January 27, 2016

Bulletin: '72 Dolphins just lost!; plus Canes' 2016 football schedule, predicted season record; also, UM baseball, 'WomenNotObjects', fun activities for Satanic kids, your verdicts on Super Bowl 50, Whiteside Dilemma & more

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

Showkiller1) It is WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27. ICYMI, click on Making a Showkiller for Fusion TV's spoof (starring me) of Making a Murderer. 2) In The Previous Blogpost: Panthers-Broncos Super Bowl 50 polls, Canes' and Heat's big night, Heat's Whiteside Dilemma poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) For those who care (both of you), I went 1-1 straight-up and against the spread on my NFL Championship Sunday picks. Did not see Broncos beating Patriots. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"Some headlines could not be more ridiculous if you made them up. Are you ready? 'John Rocker Endorses Trump.' Seriously." --Greg Cote

UM baseball picked to win its ACC division: The upcoming college baseball season is expected to be a big one for the Hurricanes, who are No. 5 in the preseason polls and now selected to win the ACC Coastal Division in a preseason poll of coaches. Louisville is forecast to win the Atlantic Division and overall conference title. Other strong ACC baseball schools include Virginia and Florida State.

Larranaga's vision, crystallized in one night: The ranked Hurricanes beating Duke in front of a packed house -- this is what Jim Larranaga imagined when he took this job in 2011. Click on Coach L's Vision for my column off Monday night's game.

'72 PERFECT SEASON DOLPHINS LOSE!: Oh my but Don Shula, Mercury Morris and those fellas won't like this one bit. CBS Sports and Strat-O-Matic are playing the 49 Super Bowl winners head to head in simulated games to name the ultimate all-time champion, and the '72 Dolphins, a No. 1 seed, just lost in the round of 16 to the 17th-seeded 1992 Cowboys. The recap from CBS: "Garo Yepremian's missed 44-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in regulation ended the '72 Dolphins' dreams and enabled the '92 Cowboys to advance to the Elite 8."

HURRICANES FOOTBALL SCHEDULE LOOKING LIKE 9-3 SEASON, BUT...: The ACC released its 2016 schedules today and Miami's soft non-conference opening portends a 3-0 start and gives the Canes' a leg up on a strong season under new coach Mark Richt. Initially I'm thinking 9-3 (see below) two of those projected losses could be wins: Florida State, here, and North Carolina, also here. Only the game at Notre Dame feels like a good-bet loss. Our quick thoughts:

MarkrichtG1: vs. Florida A&M Sept. 3 -- Division 1AA Rattlers finished 1-10 in the MEAC. Season opener and Mark Richt debut should be a breeze for Canes. W, 1-0 

G2: vs. Florida Atlantic Sept. 10 -- Owls were a disappointing 3-9 in Conference USA including a 44-20 loss to UM, but recall that FAU pushed then-No. 8 Florida to overtime in a 20-14 loss in the Swamp. Should be a sure Canes win, but Owls could put up some fight. W, 2-0

G3: at Appalachian State Sept. 17 -- The Mountaineers were 11-2 in the Sun Belt and gave Clemson a better game (a 41-10 loss) than Miami did last year. Miami should win without much trouble, but it's no pushover, plus it is UM's first road game. W, 3-0

G4: at Georgia Tech Oct. 1 -- UM's ACC opener is vs. a Yellow Jackets squad that will be trying to rebound from a 3-9 season that included a 38-21 loss to Miami. Liking Miami to win this and make it 4-0, especially coming off bye week, but conference games on the road seldom are easy. W, 4-0

G5: vs. Florida State Oct. 8 -- FSU finished 10-3 and only beat Miami 29-24 last year, but figures to be favored, even on the road. The Seminoles have become a nemesis and conference roadblock. Al Golden couldn't beat them. Richt must prove he can. L, 4-1

G6: vs. North Carolina Oct. 15 -- The Tar Heels whipped Miami last year 59-21 en route to an 11-3 season and only lost 45-37 to Clemson. UNC could be favored here. It's one of those swing games that will determine whether Richt's first season is seen as a success. L, 4-2

G7: at Virginia Tech Oct. 20 -- Hokies finished 7-6 including a 30-20 loss to Miami, but this is a tough place to play. Another swing game. W, 5-2 

G8: at Notre Dame Oct. 29 -- Fighting Irish were 10-1 before losing their last two, and South Bend can be a madhouse. A likely loss ... or a signature win. L, 5-3

G9: vs. Pittsburgh Nov. 5 -- Panthers were 8-5 and lost to Miami 29-24. Another competitive game is likely, but UM should prevail at home. W, 6-3

