cutler tonight. In fact very few starters will play Ps1much if at all. Not for the visiting Falcons, either. This of course renders the result meaningless. Miami could win by 20 or lose by 20 and it would signify nada. The game does mean a lot to participants, naturally. To coaches who must make roster cuts. To borderline players trying to make it. From a fan standpoint, though, it's a micro/macro thing. If you're Macro and you just want to judge the finished product starting Sept. 10, not see how the sausage is made along the way, tonight probably isn't for you. If you're Micro and you care about the minutia, stuff like who might be the fifth wide receiver, the preseason is your Petri dish. Tonight will mostly be about rookies, and Miami draft-loaded on defense, so that's tonight's focus. On rookie middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan: He's a baby, not yet 21, but set to start. Whether he flies or fails will have a huge impact on whether the Fins' defense improves as much as it needs to. On rookie defensive tackle Davon Godchaux: Is he really beating out young veteran Jordan Phillips for the start, or are the reps right now more of a fire-starter under Phillips? And on rookie defensive end Charles Harris: Surprisingly little attention for the No. 1 draft pick, maybe because he'll begin as a rotation player. But tonight will be our first good look at that explosive first step of his. And on rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley: Can the third-round pick make the team? Needs to shine tonight. Offensively, tonight one of the "other guys" at quarterback will stake a claim to being kept as a No. 3 behind Cutler and Matt Moore. By the way, don't look for Cutler to be smoking a cigarette on the sideline tonight. That would violate stadium rules.

JaycutlerTHE CUTLER POLL: YOUR CONFIDENCE IN THE DOLPHINS' NEW QUARTERBACK: I have my say in this column; click New QB, Same Hopes to read. Although I preferred the Dolphins dare to sign Colin Kaepernick instead, hauling Jay Cutler out of retirement makes a ton of sense for Miami, given his experience, relationship with Adam Gase and knowledge of the offense Gase and the Fins use. The transition should be smooth. And I think with Cutler the Dolphins remain exactly what they were a week ago with Tannehill healthy, no more, no less: A pretty good team with a lot of "ifs" but a real shot at the playoffs. I know Cutler is a ripe target for lampooning. The nude photo. The cigarette photoshops. The celeb wife. And he has this habit of often seeming to convey apathy or boredom; see photo at right from yesterday's introductory media session. Still, a positive signing that makes the best of a bad situation and keeps Miami's season viable, I say. OK, now here comes your opinion. Express your degree of confidence in Cutler, or lack of, by taking a dip in our poll. Vote now and check back often to monitor evolving results.

AJAYI, LANDRY LEAD DOLPHINS IN FANTASY: Almost fantasy draft time, with Greg's Lobos on high alert. ESPN has a 10-team, 16-round mock fantasy draft here, and the four Dolphins selected, predictably, are: RB Jay Ajayi (2nd round/16th overall); WR Jarvis Landry (6th/51st); WR DeVante Parker (9th/85th); and WR Kenny Stills 12th/116th).

HOT BUTTON DAILY: FRI 8-11-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Colorado at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.: After 2-5 roadie, Fish open 6-game homestand.

2. PGA Championship, 1 p.m.: Second round of season's final golf major.

3. Steelers at Giants, 7 p.m.: NFL preseason game.

4. USA Diving nationals, 9 p.m.: Nat'l championships From Columbus, Ohio.

5. Track world championships, ongoing: Track & field worlds continue in London.

Select other recent columns -- Immortality Calling (with Jason Taylor in Hall, who's next?). Right Time, Right Quarterback (Dolphins should have gone with Kaepernick). Also: The Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsHe Missed a Heck Of a GameBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In DefeatAll-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 05, 2017

As Dolphins deal with Tannehill injury, who should Fins bring in? Kaep? Cutler? Poll. Last chance to vote!; plus Hurricanes-starting-QB poll; also, anniversary of me & 'Letting Go,' Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 5. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from this week's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. 2) Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

