November 12, 2016

Opposite season outlooks (and results) for Hurricanes men, women as college basketball tips off; plus Dolphins-Chargers and other NFL Week 10 predictions, R.I.P. Bill Stanfill & more

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

Vetsday1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12. Happy Veterans Day, America! Yesterday we celebrated, honored and thanked all of those who have served in the U.S. military, past to present -- which we should do every day. Who sits in the White House changes, but our reliance on the world's greatest Armed Forces never does. 2) The Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available, just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami return of Dwyane Wade, postscript on election, your Clinton-Trump verdict, The List (Wade) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Bill Stanfill, R.I.P.: Former Miami Dolphins defensive great Bill Stanfill has died in hospice care, at age 69, in Georgia. Click here for more. The Perfect Season defensive end still is No. 3 on the franchise's all-time career sacks list with 67 1/2, after only Jason Taylor and Cam Wake.

Wade3Welcome home, old friend: Click on Return Of Wade for my column from the arena on Thursday night's surreal but emotional Miami return of Dwyane Wade in a Bulls uniform. A few of our other recent columns: Miami QBs: No Worries (on why Tannehill is good enough and Kaaya will return). The Other Dolphins Would Have Lost This (from win over Jets). There's Hope For Us All (Cubs win World Series). A Needed Slap In Face (NFL's declining TV ratings). And Jose Tragedy Couldn't Get Worse, But Then It Did (Fernandez and cocaine).

OPENING NIGHT! OPPOSITE CHALLENGES FOR HURRICANES' MEN, WOMEN AS 2016-17 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON BEGINS: Miami's tandem of men's coach Jim Larranaga and women's coach Katie Meier is as solid as any in the country (see The List Below), but they face far different challenges and outlooks as college basketball got bouncing Friday. Our overview outlook for each team as the season begins:

LarranagaUM men open with 92-43 home win over over Western Carolina: Canes had five players score between 11 and 14 points and seven play 23 to 25 minutes in expected easy win over lesser foe. Outlook: Miami's men were really good last season, finishing 27-8, 13-5 in the tough ACC and reaching the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16, led by a terrific year from Sheldon McClellan. Well, McClellan, Angel Rodriguez and Tonye Jekiri are among that team's leaders who have departed, leaving behind a program Larranaga (pictured) is rebuilding. Expectations are modest; UM was pegged ninth of 15 conference teams in the preseason media poll. Canes will be infusing arriving talent and hoping for big seasons from returning guys such as as Davon Reed and Ja'Quan Newton. The outlook? Somewhere around .500 or just above and contention for an NIT bid seems reasonable. But never underestimate the first-rate motivator Larranaga as he sets out on his sixth UM season.

MotleyNo. 14 UM women open with 82-66 road loss at No. 19 Kentucky: No soft opener for the Canes women, who lost despite Adrienne Motley's 16 points as Wildcats ended on a 15-2 run. Outlook: Meier's 12th UM season opened big as her 14th-ranked Canes unveiled themselves at No. 19 Kentucky with a huge test out the gate -- the only Top 25 matchup in women's basketball as the season launched. Canes were 24-9 last season and 10-6 in the ACC before disappointingly losing their opener in the NCAA Tournament. They should be very good again, led by a genuine star in the senior guard Motley (pictured). No. 14 in the national polls as a starting point suggests big things are expected, as does being pegged fifth in the preseason ACC guesstimation. Unlike Larranaga, then, and despite the program's first season-opening loss since 1996, Meier faces the burden of tall expectations.

THE LIST: HURRICANES' WINNINGEST BASKETBALL COACHES: Where current coaches Jim Larranaga and Katie Meier ranked among all-time Hurricanes winningest basketball coaches entering their 2016-17 seasons:

UM men's basketball coaching victories

Coach                       Record      Pct.    Years

Bruce Hale                220-112    .663    1954-67

Leonard Hamilton     144-147    .495     1990-2000

Frank Haith              129-101    .561     2004-11

Hart Morris               119-82      .592    1938-42, '46-52

Jim Larranaga            91-49      .650    2011-present

UM women's basketball coaching victories

Ferne Labati             303-195    .608    1988-2005

Katie Meier               207-143    .591    2005-present

Lin Dunn                   149-119    .556    1978-87 

IT'S UPSET BIRD DAY / WEEK 10: OUR PICKS FOR DOLPHINS-CHARGERS, REST OF NFL: We modestly regained a bit of misplaced mojo last week in Week 10 of our 26th season of Friday Page FripixNFL predictions in the Miami Herald, after a pratfall the week before. I'm not doing handsprings over an 8-5 record overall and 7-5-1 against the spread, but it was progress. We were a big 23 games over .500 ATS entering this week, but had a mixed start last night. Had Ravens winning, but misfired on thinking Browns would lose by less than 10. (Note to self: Henceforth, don't even bet on the Browns to run onto the field for pregame intros without stumbling). We move on. For all of our latest selections click on Week 10 Gems as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our latest predictions for Dolphins-Chargers (sorry, Dolfans), our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and more. We also offer our accompanying NFL notes column today that leads with an appreciation of former Miami Hurricanes who represent on the NFL's all-time career leaders lists in so many categories. Click on Canes In the History Book to read.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 10, 2016

Welcome home, Dwyane: If there was a hatchet, Wade and Riley helped bury it tonight. Heat lose, Wade scores 13; plus a smidge more politics (sorry), The List (Wade) & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10. Girding for double-duty today. Am up at Friday Page World Headquarters researching our latest NFL predictions (click Thursday Gem for tonight's Browns-Ravens pick), then heading downtown to Heat arena for Wade Returns night. 2) Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available, just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Clinton vs. Trump thoughts and poll, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 9 results, SOPY standings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Countdown: In case you wondered, it is 1,454 days -- or 3 years, 11 months, 24 days -- until the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election.

A few of our most recent columns: Miami QBs: No Worries, our latest, on why I think Ryan Tannehill is good enough and Brad Kaaya will return for his senior season. Also: The Other Dolphins Would Have Lost This (from win over Jets). There's Hope For Us All (Cubs' World Series win). A Needed Slap In Face (NFL's declining TV ratings). Jose Tragedy Couldn't Get Worse, But Then It DidHeat's System Reboot.

WadehomeWELCOME HOME, DWYANE: Game tonight: Click on Return Of Wade for my column from tonight's game. Chicago beat Heat 98-95, dropping Miami to 2-5 with a third straight loss despite Hassan Whiteside's 20 points and 20 rebounds. The bigger story, of course: Wade's Miami homecoming. Wade had only 13 points on 5-for-17 shoting but felt the love from a crowd cheering for the Heat -- but also for the beloved No. 3 they cheered for 13 previous seasons ..... Pregame: Pat Riley said tonight he did finally send that long-saved, heartfelt email to Wade, although he wouldn't specify when. "After 13 years we don't need to talk or email to justify how we feel about each other." Wade, speaking later, did not specifically indicate if he'd gotten the email but said, "There's nothing to squash in my eyes," meaning hard feelings, "I'm appreciative of Pat and what we accomplished." ..... Original post: Tonight will be the first time 13-season Heat icon Dwyane Wade returns to Miami in a different uniform, with the Chicago Bulls, for his only visit of the season. It should be an emotional night that will include a video tribute and, I'd expect, a lot of love from the fans. I have a Wade column previewing tonight online and in today's inky pulp edition of the Miami Herald; click on Welcome Home, Dwyane to read in full. The column begins: "This moment has been building for four months, since the Fourth of July, his independence day, when Dwyane Wade knew he was leaving. This moment has been building, really, though, for 13 years, since the 2003 NBA Draft, when Wade and Miami first met, raised three beautiful championships together, and were happily married until they weren't." Much of the column gets into the frayed relationship between Wade and Pat Riley that contributed to Wade leaving Miami. To this day, Wade and Riley have not spoken since last season ended. There are no hard feelings, outwardly. The fists are wrapped in velvet gloves. "Life is too short to be holding grudges," Wade said. "At the end of the day, Pat has helped me become a very rich man. Me and Pat have won championships together. We've both helped each other’s legacies. I love that guy. I know how he is. He's stubborn just like I am." But, as my column concludes: Thursday won't be about Riley, though. It will be about Dwyane Wade and his biggest fans in the arena that helped raise him. Wade said: "My message to [Heat fans] is what it's been all summer. Thank you." Tonight, finally, Miami gets to say thanks back.

ONE MORE THING ON THE ELECTION: I recently railed against the hopelessly counter-productive and stupendously wasted third- and fourth-party voters. My frustration was borne out. As a Rolling Stone study reported, "Third-party protest votes helped assure the Trump victory. In three states [Clinton narrowly lost], Trump's margin of victory is a fraction of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson's vote total. Green Party nominee Jill Stein [had] more votes than Clinton's deficit in both Wisconsin (31,000) and Michigan (51,000)." So, to any Johnson or Stein voters who would have gone Clinton over Trump had their self-righteousness not gotten in the way ... congratulations! You win the Ralph Nader Cup for misguided idealism!

Poll result: Our blog readers went for Clinton: We asked who you hoped would be next president, and Clinton beat Trump, 53.4 percent to 46.6%. It was closer to around 60-40 during the day Tuesday, then narrowed post-election.

