December 04, 2014

Do you believe Jameis Winston? New poll. Vote!; plus Scintillating vs. Silly with UM fans, Duke Johnson wins 'state Heisman'; also 'Goodbye RGIII' video, Barkley is right, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy & more

1) It is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4. I'm at Friday Page Headquarters today divining my Week 14 NFL predictions. Pray for me. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins edge Jets, DSM poll & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Dolphins catch a break: Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowl run-stopper, today was suspended for the remainder of the regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. So he's erased from Sunday's Dolphins game here.

WINSTON DENIES RAPE ALLEGATION: I have no idea whether Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is guilty and lying or falsely accused and telling the truth. Neither, chances are, do you. It's he-said/she-said, the 1aa1ajwinstonissue is consent and it's risky to make assumptions. Winston's long-awaited two-day student conduct hearing over the rape allegation against him ended Wednesday with no decision yet reached. Winston declined to answer questions but did read from a five-page statement, declining any guilt. In part: "I did not rape or sexually assault [the accuser]," the statement reads. "I did not create a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment in the short period of time that we were together. [She] had the capacity to consent to having sex with me and she repeatedly did so by her conduct and her verbal expressions. I never used physical violence, threats, or other coercive means. I never endangered [hers] health, safety, or well-being." Click here for the story. Do you tend to believe Winston based on your knowledge of the case? Take a dip in our poll, and try to separate whether you are a Seminoles fan or hater from what you honestly think.

SCINTILLATING VS. SILLY AT UM: What's scintillating right now -- Hurricanes men's basketball -- isn't getting the full attention it deserves because of the distraction over what's silly: the pointless speculation over football coach Al Golden. Jim Larranaga's men's hoopers are now 8-0 and surely will 1aa1ajiml
1aa1aalgrise from their No. 15 poll ranking after Tuesday night's 70-61 home win over No. 24 Illinois. Yet the obsession these days of UM fans in general and of the media seems to be the job status of Golden following a disappointing 6-6 season. All of this was perfectly reflected last night at the arena when a "Fire Golden" chant briefly bloomed, only to be tamped out by annoyed fellow attendees directing attention to the basketball game, please. (Pictured left, the heroic Larranaga. Pictured right, Golden, being chased by an angry mob). The Golden chatter is silly because it's moot. Golden's job is not in jeopardy; UM is not considering a coaching change. Maybe we won't be able to say that a year from now, but it's ironclad-true today. Yet false rumors percolated yesterday about an imminent firing. One local radio host reported he'd been told by a source that Golden was getting the boot; then, when that proved false, the same host Tweeted, "I'm NOT a journalist!" Effing hilarious. Meanwhile, a few Board of Trustee members continue in the role of shadow snipers, anonymously criticizing Golden. The Trustees should stop with the cowardice, and the local media should cease and desist with what has become a far too common practice of using anyonymous sources. Well, at least that's what I was told by a "close associate" of a journalism professor who requested anonymity!

SOPY: CANES' DUKE JOHNSON WINS "STATE HEISMAN": Well, something went right for the Miami Hurricanes this year. Duke Johnson went right. UM's Duke of Gables comfortably beats Florida State's 1aa1asopy 1aa1adukejJameis Winston in our season-ending, blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings: the "State Heisman." The SOPY rankings end with the 12-game regular season and do not include conference title games or bowls, so every school is on even footing. This is a cumulative ranking of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Florida only played 11 games, not making up its lightning-canceled opener. UCF plays its final game Thursday night, but the result has no bearing on the overall lead so we present the final rankings now. 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 final 2014 SOPY Top 25:

SOPY FINAL 2014

Rk      Player, team-pos.                LW     Season

1        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         111     1,968

2       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb         90.5    1,844

3        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb     142.5   1,765

4        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            161     1,513

5        Justin Holman, UCF-qb           85     1,468.5

6        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            35      1,255

7        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        35      1,211

8       Alex McGough, FIU-qb            DNP   1,063.5

9        Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb       47        958

10      Matt Jones, Florida-rb             29        924

11. Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb, 906; 12. Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 881; 13. Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec, 874; 14. DeMarcus Robinson, Florida-rec, 830; 15.Breshad Perriman, UCF-rec, 815; 16. Treon Harris, Florida-qb, 799; 17. Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb, 797; 18. Mike White, SoFla-qb, 782.5; 19. Jonnu Smith, FIU-rec, 768; 20. Clive Walford, Miami-rec, 718; 21. William Stanback, UCF-rb, 667; 22t. Andre Davis, SoFla-rec, 636; 22t. Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 636; 24. Anthon Samuel, FIU-rb, 617; 25. Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb, 612.

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. FSU (12-0); 2. UCF (8-3); 3. Florida (6-5); 4. Miami (6-6); 5. SoFla (4-8); 6. FIU (4-8); 7. FAU (3-9).