New column: Kaepernick should be option for Dolphins, for all the right reasons: In wake of Thursday's Ryan Tannehill injury, Dolphins should consider Colin Kaepernick the best of available options. Click on Right Time, Right Quarterback for my new column. By the way, another writer in town who 'll remain nameless here wrote that "only someone who is tone deaf or bankrupt of wisdom" could advocate signing Kaepernick. So it's official, then: WE'RE DEPLORABLES!!! :D

RtannyTANNEHILL RE-INJURES LEFT KNEE. WHAT NOW?: Dolphins starting QB Ryan Tannehill reinjured his left knee at practice this week -- the same knee for which he was wearing a brace because of last season's injury. The extent of the injury and prognosis are still not known, but there were early concerns it could be bad, that he could be out awhile. Immediately, of course, fans and Your Friend The Media sprang into what's-next mode. Do you stick with Matt Moore? Bring somebody in? Forget hauling Tony Romo or Jay Cutler out of retirement and their TV booths. Cutler makes some sense because of the Adam Gase ties, but that seems doubtful. Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III are prominently available, either to be Moore's backup or to compete for the starting job. What to do? Hopefully the news on Tannehill will be better than feared. If not, take a dip in our poll and tell us which option you'd prefer for the Dolphins. We've included Cutler as a more likelier option than Romo. My opinion is in my latest column, now online (link above). Now, your turn:

CanesfinsFOR HURRICANES AND DOLPHINS, IT'S ABOUT MAKING THE LEAP: UM coach Mark Richt talks about how his annual 10-meter backward dive came about, and why, in my latest column. Click on Making The Leap to read. For me it's a metaphor for this coming season for both Richt's Hurricanes and also the crosstown Miami Dolphins, both coming off encouraging seasons that have fans optimistic. Now, though, what's next matters. It is about making the leap. About daring to take that step you never have, the one you maybe fear. "Don’t be afraid to do something," as the coach put it Monday. The Canes must slay their nemesis Florida State Seminoles just as the Dolphins must clear their nemesis New England Patriots hurdle. Doubts chase the Fins, whose Vegas over/under on wins is a shockingly low 7 1/2. And the Canes open camp this week hamstrung by an unsettled quarterback situation. Take a dip in our poll and venture which Canes QB you think will emerge.

ANNIVERSARY: ME SINGING 'LETTING GO': It is hard for me to believe, in the time-flies category, but it was 10 years ago this week that I found myself in the home recording studio of my dear Alancfriend, Alan Cherry (pictured). He was an unsigned guitarist and songwriter of immense talent who played in a band called The Fibes. And he'd written what I thought was a lovely and sad song, the country-flavored, "Letting Go." I asked if I could record my vocals over his music. My version of the song, below, actually was played on the LeBatard Show about nine years ago, a thrill for Alan. He'd also had a couple of songs played on NPR undiscovered-artists type shows. Anyway, Alan passed away in late 2014, way too soon, at age 59. Search his name and a song called "House Of Ghosts" for an example of his songwriting. But this song, for some reason, was the melody most on my mind. (And, yes, a minute or so into the song there is the line, "You never know." That absolutely is the inspiration for what became one of my catch-phrases on the Le Batard Show:

 

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 8-5-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Canton enshrinement, 7 p.m.: Jason Taylor, 6 others enter Pro Football Hall of Fame.

2. Marlins at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.: Fish continue road trip vs NL East rivals.

3. Dolphins scrimmage, 11 a.m.: Simulated practice game, sans Tannehill, in Davie.

4. NBA Africa Game, 11 a.m.: Team World vs. Team Africa in South Africa.

5. North Carolina at Miami FC, 7:30 p.m.: NASL season resumes after U.S. Open Cup ouster.

Select other recent columns -- The Uncommon Pressure On the Miami DolphinsHe Missed a Heck Of a GameBlockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for RileyParoled But Not FreeDon't Hold Your BreathAn Ageless Wonder, Even In Defeat. All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 26, 2017

It was easy answer, once. Not now. Who is Miami Dolphins' biggest star? Poll too close to call. Last day to vote!; plus soccer's Wonderful Wednesday with my 2 El Clasico Week columns, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 26. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the latest LeBatard Show podcast with your's truly in studio. 2) We Didn't Start the Fire. Billy Joel song title, and my reality. Follow me on Twitter here to watch my valiant but failed Sunday attempt to start a fire with two sticks. 3) Almost Dolphins time! Know any die-hard Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, El Clasico Miami Week, your Kyrie Irving-to-Heat verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Happy 74th birthday today, Mick Jagger. Thank you for making even me feel young." --Greg Cote