THE LIST: DWYANE WADE: As Wade returns to Miami tonight for the first time in a different uniform, a list of some of the major statistical categories in which Wade is the Heat's all-time franchise leader:

Category            Total        Second place

Games                855         Haslem, 815

2-pt FGs             6,939      Mourning, 3,434

Free throws        5,185      Mourning, 2,558

Assists                4,944      Hardaway, 2,867

Steals                1,414       Chalmers. 791

Points                20,221     Mourning, 9,459

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 01, 2016

Dolphins need to quit giving up home games to London! Agreed or no? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Andre Johnson and Canton, latest SOPY standings, Cubs' historic challenge & more

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

Pumpkins1) It is TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1. Happy new month, y'all! Hope you had a great and Happy Halloween. I have a personal animus against fake pumpkins. Pictured right are the three real ones I carved that were on display last night as trick-or-treaters come to our door. 2) See previous blogpost for latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results. They ain't pretty. 3) Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available -- just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall at Notre Dame with CSM poll, state Collball Week 9, Hot Button Top 10, Jose and cocaine, Heat poll results, The List & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Jose Fernandez, Heat, Dolphins, World Series: Our most recent columns: Click on Jose Tragedy Couldn't Get Worse, But Then It Did, for our latest column. Also: The Whiteside Project (off Heat home opener). What Took You So Long? (Dolphins' running-game epiphany). Heat's System Reboot (season-preview column). The 200-Yard Man (Jay Ajayi). And The Perfect World Series (Cubs-Indians).

FinsukDOLFANS GET SCREWED OUT OF ANOTHER HOME GAME: In 2017, for the second time in three seasons, the Miami Dolphins will give up an actual regular-season home game to "host" a game in London. Last year Dolphins fans were robbed of seeing the hated rival Jets visit Miami. Next year you'll be missing out on a rare visit by Hall of Fame bound quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints. Miami and owner Stephen Ross are obliging an NFL codicil that states a team awarded host status for a Super Bowl (which Miami was, in 2020) must "host" an international game within five years. Dumb rule. At least Miami won't be charging fans for a home game beine played an eight-hour flight from home. In any case, I hate that the Dolphins giving up a home game -- let alone twice in three years. More than fans take a hit; the Dolphins yield home-field advantage for that game. This sport is different. There are only eight home games. They are precious. Giving up one of eight would be the equivalent of the Heat playing five of their 41 home games elsewhere, or the Marlins giving up 10 of their 81 home games. Here's a poll that invites your opinion on this matter:

AjohnsonANDRE JOHNSON AND CANTON: Titans wide receiver Andre Johnson, 35, the born-and-raised Miamian and ex-Hurricane, announced today he planned to retire on Monday. Is Johnson a Hall of Famer? I think so. Perhaps not a first-ballot, no-argument guy. But one who should get to Canton eventually. Here are Johnson's pertinent NFL career numbers compared to the three most recent wide receivers to be inducted, with 'PB' indicating Pro Bowls:

Player                           PB    Catches    Yards    Avg.    TDs

Andre Johnson               7    1,062        14,185  13.4    70

Tim Brown (2015)           9     1,094       14,934  13.7    100

Andre Reed (2014)          7        951       13,198  13.9     87

Cris Carter (2013)           8      1,101       13,899  12.6    130

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY WEEK 8 RESULTS: PIX IN A SLUMP, BUT LOBOS KEEP ROCKIN'!: Every week in the blog I update you on how we did the previous weekend with our NFL predictions and fantasy team. NFL pix: Lousy week, period. Went 6-6-1 overall (with the tie game) and embarrassing 3-9-1 against the spread (with the Jets pushing). We're still a very solid 21 games above .500 ATS for  the season, but need to shake this two-week lull pronto. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos rose to 5-3 in the LeBatard Show league with a 138-114 spanking of Dan. That ties us for first place. Enjoyed balanced scoring, with four guys over 19 points led by Mohammad Sanu's 23. With a roster ravaged by byes, we'd just signed Sanu as a free agent late in the week, so that made us look smart. Let's keep it rollin', 'Bos!

SOPY RANKINGS / 'STATE HEISMAN': CAN ANYONE SPOIL FLOWERS' GARDEN PARTY?: South Florida Bulls duel-threat QB Quinton Flowers (out of Miami Jackson High) has expanded his season Sopylead in the fifth year of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year. Second place Dalvin Cook, the Florida state running back, has played one fewer game, but even with that factored in, Flowers' lead is huge. Our rankings are cumulative, so players whose team had a bye week take a temporary hit in the rankings that evens out over the course of a season. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The number of games played for each school is listed parenthetically below. 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. Here is the SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 10, followed by a new No. 1 in our updated 'Cote's State of the State' team rankings:

SOPY TOP 10 AFTER WEEK 9:

RK    LW    Player, Team-pos. (games)                 Wk9        Year

1      1      Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb (9)            309.5      2,051

2      2      Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb (8)                      208        1,512

3      3      Deondre Francois, FSU-qb (8)             102        1,262

4      4      Alex McGough, FIU-qb (9)                  223.5     1,159.5

5      5      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb (9)                  156          996

6      8      Alex Gardner, FIU-rb (9)                     123         937

7      7      Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb (8)                   115         936

8      6      Jason Driskel, FAU-qb (8)                    46          884

9      9      Mark Walton, Miami-rb (8)                  89          845 

10   10     Gregory Howell, FAU-rb (8)                 29          729

Bubble: Rodney Adams, SoFla-rec, 713. Other team leaders: McKenzie Milton, UCF-qb, 703.5 (8); and Luke Del Rio, Florida-qb, 594.5 (7). Week 9 best: Flowers, 309.5. Season best: Cook, 341, Week 4.

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

THE LIST: TEAMS THAT HAVE DONE WHAT CUBS ARE TRYING TO DO: The Cubs trailed the Indians 3-1 before winning World Series game 5 last night. Should it win the next two in Cleveland, the Cubs would become only the fifth team ever to successfully overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven WS. Teams that have done it:

Year    Team                                    Series MVP

1985    Royals vs. Cardinals               Royals P Bret Saberhagen

1968    Tigers vs. Cardinals               Tigers P Mickey Lolich

1958    Yankees vs. Milw. Braves        Yankees P Bob Turley

1925    Pirates vs. Senators               None chosen

Note: Tigers and Yankees won last two on road, the challenge now facing Chicago.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 31, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 16.0%; plus new Hot Button Top 10, UM falls at Notre Dame 30-27, other state Collball Week 9; also, the Jose story that couldn't get worse, got worse (my column) & more

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

Finsat501) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30. Enjoy your no-loss Sunday, Dolfans. And don't give up yet, Cubs fans! Miracle coming. 2) Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available -- just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. Pictured right, the book at Costco, which we are told has reordered due to demand. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat open season with polls, NFL Week 8 picks, Jose and alcohol, Dolphins Halloween, your Cubs-Indians verdict, The List & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Jose Fernandez, Heat, NFL, Dolphins, World Series: Our most recent columns: Click on Jose Tragedy Couldn't Get Worse, But Then It Did, for today's latest column. Also: The Whiteside Project (off Heat home opener). Week 8 Gems (latest NFL picks). What Took You So Long? (Dolphins' running-game epiphany). Heat's System Reboot (season-preview column). The 200-Yard Man (Jay Ajayi). And The Perfect World Series (Cubs-Indians).

 

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 16.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a 16.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 30-27 loss at Notre Dame putting UM's season Csmrecord at 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the ACC. This the eighth season of our blog's CSM postgame polls, which are your invitation after every Hurricanes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 10 a.m. today/Monday.

2016 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 97.2% following 70-3 victory vs. Florida A&M

G2: 91.9% following 38-10 victory vs. Florida Atlantic

G3: 98.2% following 45-10 victory at Appalachian State

G4: 97.9% following 35-21 victory at Georgia Tech

G5: 58.3% following 20-19 loss vs. Florida State

G6: 24.0% following 20-13 loss vs. North Carolina

G7: 20.3% following 37-16 loss at Virginia Tech

G8: 16.0% following 30-27 loss at Notre Dame

Next poll: Nov. 5 following game vs. Pitt

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCT. 30): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Spurs here Sunday bring season’s first real test: The new-era Heat is two games in and 1-1 with its first real test coming Sunday against San Antonio. But the early season’s big highlight is still ahead: Dwyane Wade’s return to Miami on Nov. 10.

2. HURRICANES: UM falls at Notre Dame for fourth straight loss: It was Super Saturday for the state of Florida’s Big 3 as the Canes revived their rivalry with Notre Dame, Florida faced Georgia in its annual neutral-site game, and Florida State hosted No. 3 Clemson. Alas, only the Gators got the job done. 

3. BASEBALL: Do Cubs fans believe in miracles?: World Series Game 5 Sunday night will be the last at Wrigley Field as Cubs, down 3-1, try to win their first title since 1908. The Indians last won it all in 1948. So that’s recently, relatively speaking.

4. JOSE FERNANDEZ: Report indicates cocaine in system at time of death: You thought the Jose Fernandez tragedy couldn't get any worse. But then it did, with Saturday's toxicology report indicating cocaine in Jose's system at the time of the Marlins star's fatal boat crash.  

9. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Canes voted 9th in ACC preseason poll: Duke received 85 of 91 first-place votes in ACC men's basketball preseason media poll. The Miami Hurricanes finished ninth of 15 teams. Could be a long season for Jim Larranaga's departure-decimated Canes.

10. DWYANE WADE: Ex-Heat star fined for throat slash: The NBA fined Wade $25,000 for a throat-slash gesture near the conclusion of his first game with Chicago. Dear Dwyane: Not smart, especially coming from somebody preaching an end to violence.   

