1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17. A happy Hannukah, which began last evening, to all of our Jewish friends. 2) See previous blogpost for results of our latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. (Not pretty). 3) Click on Random Evidence for the return of our Sunday notes-column package after a two-week hiatus. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Patriots hammer Dolphins, DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Manziel verdict & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
MIAMI INTERESTED IN SHAQ?: Yes, that sure is a gratuitous, misleading headline! It's a "read me" hed designed to make you wonder if the Heat might somehow be trying to haul Shaquille O'Neal, 42, out of retirement. Instead, it means Todd McShay's Mock Draft 1.0 for ESPN today is projecting that the Dolphins will select Washington Huskies outside linebacker Shaq Thompson (pictured right) in the first round of next spring's NFL Draft, No. 16 overall. McShay pegs two UM Hurricanes for the first round: OT Ereck Flowers, 12th overall, and ILB Denzel Perryman, sneaking in 32nd. Two FSU Seminoles are seen as 1R: QB Jameis Winston of course (2nd, after Marcus Mariota) and DT Eddie Goldman (18th). One Gator is projected a first-rounder: DE Dante Fowler (7th).
IN MIAMI, 'TIS THE SEASON TO BE AVERAGE: Let's get to the good news first. Won't take long. Miami Hurricanes men's basketball is 9-1 and ranked No. 18 in the latest Associated Press poll. Thus ends the happy portion of today's program. Now on to our Big 5 teams: Hurricanes football -- After a bad-ending 6-6 season the Canes are headed to the ignominy of the Duck Commander Bowl in Shreveport, La. Dolphins -- Team has slumped to 7-7 with two damaging losses in a row and makenflplayoffs.com now estimates Miami's postseason chances at 0.7 percent. No, seriously. Heat -- The injured, limping, post-LeBron Heat are 12-13 with last night's win and currently the No. 7 playoff seed. Panthers -- Cats are 13-16 with last night's win and tied for the No. 7 playoff seed, which, grading on a curve, amounts to cause for celebration. And, finally, Marlins -- Positive headlines lately, yes. Encouraging. But let's not forget the Fish last season were 77-85 and missed playoffs for an 11th straight year. In the spirit of our combined funk, we offer a Survivor Poll. We have two football coaches under fire. Many fans would want both out. But you can only vote to get rid of one. You must choose. Nobody said life was fair. Or easy.
NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: SLUMPING AND FIZZLING IN WEEK 15: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and our fantasy-league team. Pix: Not satisfied with 10-6 overall and even less so with another 6-9-1 (Seahawks pushed) against the spread. Bull's-eyed another Upset of the Week with Cowboys over Eagles ("Aawwk!") and also had Bills, Vikes and Cards with points, but not enough else went right. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos not only failed to make the championship-round playoffs, but lost in the consolation bracket, 159-99, falling to 7-8 on the year. Not much good can happen when your high scorer (Marshawn Lynch) has only 16 points.
MARLINS ADD FIRST BASEMAN: Marlins agreed to terms with free-agent 1B Mike Morse, pictured (from Nova High), ESPN first reported. He batted .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs for the Giants last year and should be (they think) an upgrade over Garrett Jones. Morse, 32, is a journeyman but a solid one, with a .281 career average in 10 seasons with the Mariners, Nationals, Orioles and Giants. This continues a big offseason for the Marlins, including the re-signing of Giancarlo Stanton and the addition of base-stealing leadoff man Dee Gordon and starting pitcher Mat Latos.
MEATBALLS & MARTINIS: Thanks to Paul Castronovo and the Paul & Young Ron Show (BIg 105.9) for having us out to their Meatballs & Martinis event last night at Anthony's Runway 84. It's a terrific fundraiser benefitting the Dolphins Cycling Challenge and the fight against cancer. Pictured from last night: Me being dwarfed by ex-Dolphs John Offerdahl and Kim Bokamper, the yuk factor undoubtedly fueled by libations.
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