BARKLEY IS RIGHT ON FERGUSON RIOTERS: Race is a fascinating thing. If I (white as a linen napkin) call the folks rioting and looting in Ferguson, Mo. "scumbags" it comes off as racist. Black Charles 1aa1abarkleycBarkley can say it -- and did. It's still controversia, but not the way it would be if said by a white commentator. Barkley is right, by the way. "Scumbag" is an inflammatory word, but do people destroying property and looting merit much better? I hate that the looters claim an entitlement based on their outrage over the Michael Brown shooting and the police-shooter's non-indictment. Righteous protest and civil disobedience are wonderful things, part of the our freedom. Looting isn't. Not under any circumstance. Barkley sounds more like Rush Limbaugh in calling the police "the only thing in the ghetto between this place being the wild wild West," and saying, "There's a reason they racially profile us at times." But in lambasting the looters, I can't imagine he'd get much disagreement from anyone but the looters.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 13 SEES PICKS UNEVEN, LOBOS PRAYING: We update you briefly every 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixweek on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: We went a fairly solid 11-5 overall but only 7-9 against the spread despite a pair of nice outright upset picks with Falcons over Cardinals ("Aawwk!") and Jaguars over Giants. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos won, 118-69, led by Calvin Johnson's big 38 Bird Day points, improving to 6-7 on the year. We're in a four-way tie for our league's final playoff spot entering the last week. However we stand fourth on the tiebreaker ladder, meaning we need a small mirale. Um, make that a large miracle.

GOODBYE, RGIII: A smart, expertly done ode to Robert Griffin III's downfall, to the tune of Elton John's Candle in the Wind:

 

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November 25, 2014

Ouch. Computers put Dolphins playoff shot at mere 19.7%; plus Canes' Duke nears "state Heisman," NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, (barely) remembering JFK, naughty names & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio on South Beach today with the Dan Le Batard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. A new "Back In My Day" is prepped and ready. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolfan and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter polls. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

DOLPHINS PICK A BAD YEAR TO BE PRETTY GOOD; PLAYOFF HOPES SLIM: Miami at 6-5 has a slightly less than 1 in 5 chance (19.7 percent) to reach the postseason, according to the computer analytics at a site I 1aa1adol19.7have come to respect: makenflplayoffs.com. Following last night's end of NFL Week 12 the three clear AFC frontrunners, all but in, are the Patriots (94.3%), Colts (92.0%) and Broncos (83.1%). Then it's a mad five-team scrum for the last three spots among the Bengals (61.9%), Chiefs (50.2%), Steelers (47.6%), Chargers (47.4%), Ravens (39.9%) and Browns (38.8%). Then comes Miami, 10th overall in the hunt for six AFC tickets. The Fins' path to the playoffs from here seems pretty clear: Beat the three teams you should (Jets, twice, and Vikings) and find a way to beat either the Ravens or Patriots. Doable. But daunting.

SOPY: UM'S DUKE WITH SAFE BUT NOT INSURMOUNTABLE LEAD ENTERING FINAL GAME: Miami's Duke Johnson leads Florida State's Jameis Winston by 103.5 points entering each player's final game in our 1aa1asopyblog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." That's a nice but not insurmountable lead. The SOPY rankings end with the 12-game regular season and do not include conference title games or bowls, so every school is on even footing. This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been Winston (in 2013 with 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (in 2012 with 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 14:

SOPY WEEK 13 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk13    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         132     1,857

2 (2)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb         142.5   1,753.5

3 (3)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      223     1,622.5

4 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           143     1,383.5

5 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb           104.5    1,352

6 (8)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb           165      1,220

7 (6)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       106      1,176

8 (7)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb              8       1,063.5

9 (10)     Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb       131       911

10 (9)       Matt Jones, Florida-rb            27        895

Bubble: Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 839. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Florida and UCF have played 10 games; Miami, FSU, FAU and USF have played 11; and FIU has played 11.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (11-0); 2. UCF (7-3); 3. Miami (6-5); 4. Florida (6-4); 5. SoFla (4-7); 6. FIU (4-8); 7. FAU (3-8).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: PICKS, LOBOS BOTH SLIP IN WEEK 12: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team, 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixand this week's report ain't pretty. Pix: We went a mediocre 9-6 overall but only 6-9 against the spread -- breaking a season-long string of 11 straight weeks at no worse than .500 ATS. Had four 'dogs-with-points including Dolphins, but misfired badly on our Cards-over-Seahawks upset call, a bad pick. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos' three-game win streak ended with a mighty thud, 144-54. Never a good sign when your high scorer (Philip Rivers) has 13 points. The bigger issue was six guys in single-figures. Oy! The good news? At 5-7 I'm only one game off playoff pace (not counting tiebreakers) with two weeks left, so I'll have a shot if I can win out. Rally, Lobos!

REMEMBERING JFK (IF BARELY): This is what insidious time does. It fades even the most memorable of us. A year ago the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination was big news. The 51st 1aa1ajfkanniversary, this past Saturday, passed quietly. Do any of us even know when Abe Lincoln was assassinated? It was on an April 15, 149 years ago. So we may expect a proper media remembrance on the big-One-Five-Oh next spring, at least. JFK's murder is one of my faintest childhood memories. I vaguely recall us being sent home from school early and finding my mother weeping at the black-and-white TV set. On Saturday I was on a weekend cruise in the Bahamas and didn't give the date a fleeting thought. But I do now.

NAUGHTY 'N NICE NAMES: The Daily Mail of London reports a recent study of 63,000 (presumably British) school 1aa1anameschildren determined which kids tend to be naughty misbehavers and nice angels, based on first names. Ten nicest girls: Amy, Georgia, Emma, Charlotte, Grace, Sophie, Abigail, Hannah, Emily and Alice. Ten naughtiest girls: Ella, Bethany, Eleanor, Olivia, Laura, Holly, Courtney, Amber, Caitline and Jade. Ten nicest boys: Jacob, Daniel, Thomas, James, Adam, Harry, Samuel, Jack, Oliver and Ryan. Ten naughtiest boys: Joseph, Cameron, William, Jake, Joshua, Jamie, Lewis, Benjamin, Ethan and Luke. All I can say is, if Ella and Joe get together, watch out!

