December 02, 2015

Marlins hiring Barry Bonds: New poll. Vote now!; plus Kobe Bryant poll, NFL Week 12 Pix 'n Greg's Lobos results, Dolphins latest All-50'ers, Miami Jackson's Flowers wins 'State Heisman' with 6 Canes in Top 25 & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2. Happy new month, all! Done your shopping yet? 2) See previous blogpost for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, but be warned: Ugly. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fire OC Bill Lazor after loss at Jets, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Hurricanes' next football: Who it is should be. Watch for my latest column online later today. 

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Club marks its 50th anniversary by naming top 50 all-time players in groups of five. The latest: Kim Bokamper, Earl Morrall, Louis Oliver, Keith Sims, Cam Wake. Wake was expected; Morrall too for his unique niche. Other three are more borderline, which is not to say unworthy.

BondsHIRING BARRY BONDS IS SO MARLINS: Reports indicate Barry Bonds has agreed to join the Marlins as a hitting coach, a classic splash move by the attention-needy ballclub and its owner Jeffrey Loria. This is so Marlins. The hiring (if it happens) would be dubious, and not mostly because of the steroids-tainted past that has kept Bonds -- MLB's all-time home run hitter with an asterisk -- out of the Hall of Fame. Bonds didn't kill anybody. Shame and the Hall ban arepunishment enough. No, this move sees its biggest potential pitfall in him "working alongside hitting coach Frank Menechino." Hmm. Two hitting coaches espousing different ideas as egos rub? The possibilities are why teams rarely have multiple hitting coaches. Let's hear more on this. For instance, might Bonds just be a spring instructor and then disappear? Or a roving "special" hitting instructor as he was for the San Francisco Giants two years ago? (That's his only experience in coaching). For now, what do you think of the Marlins trying to hire Bonds?

KobeHOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT KOBE BRYANT AS WE SAY GOODBYE?: This may not be an easy question to answer. The Los Angels Lakers' all-time great Kobe Bryant announced this week he would retire after this season, and I wonder how we feel. Has there been a more polarizing superstar? Many love Kobe; many others are far from that. I suspect that most NBA fans certainly respect his greatness yet do not particularly like him. But I may be wrong. Hence, this poll. The question posed is intentionally broad. It asks not what you think of him as a player, but your overall general impression of him. Vote and say why you feel as you do.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 11: SO-SO, BAD, BAD: 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: Pix: Good and not: Our 10-6 mark overall Fripixis OK, but 6-10 against the spread isn't, despite the fact we nailed our Upset of the Week with Broncos beating Patriots ("Aawwk!") and hit another outright upset with Chargers over Jaguars. Greg's Lobos / family league: Eliminated: The original Lobos lost 140-131 to fall to 4-8, now eliminated from championship-round playoff contention with two weeks left. We got 89 combined points from Adrian Peterson, Odell Beckham and T.Y. Hilton but it still wasn't enough. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Playin' out the string: The LeBatard Show Lobos are losing big to Stugotz in the two-round consolation playoffs, after being eliminated from title contention by Billy a week earlier. Got 28.9 points from Phil (Mint) Rivers, but too little help.

SOPY: MIAMI JACKSON'S FLOWERS WINS 'STATE HEISMAN,' 6 CANES IN FINAL TOP 25: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- finds South Florida dual- Flowersthreat quarterback Quinton Flowers out of Miami Jackson (pictured) edging Florida State running back Dalvin Cook out of Miami Central for the title. Flowers is the first player outside of the traditional Big 3 state schools to win our 'State Heisman.' 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. And we close it off after the regular season, excluding bowl games, to give every school's players an equal shot. The final SOPY Top 25 for 2015:

FINAL 2015 SOPY TOP 25

Rk    Player, team-pos.                    Season

1      Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb         2,077.5

2      Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb                  1,990

3      Alex McGough, FIU-qb               1,594

4      Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb                1,531

5      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb               1,438

6      Alex Gardner, FIU-rb                 1,262

7      Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb            1,260

8      Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb            1,206

9      Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb           1,145 

10    Treon Harris, Florida-qb              924.5

11. Everett Golson FSU-qb 921; 12. Justin Holman UCF-qb 869; 13. Jenson Stoshak FAU-wr 828; 14. Kermit Whitfield FSU-wr 807; 15. Will Grier Florida-qb 789; 16. Rodney Adams SoFla-wr 776; 17. Travis Rudolph FSU-wr 751; 18. Tre'Quan Smith UCF-wr 748; 19. Mark Walton Miami-rb 729; 20. Thomas Owens FIU-wr 687; 21. D'Ernest Johnson SoFla-rb 685.5; 22. Stacy Coley Miami-wr 678; 23. Greg Howell FAU-rb 670; 24. Rashawn Scott Miami-wr 650; 25. Herb Waters Miami-wr 637.

