March 04, 2015

Do Dolphins fans like Mike Wallace? New poll. Vote now!; plus Spoelstra sings 'Billie Jean,' Heat-Lakers, Doral, Heat/Panthers playoff odds, a horse's head, man named Suh & more


1aa1adonald1) It is THURSDAY, MARCH 5. I'm down at Doral today to slap Donald Trump. Nah, I'm really down there to write a column off the first round of the golf tournament. 2) Shania Twain fan? The country star will be playing the Heat arena in downtown Miami July 16 as part of a (supposed) farewell tour. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, optimism-poll results & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

THE VIEW ON DOLPHINS RECEIVER MIKE WALLACE: As NFL free agency begins in earnest the Dolphins seem more and more inclined to keep receiver Mike Wallace and his big salary, although he has 1aa1amikewsomewhat under-performed on expectations. Part of keeping him may be that the trade market was tepid. Some fans undoubtedly think Miami might be better off cutting ties with Wallace and pursuing Packers free-agent Randall Cobb, who is younger and coming off a Pro Bowl year but wouldn't be much cheaper. I wonder how Dolfans feel about Wallace, factoring in his performance and also elements of his personality that included removing himself from a game late last season in a pique over the amount of passes being thrown his way. Is Wallace overrated and nothing special? Or is he a big talent being underutilized? Is the problem his or Ryan Tannehill's that the deep passes taking advantage of Wallace's premier speed have not been happening enough? For me, Wallace is a talent worth keeping and finding a way to fully deploy. Some may disagree. This poll isn't really asking if you think Miami should keep Wallace or not, though it sort of is I I guess. Interpret the question any way you wish, but whatever way you do, it'll be a referendum on how Dolfans feel about one of the team's biggest (and most controversial) stars. Vote and say why in the Comments section.

1aa1ahorseheadAUSTIN AND A HORSE'S HEAD: My wife and I meet a couple of good friends from the D.C. area in a random city a couple of times a year for a mini-vacation, just because. Been doing it a few years now, and we spent the long weekend just past in Austin, Texas, visiting funky-bizarre antique shops on SoCo and party-drinking on 6th Street. Loved hearing the blues-rock of the Red Lady Band at Darwin's, loved Iron Works BBQ, loved the (unexpected) Scholz Garten, loved touring the LBJ Presidential Library, and counted a quite-elaborate horse's head mask among the souvenir purchases I brought back. Of course I had to take it into the Clevelander studio on Tuesday and turn it into radio schtick just for laughs. That's me pictured here wearing the head. Check me out on Twitter or Vine for a video of me trying to coax Dan LeBatard into putting it on.

HEAT-LAKERS: THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING RIVALRY: Heat beat ,lowly Lakers last night100-94, paced by Hassan Whiteside's 25 rebounds. Heat-Lakers used to be LeBron and Kobe on Christmas Day, 1aa1aheat-lalwith two big teams and stakes high. Now? LeBron gone, Kobe out, Bosh out and much less interest (at least nationally) as Miami hosted LAL last night. What used to be a hell of a rivalry is now a shell of a rivalry, with Miami trying to hang onto playoff pace at 27-33 and L.A. way out of it at 16-44. The last time both teams had losing records the same season: 1992-93.

Heat, Panthers playoff odds: Heat sit on playoff pace as current No. 7 East seed but find five pursuers on their tail. ESPN's computerized Hollinger postseason odds are pessimistic, giving Miami (before last night) only a 40.9 percent chance to make playoffs. In hockey, the Panthers currently are only two points off pace as the No. 9 seed, but Cats' outlook is even gloomier. Hockey-reference.com puts Florida's playoff shot at 12.0%.    

SPOELSTRA CHANNELS HIS INNER MICHEAL JACKSON, RILEY TAKES ON BEATLES AT 'BATTIOKE': Shane Battier's annual karaoke night just happened at the Fillmore South Beach, and highlights included Heat coach Erik Spoelstra (and girlfriend Nikki Sapp) performing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean"and the Silver Fox himself, Pat Riley, displaying Sexy Old Man moves on a Beatles remake. Click on Twist and Shout for Riley. Spo is below. Videos courtesy WQAM. Fun!

 

A QUICK BRAG ON NDAMUKONG SUH: Good to see everybody else catching up to us this week on the 1aa1ansuhDolphins and free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. It was almost a month ago, Feb. 7 in this blog, before anybody was mentioning this guy and Miami in same breath, when under the headline 'Ndamuking Suh a Dolphin?' we listed three reasons why it was possible. In an accompanying poll on whether Miami should pur-Suh him, y'all voted 56.8 percent yes, 29.0% no and 14.2% undecided.

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January 13, 2015

The curious, shameful skepticism about Rob Konrad's tale of survival; plus elevating Urban Meyer, 'Shameless,' your Super Bowl pick & more

RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

It's Radio Tuesday!: We're in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio -- our 46th national show. Have a new "Back In My Day" ready to roll. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 13. Today is my parents' anniversary date, which led to the creation of me. See, people used to get married first and then have kids. How quaint! 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): AFC/NFC title-game polls, Hassan Whiteside, history of Heat 7-footers, Canton verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Buckeyes favored to repeat: Love the instant odds! Confetti is still falling on Ohio State and already OSU is installed as a 6-1 favorite to win next saeson's national title, via Bovada. TCU is next at 15-2, then Alabama at 10-1. Further down we see Florida State 16-1, Florida 33-1 and Miami 75-1.

Wade ninth in jersey sales: Updated NBA jersey sales rankings are out, with Heat's Dwyane Wade No. 9. The top five: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose.

WHY THE DOUBTERS ON ROB KONRAD?: You probably know the Rob Konrad story by now. Ex-Dolphins fullback falls overboard while fgishing along last week, watches his boat onautopilot motor away from 1aa1akonradhim, and spends 16 hours at sea, somehow surviving. I tell the extraordinary tale today in a column off yesterday's first public comments by Konrad. Click on Survivor to read it. (Konrad and wife Tammy are pictured from the news conference). I find Konrad's story to be absolutely true and close to miraculous. There are doubters, though. I address that briefly in the longer-version column that appears online, writing, "It is our human nature to be skeptical, so there may be some who doubt parts of this tale simply because they cannot fathom 16 hours alone at sea. Me, I hope I am never so cynical that I stop believing in man’s capacity for heroism." Sure enough, a few emailers have cast doubt on Konrad -- as if he created and involved his wife, family and friends in an elaborate hoax. Some early media accounts (here is one from Newsweek.com published Friday) also wonder if the story is too good to be true. I do not consider myself naive. My profession demands that a critical eye is my default view of just about everything. But I believe Rob Konrad. Now, more than before, maybe I believe a little in miracles, too. And I feel a little bit sorry for those who can't.