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November 19, 2014

Is your opinion of Jeffrey Loria changing for better? Poll. Vote!; plus how Giancarlo $tanton celebrated (with pix); also Larranaga's Angel, new SOPY rank, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, Schitt's Creek & more

1AA1ACADC1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20. I'm at Friday Page Headquarters today creating my Week 12 NFL predictions. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's call. 2) AC/DC have a newe song out, "Rock Or Bust," from a forthcoming new album. Listen. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NASCAR dodges bullet at Homestead, Dolphins/NFL playoff picture, Kim Kardashian as a horse, Gary Shelton & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Click on Now, The Pressure for today's latest column, off the Marlins press conference making official Giancarlo Stanton's megadeal.


1aa1amoetgs 1aa1amoet3How $tanton celebrated his new megadeal:
(Yes, we've made the S in $tanton a dollar sign): Giancarlo $tanton's new 13-year, $325 million Marlins contract is being announced officially today, but $tanton celebrated late Monday, at the trendy FDR nightclub at Miami's tragically hip Delano hotel. He has officially entered the orbit of self-celebration that we saw the Heat's Big 3 perfect the past four years. According to TMZ, and seen here, $tanton was partying at 3 a.m. Tuesday with friends "and some very attractive ladies" and a $20,000 bottle of champagne that had been "gifted" him by a Miami party queen named "Julz." Yes, I said a $20,000 bottle of champagne. It was Moet Nectar Imperial Rose' Leopard Luxury Edition Methuselah, one of only 60 made, a 6-liter bottle coated in 22-carat gold leaf. Top that, D-Wade!
 

1aa1ajloria

WILL STANTON DEAL TRANSFORM JEFFREY LORIA'S IMAGE WITH FANS?:
 In my most recent column I write about the impact of the Giancarlo Stanton megadeal on the popularity of owner Jeffrey Loria. Click on Image Makeover to read the column in full. Will locking up Stanton for at least six more seasons (and as many as 13 more) do the trick for Loria? It can't hurt. Loria's unpopularity has run deep, rooted in years of gross underspending on payrolls and product. But now Mr. Cheap has OK'd a contract that would be a record $325 million over the full 13 years. How has that impacted the general opinion of Loria? There's only one way to find out. Ask. So I'm asking. Take a dip in our poll and vote what best reflects your attitude, right now, about Jeffrey Loria.

1aa1aangelrA HEAVEN-SENT ANGEL FOR CANES HOOPS: Miami Hurricanes stunned No. 8 Florida 69-67 in basketball Monday night ending the Gators' 33-game home winning streak, thanks to 24 points including a game-winning prayer 3 from guard Angel Rodriguez, a transfer from Kansas State. Jim Larranaga's guys are now 2-0 and likely to bomb into the Top 25 now.

SOPY: CANE VS. NOLE FOR STATE TITLE DOWN THE STRETCH: Looking like Miami's Duke Johnson vs. Florida State's Jameis Winston, each with two games to play, vying for season honors in our blog-1aa1asopyexclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 13:

SOPY WEEK 12 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk12    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         173     1,725

2 (2)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb         161     1,611

3 (3)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      BYE    1,399.5 

4 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            175     1,247.5

5 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb          179.5    1,240.5

6 (6)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        53       1,070

7 (8)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb           141.5    1,055.5

8 (7)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            98       1,055

9 (9)       Matt Jones, Florida-rb              69        868

10 (10)     Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb      BYE      780

Bubble: Karlos Williams, FSU-rb, 769. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Florida and UCF have played 9 games; Miami, FSU, FAU and USF have played 10; and FIU has played 11.

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

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: SLUMPING PICKS, SURGING LOBOS IN WEEK 11: We update you briefly every 1aa1aarkstate 1aa1afripixTuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: Still lagging. Having a strong season, but our lull continues. Went 8-6 overall and 7-7 vs. the spread. Did hit our Upset of the Week call with Pats over Colts ("Aawwk!") and also had 'dog Texans, Rams and Raiders with points. Fantasy: Surge continues. Greg's Lobos won a third straight to make it 5-6 and move within one game of playoff pace with three to go. Won ugly, 88-76, my top scorer the 49ers defense with 15 points. But won. Go 'Bos!

1aa1aschittscreekCAN I SAY 'SCHITT'S CREEK' IN A BLOG? YES, I THINK SO: Cable's TV Guide Network, rebranding to the Pop network in January, has signed it's first scripted series: Schitt's Creek, a Canadian comedy starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara. (Schitt, of course, is a legitimate if unfortunate German surname). I'll give the show a try. Have liked Levy and O'Hara since their SCTV days; loved them in the movie Best Of Show. Also look forward to hearing a television announcer intone, "Coming up next ... Schitt's Creek!"

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November 12, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOPY WEEK 11 TOP 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 04, 2014

What can hot Dolphins, Canes and Heat accomplish? New poll. Vote!; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY rankings, governor election & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Fins crush San Diego, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

On Heat's first loss: Click on Reality Hasn't Changed for my column from the arena off last night's Heat loss. Losing to very good Houston wasn't a reality chcek for Miami because the reality is the same now as it was at 3-0. Heat is competitive, not a contender, and the moving on from LeBron James will be a season-long challenge.