Roll Call of SOPY Champions:

2015--Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb, 2,077.5

2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 1,968

2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb, 2,107

2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb, 1,900.5

Cote's final pre-bowl State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (10-2); 2. Florida (10-2); 3. Miami (8-4); 4. South Florida (8-4); 5. FIU (5-7); 6. FAU (3-9); 7. UCF (0-12).

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 25, 2015

Which of the 3 remaining unbeaten teams is most impressive? New poll. Vote now!; plus Heat's rare faux pas, Marlins' latest bonehead move, Dolphins' All-50'ers, NFL Week 11 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy results, SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. Ugh. They're bad. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall to Dallas and DSM poll, NASCAR in Homestead, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Club is marking its 50th anniversary season by revealing its all-time 50 greatest players in five-man groups. The latest: A.J. Duhe, Bruce Hardy, Jim Kiick, Nat Moore and Ed Newman. No arguments. Moore is the most obvious choice. Hardy probably is the weakest, but tight end historically hasn't been a great positions for Fins. 

A THANKSGIVING RARITY: THIS MUCH PERFECTION, THIS LATE: The Golden State Warriors have set an NBA record with their 16-0 start, completing nearly one-fifth of their season unbeaten. In the NFL the 10-0 New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers have gone 62.5 percent of the way to a perfect regular season. This marks the first time we have had two unbeaten football teams and one in basketball as late as Thanksgiving. Question: Which of the three impresses you most?

Heat786A RARE FAUX PAS BY THE HEAT: The Heat (unlike the Marlins and Dolphins) don't make many public-relations mistakes or missteps. The best pro team among us is also the best-managed and run. But this is a mistake: Selling apparel touting the local 786 area code instead of the 305. Both are accurate for Miami. The Heat's own main numbers start with 786. But, clearly, "the 3-0-5" -- phrase and number -- is the primary area code, is what Miami sports fans say and is what identifies us nationally. The area code apparel for all teams originates with the NBA, but the Heat obviously should have made certain 305 was the code chosen for Miami. You are officially allowed to mock anyone you see wearing one of the shirts pictured at right -- but gently, in an instructive, educational tone.

OH, MARLINS. HUTTON FIRING CLUB'S LATEST MISSTEP: I won't pile on and say the Marlins eff-up at every turn. Credit where it's do. They have a wonderful new(ish) ballpark. They shocked everybody with Huttonthat lucrative long-term deal for Giancarlo Stanton. They seemed to make a strong managerial hire this month in Don Mattingly. But that doesn't erase years of shake-your-head management and decisions -- the latest the out-of-the-blue firing last evening of popular TV analyst Tommy Hutton, the club's on-air voice for 19 years. No good reason was given. Hutton obviously was at times too honest for the Marlins in his criticism and commentary. We'll miss that passion from Hutton that occasionally erupted in volcanic rants. We'll miss his knowledge and credibility. We'll miss his candor. This is a wrong-headed, senseless, counter-productive decision by the Marlins ... just the latest move to shake the faith and trust of fans.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 10: PIX UPTURN, FANTASY MISERY!: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with Fripix
Lobosour two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams: Pix: A modest upturn: We went 8-6 overall and 7-6-1 vs. the spread (Patriots pushed), which, mediocre as that is, merits a party compared to the previous week. Nailed outright upsets picks with wins by Lions and Packers, and also had 'dog Colts and Bucs with the points. Greg's Lobos / family league: Yet another loss: The original Lobos lost 111-74 to fall to 4-7, now two games off even a playoff-pace tiebreaker with three left in our regular season. Had nobody better than Darren McFadden's 18 points. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: No-bos. We're out: The LeBatard Show Lobos were eliminated by Billy, 194.5 to 129.9 in a two-week playoff. No MVL award; that's how badly we finished. When you barely get 10 combined points from Philip Rivers and Devonta Freeman, you're hurtin'. Onto the consolation-round playoffs. Oh, the indignity!