JUVENTUS-PSG IN MIAMI TONIGHT TOPS A WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY FOR SOCCER!: How's this, futbol fans. All tonight, in order: Barcelona vs. Manchester United, 7 p.m. in an International Champions Cup match in Maryland. Juventus vs. Paris Saint-Germain, 8:30 p.m. in ICC play from Miami's Hard Rock Stadium. U.S. men vs. Jamaica, 9:30 p.m. for the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship in Santa Clara, Calif. And then Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, 11:30 p.m. in an ICC game in Los Angeles. (Barcelona and Real Madrid, of course, will meet in El Clasico Saturday in Miami). My two columns on Miami's biggest soccer week ever:

It Began With An Accidental Infatuation: Today's special-section column on how this week in Miami began in '70s with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer. 

World-Sized Spectacle: Our Sunday column putting in perspective the magnitude of Miami hosting El Clasico, the first-ever Barcelona-Real Madrid match held in U.S.

DolphinstarAS DOLPHINS OPEN TRAINING CAMP ... WHO IS TEAM'S BIGGEST STAR?: As the Dolphins report for Davie training camp today/Wednesday and stage their first practice Thursday, it was interesting to me to see the cover of the Dolphins' new 2017 media guide. It depicts not any one player but three unidentified players hugging in celebration. Maybe this is by design to emphasize team over individual? But it also strikes me the Dolphins do not have one clear-cut "star," an unequivocal "face of the franchise" who merits a cover photo above all others. Is there that player in Miami? If so, who? I offer a poll here that aims to answer the question. For most of two decades here that answer was Dan Marino. Many other years the answer has been clear. Now? By however you would define the phrase "biggest star," what current Dolphins player most earns that title entering the 2017 season? Here are my top five candidates, alphabetically, plus an "other" category, and you may choose only one. Hey nobody said life was fair. Or easy. Take a dip in our poll and vote now!

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 7-26-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Int'l Champions Cup, 8:30 p.m.: Juventus vs. Paris Saint Germain in Miami.

2. Gold Cup, 9:30 p.m.: U.S. vs. Jamaica for the CONCACAF championship.

3. Int'l Champions Cup, 7 p.m.: Barca-Man U in Md., then Man City-Real 11:30.

4. Marlins at Texas, 8:05 p.m.: Fish wrap up 6-game road trip.

5. FINA World Championships, 11:30 a.m.: Major swim meet continues in Hungary.

Select other recent columns -- Blockbuster Would Be Slumpbuster for Riley (on Kyrie Irving-to-Heat possibility). Paroled But Not Free (O.J. SImpson). Don't Hold Your Breath (LeBron/Wade return to Miami. An Ageless Wonder, Even In Defeat (Venus Williams' Wimbledon run). Also: All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era Ebbs. The Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceNFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports Hall. Is There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty City. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 22, 2017

A proposed 5-player trade that brings Kyrie Irving to Miami Heat. Would you do it? New poll. Vote now; plus Tom Brady wins Florida, O.J.'s parole, your LeBron/Wade-back-to-Heat verdict, The List (Marlins HRs), Hot Button Daily (Sat) & more

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

Dolcover1) It is SATURDAY, JULY 22. The Dolphins chose a group celebration for the cover of their newly minted 2017 Media Guide (pictured), rather than singling out any one player. Could be to underline the 'no-I-in-team' concept. Might also be that team has no one obvious face of the franchise at the moment. 2) For this week's "Greg Cote Tuesday" podcast from the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, click here. 3) Almost Dolphins time. Know any die-hard Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Likelihood LeBron/Wade play again in Miami with polls, ex-Dolphins and Hurricanes in All-Time NFL Draft, good and bad news in Canes ACC vote & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Latest column: O.J. Simpson paroled, but he'll never be totally free: Simpson, now 70, was paroled Thursday and in October will be set free after serving nine years in a Nevada prison on an armed robbery conviction. But he'll forever be guilty of the public's conviction that he got away with double murder in the '90s, and for that he is ineligible for parole. Click on Paroled But Not Free for my latest column.