HAPPINESS IS A MIAMI SPORTS FAN (FOR NOW, AT LEAST): My earlier column is unabashedly rah-rah, me as Homer Guy, banging the civic drum in celebration of our local teams' collective Big Weekend. 1aa1abig3Why not? I live here. I wish our teams well. Doesn't mean I can't be objective or won't be critical, but when the Dolphins, Heat, football Hurricanes and hockey Panthers are all winning on the same weekend for only the fourth time ever, well, that's good with me. Click on Happy Days for the column. It's pretty remarkable each team's turnaround the past few weeks. Dolphins, three straight wins for 5-3 at midyear. Heat, last unbeaten team left in Eastern Conference (before Tuesday night''s first loss). Canes, 6-3 after three wins in a row. Our blog's Dolfan and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter polls both set season highs this week, and Heat fans were celebrating the smooth start to Life After LeBron. The hot streaks raise hope that all three possibilities mentioned in this poll could happen, although the argument could also be made that all three remain doubtful. Vote for only as many of the three as you honestly think will happen, and say why.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: SO-SO AND GOOD IN WEEK 9: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: So- 1aa1afripix 1aa1aarkstateso. Having a great season so far, but not helped much by going 8-5 overall and 7-6 against the spread last week. Stayed scorching hot on Upset of the Week calls by bull's-eyeing Patriots over Broncos ("Aawwk!"). But let's not mention that I picked San Diego, OK? Please? Fantasy: Good. Woebegone Greg's Lobos finally won, rising to 3-6 with a 134-107 triumph led by Marshawn Lynch's 30 points. I'm now within two games of playoff pace with five weeks left. Go 'Bos!

SOPY: CANES' DUKE OF GABLES IS RUNNING AWAY WITH IT!: Another big game from Miami's Duke Johnson last week has increased his overall lead in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the 1aa1asopyYear (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 11:

SOPY WEEK 10 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk10    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         244     1,552

2 (2)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb     150.5   1,336 

3 (3)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        215.5    1,291.5

4 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            97.5    1,072.5

5 (5)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           158      1,061 

6 (6)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            58        957

7 (7)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        62        875

8 (8)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb             61       781

9 (10)      Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb        95       741

10 (--)      Matt Jones, Florida-rb            216      713

Bubble: Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb, 667. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Miami, FIU, FAU and USF have played 9 games; FSU and UCF have played 8; and Florida has played 7.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (8-0); 2. Miami (5-3); 3. Florida (4-3); 4. UCF (5-3); 5. SoFla (3-6); 6. FIU (3-6); 7. FAU (3-6).

COTE'S TAKE ON FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL RACE: For what it's worth (not much), but because I love politics and because my blog veers occasionally from sports, I size up the three candidates: Rick Scott 1aa1aflaflag(Rep.)--Incumbent has been the worst Florida governor of my lifetime and also ran a campaign of negative ads, but nevertheless won. That's because... Charlie Crist (Dem.)--That he also was largely unlikeable to voters, with cause, was the sole reason this race was even close. A better candidate would have sailed to victory over the unpopular Scott. Adrian Wyllie (Lib.)--In theory, a vote for Wyllie was a noble statement against the two mainstream contenders. In reality, support for Wyllie may well be to blame for Scott's return to office. Decision '14: I voted Crist as the less-damnable of unsatisfying choices, but respect the verdict. Whomever was your choice, I hope you voted!

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October 29, 2014

Bosh powers Heat to Opening Night win; plus cheer/boo LeBron poll, why Duke should stay at UM in 2 words, CFP rank, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY Top 10 & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins whip Jacksonville, DSM poll, Heat, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

HEAT WIN OPENER BEHIND BOSH: Miami tonight beat visiting Washington 107-95, led by 26 points and 15 rebounds from Chris Bosh, 23 from Norris Cole and 21 from Dwyane Wade.

NEW HEAT FILM: WE ARE BIGGER THAN LEBRON: That's me saying that, not the Heat. But that is the only defiant message that can logically be derived from a new Miami Heat six-minute film that debuted tonight at 8 on the team's website. Click on Heat Nation to watch it. The club describes the 1aa1aheatnationfilm as one that "acknowledges and embraces the Miami Heat fan base, players and organization and recognizes them collectively as a nation ... a people united under one flag." What stands out to me: No reference whatsoever to LeBron James. You get a brief glimpse of Shaq. LeBron? Nada. The film will be featured prominently pregame Wednesday night as the Heat open the NBA season at home vs. Washington. The club calls the film the "cornerstone" of an ongoing Heat Nation "campaign." This whole Heat Nation thing bloomed in reaction to LeBron bolting after four seasons and returning to Cleveland. The franchise wishes to convey that it is bigger than any one player, even this one. It also is an invitation to fans nationwide who hopped the Miami bandwagon because of LeBron to stay loyal to the Heat. The film is a good idea by the Heat, and another facet of the very interesting relationship now between Miami and LeBron, one that weighs all he did in four years here vs. the way he left awkwardly, privately angering Pat Riley and others. How Miami feels about LeBron won't be known concretely until his first return here on Christmas Day. But you can provide a hint with this poll. We asked the same question on Aug. 13 and will be interested to compare the results 10 weeks later as emotions have settled, and hardened. Vote now and say why you feel as you do.