ELEVATING URBAN: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer (pictured) now is a three-time national champion 1aa1ameyeru(two with the Gators) after last night's resounding 42-20 spanking of Oregon in the first playoff-era college championship game. And with a third-string quarterback! I'm no Urban fan, but I must say it may be time to elevate him to the pantheon of great college coaches. Only Bear Bryant (5), Frank Leahy (4) and Nick Saban (4) have won more recognized major-college titles. Meyer and Saban are now racing to see who catches and passes the great Bear first. Age alone suggests Meyer, 50, has a better chance than Saban, 63, to retire as the college game's most decorated coach.

ON 'SHAMELESS': How much I love my wife came clear Monday night when I agreed to watch the Golden 1aa1aemmyrGlobes with her (women and awards shows!), and delay watching the season debut of Shameless until last night on demand. I love the Showtime series. William H. Macy's Frank Gallagher might be the greatest character on TV, and I have a Creepy Old Guy Crush on Emmy Rossum (pictured, as Fiona). The entire cast is an exercise in relentless dysfunction that is both hilarious and sad. Fellow Shamelessites know what I mean. The rest of you, get on board.

Poll result: You like Seahawks and Patriots even more in NFL title games: We asked your predictions for the upcoming AFC and NFC championship games and it was Patriots over Colts by 74.0 percent and Seahawks over Packers by 63.3%.

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January 06, 2015

Dolphins hire Tannenbaum; plus my Hall of Fame ballot and, yes, it includes Bonds and Clemens. Would your's? New poll. Vote now!; also gay marriage, fake Beach Boys & more

RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND. 

It's Radio Tuesday: I'm back in-studio with the Dan LeBatard Show today after a two-week holiday hiatus, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. A new "Back In My Day" segment is in hand. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 6. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package after a two-week holiday hiatus. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins-draft-needs poll, happy birthday Shula, R.I.P. Stuart Scott, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

DOLPHINS HIRE TANNENBAUM AS DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL OPS: The Dolphins today hired Mike Tannenbaum, formerly of the Jets, as executive vice president of pro football operations -- the old Bill Parcells role. He reportedly will oversee (and have firing power over) GM Dennis Hickey but not over coach Joe Philbin. Hickey can't be happy, although he reportedly maintains final say over the 53-man roster. What this means: Owner Stephen Ross doesn't quite trust Philbin or Hickey. Dolphins in flux. Again.

On Heat, Panthers: Click on Falling, Rising for today's column by me. It's on how the Heat and Panthers both are headed for a fight just to make the playoffs, and how that's an indignity for one club but a triumph for the other.

MY HALL OF FAME BALLOT INCLUDES BONDS, CLEMENS THIS YEAR: Update: Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz and Biggio elected. I voted for all four. Update 30 minutes before vote announced: The website baseballthinkfactory.org, based on a screening of voters, projects the five inductees today will be, in order of support: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio and (narrowly) Mike Piazza. Original post: The latest inductees into Cooperstown are to be announced today at 2 p.m. I became a Baseball Hall of Fame voter for the first time a year ago, and did not include any "Steroids Era" guys on my ballot. It was personal. I felt my first- 1aa1abondsclemsnsever ballot should be as "clean" as the sport aspires to be. This year, however, I voted for both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (pictured). My 10 votes in all went to, alphabetically: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Mike Mussina, Gary Sheffield and John Smoltz. For the record I think Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz will get in. I think Sheffield has a good chance. I think Carlos Delgado and Mike Piazza have a shot. I do not think a sufficient 75 percent of my BBWAA brethren are ready yet to join me on Bonds and Clemens. My thinking on those two: Their career numbers are so extraordinary, so enormous, that they would have been Cooperstown-worthy even without PEDs. (I am much less sure on Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and others). I also believe the Hall of Fame is not the Hall of Sainthood. I further believe that guys like Bonds and Clemens (yes, and Pete Rose) have been punished enough by their previous barring from Cooperstown and by their public shaming. Of course all of that is moot as I fully expect both men to fall well short of the Hall again today. I respect my colleagues who continue take the highest moral ground on this. Hopefully they in turn respect those of us who have come to think otherwise -- at least on Bonds and Clemens. Here's a poll inviting your thoughts on this. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

Poll result: Guard, linebacker top Dolphin draft needs: We asked what position the Dolphins should target with the top pick in next NFL Draft, and among eight choice offensive guard (34.9 percent) and linebacker (27.0%) dominated. Defensive tackle (15.9%) and cornerback (12.6%) were next.

1aa1agaymarriageIT'S ABOUT TIME, FLORIDA: Congratulations to my home state for stepping gingerly into the 21st Century in becoming the 36th state to legalize same-sex marriage. And to Floridian gay couples for finally gaining their equal rights. Who are you, I or the government to tell any loving couple they are second-class citizens? Of course, with gay marriages inevitably will come gay divorces and the spawn of gay-divorce lawyers as a specialty practice. Oh how I wish I were kidding.     

BOYCOTT THE SEMI-BEACH BOYS!: The Beach Boys (sort of) play Thursday night in West Palm Beach, but, if you have tickets, beware. You are getting half the product. I'd ask for my money back. This is the version 1aa1amloveof the Beach Boys hijacked by frontman Mike Love (pictured), who unfortunately owns the group name. He is touring with only one other original Beach Boy, Bruce Johnstone. The group toured last year with all its original living members -- including Al Jardine, David Marks and, of course, the irreplacable Brian Wilson -- but Love essentially fired the other three. Boycott Mike Love. Boycott the fake, sort of, semi-Beach Boys. (Or at least smuggle in a 'WE WANT BRIAN WILSON!' sign).