SOPY: IT'S TWO-MAN RACE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN' ENTERING FINAL WEEK: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- pares to a two-man race for the title Sopyentering the final week of the season. It's South Florida QB Quinton Flowers or Florida State RB Dalvin Cook for the crown. 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 13:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 12

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W12        Season

1 (1)        Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   155.5       1,872.5

2 (2)        Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             123        1,784

3 (3)        Alex McGough, FIU-qb          50.5       1,594

4 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          156        1,392.5

5 (5)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          118        1,324

6 (6)        Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             95         1,262

7 (7)        Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb        53        1,161

8 (9)        Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       123        1,052

9 (8)         Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      95         1,051 

10 (10)      Everett Golson, FSU-qb         31.5       921

Bubble: Treon Harris, Florida-qb, 862.5 Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 781. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 290 (Wk11). Note: FIU has played 12 games and completed season; all others have played 11.

Cote's State of the State ranking: 1. Florida (10-1); 2. Florida State (9-2); 3. Miami (7-4); 4. South Florida (7-4); 5. FIU (5-7); 6. FAU (2-9); 7. UCF (0-11).

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

November 11, 2015

The new 'Back In My Day' (coffee) video; plus latest Dolphins All-50'ers, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy results, Missouri Tigers' biggest win, SOPY standings, thank-you veterans & more

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

1aaamerflag1) It is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11. Happy Veterans Day and thanks to all who have served, past and present. In case you missed it, click on The Real America's Team for my recent column on the Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team, which played a team of former Dolphins and local NFL Alumni in flag-football last night at Flanagan High. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crushed at Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Fins are marking their 50th anniversary by revealing their Top 50 all-time players five at a time in random order. The latest five: Glenn Blackwood, Vern Den Herder, Keith Jackson, Jim Jensen and John Offerdahl. Den Herder and Offerdahl are no-brainers. Glad to see Jensen make it. Blackwood is borderline but I'm OK with it. Surprised by inclusion of Jackson.

The new 'Back In My Day': "Get back to a regular cup of coffee, America!": Click here for the video. Enjoy!

Mizzou: The power of sports when sports has a conscience: Click on Missouri's Biggest Win for today's latest column by me, on how Missouri Tigers football players threatening to boycott games helped topple a university president seen as soft on a racist campus culture.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 9: 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: Pix: One big hit amid overall struggle: We went 7-6 overall and 7-6 against the spread. Had a big hit, 1aacote2 Lobosnailing Colts over Broncos with our Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and also had Niners-with-points over Falcons, but not enough else went our way. Greg's Lobos / family league: Heartache: Mauled by Bears! Thought I had a win comfortably in hand but lost 133-132 when my opponent got 45 combined points Monday night from Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett. Despite 32 from Drew Brees the original Lobos fell to 4-5 and are now one game off playoff pace. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Heartache II: The LeBatard Show Lobos fell to Charlie 114.5 to 114.1 when Philip Rivers failed us Monday night by one agonizing point. We finished our regular season 5-4 and enter next week's playoffs as the No. 3 seed facing No. 6 seed Billy in the first round. MVL was Devonta Freeman with a hollow 21.9 points. Next week will be a real challenge because we've been BBBB -- "Bitten By the Bye Bug."

SOPY: A 3-WAY FIGHT DOWN THE STRETCH FOR 'STATE HEISMAN': The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- is heading down the stretch run in a three-way Sopyfight at this point. However, current (narrow) leader Alex McGough has one fewer game remaining than either challenger now tied for second place. 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 11:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W10        Season

1 (1)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         179        1,506.5

2 (3)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             204        1,494

2 (2)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   191         1,494

4 (4)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb              95         1,152

5 (5)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          152        1,083.5

6 (6)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       78           955

7 (9)          Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          131         916

8 (7)         Everett Golson, FSU-qb          DNP       863.5

9 (--)         Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      116.5      817 

10 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       53         803

Bubble: Will Grier, Florida-qb, 789. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 713. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 287 (Wk6). Note: FIU and UCF have played 10 games each; all others nine.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 03, 2015

Shut up, America: My column on Canes-Duke controversy; plus how long will Mattingly last as Marlins manager? Poll. Vote now!; also, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy Week 8 results, latest Dolphins All-50'ers, new SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4. See previous blogpost for results of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. They're buoyant! 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes' miracle win with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Society Against Fraudulent Pumpkins & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Shut up, America: My latest column: Click on Play Counted, Canes Won, Move On for my latest column on the controversy and backlash over how UM won at Duke Saturday. Meantime, one day after ruling Miami's last-play TD should not have been allowed, the ACC today named Corn Elder, who scored, as its Specialist of the Week. Rich!