CFP RANKINGS DEBUT: LET THE WHINING BEGIN!: Update: Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn and Ole Miss are the inital Top Four. Big loser? Alabama. Original post: The first College Football Playoff ranking is out this 1aa1acfpevening, a Top 25 in which only numbers 1-2-3-4 really matter. In today's latest column -- click on Argument Is Good -- I write how the sport now has the best of both worlds: A playoff, but still the debate and discussion that is a lifeblood. The initial arguing should focus on who's No. 4? Most would agree that unbeatens Mississippi State and Florida and pedigreed Alabama are a consensus top three. But then? Here the first ranking gets interesting. Auburn, Notre Dame, Oregon, TCU and perhaps a few others have a claim. A penny for your thoughts, Condoleezza Rice!

2 WORDS FOR DUKE JOHNSON: HEISMAN TROPHY: That is an enticement Miami's Duke of Gables should be weighing as he considers whether to return for his senior season with the Canes. Big if, but if 1aa1adukejUM was 6-1 right now instead of 5-3, Johnson -- with the same numbers -- would be a considered a Heisman candidate. Here's why I say that: Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon right now is the top-ranked running back in the Heisman race, ranked third overall by ESPN, and he has 1,168 yards rushing (7.6 average) and 39 yards receiving for 1,207 total offensive yards. Johnson has 1,036 yards rushing (7.5 average) and 224 receiving for a total of 1,260. The supposition: This same Duke, on a better Canes team next year, is a legit Heisman contender. Though injury is alaways a risk, I think Duke should come back simply to improve his NFL draft stock, which right now is stamped second round. But it is the Heisman factor that isn't talked about enough.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS CONTINUE IN WEEK 8: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy- 1aa1afripix
1aa1aarkstateleague team. Pix: Still trending upward. Having a great (for us) season so far. We went 11-4 overall and 9-6 against the spread again, and stayed scorching hot on Upset of the Week calls by bull's-eyeing Steelers over Colts ("Aawwk!"). Fantasy: Still trending down. Greg's Lobos fell to 2-6 with a 203-137 loss. Larry Fitzgerald finally woke up for me (30 points), but can't do much when your opponent tops 200 -- a lot even for our lil' 8-team friends 'n family league.

SOPY: CANES' DUKE OF GABLES DASHES TO NO. 1 IN NEW STATE COLLBALL RANKINGS: Miami's Duke Johnson's huge 249-yard rushing game at Virginia Tech catapults him to No. 1 this week in our latest 1aa1asopyblog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 10:

SOPY WEEK 9 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk9    Season

1 (3)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         298     1,308

2 (2)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      156.5   1,185 

3 (1)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        BYE     1,076

4 (4)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            52        975

5 (7)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           187      913 

6 (5)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            80        899

7 (6)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       BYE       813

8 (8)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb             BYE       720

9 (9)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           BYE       667

10 (--)      Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb       106       646

Bubble: Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 636. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Miami, FIU, FAU and USF have played 8 games; FSU and UCF have played 7; and Florida has played 6.

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

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October 23, 2014

Analyzing Dolphins playoff chances from here, game by game; plus 3 ex-Canes on Hall ballot, SOPY rank (new No. 1), KC-SF, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win in Chicago, DSM poll, World Series rooting result, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

3 ex-Canes on Hall ballot: The 2015 College Football Hall of Fame ballot is out. Ex-Hurricanes on it are defensive greats Jerome Brown, Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp.

FORTUNE .500: DECIPHERING DOLPHINS' PLAYOFF CHANCES FROM HERE: In my latest column I write that Miami is only 1-7 on making the playoffs seasons when it is 3-3 after six games. Hasn't 1aa1adolmorganhappened since 1983, Y.O.M. (Year of Marino). And so trusting and believing in the Dolphins is very tough; fans are wary. Click on Make Us Believe for the full column. We analyze Miami's 2014 playoff shot with a look at the remaining schedule:

At Jaguars Oct. 26 -- Miami isn't good enough to have a "trap" game or to look past anybody. Jax is 1-6 but plays pretty stout D and is capable of an upset. Miami win = 4-3.

Vs. Chargers Nov. 2 -- Home-field upset possible, but Philip Rivers a tough hurdle anywhere. Loss = 4-4.

At Lions Nov. 9 -- Very good Detroit defense, although Matthew Stafford's inconsistency and Calvin Johnson's health give Dolphs a big shot. Loss = 4-5.

Vs. Bills Nov. 13 -- Buffs defense is so-so and Kyle Orton is no answer. Win = 5-5.

At Broncos Nov. 23 -- Peyton Manning at Mile High. The one remaining game that feels like Miami has no real shot. Loss = 5-6.

At Jets Dec. 1 -- For NYJ, bad defense plus Geno Smith equals a current 1-6. Win = 6-6.

Vs. Ravens Dec. 7 -- Baltimore looking very good but home field counts here. Win = 7-6.

At Patriots Dec. 14 -- Tom Brady, in Foxborough, in winter, still sounds like a bad result. Loss = 7-7.

Vs. Vikings Dec. 21 -- No gimmies, but this could be surest win left on schedule. Win = 8-7.

Vs. Jets Dec. 28 -- Farewell, Rex Ryan! Win = 9-7.

Will 9-7 be good enough for a wild card playoff spot? Doubtful. As of right now, eight AFC teams have better records than Miami and two others also are 3-3. That's a 10-team scrum for six spots. But getting to 10-6 is doable. In the scenario above, a split of the Chargers/Lions games would do it.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: THE GOOD AND BAD OF WEEK 7: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosdid the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: The good. Went strong at 11-4 overall and 9-6 against the spread, and stayed hot on Upset of the Week calls by bull's-eyeing Jaguars over Browns ("Aawwk!"). Fantasy: The bad. Greg's Lobos fell to 2-5 with a 138-72 blowout loss. Not a good sign when your leading scorer (DeAndre Hopkins) has only 15 points.