Missing the HB10 cut: Like the Dolphins, Missing the Cut is taking the day off.

UmndG8: NOTRE DAME 30, HURRICANES 27: TWO DESPERATE TEAMS RENEW A FIERCE OLD RIVALRY: Postgame thoughts: Note: I needed to suspend my live blog on this game because I'd been called upon to write an unscheduled column on the Jose Fernandez/cocaine development. UM fell behind 20-0 early, fought back, but then could not hold on. Fourth loss in row for Miami. That 4-0 start and No. 10 ranking was a long, long time ago. Canes had very little running game today and defense overall wasn't very good ..... Original post: Saturday's 3:30 kickoff in South Bend finds Miami 4-3 and Notre Dame 2-5, the game airing nationally on NBC as an homage to two storied programs and a once-great rivalry. The betting-line Cathconvtrend has been interesting. Irish opened a negligible 1-point home favorite but enough money flooded to the Canes to swing that line to UM being favored by 2 1/2, and currently 2. I'll say this. A team that has lost three conference games in a row like Miami may take no opponent lightly, and Notre Dame does not seem as bad to me as its record suggests. The Irish have been competitive all year, their five losses by 3, 8, 3, 7 and 7 points. No blowouts there. Besides that, no matter Notre Dame's record any given year, "at South Bend" can still be a challenging trip as the ghosts of a program's tradition and pedigree rattle forth. Could be an intimidating venue for a mostly young canes squad. This was a great rivalry, once, back during the UM dynasty days tinged in controversy -- the T-shirt pictured harking to that -- but the schools are meeting here for only the third time since 1990. (I covered UM fulltime in 1984-88, made two trips to South Bend, and saw the original "Catholics vs. Convicts" painted on bedsheets hanging from dorm windows. The manufactured T-shirts came later. Good stuff!) UM has lost the past three games in the series including 41-3 on the road at Soldier Field in Chicago in the most recent, in 2012. I think that three-game Miami losing streak, as well as this season's current three-game losing streak, both will end in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus. My pick: Hurricanes, 24-16.

Other state FBS Week 9 games, chronologically:

South Florida 52, No. 22 Navy  45: I thought Navy was overanked and overestimated and was right. Bulls, now 7-2, jumped to 28-0 early lead in Friday nighter and held on.

Houston 31, UCF 24: Knights fall to 4-4. Houston bounced back after last week's embarrassing loss to Southern Methodist that sent it cascading from No. 11 clean out of the polls.

Western Kentucky 52, FAU 3: Wheels are coming off on a miserable Owls season now at 1-7.

No. 14 Florida 24, Georgia 10: They call this the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party," which pretty much describes every college football game I've ever attended or covered where red plastic cups outnumber human beings. But this is one of few enduring neutral-site rivalries. No surprise in the result. Gators have owned the series, 21-6, since 1990 including past three in a row, and at 7-1 should be knocking on door of top 10. 

Middle Tennessee 42, FIU 35: Panthers saw their three-game win streak end last week and were 17-point home 'dogs here. A good-effort loss, but Cats now 3-6.

No. 3 Clemson 37, Florida State 34: If FSU had any prayer of somehow still working their way back up into the four-team College Football Playoff (where they began the season), a home win here was an absolute necessity. But wasn't sure an FSU defense that had previously given up 34-plus points in four games this year could do enough to stop Deshaun Watson et al, and was right. FSU now with a third loss, yet probably not deserving to fall much in rankings.

National Collball Week 9 overview: The initial ranking of contenders for the four-team College Football Playoff will be issued Nov. 1, so this is the weekend would shape it. The AP's current top four is Alabama, Michigan, Clemson and Washington. The latter two were at most risk on Saturday, with Clemson playing at 12-Florida State (see above), and Washington playing at 17-Utah. But nobody ranked in the top six lost.

JOSE FERNANDEZ AND COCAINE: Marlins ace Jose Fernandez had cocaine as well as alcohol in his system when he and two friends died in a boating accident last month, according to an autopsy report obtained by USA Today Saturday. Fernandez’s blood alcohol content was .147, nearly twice the legal limit of .08, according to the toxicology results in Miami-Dade County report. The others in the boat were not as intoxicated, with Eduardo Rivera's BAC at .065 and Jesus Macias' at .044. Rivero also was found with cocaine in his system. There has been no ruling on who was driving, although it has been assumed Fernandez was since he owned the boat. My thought on the latest development: There had been an assumption of alcohol,  but the cocaine news is jarring. It accentuates the tragedy, by underlining the fact is was so preventable. That is so should not have ever happened.

Poll result: You set a modest bar for Heat wins, but higher than Vegas: We invited you to predict the most likely number of Heat regular-season wins, and it was 36.9 percent for 41-45, 31.9% for 36-40, 14.3% for 31-35, 12.2% for 46-or-more and 4.7% for 30-or-fewer. So a plurality thinks slightly better than .500, which is playoff contention for a low seed. The most common Vegas over/under for Miami wins is in the 34-36 range, likely out of the playoffs.

Poll result: Post-Wade, Whiteside anointed favorite Heat player: We asked what current, active Heat player you'd call your favorite entering this season, and Hassan Whiteside led with 34.8 percent, followed by Udonis Haslem at 22.2% and Justise Winslow ar 17.9%. Then it was Goran Dragic with 11.5%, Josh Richardson 6.8% and Tyler Johnson 5.4%, with the remaining 1.4% voting "someone else."

THE LIST: CANES' MOST COMMON FOOTBALL OPPONENTS: Top 10 schools UM has played the most number of times:

No.    Opponent                UM record        Last met

59     Florida State           29-30               2016

55     Florida                    29-26               2013

35     Pittsburgh                24-10-1           Playing Nov. 5; prior 2015

34     Virginia Tech           20-14              2016

29     Boston College         24-5                2012

26     Notre Dame             7-18-1             2016

22     Georgia Tech           11-11               2016

22     Syracuse                  15-7                2003

20     North Carolina         9-11                2016

19     West Virginia           16-3                2003

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 28, 2016

Opening Night! Heat lose home debut, 97-91. Post-Wade, who's now your favorite Heat player? And how good do you expect team to be? 2 polls. Last day to vote!; plus NFL Week 8 picks, Jose and alcohol, your Cubs-Indians verdict, The List (Dolphins) & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28. Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available -- just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Cubs-Indians rooting interest poll, Joe Public hates Miami Heat (quantified), NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 7 results, SOPY standings, World Series lists & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Heat, Dolphins, World Series: 3 recent columns of ours: Heat opened its new season victoriously; click on Heat's System Reboot for my season-preview column. Click The 200-Yard Man for Jay Ajayi column off Sunday's big Fins win. And click The Perfect World Series for me on Cubs-Indians.

OPENING NIGHT! MYSTERY TRAIN LEAVES MIAMI STATION AS NEW-ERA HEAT STAGE HOME OPENER: Update: Heat blow a 19-point lead, fall Friday night to Charlotte in home opener, 97-91. Whiteside leads way with 20 points and 14 rebounds, but his second-half foul trouble really hurt. ...... It was a  pretty impressive little 108-96 Miami win in Orlando Wednesday to open the 2016-17 NBA season. I say "little" because Orlando isn't very good. Still, Hassan Whiteside's 18 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks, and five others in double figures including three off bench, was encouraging. Not so much: Miami was only 4-for-16 on 3's. At any rate the competition is a little tougher tonight in the home opener, with the Charlotte Hornets generally seen as a playoff team above the Heat in the Eastern Conference pecking order. ..... Original post: Heat opens its 29th NBA season and first without Dwyane Wade since 2002. The Big 3 is a memory, with Wade and Chris Bosh following LeBron James into Miami's past. A youthful nucleus led by Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler Heat1617Johnson carries the franchise forward. (Dragic, Winslow and Whiteside are pictured). Architect Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra reassuringly still steer this season, but where it ends up, nobody knows. Wouldn't surprise me if Miami surprised the media experts and made the playoffs. Wouldn't surprise me Mysterytrainif they were lottery-bad. But the bettor in me thinks a competitive fight for that eighth playoff seed is more likely. (Click on Heat's System Reboot for my full season-preview column). Riley always uses 20 games, a quarter of the regular-season schedule, as the barometer it takes to judge a team or its direction. That brings us into early December. But the first two games will be a reasonable early gauge this time, because, in the Magic Wednesday and then the Charlotte Hornets in Friday's home opener, Miami immediately faces two like teams in the East -- teams the Heat must be better than to reach the postseason. As an example, ESPN's Power Rankings for the East's eight playoff spots have Charlotte ranked seventh, Miami 10th and Orlando 12. The Heat's third game, vs. league and West power San Antonio, will be sexier but say less about Miami's playoff chances than the first two games. By the way, Chicago at Heat -- Wade's Miami homecoming -- is game No. 7, on Nov. 10. That's in 13 days, not that I'm counting. We offer two season-opening Heat polls here. The first one invites you to set the bar on Heat expectations for this season in terms of regular-season wins. As a guide, a common range of Las Vegas over/unders for Miami is 34.5 to 36.5 wins. Remember to vote how good you honestly think the team will be, not how good you hope it is. The second poll wonders who your favorite current, active Heat player is in the void left by Wade's departure and with Bosh seemingly having played his last game for the team. Names are listed alphabetically. Vote in both polls, and check back often to monitor evolving results.