Dolphins' five newest All-50 members: Club is marking its 50th anniversary by revealing its all-time 50 greatest players five at a time in random order. The latest: Bob Baumhower, Sam Madison, Dwight Stephenson, Zach Thomas and Garo Yepremian. No surprises. All five worthy.

MARLINS INTRODUCE LATEST FUTURE EX-MANAGER MATTINGLY: It was Groundhod Day at Marlins Park this morning as the ballclub introduced former Yankees great and recent Dodgers manager Don Mattingly Donniebbas its new manager -- the 10th under Jeffrey Loria since he took over ownership in 2002, and, ridiculously, the seventh just since 2010. A "here we go again" vibe filled the air, the elephant in the room, so club president David Samson volunteered he hoped this would be his last new-manager press conference because "we've had too many." Mattingly in turn predicted he'd be here for 10 seasons, and welcomed "high expectations." Mattingly, who signed a four-year contract, and Samson are pictured sealing the deal with a handshake. Everyone said the right things. But I'm curious how you all feel, because Loria's track record suggests impatience, not stability. I'd written a Sunday column on the Marlins getting Mattingly, liking the hire but seeing it warily through what I call the Loria Lens, which is not rose-colored. Clikc on Trusting the Hire to read the column in full. Now take a dip in our poll and predict how many full seasons you think Mattingly will manage here. Now what you hope, but what your best guess is. What you'd bet on.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 8: 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: Pix: Fripix LobosGood and bad: We went 11-3 overall. That's the good. The (very) bad? We somehow went 3-9-2 against the spread, with Saints and Ravens pushing. And that was with a nice bull's-eye on our Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") with Broncos over Packers. Greg's Lobos / family league: On a roll!: The original Lobos improved to 4-4 (1 game off playoff pace) with a 144-133 win, led by a huge 86 combined points from Drew Brees (46) and Odell Beckham (40). Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Back on the W train: The LeBatard Show Lobos walloped Billy, 130.1 to 100.9 to make it 5-3 on the season, alone in third place of 10 teams. Philip Rivers' 24 won MVL honors in leading a balanced attack.

SOPY: DALVIN COOK SITTING OUT MAKES IT WIDE-OPEN RACE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN': The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- finds it a three-way race at this Sopypoint. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook remains our favorite but him sitting out injured this past weekend opened things up. 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 10:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 9

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W9        Season

1 (2)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         66          1,327.5

2 (3)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   119         1,303

3 (1)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             DNP      1,290

4 (4)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             120         1,057

5 (5)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          DNP        931.5

6 (8)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       95           877

7 (6)         Everett Golson, FSU-qb          DNP       863.5

8 (7)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            DNP        789

9 (9)          Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          35           785

10 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb      133         750

Bubble: Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb, 700.5. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 530.5. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 287 (Wk6). Week's best: Jacques Patrick, FSU-rb, 242 (first time this season a weekly leader has not ranked in overall Top 10). Note: FIU and UCF have played nine games each; all others eight.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 27, 2015

Welcome to the Wild, Wild Week, South Florida sporties. Heat open, Dolphins-Pats, post-Golden Canes, World Series, Cats, Mattingly, oy!; plus NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy Week 7 results, new SOPY standings, landslide approval for UM firing & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Al Golden fired with poll, betting odds on his UM replacement & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Sizing up World Series from three perspectives: Mets-Royals begins tonight in Kansas City. The view from three angles: Betting--Bovada has it dead-even in terms of betting odds. ESPN experts--It's Royals by a nearly 2-1 margin (17-9), say ESPN's experts panel. Greg Cote--My gut says New York because of starting pitching but the idea of imagining Mets fans that happy is so abhorrent that I must pick the Royals.

