January 23, 2016

'Making A Murderer' video spoof starring me from LeBatard Show/Fusion TV; plus NFL Championship-Round playoff picks with who'll win Super Bowl poll. Vote now!; also, your greatest-NBA-center verdict & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, JANUARY 23. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins earning back trust, greatest-NBA-centers poll, Kiper downgrades Fins draft, Heat/Panthers simultaneous slumps, return of Sarah Palin & more. 2Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Congrats to Heat star Dwyane Wade for earning yet another NBA All-Star Game start. At 34, D.Wade is aging as gracefully and effectively as most any athlete I have covered or seen." --Greg Cote

UPSET BIRD DAY: NFL CHAMPIONSHIP-ROUND PLAYOFF PICKS: Nope, the Upset Bird is quiet today as the NFL playoffs pare to a final four with Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship Games. I Fripix Champgameslike both favorites, the visiting Patriots (at Broncos) and the homie Panthers (over Cardinals). By the way, Cinderella couldn't get past the velvet rope this year. No classic 'dog left in the hunt. In fact this is the first time in 11 years both conference title games have been No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups in terms of seeding. Click on Championship-Round Gems for our two full prediction capsules. Also, click on Brady-Manning: The Latest And Last for our weekly Friday Page NFL column. It centers on the 17th and likely final duel in the epic Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry. Great rivalries always end with a winner, and the winner always is Time. In the poll below, it's who you think will win the Super Bowl, NOT who you want to win. Vote here with mind, not heart. You have $100 to bet on one team, straight up, to win it all. Who you got?

Showkiller'MAKING A SHOWKILLER': Fusion TV today rolled out a pretty clever spoof of Making A Murderer, the popular Netflix docu-series. It is Making A Showkiller, a promo for my Tuesday co-host role on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz. Showkiller (sometimes Showkilla) is a nickname of mine on the show for reasons I'll leave to the listener and viewer. Anyway, fun spoof and thanks to Charlie Hulme and the folks at Fusion. Click on Making a Showkiller to watch.

Poll result: Kareem, Wilt and Bill the Big 3 centers: We asked your vote for greatest NBA center of all-time in an alphabetical poll using ESPN's Top 10, and three guys accounted for almost 80 percent of the votes. It was Kareem-Abdul Jabbar winning with 29.6 percent followed by Wilt Chamberlain 26.9% and Bill Russell 21.6%. Then it was a huge dropoff but notable support for Shaquille O'Neal (8.4%) and Hakeem Olajuwon (8.0%). None of the other five had even 2%.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 19, 2015

UM's latest basketball recruiting gets a tribute to Larranaga's stewardship; plus Dolphins' playoff odds, David Beckham, cheetah picks NASCAR/Homestead winner, SOPY rankings, NFL Week 10 Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy results & more

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

Paris1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19. PRAY FOR PARIS, AND FOR PEACE ON EARTH. 2) I'm back at Friday Page HQ today bringing forth my NFL Week 11 picks, girding loins for a better effort than last week. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's Titans-Jaguars pick. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win in Philly with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Fins in random fives are announcing the club's all-time 50 greatest players. The latest wave: Bob Brudzinski, Norm Evans, Mike Pouncey, Patrick Surtain and Jason Taylor. Taylor is obvious. Evans and Surtain are expected. Brudzinksi for me is borderline but I'm OK with it. Surprised by Pouncey mainly for the lack of longevity.

 "BeckhamDavid Beckham has been named People's latest 'Sexiest Man Alive.' Too bad he hasn't been named 'Most Successful Man Alive at Closing an MLS Stadium Deal in Miami.'" --Greg Cote

On Canes' coach-search: This week's latest column from me is on the Hurricanes' search to replace fired football coach Al Golden and his interim fill-in Larry Scott. UM must find a great coach whose strength is recruiting and the ability to win back the South Florida talent-market. The priority should not be appeasing fans by necessarily hiring someone with Canes ties. Click on Recruiting The Best to read the column in full.

CANES' BIG RECRUITING GETS A TRIBUTE TO LARRANAGA'S STEWARDSHIP: UM basketball's 2016 recruiting class soared into the national top 10 rankings with the addition this week of Miami Norland 6- Larranaga10 power forward Dewan Huell and Massachusetts 6-4 shooting guard Bruce Brown. The biggest schools in the sport, like Louisville and Kansas, were after Huell. It's a tribute to coach Jim Larranaga and where he has the Canes program now and where it is headed under his stewardship. In Larranaga and women's coach Katie Meier, UM has one of the elite coaching duos in the entire country. Rock solid. South Florida is in good shape generally at the coach level at the moment among our top teams. The Heat's Erik Spoelstra is excellent, the Marlins made a promising managerial hire in Don Mattingly, and it seems the Panthers finally have a guy they can win with in Gerard Gallant. The questions are in football. Will Dan Campbell be a keeper for the Dolphins or will a postseason search open? That's to be determined. And the Canes job is wide open, of course. The U would do well to make a hire even approaching the quality of what basketball has in Larranaga and Meier.

DOLPHINS PLAYOFF CHANCES: A PULSE, BUT STILL A FAINT ONE: Winning in Philadelphia elevated the Dolphins' playoff chances from negligible to small. The computers of makenflplayoffs.com put Miami's playoff likelihood at 12.7 percent and numberfire.com has it at 7.2% entering this coming weekend -- both ranking the Fins 12th in the jockeying for six AFC postseason tickets. Patriots, Bengals and Broncos are the consensus definitely-in picks. The 4-5-6 seeds will be Steelers, Bills and Colts according to makenflplayoffs, and Steelers, Colts and Jets according to numberfire.

CheetahCHEETAH FORECASTS NASCAR/HOMESTEAD WINNER: Sorry, storybook-ending fans. Retiring Jeff Gordon won't be going out a champion in Sunday's season-ending race south of Miami. Koda, a 2-year-old cheetah and official Zoo Miami "wildlife prognosticator," chose Kevin Harvick from among the four miniature die-cast cars of the title-contending final four of Harvick, Gordon, Martin Truex and Kyle Busch. Koda is pictured ruminating over his decision. Zoo officials denied it was a publicity stunt.

SOPY: FLOWERS POWER! 'STATE HEISMAN' HAS A NEW LEADER: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- is too close to call as we reach the final stretch. It's Sopynow South Florida QB Quinton Flowers narrowly ahead of Florida State RB Dalvin Cook. It's pretty much a two-man race because FIU QB Alex McGough has fallen to third place and has played one additional game than the players he must catch. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. 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. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 12:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 11

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W11        Season

1 (t2)       Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   223         1,717

2 (t2)       Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             167        1,661

3 (1)        Alex McGough, FIU-qb          37         1,543.5

4 (5)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          153        1,236.5

5 (7)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          290        1,206

6 (4)        Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             15         1,167

7 (6)        Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       153        1,108

8 (9)         Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      139       956 

9 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       126        929

10 (8)       Everett Golson, FSU-qb          26         889.5

Bubble: Will Grier, Florida-qb, 789. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 713. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 290 (Wk11). Note: FIU has played 11 games; all others 10.