IT'S UPSET BIRD DAY / WEEK 8: OUR LATEST NFL PICKS: Let's get it on as Marvin Gaye would say. Let's get the roll back in Week 8 of our 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the FripixMiami Herald -- and one of our best so far. We dipped to 9-5-1 overall and 7-8 against the spread last week, our first losing week ATS, but still we are a shiny 67-39-2 vs. the betting line after a proper start to our week last night. We called Titans covering 3 1/2 over Jaguars; click Thursday Gem for that pick. For all our latest selections click on Week 8 Gems as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our latest predictions for our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and more. The Dolphins may be off, but the games chug on! We also offer our accompanying NFL notes column today that leads with the Dolphins, their suddenly blooming ground game and how a run-first tradition has deep roots in franchise lore. Click on What Took You So Long? to read.

ON JOSE FERNANDEZ'S BLOOD-ALCOHOL LEVEL THAT NIGHT: Inevitably results are trickling out on the physical condition of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and two others that might have led to last month's triple-fatal late night boating accident. Miami-Dade County authorities say a "strong odor of alcohol" was found on Fernandez and two friends, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Miami Herald and released by the Miami-Dade state attorney. It states investigators found evidence that the boat's driver (presumed to be but not known to be Fernandez, the boat's owner) was speeding and driving with "recklessness" that was "exacerbated by the consumption of alcohol." Toxicology reports are complete but have not yet been released by the state as the investigation continues. Bottom line: No surprises in this development: It had been pretty clear from anecdotal evidence and witnesses that all three men had been drinking, and that alcohol and reckless speed contributed to the crash. It only makes the tragedy all the sadder -- the knowing it never should have happened. R.I.P., all three young men.

DolhallDOLPHINS COMMUNITY SERVICE: Every Tuesday the Dolphins organization does something nice in the community. Yesterday, the club bought Halloween costumes for a bunch of local kids. Pictured here, a Dolphins cheerleader with two lucky kids as the three of them set a world record for making the friendliest scary faces. (Photo is courtesy of the Dolphins; click on it see a larger version of the image). Most of what the team does on their Tuesday off-days involves doing good and philanthropy. The past two weeks the team's good works also have involved the uncommon bonus of an actual two-game winning streak.

Poll result: Unsurprisingly, you're rooting Cubs over Indians: We asked about your World Series rooting interest (before Cleveland won Game 1 last night), and it was Cubs 63.0 percent, Indians 27.6% and undecided 9.4%.

THE LIST: DOLPHINS TWO-GAME HOME WINNING STREAKS: A modest little streak, winning two games in a  row at home. But, for Miami, not as common as you might think. The five most recent times before now that the Fins have won consecutive games in Miami within a single season:

Year        Opponents beaten          Dates

2016        Steelers, Bills                Current

2012        Jaguars, Bills                Dec. 16 & 23

2011        Redskins, Bills              Nov. 13 & 20

2009        Bills, Jets                      Oct. 4 & 12

2008        Seahawks, Raiders        Nov. 9 & 16

2006        Chiefs, Vikings             Nov. 12 & 19

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 25, 2016

Who do you hope will be celebrating World Series title: Cubs or Indians? Poll. Vote now!; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 7 results, Joe Public hates the Miami Heat (quantified), SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25. Click on 30 Greatest Sports Movies for Rolling Stone's list. 2) A computer simulator I like, makenflplayoffs.com, has the Dolphins playoff chances at 20.8 percent at 3-4. At 1-4, it was 0.7%. (See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter, showing a season-high approval  rating. 3) Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available -- just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 for more info or to order through Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Somebody asked me today if Arian Foster was a Hall of Famer. Seriously. Answer: Zero chance. None. Not even a conversation." --Greg Cote

Our Miami Heat season preview column: Heat opens its new season on Wednesday, leaving the Big 3 era behind and starting anew. Click on Heat's System Reboot to read. For my two previous columns, click The 200-Yard Man (from Sunday's big Dolphins home win) and The Perfect World Series (on Cubs-Indians).

2016ws CubsindiansCUBS-INDIANS: WHO DO YOU HOPE WINS THE 'PERFECT WORLD SERIES'?: I call Cubs-Indians "The Perfect World Series," because it matches the two teams -- of the 122 in the Big Four sports -- whose fans have waited longest to cheer a championship. With Cubs fans it has famously been since 1908, which, someone just told me, was literally before the invention of sliced bread. For Indians fans it has been since 1948. Imagine: Cleveland's near 70-year-old championship means the Indians have won recently, relatively speaking. In a perfect world, they could both win. In the real one, one fandom's misery will end and the others' will continue. Chicago and Cleveland are only about 300 miles apart (closer than Miami to Jacksonville), so this Series has a regional feel as well as an historic one that should make it highly rated nationally as we await Game 1 Tuesday night. Cubs are the betting favorites -- at 10-19 to Cleveland's 17-10, per Bovada -- so the Indians are the literal underdogs even if the Cubs are the historical ones. (We have two Lists below here that both are World Series-related). ESPN's 32-person panel of baseball experts, which sounds like about two dozen experts too many, goes 26-6 for the Cubbies. I'm curious who our readers are rooting for and why. Only one way to find out. Take a dip in our poll and vote.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY WEEK 7 RESULTS: SLIGHT PAUSE IN ASTOUNDING 'ATS' ROLL, BUT LOBOS WIN BIG!: Every week in the blog I update you on how we did the previous weekend with our NFL predictions and fantasy team. NFL picks: Tough week, as I thought it might be. Went 9-5-1 overall and 7-8 against the spread, our first losing week vs. the betting line. We bull's-eye yet another Upset of the Week with Dolphins beating Bills ("Aawwk!"), and also called Colts' upset win at Titans. We're still a terrific 27 games above .500 ATS for the season. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos rose to 4-3 in the LeBatard Show league with a rollicking 160-104 rout of Randy Scott. Four players topping 20 points all but assures a W and we had Melvin Gordon with 36, Randall Cobb 28, Drew Brees 24 and Delanie Walker 21. We're on playoff pace. Go 'Bos!

IT'S OFFICIAL: JOE PUBLIC HATES THE MIAMI HEAT: Former betting darlings in the Big 3 era, the Heat have become the team America is now betting against as the team prepares to open the new season Wednesday night. Our friends at Bovada tell us Miami is attracting the highest percentage of "under" bets in the NBA, meaning bets placed on the team to fall short of the over/under on victories, which for the Heat is around 36. The "under" percentage on Miami is running 88 percent, topping Detroit's 82% and Memphis' 81%. Teams most being bet "over" are Lakers at 92%, Trail Blazers at 90% and Rockets at 87%. In terms of money being bet on who'll win the championship, it's 38.4% on Golden State and 15.6% on Cleveland. Only others over five percent are San Antonio 8.7, Boston 5.3 and Oklahoma City 4.4.

SopySOPY RANKINGS / 'STATE HEISMAN': BYES WREAK HAVOC AS FLOWERS GROWS LEAD, KAAYA CLIMBS TO 7TH: South Florida QB Quinton Flowers (out of Miami Jackson High) has expanded his season lead in the fifth year of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year. Second place Dalvin Cook, the Florida state running back, has played one fewer game, but even with that factored in, Flowers' lead is huge. Our rankings are cumulative, so players whose team had a bye week take a temporary hit in the rankings that evens out over the course of a season. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The number of games played for each school is listed parenthetically. 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. Here is the SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 9, followed by our updated 'Cote's State of the State' team rankings:

SOPY TOP 10 AFTER WEEK 8:

RK    LW    Player, Team-pos. (games)                 Wk8        Year

1      1      Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb (8)            201.5      1,741.5

2      2      Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb (7)                      BYE        1,304

3      3      Deondre Francois, FSU-qb (7)             BYE        1,160

4      5      Alex McGough, FIU-qb (8)                  153.5       936

5      7      Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb (8)                  106          840

6      4      Jason Driskel, FAU-qb (7)                   BYE          838

7      9      Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb (7)                  118.5       821

8      6      Alex Gardner, FIU-rb (8)                     66           814

9      8      Mark Walton, Miami-rb (7)                  49          756 

10   10     Gregory Howell, FAU-rb (7)                BYE         700

Bubble: Rodney Adams, SoFla-rec, 659. Other team leaders: McKenzie Milton, UCF-qb, 605 (7); and Luke Del Rio, Florida-qb, 552 (6), Week 8 best: Flowers, 201.5. Season best: Cook, 341, Week 4.

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

THE LIST I: CHAMPIONSHIP DROUGHTS: The five longest ongoing championship droughts in each of the Big Four sports. Teams whose fans have waited the most years to cheer another or a first championship:

MLB: Cubs 108 years, Indians 68, Astros 55, Padres 48, Brewers 47.

NFL: Lions 59 years, Eagles 55, Vikings 55, Browns 52, Chargers 52.

NBA: Nuggets 49 years, Hawks 48, Suns 48, Bucks 45, Knicks/Pacers 43.

NHL: Maple Leafs 48 years, Blues 47, Canucks 45, Sabres 45, Capitals 41.

SOUTH FLORIDA: Dolphins 42 years, Panthers 22, Marlins 13, Heat 3.

Note: Dolphins' wait is only 11th-longest in NFL.