SOPY: FSU'S WINSTON LEAPS TO TOP IN STATE COLLBALL RANKINGS: Florida State's Jameis Winston leaps to No. 1 this week in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- 1aa1asopy"the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week (like the Canes) take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 9:

SOPY WEEK 8 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk8    Season

1 (3)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        156.5    1,076

2 (4)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      287.5   1,028.5 

3 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         BYE     1,010

4 (2)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            BYE       923

5 (8)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            166       819

6 (5)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       114       813

7 (7)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           60.5      726 

8 (9)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb             94        720

9 (6)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           (-) 4       667

10 (--)      Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             101       636

Bubble: Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec, 580. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF and Florida have played 6 games; FAU, FSU, Miami and USF have played 7; FIU has played 8.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 8: 1. FSU (7-0); 2. Miami (4-3);  3. UCF (4-2); 4. Florida (3-3); 5. SoFla (3-4); 6. FIU (3-5); 7. FAU (3-4).

WORLD SERIES: ROOTING FOR ROYALS: Main reason for fans of neither team to root for Kansas City over San Francisco in the 110th World Series starting tonight: Giants won it all as recently as 2012 and 2010, while Royals are in the postseason for the first time since 1985. Secondary reason: Silly San Fran radio deejays refusing to play the popular Lorde song, Royals. Seriously. Kansas City DJ's should fire back by refusing to play anything by the alt-rock group They Might Be Giants, although I don't know that TMBG has ever had a radio hit. Anyway, to protest San Fran's protest, here is Royals by Lorde:

 

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October 16, 2014

Which Miami team's leadership do you most trust (or not)? Poll. Vote!; plus latest NBA odds, two Canes top new SOPY ranking, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15. See results of the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in blogpost directly below this one. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall to Green Bay, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

The State of The Big 5: Dolphins. Heat. Canes football. Marlins. Panthers hockey. Those are Greater Miami's Big 5 teams. I provide a state-of report and prognosis for each in today's latest column, which is a companion to the poll directly below. Click on The Big 5 to read.

WHO DO YOU TRUST: WHICH OF OUR BIG 5 TEAMS IS IN THE BEST HANDS MOVING FORWARD?: I think this poll is well-timed for two reasons. First, October is the only time of year when football, baseball, basketball and hockey are all going on. Second, these are strange times for South Florida teams, with 1aa1atrustthe Heat sans LeBron, Dolphins and Canes fans less than happy, the Marlins (though improved) continuing their playoff drought and the Panthers off to a bad start in hockey. I am asking whose current leadership you have faith in, and you may vote for as many or as few as you like. I purposely didn't include "None" as an option because I'm after a realistic view, not morose pessimism. If you honestly don't have faith in anybody, vote for the team and leadership that come closest for you. When I say "leadership" I'm generally thinking owner/GM/coach, as in: Dolphins--Stephen Ross, Dennis Hickey, Joe Philbin. Heat--Micky Arison, Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra. Marlins--Jeffrey Loria, Michael Hill, Mike Redmond. Panthers--Vincent Viola, Dale Tallon, Gerard Gallant. With Hurricanes football I guess I pretty much mean Al Golden. Vote for one team, all five or any number in between. Your call.

LEBRON-GONE EFFECT SHOWS IN HEAT BETTING ODDS: New NBA individual betting odds from Bovada: MVP--Cavs' LeBron James the favorite at 5-6; Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade tied for 18th at 100-1. Rookie--Bucks' Jabari Parker fave at 5-2; Heat's Shabazz Napier tie-11th at 30-1. Coach--Spurs' Gregg Popovich fave at 3-1; Erik Spoelstra tie-15th at 35-1. Scoring leader--Thunder's Kevin Durant pick at 3-2; Bosh/Wade tie-16th at 100-1. Rebounds--Pistons' Andre Drummond pick at 9-5; no Heat player listed; Assists--Clippers' Chris Paul pick at 2-3; no Heater listed.

SOPY: TWO CANES, JAMEIS 1-2-3 IN STATE COLLBALL RANKINGS: Canes Duke Johnson and Brad Kaaya and FSU's Jameis Winston are a clear 1-2-3 in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the 1aa1asopyYear (SOPY) rankings --"the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 8:

SOPY WEEK 7 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk7    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         184     1,010

2 (2)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            154      923

3 (3)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        173.5    919.5

4 (4)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      BYE    741 

5 (5)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       107      699

6 (8)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb          174.5    671

7 (--)       Justin Holman, UCF-qb           207     665.5 

8 (6)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb             67      653

9 (7)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb            87.5     626

10 (--)     Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec       155       580

Bubble: Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 535. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF and Florida have played 5 games; FAU, FSU and USF have played 6; Miami and FIU have played 7.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 8: 1. FSU (6-0); 2. Miami (4-3);  3. Florida (3-2); 4. UCF (3-2); 5. SoFla (2-4); 6. FIU (3-4); 7. FAU (2-4).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: DOWN AND FROWN FOR WEEK 6: We update you briefly every Tuesday 1aa1alobos 1aa1afripixon how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: That I had Dolphins in my Upset of the Week pretty  much summarizes my fortunes. Went 7-7-1 overall but at least 1aa1agorelsalvaged 8-7 against the spread thanks to four 'dogs-with-points (including Miami). Fantasy: Greg's Lobos fell to 2-4 with a 112-95 loss, getting 26 from Philip Rivers, 21 from DeSean Jackson and not enough else. Had a shot Monday night but needed a big game from Frank Gore, who didn't come through. Lesley Gore (pictured left) would have helped me as much.