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December 17, 2014

Miami interested in Shaq?; plus 'tis the season to be average, fire Philbin or Golden poll (vote now!), NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, Marlins, meatballs & more

1aa1ahanukkah1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17. A happy Hannukah, which began last evening, to all of our Jewish friends. 2) See previous blogpost for results of our latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. (Not pretty). 3) Click on Random Evidence for the return of our Sunday notes-column package after a two-week hiatus. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Patriots hammer Dolphins, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Manziel verdict & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

MIAMI INTERESTED IN SHAQ?: Yes, that sure is a gratuitous, misleading headline! It's a "read me" hed 1aa1ashaqtdesigned to make you wonder if the Heat might somehow be trying to haul Shaquille O'Neal, 42, out of retirement. Instead, it means Todd McShay's Mock Draft 1.0 for ESPN today is projecting that the Dolphins will select Washington Huskies outside linebacker Shaq Thompson (pictured right) in the first round of next spring's NFL Draft, No. 16 overall. McShay pegs two UM Hurricanes for the first round: OT Ereck Flowers, 1aa1ashaqo12th overall, and ILB Denzel Perryman, sneaking in 32nd. Two FSU Seminoles are seen as 1R: QB Jameis Winston of course (2nd, after Marcus Mariota) and DT Eddie Goldman (18th). One Gator is projected a first-rounder: DE Dante Fowler (7th).

IN MIAMI, 'TIS THE SEASON TO BE AVERAGE: Let's get to the good news first. Won't take long. Miami Hurricanes men's basketball is 9-1 and ranked No. 18 in the latest Associated Press poll. Thus ends the 1aa1amediocrityhappy portion of today's program. Now on to our Big 5 teams: Hurricanes football -- After a bad-ending 6-6 season the Canes are headed to the ignominy of the Duck Commander Bowl in Shreveport, La. Dolphins -- Team has slumped to 7-7 with two damaging losses in a row and makenflplayoffs.com now estimates Miami's postseason chances at 0.7 percent. No, seriously. Heat -- The injured, limping, post-LeBron Heat are 12-13 with last night's win and currently the No. 7 playoff seed. Panthers -- Cats are 13-16 with last night's win and tied for the No. 7 playoff seed, which, grading on a curve, amounts to cause for celebration. And, finally, Marlins -- Positive headlines lately, yes. Encouraging. But let's not forget the Fish last season were 77-85 and missed playoffs for an 11th straight year. In the spirit of our combined funk, we offer a Survivor Poll. We have two football coaches under fire. Many fans would want both out. But you can only vote to get rid of one. You must choose. Nobody said life was fair. Or easy.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: SLUMPING AND FIZZLING IN WEEK 15: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixwe did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: Not satisfied with 10-6 overall and even less so with another 6-9-1 (Seahawks pushed) against the spread. Bull's-eyed another Upset of the Week with Cowboys over Eagles ("Aawwk!") and also had Bills, Vikes and Cards with points, but not enough else went right. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos not only failed to make the championship-round playoffs, but lost in the consolation bracket, 159-99, falling to 7-8 on the year. Not much good can happen when your high scorer (Marshawn Lynch) has only 16 points.

1aa1ammorseMARLINS ADD FIRST BASEMAN: Marlins agreed to terms with free-agent 1B Mike Morse, pictured (from Nova High), ESPN first reported. He batted .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs for the Giants last year and should be (they think) an upgrade over Garrett Jones. Morse, 32, is a journeyman but a solid one, with a .281 career average in 10 seasons with the Mariners, Nationals, Orioles and Giants. This continues a big offseason for the Marlins, including the re-signing of Giancarlo Stanton and the addition of base-stealing leadoff man Dee Gordon and starting pitcher Mat Latos.

1aa1ameatballsMEATBALLS & MARTINIS: Thanks to Paul Castronovo and the Paul & Young Ron Show (BIg 105.9) for having us out to their Meatballs & Martinis event last night at Anthony's Runway 84. It's a terrific fundraiser benefitting the Dolphins Cycling Challenge and the fight against cancer. Pictured from last night: Me being dwarfed by ex-Dolphs John Offerdahl and Kim Bokamper, the yuk factor undoubtedly fueled by libations.

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December 11, 2014

"Back In My Day": Complete audio library of every one we've done on LeBatard show; plus Marlins hit big in trade, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, Philbin verdict & more

1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11. I'm holed up at Friday Page Headquarters today summoning this week's NFL picks. It's Rams over Cardinals 19-17 tonight. Click on Thursday Gem for the full predix capsule. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins coaching poll, Panthers besting Heat, Canes in Homophobe Bowl, Elton falling off chair & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

'I Can't Breathe': Click on Athletes As Human Beings for today's latest column. I applaud stars like LeBron James for their social conscience on current issues.  

1aa1aBIMD"BACK IN MY DAY": THE COMPLETE CATALOGUE: My every-Tuesday appearances on the Dan LeBatard Show (3-7 p.m. locally on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 nationally on ESPN Radio) have spawned a segment called "Back In My Day," in which I ruminate on how things are different now. Yesterday was my 10th one. Unexpectedly the segment has become hugely popular with listeners, and many have emailed or Tweeted me asking how they can access ones that have aired. One way is through the show's podcast. Another I present to you here: The complete catalogue of all 10 "Back In My Days" I have done so far, in chronological order. Enjoy!

GERMOPHOBES: Folks' obesssion with cleanliness and germs -- BIMD #1. Aired Oct. 7, 2014. Sample: "Go out and eat a 40-year-old French fry and forget about it!":

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AMERICAN EDUCATION: U.S. kids lagging behind -- BIMD #2. Oct. 14, 2014. Sample: "How about you give Angry Birds a rest, put down your iPhone, get off Facebook, tell Iggy Azalea to stop screeching in your earbuds and crack open a bleepin' book!":

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MEMORABILIA: The dark side of collectibles -- BIMD #3. Oct. 21, 2014. Sample: "Your 'authentic' signature probably was an expert fake by the team trainer who was grinning like a donkey eating briars as he duped the rubes who would soon buy his forgery.":

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SENSORY OVERLOAD: Whatever happened to the simple art of pondering? -- BIMD #4. Oct. 28, 2014. Sample: "Forty percent of people on cell phones are believed to be faking the call in a desperate effort to appear important.":

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TIME FLIES: Time flies on its own, and yet we hurry it along -- BIMD #5. Nov. 4, 2014. Sample: "It's 2014 but I can buy a 2015-model car. Huh! Was I napping when we perfected time travel?":

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EXCESSIVE VARIETY: Life's unneccesary options -- BIMD #6. Nov. 11, 2014. Sample: "Ever try to buy toothpaste? First you have to navigate a roiling sea of options with myriad blends geared to extra whitening, tartar buildup, mouthwash built in, anti-plaque, halitosis, sensitive gums, buck teeth...":