THE LIST II: CUBS/INDIANS TITLE DROUGHTS: Times both teams have been in a World Series since last winning one:

Cubs, since 1908

Year    Opponent                Result      Cubs HR leader

1945    Detroit Tigers         L4-3        Bill Nicholson, 13

1938    New York Yankees   L4-0        Ripper Collins, 13

1935    Detroit Tigers         L4-2        Chuck Klein, 21

1932    New York Yankees   L4-0        Johnny Moore, 13

1929    Philadelphia A's      L4-1        Rogers Hornsby/Hack Wilson, 39

1918    Boston Red Sox       L4-2        Max Flack, 4

1910    Philadelphia A's      L4-1        Frank Schulte, 10

Indians, since 1948

Year    Opponent                Result      Indians HR leader

1997    Florida Marlins        L4-3        Jim Thome, 40    

1995    Atlanta Braves        L4-2        Albert Belle, 50

1954    New York Giants     L4-0        Larry Doby, 32

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 11, 2016

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.2%; plus Dolphins lose 30-17, now 1-4. My game column; also, Canes dismiss WR, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), quantifying Fins ground-game woes & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 10. Hurricanes today dismissed freshman WR Sam Bruce from the team for multiple rules violations. 2) Click on Week 5 Gems for all of yesterday's (and tonight's) NFL predix. 3) The Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available -- just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 to learn more or to order through Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami loses heartbreaker to FSU with CSM poll, Collball Week 6, your World Series verdict with related List & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Clearly, Donald Trump won last night's town-hall debate if the criteria were impoliteness, rudeness, insults, disrespect and interrupting." --Greg Cote

Our Dolphins-Titans game column: Boo Tannehill? Entire Dolphins team, starting with defense, deserves derision for this performance.

Our Canes-Noles game column: Close to Back, But Not Back. Also, see results of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in blogpost directly below this one. 

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 3.2%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a 3.2 percent overall approval rating -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 30-17 loss vs. the visiting Tennessee Titans putting DsmMiami's season record at 1-4. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2016 DSM results

G1: 52.5% (following 12-10 loss at Seattle)

G2: 13.3% (following 31-24 loss at New England)

G3: 9.9% (following 30-24 OT victory vs. Cleveland)

G4: 3.0% (following 22-7 loss at Cincinnati)

G5: 3.2% (following 30-17 loss vs. Tennessee)

Next poll: Oct. 16 (following game vs. Pittsburgh)

G5: TENNESSEE 30, DOLPHINS 17: TERRIBLE SHOWING BY AWFUL FINS: Postgame thoughts:  Awfulness all over the field for Miami, the final score flattering the home team's effort, or lack of. The offense was mostly terrible. The defense was worse. Jakeem Grant, for his punt-return TD, and the punter, were the team's MVPs. The Fins gave up three TD passes by Marcus TenmiaMariota. The run defense was some of the worst I have ever seen. The offensive line could not protect Tannehill, who also held onto the ball too long. Terrible day by Dolphins, who now are 1-4 and should be 0-5. Click HERE for my column from the stadium on today's loss. ..... 4Q: TEN up 30-17 (blocked extra point) after Mariota 4-yard TD toss to ex-Dolphin Rishard Matthews. Fins headed to embarrassing home loss, barring a comeback that doesn't seem likely ..... 3Q: Tannehill 50-yard pass to Parker gives Miami first down at TEN 11, but Fins settle for 24-yard FG to move within 24-17 ... Miami turnover turned into three points and a 24-14 TEN lead on 40-yard FG ... Tannehill intercepted. Not a great throw, but Devante Parker needs to show a better fight for that ball ..... Halftime thoughts: Sad, sad. Dolphins playing even worse than score suggests. With one TD on a punt return and the other set up by a screen pass that turned into a 58-yard gain, Miami has had very little offense. And the defense has been horrid. Miami has allowed 166 yards rushing and a 7.2 average, and allowed a 121.7 passer rating and two TDs by Mariota. Fins in some ways lucky to be within one score. Scattered booing escorts Fins from field ..... 2Q: Titans up 21-14 on 20-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker, 47 seconds before halftime. ... MIA evens it 14-14 on Jay Ajayi 4-yard scoring run. Credit though to Damien Williams, who turned a screen pass into a 58-yard gain ... TEN back up 14-7 on 5-yard scoring catch by Old Cane Andre Johnson, who beat Byron Maxwell in end zone ... Rookie Jakeem Grant returns punt an electrifying 74 yards along right sideline to tie game, 7-7. Weaved thiourgh four missed tackles. What a play! Highlight reel/SportsCenter stuff. Dolphins needed the wakeup call ..... 1Q: Marcus Mariota 5-yard TD run has Titans up 7-0 with 23 seconds left in quarter, the big play a 29-yard strike to Delanie Walker. I told y'all (see below) that they'd better watch out for Walker! ... Fins open with punt, too. Tannehill already sacked, under duress ... Titans begin game with ball but punt ..... Pregame: Very sparse crowd 30 minutes from kickoff. What a contrast from last night's electric, sold-out UM-FSU crowd ... Fins announce O-linemen Branden Albert and Laremy Tunsil both will be out injured, two of seven starters missing today's game. Tunsil hurt his ankle in pregame warmups. No, he did not trip over a bong ..... Original post: In an ideal universe, a home game against the Tennessee Titans would be a check-marked Dolphins victory, one you don't doubt, just like a home game against the Cleveland Browns would be. But in the Dolphins universe we have come to live in, every game is losable, no opponent may be taken lightly, and that's why Sunday afternoon at The Rock figures as pretty even between this pair of slogging 1-3 teams. That Miami is favored by a nominal 3 1/2 points verifies as much. As South Florida prepared for Hurricane Matthew this week the Dolphins prepared to open a four-game homestand it must use to save a flagging season. Fins need to come out of this at least 4-4 at midseason to give themselves a fighting playoff chance -- and today had better be a victory you can count on. Dolphins have not put a very good "product on the field," in coach Adam Gase's words this week, and, frankly, should be 0-4 but for the stunning charity of the Browns' inept field goal kicker. And Tennessee isn't terrible, by the way. Their three losses are to teams that currently are a combined 10-2. Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota both have five interceptions, so it's pretty likely whichever mistake-prone QB plays the cleanest game may walk off a winner. Mariota has been solid away in his young career, with 12 TDs and a 98.5 rating in eight career road starts. Miami must also beware Delanie Walker. Tight ends give this D problems, and Walker is a good one. Further, Titans run the ball solidly, and stopping the run has not been a Dolphins strength despite a defensive line that, on paper, seems suited to the task. Miami has had extra time to prepare after playing last Thursday night, only increasing the onus today on Gase to show fans a sharper "product on the field." Word to Gase: Check out The List at end of this blogpost. Then commit to the damned run! My pick: Dolphins, 24-20.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM falls to nemesis Florida State on block extra point: No. 10 Miami hosted No. 23 FSU Saturday night hoping to end a six-game series losing streak, but fell 20-19 when a tying extra-point kick was blocked in the closing minutes. The now 4-1 Canes wanted to move a step closer to being "back," but took a step back instead.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins lose badly to open critical four-game homestand: Miami is now 1-4 after Sunday's 30-17 loss to Tennessee, the first of four straight at home that will give life to this flagging season or effectively see it die. Bad start. Score flattered the Fins, who were equally bad on offense and defense. Last word to Adam Gase: "We can't get out of our own way right now."

3. PANTHERS: Huberdeau injury rocks Cats 3 days from opener: Fake games are done, now NHL regular season opens Thursday night as Florida hosts New Jersey. The Panthers, fortified by an offseason of signing young, core players to extended contracts, are hopeful but now have lost LW Jonathan Huberdeau to a severe ankle/Achilles injury after earlier losing C Nick Bjugstad (broken hand) for first month of season. Rocky start for those high hopes.

4. BASEBALL: Miami still mourns, but sport moves on with postseason: Marlins fans still reel from the recent tragic death of Jose Fernandez, but for baseball the playoffs are in full swing with the Toronto Blue Jays the first to advance from the four divisional round series. The big story nationally: Cubs up 2 games to none, their fans aching to party like it's 1908 but fearing disappointment yet again.

5. HEAT: Post-Wade/post-Bosh era gradually underway: New-era Heat host Brooklyn Tuesday in third of eight preseason games as the Oct. 26 start of NBA regular season drew nearer. The Big 3 era came together so quickly; alas, with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh now both gone, too, it has seemed to disintegrate nearly as fast.

6. HURRICANE MATTHEW: Weather wreaks havoc in sports: Matthew pretty much left Miami-Dade and Broward alone (thanks, Matt), but caused havoc elsewhere in Florida sports, including cancellation of Saturday's highly anticipated LSU-Florida game in Gainesville, and the postponement, to Sunday, of FAU's home game vs. Charlotte.

7. TOM BRADY: Star's return from suspension tops NFL headlines: Angry and motivated by what he considered to be an unjustified four-game Deflategate suspension, Patriots QB Tom Brady returned to action Sunday in Cleveland with 406 yards and three TDs in a win. As if the winless Browns didn't have enough problems?

8.TIGER WOODS: Finally, after more than a year, he's baa-aack!: Tiger Woods committed to play in the PGA Tour's 2016-17 season opener, the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., beginning this Thursday. After battling back issues and other ailments, it will be Woods' first official Tour round in more than a year -- 417 days to be exact, but who's counting.

9. MARIA SHARAPOVA: Suspension reduced, star will return in spring: An appeals court reduced Sharapova's two-year doping suspension to 15 months, making her eligible to return to WTA Tour in April. That's good news for women's tennis. But is the Russian blond, at 29, still good enough to win her first major since 2014?

10. WNBA: Minnesota, Los Angeles seek 20th league crown: WNBA's 20th best-of-five championship Finals begins Sunday with Minnesota Lynx hosting -- and losing to -- the Los Angeles Sparks. Defending champ Lynx have won three of past titles, while Sparks seek first since 2002. Thank you, Wikipedia!