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Five at a time in random order the Fins are revealing their 50th anniversary top-50 all-time players, and the latest five are Brent Grimes, Jim Langer, Reggie Roby, Paul Warfield and Ricky Williams. My thoughts: Langer and Warfield are no-brainer obvious. Williams and Roby sure would have been on my top-50 and I'm pleasantly surprised they made it. Grimes is a stunner. Hasn't served long enough. But Miami hasn't had a lot of great cornerbacks, so maybe that's it.

BUCKLE UP FOR A WILD WEEK IN LOCAL SPORTS: Sports fans -- and Your Friend The Media, too, yes --

are prone to hyperbole. Everything is the biggest game ever, most exciting week ever, et cetera. Having said that, you'd have a pretty strong hand playing this week as one of the fullest and best we've had in South Florida in a long while. A primer:

OhweekHeat: Will the improved Heat be pretty great or just pretty good? We start to find out on Opening Night this Wednesday vs. Charlotte. 

Dolphins: The Fins are 2-0 under interim god Dan Campbell but put the mjo to the ultimate test Thursday night at New England.

Hurricanes: Most fans are elated over the firing of Al Golden but now, as speculation about his replacement percolates, interim coach Larry Scott must try to divine a win Saturday at No. 22-ranked Duke.

Panthers: Playoff-thinking Cats have a three-game hockey homestand Tuesday vs. Colorado, Friday against Boston, then Saturday Washington.

Marlins: It appears increasingly likely the Fish might actually land Don Mattingly as their next manager as soon as this week.

FIU: It's FIU at FAU on Saturday in the annual "Shula Bowl" college football rivalry. It ain't Michigan-Michigan State, but it's still kind of nice.

Oops, almost forgot: The World Series, Mets-Royals, starts Tuesday night.

Buckle up, sporties!

Poll result: Landslide approval for Golden firing: we asked if you approved of YUM firing Al Golden and it was 91.6 percent yes, 6.2% no and 2.2% undecided.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 7: 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. Pix: Fripix LobosMini-slump continues: We went an unsatisfactory 8-6 overall and a closer-to-embarrassing 4-9-1 against the spread, with nothing positive worth even mentioning. Greg's Lobos / family league: A needed win!: The original Lobos improved to 3-4 with a 134-86 triumph, led by 32 points apiece from FIU's T.Y. Hilton ans from Todd (Welcome Back) Gurley. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Upset loss ends streak: After four straight wins the Lobos fell to 4-3 with a 96.2-90.6 loss to Roy. Came down to Monday night and not quite enough from Michael Floyd. Byes really hurt us this week. Andrew Luck was our MVL with 24 points; the killer was four players scoring in single-digits.

SOPY: FSU'S COOK REMAINS IN COMMAND FOR 'STATE HEISMAN': The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- find Florida State running back Dalvin Cook still Sopyfirmly in first place through Week 7, with a narrow lead but a game in hand over the runnerup. 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 take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 9:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 8

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W7        Season

1 (1)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             138      1,290

2 (2)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         209       1,261.5

3 (4)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   267.5    1,184

4 (5)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             114       937

5 (3)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          14.5       931.5

6 (7)         Everett Golson, FSU-qb          93        863.5

7 (6)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            BYE       789

8 (9)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       46        782

9 (8)          Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          DNP       750

10 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       BYE       617

Bubble: Thomas Owens, FIU-wr, 590. Other team leaders: FAU--Jacquez Johnson, qb, 580; UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 470. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 287 (Wk6). Note: FIU and UCF have played eight games each; all others seven.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 22, 2015

Who is Heat's best player? Easy answer or tough? Poll. Vote now!; plus MLB in Cuba?, UM hoops pump-up video, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos Fantasy Week 6 results, Dolphins' latest All-50ers, updated SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22: I'm back up at Friday Page HQ today bringing forth this week's NFL Week 7 predictions. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's Seahawks-49ers pick. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins rout Tennessee with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"More 'Back to the Future' references! Please!!" --Greg Cote

MLB in Cuba?: Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred tells the The Hollywood Reporter: "We're working hard to try to get to a position where we might be able to do an exhibition game in Cuba as early as 2016 -- so next spring." Logistically it would be natural for the Miami Marlins to be one of the participating teams, although the backlash from many Cubans in Miami might give the Marlins pause.