Cote's State of the State ranking: 1. Florida (9-1); 2. Florida State (8-2); 3. Miami (6-4); 4. South Florida (6-4); 5. FIU (5-6); 6. FAU (2-8); 7. UCF (0-10).

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 10: OH THE AWFULNESS! RECORD EMBARRASSMENT!: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams, and, this week, the admission pains us: Pix: A record-worst week: This is our 25th 1aacote2
1lobosseason doing the Friday Page picks and we have never -- ever -- had worse week than last week's 2-12 record overall and 3-11 against the spread. I mean, there were some weird results and losing picks I'd probably make again. But still. No excuses. Just abysmal. Or, as the Upset Bird muttered: "Aaawwwkful!" Greg's Lobos / family league: Another loss: The original Lobos lost 125-112 to fall to 4-6, off playoff pace but still in it with four weeks left in our regular season. Rode Adrian Peterson for 31 big points, but five positions scoring in single-figures and only 12 points from Drew Brees killed us. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Big loss to open playoffs: The LeBatard Show Lobos fell 117.1 to 69.4 to Bills in the first round of our playoffs. It's a two-game opening series so I'm still alive but would need to rout Billy next week to have any chance. Ill-timed bye weeks ruined me this week. Just-signed Joe Flacco was our MVL with 20.1 points but we had two guys score zero. Miserable showing for the 'Bos. Embarrassing. But, yes, I do believe in miracles, so watch us next week.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

September 30, 2015

Set the bar on Heat expectations. Poll. Vote now!; plus Philbin firing/Heat title odds, 'Marlins Man' takes on anti-Golden air force, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos Fantasy results, updated SOPY rankings; also, hear Pope Francis' new song (seriously) & more

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

1) IT IS WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30: Welcome back to the Herald our new Heat and NBA insider, Ethan Skolnick. 2) Season over for Giancarlo Stanton. No surprise, and a smart call. 3) The latest five members of the Dolphins' all-time team announced by the club: Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Mandich and Dan Marino. How the hell did Marino get in there!?! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins collapse vs. Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Anti-Golden flyovers verdict & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Philbin now most likely to be fired: New Bovada odds today have Dolphins coach Joe Philbin the likeliest NFL coach to be fired during the season at 9-4 odds. (Next hottest seats belong to Lions' Jim Caldwell 4-1, Colts' Chuck Pagano 7-1 and Browns' Mike Pettine 15-2). I doubt Philbin keeps his job after this year but doubt he'll be fired in-season.

Wade leads Heat in 13th year: Click The Great Unknown for my latest column off Heat media day as team opens preseason camp at FAU. The unknown: Miami relying on starting five that hasn't been on court together at all. What you can count on? Dwyane Wade. Again. 

SETTING THE BAR ON HEAT EXPECTATIONS: The Heat has accrued such trust as a franchise that we accept last season's non-playoff year as an aberration that won't be repeated. We assume the playoffs. We assume
1aa1aheat 1aa1adragicwadewinning -- it's just a matter of how much. We assume the postseason -- it's just a matter of how far. So: How far? What are your thoughts for the Heat as Miami opens training camp today at FAU? For me, an NBA title is too much to expect but a place in the Eastern finals (presumably vs . LeBron's Cavaliers) might not be. For me that's the high side, the optimum that's in the realm of realistic. A top-four seed? Realistic. Then again I've also read and heard the Heat forecast as a likelier lower East seed, maybe sixth or seventh. I'm curious what your realistic expectations are at this point -- not what you hope, but what you'd bet is most probably -- with a starting lineup of Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic (pictured), Chris Bosh and Luol Deng and center Hassan Whiteside, plus added depth. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

Heat, NBA championship odds: Via Bovada today, Cleveland is updated NBA title favorite at 11-4 odds, followed by San Antonio at 3-1 and Golden State at 5-1. Miami and Chicago are tied for second in the East and seventh overall at 20-1.

'MARLINS MAN' (YEAH, THAT GUY) COMING TO AL GOLDEN'S DEFENSE: 'Marlins Man' Laurence Leavy 1aa1amarlinsman(pictured), the Fort Lauderdale lawyer who seems to spend a lot more time being a sports fan than being a lawyer, is renting a plane to fly a pro-Al Golden banner over the Miami Hurricanes' next home game Oct. 17 vs. Virginia Tech. The banner is to read, "Keep Golden -- He's Class, Not Trash." Leavy is fed up with the anti-Golden flyovers haunting the skies above UM games and wanted to counter that air force with one of his own. Interesting. AIR WARS!

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 3: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosfantasy teams. Pix: I am man, hear me roar!: Great bounce-back week for us at 13-3 overall and 10-6 against the spread. Nailed outright upset wins by Bills and Eagles and had Raiders-plus-points. Greg's Lobos / family league: Big loss: The original Lobos got buried 176-133 to fall to 1-2. Had Adrian Peterson, Seahawks defense and Odell Beckham all score in the 20s, but my opponent got 90 combined from A.J. Green and Steve Smith. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Yes! Off the schneid!: The new Lobos crushed Papi, 164-59.3, making us 1-2. Got a big 42.3 points from game MVL (Most Valuable Lobo) Devonta Freeman. I decided to start him 10 minutes before kickoff. I choose to call that great coaching.

SOPY: FIU'S McGOUGH MAINTAINS NO. 1 AS BYES KICK IN: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY 1aa1asopyrankings -- State Offensive Player of the Year -- find FIU quarterback Alex McGough maintaining his lead after Week 4. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. 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 they are cumulative, players on a bye week (starting this past week) take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 5:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 4

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W4        Season

1 (1)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         150.5     687

2 (6)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            153.5     523.5 

3 (2)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             BYE      522

4 (3)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb    BYE     445

5 (4)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          BYE     434.5

6 (7)          Greg Howell, FAU-rb             82        420

7 (8t)        Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             99        417

8 (5)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb  BYE     391

9 (--)         Thomas Owens, FIU-wr         50       354

10 (--)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       110      336

Bubble: Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb, 327. Other team leader: Tre'Quan Smith, UCF-wr, 245. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 284 (Wk2). Note: Miami, FSU and South Florida 3 games each; all others 4.

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

1aa1afrancismusicHEAR POPE FRANCIS' NEW SINGLE. NO, SERIOUSLY: Fresh off his successful tour of the U.S., Pope Francis plans to release a musical album called Wake Up! (pictured) on Nov. 27. (This is a blog. I couldn't say it if it weren't true?) The album features the pontiff's speeches set to orchestral rock and pop music as well as to Gregorian chants, and proceeds will benefit a support fund for refugees. The first released single is called "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!" (The pope loves exclamation points!). Click HERE for a Rolling Stone piece on the album, and to hear the single, a 5 minute 12 second opus in which the Pope is not heard until the 2:00 mark. And, yes ... yes it is about as strange as you might imagine. Francis will support the album with a winter tour featuring opening act Miley Cyrus. OK I made up that last part.