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BLACK FRIDAY: The absurdity of America's kickoff to holiday shopping -- BIMD #7. Nov. 18, 2014. Sample: "We're a bunch of easily duped lemmings voluntarily herding ourselves to the nearest cliff.":

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BRAGGARTS (13.1): We have become a nation of braggarts -- BIMD #8. Nov. 25, 2014. Sample: "I don't assume that person actually completed a half-marathon. I assume they simply bought the window decal in a galling attempt at unearned braggadoccio.":

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STATS ON STEROIDS: Sports epitomizes the phrase too-much-information -- BIMD #9. Dec. 2, 2014. Sample: "Now we instantly know the homer's distance down to the millimeter, its exact trajectory, the speed at which it left the park, the number of rotations of the ball and the sphere's Dent Index.":

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DIRECTIONS: From asking for directions to Google Earth -- BIMD #10. Dec. 9, 2014. Sample: "Go into a 7-Eleven today, ask for a map and get a blank stare from the clerk. You're made to feel as ancient as Ferdinand Magellan looking for the East Indies.":

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MARLINS HIT BIG WITH TRADE, THANKS TO GORDON: Winter meetings trade with L.A. Dodgers brings 1aa1adeeg2B Dee "Flash" Gordon (pictured), righty starter Dan Haren (if he doesn't retire), infielder Miguel Rojas and cash considerations to Marlins, and sends pitcher Andrew Heaney and three prospects to Dodgers. I like this deal a lot, largely because it says "today," not maybe someday. It's a deal made by a team that wants to compete now. Gordon, 26, is a leadoff hitter who led MLB in stolen bases (64) and triples (12). Not a great defensive player, but oh that speed. Haren, 35, is an innings eater who'd be a very solid 3-to-5 starter if he agrees to the deal, but even if he retires Marlins get $10 million from L.A. to spend on another starter or a 1B. Hate to see Heaney and his potential go, but the's the "maybe someday," while Gordon (and hopefully Haren) are proven and about winning now.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 14 SEES GOOD/BAD ON PICKS, LOBOS ELIMINATED: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy- 1aa1afripix 1aa1aarkstateleague team. Pix: We again went a fairly solid 11-5 overall but only 6-9-1 (Vikings pushed) against the spread. Nailed our Upset of the Week (Steelers over Bengals; "Aawwk!") and also called Seattle's upset win at Philly and had Bills with points at Denver, but it wasn't enough. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos won, 113-87, led by Calvin Johnson's 30 points, to end strong and finish 7-7. Alas, we tied for the final playoff spot only to be ousted on a tiebreaker. Consolation round, here we come. It's the fantasy equivalent of the 6-6 Canes pretending to be happy about the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.

Poll result: Dolfans support pursuing Harbaugh, not keeping Philbin: We asked, and a plurality of 46.3 percent voted to pursue Jim Harbaugh "no matter what." Another 39.5% said to make a coaching change only if Miami does not make the playoffs, with 19.2% of those wanting Harbaugh and 20.3% preferring someone else. Staying the course with Philbin drew only 10.3%, and 3.9% were undecided.

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November 26, 2014

The case against Al Golden, and my rebuttal. Now, your turn. New Golden poll. Vote now!; plus Hills' Saltrick, 'Back In My Day' & more

1aa1adsaltrick1) It is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26. Condolences to the family and friends of Dick Saltrick (pictured), longtime former Broward high school football coach who led Hollywood Hills to the 1973 state championship, now gone at 78. Saltrick was a local prep titan when I was a cub starting out in the business. 2) I'm in the kitchen cooking up my Thanksgiving Day NFL picks. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' mathematical playoff shot, SOPY rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, remembering JFK & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Back In My Day: Those of you who tune in Tuesdays each week to hear me on the Dan LeBatard Show know I have a new segment called "Back In My Day" that has proved very popular. FYI, I'll soon post the audios here in the blog. Stay tuned.

WHY MANY WANT AL GOLDEN GONE, AND WHY THAT WOULD BE WRONG: First let's emphasize this is a moot discussion in that Golden is under contract through the 2019 season, Miami Hurricanes athletic 1aa1aalgoldendirector Blake James strongly supports him, and there is no Board of Trustees groundswell against him to mirror fan unrest. (A recent MiamiHerald.com poll asked if UM should fire Golden even if it beats Pitt this Saturday and then wins a bowl game to finish 8-5, and 58.9 percent said yes. Our own most recent Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll found 84.% "very dissatsified." A new Golden poll is below). Let's debate:

The case for dissatisfaction: This week a writer named Mike Bakas of the CanesTime section of Scout.com detailed it pretty well under the headline, "Is UM the most underachieving team in America?"; click here to read in full. Forgiving the fact the story states the Canes' record as 5-5, not 6-5, it makes a fair point. To distill, the story would refute the argument Miami simply doesn't have the talent. It states, according to CBS Sports' NFL draft rankings, that UM has 10 players with draft rankings and that only Florida State (12) has more. The writer concludes: "It's not often the Hurricanes will have this much talent scattered through their junior and senior classes." And, "Prepare yourself for mediocre football until something is done about it."

The rebuttal: I have heard few complaints that UM lacks talent. The talent was sufficient this season to be better. This year has been a step back, disappointing overall, but winning the next two (Pitt, bowl) will make it only a small step back. That is not a firing offense. Not when the previous seasons had shown progress, and not when the coach in question stepped into the NCAA s---storm he inherited. This was the first full season not under the NCAA cloud. Golden is just getting started. If anything, CBS Sports' rankings indicate to me Golden is a strong recruiter who is getting the right players. Let's see what UM does in the next year or two, with a developed Kaaya, before rushing to judgment on a coaching change and forgetting that stability is a good thing.