Missing the HB10 cut: Famed broadcaster Joe Buck has revealed he once was addicted to hair plugs. "What's wrong with that!?" said a spokesman for the American Association of Hair-Plug Manufacturers ..... Barry Bonds, fired as Marlins hitting coach after one season, thanked the club for what he called "one of the most rewarding experiences of my baseball career." Which I think officially lowers the bar on rewarding experiences ..... Dwyane Wade said it is "not possible" for his pal LeBron James to surpass Michael Jordan's legacy, only to tie it. Which I guess almost passes as controversy, if you're that desperate ..... Blue Jays fan Ken Pagan, 41, was cited for throwing a beer at Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim during a playoff game. The official charge? Felonious waste of a perfectly good beer ..... Answer: NASCAR is down to its 12 finalists for the Sprint Cup championship. Question: Who are the only 12 people in America eager to visit Homestead, Fla? ..... Headline: 'Bisping denies Henderson to retain UFC title.' Note to self: Google who the hell "Bisping" is ..... A poll by Public Policy Polling found 62 percent of those surveyed thought the No. 2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes could beat the winless Cleveland Browns. An unrelated poll found that 62 percent of people are idiots ..... Miami Hurricanes men's basketball season opens in a month, on Nov. 11. Canes lost a ton and aren' supposed to be very good. Season starts in a month, anyway.

THE LIST: LOWEST DOLPHINS RUSHING OUTPUTS: Could this be the lowest-output Dolphins ground game in franchise history? It is on pace to be. Miami is averaging 72.4 yards rushing per game (362 yards in five games, through Sunday) fives games into this season. How that compares with the five lowest per-game rushing yardage averages in the Dolphins' first 50 seasons:

Avg.        Season        Leading rusher

72.40      2016           Jay Ajayi, 117 (through five games)

75.31      1988           Lorenzo Hampton, 414

83.13      1989           Sammie Smith, 659

83.69      2004           Sammy Morris, 523

83.94      1997           Karim Abdul-Jabbar, 892

84.50      1991           Mark Higgs, 905

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 10, 2016

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 58.3%; plus UM loses to FSU 20-19 on late blocked extra-point; also, other state Collball including FIU win, FAU screwed, your World Series choice & more

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

1) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9. Today's Dolphins-Tennessee preview and new Hot Button Top 10 will publish in blog at 12:15 p.m. today. 2) Click on NFL Week 5 predictions for all our latest King Sport picks. 3) The Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available -- just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 to learn more or to order through Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): World Series poll, NFL Week 5 picks/Week 4 results, your Marlins MVP verdict, Hurricanes coaches vs. FSU & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Our Canes-Noles column from game: Click on Close to Back, But Not Back for my column from the stadium on last night's 20-19 UM loss. Find our UM-FSU in-game blog and postgame thoughts directly below the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 58.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 58.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 20-19 loss 1aa1csmto visiting Florida State putting UM's season record at 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. This the eighth season of our blog's CSM postgame polls, which are your invitation after every Hurricanes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

Analyzing the latest vote: An approval number near 60 is high following a crushing loss, but it rightly reflects the sky-high starting point of the number (97.9 before the game) in addition to the narrowness of the loss, that it happened on a blocked kick, and also the caliber of opponent.

2016 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 97.2% following 70-3 victory vs. Florida A&M

G2: 91.9% following 38-10 victory vs. Florida Atlantic

G3: 98.2% following 45-10 victory at Appalachian State

G4: 97.9% following 35-21 victory at Georgia Tech

G5: 58.3% following 20-19 loss vs. Florida State

Next poll: Oct. 15 following game vs. North Carolina

FsuumG5: NO. 23 FLORIDA STATE 20, NO. 10 HURRICANES 19: HEARTBREAK LOSS CONTINUES MASTERY IN RIVALRY: Postgame thoughts: To lose on a blocked extra point is bizarre, but it's hard to say the Canes deserved to win -- that the Noles didn't snatch the game from them. Miami ed 13-3 at the half but FSU pretty much dominated the second half. Kaaya struggled after halftime other than that one gorgeous late TD that should have led to 20-20 and perhaps overtime. FSU would outgain Miami 407 yards to 276. UM's ground game would manage only 62 yards on 28 carries. A supposedly bad FSU defense contained UM. That was the bottom line. Watch for my column from the game online soon ..... 4Q: Oh my. Canes have tying extra-point kick blocked with 1:38 to play after Kaaya-Coley 11-yard scoring pass gives Miami a chance to tie the game late. Wow. ... With five minutes left, a call goes against Miami and angry Canes fans litter field with water bottles and other debris. Sad display. Pur frustration ... Noles now lead 20-13 mid-quarter after 32-yard FG. Canes' unbeaten record in jeopardy ... 3Q: FSU leads 17-13 -- UM trailing for first time all season -- on Francois-Whitfield 20-yard TD pass ... Uh oh,. FSU within 13-10 on 59-yard scoring pass from Francois to Cook. First time all nbight I've felt momentum swing to Noles. ... Canes, driving, miss a big chance to take a 20-3 lead when Kaaya is intercepted in end zone by FSU's McFadden ... UM forces FSU punt to open second half ..... Halftime thoughts: Huge defensive effort by UM so far, sparked by a big interception, and a sharp Kaaya have been the difference at 13-0. Kaaya has 154 yards passing, and Miami's defense has held the Noles to only 88 yards in the air. ..... 2Q: FSU averts shutout and makes it 13-3 with 31-yard FG six seconds before end of half ... UM 13-0 on Badgley 51-yard field goal 1:16 before half ... Francois back in at QB for Noles. Amazing how a 10-point hole makes a player feel suddenly healthier ... UM drives 76 yards to a 10-0 lead on a Kaaya 19-yard scoring strike to Coley in the end zone. Earlier 27-yard completion to Walton sparked the series ... Huge! Jaquan Johnson interception for Canes off Maguire halts FSU after Cook busts 54-yard run to UM 22 ... Maguire in at QB for FSU after Francois shaken up on last play of 1st quarter ..... 1Q: Badgley 37-yard FG for a 3-0 UM lead with 1:16 left in as low-scoring first. ... UM bats down 4th-down FSU pass to get ball back ... Kaaya sacked on game's first offensive snap and UM quickly punts ..... Original post: Tonight at The Rock at 8 -- which on ABC-TV time means about 8:15 -- will come the kickoff that sets in motion the Litmus test game that will tell us so much of about this Miami team. Hurricane Matthew could not stop this game. Now we see if a suspect FSU defense can stop these Hurricanes. No. 10 Miami is 4-0 but still doubted, lacking a tough schedule to this point. No. 23 Florida State is a staggered 3-2, but a dangerous two-loss team, one of only three of those ranked. That UM is a nominal 3-point betting pick at home suggests wagerers basically see these teams as even. Factoring into that line is Miami's six-game losing streak in this state rivalry. Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles bring potent offense embodied by star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami Central), who has 407 rushing yards and five TDs in past two games. But Florida State's defense has been really bad, beaten for an average of 35 points and 438 yards this season. Miami is more solid all-round, with Brad Kaaya and Mark Walton leading a balanced, quality offense, and the Canes' young defense has been really strong thus far -- such as when defensive TDs by two true freshmen sparked last week's win at Georgia Tech. UM coach Mark Richt had an interesting week in the buildup to FSU Week. Asked about being 4-0, he said, "You coach 33 years, it's not a big deal, game 5." He clarified to note he didn't mean playing FSU wasn't a big deal, only that it's too early to get excited about records or rankings. Richt also took to Twitter to call out a reporter for tomahawknation.com. Richt had described Cook as being "like a lot of backs" he sued to see in the SEC. The reporter interpreted that as demeaning Cook, while Richt sad it was a compliment to Cook's physical running style. Minor controversies aside, Richt's Hurricanes will prove themselves (or not) the next two games -- versus an FSU program that has been its nemesis, and then vs. a North Carolina team that figures as UM's biggest challenge to the ACC Coastal crown. It is not unreasonable to doubt the impressiveness of UM's 4-0 record to this point. Tonight will go a long way to magnifying those doubts, or erasing them. I like the better-balanced, more complete team at home. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-23.
Rivalry

Other state FBS Week 6 games, chronologically:

Tulane (3-2) at UCF (3-2) -- Postponed: Scheduled for Friday night, game was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew and schools agreed to play on Nov. 5, when both had a bye.

LSU (3-2) at No. 18 Florida (4-1) -- Postponed: Saturday's noon start was postponed on account of the hurricane. Game was initially announced as canceled with no plan for a makeup date, but now SEC reportedly is trying to work out a rescheduling for later in season. QB Luke Del Rio was to return from injury for Gators, yet LSU, which recently fired coach Les Miles, was a 3-point favorite in what was to be its second game under interim coach Ed Orgeron. TIgers looked to have star RB Leonard Fournette back.

South Florida 38, East Carolina 22: Bulls now 5-1 with a comfy and expected win in Tampa in a game whose start was unaffected by the hurricane.  

FIU 35, UTEP 21: Panthers were 4 1/2-point 'dogs at Texas-El Paso Miners but, building off last week's win over FAU, pulled off a nice little road win to make it 2-4 -- and 2-0 since the coaching change.