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 13, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 34.2%; plus UM finishes strong, whips FAU 44-20; also it's Upset Bird Day in Miami, Stugotz reigns in LeBatard Show fantasy poll, remembering 9/11 & more

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


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12. It was 14 years ago yesterday. 'Never forget' doesn't just mean once a year. 2)
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBatard Show fantasy-draft poll, Upset Bird Countdown, Weighing The Fish, Serena verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My UM-FAU game column: Click on Howard's Night, Al's Burden for my column from Boca Raton off last night's 44-20 Hurricanes win. It was the night Howard Schnellenberger dreamed of (minus the lightning delay that upset him), but it was hardly the night of Al Golden's dreams, at least not early. And find our gamepost and postgame thoughts in the blog just below the latest CSM poll. 

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 34.2%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 34.2 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Friday's 44-20 victory at FAU putting 1aa1acsmMiami's season record at 2-0. The CSM, in its seventh season, 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, this season as a whole, 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 10 a.m. today/Sunday.

Interpreting the latest vote: Not usual to see a drop in approval after your team goes to 2-0 with a 24-point road win, but UM fas had two-thirds of Friday's game to wring hands over a poor showing before that late surge. The lesser opponent also factors in. So does widespread animus against Al Golden, which doubtlessly is impacting the voting in 2015.

2015 CSM Results

Week 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Week 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Next poll: Sept. 19 (following game vs. Nebraska) 

G2: HURRICANES 44, FAU 20: STRONG FINISH SPARES UM AN EMBARRASSMENT: Final: What a bizarre night all-round. Another hour-plus lightning delay pauses a second straight UM game. And for much of the night, before and after the delay, the Canes struggle with underdog FAU (tied 20-20) before finally pulling away to a comfy-enough 44-20 win. Fleeting thoughts of a major upset dissipated fast as Miami took control. An impressive win by Miami? No. But the tenor of the game and who had the emotional edge was predictable. This was the biggest home game in FAU history and set a stadium record by drawing 30,321 fans. For UM, this was just a smaller opponent with thoughts of Nebraska, here next Saturday. I expected the look-ahead factor to cause a fairly competitive game; see my predicted score below. I had it 45-20, missing an exacto by one point. ..... Original post: Welcome to Howard Bowl II as the program Howard 1aa1acanesfauSchnellenberger founded hosts the program he put on the national map and made a champion. This doesn't present as the waltz last week was for Miami, the 45-0 home saunter past undermanned Bethune-Cookman. Florida Atlantic is bigger and better than B-C. Let's not over-dramatize it, though. The Canes are an 18-point favorite and this should not come down to fingers-crossed in the fourth quarter for UM fans who make the short trek up to Boca for their school's first visit to FAU's neat little campus stadium (the House That Howard Built). It seats just under 30,000 and it'll be filled and rocking tonight. Looking forward to the ambience, and the game could be exciting, too, if you love scoring. The Owls don't have the defense to limit Brad Kaaya and company much. Then again, FAU quarterback Jacquez Johnson is capable (and experienced) in the art of the shootout. UM won these teams' only other meeting, Howard Bowl I, by 34-6 in 2013. By the way, Schnellenberger, the Wise Old Owl now 81, says he thinks FAU has a real upset shot tonight and doesn't see much difference between the programs' talent levels. God help Al Golden if he's proven right. My pick: Hurricanes, 45-20.

Other college Week 2 state FBS games (in order of kickoff time; all today/Saturday):

No. 11 Florida State 34, South Florida 14: Dalvin Cook crazies for 266 yards rushing for Noles.

Florida 31, East Carolina 24: Not a win to please the Swampers

Indiana 36, FIU 22: Panthers fail to bag a second straight big road upset.

Stanford 31, UCF 7: Knights now a disappointing 0-2.

1aa1afripixIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN MIAMI. HELL, IN AMERICA!: Our 10-day countdown is over. Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions has begun! A Miami Herald tradition that began in 1991 continues with our Week 1 picks, which got off to a fortunate solid start Thursday as we called Patriots' win over Steelers and lucked to push against the spread thanks to that (very) late Pittsburgh score. Click on Week 1 Gems for all our opening-week picks, including the Dolphins' expected comfortable win in Washington. And click on Fearful Forecast for our accompanying NFL column that features our division-by-division picks as we try to break with long-standing tradition by actually getting a Super Bowl prediction right for a bleepin' change. We'll update you every Tuesday here in the blog on how we're doing with our picks.

STUGOTZ ANOINTED LEBATARD FANTASY-LEAGUE FAVORITE; GREG'S LOBOS FIFTH: We invited you to vote in a blind poll based on all teams' first four picks, not knowing which of 10 LeBatard radio show players you were voting for. Your winner: Stugotz (pictured exalting in his triumph) in a runaway. Greg's Lobos: fifth place. Teams you liked least: LeBatard and his Papi. Here are your results:

1aa1astugotz1st place: JON "STUGOTZ" WEINER, co-host, Team #1/led by Adrian Peterson, 31.1%.

2nd: "FAT" CHRIS, Shipping Container, Team #8/Julio Jones, 14.3%.

3rd: BILLY, Shipping Container, Team #7/Marshawn Lynch, 12.6%.

4th: MIKE RYAN, producer, Team #2/Le'Veon Bell, 12.2%.

5th: GREG COTE, Tuesday guest host -- me, Greg's Lobos! -- Team #9/Andrew Luck, 11.6%.

6th (tie): ALLYSON, Shipping Container, Team #4/Jamaal Charles, 5.6%.

6th (tie): CHARLIE, Fusion TV, Team #6/Rob Gronkowski, 5.6%.  

8th: ROY, Shipping Container, Team #3/Eddie Lacy, 4.6%.

9th: DAN LEBATARD, radio god, Team #10/C.J. Anderson, 1.7%.

10th: PAPI, Dan's dad, Team #5/Antonio Brown, 0.7%.

Note: There are two Greg's Lobos teams, this one in the radio fantasy league and the original Lobos in my family league. We'll be updating you on the radio league every Tuesday on-air, and I'll update you on both Lobos teams Tuesdays here in the blog. 

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 10, 2015

LeBatard Show fantasy-draft results. Who picked the best team? New poll. Vote now!; plus Patriots-Steelers pick, Upset Bird Countdown (1 day), new 'Weighing The Fish,' verdict on Serena & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10. Today I research and write the season-debut of the Friday NFL predictions page. Pray for me. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Serena Williams G.O.A.T. poll, Howard Schnellenberger what-if, Breakfast with LeBatard, Riley speaks, debut of SOPY rankings, Marlins '16 home schedule, Stephen Colbert, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Patriots-Steelers pick: One day ahead of our Friday Page launch, today we offer our pick on tonight's Steelers-at-Patriots NFL season opener. Click on Kicking It Off for the full predix capsule. 

UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 1 DAY: Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions in 1aa1afripix

1aa1acardsstl 1aa1a1the Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11 -- tomorrow -- and we've been doing a 10-day countdown. This year's theme: Bird-related nicknames from America's Big Four sports, newest to oldest. And today, at No. 1: St. Louis Cardinals, born 1900! [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66; #6--Baltimore Orioles/'54; #5--Atlanta Hawks/'51; #4--Philadelphia Eagles/'33; #3--Chicago Blackhawks/'26; #2--Arizona Cardinals/'20].