Now, your vote: If timing is everything in a blogpoll, this one may be unfair to Golden, coming right after a 30-13 loss at Virginia. Still, I trust you all to step back, take in the bigger picture, rise above the emotional fray and not be a slave to the moment. We asked these same poll questions here on Sept. 9, just as the season began, and so I'll be very interested to compare the results. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

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November 12, 2014

Hurricanes vs. Seminoles: Who'll win? New poll. Vote now!; plus on NASCAR's Homestead Final Four; also NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY rankings & more

1aa1avetsday1) It is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12. Thanks to all who have served in our military, present and past. Every day, not just on Veterans Day. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose heartbreaker in Detroit, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

"Others are finally coming around now to 'Duke Johnson' and 'Heisman Trophy' in the same sentence. Our blog readers first read that from me Oct. 29. You're welcome." --Greg Cote

CANES-NOLES. AND THE WINNER IS...: Our blog's various polls rarely ask who'll win a football game, but Florida State at Miami on Saturday night has me curious how you feel. The Seminoles are a mere 2- 1aa1afsucanespoint favorite, which is rather astonishing considering they are the reigning national champion with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, No. 2-ranked and 9-0 with a 25-game winning streak ... while the Hurricanes are an unranked 6-3, albeit on a three-game win streak. The betting line is an amalgam of this: First, a broad belief that FSU is not (nearly) as good as last season and somehow vulnerable, even though they keep winning. And, second, that UM is playing its best ball of the year, has a hot Duke Johnson, a defense that has improved with an attacking style, and is primed for a home upset. I hesitated about doing this poll at all because, being in a MiamiHerald.com blog, it is predisposed to have a disproportionate number of Canes-fan voters. Still, there are a ton of Tally folks here, too. Besides, I think my readers are able to vote what they honestly predict will happen, not what they hope. Am I right? Forget the negligible point spread. You have a hundred bucks to bet the game straight-up. Who are you picking? Vote and say why.

HOMESTEAD GETS A NASCAR FINAL FOUR THAT IS LACKING: Kevin Harvick. Ryan Newman. Joey Logano. Denny Hamlin. That's it. Only one of those four drivers is eligible to win the NASCAR season 1aa1ahomefinal4championship this Sunday down at Homestead-Miami Speedway. From the perspective of a casual racing fan, I find the Final Four lacking for two reasons. First, while it isn't a no-name group by any means, it lacks anybody who is a national star beyond the realm of racing, such as Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Jimmie Johnson. The final four is pictured. If you have no idea who's who ... that's my point. Second, it once again calls into question NASCAR's ever-evolving Chase for the Cup points format. Newman won zero races this year and had a mere four top-five finishes. Hamlin won only one race with seven top-fives. Yet one of them could well reign as the season's "best driver"? Can't see that. Anyway, griping aside, still looking forward to Sunday!

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: PICKS LAG, LOBOS SURGE IN WEEK 10: We update you briefly every Tuesday on 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixhow we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: Lagging. Having a strong season, but not helped much by going 7-6 overall and also 7-6 against the spread last week. Dolphins, Bills, Saints and Bucs -- y'all really let me down. Did have 'dog Browns and Jets with points to help continue my streak of no losing week yet against the spread. Fantasy: Surging. Greg's Lobos improved to 4-6 with a second straight win and begins to sniff playoffs. We won 162-139, led by 42 points from bulwark Marshawn Lynch. Lobos!

SOPY: IT'S CANES' DUKE VS. NOLES' JAMEIS: Miami's Duke Johnson vs. Florida State's Jameis Winston. I'm talkjing about Saturday night at Dolphins stadium, and also about the very top of our latest blog- 1aa1asopyexclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). 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. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 12:

SOPY WEEK 11 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk11    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         BYE     1,552

2 (3)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        158.5    1,450

3 (2)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      63.5   1,399.5 

4 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            BYE    1,072.5

5 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           BYE      1,061

6 (7)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        142      1,017

7 (6)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            BYE       957

8 (8)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb             133       914

9 (10)      Matt Jones, Florida-rb             86       799

10 (9)      Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb        39       780

Bubble: Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 743. Week's best: Treon Harris, Florida-qb, 168.5. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Florida and UCF have played 8 games; Miami, FSU and USF have played 9; and FIU and FAU have played 10.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (9-0); 2. Miami (6-3); 3. Florida (5-3); 4. UCF (5-3); 5. SoFla (3-6); 6. FIU (3-7); 7. FAU (3-7).

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August 19, 2014

4 ways Marlins can keep Stanton. Will they? Poll. Vote!; plus Mo'Ne Davis, Johnny Middle Finger, wax Beyonce, Ray Allen, Stitches & more

1aa1akanyepaul1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20. R.I.P., James Foley. 2) Former Dolphins great Jason Taylor will join Mike Florio's 'Pro Football Talk' show this season on NBCSN. Taylor will appear Mondays as well as other days. 3) Kanye West and Paul McCartney reportedly are collaborating on new songs. Hmm. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): My ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge video, Hot Button Top 10, unrest in Ferguson, verdict on D'Onofrio & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

1aa1amonedavisMo'Ne Davis doomed to life of spiraling decline: Sad to report that Little League World Series star Mo'Ne Davis appears on the cover the new Sports Illustrated, subjecting her to the infamous S.I. Jinx and a life of cascading woe.

Personal radio note: I have informed The Ticket (104.3 & 790) that I won't be back on the station's Dolphins pregame show this season. Have done it past three or four years and wanted change of pace. Also find that my increasing role with LeBatard show sufficiently sates my radio appetite.  

WHAT MARLINS MUST DO TO KEEP STANTON: In my latest column I make the case why Marlins rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton should be considered the frontrunner for the NL MVP award -- a case further bolstered by last night's game-winning hit. His nearest competitiors have fallen or are flawed. Mostly, he deserves it on his own merit, and his league-leading 1aa1agia132 homers and 88 RBIs are just the start. Click on G-Spot for the entire column. In it I touch on but want to explore further here what Miami must do to keep Stanton long-term. Many baseball experts continue to believe Stanton will be traded before he becomes a free agent after the 2016 season because the Marlins don't think he'll re-sign here long-term. I don't think that is as true as it once was, and I believe the Marlins also sense hope that wasn't there before. Stanton, for his part, has smartly remained shades of silent to vague on his future, which would be a big distraction if  he let it. I see four major factors in what I call the continuing, quiet courtship of Giancarlo Stanton: 1) MONEY. I put this first because it is most obvious, not neccesarily most 1aa1agia2important. Miami only has a chance to keep him if its offer is market-competitive, and that will soar above the $25 million-a-year mark, because so many big spenders (Dodgers, Red Sox, et al) will want him. The Marlins let Miguel Cabrera get away. It cannot happen again. The club for some time now has planned to make Stanton a long-term offer after this season. 2) TEAM. What's the roster surrounding Stanton as you bid to re-sign him? This season is encouraging. That Miami is still in the playoff hunt even without Jose Fernandez can't but please Stanton. The Marlins added pieces, got better. As manager Mike Redmond told me yesterday, "Last year was tough for him, it wasn't fair to him. We didn't have guys around him to help him out. Now we do. It has energized him. He's happier. He's smiling. He wants to be part of a winning team." 3) COMMITMENT. This has not been owner Jeffrey Loria's strongsuit but it is where he must step up. The talent-adding and improvement must continue; Stanton must feel like he has a chance to win a World Series here. How will Loria's commitment show itself moving forward? Free agents after this season will include Royals ace pitcher James Shields. Will Loria surrender to the high-payroll teams or will he make a serious run at him? You know Stanton will be watching. 4. FANS. It matters. The crowd and atmosphere at Marlins Park has its role in all this. Stanton is an L.A. guy. The Dodgers average 47,000 fans a night. Miami can't compete with that but can do much better than its current average of 21,575 ranking 27th of 30 teams. TV guy Tommy Hutton blasted Marlins fans Sunday night for not appreciating Stanton, who was taken out of a big win late in the game after a home run and four RBIs in the midst of an MVP season. It was the perfect spot for an ovation; there was none. Redmond and the team know what they have in Stanton. Fans need to know it ... and show it. SUMMARY: The Marlins' unique advantage is that they can (and will) offer Stanton a contract extension now, meaning after this season, two years ahead of when other teams could. Doesn't mean he'll take it; he may be determined to test free agency. But it might be awfully tough for him to turn down what would amount to a $50 million head start on whatever riches are in his future. Miami cannot force Stanton to re-up if he wants out; as club president David Samson says, "It takes two to make a deal." But the club will make every effort to sign him, first, or, failing that, to get a trade-windfall in return. They'd demand proven talent in trade such as Yasiel Puig from the Dodgers or Yoenis Cespedes from the Bosox. OK, now the poll. We aren't asking what you hope will happen but what you honestly think is most likely to. We asked this same question in January 2013 and will be interested to compare results. Vote and say why.


Cardiac Fish:
 Marlins lead MLB in walk-off wins (11), one-run wins (32) and wins in last at-bat (21), after adding to each catgeory last night.

ON JOHNNY MIDDLE FINGER: So Johnny Manziel is playing badly in the Browns' preseason loss to 1aa1afingerWashington Sunday night and the Redskins are chirping to get under his skin and it works and Manziel flips a bird at their bench. (I bring you the screen grab without pixilating the gesture because anybody who's driven on I-95 has seen it). Johnny Football leads the NFL in jersey sales, but, we are reminded again, not in leadership or maturity. He's just a rookie, but you get the feeling he'll be doing the same s--- when he's 35. "I can tell you what the statement was that set him off," Redskins safety Ryan Clark said this morning on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike show. "[It] was, 'This isn't college anymore and these people are faster than you are.'" It's a valuable lesson for Browns' opponents: You needn't sack Manziel to get to him.

ON THE RAY ALLEN HOME CONTROVERSY: The trespassers in the former Heat player's Coral Gables 1aa1aallenhomehome (pictured; story here) is an interesting tale, and a quandary. To the cops who did not initially file charges against the seven teens (all 18 or 19), it was sort of dismissed as a harmless prank. No forced entry, nothing taken, end of story. But Allen, his family and lawyer are treating it like a traumatic home invasion and pressing the case, demanding justice. The State Attorney's Office is considering charges. I see Allen's point. Seven strangers, young adults with flashlights, are in his house uninvited at 2:30 in the morning, frightening his wife and young kids? Sorry, but that sounds like a crime to me. Dumbass kids who meant no harm? Maybe. You still don't do what they did. There also seem to be racial overtones in this. These were seven Hispanic teens from a wealthy neighborhood in a black man's home. I wonder if seven black teens in a white man's home would have been treated as such a harmless prank?


1aa1abeyonce"DEAR GREG...":
"...your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a photo of a wax Beyonce' standing with insouciance among a flock of disinterested wax geese from Madame Tussaud's in London. Thank you." Dear reader: I'll get right on it.

CATCHING UP WITH STITCHES: Remember Stitches, the local rapper who flared into 1aa1abrickpublic consciousness during the past NBA season when his song, "Brick In Yo Face," caught the attention of the Heat's lockerroom? (A scene from the video is pictured). I'd have imagined that Stitches' proverbial 15 minutes of fame would have expired by now, but his oddball cult celebrity is exhumed and rescussitated in a lengthy piece in the latest Broward New Times. Click here to read. It is everything you wanted to know about this guy, and probably much, much more.

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August 12, 2014

Who's to blame in Tony Stewart race tragedy? Poll. Vote; plus Philbin firing odds, Robin Williams, Heat pegged 6th, Mighty Quinn, Stanton & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13. Happy 65th birthday to one of the greatest guitarists and a personal favorite, Mark Knopfler. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins computerized win percentages, Fins sign Brady Quinn, Wade needles LeBron, boxing promoter becomes woman, Facekini, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

Christmas present: LeBron at Heat: NBA will release its regular season schedule this evening to reveal officially that Cleveland and LeBron James will visit Miami on Christmas Day. So you now have 134 more days to decide: Cheer or boo?


1aa1amanmannDolphins sign Brady Quinn:
 "When Quinn the Eskimo Quarterback gets here, everybody's gonna jump for joy." --"Mighty Quinn," Manfred Mann, 1968. (Click here to listen. It's trippy, baby!).
 

ASSESSING BLAME IN TONY STEWART'S ROLE IN ANOTHER DRIVER'S DEATH: I write in my latest column about the weekend tragedy in a sprint-car race on a dirt track in upstate New York, where NASCAR 1aa1astewart-wardsuperstar Tony Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old driver Kevin Ward Jr. (Ward, near left, and Stewart are pictured) You may click here to watch a video of the tragedy, although I caution that you may wish you had not. Click on The Culture of Racing to read my column in full. Many blame Ward for dangerously wandering onto a hot track during a race and attempting to confront Stewart. Others blame Stewart, even suggesting he could have avoided striking Ward. I see the gray in between, and fault the culture of auto racing that infects NASCAR and trickles down. The culture is one of confrontation and retaliation. It was just a matter of time before a tragedy like this occured. That's my opinion. Time for your's. Vote for the poll option that best represents how you feel, and say why. 