Charlotte 28, FAU 23: ROBBERY! Owls scored last minute TD on Hail Mary pass for 29-28 walkoff win! Or, not. Call was reversed on review. SCREWED! Saturday's scheduled 3:30 game was delayed one day and played Sunday at noon because of Hurricane Matthew. Teams had same records but home-nesting Owls (now 1-5) were favored by 13 1/2, so this was a bad home loss for Owls. (If it was actually a loss, of course...). 

National Collball Week 6 overview: In addition to FSU-Miami (see above), other Top 25 matchups: 1-Alabama beat 16-Arkansas, 49-30; 8-Texas A&M held off 9-Tennessee 45-38 in double-OT; and 25-Virginia Tech crushed host 17-North Carolina, 34-3. And, wow: Navy stuns 6-Houston, 46-40. Navy! 

Poll result: You hope Cubs win World Series. What a surprise! (Not): We asked which of eight finalists you most hope wins the World Series, and the Chicago Cubs, seeking their first crown since 1908, were the clear winner with 39.6 percent. Cleveland Indians were distant second at 10.9%, with Boston Red Sox at 10.6%. After that it, the five teams all were bunched between 9.3% and 5.8%.

THE LIST: MOST RECENT WORLD SERIES TITLES: Most recent championship for the eight current finalists, in reverse chronology:

Year        Team                            Manager                Home-run leader

2014        San Francisco Giants     Bruce Bochy           Buster Posey, 22 

2013        Boston Red Sox             John Farrell           David Ortiz, 30

1993        Toronto Blue Jays         Cito Gaston            Joe Carter, 33

1988        Los Angeles Dodgers     Tommy Lasorda      Kirk Gibson, 25

1948        Cleveland Indians         Lou Boudreau         Joe Gordon, 32

1908        Chicago Cubs                Frank Chance        Joe Tinker, 6

None        Texas Rangers              Reached WS but lost in 2010 & '11

None        Washington Nationals    Have never reached WS

Select recent columns of ours, ICYMI or wanted another look: NFL Week 5 predictions / King Sport First Quarter Awards / Canes Will Beat FSU and Here's Why / With massive gentle force, Miami did itself proud this week with the love it showed Jose / Time is Right For Bosh to Retire /  We Got Some Canes Over Here / Demanding Racial Justice / Tebow's Dream / The Case for Zach Thomas and Canton.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 07, 2016

NFL Week 5 predix for Dolphins, league; plus who do you hope wins World Series? Eight teams. One choice. Poll. Vote now!; also, your Marlins MVP in Non-Jose Division, Back In My Day, Canes coaches vs. FSU & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7. Hope y'all affected by Hurricane Matthew's path made out OK. We got lucky in my Broward neighborhood: Lots of rain , minimal wind, no damage. 2) Good for Marlins in re-signing 3B Martin Prado to a three-year contract and also exercising option to retain OF Ichiro. 3) The Miami Herald's new book on Dolphins' first half century is now available -- just in time for the holidays! Click on Fins At 50 to learn more or to order through Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins MVP poll, SOPY rankings, Jose column quartet & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

Why Hurricanes will beat FSU on Saturday: ICYMI, click on Canes Will Beat FSU and Here's Why for my column. 

The latest Back In My Day: Our latest BIMD video, from Tuesday's LeBatard Show (Toilets!) was posted by me on Twitter @gregcote. Enjoy.

BbposWHO DO YOU HOPE WINS THE WORLD SERIES?: Baseball calls them the wild-card games. I call them the play-in games. Whatever. They're over. The Orioles and Mets are one and done. So now we're down to the final eight teams as the real playoffs, the division series, began with a pair of games yesterday. From a national perspective, the Chicago Cubs, seeking their first World Series win since 1908 and generally considered the favorite, are the big story. Next might come the Boston Red Sox because of David Ortiz's swansong -- both stories driven by emotion. But I'm interested here in your perspective, not the national one. Who do you hope wins it all? Not who your betting dollars would be one, but rather who you want to win. Take a dip in our poll, with teams listed alphabetically. Vote who you'd most like to see win the World Series and check back often to monitor evolving results.

World Series betting odds: Opening odds via Bovada: Cubs 5-2, Red Sox 5-1, Rangers 6-1, Blue Jays 25-4, Dodgers and Giants both 15-2, Nationals 8-1 and Indians 9-1.

IT'S UPSET BIRD DAY / WEEK 5: OUR LATEST NFL PICKS: We aim to continue the strong start to our 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald with our latest picks. Click Fripixon Week 5 Gems as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our latest picks and prediction capsules for Dolphins-Titans, our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and more. Got off to a strong start with Arizona-San Francisco last night, accurately saying Cardinals would win and cover the four-point line; they won 33-21. We're now a very nifty 42-22 against the spread heading into Sunday's schedule. We also have an accompanying NFL notes column today that leads with the first of our quarterly awards for the league and Dolphins. Click on King Sport First Quarter Awards to read.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY WEEK 4: OUR 'ATS' HOT STREAK ROARS ON; LOBOS (LUCKY TO) WIN: Every week in the blog I update you on how we did the previous weekend with our NFL predictions and fantasy team. NFL picks: We were only 8-7 straight-up last week but an I'll-take-it 9-6 against the spread -- a fourth straight winning week ATS. Missed on our Upset of the Week thanks to 49ers blowing a 14-0 lead, but hit on Bears' upset of Lions and also had a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Raiders, Rams and Saints. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos pulled level at 2-2 with a 103.2-90 win over Amin Elhassan in the LeBatard Show league, fueled by Melvin Gordon's 23.9 points. 'Bos enjoyed a dose of luck when Amin started a running back (Jeremy Langford) who was inactive. The Lobos appreciate the gift, Amin!

Poll result: Jose, Yelich dominate Marlins MVP vote: We gave you a five-player ballot for Marlins season MVP and invited you to select your top two choices, and the clear winners were the late Jose Fernandez with 42.3 percent and Christian Yelich 40.6%. Martin Prado was a distant third with 12.2%. Then minor support trickled in for Marcell Ozuna at 2.6% and Giancarlo Stanton at 2.2%.

OUR QUARTET OF COLUMNS ON THE DEATH OF MARLINS ACE AND MIAMI HERO JOSE FERNANDEZ:

What Jose Meant Lives On -- The first, reacting to the tragic news that broke South Florida's heart the Sunday before last.

There is Crying In Baseball, And This Was the Night -- The second, from Monday's tribute night in team's first game back.

A Casket, a Hearse and a Miami Tragedy That Never Should Have Happened -- The third, in midst of Wednesday's public events and outpouring.

With massive gentle force, Miami did itself proud this week with the love it showed Jose: The fourth and last, from this past Sunday, reflecting on a brutal week, but one that saw something so awful bring out something so wonderful in our community.

Other recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Canes Will Beat FSU and Here's Why. Time is Right For Bosh to RetireWe Got Some Canes Over Here (on UM's impact in NFL). Demanding Racial Justice (on why anthem protests keep going). Tebow's Dream (from his first Mets' instructional league workout). The Case for Zach Thomas and Canton.

THE LIST: HURRICANES COACHING RECORDS VS. FLORIDA STATE: Won-lost records of UM coaches vs. the Seminoles, best to worst, since Howard Schnellenberger arrived in 1979:

Record        Coach                                Years

4-1, .800    Jimmy Johnson                   1984-88

5-2, .714    Larry Coker                        2001-06*

4-2, .667    Dennis Erickson                  1989-94

3-2, .600    Howard Schnellenberger     1979-83

2-2, .500    Randy Shannon                   2007-10

1-5, 167     Butch Davis                        1995-00

0-5, .000    Al Golden                           2011-15

*-Coker's totals include 16-14 win over FSU in 2003-season Orange Bowl.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 01, 2016

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.0%. Ugh; plus Fins clobbered in Cincy 22-7, NFL Week 4 predix, our trilogy on tragic death of Jose Fernandez, Loria's eulogy for Jose & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30. Speaking at a rally in Coral Springs today, Hillary Clinton spent more than a minute on a tribute to Jose Fernandez. 2) Scroll to bottom of this blogpost for yesterday's eulogy by Jeffrey Loria for Jose. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins honor Jose in emotional tribute, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, SOPY rankings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, InstagramVine, Periscope and Snapchat.

JoseOUR TRILOGY OF COLUMNS ON THE DEATH OF MARLINS ACE AND MIAMI HERO JOSE FERNANDEZ:

What Jose Meant Lives On -- The first, reacting to the tragic news that broke South Florida's heart last Sunday.

There is Crying In Baseball, And This Was the Night -- The second, from Monday's tribute night in first game back.

A Casket, a Hearse and a Miami Tragedy That Never Should Have Happened -- The latest, from Wednesday's public events and outpouring. 

Other recent columns, ICYMI or wanted another look: Time is Right For Bosh to Retire (and I guess the headline says it all). We Got Some Canes Over Here (UM impact in NFL). Demanding Racial Justice (on why those anthem protests keep going). Tebow's Dream (from his first Mets' instructional league workout). The Case for Zach Thomas and Canton (which about says it all).

Find our live in-game blog and postgame thoughts directly below the latest DSM poll.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 3.0%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 3.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 22-7 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals putting Miami's season record at 1-3. That's a season low and among the lowest ratings in our poll's history. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Saturday.