Dolphins I: Wake wins AFC honor: Cam Wake is AFC Defensive Player of Week for his sackfest vs. Tennessee. It's third straight year he's been that, team's longest defensive streak since Jason Taylor's five in a row in 2002-06. Dolphins II: All-50 team: Club is revealing its 50 greatest players five at a time in random order and latest are DT Tim Bowens, DT Manny Fernandez, OG Larry Little, RB Mercury Morris and DE Bill Stanfill -- all expected, all deserving. Dolphins III: Our latest column: Hope grows, but belief must be earned. As schedule toughens we need to see a lot more of the Dolphins we saw last week. Click The Parade Isn't Here Yet for our latest column.

CLEAR CUT? TOUGH CALL? WHO IS THE HEAT'S BEST PLAYER?: With the Heat's season opener in six days, some see Miami as a greatly improved team capable of maybe reaching the NBA's Eastern BoshwadeConference finals to challenge presumptive power Cleveland. Others see Dragicdoubts; they see a lower-tier playoff team. The varying opinions are underlined in recent surveys. In NBA.com's annual general managers survey no Heat player received a best-in-the-league vote at any of the five positions. Complete shutout. Yet in ESPN.com's annual #NBARank, Miami is one of only five teams to place all five starters in the overall list of Top 100 players. Chris Bosh will be in the top 25 (exact slot still unknown), Goran Dragic is 38th, Dwyade Wade is 46th, Hassan Whiteside is 68th and Luol Deng is 92nd. Is Bosh now clearly the Heat's best player? Has Wade fallen to No. 3? I'm more curious what you think than what an ESPN experts panel thinks. Hence, this poll! It is alphabetical. And it is not a favorite player poll. It is asking who the team's best player is, right now, heading into this season. Vote and say why.

UM MEN'S HOOPS SETS SEASON-TICKET RECORD: Jim Larranaga's program announced it has set a UM season-ticket sales record and that fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for most games. Hurricanes begin the season in three weeks. Anticipation is high. Here's a pump-up video:

 

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 6: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our 1lobos Fripixtwo Greg's Lobos fantasy teams. Pix: Cooling off a bit: We were due for an off-week and had one at 9-5 overall and 6-7-1 against the spread (Lions pushed). Bull's-eyed two outright upsets with wins by Dolphins and 49ers and had 'dog Browns and Panthers with points, too, but misfired badly on our Aawwk pick Monday night. Greg's Lobos / family league: Tough year continues: The original Lobos fell to 2-4 with a 112-94 loss. You're doomed when  nobody has even 20 points for you, and Odell Beckham led us with 19. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Hot hot hot!: The new Lobos are now 4-2 with a fourth straight win -- 151.8 to 122.7 over assistant producer Allyson. Devonta Freeman was our MVL once again with a big 35.6 points.

SOPY: FSU'S COOK CONTINUES SURGE, UM'S KAAYA NOW THIRD: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- find Florida State running back Dalvin Cook now Sopyfirmly in first place through Week 7. The Canes' Brad Kaaya has risen to No. 3. 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 take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 7

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W7        Season

1 (2)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             235      1,152

2 (1)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         132       1,052.5

3 (4)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          151       917

4 (5)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   194.5    916.5

5 (6)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             125       823

6 (3)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            DNP       789

7 (9)         Everett Golson, FSU-qb         176       770.5

8 (7)          Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          117       750

9 (8)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb      117        736

10 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       47        617

Bubble: Thomas Owens, FIU-wr, 553. Other team leaders: Greg Howell, FAU-rb, 492; Justin Holman, UCF-qb, 356.5. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 287 (Wk6). Note: Florida, FIU and UCF have played seven games each; all others six.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 06, 2015

Do you agree with Dolphins firing coach Joe Philbin? Poll. Vote now!; plus my column on the change, final Marlins 'Weighing The Fish' table, latest SOPY standings, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy results & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6: See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose in London and DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Hot List & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My new column on Dolphins change: Needed and well timed: Click on Joe Had His Chance, Time to Move On for my column on the Dolphins' firing of coach Joe Philbin.  

DO YOU AGREE WITH DOLPHINS DECISION TO FIRE COACH JOE PHILBIN?: My column on Monday's big news (link just above) is out. Now it's your turn. What do Dolfans think? Do you agree with Miami making a coaching change at 1-3? Vote and say why you feel as you do.