G10: at Virginia Nov.12 -- Cavaliers were 5-8 but gave Miami a fight, losing 27-21. Could be tough as a road game but count it a Canes win. W, 7-3

G11: at North Carolina State Nov. 19 -- Wolfpack were 4-0 before fading to 7-6 and did not face UM last year. The road makes it dicey, but it feels winnable for UM. W, 8-3

G12: vs. Duke Nov. 26 -- Blue Devils finished 8-5 including a 30-27 loss to UM. Home and regular finale should find Canes favored. W, 9-3 

#WOMENNOTOBJECTS: Ad executve Madonna Badger, tired of how her own industry objectifies women as sexual playthings, produced a short video skewering the advertising game. Background story here. The video is below, and it's pretty powerful stuff. Quick aside to fashion designer Tom Ford: I'm sure you are a nice guy, maybe, but your ad agency appears to be run by misogynistic idiots.

 

SatanicFUN ACTIVITIES FOR SATANIC CHILDREN. NO, SERIOUSLY: There are fervent believers in God. There are those who want to believe. There are agnostics. There are atheists. And, yes, there are Satanists. This past summer hundreds gathered at a Satanic temple in Detroit for the unveiling of a large bronze statue of Baphomet, the goat-headed creature who has come to represent a totem of modern Satanism. Whatever, right? Free country and so forth. But what I find both a little frightening and oddly hilarious is the book pictured. I don't wanna know what those fun activities involve. Animal sacrifice? Crafting papier mache goat horns? Nor do I want my kid having a play-date with the tall, sullen Satanic Frankenstein kid on the far right.

Poll results: Thinking Panthers, but wanting Broncos: We asked your early Super Bowl 50 picks, and 81.6 percent predicted the Carolina Panthers would win, but 59.1% want the Denver Broncos to win.

Poll results: You're torn on the Whiteside Dilemma, too: We asked you what the Heat should do this summer, and it was 42.0% for making a free-agent play for Kevin Durant, 31.7% for signing Hassan Whiteside long-term instead, and 26.3% undecided.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

January 26, 2016

Hoop Town: Canes' and Heat's big night; plus Broncos-Panthers Super Bowl polls. Two polls. Vote now!; also, Heat's Whiteside Dilemma poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more

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

Showkiller1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 26. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): 'Making A Murderer' video spoof starring me (click Making a Showkiller to watch), NFL Championship-Round playoff picks and poll, your greatest-NBA-center verdict & more. 2Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 790 The Ticket, 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, and simulcasting on ESPNU and Fusion TV. Have a new 'Back In My Day' in hand.

CANES' AND HEAT'S BIG NIGHT: Best night of the season for Miami hoops. Then  again, Miami's two big basketball teams rarely play on the same night, let alone against big opponents, with big victories. But still! Heat win 89-84 at Chicago with a large fourth-quarter comeback, led by Dwyane Wade's 28 points. D-Wade loves performing in his hometown, doesn't he? Back in Miami, the Hurricanes men bop rival Duke, 80-69, in a phyiacl game that saw UM with the upper hand throughout. This is was the night Jim Larranaga envisioned when he took the job in 2011: the Canes, ranked and beating Duke before a sold-out crowd. What a night. I was there in the campus arena. Click on Larranaga's Dream for my column.

Sb50SUPER BOWL 50 SET: IT'S PANTHERS-BRONCOS! NOW WHO YOU GOT? AND WHO DO YOU WANT?: It'll be No. 1 vs. No. 1 on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif. as the AFC-winning Denver Broncos meet the NFC-champion Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Panthers advanced Sunday night by dominating Arizona 49-15 after Broncos upset New England 20-18. So it'll be Canton-bound veteran Peyton Manning -- he ain't done yet -- vs. rising supertstar Cam Newton. It'll be the Broncos aiming for the franchise's third Super Bowl title but first since 1998 vs. a Panthers club that is a relative postseason neophyte, its only previous SB appearance (a loss) coming 12 years ago. Carolina is installed as an opening favorite of 3.5 points or more. So, who do you predict will win? And who do you want to win? Those two answers may or may not be the same for you. Let's find out...