Good and good by Marlins on trade, Heat on re-signing U.D.: Two of our big teams done good with personnel moves Thursday. The Marlins trading reliever David Phelps to Seattle for four prospects was smart. The Fish farm system is  bare, under-talented, and needs the infusion. And the Heat re-signing veteran Udonis Haslem for a 15th season was right. A captain and leader, U.D.'s role and value on the team is far, far beyond minutes played or points scored.

KirvingPROPOSED KYRIE IRVING-TO-HEAT TRADE: LIKE IT? VOTE NOW!: You know that Cavaliers all-star point guard Kyrie Irving (pictured right) is seeking a trade and has listed Miami among four preferred destinations, along with San Antonio, Minnesota and New York. There are many reasons why Irving landing on the Heat likely would not happen. 1) Cleveland might not oblige to trade him. 2) Cavs are free to trade him to a team not on his wish list. 3) Irving reportedly prefers the Spurs, and Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns are pushing hard on behalf of the Timberwolves. Also, because Irving wants out in order to become the focal point and get out from under LeBron James' shadow, acquiring Irving would seem to lessen any chance LeBron might end up back in Miami as early as next summer. BUT! If Irving-to-Heat did have any shot at happening, here is the deal that would work in terms of the salary cap and contract exchanges, according to ESPN's Trade Machine:

HEAT GET: PG Kyrie Irving, PF Channing Frye.

CAVALIERS GET: PG Goran Dragic, SF Justise Winslow, PG Tyler Johnson.

I would make that trade. Frye at 34 is a role player and a throw-in on this deal, but in Irving you are getting a four-time all-star in his early prime at age 25, a guy coming off career-high 25.2-point scoring and a 40-percent 3-point shooter. He's a shoot-first, pass-second point guard, but maybe that famous Heat "culture" can balance that a bit. As for what you're giving up, Dragic is very good, but Irving is better. Winslow still could have a promising future but in two seasons has shown mixed results. Johnson is about to get pricey for a guy coming off the bench. So, would you make the above trade if you were the Heat? Take a dip in our poll and vote now.

SAY IT AIN'T SO, FLORIDA! TOM BRADY'S IS STATE'S TOP-SELLING NFL JERSEY: As Dolphins rookies reported for training camp this week, we bring you shocking news. OK, maybe not that shocking. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- the man most responsible for keeping a thumb on the Miami Dolphins and Dolfans' dreams -- has the No. 1 selling-NFL jersey in the state of Florida, according to most recent sales at nflshop.com (see map; click on image to enlarge). Brady is tops in Jerseystate17 states, but who'd-a believed F-L-A would be one. Nationwide, the top five-selling jerseys are Marshawn Lynch, Brady, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Deshaun Watson.The latest top five at Dick's Sporting Goods are Brady, James Conner, Elliott, Prescott and Carson Wentz. (Conner is the Steelers rookie running back and cancer survivor; he ranks 11th on the NFL's sales list). How to explain Brady winning the state of Florida? 1) He is such a national star, at a glamour position, for a great team, that he surely moves jerseys in every state. 2) There isn't a ton of competing starpower from state players, Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars or Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In Dick's national top 50 in sales, Dolphin Jarvis Landry ranks 25th and QB Ryan Tannehill is 33rd, while the Jags' Leonard Fournette is 45th and the Bucs' Jameis Winston is 50th. That suggests Landry likely is making a run at Brady within the state. I think we'll start to see Fins RB Jay Ajayi turning up on some of these lists. 

POLL RESULTS: FAIR OPTIMISM ON WADE RETURNING TO HEAT, MUCH LESS ON LEBRON: We asked, in separate polls each offering four choices, "Will LeBron James or Dwyane Wade every play for the Miami Heat again?" On LeBron: Yes 6.7 percent, Decent chance 7.2%, Small chance 26.8% and No 59.3%. On Wade: Yes 31.2%, Decent chance 23.3%, Small chance 23.3% and No 22.3%. Combining the Yes and Decent-chance votes, LeBron returning had only a 13.9% optimism factor compared to 54.5% for Wade.