WEIGHING THE FISH (FINAL): GORDON WINS MARLINS WTF TITLE: We throw an occasional bell 'n whistle into the blog, and this year we debuted a new Miami Marlins feature. "Weighing The Fish" -- 1aa1adeeg 1aa1afishweighWTF! -- was a once-every-10-games cumulative ranking of every Marlins batter who is averaging at least one at-bat per game. Ten qualify for our final season ranking. WTF factors six offensive categories, serving as an ongoing de facto team MVP race -- a race Gordon (pictured) won easily, although Stanton led comfortably before his extended injury absence. The numbers below might not mean much by themselves, but, relative to each other, it gives an idea who had the most impactful overall season. Here's the final 2015 WTF standings after 162 games (at 71-91):

Rank Player                   WTF#  @150 

1  DEE GORDON          549.3    1

2  Christian Yelich         407.7   4

3  Martin Prado              399.6   2

4  Justin Bour                 391.9    6

5  Adeiny Hechevarria   366.5   3

6  Giancarlo Stanton      362.5    5

7  Jacob Realmuto          361.9   7

8  Marcell Ozuna            349.5   8

9  Ichiro Suzuki              255.9   9

10  Derek Dietrich          241.1   10

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 4: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosLobos fantasy teams. Pix: Another solid week: Went a strong 12-3 overall and an OK 8-7 against the spread. Bull's-eyed our Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") with Giants over Bills. Also called Bears ' outright upset of Oakland, and had Jags with points at Indy. Greg's Lobos / family league: Big win: The original Lobos won 108-83 to level our season record at 2-2. Drew Brees' 23 points and Mike Wallace's 22 led a solid if unspectacular effort. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Another big win: The new Lobos defeated Stugotz 119.8-113.3 to even it up at 2-2. Most Valuable Lobo Devonta Freeman had a huge 37.9 points, and we also scored big by signing free-agent Philip Rivers (26.2 points) to replace Andrew Luck.

SOPY: NO CHANGE IN TOP FIVE THROUGH WEEK 5: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings -- 1aa1asopyState Offensive Player of the Year -- find FIU quarterback Alex McGough maintaining his lead after Week 5. 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 take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 6:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 5

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W5        Season

1 (1)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         76.5      763.5

2 (2)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            151.5     675 

3 (3)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             108      630

4 (4)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb     120       565

5 (5)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          127      561.5

6 (7)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             123       540

7 (8)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   128.5     519.5

8 (--)         Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          124       437

9 (10)        Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb        98      434

10 (--)       Everett Golson, FSU-qb         111      429

Bubble: Greg Howell, FAU-rb, 420. Other team leader: Tre'Quan Smith, UCF-wr, 260. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 284 (Wk2). Note: Florida, FIU and UCF have played five games each; all others four.

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

Revisit the 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 23, 2015

Heat's immediate future rated as bright; plus NFL pix 'n Greg's Lobos updates, R.I.P. Yogi Berra, Dolphins' 1st 5 on 50th all-time team, newest in Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Fins' biggest problem, SOPY Week 3 standings & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23. R.I.P., Yogi Berra, 90. [Insert malaprop]. 2) See previous blogpost for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, which are even sadder than you might have imagined. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose at Jacksonville with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, The Hot List & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Ndamukong Suh column: In my latest column I explore the early heat finding Dolphins megamillionaire Ndamukonh Suh. Click on There Are Greater Concerns. The heat is misplaced. Suh's had two quiet games, but Miami has greater problems at 1-1, such as a disappearing ground game, shaky-at-times defense overall and bonehead penalties. Oh, and a brutal divison. New England we know, Buffalo proved Sunday it can play with the Patriots, then, Monday night, the New York Jets' defense dominated Andrew Luck. Better play from Suh had better be just the start of all the getting-better the Dolphins do.