LEBATARD RADIO SHOW FANTASY DRAFT: WHO PICKED THE BEST TEAM?: We did a similar blind poll a few weeks ago after my family-league fantasy draft, and you all voted my team, Greg's Lobos, No. 1. 1aa1adanshow 1aa1adanshowdraftWill I be as lucky again here? This blind vote involves the 10-team LeBatard radio show fantasy draft that took place online yesterday. After the vote we'll tell you who's with what team and thus who you voted best to worst. League members are LeBatard, Stugotz, Mike Ryan, me, Allyson, Charlie, Roy, Billy, Chris and Papi. That of course is not the order of teams in the poll. Teams are listed by draft order in a standard PPR league. Vote for who made the most of his or her first four picks -- which team you'd most want based on the names you see.

1aa1afishweighWEIGHING THE FISH (140 GAMES): We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and this year we debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- WTF! -- is a once-every-10-games cumulative ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Eleven qualify for our latest ranking (we eliminated the departed Michael Morse). WTF factors six offensive categories, serving as an ongoing de facto team MVP race -- a race Stanton led comfortably before his injury absence. The numbers below might not mean much by themselves, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who is having the best overall season or is hot/cold. Here's the WTF after 140 games (at 59-81):


Rank Player                   WTF#  @130

1  Dee Gordon                  462.6    1

2  Adeiny Hechevarria   366.5   3

3  Giancarlo Stanton     362.5    2

4  Martin Prado              345.9    4

5  Christian Yelich         323.2   5

6  Jacob Realmuto         315.0   6

7  Justin Bour                 302.1    8

8  Marcell Ozuna            292.2   7

9  Ichiro Suzuki              239.3   9

10  Derek Dietrich          212.2   10

11  Cole Gillespie            150.7   11

Note: Season WTFs leader-count is now Stanton 8, Gordon 5.

Poll result: Strong support for Serena as G.O.A.T.: We asked if you think Serena Williams is the greatest of all-time in women's tennis, and 61.2 percent said yes while another 15.9% said not yet but headed there. The remaining 22.9% said no.

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 09, 2015

Serena Williams is the G.O.A.T. Isn't she? New poll. Vote now!; plus Upset Bird Countdown (2 days), Stephen Colbert, playing what-if with Schellenberger, Marlins 2016 home schedule, Riley on Heat, LeBatard to a.m., SOPY Week 1 rankings & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Marlins Park will host teams from Venezuela and Dominican Republic Nov. 21-22 in the first 'Serie de las Americas' tournament. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, the next-to-last that will appear in the print edition, meaning the newspaper. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canesfan Satisfaction Meter Game 1 poll and results, Hot Button Top 10, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

1aa1acolbertOn Stephen Colbert: His debut last night helming CBS' Late Show was uneven and found him seeming a bit nervous, as you'd expect. The interviews with George Clooney and Jeb Bush weren't great. Some of the bits failed. Make no mistake, though: Colbert is a smart comedic genius or close enough for me, his band is great, and the show will be terrific. Give it time to breathe.

 

UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 2 DAYS: Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions 1aa1aazcards 1aa1a2in 1aa1afripix


the Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11. We are doing a 10-day countdown. This year's countdown theme is bird-related nicknames from America's Big Four sports, newest to oldest. Today, at No. 2: Arizona Cardinals, born 1920. [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66; #6--Baltimore Orioles/'54; #5--Atlanta Hawks/'51; #4--Philadelphia Eagles/'33; #3Chicago Blackhawks/'26].

SERENA: G.O.A.T. (GREATEST OF ALL TIME)?: Compelling. Watching Serena Williams defeat her sister Venus 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in the U.S. Open last night was great sports, great TV, great theater. I have seldom seen Venus play better; not for years, anyway. Neither have I seen Serena more intense in a match vs. 1aa1aserenawher sister -- a passion she needed to keep alive her dream of accomplishing the sport's first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. Winning the Open this week would also tied Graf's 22 career Grand Slam titles for second all-time, trailing only Margaret Court's 24. Serena, who lives in Palm Beach, will turn 34 on Sept. 26. She is a marvel, a rarity -- playing her best tennis, at this age. I think she will surpass Court and make it mathematically official but, for me, that isn't required. For me, right now, Serena is the greatest women's player of all time. Some of it may be generational (athletes are just better now). Just as it's hard to imagine Bill Russell defending Shaq, it's hard to imagine Chris Evert dealing with Serena's physical game and power. I doubt most will agree with me that Serena is the G.O.A.T. A fraction of the resistance may be racial. I think most of it is simply that Serena is not the easiest athlete to like. She has some diva in her, some temper. But that is part of her game, too. Gives her some of her swagger. In any case, take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: THE ULTIMATE GAME OF "WHAT IF...": Call it Schnellenberger Week in South Florida, with FAU hosting the Miami Hurricanes this Friday night in a battle of the two football programs he built from scratch (Owls) or saved and made powerful (Canes). The occasion was bigger, 1aa1ahow1 1aa1ahow2more historic, in 2013 when these schools met for the first time, but I'll take any opportunity to appreciate Schnellenberger, now 81. (Some may recall my column from Aug. 5 promoting the man for the college Hall of Fame; click on Howard Deserves the Hall to read). This week invites the ultimate game of "What If," Miami sports edition. What if Schnellenberger had never left UM, after that '83 national championship, to pursue that ill-fated Miami USFL job that never materialized? Wouldn't at least some of those subsequent four UM national titles been on his watch? Isn't it very possible he'd have become Miami's Bobby Bowden -- the long-serving Canes coach Miami never has managed in its modern era? Howard is reluctant to admit regrets about leaving UM when he did. "If I had the same group of facts I would have made the same decision a second time," he says. But, with hindsight 20/20, the regret seeps through when he adds, "Common sense says we probably would have been able to continue in the direction we were going, which would include some [additional] championships." Bottom line: "I make a decision and I live with it," he says. And here's the glass, half-full, not empty: Had Howard stayed at UM, he might never have gone on to resurrect the Louisville program or start the one at FAU -- the one with the great little 30,000-seat stadium that is hosting Friday's game because Schnellenberger saw it built. Pictured are two of Schnellenberger's lasting monuments: UM's first national championship, and FAU's campus stadium.  

1aa1adanshowBREAKFAST WITH LEBATARD!: The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz made its ballyhooed move from afternoons to mornings yesterday, debuting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on The Ticket Miami and 10-1 on ESPN Radio. No me, though. I'm the regular Tuesday guest-host, but the show wanted the new-time debut to be feature regulars only, no guest host. My ego had a slight bruise, but I was a little upset totally understood!

Heat's Riley sort of not quite says he has a championship roster: On LeBatard yesterday Heat president Pat Riley said, "This team has all of the elements of a championship team." And, "This team has the opportunity and the possibilities of being a contender. I’m excited about this season." Um, but Pat also said: "You know what I’m going to say. I was a coach, and if I had five guys off the street, I would say we could win a championship. That’s either my naivete' or competitive will."