THE HEAT'S WHITESIDE DILEMMA: WHICH WAY SHOULD PAT RILEY GO?: The question facing the Heat is the topic of my latest Sunday column. Click on The Whiteside Dilemma to read in Hassanfull. Should Miami spend big to extend Hassan Whiteside's contract? Or should the team instead opt for the financial wherewithal to pursue Kevin Durant in free agency? You almost certainly cannot do both, and there are no guarantees with either. No guarantee Whiteside (pictured) will continue his ascent and become a reliable star. And no guarantee of landing Durant. Miami would get nothing for Whiteside if it lets him go in free agency, but the option of trading him before next month's NBA deadline isn't viable. The trade market and Miami's return would be minimal since he'd be able to leave his new team in free agency this coming summer as well. It's a quandary for the Heat. Miami would hate to lose the unearthed, developing power of Whiteside. But would Miami hate that more than abstaining from the Durant Sweepstakes? Mixed into this quandary Dwyane Wade, of course. Like Whiteside he too is a free agent after this season. Will Miami want Wade, 34, back on another one-year deal? Might he accept less money to facilitate the club keeping Whiteside or pursuing Durant? Good luck figuring all this out, Pat Riley. That's why they pay you the big bucks. For now, give Riley some free advice in this poll.

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

Hotbutton1. NFL: Championship Sunday sets up a Broncos-Panthers Super Bowl: Sunday results left a clear contrast and theme for upcoming Super Bowl 50, a quarterback duel between near-40-year-old future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and rising superstar Cam Newton. Cam's Cats were supposed to be here. But Manning? After the worst season of his career? Epic. Oh, and that ongoing cable dispute prevented U-Verse subscribers from watching the main broadcast of the NFC game. (Thanks, AT&T!)

2. HEAT: Miami beset by losing, injuries and no scoring: The good news? Dwyane Wade makes his 12th all-star game with 10 start. The bad news? Everything else. Miami has lost four straight games and seven of past eight, is injury wracked, is 28th of 30 teams in scoring average and has fallen to the eighth and final playoff spot entering tonight's game in Chicago. Otherwise, all's well!

3. PANTHERS: Cats crush defending Cup finalists to end slump: Wild ride, these Cats. They win a club-record 12 games in a row. Then they lose four straight. Now they've won two in a row by a combined 9-2 over defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago and Tampa Bay, the team it beat in the final. The Good Cats are back, at least for now.

4. HURRICANES: Monday visit by Duke tops huge two days for UM hoops: For a Sunday appetizer you had the 16th-ranked Canes women hosting No. 14 Florida State, albeit in a 69-58 UM loss. Now, the main course: The No. 15 Miami men host rival Duke tonight. Mike Krzyzewki's guys recently lost three straight to fall to No. 20, but no matter. They're still the Devils. 

5. RUNNING: Miami Marathon draws thousands: More than 24,000 runners were registered for Sunday's Miami Marathon and Half Marathon won by Moroccan Benazzouz Slimani and New York's Allison Kieffer. One entrant Larry Macon, 71, of San Antonio, competed in his 1,606th marathon. That's 42,077 miles in a lifetime of running. Big deal. My car already has more than 7,000 miles and I've only had it six months.

6. TENNIS: Top seeds Djokovic, Serena still alive in Australian Open: Year's first major moves to its quarterfinals stage with top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams still in it as expected. Serena next faces a Tuesday match with Maria Sharapova, whom she has beaten 17 straight times, including 12 of the past 13 in straight sets. Maria's improved serve supposedly gives her a better chance. Yeah good luck with that.

7. DOLPHINS: Grimes, Jones join Landry and Albert in Pro Bowl: First it was receiver/kick returner Jarvis Landry and tackle Branden Albert making the Pro Bowl as alternates because other players dropped out. Now it's Dolphins DBs Brent Grimes and Reshad Jones who are added. Brag quietly, please. That's like finally getting invited to the prom only because other girls said no. Oh, and Mike Tannenbaum says consensus agreement on who to draft in the first round is important. Well no duh, right?

8. NBA: Conference-leading Cavaliers fire their coach: It finally happened in Cleveland. LeBron James fired coach David Blatt. Of course he then denied he had any influence whatsoever on the decision. America replied, "Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!" 

9. NFL: Bills hire full-time female assistant coach: Kathryn Smith becomes the first woman to be a fulltime assistant coach on an NFL staff. She'll be Buffalo's "special-teams quality control coach." Hmm. Is that even a real position?  

10. MARLINS: Spring training only three weeks away: Players begin reporting Feb. 19. I wrote an upbeat, positive column this week saying the Marlins had begun to earn back your trust. The majority email reaction was, shall we say, vehement disagreement. Bulletin to me: Fans still hate Jeffrey Loria.