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October 07, 2014

Dolphins and Jim Harbaugh. Poll. Vote!; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY Top 10, college football's merry mess, toast to '72, Cinder-AL-a & more

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It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show, 3-7 on The Ticket  Miami, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Ears welcome.

1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7. The Jacksonville Jaguars mascot led to an apology from the club for the sign shown carried during the Steelers game. Dear Mascots: Two things. First, stay out of politics and current events. Second, nothing about the ebola virus is funny. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes grounded by Georgia Tech, CSM poll, Hot Button Top  10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

THE DOLPHINS' HARBAUGH DILEMMA: A prevailing school of thought within the NFL is that the San Francisco 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh may mutually part ways after this season, despite their success 1aa1ajimhtogether. That immediately raises Harbaugh-to-Dolphins speculation considering owner Stephen Ross already tried once (2011) to hire Harbaugh for Miami. I think the issue would be moot if Miami makes the playoffs, which I think would secure Joe Philbin's job. But otherwise? Harbaugh's coaching talent is evident. But so is his off-putting personality and his hunger for control. Hiring him would be seen as a coup by some, but would be seen by others as an invitation to upheaval and turmoil. It's early, but we invite your thoughts on the matter. Vote and say why.

THE MERRY MESS OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL: I am grinning right now at all those folks who thought the advent, this season, of the four-team College Football Playoff would make everything cut-and-dried, neat, 1aa1acfpabove argument. Ha! In the best case, the Final Four may not be a broad consensus. There will usually be an angry No. 5 standing outside the closed door leading a protest. In the worst case, picking four for the CFP may be a crapshoot that finds at least as many teams feeling unfairly left out. This first year of the playoff looks like it could be one of those nightmares for the selection committee. Seemed otherwise until Nos. 2-3-4 Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma all lost this past weekend, leaving the playoff picture as Florida State and the backup group Question Mark & The Mysterians. Auburn is pretty solid No. 2, then it gets crazy. Mississippi State, Baylor, Ole Miss, Notre Dame -- there are 24 teams in the AP Top 25 with zero or one losses. Alabama or any of the other recently dethroned team that runs the table from here stil can gravitate back up into the top four. It's insane, with very little hope of consensus come playoff time. Ain't it great!?

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: ALL GOOD FOR WEEK 5: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosprevious NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: Great on the overall at 13-2 and OK against the spread at 8-7. But we stumbled for first time on our Upset of the Week when Bears blew it in Carolina. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos (logo at left) improved to 2-3 with a 107-93 win, led by 22 points from Marshawn Lynch, 21 from Philip Rivers and, unexpectedly, 21 from the toe of Stephen Gostkowski. Gotta say, though. You killin' me, Calvin Johnson!

SOPY: CANES' JOHNSON, KAAYA STAY ON TOP: Canes Duke Johnson and Brad Kaaya stay 1-2 in our blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings --"the State Heisman" -- while hard- 1aa1asopycharging Jameis Winston, the defending champion, leaps to No. 3. This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 7:

SOPY WEEK 6 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk6    Season

1 (1)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         158      826

2 (2)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            119.5    769

3 (6)       Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        194.5    746

4 (4)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      176.5   741 

5 (5)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec        33      592

6 (3)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            DNP      586

7 (9)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb            114     538.5

8 (8)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           59.5     496.5

9 (7)        Karlos Williams, FSU-rb           54      494

10 (--)     Alex Gardner, FIU-rb               118     470

Bubble: Jay Warren, FAU-rb, 467. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 458.5. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF and Florida have played 4 games, FSU and USF have played 5 and Miami, FIU and FAU have played 6.

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

A TOAST (EARLY THIS YEAR) TO 1972: In South Florida "1972" doesn't mean Vietnam or Watergate or anything else but Perfection. It means Don Shula, Lazrry Csonka and the 17-0 '72 Dolphins. Usually it's 1aa1adol72around Thanksgiving each year when some other NFL team is making its futile attempt to equal what Miami did, once and forver. This season we're only five weeks in and already we are rid of the last unbeaten team, thanks to the Bengals losing big at New England last night. The '72 Perfectos should feel cheated. National football writers didn't even have time to try to scrounge a phone number for Dick Anderson or Nick Buoniconti. Was the champgane even chilled yet? Anyone, congrats to what was, and remains. To the Class of '72.

...AND THEN THERE'S DERRICK SHELBY: We segue from the Dolphins' 1aa1adshelbypinnacle of pride to the latter-day embarrassment of defensive end Derrick Shelby, arrested for causing a disturbance at Fort Lauderdale nightclub at 2 a.n. Saturday. Cops had to tase him three times. The mugshot at left hints at one of the charges: resisting arrest. This is the worst possible climate to be arrested as an NFL player right now, but alcohol does cloud the mind, doesn't it? Kudos to the Dolphins and coach Joe Philbin for immediately suspending Shelby.