MARLINS COMPLETE 2016 HOME SCHEDULE: Miami will open the season at home with two games vs 1aa1abbmarlinsthe Detroit Tigers next April 5-6. The complete 81-game home schedule: APRIL: 5-6 vs. Tigers; 15-17 vs. Braves; 18-21 vs. Nationals. MAY: 3-5 vs. Diamondbacks; 6-8 vs. Phillies; 9-11 vs. Brewers; 20-22 vs. Nationals; 23-24 vs. Rays; 30-31 vs. Pirates. JUNE: 1-2 vs. Pirates; 3-5 vs. Mets; 17-20 vs. Rockies; 21-22 vs. Braves; 23-26 vs. Cubs. JULY: 8-10 vs. Reds; 11-14: All-Star Break; 22-24 vs. Mets; 25-27 vs. Phillies; 28-31 vs. Cardinals. AUGUST: 8-10 vs. Giants; 12-14 vs. White Sox; 23-25 vs. Royals; 26-28 vs. Padres. SEPTEMBER: 5-7 vs. Phillies; 9-11 vs. Dodgers; 19-21 vs. Nationals; 22-25 vs. Braves; 26-28 vs. Mets.

SOPY: FAU'S JOHNSON TAKES EARLY LEAD IN 'STATE HEISMAN': Welcome back to the fourth season of 1aa1asopy 1aa1ajjohnsonour blog's SOPY: State Offensive Player of the Year -- our weekly rankings of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams. This is a cumulative ranking that encompasses Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. 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. Our Week 1 leader is Jacquez Johnson (pictured), the dual-threat FAU Owls QB the Hurricanes will face in Boca Raton this Friday. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 for Week 1:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 1

Rk      Player, team-pos.                W1/Season

1        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      240.5

2        Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                 181

3        Everett Golson, FSU-qb            175

4        Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                155

5        Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb      151.5

6        Greg Howell, FAU-rb                 150

7        Alex McGough, FIU-qb              148

8t       Will Grier, Florida-qb                143

8t       Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb             143

10       Treon Harris, Florida-qb          142.5

Bubble: Justin Holman, UCF-qb, 140.5. Other team leader: Rashawn Scott, Miami-wr, 106. Season best: Johnson, FAU-qb, 240.5, Week 1. Note: All teams 1 game each.

SOPY Champions: 2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968; 2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107; 2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5.

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

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

September 07, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 62.3%; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) with Hurricanes, Dolphins, Brady, Marlins, Serena, Heat, FIU; also Upset Bird Countdown (4 days) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Happy Labor Day, fellow workers! 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, the next-to-last that will appear in the print edition, meaning the newspaper. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rout Bethune in opener, College Week 1, Izzy Gutierrez tells the truth, Dan Marino makes wine, Dolphins' cut day, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 4 DAYS: Our 25th Silver Anniversary season of Friday Page NFL predictions 1aa1afripix

1aa1a4 1AA1AEAGLESPHILin the Miami Herald, featuring the creepy yet prescient, love-him-or-hate-him Upset Bird, launches Sept. 11. We are doing a 10-day countdown. This year's countdown theme is bird-related nicknames from America's Big Four sports, newest to oldest. Today, at No. 4: Philadelphia Eagles, born 1933. [Previous: #10--Toronto Blue Jays/1977; #9--Seattle Seahawks/'76; #8--Pittsburgh Penguins/'67; #7--Atlanta Falcons/'66; #6--Baltimore Orioles/'54; #5--Atlanta Hawks/'51].

SOPY!: Watch for season's first weekly SOPY ranking here Tuesday/tomorrow in the blog. That's our college football State Offensive Player of the Year rankings encompassing FLA's seven FBS teams.

Small opponent, but big opener: Click on Canes Catch Lightning for my column off Saturday's 45-0 Hurricanes season-opening home win over Bethune-Cookman. 

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 62.3%: Results are certified official in our season's first Canesfan Satisfaction 1aa1acsmMeter postgame polls -- and they show 62.3 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Saturday's season-opening 45-0 victory over visiting Bethune-Cookman. Overall satisfaction is a combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes. The CSM, in its seventh season, 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, this season as a whole, 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 11 a.m. today/Monday.

Interpreting the Week 1 results: A low-60s approval rating is unusually low following a win as convincing as 45-0. Three factors were in play. 1) The "it was only Bethune" caveat; 2) lingering hangover of last year's 6-7 season; and 3) an organized effort late in the voting cycle that stuffed the ballot box with "very dissatisfied" votes and pushed the overall approval rating down from what otherwise would have been in the 75 range.

2015 CSM Results

Week 1: 62.3% overall satisfaction (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Next poll: Friday night (following game at Florida Atlantic)

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2014--2.7% overall satisfaction (following 6-7 season); 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 (UPDATED): TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. HURRICANES: Lightning strikes! UM routs Bethune-Cookman in opener: Small opponent, big opener as Al Golden Year 5 launched Saturday night with a 45-0 rout of Bethune-Cookman. The game was delayed 75 minutes by lightning, after which the Canes scored three quick TDs to bust it open. UM plays FAU this Friday, after which the real season will start.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins cut roster to 53, open next Sunday: You know it's a boring Cut Day when biggest news is Andrew Franks unseating Caleb Sturgis as the kicker. Dolphins now prepare to open season next Sunday at Washington. First six QBs Miami faces will be Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, rookie Marcus Mariota and Brian Hoyer. And you wonder why Fins cornerbacks are smiling!?

3. NFL: Brady freed as Patriots-Steelers kick off season Thursday night: The federal court overturned Tom Brady's four-game Deflategate suspension, meaning the Patriots star QB is free to play Thursday night as New England host Steelers to open season. Things could only be going worse for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell if he'd turned up on that list of outed Ashley Madison infidelity clients.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Few upsets as Week 1 launches: Unanimous No. 1 Ohio State plays tonight, but Kickoff Saturday saw few notable upsets, with No. 15 Arizona State the highest-ranked team to lose. That's because most big schools open with cupcake opponents (see UM-Bethune, FSU-Texas State and Florida-New Mexico State).

5. MARLINS: We’re (still) on Stanton Watch as homestand begins: Been a lousy season, yes, but at least Marlins had won five of past six entering today and climbed to third in NL East as fans continued to await Giancarlo Stanton’s return from a wrist injury -- a return now uncertain. Plus, Friday was Star Wars Night! Meantime it was reported Dan Jennings would not return as manager in 2016. SHOCKING!

6. TENNIS: Can anyone stop Serena at U.S. Open?: A man was arrested when his drone crashed into stands of U.S. Open. He teaches at New York’s Academy of Innovative Technology — but evidently needs lessons on how to operate said technology. Meanwhile Serena Williams (who faces sister Venus next) continues seemingly destined for sport’s first calendar Grand Slam since 1988. No woman can stop her. Might take a drone strike.

7. HEAT: All 5 starters make NBA Top 100 list: As the Heat prepare to open training camp in a few weeks, all five starters made Sports Illustrated’s NBA Top 100, with Chris Bosh ranked 22nd, Dwyane Wade 30th, Goran Dragic 42nd, Luol Deng 56th and Hassan Whiteside 69th. Don’t feel too bad for Wade slipping. I needed a miner’s helmet and a pickaxe to find Kobe Bryant all the way down at 54.