PROJECTIONS FOR DOLPHINS, TANNEHILL, PHILBIN, NFL: Miami has the NFL's 19th-best offense overall and No. 8 defense, according to new rankings by Pro Football Focus. The breakdown on O: QBs 1aa1ajoep9th, line 18th, receivers 19th and RBs 27th. On D: Edge rushers 5th, interior line 9th, secondary 13th and LBs 26th. Meanwhile here are Bovada's new betting odds in individual categories. Most passing yards--Drew Brees and Peyton Manning co-favorites to lead league at 11-4, with Ryan Tannehill tied for 16th at 100-1. Most rushing yards--Adrian Peterson the pick at 4-1, with no Dolphin at 100-1 or better. Receiving yards--Calvin Johnson favored at 13-5, with Mike Wallace tied for 26th at 66-1. Also of note,it's 33-1 against any team going 16-0. And Joe Philbin (pictured) is third at 7-1 in first-coach-to-be-fired odds, trailing only DAL's Jason Garrett (2-1) and OAK's Dennis Allen (4-1).

HEAT PICKED FOR 6TH IN CONFERENCE: ESPN's 219-person panel of NBA experts -- I think they have more experts than the NBA has players -- has put forth its Eastern Conference projected standings for the coming season. Their top eight (meaning playoff teams): 1. Cavaliers (56 wins), 2. Bulls (54), 3. Raptors (47), 4. Wizards (47), 5. Bobcats (45), 6. Heat (44), 7. Hawks (42), 8. Nets (39).

ON ROBIN WILLIAMS AND SUICIDE: Robin Williams' death shocked me and saddened me to the edge of tears. I heard my voice struggle as I reacted to the news. (I think the last celebrity death to affect 1aa1ameandrobinme in what felt like a personal way was that of Amy Winehouse). When the soon-after second wave of news said "reported suicide," the shock doubled. So did the sadness. I have since heard, and read on Twitter, a few unkind comments, as if the tragedy in such a loss is less because it came by the deceased's own hand. Somebody called Williams "selfish." For me, the tragedy in some ways is magnified by suicide because it speaks to such despair and hopelessness. Depression is a powerful, frightening thing. In Williams' case, none of his celebrity or wealth mattered; in the end, no one could help him. Millions adored and cheered for him; in the end, he was alone. So, so sad. I found Robin Williams to be a comic genius, a phrase overused that I use sparingly. It feels like America, not just the "entertainment industry," has lost someone truly special. Pictured is me in Williams' company a few years ago before a performance of his my wife and I saw at the Hard Rock in Hollywood. We were longtime big fans. We bought premium tickets for a pre-show meet-and-greet if I recall. The red lanyard holds my dorky VIP pass. I'd lost track of this photo before searching for it this morning. I think I'll keep track of it now. I recall being thrilled in a way I rarely am in the company of even the biggest sports stars. I can see it in my face here. Williams was kind in the short time we had with him.

GIANCARLO STANTON: "MVP! MVP!": The Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton has a big chance to become only 1aa1agstantonthe sixth player to win a league MVP award playing for a losing team (Miami is presently one game under .500). MondaY night was a wonderful advertisement: two home runs and a spectacular diving catch in right field. Stanton now leads the NL in homers (31) and RBIs (82) and is second in OPS (.960). His seven homers of 450-plus feet are more than everybody else's combined team total. At this point only Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw could beat Stanton, but most voters lean to the position player in a close call since the pitchers have their own award in the Cy Young. Even as the playoff chase slowly ebbs, Stanton is the reason to keep watching the Marlins.

50 YARDS TO GLORY: LATEST UPDATE: Here's what's new in our radio-bet quest to kick a 50-yard field 1aa1acotequadgoal. In a Saturday training session at St. Thomas Aquinas we did no better than 30 yards before straining a quad muscle. The injury -- depicted by a reader in the illustration shown -- will delay our planned on-air attempt today. In other news we have fired St. Thomas as our host over a controversial Tweet in which @STA_Football demeaned our dream of 50. I love that people are not quite sure if I'm serious about all this or not. I am! Sort of.

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August 10, 2014

Dolphins' predicted win %'s in every game; plus Brady Quinn, RIP Robin Williams, Wade's jab at LeBron, Hot Button Top 10, Le Batard & more

1aa1arobinw1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 11. R.I.P., Robin Williams, 63, one of our great comic actors, dead of an apparent suicide. Shocking. So, so sad. 2) Peyton and Eli Manning have a new hip-hop video (sort of) for DirecTV. It is splendidly awful. Click here to cringe or enjoy. In case you missed it, click here for my Saturday column on Alonzo Mourning's hall of fame induction. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tannehill sharp in preseaon-opener loss, Reshad Jones suspended, Dolphins-newcomer poll, Zo's big night, my 50 yards from glory & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

1aa1adwadejabD. Wade's gentle jab at LeBron?: Dwyane Wade's latest Instagram post today, unexplained, is this quotation: "Loyalty Is Rare, If You Find, Keep It." Interpret as you will.

Le Batard explains himself: Dan Le Batard reacts to his recent two-day ESPN suspension today in a new column for ESPN.com. Click here to read it.    

"Cleveland is ecstatic. Because of LeBron James and Johnny Manziel? Well, yeah, that too I suppose, now that you mention it. But I meant because the city is hosting the International Gay Games this week." --Greg Cote

HERE ARE WIN-LIKELIHOOD PERCENTAGES FOR EVERY DOLPHINS GAME: PredictionMachine.com computers replayed the 2014 season 50,000 times and spit out an average of 7.4 victories for the
1aa1apredictionDolphins -- foretelling the typical competitive-but-no-playoffs season. Miami is given a 12.2 percent chance to win the AFC East 1aa1adol0.4and a 13.9% shot at a wild card -- a combined postseason likelihood of 26.1%. The Dolphins are given a 0.4% chance -- less than half of 1 percent -- to win the Super Bowl. Here are game-by-game win percentages, from likeliest victory to unlikeliest: 60.2% vs. Bills (Game 10); 58.5% @ Jaguars (7); 55.0% vs. Jets (16); 54.2% @ Raiders (4); 54.1 @ Jets (12); 53.8% vs. Chiefs (3); 52.5% vs. Vikings (15); 50.8% @ Bills (2); 49.7% vs. Ravens (13); 43.7% vs. Chargers (8); 42.3% @ Bears (6); 39.3% vs. Packers (5); 38.5% vs. Patriots (1); 36.6% @ Lions (9); 29.3% @ Patriots (14); and 17.2% @ Broncos (11). PredictionMachine says the six AFC playoff teams in order will be Broncos, Patriots, Colts, Bengals, Chargers and Texans. For the NFC it's Saints, Seahawks, Giants, Packers, 49ers and Eagles. Most likely Super Bowl champions are the Broncos (25.1%), Seahawks to repeat (22.1%), Saints (15.8%) and Patriots (8.8%).

