September 17, 2014

What's your faith in Ryan Tannehill? Poll. Vote!; plus LeBron's new hair, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY Top 10, Kevin Olsen, 3D-printed car & more

MESSAGE TO OUR BLOG FAMILY: (Note, this decision is corporate, not my own): "Starting Tuesday (yesterday), to comment on this blog you’ll need to log in with a Facebook account. We encourage lively discussion, but also believe respect and civility must be part of good debate. Your blog posts will carry the name on your Facebook account; you will have the choice whether your post also appears on your own Facebook page." Find a broader explanation here. Change affects all blogs, not just this one. I apologize for any inconvenience and thank our blog community -- the strongest on all of MiamiHerald.com -- for standing together through the change.

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17. A belated happy birthday to Dan Marino, who turned 53 this week. Time flies like his passes once did. Fast. 2) The latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, showing a sizable dip, may be found in blogpost directly below. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo, DSM poll, Heat signing, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

CONUNDRUM: TANNEHILL HASN'T FULLY EARNED TRUST, BUT DOLPHINS MUST TRUST HIM: I explore the curious state of Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins in my latest column; click on Pass Or Fail to 1aa1adolqbread. Two mediocre games into this third season, some fans and media already are concluding he isn't the team's long-term answer at quarterback. I say it looks like the Dolphins are afraid to find out. They are not letting him throw deep as often as they should. Sunday in the loss at Buffalo they ran out the clock with 2:21 left in the half and three timeouts (plus the two-minute warning) left. That was negative coaching betraying a lack of confidence in the man running the offense. Unshackle Tannehill, I say. It is the only way to know for sure what you have, and what the future holds. But enough of my opinion. Time for yours. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

LEBRON UNVEILS NEW SHOE, NEW HAIR: LeBron James has unveiled 1aa1alebronnewshoe
1aa1alebronhair2 1aa1alebronoldhairhis latest sneaker, the $200 LeBron 12 pictured left, a shoe whose color scheme seems to pay subconscious homage to the NFL in the city he left behind. Of more interest, it seems LeBron also has quietly also unveiled a new hairline that has reduced his growing expanse of forehead. Check out the before and current pics at right.

ON CANES QB KEVIN OLSEN: [Update: UM released the following statement in its entirety: "Kevin Olsen is no longer a student at the University of Miami. We wish him the very best in the future."] My original post: I have a personal policy to not criticize 1aa1akolsencollege athletes as I would pro athletes. Kevin Olsen (pictured in this week's police mug shot) makes that a challege. UM's oft-suspended quarterback is suspended again after his latest off-field issue, a DUI arrest with a fake ID -- dropping an unneeded distraction onto Al Golden's lap as the team prepares to play Nebraska. I temper this with a degree of sympathy, because it has become obvious the kid has an alcohol problem. He needs help and the school should try to give it as a last step before cutting ties altogether.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 2 DIPS: We update you briefly every week on how we 1aa1afripixdid the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: We went 9-7 overall in Week 2 and 8-8 against the spread, nailing our Upset of the Week call ("Aawwk!") with Cowboys winning at Tennessee. Fantasy: Thud! Greg's Lobos fell to Earth like the Dolphins, losing 136-90 with nobody topping 15 lousy points.

SOPY: CANES' KAAYA VAULTS TO THIRD PLACE: A 177-point Week 3 vaults Canes QB Brad Kaaya to third place 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 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 4:

SOPY WEEK 3 TOP 10

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk2    Season

1 (1)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            49       433

2 (--)       DeMarcus Robinson, Fla-rec   228      357

3 (7)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            177      353.5

4 (2)        Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        DNP     348

5 (9)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           182.5    319.5

6 (5)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb        116       314

7 (--)       Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec       206       302

8 (3)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       80       289

9 (--)        Matt Jones, Florida-rb           176      262

10 (--)     Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb     201     256.5

Bubble: Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 252. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman-qb, 250.5. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF, Florida and FSU have played one fewer game (2) than the other four state FBS teams.

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

1aa1astratiWORLD'S FIRST 3-D PRINTED CAR: This technology is beyond my comprehension -- I still listen to CDs -- but I find this fascinating. The Strati (pictured), a two-seat electric car with a range of 120 miles and a max speed of 40 mph, has been unveiled at a Chicago auto show. It was manufactured with a 3-D printer by Local Motors of Phoenix. The Strati will cost between $18,000 and $30,000 when it goes on sale later this year. Click here for the backstory.

Check back a lot daily because we update and add to our latest blogposts a lot...

March 18, 2013

8th annual March Madness Haiku Challenge: Entries now closed. Winner announced later today; plus Heat, Dolphins, Canes, tennis & more

[1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20. No surprise that Jake Long is a former Dolphin, now a St. Louis Ram. A few seasons of living up to the No. 1 billing, then a pretty fast decline. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami's Basketpalooza! Canes win ACC title, Heat win 22nd straight, NCAA Selection Sunday. 3) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

* Heat streak at 23 after win in Boston: Enormously impressive 105-103 Miami win for 23rd straight, now alone for second-longest streak in NBA history, with LeBron James leading the way with 37. Trying to make it 24 tonight in Cleveland.

1aa1dologo* Dolphins' new logo?: Pictured is the likeliest evidence I have yet seen of the Dolphins' new logo to be unveiled next month. In other Dolphin news, Miami and Dallas will kick off 2013 NFL preseason Aug. 4 in annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, O. And club has been given extra 5th- and 7th-round compensatory draft picks for last year's free-agent departures of Chad Henne, Will Allen and Kendall Langford.

* Hurricanes 7th-best national-title odds: Miami is 14-to-1 to win NCAA national championship, says new Bovada odds. Favorite Louisville at 19-4. Florida Gators 7-1.

* UM women in Big Dance, too: No. 8 seed Miami opens Sunday vs. No. 9 Iowa in women's NCAA's.

* Tennis, anyone?: Annual ATP/WTA event on Key Biscayne has begun. Click on Paradise Found for my latest column, an ode to the Tennis Center of Crandon Park, the oasis on the island.


8TH ANNUAL MARCH MADNESS HAIKU CHALLENGE!

PRIZE-LIST REVEALED: Our new Haiku champion -- to be chosen on Wednesday -- will get his or her choice of the following three prizes: A Miami Herald commemorative coffee-table book celebrating the Heat's 2012 championship ..... a 2013 Dolphins media guide (available in August) ..... or an opportunity to sit in for a Tuesday radio segment on the air with Dan Le Batard, Stugotz and myself on 790 the Ticket/FM 104.3. Enter now! Time running out...

ENTRIES CLOSED; WINNER REVEALED BY MID-AFTERNOON TODAY!

FREE YOUR INNER POET. ENTER HAIKU CHALLENGE NOW: This is the official entry point for our blog's eighth annual March Madness Haiku Challenge. The contest illogically endures despite sometimes tepid response owing to too few inspired souls able to see and appreciate the natural marriage of American 1aa1haikuchcollege basketball mania and Japanese short-form poetry. I call this a "boutique" contest due to most folks running scared from haiku as if it were a rabid dog chasing them. In other words your odds of winning aren't bad should you dare to delve. Contest rules? Very simple:

1aa1haiku131. Haikus must in some way be about the NCAA Tournament or NIT (men's or women's, Miami-themed or national, serious or funny) and must be in haiku form, or 17 syllables. Classic 5-7-5 metrical phrasing preferred but not required, and rhyme-or-no-rhyme is your call, but only entries of exactly 17 syllables will be considered. An example of haiku is shown.

2. Enter as many times as you like in the Comments section here, but only one entry per comment, please! Haikus must be entered as a comment here in this blogpost to be considered. In the case of similar haikus, favored status goes to first posted.

There will be a prize for the best, most original or inventive haiku; see above for the three choices. Enter soon because we plan to shut off entries and announce a winner Wednesday.

The defending 2012 Haiku Challenge champion is Frydad4. Winning entry: "My bracket's busted * Like Sara in accounting * Who might win it all." The judges noted the 5-7-5 phrasing, enjoyed the cheeky yet ambiguous reference to Sara's bosom and also liked the nod to office pools.

1aa1haiku3 1aa1haikujapOur CHAMPIONS ROLL CALL: 2012--Frydad4; 2011--OC Dolphin; 2010--I Am Kazaam; 2009--r.duke; 2008--Tococane; 2007--Bruce and David Tucker (tie); and 2006--Kurt from Boca.

Now, don't be scared. Have fun. Ready ... set ...haiku!

March 02, 2009

Who'd you rather have: D-Wade, LeBron or Kobe? (with poll); also Taylor back to Dolphins?, WBC odds, March's mad calendar (with poll) & more

     The latest heap of stuff arrives, all free and just for you...

Veronika      [Urgent Tuesday Afternoon Bulletin: Boobs Gone Crazy! The blog is disturbed to have learned that a British woman, Veronika Robinson, breast-feeds her 8-year-old daughter. See picture. If you don't believe it, click here. Evidently some people are unclear on when to stop breast-feeding, so let me offer some simple advice. If your son or daughter is old enough to say, "Mommy, I want milk," point to the fridge].

     D-Wade vs. LeBron vs. Kobe: [Updated Tuesday morning] Dwyane Wade vs. LeBron James in the bayside gym last night. One word: Wow. Eighty-three combined points. Our guy outplayed The King overall, but LBJ will get the props because his team won and he led in points 42-41. The NBA doesn't get much better than Wade v. James, short of finding a way to get Kobe Bryant into the game, too. Time to test your loyalty, Heat fans. And your honesty. Who would you rather have playing for Miami, right now: D-Wade? LeBron? Or Kobe? Take a dip in our poll and drop a comment telling why.

     [Update: The above poll, blazin', has become our 53rd blogpoll to surpass 1,000 votes within the first 24 hours, this one easily so. Interesting results so far. Must note that James' total has crept up since last night's game. Keep those votes coming!]

Aaawade       Wade overtaking Marino?: My latest column, in Monday's paper and online now, is onAaamarino Dwyane Wade' serious encroachment on Dan Marino's long-held title as South Florida's greatest pro sports athete. Click on Flash Makes His Move to access the column. I don't think we have ever had an athlete here more gifted at what he does than D-Wade. Your thoughts welcome.

     Skins cut Jason Taylor, Dolphs release Holliday: Hmm. Interesting. The Dolphins releasing 33-year-old DE Vonnie Holliday was entirely expected and plainly smart from a financial standpoint. Expect Holliday to fail to get a better deal elsewhere and probably re-sign with Miami for less money. I hope that happens. He is a valuable veteran on and off the field, and from a media standpoint, an absolute delight and class act. But, BUT! Washington cut ex-Dolphin Taylor, 34, soon after. So, the question: Would Miami want Taylor back? Would you?

     As the sports go March-ing in: March is always the most crowded month on our local sports calendar. If you can't find something you like in March, you died and nobody told you. What is your favorite sports event this month? Take a dip in our poll below. (By the way, I purposely did not include UM spring football practice or Dolphins free agency. Trying to get you people to think outside the football box).

     U.S. favored in World Baseball Classic: Bodog sends the blog just-released WBC odds that show USA a favorite to win the 16-nation event at 2-1 odds, but with the A-Roid-led Dominican Republic right behind at 5-2. Next come Japan (9-2) and Cuba (7-1). America's toughest group competition figures to come from Venezuela.

     Vick's comeback odds: BetUS.com puts Oakland (3-1 odds) and Dallas (4-1) as the most likely teams to sign a freed Michael Vick. My question: Should Raiders and Cowboys fans feel elation or dread?   

     Thanks, chatters: Back-slaps to all who joined in on our Monday live online chat. We do it every week from 1-2 p.m. Click here to join live on Mondays, to read transcripts of past chats, or to post a question/comment at any time.

     And thanks, bloggers: Miami Herald online readership/visitation stats for February show our little ol' blog ranked a solid sixth of 50 blogs at the paper. And we rank second, trailing only King Dave Barry, among personality-driven blogs not anchored to one subject or beat. Thanks much. You all are the best!

     Click back. Still adding stuff.

January 12, 2009

Dolphins eyeing WVU's Pat White for Wildcat; plus Dawson snubbed, playoff picks, Pedro, Tebow & more

     [Blognote: About two-thirds of you (65.6%) voted in our poll in favor of the return of our "Ask the Blogmaster General" feature. Because the majority rules, ABG shall return. But for now we'll keep it as a monthly thing, not weekly, mainly because we'll continue to do the live online chats each Monday from 1-2 p.m., and partly because response was modest. "Ask the Blogmaster General," a blog-only Q&A, will re-debut in early February].

     A new mess o' miscellania, all free and just for you...

     The Dolphins are intrigued by West Virginia quarterback Pat White in the upcoming April NFL Draft with an eye on his having a major role in the team's Wildcat offensive variation next season. That's according to a source of ours who is privvy to personnel guru Bill Parcells telling an associate exactly that within the past few days.

     This is interesting on a couple of fronts. 1) It suggests Tuna is actively engaged in draft planning and has every intention of staying on despite recent speculation. 2) It indicates Miami feels there is much life left in the Wildcat and many ways to expand it.

Aaa1patleft Aaa1patright      Most draft estimates have the 6-foot, 192-pound White as a 3rd or 4th round pick. NFLdraftscout.com rates him as the fifth best QB in the draft and 93rd overall. White would lend more of a passing threat to the Wildcat offense than current Wildcat hub Ronnie Brown. The Dolphins are intrigued by White's dual-threat possibilities and also see him as a winner, aware he has a 4-0 bowl record and was MVP in the past three of them.

CAaa1hendersonooperstown rejects Dawson again: Leadoff-man extraordinaire Rickey Henderson (pictured) and slugger Jim Rice today became the newest inductees into Baseball Hall of Fame, Henderson easily, Rice barely. Third in the vote but denied again: Miamian Andre Dawson, the Bob Kuechenberg of baseball. For the record, Rice batted .298 for his career with 382 homers, 1,451 RBIs and eight All-Satr appearances. Dawson batted .279 with 438 HRs, 1,591 RBIs and eight All-Star appearances. Dawson had 361 votes, 44 short of what was required. He is deserving.

     Pedro Martinez to Marlins?: ESPNdeportes.com has reported talks are underway. Marlins sources deny any interest. I tend to believe the latter. Pedro-to-Marlins would have been pretty darned exciting even a couple of years ago. Now, by my view he's just 37, injury-marred and fading fast.

     NFL playoff predix results: Went only 2-2 overall in the divisional round but a perfect 4-0 against the spread. Picked Ravens' upset win outright, had Steelers covering, and had 'dog Cards and Eagles with the points.

     Happy days are here again!: UM men's basketball coming off a huge win at Boston College. Panthers only one point off playoff pace at the NHL all-star break. Heat on pace to make playoffs. Dolphins coming off a resurgent season. Geez, thank God for Canes football or we'd have nothing to complain about!

    Good for Tebow: Refreshing of Florida Gators QB TimTebow to announce he'll be back for his senior season. He has won a Heisman, has two national championship rings and had every reason to go chasing NFL dollars now, but opted for the collegiate experience full-term. How can you not root for this kid? (Although I can do without the "John 3:16" on the eye-black, Timmy. Don't like it when religion is worn on the sleeve like that. Separation of church and sports, por favor).

     [Note: Thanks to all who joined in on our live online chat Monday from 1-2 p.m. We do it every week. Click on Chatfest to read transcripts of past chats, to join live Mondays, OR to post a question at any time].

     Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this post later.

January 09, 2009

NFL playoff picks; plus hail Gators, "Ask the Blogmaster General" poll, porn bailout & more

     Here comes more stuff for a Friday in cyberspace, all free and just for you...

Aaa1raylewis_3      NFL Elite Eight picks: Well, "elite" may not be quite right since the remaining playoff teams average 5.1 losses and there is not a truly dominant team (sorry, Giants) among them. I seeing Ravens winning in an upset this week and Steelers, Giants and Panthers also advancing. Click on Divisional Playoff Gems for this week's four predix capsules. And click on Where's the Dominance? for a related column by me.

Aaa1bcs      All hail Gators!: Florida thoroughly impressed in its championship-getting 24-14 triumph over Oklahoma last night at The Joe. Anti-BCS, pro-playoff people, cease and desist! One more small indication the right team occupies the throne today if last night didn't convince you: Pregame.com, a sportsbook, tells us today that The Gator would be a 4-point favorite over USC right now, 11 points over Texas and 14 over Utah. By the way, click on Florida Without Doubt to read my bad column off the game. (Yeah I thought it was a bad column, partly because of a Marquis de Sade deadline, and partly on me. Sports columnists, like athletes, sometimes have off games. It's just that most of our egos don't allow admitting it).

     "Ask the Blogmaster General": We used to do a monthly Q&A here in the blog but discontinued it awhile back when we started doing the weekly (Mondays 1-2 p.m.) live online chat. Thinking of starting up the blog-exclusive Q&A but need to gauge the interest. Take a dip in our poll. If there are at least 100 yes votes in the first 24 hours, Ask the Blogmaster General will be resurrected. (Don't you feel powerful!) I'll keep you posted on our march to a hundred.

     [Update Saturday 1:20 p.m: Did not make 100 yays by 24-hour deadline. However deadline being extended through noon Monday due to less traffic on weekends].

     Bernie Madoff's local victims: Miamian Norman Braman reportedly is among financial victims of alleged thief and Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff. I suppose Marlins fans who saw their new stadium impeded by Braman's legal wrangling probably are not among those grieving Norman's losses. (I hear another local sports figure of even greater stature also lost big to Madoff, but I can't say who quite yet).