8. FIU: Panthers open with big upset win at UCF: Thursday night’s 15-14 win over Central Florida makes this the first time since 2004 that FIU is 1-0 after a season-opening road victory. Panthers fans are thrilled — both of them! Whoa. Ouch. Too mean? OK, how’s this for a deal, FIU fans: Y’all sell out a home game, just one, and I’ll stop making fun.

9. RADIO: LeBatard radio show moves to mornings starting Tuesday: The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio and locally on 790 The Ticket moves to the 9 a.m.-to-1 p.m. time slot starting tomorrow/Tuesday. I happen to be a weekly co-host on the show, but that most certainly is not why I put this in this week’s Hot Button Top 10. Wait. Of course it is. Who am I kidding?

10. THE UPSET BIRD: Friday Page NFL picks are back this Friday: Greg Cote's 25th season of Friday NFL predictions in the Miami Herald debut this Friday. Hey, wait. That's me! The creepy yet occasionally prescient Upset Bird will be back on the page as well. "Aaaawwwk!"\

Missing the HB10 cut: Labor Day, when we celebrate the American work force by not working. ... Dan Marino is partner in a Washington State vineyard called Passing Time that just issued its first cabernet sauvignon. It has subtle notes of raspberry, cocoa and a former athlete looking for a new revenue stream. ... Florida Panthers and Eastern Airlines have partnered on a private charter jet for road trips. The Panthers are a first-class organization. If only they were a first-place organization. ... Shannon Briggs won a fight at the Hard Rock in Hollywood last night, settling the question of whether Shannon Briggs was still boxing. ... Former Italian soccer star Alessandro Nesta is the new coach of Miami FC, the NASL expansion team. When the team says it wants to draw fans from as far away as Naples, I guess they meant Italy. ... Former UM receiver and Dolphins No. 1 draft pick Randal Hill is running for the U.S. Congress in Miami. Old nickname: Thrill Hill. New nickname: Thrill on Capitol Hill. ... UFC star Ronda Rousey accepted an invitation to the Marine Corps Ball as the date of a Philadelphia soldier. He’ll be a perfect gentleman, or she’ll beat the !@#$ out of him. ... On a serious note, ESPN's Israel Gutierrez reveals he is gay and getting married. Congrats, Izzy. ... Finally, in entertainment news, Miley Cyrus shocked onlookers by showing up at an event fully clothed.

Join us on Twitter @gregcote and revisit the blog frequently because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

August 23, 2015

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) with Dolphins and Rappin' Joe, Canes, Marlins, NFL, LeBatard, Heat, Tiger, FIU; plus Fins-Cats, Entercom's shameful undercut in local radio & more

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

1aa1ajjfish1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 24. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 2) Pictured left: Reasons why Jimmy Johnson will never get back into coaching. This is JJ's prize from a recent fishing trip to Bimini. Click on image for a larger version. Life is good. 3) Happy birthday to my terrific wife, the greatest person I know! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Exclusive on LeBatard Show move, love of NFL poll, Weighing The Fish, 2 Canes honored, ranking Miami uniforms, best-fans verdict & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

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

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: A reminder, our Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls will be back this year, but they start with the regular season, not the preseason.

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

1aa1ahotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins 0-2 in preseason but starters encouraging again: Miami is now 0-2 in fake games after last night's 31-30 loss at Carolina, but for a second straight week Ryan Tannehill and the starting units looked strong. Meanwhile coach Joe Philbin, in a white top hat and tails, rapped on stage for players in a talent show Friday night (see video below). Oh how I wish I were kidding! While practicing in Carolina for a few days Philbin also took his players on a team outing to see the movie Straight Outta Compton. That surprised me. I always thought of Philbin as more of an East Coast rappers kind of guy.

2. HURRICANES: Countdown 12 days 'til football opener: With the second and last fall scrimmage done as UM prepares for its 14th season since last winning a national title, 1960s Canes star Ted Hendricks was honored this week on a 75th anniversary All-America team. Old memories are nice, but fans attending next Saturday's CanesFest are looking for some new ones, please.

3. MARLINS: Reasons to keep watching (this won't take long): With Fish in midst of a homestand, four reasons to keep watching as The Lost Season drones on. 1, Giancarlo Stanton's long-awaited return from injury is due "early September." 2, Dee Gordon might win the NL batting crown. 3, Jose Fernandez will return from injury, again, eventually. 4, Marlins now on pace to NOT lose 100 games!

4. NFL: Brady vs. NFL nears ruling in federal court: Tom Brady and Roger Goodell are due back in federal court Aug. 31 in the Deflategate case and many think Brady's four-game suspension may be overturned. His supporters include Donald Trump. I don't wanna say Trump is overconfident, but if the court upholds Brady's punishment, Trump is already planning a presidential pardon.

5. DAN LEBATARD: Popular Miami-based radio show moving to morning: LeBatard's ESPN Radio show will move from 4-7 p.m. to 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting next month, as I first reported in my blog. I know this isn't a huge deal, but I forced it into this week's Hot Button Top 10 in a shameless, transparent attempt to make my "scoop" seem more important than it really was.

6. HEAT: Annual forecast details Heat's upcoming season: ESPN.com’s annual NBA expert panel’s “Summer Forecast” has determined the Heat will finish fourth in the Eastern Conference this coming season with a 47-35 record. Geez, way to ruin it! Couldn’t they at least have given us a spoiler alert?

7. GOLF: Davis Love III wins. No, seriously: Davis Love III, 51, won the Wyndham yesterday, capping a week in which Jordan Spieth overtook the world No. 1 ranking. Tiger Woods chased the Wyndham title before petering out. It's no major, but, hey, when your world ranking is a current 286th, you’ll take the Wyndham.

8. JURISPRUDENCE: National Labor Relations Board rules against Northwestern: The NLRB ruled against Northwestern University football players’ efforts to unionize. “Dear College Players,” the NLRB might as well have said, “You’re getting a free scholarship. Shut up and play.”

9. FIU: Panthers under pressure to boost attendance: FIU football must average 15,000 fans per game this season or risk losing its top-tier FBS standing. I say this in case you start to notice crowds seem bigger than usual because of what appears to be thousands of rented homeless people.

10. BASEBALL: Dodgers' payroll nears milestone: The Los Angeles Dodgers’ player payroll is approaching a record $300 million. Hey, what’s the big deal!? Jeffrey Loria spends that much on the Marlins. It just takes him seven or eight years.

Missing the HB10 cut: Little League World Series is underway through next Sunday as eight U.S. teams and eight foreign teams battle to see which ultimately is the best at sneaking in overage players undetected. ... Nova Southeastern University men’s golf coach Ryan Jamison is voted best current coach in all of South Florida in a Miami Herald online readers poll. No, seriously. ... The tennis U.S. Open begins in eight days in New York, and American player Mardy Fish said it will be his last tournament before he retires, leading analysts to Google who the heck Mardy Fish is. ... There is now a we-want-our-money-back class action suit in federal court over the Maywesther-Pacquiao fight, meaning Deflategate may no longer be the most frivolous case in federal court. ... R.I.P., Jimmy Evert, 91. ... Florida State is now requiring all of it athletes to take a personal-responsibility course. Probably would-a been cheaper just post a memo to football players: QUIT HITTING WOMEN! ... Brewers minor-leaguer David Denson has become the first openly gay player affiliated with an MLB team. Progress: When stuff like that isn’t even news anymore. ... Finally, there is renewed debate over whether all kids in youth sports, not just top finishers, should get “participation” trophies. “Oh hell YES!” said the American Association of Trophy Manufacturers.