The Dolphins recycle: Quinn tops Grossman, Skelton in QB audition: Dolphins worked out
1aa1abradybodyquarterbacks Rex Grossman, Brady Quinn (pictured lookin' all sexy) and John Skelton today, with Quinn signed. This was because team's QB situation after starter Ryan Tannehill seemed in flux, with backup Matt Moore and third-string Pat Devlin both sitting out preseason opener injured, and Moore a pricey backup with a $4 million salary. Quinn of course is the guy many Dolfans hoped team drafted in 2007 (instead of Ted Ginn), but he has done little in NFL. Coach Joe Philbin was typically say-nothing on the auditions today: "We’ve had workouts almost every single day and it’s no different. We’re always evaluating different people that are out there." To me it felt like flying in these guys was mostly a message to Moore and Devlin; now it seems Quinn will supplant Devlin as the No. 3. Hey, now let's start a Tim Tebow rumor and really make this fun. Wait. Vince Young!

1aa1afrank2


1aa1afrankmaloneyFAMED BOXING PROMOTER BECOMES WOMAN:
You don't see this every day. It turns out famed British boxing promoter and manager Frank Maloney, now 61, who shepherded Lennox Lewis to the heavweight title in the '90s, is now a woman named Kellie. Click here for the story out of the UK. Frank and his female transmogrification are pictured.

1aa1afacekiniFASHION TREND: THE 'FACEKINI': Beachgores in China have popularized a bizarre head-covering designed to both protect the face from the sun's harmful rays and also to scare the living s--- out of children imagining an alien attack. Click here for thre backstory. This is a blog, so I couldn't say it if it weren't true.

HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Hot Button is an added Sunday feature of the blog because our Sunday notes-column package in the print edition has been on summer hiatus, scheduled to return to the newspaper on Aug. 24. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. Dolphins: Tannehill shines in preseason opener: Safety Reshad Jones was socked with four-game NFL suspension for PEDs. Better news: Ryan Tannehill was 6-for-6 on opening drive and new offense looked good early in 16-10 fake-game loss in Atanta.

2. UM football: Golden plays mind games: Coach Al Golden has his Hurricanes undergoing "mindfulness" sessions with neuroscientist Amishi Jha. UM fans hope that what players are most mindful of is blocking and tackling. 

3. Marlins: Huge homestand needed: Brad Penny won in first game back with Fish, but team is still 4.5 games back in wild-card chase entering Sunday. Miami will need a big showing in a nine-game homestand starting Monday to have a chance.

4. Dan Le Batard: LeBron prank leads to suspension: ESPN suspended Le Batard for two days from his TV and radio shows after he paid for billboards that read, "You're Welcome, LeBron. Love, Miami," to coincide with James' Akron homecoming. The billboards: $5,000. The publicity: Priceless.

5. Alonzo Mourning: Zo joins hall of fame: The Heat's first big star was among 10 newest members of the basketball hall of fame Friday night in Springfield, Mass. To say the inductees spoke a little long would be understating it. I think Nolan Richardson might still be talking.

6. Heat: Riley's well-timed shot: speaks: Pat Riley's ill feelings about how LeBron left the Heat continue to seep through. On Friday, the same day Akron officially welcomed James home, Riley released to "Heat Lifers" a forward-looking video full of optimism. Meanwhile James assured Cavs fans, "I don't plan on going nowhere" -- and was suspended four games for a grammatical double-negative.

7. Golf: Rory leads PGA Championship: Red-hot Rory McIlroy took a one-shot lead into Sunday's final round of the season's fourth and final major. Tiger Woods missed the cut. Rory insists the"next Tiger" talk is premature. Win today and the insisting will be harder.

8. Biogenesis: Charges filed: One year after the story first broke, the feds arrested Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch and others connected to the Coral Gables steroids mill that implicated Alex Rodrguez and others in MLB. Just when you think baseball's "Steroids Era" is over, it isn't.

9. NASCAR: Stewart involved in tragedy: Tony Stewart withdrew from Sunday's NASCAR race after accidentally striking and killing another driver in a Saturday dirt-track race.

10. NCAA: O'Bannon ruling: NCAA said it will appeal after judge ruled against it in landmark case that would open door for college athletes to receive some of the money they generate in major college sports. The way the legal system works, I wonder if Ed O'Bannon, 41, will still be alive to someday collect.

1aa1ablazorPoll result: Lazor, Albert and Landry lead Dolphins newcomers: In the previous blogpost we gave you 12 choices for the Dolphins' top newcomer/biggest addition (you may still vote), and three men dominated: Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor (pictured) with 27.4 percent, OT Branden Albert with 25.6% and WR Jarvis Landry with 22.2%. On a distant second tier were CB Cortland Finnegan (7.0%) and OT Ja'Wuan James (6.6%). Showing minor support were RB Knowshon Moreno (3.1%) and S Louis Delmas (2.9%). The five others mopped up with negligible votes.

1aa1adanback
THE TICKET CAPITALIZES ON LE BATARD SUSPENSION:
Radio station 104.3 & 790 The Ticket bought this full-page ad in the Miami Herald on Sunday to welcome back Dan today/Monday following his two-day ESPN suspension for those tweaking-LeBron billboards in Akron. Nice touch to show the "offending" billboard on the bottom of the ad. Take that, ESPN!

50 YARDS FROM GLORY: THE LATEST: My bet with Le Batard that I can make a 50-yard field goal (an unadulterated radio-show gimmick) is not looking good. I worked out Saturday at St. Thomas Aquinas High with kicking coach Tim Conrad and did not top 30 yards before a strained quad muscle cut short the session. Stugotz was there; if only his moral support translated to added yardage. Have I given up? No. But the injury will force me to postpone my live-on-the-air attempt that had been planned for Tuesday. Meantime a video of me kicking on Saturday is posted on my Instagram account @ upsetbird. Updates to come.

1aa1adolcheercoverDOLPHIN CHEERLEADERS UPDATE: The Dolphins cheerleaders have revealed their 2015 calendar and the suspense has ended. Now, at long last, we can tell you that Monica (pictured) is the cover girl. Was she the betting favorite? Not sure. One more question. Why can't the Dolphins ever look as good on the field as the cheerleaders do in a calendar?

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