Missing the cut: The Dolphins are holding cheerleader tryouts in several Latin America countries. Sure, because, clearly, there is a shortage of good-looking young Latin American women in South Florida (!) ... Upcoming tournament at Doral may be last as PGA Tour distances itself from Donald Trump. Nervous Democrats wish more Americans were doing the same ... National Signing Day is soon. That's when we instantly grade how college football programs did based on the utter guesswork of how a bunch of 17-year-olds will turn out ... World Cup champion U.S. women's soccer team announced it would play an exhibition March 9 in FAU's football stadium. It'll be weird to see a winning team on that field ... Congrats, Katie Meier, on your 200th career win at UM ... The U.S. Figure Skating Championship are going on, and nobody cares ... Answer: The U.S. team trained in Miami won the World Cup of FootGolf, a sports played on golf courses in which players kick soccer balls into giant holes. Question: Whaddya mean there are too many ridiculous, made-up sports?

Poll result: You say Panthers most likely Super Bowl champ from final four: We invited you to say which NFL final-four team you think will win the Super Bowl (not who you want to win, but who you predict will), and it was Carolina 48.0 percent, New England 32.0%, Arizona 14.7% and Denver 5.3%.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

January 05, 2016

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter (season final): 18.1%; plus Tannehill leads Miami past Patriots 20-10; also, Radio Tuesday!, Fins' 2016 schedule, '15's biggest-Miami-sports-story verdict, latest Hot Button & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 5. Yes, you can still say Happy New Year! You get one full week. 2) Click on Week 17 Gems for all of yesterday's Dolphins/NFL picks. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami/South Florida sports story-of-the-year poll, Dolphins/NFL Week 17 picks, sports predictions for 2016 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 790 The Ticket, 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, and also televising on ESPNU and Fusion TV.

My Dolphins coach-search column, Fins' 2016 schedule: Click on No Training Wheels This Time for my latest column, suggesting the club try something different and hire a head coach who has done the job before in the NFL. Also. Miami's 2016 non-division games were made known yesterday. At home it'll be the Browns, Steelers, Titans, Cardinals and 49ers. Non-division roadies will be Ravens, Bengals, Chargers, Rams and Seahawks.

Live in-game blog and postgame thoughts: Find both beneath the new and final Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll of the season. Click Tannehill the Solution -- With the Right Coach, for my column from the game.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G16/SEASON FINAL: 18.1%: Results are certified in the latest -- and season-ending -- Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 18.1 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 20-10 home victory over New DsmEngland putting Miami's final season record at 6-10. The DSM, completing its eighth year, 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. Because this was the final poll, we suggested giving "season as a whole" added weight. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case we left the poll open a bit longer than usual and closed it at around 2:15 p.m. today/Tuesday.

2015 DSM Results

Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)

Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)

Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)

Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)

Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)

Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)

Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)

Game 8: 4.8% (following 33-17 loss at  Buffalo)

Game 9: 44.6% (following 20-19 victory at Philadelphia)

Game 10: 3.8% (following 24-14 loss vs. Dallas)

Game 11: 3.7% (following 38-20 loss at N.Y. Jets)

Game 12: 17.3% (following 15-13 victory vs. Baltimore)

Game 13: 6.2% (following 31-24 loss  to N.Y. Giants)

Game 14: 5.4% (following 30-14 loss at San Diego)

Game 15: 6.0% (following 18-12 loss vs. Indianapolis)

Game 16/Season Final: 18.1% (following 20-10 victory vs. New England)

Yearly DSM Results

2015--18.1% (following 6-10 season); 2014--2.7% (8-8); 2013--4.2% (8-8); 2012--29.8% (7-9); 2011--34.9% (6-10); 2010--3.8% (7-9); 2009--31.2% (7-9); 2008--96.9% (11-5/playoff loss).

G17: NEW ENGLAND @ DOLPHINS: HOUSE-CLEANING FINS BEAT NEMESIS IN FINALE: Final: Tannehill 350 yards and two TDs and big defense carried Miami. The unexpected win cost Dolphins a few spots in the draft order, but cheering fans didn't seem to mind. Click on Tannehill the Solution -- With the Right Coach, for my column from the game. ..... Fourth Q: Miami 19-yard late FG makes the final score, 20-1 win. ..... Tannehill-Jordan Cameron 2-yard TD pass for a 17-10 Miami lead. A 46-yard strike to Parker fueled the series. ..... Third Q: Tannehill surpasses 4,000 passing yards for second straight season, first Dolphin to do that since Dan Marino went 4K X 3 in 1984-86. ... NE ties it 10-10. Brady comes out passing as we'd predicted, completes 68-yarder to James White to set up 3-yard TD run by the exhumed Steven Jackson. ..... Halftime: Are we seeing early signs of dementia in Bill Belichick? Last week he gave the other team the ball to begin overtime. Now he has Tom Brady throws five passes for 20 yards through the air in the first half at Miami. What? Huh? Expect a lot more Brady from here, presuming the Pats have an interest in winning. ..... Second Q: MIA 10-3 on Tannehill 15-yard TD strike to Devante Parker, after an earlier 31-yard completion to Greg Jennings. ... NE fails to take lead, misses 46-yard FG try. ... NE 3-3 on 34-yard FG. ... Andrew Franks' failed 46-yard FG try had the knuckling trajectory of a poorly struck 3-iron. ... First Q: Pats' first two possessions: 9 plays, 27 yards, 2 punts. ... Miami 3-0 on 38-yard FG in series fueled by Lamar Miller's 29-yard run. ... Swap of punts begins game. For Miami, a stalemate almost feels like a positive. ... As a seventh consecutive Dolphins season prepares to end too soon. ..... Pregame: Stadium filling up in a way that suggests a big crowd today, but that's largely because so many Patriots fans are here. Seeing as many 'Brady' jerseys as those of any other player on either team. ..... Original post: When you dump the head coach and both coordinators within one season you are running out of people to fire. But not quite! Yesterday the Dolphins "parted ways" with general manager Dennis Hickey, unsurprisingly, since he'd been rendered a glorified assistant by the arrival and takeover of personnel boss Mike Tannenbaum. Anyway, the 5-10 Fins host the 12-3 Patriots this afternoon, with Miami skidding to a halt at 4-7 under interim coach Dan Campbell. Ryan Tannehill enters Miami’s season finale banged up after being sacked six times last Patsfinsweek and then again during the week on that vicious blindside hit by Miko Grimes. The Patriots figure to offer little respite Sunday, their 48 sacks ranking second in the NFL. Too bad for the Fins this game means something for New England and, therefore, guys like Tom Brady won’t have the day off. Pats have sewn up a first-round bye but need to beat Miami (or hope for an unlikely Denver loss) to clinch the home field throughout. Pats are 2-3 since a 10-0 start, have lost their past two visits to Miami and might be quite vulnerable for an upset here. I won’t go that far. Brady is still Brady, and he still has Rob Gronkowski. Even if it’s just those two and nine bandaged mummies, that’s still a better offense than Miami usually shows. But I do see a much better game than Miami’s 36-7 collapse up there on Oct. 29. See this one close, in fact. That reminds me. Aside to Bill Belichick: If this one happens to go into overtime and you win the coin toss like last week, take the ball this time, dummy. My pick: New England, 27-20.

Poll result: UM firing Golden, hiring Richt named top Miami/South Florida sports story of 2015: We listed our Top 10 local stories of the past year, invited your vote on which was biggest, and the winner was UM firing Al Golden and hiring Mark Richt with 33.0 percent. Rounding out top five: Dolphins firing Joe Philbin amid seventh straight non-playoff season, 21.0%; Ndamukong Suh signing with Fins, 13.7%; Heat acquiring Goran Dragic, losing Chris Bosh to blood clots and missing playoffs, 8.1%; and Marlins' Dee Gordon becoming first since Jackie Robinson to lead NL in hitting and stolen bases, 6.0%.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JAN. 3): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

1. PANTHERS: Jagr leads the hottest team on ice: Jaromir Jagr, 43, made the all-star team by leading the Atlantic division in fan voting as the go-Cats-go entered the new year the talk of the NHL. Florida last night won a franchise-record eighth straight game and 14th in the past 17 to roar onto playoff pace. And general manager Dale Tallon and coach Gerard Gallant found the reward of contract extensions in their Christmas stockings.

Hotbutton2. CFP: Clemson wins Orange, to meet Alabama for national championship: Clemson dominated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and Alabama beat Michigan State even worse in the Cotton to reach the Jan. 11 College Football Playoff title game in Glendale, Ariz. title. Crimson Tide are an opening 6 1/2-point favorite despite the collective will of Miami football fans to see Nick Saban sad.

3. HEAT: Whiteside opens the new year right: Hassan Whiteside had season-highs of 25 points and 19 rebounds as the Heat won its first game of 2016 by a season-best 24-point margin over Dallas. Good: Miami stays in thick of a tightly bunched East playoff race. Better: Seeing Mark Cuban sad.

4. DOLPHINS: Fins host Patriots Sunday in season finale: Club "parted ways" with GM Dennis Hickey on Saturday; now Fins host New England in season finale. Pats' big sackers may pose a problem for Ryan Tannheill. The banged-up QB was sacked six times last week -- seven if you include the blindside Twitter hit by Miko Grimes. 

5. NFL: Sunday wraps the regular season, sets playoff field: The regular season wraps up with all 16 games being played Sunday, after which the first round of the playoffs will be set. The "playoffs." I wonder. Do younger Dolphins fans even know what that word means?

6. HURRICANES: UM hires defensive coordinator as Richt staff takes shape: So long, Mark D'onofrio. Miami's new defensive chief is Miami native Manny Diaz Jr., son of the former mayor, who held same job at Mississippi State. I don't wanna say Canes fans are tough but some already are calling for Diaz's firing. 

7. BOWLS: State's Big 3 bowled over, a rarity: This college football season marked only the second time ever (first was 2002) that the Hurricanes, Seminoles and Gators all ended their season with bowl losses.

8. UM HOOPS: Both Canes teams ranked as ACC play begins: UM's men beat Syracuse here in their ACC basketball opener Saturday. The Canes' men and women's teams are a combined 25-2 today, both ranked and thinking NCAA Tournament. And what were the odds that South Florida's sports excitement entering the new year would be centered on college basketball and hockey?

9. TENNIS: Miami Open, Miami-Dade at odds: Officials of the Miami Open major pro tennis tournament, the annual fixture on Key Biscayne, are threatening to move the event because the county, which owns the facility, won't OK expansion. Hey here's a wild thought: Compromise!

10. HORSE RACING: Gulfstream host big stakes races: Gulfstream held two stakes races Saturday that were an early prelude to the May 7 Kentucky Derby. But do we still care about horse racing with the end of the Triple Crown drought no longer the carrot before our nose?

Missing the cut: Happy new year! Happy, mostly, because we're done with the media's annoying year-end lists ... Jarvis Landry, Reshad Jones share Dolphins MVP award. That Ryan Tannehill or Ndamukong Suh didn't win says much about why Miami is 5-10 and looking for a new coach ... R.I.P., famous Harlem Gloebtrotter Meadowlark Lemon, 83. "Too bad," said Cleo Lemon. "There aren't many of us around." "Do I count?" said deceased actor Jack Lemmon ... UM cornerback Artie Burns is skipping his senior season for the draft. Call it Mark Richt's first loss as Canes coach ... Peyton Manning continues to deny a now-discredited report by Al Jazeera that he used human growth hormone. I'm not sure who Al is, but I think he owes Peyton an apology ... Junior Orange Bowl golf ended. I think I saw the winner use a toe wedge ... CFP semifinal TV ratings nosedived thanks to airing the games on New Year's Eve. "Bad Ideas In Programming" has a new clubhouse leader ... Want a good idea? NHL's annual outdoor Winter Classic ... Dear Marlins: Spring training is getting close. Either figure out a way to clone Jose Fernandez, or sign more starting pitchers, please.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 22, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.4%; plus Radio Tuesday, Fins sink to 5-9, Hot Button Top 10, ranking Miami's 25 biggest current sports figures, your Cooperstown verdict & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22. Click on Week 15 Gems for all of our NFL Week 15 picks. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Your 2016 baseball Hall of Fame ballot and vote, Dolphins/NFL Week 15 picks, Pete Rose verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio with the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz today, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on The Ticket Miami (790) and 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio, simulcasting on ESPNU and Fusion TV. I'll have a new blogpost here post-show, by mid- to late-afternoon.

"Would I trade Ryan Tannehill for Drew Brees, who is about to turn 37 and is five years past his prime? If drunk, perhaps." --Greg Cote

Miami's Top 25 Sports Figures: I rank the biggest-name Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, Panthers and Hurricanes, an impossible task, but somebody had to do it. Click on The Miami 25 to read the column and see the list.

Our Dolphins-Chargers postgame thoughts: Find them below, just after the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G14: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 5.4 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 30-14 loss at San Diego putting Miami's season record at 5-9. The DSM, in its eighth year, 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 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2015 DSM Results

Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)

Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)

Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)

Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)

Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)

Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)

Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)

Game 8: 4.8% (following 33-17 loss at  Buffalo)

Game 9: 44.6% (following 20-19 victory at Philadelphia)

Game 10: 3.8% (following 24-14 loss vs. Dallas)

Game 11: 3.7% (following 38-20 loss at N.Y. Jets)

Game 12: 17.3% (following 15-13 victory vs. Baltimore)

Game 13: 6.2% (following 31-24 loss  to N.Y. Giants)

Game 14: 5.4% (following 30-14 loss at San Diego)

Next poll: Dec. 27 (following game vs. Indianapolis)

G14: SAN DIEGO 30, DOLPHINS 14: PLAYING OUT THE STRING: Postgame thoughts: Man, the Dolphins just suck. I hate to say it. San Diego had lost five straight home games.  Before today. Hadn't scored a rushing TD since Week 1. Until today. Had gone 11 straight games without rushing for 100 yards. Until today. Miami has turned into the remedy for other teams -- the opponent you want to play. Very little offense today and not nearly enough defense. Same old story. And this was a bad opponent, remember. Wasted season. ..... Halftime: Embarrassment! Low keeps getting lower for Miami's season. ryan Tannehill only 74 yards passing at the half. Run game with 13 yards on 10 carries. Meanwhile the pass-D has been scorched for 203 yards by Philip Rivers. Unless you believe in miracles, and I doubt you do by now, Miami is headed for 5-9. ..... Pregame: I'll be updating the score live and be back with halftime and postgame thoughts prior to the DSM. ..... Original post: God, this is what the Dolphins have become. A 5-8 Fins team playing at a 3-10 Chargers team in the only NFL Week 15 game in Finsboltswhich both teams are mathematically, scientifically and theologically eliminated from playoff contention. The only scintilla of drama we’ll find Sunday at 4:25 p.m. in San Diego is that the final road game of the year for Miami could be the last home game ever for Chargers fans, with the franchise plotting a move to new digs in Carson, Calif., south of L.A. That should add an element of emotion that could bolster the Bolts, while, oppositely, flying cross-country on a short week (after playing Monday night) figures as a detriment for the Fins. Yes, certain trends favor the visitors here. Miami has won nine of past 11 in occasional series, including 37-0 last season, and Diego has dropped five home games in a row. Also, Chargers have been held to three points in each of their past three losses. I have a hunch, though, that Philip Rivers’ offense will find its remedy in a Dolphins defense that has allowed 36, 33 and 38 points in three of its past four road games. If this is farewell, San Diego, Chargers will go out a winner, at least. My pick: San Diego, 24-20.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DEC. 20): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Welcome to Miami: Basketball Town USA: Remember when this was a football town? Might be again someday. Isn't at the moment. Saturday alone, the No. 15-ranked Hurricanes men improved to 9-1, the No. 23 UM women narrowly were beaten by No. 4 Baylor 88-81 for their first loss, and Florida and FSU were winners here in the four-team Orange Bowl Classic. Hoop City!

2. HEAT: Riley denies team is shopping Whiteside: As the Heat hosts Portland on Sunday, speculation the team might trade young center Hassan Whiteside is "B.S.," said club president Pat Riley. Which may or may not be execu-speak for, "We haven’t heard a good enough offer yet."

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Six days to UM bowl game as postseason parade begins: Saturday saw the first six of 42 bowl games, with the Miami Beach Bowl coming up Tuesday and the Hurricanes set to face Washington State this coming Saturday (though without new coach Mark Richt) in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Tex. That’s so close to the border you can see Mexico. Well, unless Donald Trump’s wall is already up.

4. PANTHERS: Red-hot Cats open homestand: Florida has skated to three wins in a row and nine in past 12 games and now begins a six-game homestand Sunday vs. Vancouver. Yet despite all the recent winning the Panthers are on the far edge of playoff contention, eighth in the East. Man, you tough with those postseason tickets, Lord Stanley!  

5. DOLPHINS: Fins in San Diego as another disappointing season ebbs: Miami visits the Chargers on Sunday, playing out the string after Monday’s loss to the Giants eliminated Fins from playoffs for a seventh season in a row. "Grandpa, tell me again what it was like when the Dolphins were good!"

6. PETE ROSE: Purgatory continues as bid for reinstatement is denied: Banned from baseball since 1989 for gambling, all-time hits leader Pete Rose remains ostracized with this week’s ruling. Of course, the Hall of Fame independently could still put Rose on its ballot, but that’d make too much sense.

7. NBA: Cavs, Warriors on Christmas Day: It's the gift NBA fans will all unwrap together. There are five NBA games on Christmas but one of interest: Cleveland at Golden State, LeBron James at Steph Curry in a likely Finals preview. Hopefully LeBron isn't too "tired" to play. 

8. MARLINS: Miami conspicuously absent from MLB's Cuba goodwill trip: MLB made its first trip to the island since 1999 with a goodwill tour including clinics, and participants included former Cuban defectors such as Yasiel Puig. Notably, the team closest to Cuba did not participate. See, it isn't true. The Marlins do occasionally do something smart!