RAPPIN' JOE PHILBIN LEADS DOLPHINS, BUT THEY LOSE ANYWAY: After losing big in Chicago last week -- but, more importantly, with the starting units looking very good -- the Dolphins provided the

1aa1ajoerapnext glimpse 'n hint of who they are last night at Carolina in fake-game dos, and lost 1aa1ajoerap2again, 31-30. I'd not be too worried, though. It wasn't much different than last week, meaning fairly brief appearances by the starters followed by a long look at the bottom-thirders trying to make the roster. This was the game that should settle the depth chart -- the starting guard spots, and whether Walt Aikens is the man to replace injured safety Louis Delmas, et cetera. (Next week's home debut, the third exhibition, will be the truer dress rehearsal with starters playing a lot). Last night, again, the starters played well. QB Ryan Tannehill was 12-for-15 for 102 yards and a TD. The few days of practice in Carolina this week were big on team bonding. Coach Joe Philbin took the guys to the movies to see Straight Outta Compton. The next night, evidently inspired, Philbin, his assistants and staffers put on a lack of talent show for the players, with Philbin on stage rapping. OK it wasn't actual rapping. It was the version of it you get from an extremely white guy in his 50s dressed like Fred Astaire. Philbin wore a white top hat and tails, as pictured from the video. Click on Rappin' Joe Philbin to see and (unfortunately) hear the short video, brought to you via linebacker Koa Misi's Instagram account. Fun stuff, actually. It humanizes a coach often seen as stiff, and the players seemed to love it. That was the point, after all.

ENTERCOM COMMUNICATIONS' STUNNING LACK OF CLASS: Entercom Communications, a Pennsylvania- 1aa1aentercombased broadcasting company, recently bought local radio stations 104.3 (FM) and The Ticket Miami (790-AM) from Lincoln Financial. The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz aired on both. Suddenly, yesterday, without advance notice, 104.3 moved from a sports format to alternative music, meaning LeBatard and other shows were back to AM only -- without even the chance to alert listeners it would be happening. What a lousy way to run a business, Entercom.

Poll result: Vast majority following NFL just as much despite scandals: We asked if you are following the NFL any less because of its various controversies, and it was 74.8 percent "no" versus only 25.2% "yes."

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

July 08, 2015

Carnival cruises to Cuba and impact on Heat owner Micky Arison: New poll. Vote now!; plus ESPN 'Body' issue poll, Fins seat sale, Pat Riley's motivation, new Dolphins 'n Canes betting odds, latest 'Weighing The Fish' & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, JULY 8. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): U.S. women reign, ESPN's 'Body,' Marlins All-Stars, LeBatard on 'Ballers,' Hot Button Top 10, Dwyane vs. Jose verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and now Periscope, too (with a new 'Scope vid from yesterday's radio show).

Fins seat auction is today: Dolphins today are offering limited number of assembled seats and seatbacks for purchase. Seats were removed during stadium reconstruction. Proceeds from auction will benefit Miami Dolphins Foundation. Single and double seats are available; visit Dolphins.com/seatback to bid or for more info. Seats will be sold to season-ticket holders first (limit two per account) beginning at 11 a.m., then to others starting at 2 p.m., subject to availability.

An ode to Serena Williams: U.S. women's soccer flares across the sky as newly minted champions and deserves the applause, but look to the very pinnacle of American women's sports and who you see is Serena Williams. Click on Miss America for my latest column.

HOW DO HEAT FANS FEEL ABOUT CARNIVAL CRUISING TO CUBA?: Three facts, and how they might collide: Fact 1--Carnival Cruise Lines has won U.S. government approval to begin excursions to Cuba, as 1aa1aarisondetailed in this Miami Herald story. Fact 2--Doral-based Carnival Corporation is chaired by and a huge part of Micky Arison's $7.1 billion net worth. Fact 3--Arison (pictured aboard one of his ships) also owns the Miami Heat, many of whose fans are Cubans who do not approve of the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations because of their anti-Castro feelings. So, the question: Should the Heat owner's primary enterprise doing business with Cuba have a negative impact on how fans view him as a basketball team owner? I say no. I happen to support better relations with Cuba, and cruise traffic there was an inevitability, so Arison is doing smart business. Nor do I believe that all Cubans in South Florida might object; though some surely do. Let's get a rough idea how that breaks down with this pulse-read. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

NARCISSISM ON STEROIDS: ESPN'S ANNUAL 'BODY' ISSUE: Athletes love their bodies because their bodies are what make them rich and famous. Unless they are blowing up their hand misusing fireworks on the Fourth of July, athletes are famous for proudly taking care of their bods. Get all that. What I 1aa1awawrinka 1aa1acoughlindon't get is the comically outsized narcissism reflected in ESPN The Magazine's 'Body' issue, the seventh annual of which is out this week. Like, famous athletes don't get enough figurative exposure so they need the literal kind, too? Like, Bryce Harper doesn't have time to enter the Home Run Derby but he has time to get nekkid for ESPN? It's funny how the line has blurred. A top female athlete posing in Playboy would be lambasted for exploiting her sexuality and setting a bad example for young girls. But that same athlete going au naturale for ESPN is celebrated for being proud of her body. (Pictured left: Tennis player Stan Wawrinka. At right: Swimmer Natalie Coughlin). It's funny to me how ESPN fires a preemptive strike against any criticism that they are promoting only the perfect image of perfect bodies. They do this with the annual token inclusion of imperfect bodies. This year that includes three Colts linemen and a heavy female Olympian. Dear Athletes: Being proud of your bodies fully clothed would be just fine. A little modesty would be something to consider. But I may be wrong. Take a dip in our poll and share your overall view of ESPN's annual 'Body' issue.

RILEY'S REVENGE? HEAT PREZ IS COMING AFTER LEBRON: Last time it was to sign him. This time it's to 1aa1abig2beat him. That's a theory ESPN's Stephen A. Smith espoused on WQAM's Freeman & Fox Show, and it makes some sense. (Riley and LeBron are pictured in happier days). What follows is condensed, because Stephen A. is monumentally verbose: "Pat Riley I believe is coming for LeBron James. I believe Riley would have retired at the end of this [past] season had it not been for LeBron deciding to leave Miami. I think that has lit a fire under Riley we haven’t seen in some time. I think he is hell-bent on returning Miami to its glory and showing LeBron that [leaving was] not the way to go. I think Riley is going to do everything [he can to show] that LeBron made a mistake leaving the Heat. I think that’s a huge motivation." It is. That's why I wrote recently that getting to the Eastern Conference finals and beating Cleveland would be tantamount to an NBA Finals for Miami and almost parade-worthy for Riley and the Heat.