2016 DSM results

G1: 52.5% (following 12-10 loss at Seattle)

G2: 13.3% (following 31-24 loss at New England)

G3: 9.9% (following 30-24 OT victory vs. Cleveland)

G4: 3.0% (following 22-7 loss at Cincinnati)

Next poll: Oct. 9 (following game vs. Tennessee)

G4: @ CINCINNATI 22, DOLPHINS 7: FINS SQUANDER A BIG OPPORTUNITY TO LIFT A CITY THAT NEEDS LIFTING: Final postgame thoughts: In the fairy tale, Miami would have won tonight becausehad made several  Miami needed the lift -- not the team, the Dolphins, as much as the city back home. Five days grieving over the loss of Jose Fernandez and our community dearly needed a little joy, a diversion. A big upset win by the Dolphins might have done it, however briefly. But that hope was giving the Fins too much credit, alas. This was not only a loss dropping the Dolphins record to 1-3, it was dispiriting. Miami did little other than one long scoring pass. Its defense played badly against the pass but allowed only one Bengals TD. But Ryan Tannehill's unit did not offer nearly enough help. Coach Adam Gase  had made several lineup changes and tweaks. When those things work, you're a genius. When they don't, you seem desperate. So the Dolphins head home seeming as if they're not sure where they're at, or what to do. Not a good place to be one quarter into the season. ..... 4Q: Fins in Cincy territory and Tannehill intercepted, his fifth pick in past three games. Oy vey. ... Nugent's fifth FG has 'Gals in command 22-7. Another dispiriting  effort by the Dolphins-turned-Creamsicles. ..... 3Q: Tannehill continues to take way too many sacks for a mobile QB. ... 'Gals settle for another FG and 19-7 lead. A.J. Green (9-166) is making his fantasy owners pop champagne at Miami's expense. ..... Halftime thoughts: Time of possession a big negative for Miami. Dolphins defense can't get Cincy off the field -- Andy Dalton with 197 yards passing. And MIA offense, other than that 74-yard scoring pass, hasn't done much at all. This is a winnable game, but, right now, not looking like one Miami is prepared to win. ..... 2Q: CIN up 16-7 just before half after Tannehill stripped off ball, loses fumble in own territory. ... Bengals add short FG for 13-7 lead. Pretty even game. Nobody to cover Green, though. Bad sign when, three games in, you bench the guy (Byron Maxwell) who was supposed to be your top corner. ..... 1Q: Cincy 10-7 on Dalton-A.J. Green 7Y scoring hookup. Dolphins in these unis look like animated Creamsicles. ... Crazy Adam Gase with all his lineup changes and tweaks. You know how that goes. Wins, the media calls you a genius. Lose, we call you desperte. ... Dolphins 7-3 on Tannehill 74-yard strike to glaringly open Kenny Stills. ... Bengals 3-0, settle for FG on game's first series. Dolphin stiffened after, for much of series, looking as bad as their orange uniforms. ..... Original post: Miami is hurting. The city, the community, all of South Florida. Marlins fans, Cuban Miami -- everybody who enjoyed and admired the passion and spirit, not to mention the excellence, of Jose Fernandez. Tonight, the Miami Dolphins have a chance to help us heal just a little bit. To make us forget our sorrow for a little while. To allow us to cheer after a week of civic and personal heartache. But will they? Can they? Miacin2 MiacinThe Dolphins are weird and unpredictable and I have little real idea which Fins will take the field in Cincinnati on tonight's prime-time stage to kick off NFL Week 4. Nobody can really know. Even Adam Gase doesn’t. Miami nearly stunned the league in its opener in Seattle. Miami looked awful and great in losing at New England. Then Miami needed a ton of luck and overtime at home just to barely survive lowly Cleveland — leaving Dolfans more upset by the somewhat embarrassing win than by the two losses. Now? You could tell me Miami will get blown out by the Bengals Thursday night or impress in a big upset win (Miami is a 7 1/2-point underdog) and I’d not be surprised either way. The problem here is Miami can’t run behind a disheveled and untrustworthy offensive line, and I can’t like this pass defense against AFC yards leader Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, who caught 11 for 128 yards when last facing Miami. Also, Cincy should have back defensive leader Vontaze Burfict, who is newly off suspension. There also is speculation Bengals might get tight end Tyler Eifert back from injury, but that's doubtful. In Miami’s favor, Fins are 15-5 in this series including three in a row, Cincy is given to big defensive penalties, and Dalton can be pick-prone on occasion. Miami will have a sizable upset shot if the defense can manage a takeaway or two, if Ryan Tannehill (four INTs in past two games) plays clean, or if Cam Wake can reprise the mayhem of his last game against the Bengals: Three sacks, fumble recovery, forced fumble and game-winning safety. Maybe the Dolphins have a storybook night in them; maybe they know how much their hurting city could use the lift. Alas, the safest bet here? It’s ’Gals outright, Fins covering. (Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's full prediction capsule). My pick: Bengals, 27-23.

IT'S UPSET BIRD DAY / WEEK 4: OUR LATEST NFL PICKS: We continued the strong start to our 26th season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald by going 11-5 against the spread Fripixlast week (though only 9-7 straight-up). Click on Week 4 Gems as myself and the Upset BIrd ("Aawwwk!") bring you our latest picks and prediction capsules for the entire week. Got off to a split start on Dolphins-at-Bengals last night. Thought Cincy would win, but gave Miami too much credit and mistakenly thought they'd get inside the 7 1/2-point bet-line (see Thursday Gem for that pick). We also have an accompanying NFL notes column that leads with an analysis of the eight instances in history when quarterbacks have gone 1-2 in the NFL Draft -- the instant rivalries and how they fared vs. each other. (There's a rather stunning reason why the first of them, in 1954, was short-lived). Click on Instant Lifelong Rivals to read the column.

THE LIST: DOLPHINS ON THURSDAY NIGHT: Miami is now 6-5 all-time on Thursday night after tonight's loss in Cincinnati. The chronology:

Date            Result    Opponent 

11-29-79      Won       vs. Patriots 39-24

11-20-80      Lost       vs. Chargers 27-24 (OT)

9-10-81        Won       vs. Steelers 30-10

10-18-90      Won       vs. Patriots 17-10

9-7-06          Lost       at Steelers 28-17

11-19-09      Won        at Panthers 24-17

11-18-10      Lost        vs. Bears 16-10

11-11-12      Lost        at Bills 19-14

10-31-13      Won        vs. Bengals 22-20 (OT)

11-13-14      Won        vs. Bills 22-9

9-29-16        Lost         at Bengals 22-7

TRANSCRIPT OF JEFFREY LORIA'S EULOGY FOR JOSE FERNANDEZ TODAY: The Marlins owner has been controversial and oft-disliked, or worse. But give him credit where it is due. The Marlins have hit all the right notes this week in their tributes to their star pitcher who was tragically killed this past Sunday. In that spirit, here, verbatim, is Loria's eulogy for Jose from earlier this afternoon.

"First of all, there are a few people we need to thank. Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami, and ESPECIALLY the Miami-Dade Police Department and City of Miami Police Department. We’d like to thank St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, Father Fernando, Father Alvarez, Christopher Columbus High School, Brother Kevin, Father Rumen and La Ermita.

We weren’t supposed to be here today.

As you all know, we tragically lost a giant who was one of the bright lights of our Marlins organization, the City of Miami, and for Cuban people everywhere. His story was representative of, and inspiring to, millions across the world. He worked so hard to experience the American Dream…and ended up being its very embodiment.

I was fortunate enough to play a significant role in Jose’s life, as he did in mine. I was there when he got called up. I was there when he pitched his first big league strike. I was proud to be there when he was reunited with his grandmother, and there when he won the Rookie of the Year award; no doubt it would have been the first of many such accolades.

I was blessed to have gotten to know not only the player with a golden arm, but also the man.

While some saw him as provocative, I saw him as humble, mature and never wanting to abuse his personal or professional relationships. He respected generosity, and in turn, gave it back in spades with his magnetic smile that could light up a ballpark.

I think we also know about his famously-competitive spirit. For evidence of this, one need look no further than his last at bat of the season two years ago. For weeks, he had been playfully telling anyone who would listen that he dreamt of hitting a home run.

Not having done it as the season drew to a close, this Ace who is normally better known for his fastball, crushed it into the seats, smiling broadly as he rounded the bases. This was the magic of Jose. He set the standard for making baseball FUN.

You know, Jose’s impact on people was global. This summer, my wife Julie and I were in Chicago for the Cubs series. As we strolled down Michigan Ave. in advance of a night game, we saw someone walking towards us wearing a Marlins jersey. As he got closer, we noticed it said Fernandez on the back, so we stopped him to inquire if he’d be attending the ballgame. He explained in a thick Dutch accent that he’d saved up his money and flown in from Holland specifically to see his favorite player, Jose. How far and wide the admiration went for this young man. Jackie Robinson once said a life is not important, except through the impact it has on OTHER lives. By any measure…Jose achieved that goal.

Athletically, he was clearly a superstar who would have continued to reach incredible heights in this game. He passed far too young, like other greats such as Thurmon Munson and Roberto Clemente. But more importantly, he was a superstar human being.

About a year ago, Jose tweeted “if you were given a book with the story of your life, would you want to read the end?” Well I prefer not to think of this tragedy as the end of his life…but rather the beginning of his LEGEND, his memory and his love that will endure forever.

To Jose’s family, friends, teammates and our community, I share in the deep pain we’re all feeling right now. Some words that often comfort me in times like this are that…grief is merely a healing process from the pain of loss. In other words, this pain is overwhelming, but a sign that we are coping and together we will move on.

He will never be replaced…nor forgotten…but will endure shining brightly over us all.

Thank you."

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Twitter @gregcote