CINDERELLA LIVES IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE: I love that the Orioles and Royals are in 1aa1aalcsthe AL Championship Series after 3-0 playoff series wins over the Tigers and Angels, respectively. The O's have waited the longest of any AL playoff team (31 years) to win a World Series, while the Royals hadn't even been to the postseason since 1985. In the NL, if the Nationals (down 2-0) get eliminated the team to root for sentimentally would be the L.A. Dodgers. They last won a WS in 1988, although seven playoff appearances since and a mega-payroll hardly make LAD a classic Cinderella like the AL offers.

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October 02, 2014

Poll: Who do you hope wins '14 World Series? Vote now!; plus new NBA odds/Heat's slot, Tannehill's task, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY rankings & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1. Happy new month, all. 2 In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins club Oakland, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1aheat14Heat pegged fifth in Eastern Conference: New NBA win/loss over-unders from Vegas' WestgateSuperbook peg the East playoff order like this: 1. Bulls 55.5 wins, 2. Raptors and Wizards 49.5 each, 4. Hornets 45.5, 5. Heat 43.5, 6. Nets 41.5, 7. Hawks and Knicks 40.5 each. Chicago is fourth overall after West Big 3 of Cavaliers 58.5, Thunder 57.5 and Spurs 56.5. Over at Bovada, title odds find Miami 40-1, tied for 10th in league, tied for fourth in East.

Tannehill's task: Great is a bonus. Be good. Consistently: I write in my latest column that the Dolphins will be playoff regulars when what Ryan Tannehill did Sunday in London becomes routine, not an aberration. Miami is 13-1 when Tannehill's passer rating is 90 or above, and 4-18 when it is below 90. They don't him to be great, just consistently good. Click on Tanny's Task to read the column in full.

BASEBALL PLAYOFFS BEGIN! (A MINUTE FOR THE NATIONAL PASTTIME, PLEASE?): MLB playoffs commence with AL wild-card game last night -- Royals over A's in 12 innings -- and NL wildie tonight. Lots of familiarity, with eight of 1aa1abbposthe 10 postseason teams having been in it in 2013 or '12. The Marlins of course are playoff bystanders for the 20th time in 22 franchise seasons. On the bright side, it was good of the Dolphins to have their bye week now so we might afford some attention to baseball nevertheless. With no Marlins or Red Sox I don't have an emotional dog in the hunt so my rooting interest in based solely on sympathy -- on who's waitest longest to be champion and whose fans are most starving. Thus, teams are rated by my rooting interest:

NATIONAL: Cards vs. Dodgers; Nats vs. Giants

1aa1alglogo1. Nationals (57-year wait): Here's my math. The Washington Senators' last championship was 1924, They didn't win the next 47 years as that franchise, and haven't brought a title to D.C. as the Nats since 2005. Current odds: 11-2.

2. Pirates (35 years): ELIMINATED "We Are Family." It was Willie Stargell's 1979. Odds were: 14-1.

3. Dodgers (26 years): Hard to believe but last WS title in 1988, though in playoffs seven times since. Current odds: 5-1.

4. Cardinals (3 years): Won it all in 2011. Current odds: 8-1.

5. Giants (2 years): Won in 2012. Rooting for St. Louis or San Fran is like hoping Donald Trump wins the Powerball. Current odds 12-1.

AMERICAN: Tigers vs. Orioles; Angels vs. Royals

1aa1alglogo1. Orioles (31-year wait): When Dolfans were swooning over rookie Dan Marino in 1983, O's were winning their  most recent WS. Current odds: 13-2.

2. Tigers (30 years): It was George Orwell's 1984. Current odds: 6-1.

3. Royals (29 years): K.C. last won in 1985 but Royals in some ways are the biggest Cinderellaof all because they haven't even made the playoffs since then, while everybody else has postseasoned as recently as 2009. Current odds: 16-1.

4. A's (25 years): ELIMINATED Charlie Finley's Athletics last reigned in '89. Odds were: 11-1.

5. Angels: (12 years): Last won it all in 2002. Current odds: 5-1.

OK so that's my rooting interest, quantified. It's Nats over O's for the good people of the District. Now it's your turn. Who would you most like to see win the World Series? Not who you think will win but who you want to win. Vote and say why.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: THE PRETTY GOOD AND REALLY BAD OF WEEK 4: We update you briefly every 1aa1afripix 1aa1alobosTuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: Pretty good. We went 9-4 overall in Week 4 and 8-5 against the spread, nailing another Upset of the Week call ("Aawwk!") with Cowboys over Saints to make us 4-0 on Bird calls. Fantasy: Really bad. Greg's Lobos (team logo at left) fell to 1-3 with a third straight loss, 110-96. Got 27 points from Philip Rivers, 24 from Frank Gore and not enough help. Three key players with byes didn't help.

SOPY: CANES' JOHNSON, KAAYA NOW 1-2!: Canes Duke Johnson and Brad Kaaya are now 1-2 in our blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings --"the State Heisman." Season-long
1aa1asopyleader Marlon Mack falls to third place. This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Jameis Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 6:

SOPY WEEK 5 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk5    Season

1 (3)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb         171      668

2 (2)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            123.5    649.5

3 (1)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            34       586

4 (8)        Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      208.5   564.5

5 (5)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       131      559

6 (10)      Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        203.5    551.5

7 (--)       Karlos Williams, FSU-rb          173      440

8 (4)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           DNP     437

9 (--)       Alex McGough, FIU-qb            127     424.5

10 (--)     Jay Warren, FAU-rb                  76       398

Bubble: DeMarcus Robinson, Florida-rec, 371. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 364. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF and Florida have played 3 games and FSU 4. The other four state FBS teams have played 5 each.

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

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