WEIGHING THE FISH (80 GAMES): We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and this year 1aa1afishweighwe debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- WTF! -- is a once-every-10-games (or so) cumulative ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Ten qualify for our latest ranking. WTF factors six offensive categories, serving as an ongoing de facto team MVP race. The numbers might not mean much, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who is having the best overall season or is hot/cold. Here's WTF after 80 games (actually 83 at 35-48; oops again):

Rank Player                   WTF#  @70

1  Giancarlo Stanton      362.5    1

2  Dee Gordon                309.1    2

3  Adeiny Hechevarria   251.0   3

4  Marcell Ozuna            215.6   4

5  Martin Prado              201.5   5

6  Christian Yelich        194.3   7

7  Jacob Realmuto         178.5    6

8  Justin Bour                 165.9   9

9  Ichiro Suzuki              129.9   8

10  Michael Morse           91.6   10

Note: Season WTFs leader-count is now Stanton 5, Gordon 2.

UPDATED DOLPHINS, HURRICANES BETTING ODDS; KAAYA HONORED: From Bovada, the Packers 1aa1abkaayaare your new Super Bowl favorite at 6-1 odds, with Seahawks displaced to 13-2, followed by Colts 8-1 and Patriots 9-1. Dolphins sit at 33-1, tied for 12th. In college football, latest win over/unders have the Hurricanes at only 6, which I'd call surprisingly low and a bargain play at 'over'. (One reason I think that: QB Brad Kaaya, pictured, who yesterday was named to  the preseason Maxwell Award watch-list). Other state win over/unders: FSU 9.5, Florida 7.5, UCF 7, FIU 5.5, FAU 5 and South Florida 4.

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June 04, 2015

Who's No. 2? Name the greatest Dolphins player after Dan Marino. Poll. Vote now!; plus FIFA-prez and NFL-win odds, latest 'Weighing The Fish', answering LeBatard Tweets, Florida title games, Caitlyn Jenner verdict & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, JUNE 4. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner with poll, Blatter resigns, Canes to super-regional, Hot Button Top 10, Wade/contract verdict & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Updated NFL win over/unders: Via Bovada, updated AFC East over/unders on wins has Patriots at 10.5, Dolphins and Bills both 8.5 and Jets 7.5. Joining Pats in double-figures are Colts, Packers and Seahawks at 11 each and Broncos at 10.

FIFA next-president odds: With Sepp Blatter resigned in shame and amid scandal, Bovada has co-favorites at 3-2 odds to replace him: Prince Ali Al-Hussein, who ran against Blatter and lost last week; and Michel Platini, the former French star who is president of the European football union.

AND THE DOLPHINS' SECOND-GREATEST PLAYER EVER IS...: You know the Dolphins' 50th anniversary 1aa1adoltwo1 1aa1adoltwoseason is upcoming. The team will be making a big deal of it. So will the Miami Herald. As a part of that I'll be naming the Top 50 figures in franchise history in our special section coming out in August -- figures, meaning not just players. However for the purpose of this poll I'm sticking to players, conceding that (spoiler alert!) Dan Marino is No. 1, and inviting you to suggest who should be the franchise's top-ranked player other than Marino. I have listed six reasonable contenders plus a slot for "other." You can only choose one. (Nobody said life was fair, or easy). Remember, this is the greatest Dolphins player not counting Marino. Vote and say why you chose as you did.

1aa1akitkatSTANTON TUMBLES IN NL MVP RACE: Former NL MVP favorite Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins has tumbled to fifth-favorite (tied) at 12-1 odds. Nationals' Bryce Harper is now favored at 2-1. Marlin Dee Gordon is on the board at 20-1. Stanton's power numbers are MVP-worthy -- 16 homers, 45 RBIs -- but his candidacy is plundered by a .230 batting average, by Miami's 21-32 record and of course by the fact he eats Kit Kat bars all wrong.

WEIGHING THE FISH (50 GAMES): We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and this year we debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- WTF! -- is a once-every-10-games ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Ten qualify for our fifth ranking. WTF is cumulative and factors six offensive categories. It serves as an ongoing de facto team MVP race. The numbers might not mean much, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who is having the best overall season or is hot/cold. Weighing The Fish after 50 games (actually 53, at 21-32 before last night's win; oops):

Rank Player                   WTF#  @40 

1  Giancarlo Stanton      243.7    1

2  Dee Gordon                  219.9    2

3  Adeiny Hechevarria  174.8   3

4  Martin Prado              173.7   5

5  Marcell Ozuna            165.1   4

6  Jacob Realmuto         118.9    7

7  Justin Bour                 115.2   --

8  Ichiro Suzuki              107.9   6

9  Christian Yelich        102.3   9

10  Michael Morse            91.7   8

Note: Season WTFs count is now Stanton 3, Gordon 2.

ANSWERING LEBATARD SHOW TWEETS: I rarely respond directly to or answer Tweets (sorry), but here are responses to a select few related to my Tuesday appearance on the Dan LeBatard Show: To snarkyRedhd: I'm pro-Caitlyn Jenner and use "she"  .....  ericlnewmark: The Singing Sportswriter semi-retired  .....  RoxFan17: Except I don't fish  .....  TheEpistle: Yes my email is gcote@miamiherald.com  .....  crherbs: No. LeBatard buys the $40 cigars. I buy a 5-pack for $10.99  .....  mfr234: Fusion TV did the Fatty Arbuckles photoshop, so no idea what you mean  .....  Thanks en masse to all those who sent complimentary Tweets. My favorite, from loggylog1: "If you don't like @gregcote you don't like America."

Poll result: Much negativity on Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn: Not for the first time I find many of my readers to be a bit less tolerant than I'd prefer, but, hey, it's a free country. We asked, and 49.7 percent had a negative view of Jenner's transgendering, finding the tale too weird for words. Another 34.8% were positive, saying "good for her," while 15.5% were unsure what to think.

THE LIST: FLORIDA TEAMS PLAYING FOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Tampa Bay, in the current Stanley Cup Finals that began last night, marks the 19th time a team from the state of Florida has played for the championship of the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. The complete list, chronologically:

Season    Team                    Result

1971       Dolphins                L Cowboys

1972       Dolphins                W Redskins

1973       Dolphins                W Vikings

1982       Dolphins                L Redskins

1984       Dolphins                L 49ers

1995       Magic                    L Rockets

1996       Panthers                L Avalanche

1997       Marlins                  W Indians

2002       Buccaneers            W Raiders

2003       Marlins                  W Yankees

2004       Lightning              W Flames

2006       Heat                     W Mavericks

2008       Rays                      L Phillies

2009       Magic                    L Lakers

2011       Heat                     L Mavericks

2012       Heat                     W Thunder

2013       Heat                     W Spurs

2014       Heat                     L Spurs

2015       Lightning              Vs. Blackhawks

The city totals: Miami 13 (5 Dolphins, 5 Heat, 2 Marlins, 1 Panthers); Tampa 4 (2 Lightning, 1 Bucs, 1 Rays); and Orlando 2 (both Magic).

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