HEAT RANKED 6TH IN NBA 'FUTURE POWER RANKINGS': ESPN's latest annual Future Power Rankings, a guesstimate projection of how each NBA team will fare on the court over the next three seasons, has 1aa1aheat1516Miami at No. 6 (up from ninth a year ago), trailing only Golden State, San Antonio, Cleveland, Chicago and Houston. The Worldwide Leader's synopsis of Miami: "The Heat face a fascinating next 12 months. Miami has just four players under guaranteed contract beyond this season: guard Goran Dragic and forwards Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts and (rookie) Justise Winslow. The Heat could clear significant cap space next summer -- or be completely capped out by re-signing unrestricted free agents Dwayne Wade and Hassan Whiteside. (Dragic and Wade are pictured). Whiteside presents a particularly thorny issue. The Heat will only have Whiteside's Early Bird rights, meaning Miami will have to dip into its cap space to re-sign him for more than the mid-level exception. Then again, Whiteside could regress and not be worth even that. We wouldn't trust everyone to manage an aging roster with so many question marks, but Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra have earned the benefit of the doubt. And South Beach will always be a draw for players like Dragic, who left money on the table to re-sign this summer." Miami opens its 2015-16 pre-season with media day this coming Monday, following by training camp at FAU in Boca Raton.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 2: We update you briefly every week on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams. Pix: Rough 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosweek: Stumbled at 7-9 overall with a slight bump to 8-8 against the spread. Called outright upsets by Broncos and Browns and had two other 'dogs-with-points in Redskins and Cowboys but not enough else went right. Lobos / family league: Tough loss: The original Lobos scored OK but lost 142-123 to fall to 1-1, despite 28 points from Odell Beckham, 27 from Torrey Smith and 19 from Adrian Peterson. Drew Brees (12) is letting me down and now banged up. Lobos / radio-show league: Ugh. Ouch: The new Lobos lost 111.8-93.1, dropping to 0-2. Got 28.7 from Emmanuel Sanders and then a whole lotta nuthin. Still  might have pulled it out Monday with a big game by Andrew Luck, but you saw how that went.

DOLPHINS ANNOUNCE FIRST 5 ON 50TH ALL-TIME TEAM: The Dolphins are gradually announcing their Top 50 all-time players in conjunction with this season's Golden Anniversary, and the first five announced today are safety Dick Anderson, receivers Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, receiver O.J. McDuffie and safety Jake Scott. The "Marks Brothers" and safety tandem are no-brainers. McDuffie I think is deserving but wasn't, for me, the sure thing the other four were. The 50 were selected by fans, team alumni, local media and a "select blue ribbon panel." Five on the team will be announced each week starting with this. The entire team will be honored on the Dec. 14 home game vs. the Giants.

FLORIDA SPORTS HALL OF FAME ADDS NINE: The 54-year-old Florida Sports Hall of Fame will add nine new members, announced this week, in a Nov. 17 ceremony at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, (incredibly) the first time the group has held an induction in South Florida. Newest hall members alphabetically are: Longtime UM diving coach Randy Abelman, Ex-Hurricanes football star Bennie Blades, bowling hall of famer Paula Carter, "Mr. Marlin" Jeff Conine, former champion Bucs coach Tony Dungy, the late broadcaster Sonny Hirsch, the jai-alai champion Joey (Cornblit), Dolphins legend Zach Thomas and one-time Panthers goaltender John Vanbeisbrouck.

SOPY: FIU'S McGOUGH VAULTS TO NO. 1: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings -- State 1aa1asopy 1aa1aalexmcgOffensive Player of the Year -- are underway and FIU quarterback Alex McGough (pictured) is our new Week 3 leader. SOPY does not discriminate. The smaller-school guys have a chance! 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 for Week 3:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 3

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W3        Season

1 (2)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         216       536.5

2 (1)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             57         522

3 (3)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       136        445

4 (9)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb           192.5    434.5

5 (4)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb    127       391

6 (10)        Will Grier, Florida-qb           129.5     370 

7 (5)          Greg Howell, FAU-rb             75        338

8t (--)        Alex Gardner, rb-FIU             93        318

8t (3)        Everett Golson, FSU-qb         70.5       318

10 (--)       Marlon Mack, rb-SoFla           78         313

Bubble: Thomas Owens, wr-FIU, 304. Other team leader: Jordan Akins, UCF-wr, 164. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 284 (Wk2). Note: All teams 2 games each. Past SOPY champions: 2014--Duke Johnson, Miami-rb; 2013--Jameis Winston, FSU-qb; 2012--Stephen Morris, Miami-qb.

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

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