THE LIST: MARLINS BEST HOME RUN TRIOS: Entering Saturday play, the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton (30), Marcell Ozuna (23) and Justin Bour (21) had combined for 74 home runs -- projecting statistically to a combined season total of 128. We wondered how that would compare with the best power trios for one season in franchise history. Answer: It would be on top. Easily. Most combined homers by three Marlins in one season:

Year    HRs    Players

2017   128    Stanton/Ozuna/Bour projected total

2008    97     Ramirez 33, Jacobs 32, Uggla 32

2007    94     Cabrera 34, Uggla 31, Ramirez 29

1996    85     Sheffield 42, Conine 26, White 17

2004    83     Cabrera 33, Lowell 27, Gonzalez 23

2003    82     Lowell 32, Lee 31, Encarnacion 19

2005    82     Cabrera 33, Delgado 33, Encarnacion 16

Note: Marlins team record for most homers in a season is 208, set in 2008. The 2017 projected total is 189.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: SAT 7-22-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. U.S. vs. Costa Rica, 10 p.m.: Gold Cup soccer semifinal in Arlington, Tex.

2. Marlins at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.: Fish continue 6-game road trip.

3. Int'l Champions Cup, 6 p.m.: Juventus-Barcelona, then PSG-Tottenham at 8.

4. British Open, underway: Third round of golf's oldest major.

5. WNBA All-Star Game, 3:30 p.m.: Rare national spotlight, on ABC from Seattle.

Select recent columns -- Don't Hold Your Breath: On chances LeBron/Wade return to Miami. An Ageless Wonder, Even In Defeat: Venus Williams' Wimbledon run. Also: All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsVerdict to Judge, But Marlins Come Up BigHome Run Derby Is KingMiami Loves Hosting, Just Has A Funny Way Of Showing ItThere Should Be A Place For IchiroThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceWhat's Next, Marlins? NFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American TragedyHistory Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 19, 2017

Will LeBron James or Dwyane Wade ever play for Miami Heat again? Two polls. Last day to vote!; plus here are ex-Dolphins 'n Canes selected in NFL all-time draft, good news/bad news for UM in ACC vote, Hot Button Daily (Wed) & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 19. For the latest "Greg Cote Tuesday" podcast from the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, click here. 2) Almost Dolphins time. Know any die-hard Dolfans? Delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Sunday Venus Williams column & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

LebrondwyaneON THE LIKELIHOOD LEBRON AND D-WADE COULD END UP BACK WITH THE HEAT: LeBron James waxes nostalgic for his Miami days in two Instagram posts. Dion Waiters takes to Twitter to push for a Dwyane Wade/Heat reunion. Certain stuff on social media fans the flames that keep alive the notion James and Wade both could end up back in Miami after playing one more season in Cleveland and Chicago, respectively. But the reasons why that likely won't happen continue to outnumber the reasons why it could. I explore in my latest column; click on Don't Hold Your Breath to read. Im curious what you think the likelihood is that either will be back playing in Miami the season after next, or next summer. Take a dip in our two polls.

SLEW OF EX-DOLPHINS & CANES TAKEN IN MMQB'S ALL-TIME NFL DRAFT: Neat idea, this. Get 12 accomplished NFL experts and personnel guys involved in a 12-players-per-round, 25-round, 300-player all-time draft. Then have a 26th round to draft head coaches. Peter King's Sports Illustrated-affiliated MMQB (Monday Morning Quarterback) did that, with interesting results. Click here for the complete draft. There was at least one bizarre, ridiculous, indefensible pick: Punter Ray Guy was the fourth overall selection (!) by GM Dan Fouts. But otherwise the things seemed legit. LB Lawrence Taylor was first overall, and Pats QB Tom Brady was ninth. Now, let's localize:

DwightsFormer Dolphins drafted, including short-time Fins, in order -- LB Junior Seau (4th round, 43rd overall); WR Paul Warfield (5-49); C Dwight Stephenson (5-53, pictured left as the first full-career-Dolphin taken); G Larry Little (7-76); QB Dan Marino (10-115); C Jim Langer (15-172); RB Cookie Gilchrist (18-211); RB Larry Csonka (21-241); P Reggie Roby (21-250); WR Cris Carter (22-262); G Bob Kuechenberg (23-273); and DE Jason Taylor (25-294). My take: Surprised Marino was only the 11th QB taken. Also not a lot of love for Csonka or Taylor, who barely snuck in. And even less for the Fins' two Hall of Famers undrafted here: Nick Buoniconti and Bob Griese.Also thought Ndamukong Suh might have snuck in. Oh, and Don Shula was only the sixth coach selected.

EdreedFormer Hurricanes drafted. in order: S Ed Reed (3rd round, 29th overall, pictured); LB Ray Lewis (3-36); LB Ted Hendricks (5-50); DT Cortez Kennedy (6-70); C Jim Otto (7-80); DT Warren Sapp (14-157); DT Jerome Brown (14-167); Returner Devin Hester (15-173); WR Michael Irvin (23-267); TE Greg Olsen (24-282). My take: What jumps out is that six of the top seven Canes taken are on the defensive side, all but Otto. No surprise Reed/Lewis were 1-2, and good to see the love for pre-glory days Canes Hendricks and Otto.

Note: Not ex-Dolphins or Canes but South Florida guys drafted included Miami-born LB Derrick Thomas (4-42) and Fort Lauderdale-born WR Isaac Bruce (25-299).

WELL, AH, GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS ON THAT HURRICANES ACC MEDIA VOTE: ACC Kickoff & Media Days included the annual media predictions. The good news? Miami is predicted to win the QuartermanCoastal Division. The bad news? The Coastal is to the ACC what the Eastern Conference is to  the NBA. Weeeaaak! That perception is verified in the overall vote for predicted ACC champion. There were 167 votes, and 160 (or 95.8 percent) say the champ will come from the loaded Atlantic Division, where Florida State and Clemson rule, and where Louisville also is seen as better than UM. The Canes got only three votes (1.8%) to be conference champs. Bottom line? Miami should be good enough to get past Virginia Tech in the Coastal, but a tsunami awaits in the Atlantic. The disparity also is reflected in preseason voting for ACC player of the year. Of 167 votes, 164 (or 98.2%) went to players from the Atlantic. The three lonely votes for Coastal players included one each for Canes LB Shaquille Quarterman (pictured) and WR Ahmmon Richards.

HOT BUTTON DAILY: WED 7-19-17: Today's sports events of most interest in SoFla:

1. Philadelphia at Marlins, 12:10 p.m.: Fish finish, try to salvage homestand at 1-4.

2. U.S. vs. El Salvador, 9 p.m.: Gold Cup knockout-stage game in men's soccer.

3. Champions Cup games, underway: Bayern Munich-Arsenal ongoing, Roma-PSG 8 pm.

4. Tour de France, underway: Cycling's main event continues with Stage 17.

5. Diving world championships, 12:30 p.m.: Women's 10-meter.

Select other recent columns -- An Ageless Wonder, Even In Defeat: Venus Williams' Wimbledon run. All-Star Week Proves Miami's Baseball Potential as Loria Era EbbsVerdict to Judge, But Marlins Come Up BigHome Run Derby Is KingMiami Loves Hosting, Just Has A Funny Way Of Showing ItThere Should Be A Place For IchiroThe Gentleman-Athlete Earned Our ThanksHeat Lose Twice On HaywardBam Is Due Benefit Of DoubtMake Fun of the Farce, But You'll WatchNo Parade In SightFall From Greatness And From GraceWhat's Next, Marlins? NFL's Moral ObligationThe Dolphins' Eight IfsHome Run For MiamiThe Jose Statue's Positive PurposeAn American Tragedy. History Breathes at UM Sports HallIs There A Team Brave Enough for Kaepernick?Thank You, Mae RibackA Ghost Tour of Miami's Sports PastThe Miracle of Liberty CityThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote