August 28, 2015

Twitter study: Heat dominating social media, Dolphins barely OK, Marlins and Panthers both rock-bottom embarrassing; plus meet the Gronkashians, Serena reigns & more


1) It is SATURDAY, AUGUST 29. I've been up at Random Evidence Laboratories birthing the Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Athlete of the year poll, Dolphins optimism, Ballers misspells Csonka in credits, NFL betting odds, ESPN and Ashley Madison, Greg's Lobos win fantasy vote & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

FIU football: Turner's tall task: In today's latest column I write why FIU's Ron Turner, five days from his season opener, has the toughest coaching job in all of South Florida. Click on Attitude Adjustment, Culture Makeover to read.

1aa1afinsat50Herald's 'Fins at 50': The Miami Herald's massive "Fins at 50" coverage, commemorating the Dolphins' upcoming 50th season, arrived in the Old Classic print version as a special section yesterday and remains available online. Click FINS AT 50 to access entire project. My contributions: COACHING LEGEND, my main column on Don Shula. 50 GREATEST, my list of the 50 top figures (not just players) in club history. ALL-TIME TEAM, my picks for that honor. And VIDEO INTERVIEWS, my conversations with Shula, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. Also have an added Shula-by-the-numbers column not in original package; click on TOP 10 NUMBERS.

1aa1aheatnationTWITTER POWER: HEAT DOMINATING SOCIAL MEDIA; OTHER MIAMI TEAMS LAGGING: I was curious about the Twitter reach of teams in America's Big Four sports so I checked all of the the official accounts, and one thing I discovered is that the Heat are enormously impressive, the Dolphins are just OK, and the Marlins and Panthers are, well, flatly embarrassing based on what their fellow teams are doing. I thought it was obvious, but maybe not based on some Twitter blowback I'm seeing, that this rankings is numbers/followers only. It doesn't speak to the quality of the sites. In this case, numbers don't lie, though. I like this barometer because it speaks of the engagement of local fans but also speaks to the national reach of a team beyond its home base. The results:

NBA TEAM                        FOLLOWERS

1. Los Angeles Lakers       4.46M

2. Miami Heat                  3.14M

3. Chicago Bulls                2.33M

4. Boston Celtics               1.75M

5. Orlando Magic              1.29M

Dead last of 30 teams: Milwaukee Bucks 363K.

MLB TEAM                        FOLLOWERS

1. New York Yankees        1.48M

2. Boston Red Sox             1.12M

3. Philadelphia Phillies      1.03M

4. Toronto Blue Jays          925K

5. San Francisco Giants      875K

Dead last of 30 teams: Miami Marlins 171K.

NFL TEAM                        FOLLOWERS

1. New England Patriots    1.43M

2. Dallas Cowboys             1.35M

3. Green Bay Packers        1.02M

4. Pittsburgh Steelers        1.01M

5. Seattle Seahawks          991K

Dead last of 32 teams: Arizona Cardinals 202K. Miami Dolphins 21st with 468K.

NHL TEAM                        FOLLOWERS

1. Chicago Blackhawks      1.09M

2. Toronto Maple Leafs      999K

3. Montreal Canadiens       875K

4. Boston Bruins                798K

5. Pittsburgh Penguins       693K

Dead last of 30 teams: Florida Panthers 160K.

TOP TEN / ALL 122 TEAMS: 1. Los Angeles Lakers, 2. Miami Heat, 3. Chicago Bulls, 4. Boston Celtics, 5. New York Yankees, 6. New England Patriots, 7. Dallas Cowboys, 8. Orlando Magic, 9. New York Knicks, 10. Boston Red Sox.

BOTTOM TEN / ALL 122 TEAMS: 122. Florida Panthers, 121. Miami Marlins, 120t. Arizona Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes, 118. San Diego Padres, 117. Arizona Cardinals, 116. Colorado Rockies, 115. New York Islanders, 114. Nashville Predators, 113. Arizona Diamondbacks.

To follow click @MiamiHEAT / @MiamiDolphins / @Marlins / @FlaPanthers

Respectfully yours,


GRONKOWSKIS = KARDASHIANS OF SPORTS: The thought occurs as I read an feature today on the youngest Gronkowski, Glenn, a Kansas State fullback. (Read story here). The piece is accompanied 1aa1agronksby the photo at right showing all five Gronk bros, with Daddy Gronk second from left. The most famous Gronk, the Patriots' Rob, astonishing is the only one here wearing a shirt. I don't compare the Gronkowskis to the reality-TV Kardashians based on talent, of course. The Gronkowskis have some. They play football, at least. The Kardashians are famous mostly for being famous, for !@#$ing NBA players and for mastering the art of tabloid publicity. Both families, though, seem comfortable in the public display of intellect that would not have the folks from MENSA calling. Mostly, Gronkowskis + Kardashians = Gronkashians because the football family seems increasingly comfy fronting the partying, goofy frat-boy persona that is the perfect male ying to the female yang of the Kardashian women as shopping, sunbathing, red-carpeting paparazzi magnets. I don't care what anybody else tells you. America truly is a wondrous and wonderful place!

Poll result: Serena in pole position for athlete of year: We gave you four top contenders for 2015 athlete of the year and you anointed tennis star Serena Williams at 35.4 percent as she attempts to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam in U.S. Open starting Monday. You had Triple Crown winner American Pharoah at 23.2%, World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team at 21.9% and golf phenom Jordan Spieth at 19.5%.

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

June 04, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Rank Player                   WTF#  @40 

1  Giancarlo Stanton      243.7    1

2  Dee Gordon                  219.9    2

3  Adeiny Hechevarria  174.8   3

4  Martin Prado              173.7   5

5  Marcell Ozuna            165.1   4

6  Jacob Realmuto         118.9    7

7  Justin Bour                 115.2   --

8  Ichiro Suzuki              107.9   6

9  Christian Yelich        102.3   9

10  Michael Morse            91.7   8

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

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

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

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

Season    Team                    Result

1971       Dolphins                L Cowboys

1972       Dolphins                W Redskins

1973       Dolphins                W Vikings

1982       Dolphins                L Redskins

1984       Dolphins                L 49ers

1995       Magic                    L Rockets

1996       Panthers                L Avalanche

1997       Marlins                  W Indians

2002       Buccaneers            W Raiders

2003       Marlins                  W Yankees

2004       Lightning              W Flames

2006       Heat                     W Mavericks

2008       Rays                      L Phillies

2009       Magic                    L Lakers

2011       Heat                     L Mavericks

2012       Heat                     W Thunder

2013       Heat                     W Spurs

2014       Heat                     L Spurs

2015       Lightning              Vs. Blackhawks

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

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April 21, 2015

NFL schedule day: What is Dolphins' sexiest non-division home game? New poll. Vote now; plus Heat 1st-round pick, Tebow, Riley/LeBron, Mike Redmond, Fins draft verdict, favorite Tweets & more


No radio today: Not doing my regular Tuesday in-studio gig with the Dan LeBatard Show today because I'll be attending the Bob Dylan concert in Fort Lauderdale. I'll be on-air Thursday this week instead.  

1aa1aloveteeth1) It is TUESDAY, APRIL 21. Saw this window decal today. Somebody loves their dentist, their teeth or their devotion to dental hygiene to a rather bizarre degree. 2) Happy 89th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II. Let's do lunch soon. 3) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Pat Riley column, Dolphins draft poll, 4/20, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Latest Mayweather/Pacquiao odds: Via Bovada today, it's now Floyd Mayweather Jr. the favorite at 10-21 odds for their May 2 fight, with Manny Pacquiao at 17-10.

"If Tim Tebow makes the Eagles opening-day roster I'll walk from Miami to Gainesville pulling a 19th Century-style Conestoga covered wagon." --Greg Cote

Trust Riley ... except when he says he's made peace with LeBron: I trust Pat Riley to have the Heat winning big again. I trust him, period, except when he told me directly that he has "absolutely, yes" made peace with the way LeBron James left Miami. Click on In Riley We Trust for my latest column, off yesterday's Riley state-of-the-Heat postseason press conference.

NFL HAS 3-HOUR SCHEDULE SHOW TO TELL US WHAT IS ALREADY SUBSTANTIALLY KNOWN: If corporations can be a genius, the NFL is a genius. No sports league markets itself better. It used to be that the Super Bowl and the draft were the NFL's only national holidays. The draft grew to three days. 1aa1adolhelThen they began to televise the annual scouting combine. Now they televise the announcement of the regular-season schedule. Seriously. That's tonight at 8 p.m. on NFL Network. It's a three-hour show. Three hours! To announce something that is mostly already known! Every team and its fan already know who every 2015 opponent will be. Tonight simply sets the order, filling in exact dates and kickoff times. Big deal. Minor details. Dolphins fans, for example, already know that the five non-division home games will be vs. Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis and the New York Giants, and that the five non-division road games will be at Jacksonville, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tennessee and Washington. Dolfans also know that the six home-and-away series games vs. AFC East foes Buffalo, New England and New York Jets will include an Oct. 4 date vs. the Jets in London. That was supposed to be Miami's home game, meaning the the Fins will have only seven actual home games this year, and travel nine times. Anyway, I'm curious what to you is the sexiest non-division home game on this year's schedule -- the one you're most looking forward to. Vote and say why.

Poll result: Wide receiver should be Dolphins' No. 1 pick: We asked what position Miami should target in upcoming NFL Draft and you had it 44.7 percent for wide receiver, 22.0% cornerback and 13.8% linebacker. The other 19.5% voted "something else."

ARIZONA SWINGMAN PROJECTED AS HEAT FIRST-ROUND PICK: Arizona Wildcats' Stanley Johnson (pictured), a 6-7 small forward who also has played shooting guard, is projected as the Heat's first round 1aa1astanleyjohnsondraft pick (10th overall) by ESPN's Chad Ford in his latest mock draft. Ford's synopsis: "The Heat's future is very much up in the air this summer. Dwayne Wade, Goran Dragic and Luol Deng can opt out and Chris Bosh's health is still a major question mark. Drafting for need probably isn't the smartest move. Johnson would be a nice fit regardless of what the others do. He's one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft, can play the 2 and the 3 and he's a fierce competitor. He can back up both Wade and Deng if they come back, or take a starting role if one of them (likely Deng) decides to leave." My addendum: Wade isn't going anywhere, Heat is highly confident of re-signing Dragic and equally confident in Bosh's full recovery, although Deng departing is a possibility. Not as sure Johnson is NBA-ready. He turns 19 May 29.

1aa1amikeredMARLINS: RED'S LAST STAND?: Marlins manager Mike Redmond, "Red" to his friends, red-faced by a 3-10 start to the season, may be fighting for his job in the three-game series in Philadelphia starting tonight. After suffering a four-game sweep at the Mets, a three-game sweep by the lowly Phillies could doom Redmond. For me it's too soon to have any manager on a firing line, but owner Jeffrey Loria never has led the league in patience. The turnaround needs to start soon. Tonight, por favor? (By the way, Jack McKeon is 84 now. Don't go there!).

MY BIGGEST TWEETS OF PAST 12 MONTHS: I had a curiosity and a few minutes' free time so I researched my most popular Twitter entries of the past year, based on number of combined re-Tweets and times favorited listed as "total" below. Here are the Top 10 Tweets:

Total  Date         Subject synopsis

449    6-14-14    Why is great pass in soccer always a "lovely ball"?

362    2-19-15    No confirmation yet, but blood clot feared on Bosh lung

340    5-10-14    Michael Sam kisses boyfriend after drafted (photo)

269*  4-20-15    Pot smokers get baked on 4/20 ... and every other day (*-as of this a.m.)

211    7-1-14      Prideful World Cup run ends for U.S.

154     8-7-14     ESPN suspends LeBatard, his reaction 

154    2-19-15    Heat gets Dragic, Riley wins again

150    4-14-15    LeBatard vs. Cain Velasquez (video)

131    3-3-15      LeBatard wears horse's head (video)

127    4-7-15      Mocking backpack wearers (video)

Others topping 100: 122 on 6-20-14 for "Let's Goooo States!" (video); 111 on 2-24-15 for prosthetic nose day at LeBatard show (video); and 107 on 1-13-15 for Canes snap Duke's 41-game home win streak.

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March 10, 2015

Dirty Town: Suh, Whiteside make Miami new bad boy of sports, but situations are opposite. Is Hassan jeopardizing his Heat future? Poll. Vote!; plus Canes/FIU hoops, Heat/Panthers playoff chase (updated), analyzing Marlins future, Twitter & more

1aa1aangusyoung1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11. Thanks to the Tony Kornheiser Show for having us on the radio this morning to talk Ndamukong Suh, Hassan Whiteside and more. Always great being on with Tony! 2) Click on Rock The Blues Away to see and hear AC/DC's latest video. Love it when guys even older than me still rock hard! 3) Click on Bosh Back Home for my column earlier this week on Chris Bosh. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins land Suh with poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Signed, sealed, delivered: Dolphins announce 4 p.m. news conference today to make official the Ndamukong Suh signing.

1aa1agatorgolfUm, I think I'll just take a double bogey and move on...: This is not a doctored or fake photo. That is an actual, giant alligator on a green at Myakka Pines Golf Club this week in Englewood, Fla., just north of Palm Beach on the state's west coast. Fore!

PLAYOFF CHASE UPDATE: Heat/Panthers status entering Wednesday: A new daily blog feature as two teams fight to finish in top eight in Eastern Conference. HEAT--Trending even at 9th, 28-35 (L1), 1/2 game from 8th with 19 games left (next tonight vs. Brooklyn). Heat playoff likelihood: 28.5% (down 1.4) per Hollinger/ESPN. PANTHERS--Trending down at 9th, 29-37 (W1), 6 points from 8th with 16 games left (next Thursday vs. Winnipeg). Cats playoff likelihood: 4.4% (down 0.3) per

DIRTY TOWN: SUH, WHITESIDE PUT THE 'BAD BOY' IN MIAMI SPORTS: Dirty Town. A spanking new Dolphin, Ndamukong Suh, and a Heat player we'd never heard of before this season, Hassan Whiteside, combine to suddenly position Miami, for better or ill, as sports' new face of dirty play. It is interesting to me how the two teams (and perhaps their fan bases) view each player so differently, and how the two situations are so different. Some thoughts...

On Suh: He bothers quarterbacks and stops the run better than any defensive tackle in the NFL, but he

1aa1andamalso is unquestionably the most controversial player in the league for his on-field actions. His league fines for "player safety violations" approach $500,000 in five seasons. Last year alone he had 10 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He might  "accidentally" step on your ankle. But is anybody worried? Nah. Not at all. The Fins know what they are getting in Suh, 28, and will happily take the tradeoff: The occasional dumb, needless penalty in exchange for overall excellence. The same Dolfans who once saw Suh as a villain now happily welcome him to town as the guy bringing their team needed bravado and "toughness."

On Whiteside: It's the opposite. Heat management is very concerned that Whiteside's immaturity and temper -- the reasons an athletic 7-footer was unwanted around the NBA and 1aa1ahassanavailable in the first place

-- may prove unmanageable and jeopardize his future here. (The poll below indicates how concerned Heat fans are, or aren't). Monday night the 25-year-old was ejected for the second time in five games and is suspended by the NBA from tonight's game. Whiteside has the potential to be a 15-point, 15-rebound guy, a dunking, shot-blocking savant who defends the rim like a lion defending her cubs. He could be a huge and hugely popular part of this team moving forward. But Miami needs to get his head straight. Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Alonzo Mourning, Juwan Howard, Udonis Haslem, Dwyane Wade -- if this excellent leadership and support system can't do it, then Hassan may be hopeless. The dumb fouls and ejections, the unreliability, shouldn't and won't be tolerated indefinitely.

Bottom line: We have here two guys clearly share anger management issues. But one, Suh, is so exceptional at what he does that the dark side is accepted as simply a part of his football DNA. The other, Whiteside, full of potential but still short on proof, is not so established that his behavior is accepted as a part of his game. The Dolphins' message to Suh: "Keep doin' what you do, big fella." The Heat's message to Whiteside: "Grow up. Fast."

Poll result: Most love Suh signing, but reservations, too: We asked how you felt about the Dolphins landing Ndamukong Suh and 54.3 percent said "great." Another 26.4% were pleased but think Miami is overspending. The other 19.3% were not pleased because the cost might short-change roster elsewhere.

CANES BASKETBALL BEGINS POSTSEASON: Miami's men's team faces Virginia Tech tonight at 9 in the first round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Should be a low-stress waltz. UM was 2-0 vs. Hokies this 1aa1ajimlseason by a combined 45-point margin. Canes if they win tonight would then face tough Notre Dame in second round Thursday. This week will determine whether the men of Jim Larranaga (pictured) will earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Upset loss tonight and there's no shot. Win tonight and then upset Notre Dame and an invite is all but assured. The anxious in-between will come if Miami wins tonight but then loses a close one to the Irish. That's what would turn Selection Sunday into a nail-biter for Canes fans.

FIU wins tourney opener: FIU's men opened play in the Conference USA Tournament today and beat Texas-San Antonio, 57-54, in Birmingham, Ala., led by Dennis Mavin's 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Not expected, considering G-Panthers had lost to UTSA by 11 in only regular season meeting. 

MARLINS' FUTURE: ESPN's periodic "futures rankings" are newly out for baseball, and the Marlins (surprisingly and disappointingly) are ranked only 23rd of 30 teams and fourth of five in the NL East in terms of how each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years based on five categories. (Story and 1aa1ajustinnicrankings here). Despite the unimpressive ranking, the accompanying synopsis is fairly upbeat: The overview (by Buster Olney) -- "Think about the ages of the players who form the core of this team: Giancarlo Stanton is 25, Marcell Ozuna is 24, Christian Yelich 23, Jose Fernandez 22 and Jarred Cosart is 24. This might be just the beginning of something that lasts." The dilemma (by Jim Bowden) -- "The Marlins need to find long-term answers at both first and third base. Perhaps at least one of those players could be a left-handed power hitter to better balance out their lineup." Impact prospect (by Keith Law) -- Lefty Justin Nicolino [pictured] doesn't miss bats, but he's one of the most efficient pitchers in all of baseball, throwing strikes and generating ground balls. He'll probably be a midseason call-up when the Marlins need a starter." 

THE SMALL DELIGHTS OF TWITTER: I like Twitter (@gregcote) and make a point of trying to click on as many new followers as possible because I'm curious about the backstory, the location, et cetera. I appreciate you all and am ceaselessly flattered. I also enjoy it when, 1aa1atwitter

1aa1ahaggardevery once in a while, a new follower will randomly jump out at me as I scan the daily list -- a notable name or perhaps the symbol for a verified account will catch my eye. Very recent examples of that, willy nilly: @SeriouslySusan is Susan Bennett, a voiceover artist who is the voice of Siri; and @kidfromkidnplay is Christopher Reid, half of the 1980s/early '90s hip-hop duo. And this new follower popped in Monday night, while I was at the Heat game: @merlehaggard. As a fan of old-school and outlaw country, I must tell you what a cheap thrill it was to see that Merle, a musical hero, follows little ol' me. Thank you, Mr. Haggard, and thanks to you all!

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May 20, 2014

G2: Heat 87, Indiana 83: Miami ties series as LeBron, Wade surge in 4Q; plus Hoosiers hate me, Heat Postseason MVP standings (updated) & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, MAY 21. It's (not) Radio Wednesday, after all. Not in-studio with the Dan Le Batard Show today because of flight delays returning from Indy. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Pacers Game 1, Heat most-disliked-opponent poll, NBA Game of Thrones, Canes baseball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Instagram and Vine.

Click on LeBron And Wade To The Rescue for my column from Indy off last night's Heat's game 2 win. And see our postgame video just below.

G2: HEAT 87, PACERS 83: JAMES, WADE COMBINE FOR 22 IN 4TH TO LEAD RALLY: LeBron James and Dwyane combined for 22 of their 44 points in the fourth quarter to rally Miami to a series tying 87-83 win last night in Indy. They shot 9-for-12 in the fourth and scored the team's final 20 points in the last 7:51 of the game. Wade was 5-for-5 in the fourth. It was an amazing statement by the Heat's two best players, and just when absolutely needed. Honorable mention as well to Norris Cole, who scored 11 off the bench and served up some great late defense to cool off Lance Stephenson. And to Birdman Andersen, who had a team-best 12 rebounds. Original post: The Heat have not lost consecutive games in the playoffs since the 2012 conference finals, a span of 39 postseason games. Tonight in Indianapolis, Miami must keep that streak alive to avoid going down 2-0 1aa1aheatg2 1aa1aheatpacers2in these Eastern finals. The home team in this rivalry has won eight straight games and 13 of the past 15 -- another hurdle the Heat must overcome. "We understand the urgency of a response," as coach Erik Spoelstra put it. Said LeBron James: "You go in with the mindset that's it's must-win." Indiana's 107-96 victory in Game 1 Sunday was thorough, wire to wire. Tonight the Heat must be better across the board, but especially on the defensive end. Udonis Haslem starting place of Shane Battier will help there, and that in turn will allow LeBron to be a perimeter defender again and not expend energy battling David West. Another help. It'll take more than more intense urgency on defense, though. Miami must shoot much better on 3's than Sunday's abysmal 6-for-23. Must get more than Game 1's paltry four offensive rebounds. And must get to the free-throw line a lot more (that starts with LeBron and Dwyane Wade) to not repeat Indiana's absurd 37-15 FT advantage in Game 1. Expect LeBron to be in take-charge mode and lead an inspired Heat effort.

Heat Postseason MVP Standings (updated): We name 'Heat 3 Stars' after every playoff game and award points on 3-2-1 basis. From Heat-Pacers Game 2 tonight: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Norris Cole are 1-2-3. Updated standings through 11 playoff games, after tonight: LeBron James 26 points, Dwyane Wade 18, Chris Bosh 9, Ray Allen 7, Chris Andersen 2, Norris Cole 2, James Jones 2.

POSTGAME VIDEO: Heat beat writer Joseph "Goodie" Goodman and myself, the untelegenic guy on the right, discuss last night's Heat win: 


INDIANA HATES ME, LORD I CAN'T GO BACK THERE: My email in-box and Twitter feed has been engorged 1aa1alebronfatheadwith hundreds of angry messages in response to this column by me off Game 1. Actually it was in response to one paragraph low in the column, in which I refer to Pacers fans holding up large photos depicting LeBron James (pictured) and Dwyane Wade wearing pink bras. In addition Wade has a pacifier in his mouth and LeBron has a bow on his headband. I thought the bow lent the visual effect of an Aunt Jemima-style kerchief that seemed a bit racist to me. Not saying that was the intent, but for me it crossed a line. That was part of a column detour in which I discussed how rude Pacers fans can be when it comes to the Heat. (And I didn't even mention the 'F--- LeBron' T-shirts). Anyway, sensitive Indianapolisites have reacted as if I called their entire city racist, when my remark was limited to one particular questionable image. (I especially enjoyed a comically outraged, 1aa1amebowhuffing-and-puffing response in something called the 'Indy Sports Report'). Postscript: I have seen on Twitter that the Pacers folks in charge of the "G2 Zone," a dedicated section of rowdy fans where the image shown appeared, have ordered it not to be repeated at Game 2 tonight. And sure enough, I see the image nowhere in the crowd. Update: One of my haters in Indy posted the photo of me at left on Twitter. It's funny. Unlike many Pacers fans, I have a sense of humor. The photo is doctored, of course. The bow was added. However, that's actually my body. Further update: A Twitterer told me folks from this area don't like to be called Indianapolisites. They prefer to be called Hoosiers Whosiers.

Poll result: Pacers most disliked opponent: I think this is an in-the-moment result, at least the lopsidedness of it, but I asked, you answered and 57.4 percent called Indiana the Heat's most disliked opponent. New York Knicks came in second at 17.4% and then Chicago Bulls at 11.7%, with four other options splitting what was left.

Major League Baseball umpires, in town for tonight's Marlins game, visited patients today at Miami Children's Hospital. I am trying to picture the look on a young patient's face when into his hospital room strides an umpire in full regalia. I'm guessing the look would be a cross between fright and bewilderment.

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September 26, 2013

LeBron's wristwatch costs more than a house-*; plus Dolphins/NFL W4 predix, Wade-Durant feud poll, Beinfest firing, Le Batard update & more

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27. Today I'm at Random Evidence Laboratories conjuring Sunday's notes column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins, Marlins slammed in ESPN franchise rankings, Canes' 1,000 days of hell, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).

"Scientists estimate the sun will obliterate the Earth in 2.25 billion years. Appreciate the heads-up!" -- Greg Cote

1aa1lebwatchTHE SPLENDOR OF LEBRON JAMES' WRISTWATCH: I said in the main headline it costs more than a house. (*-OK, more than some houses). It costs $51,500. Not a lot for a house, granted. But a lot for a watch. Yet there was LeBron today in Miami at a lavish event to introduce his new limited line of wristwatches for Audemars Piguet, which I take it is better than Timex and Bulova combined. His line is called the "Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph" and it comes with an 18-karat pink-gold case, oversize Arabic numerals, a gray patterned dial and a crocodile strap. Sure you can spend less than 52K for a watch, but why would you!? Hurry, they only made 600 of these. Click HERE for the full story. The photo of the Heat's bon vivant is by Juan Fernando. The best part about LeBron's expensive, designer wristwatch? He can take one look at it and know instantly it's almost time to win another championship.

UPSET BIRD DAY: WEEK 4 PREDIX FOR DOLPHINS, NFL: A confession, Dolfans. I, aparently, am not a 1aa1fripixbeliever. (I think that might make me a heathen). I believe the Dolphins are much improved and pretty good, likely playoffs-good. I just don't believe they can outscore Drew Brees in the Superdome Monday night. Click on Week 4 Gems for my full predix capsules on Dolphins-Saints and every other game. And click on State Of the NFL for my Friday Page column, a by-the-numbers look at how many players every state college has in the league and who the best are. (My week got off to a good start last night. Had the 49ers winning and covering in St. Louis, and they did. Thank you, Frank Gore).

WADE/DURANT FEUD: REAL OR RUSE?: [Update: Wade said last night at a charity function that the feud is not a contrivance. Wait ... isn't that what you'd say even if it was? Hmm]. Most of you know by now that Kevin Durant said in an interview this week that James Harden should replace the Heat's Dwyane Wade in a Sports Illustrated top-10 list of 1aa1dwkdbest NBA players entering this coming season. Wade shot back on Twitter and Instagram saying he'll have to teach Durant some respect ... "again." Durant then replied, "Show me don't tweet me." It's interesting on the face of it because it's rare for one NBA star to call another one out, and Durant was all but saying Wade is overrated. But this little back and forth is even more interesting, to me, if it's fake as some suggest -- a social-media ruse, a setup for a new Gatorade commercial perhaps. I explore all of this in today's latest column, acknowledging the possibility it's fake but also the possibility it's real. Click on WADE VS. DURANT to read. (This is the updated version of the column, replacing the earlier version that unfortunately appears in print). I suggest the larger point that, either way, real or fake, this invites us to consider whether Wade, turning 32 in January, remains an elite/top-10 player, and to also consider his sensitivity to any doubts about that. Meantime, do you believe this feud is real or fake? Vote and say why.

ON LORIA'S FIRING OF BEINFEST: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria dropped the guillotine on president of 1aa1beinbaseball ops Larry Beinfest this afternoon, not the least bit surprising. Suspicious as I am of just about anything Loria does, I cannot say Beinfest (pictured) built a record over his 12 seasons to suggest the change is unwarranted. He deserves some credit for the 2003 championship and for drafting Jose Fernandez in 2011. Those are nice bookends. But there was an awful lot of failure and bad draft picks elsewhere. The problem now? Convincing ourselves Loria will A) make a smart hire to replace Beinfest, then B) stay the hell out of his way.

ESPN PRESS RELEASE INDICATES I'M GOING NATIONAL WITH LE BATARD: The Dan Le Batard Show goes national on ESPN Radio this Monday at 4 p.m. The show will air Monday-through-Friday from 3-4 p.m. 1aa1eradioonly on 790 and 104.3 The Ticket, and then 4-7 nationally (and still locally, of course). ESPN has removed 'with Stugotz' from the show's title, but he's still the intrepid co-host. An ESPN press release says, "Rotating guest co-hosts, including Bomani Jones and Greg Cote, will often join Le Batard and Stugotz to provide listeners with a slightly different experience every day." This is the first time my name has appeared in an official report not associated with the police. Being a "rotating guest co-host" sounds dizzying. ESPN Radio has 24 million listeners on 450 stations, numbers expected to decline immediately following every appearance by me. The Le Batard Show will have an after-party at Whiskey Tango on Monday following the national debut.

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September 05, 2013

It's Upset Bird Day in America! Dolphins, NFL Week 1 predix; plus Stephen Ross poll & more

1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6. I read that Le Batard from now on will hardly be writing for the Herald except when he wants to. Sort of like now. 2) Holed up today in the Random Evidence Dungeon concocting the Sunday notes column. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron's new TV show, debut of SOPY rankings, your grade on my fantasy team, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

Pick for FIU home opener: It's tonight. Not convinced Orlando's UCF is all that special, but looks like it doesn't take special to beat the '13 FIU Panthers. My pick: UCF, 37-17. 

UPSET BIRD DAY: WEEK 1 PICKS FOR DOLPHINS, NFL: The mayors of several prominent Miami-Dade cities have officially declared today Upset Bird Day. OK, no they haven't. But only because they're all in 1aa1birdujail. Today of course marks the start of my 23rd season of Friday Page NFL predictions in the Miami Herald. Click on Week 1 Gems for the complete game-by-game capsules, and on Sorry, Houston for my accompanying NFL column outlining my division-by-division forecast and Super Bowl pick. The Friday Page unfurls with good news and bad news for the Dolphins. Strange as it sounds, I have Miami losing its opener Sunday at Cleveland, yet making the playoffs as a wild-card. I split last night's Kickoff Weekend opener in Denver. I had the Broncos beating the Ravens, but not covering the 7.5-point line. Nobody likes a showoff, Peyton. Geez.

ON STEPHEN ROSS, HIS STADIUM AND MICHIGAN: I admire billionaires who are generous and philanthropic. Bill Gates shares his wealth; Donald Trump, not so much. Maybe that is why they are held in such different regard. In that spirit I applaud Dolphins owner Stephen Ross for his $200 million 1aa1rosssdonation this week to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, a record donation for the school. Cynics always go straight to "tax write-off." Fine. It's true that when the legalities are worked out this will end up costing him considerbaly less than 200M. But he's still donating a ton of money that he didn't have to. What interests me the most in this is that his donation comes just weeks after Ross fought so hard in a losing battle to gain public funding for about that same amount of money for renovations to Dolphins stadium. Hmm. Half of me still applauds Ross, but the other half wonders why he doesn't just pay for his own stadium improvements. He'd get the money back, after all, because a franchise with a modernized, Super Bowl-attracting stadium is more valuable than what he has right now. Anyway, the poll is food for thought. Vote and say why.

1aa1nevermoreUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 1 DAY: [From Thursday] The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages 1aa1birduthis week -- Sept. 6, tomorrow -- and we began a 10-day countdown honoring outstanding notable birds. Today, at 1 day, we save the best for last and shine a reverent light on the mystical Nevermore, the mysterious namesake from Edgar Allan Poe's classic 1845 narrative poem, The Raven. This was inevitable, of course. The Upset Bird finds his heroic inspiration, his very muse, in Poe's talking blackbird. One said, "Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'." The other said, "Aawwk!" Different times, same idea.

Ravens-Broncos Thursday night pick: Make it Denver, 31-27 tonight, with Baltimore beating the 7 1/2-point line but not the opponent. Click HERE for our introductory and full predix capsule, a morsel of an appetizer for our Friday Page debut. [Broncos won, 49-27]

Thursday state FBS-school pick: FAU at East Carolina. My pick: East Carolina, 34-17. [EC won 31-13]

I'M NOW 'VERIFIED' ON TWITTER: There is no way to mention this as an oh-by-the-way aside or 1aa1verifiedmention it at all without it seeming like bragging, so I'll admit it was a surprise and mini-cheap thrill yesterday to see that little blue Verified Account checkmark magically appear beside my Twitter name @gregcote. Didn't seek it. Can't explain it. Not sure what it does. The one drawback: Much harder now to say something stupid and claim it wasn't me.

THE LIST: HURRICANES VS. GATORS: The Miami-Florida rivalry by decades:

Decade    UM record / Coaches

1930s    1-1 / Harding

1940s    4-5 / Harding, Dunn, Gustafson 

1950s    6-4 / Gustafson

1960s    5-5 / Gustafson, Tate

1970s    3-7 / Kichefski, Curci, Elliott, Selmer, Saban, Schnellenberger

1980s    5-3 / Schnellenberger, Johnson, Erickson

1990s    0-0 / Erickson, Davis

2000s    4-1 / Davis, Coker, Shannon

Totals    28-26

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May 03, 2013

Dion Jordan: Building a beast and brand; plus Bulls-Nets. Who'd give Heat tougher time? Poll. Vote!; also Susannah Collins, Tebow prank & more

1) It is SATURDAY, MAY 4. Happy quatro de Mayo! New blogpost coming later today. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat's preference for next round, Dolphins' biggest-need poll, NBA gay player backlash, Sad-O-Meter, glowing sheep. 3Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

LeBron to collect fourth MVP award on Sunday: ESPN citing "sources" in saying it'll be official on Sunday. ESPN sources also indicate the sun'll come up tomorrow.

Click on Waiting For A Game And A Challenge for my most recent column, on the Heat's long wait for a second-round oppoent that, either way, doesn't look too scary.

THE BUILDING (AND BRANDING) OF DION JORDAN: The Dolphins' No. 1 draft pick is missing this weekend's rookie camp as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but I use the occasion to share two things about Jordan I find interesting. 1. Building a Beast On the Field -- Jordan has trained with MMA legend Chuck Liddell and Fox 1aa1djordanSports' Jay Glazer (also a former fighter) on his aggressiveness and hand-work. Glazer has taught him to attack blockers with "hammer-fist" techniques. "Why would you not want to make it a bad day on that [blocker's] forearms," says Glazer. 2. Building a Brand Off the Field: Jordan enlisted Tallahassee-based public relations firm 180 Communications for "media training" to better tell his story and grow his profile in Miami. His training specialist, Elton Gumble, says Jordan's is "a story that could rival Michael Oher's Blindside for popularity." Jordan's mother lost custody due to drug addiction when he was 12, and at 17 he suffered burns on 40 percent of his body in an explosion when he and friends tried to siphon gas from one car to another in a buddy's garage by using a vaccum cleaner. ("Dumb idea," Jordan admits). Gumble sees his story as one of perseverence and overcoming odds, and thinks he'll be active locally working with burn victims and inner-city kids. Of course, it will take his becoming a star commensurate with the third overall pick to fully provide that forum. It'll be interesting to watch his potential -- on and off the field -- play out.

1aa1waitingBULLS OR NETS? WHO'D GIVE HEAT A BETTER SERIES?: I know, I know. Heat fans are supremely confident, and should be, and so the natural reaction is to harrumph and say what difference does it make because neither Brooklyn nor Chicago -- who play a Game 7 Saturday for the right to meet Miami -- will seriously challenge the Heat. Neverthless, one of them would give Miami a tougher time for whatever reasons. Which one? Vote and say why. (I know "Neither one" would win here; that's why it isn't a choice...)

THE STRANGE TALE OF SUSANNAH COLLINS: She's a Chicago hockey reporter fired this week by 1aa1collinssComcast for saying during  a live report in front of the Blackhawks dressing room that the Blackhawks had enjoyed "such a tremendous amount of sex during the regular season." Now, while that may be true, Collins (pictured) meant to say "success" and quickly corrected herself. The blooper (click here) went viral. But that isn't what got her fired, exactly. The misspeak going viral led to a probe of Collins' past that included some mildly risque sports videos done in 2009-10 as part of the Sports Nutz for Middlebrow Media. Click here for those. She'll be out of work for about a minute and a half.

TIM TEBOW TO THE DOLPHINS! WHY IS THIS GUY TAKING CREDIT FOR AN ABSURD RUMOR?: Miami New Times online has a story by a Ryan Yousefi headlined, "Tim Tebow to the Dolphins! How I 1aa1doltimTrolled Twitter Into Believing An Absurd Rumor." Two thoughts here. 1) It wasn't that asburd. What this guy Tweeted on Thursday found whatever traction it did largely because Tebow's own agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had said on WQAM the day before that he "wouldn't be shocked" if Miami showed interest. So the speculation already was out there. I'd been deflecting Tebow-to-the-Dolphins rumors and email inquiries from the moment the Jets cut him. 2) Sounding a false alarm on Twitter is so easy that any giggling adolescent with too much free time can do it. You Tweet, "OMG. [Famous Celebrity] just died!!" and chances are the celeb's name will soon be trending. This Tebow stunt, despite the bow for applause, hardly invented or perfected the art of Twitter pranking.

Poll result: Left tackle Dolphins' biggest need by far: We asked what Miami's biggest remaining need was, post-draft, and 68.0 percent voted left tackle, followed by 10.9% cornerback, 7.9% running back, 5.9% tight end and 1.0% linebacker. Another 6.3% voted "something else."

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September 11, 2012

Dolphins home playoff game? Could be a circus!; plus Notre Dame joining ACC*, Romney, LeBron dials it up, G-Stanton, new SOPY rank & more

1aa1never[1) It is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13. Honoring the almost 3,000 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the loved ones left behind. 'Never forget' doesn't mean just one day a year. 2) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Oh no a political note!: In 2008 I thought the presidential election turned when John McCain named Sarah Palin his running mate. In 2012 I think the (much closer) election was decided when Mitt Romney stunningly mishandled his reaction to this tragedy in Libya. I am not saying I'm right, and reasonable people might disagree. It's just what I believe.

Click on Patience Is A Virtue, Remember? for the latest column by me. I explore the Dolphins' and Hurricanes' similar situations, both teams asking patience of fan bases grown tired of waiting for a resurgence.

DOLPHINS BOOK STADIUM DURING PLAYOFF TIME BUT SAY NO CONFLICT: Remember owner Stephen Ross recently saying he is "planning" on the Dolphins making the playoffs this season? He is also 1aa1cirqueplanning for the stadium to be making revenue whether they do or not. Word leaked to us that Cirque de Soleil has booked shows for its newest production, Totem, in the "Grand Chapiteau" at Sun Life Stadium from Jan. 10 through Feb. 3. The NFL playoffs begin the weekend of Jan. 5-6 and run into early February. Club spokesman Harvey Greene told us the "Grand Chapiteau" will be set up in a stadium parking lot. He acknowledged the possibility a Dolphins home playoff game and a Circque de Soleil show could be occuring at the same time but said, "The potential disruption would be very, very minimal." Of course the whole issue is likely moot because the Dolphins' playoff chances seem remote, but I find this interesting in the category of actions speaking louder than words. If this were the Patriots or Packers or any team whose owner honestly anticipated hosting home playoff game(s), I doubt very seriously a major three-week circus run would be booked concurrently. 

Dolphins' dismal opening game local-TV ratings: The latest evidence the Dolphins have work to do to regrow their fan base: Miami ranked last, 30th of 30, of all teams where an NFL game ranked No. 1 in local ratings during Kickoff Weekend. Miami's 13.5 rating was well below the next worst, Tampa's 17.5 Twenty-six of 30 markets topped a 20 rating. Pittsburgh led all with 50.3.  

NOTRE DAME PLANS TO JOIN ACC (WITH AN ASTERISK): The asterisk is that Notre Dame plans to join Miami's conference in every sport except football, beginning with the 2013-14 school year if all works out. But the plan is for ND to play five football games each year vs. ACC teams. UM plays Notre Dame this fall at Soldier Field in Chicago. The rivalry rekindling itself in some way is welcome news.

AWFUL AND UNLUCKY IS NO WAY TO START A SEASON: No, I am not talking about the Dolphins' or Hurricanes' weekend. Could be, but am not. Am talking about my own season-opening performances on my NFL picks (that's the awful part) and my fantasy team (that's the unlucky part). NFL predix: I'll own up here each week, good or bad. That's called transparency. I'll gloat when I can, so I won't hide when the weeks go sour. I went 7-9 overall and 5-11 vs. the spread in Week 1, and that's abysmal both ways. Only Brandon Weeden had a worse week than me. Oddly enough I hit a rare exact score on the Dolphins' 30-10 loss in Houston but too many other games crashed in on me. KC over Atlanta proved to be an awful Upset of the Week call, and I don't know what I was thinking with Buffs over Jets. I'll bounce back. Greg's Lobos: My fantasy team led into Monday night, got tied 133-133 on Sebastian Janikowski's kicking, and then lost our league tiebreaker, which is most quarterback points, by 27-26. Canes, Dolphins, then me. The lost weekend.

1aa1lebronkdLEBRON DIALS IT UP: Training camp begins in just a little over two weeks for the NBA defending champion Heat, but league MVP LeBron James isn't waiting. ESPN reports James and Thunder star Kevin Durant are currently working out in tandem near James' home in Akron, Ohio, just as they did last season. Among the myriad things to love about James is the idea he could be idling on auto-pilot right now but isn't. The best basketball player on Earth has a thirst to get better. That's scary. Good-scary.

STANTON. AGAIN: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 34th home run last night and saw his slugging percetage rise to a majors-leading .600. Imagine if he hadn't missed a month-plus injured? Stanton is The Reason To Still Be Watching. Only one Marlin has ever slugged .600-plus for a full season: Gary Sheffield (.624) in 1996.

Marlins' 2013 schedule: It's out today. Team wil open on the road then play an April 8-17 homestand vs. Braves, Phillies and Nationals. So the NL East pecking order will set itself right out the gate. 

Ozzie Guillen back on Twitter: Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is back on Twitter. He must be almost as bored with this season as most fans. What will Ozzie say? Will he fracture grammar in two langauages? If I have absolutely nothing to do I might actually visit his Twittering @OzzieGuillen.

SOPY RANKINGS (WEEK 2): MEDLOCK TO THE TOP: This college football season the blog debuts our weekly cumulative State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, encompassing the best seasons 1aa1jakemof any quarterback, running back or receiver from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida and FSU, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Some people already are calling our rankings the "Sunshine State Heisman." OK nobody is calling it that but me. Anyway, our formula awards one point per offensive yard gained running or receiving and a half-point per yard passing, plus six bonus points for touchdowns thrown or scored. After Week 2 it's one FIU star (Jake Medlock, pictured) replacing another atop our list. The SOPY Top 10 after Week 2:

Rank (LW)     Player, Team-pos.     SOPY Pts. Week=Year

1 (2)     Jake Medlock, FIU-qb     257.5 = 462.5

2 (4)     B.J. Daniels, South Florida-qb     232.5 = 392

3 (1)     Kedrick Rhodes, FIU-rb     57 = 314

4 (3)     Mike Gillislee, Florida-rb     98 = 258

5 (--)     Graham Wilbert, FAU-qb     161 = 253

6 (--)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb     126.5 = 238.5

7 (6)     E.J. Manuel, FSU-qb     98.5 = 236.5 

8 (7)     Stephen Morris, Miami-qb     99 = 229

9 (--)     Andre Davis, South Florida-rec   203 = 216

10 (5)     Duke Johnson, Miami-rb     37 = 194

Bubble: Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb, 176.

State of the State rankings: 1. FSU (2-0); 2. Florida (2-0); 3. UCF (1-1); 4. South Florida (2-0); 5. Miami (1-1); 6. FIU (1-1); 7. FAU (1-1).

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July 11, 2012

U.S. Olympians will lead world in funny hats; plus vote Heat's biggest free-agent addition (with poll); also Marlins, Dolphins & more

[It is THURSDAY, JULY 12. Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

U.S. OLYMPIC COMMITTEE LOSES MIND, OUTFITS AMERICAN ATHLETES WITH DORKY BERETS: At 1aa1beretssome point the USOC met to go over uniforms for the upcoming London Games, someone stood and said, "Let's have our athletes wear French berets that will be widely mocked," and the joking suggestion apparently was taken seriously and voted in, perhaps because everyone in the room was drunk. So this week the U.S. revealed Ralph Lauren-designed berets that 1aa1berets2American athletes will don (see right) during the opening and closing ceremonies and throughout the Games. A rule of thumb here is that nobody looks good in a beret. Not even the Green Berets 1aa1beretobamalook good in berets. Anyone wearing a beret looks like he should be driving a tiny Fiat while wearing a paisley ascot and smoking an elaborate pipe. I tried to think of headwear that might be even more embarrassing for U.S. athletes to wear and the only thing I could come up with was either those pointy green Robin Hood caps with the feather or the red plant pots the band Devo wore. Do I continue as a proud American hoping the U.S. kicks some serious Olympic a-- over there? Of course. Also I am very proud to not be wearing a beret.

1aa1allenrayPOLL: HEAT'S TOP FREE-AGENT ADDITION IS...: It's official. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis both signed with Miami today. Allen, 37 next week, is the 6-5 guard who is the NBA's all-time three-point shooter (pictured at today's introductory press conference conspicuously not wearing a beret). Lewis, 33 next month, is the 6-10 forward and two-time all-star who also can hit from the perimeter. Both will be major rotation players off the bench next season. The inclination is to think Allen is the more significant signing, but Lewis could play a very interesting role as well. Whose signing excites you more? Put another way, whose signing do you imagine will impact the Heat more favorably? Vote and say why.

A conversation with Dwyane Wade: Had a nice talk with the Heat's D-Wade yesterday about a variety of stuff. Click on Wade Reflects, Looks Forward for the resulting column. 

1aa1committeeMARLINS' CLOSER-BY-COMMITTEE: Manager Ozzie Guillen unsurprisingly revealed he would start the season's second half with a "closer by committee," a de facto demotion of Heath Bell. Expect Steve Cishek in the role initially (as I'd suggested in a Tuesday column), with maybe a dose of Juan Carlos Oviedo (when he returns from suspension) or Bell again if Cishek falters. Meantime Guillen's son Ozney Tweeted 'This [bleep]ing guy' after Bell's latest blown save on Sunday, prompting his father to say, "That's not his business." (It seems that the occasional placement of foot in mouth runs in the Guillen family...). Pictured: The Marlins' new Closer Committee holds its first meeting.

Showtime debuts 'The Franchise' starring Marlins: The one-hour premiere episode is tonight at 10. It will include some of the stuff already seen in a sneak preview, such as the Ozzie Guillen/Fidel Castro stuff. of more current interest: a testy office meeting between Guillen and embattled closer Heath Bell.

WORST ALL-STAR GAME EVER?: Almost, if you go just by the numbers. Last night's 8-0 win by the NL in Kansas City was the 83rd All-Star Game, and only two others have been bigger routs based on margin of runs. Those were the AL's 12-0 win in 1946 at Fenway Park, and the AL's 13-3 win in 1983 at Comiskey Park. Between the absence of any Marlins players and the uncompetitive game off a 5-0 first inning, I say no ASG has interested South Florida less.

Poll result: MMA edges boxing: In a result closer than I expected from our poll in the previous blogpost, mixed martial arts was the favorite over boxing by 39.2 percent to 36.4. Another 17.6 percent said they liked liked neither sport, and 6.8% said they liked both equally.

1aa1camwakeCAMERON WAKE, TOUR GUIDE: All-access and behind-the-scenes is all the rage, with Marlins on Showtime's The Franchise and Dolphins about to unfurl on HBO's Hard Knocks. Want more? Cameron Wake provides a tour of the Dolphins' locker room and facilities tonight at 7 on NFL Network. Click here for a one-minute preview.

WORLD'S WORST DAD: OK I'm going to go ahead and nominate this guy until somebody worse comes along.

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