Aaa1marathoner      Dear marathon runners: Sunday's Walt Disney World Marathon reminds me to ask. Which is more excruciatingly boring? Listening to golfers describe their round? Or listening to runners talk about their marathon preparation? Sorry Mr. & Ms. 26.2, but nobody else gives a crap about what your best time is, what your goal is Sunday or your pre-race ritual. Your-non-running spouses don't even care. They just pretend to.

Aaa1ronjeremy_2      Hard times for porn: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild" pimp Joe Francis plan to ask Congress for a $5 billion bailout for the adult entertainment industry. Seriously. I figure they've got  half a chance if they can enlist the support of every politician who's been caught with his pants down.

     Personal note: To all the e-mailers who have asked: Yes, our Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind notes column (from whence the name of this blog arose), will return to The Miami Herald this Sunday following a hiatus caused by vacation or conflicting schedules. Thanks for the interest!

     Click back. This post will update and/or add more stuff later.

October 03, 2008

Back from abyss, Week 5 pix, Shaun Livingston, Jason's gift, debate

Aaa1cote Aaa1back_2     Quick little pile of miscellania...

     "Once I was lost, but now I am found": Is that from a movie? From the Bible? Am I a heathen for not knowing? Anyway, this blog, buried in the newspaper's website re-design, has now been restored to a permanent place of prominence: the UPPER LEFTHAND CORNER OF THE WEBSITE'S MAIN SPORTS HOMEPAGE. Look for the mug at right, painful as that may be. It'll be there every day, same spot, easy to see, impossible to miss. And thanks to all for your patience, and for your many e-mails that led to this.

      NFL Week 5 pix: Click on W5P for this week's wild guesses thoughtful predictions, which include Chargers beating Dolphins, but barely. Do you agree? Click on Chill the Champagne for today's column by me on how the '72 Dolphins' Perfect Season is facing no threat whatsoever this year.

Aaa1shaunl_2      Is Shaun Livingston a big deal?: Heat supposedly solved its starting point guard problem with the signing early this (Friday) evening of free agent Shaun Livingston. Not sure I see it. Do you? Click on SL Stats for Livingston's career numbers. Does a 7.4 scoring aveage and 4.8 assists in three seasons as a Clippers parttime starter excite us all that much? Plus, he hasn't played since February '07, still is rehabbing from the knee injury and likely would miss the first chunk of the coming season. Don't get me wrong. I think it's a smart gamble to sign him. He's a 6-7 former lottery pick, still only 23. But does he answer the starting point guard question? Not unequivocally, and certainly not immediately.

Aaa1jt2_2      Jason Taylor's thank-you list: I was among the local mediaites on the Taylor thank-you list you may have heard about. We all got the same form letter, with "Dear Greg" replacing Dear Dave or Dear Armando or whatever. Still, thought that counts, and typically classy of Jason. He also tried to give us all a leather computer bag as a gift, but The Herald's ethics policy prevents us (well, most of us) from accepting. I asked my big boss if I could take the gift to then give it to a Dolfan in a raffle in the blog, but was told no. Oh well.

     Marlins re-sign Wes Helms: Just announced. Smart move. Good clubhouse vet, infield utility and and very solid pinch-hitter.

Aaa1apalin      Who won the debate last night?: I thought Biden won on substance but that Palin far-exceeded low expectations. Honestly, though, if I have to bear that woman's unfathomably annoying voice and mannerisms for four years, I believe I may go insane.

July 03, 2008

You. This blog. Two questions.

     Our humble little web log debuted Sept. 23, 2005, so we're coming up on our third anniversary as The Herald's only general-interest sports blog -- still a work in progress. I believe one of the keys to bloggery is to encourage and grow a sense of community, so in that spirit I offer two questions here:

     1. WHO ARE YOU? Tell me (and others in the bloggerhood) about yourself. Whether you are a valued regular who visits daily and adds comments often, a reader who maybe votes in polls but only occasionally comments, or even someone wandering by for the first time, I'm interested in your story. How old are you? What do you do? Where do you live? What is your passion in sports? Tell as much or as little as you'd like.

     2. WHAT ABOUT THIS BLOG? Tell me what you like, or what you don't (or both). What would you want to see more or less of? Is there something about the content or format you'd change? Consider this your open invitation to help shape what we do.

     My plan is to leave this post in the top slot for a few days, well into the holiday weekend, and respond to your comments and suggestion in a new post by early next week. Meantime, please participate. We get thousands of visitors most days, and poll votes come from all over the country and beyond. Let's see what a cross-section of you looks like.