9. SERENA WILLIAMS: Tennis star named SI's Sportsperson of the Year: Easy to defend Sports Illustrated's choice of Serena, who dominated women's tennis, although golfer Jordan Spieth had an argument. Also, I wonder if SI forgot that American Pharoah ended horse racing's 37-year Triple Crown drought?

10. STAR WARS: The Force Awakens sets box-office records: The new Star Wars film raked in some $250 million in its opening few days. More people have already seen the film than will  attend every NFL game on Sunday. It's good for sports to be humbled every once in a while, right?

Missing the cut: Carolina Panthers go for 14-0 today. Champagne ready, '72 Fins? ... Suspended Florida QB Will Grier is transferring. Later, Gator ... Wonder how the NHL likes that its leading scorer, Patrick Kane, was investigated for sexual assault? ... NBA referee Bill Kennedy comes out as gay after a gay slur from Rajon Rondo ... Four major amateur golf tournaments are underway in South Florida ... Duran Duran will perform at the tennis Miami Open on Key Biscayne. Which would be exciting if this were, like, the 1985 Miami Open ... President Obama congratulated retiring soccer star Abby Wambach on a great career. Republicans demanded equal time, argued it wasn't so great ... Ray Rice still wants to play. Sure, because there's a lot of demand for aging running backs who both punched their girlfriend and averaged 3.1 per carry ... LeBron James collided courtside with the wife of golfer Jason Day and was assessed a two-stroke penalty.

Poll result: Griffey Jr. leads your 2016 Hall of Fame inductees: We asked who you'd vote into Cooperstown from among 12 top contenders on the latest ballot, and your top five were Ken Griffey Jr. with 18.6 percent, Mike Piazza 11.9%, Roger Clemens 10.8%, Barry Bonds 10.2% and Curt Schilling 9.2%. Based on the mentions per ballots cast, only Griffey's support translated to the 75 percent mininum required by the Hall of Fame.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 20, 2015

G15: Indianapolis 15, Dolphins 6 (Half): Gore leads a parade of ex's hurting the Dolphins thus far. Our halftime thoughts; plus the new Hot Button Top 10 & more

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

1) It is SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27. Hope y'all are having a wonderful long Christmas weekend filled with even more love than presents! 2) Click on Week 16 Gems for today's Dolphins and other NFL picks. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes fall in Sun Bowl with CSM poll, team-inspiring-most-optimism verdict & more. 4) ICYMI, click on The Miami 25 for my ranking of the 25 biggest current names in South Florida sports. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Voting continues in season-ending Canesfan poll: Find the latest and season-final Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in the blogpost directly below this new one. Vote and be heard!

Watch for latest Dolfan poll later today: The new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll will appear right here soon after today's game ends. Estimated posttime: 5 p.m.

G15: INDIANAPOLIS @ DOLPHINS: AS ANOTHER NFL CALENDAR YEAR FIZZLES TO AN END IN MIAMI: Halftime: Miami has only 151 net yards of offense in trailing 15-6 at the half. And the ex's are killing Miami. Ex-Canes Frank Gore, Philip Dorsett and Andre Johnson and ex-FIU'er T.Y. Hilton have 157 combined yards, and ex-Fins Vontae Davis (interception) and Kendall Langford (sack) also are hurting the Dolphins thus far. ..... Second Q: Matt Hasselback knocked from game with shoulder boo-boo; 3rd-stringer Charlie Whitehurst in for Indy. No matter. Gore 11-yard scoring run, his second TD. Ex-Cane is really hurting Miami and Colts now up 15-6 ... MIA within 8-6 on Lamar Miller 1-yard TD run followed by missed 2-point conversion pass. Standard call would have been extra-point kick there. Surprised they went for two so early in game. ... On the bright side. Fins far from out of it. Eight points (should be) a small hole against a bad Colts squad. ..... First Q: Good God, man! Tannehill picked off in end zone. Miami wastes 49-yard completion to DeVante Parker. I said before the 3rd-and-goal pass, "Watch them settle for a field goal." Gave 'em too much credit. ... Colts 8-0 now on Frank Gore 37-yard TD run through at least three missed tackles. Missed extra point. Bad, bad defense. ... Brent Grimes INT negated by his own penalty. ... World-safeties leader Miami is hit with another one. Colts, 2-0. You must be bleepin' kidding me. ... What the Dolphins have to play for? Avoiding a 10-loss season. Yes, It has come down to this. ..... Pregame: Center Mike Pouncey the notable Dolphin inactive today. ..... Note: be live-blogging here during today's Dolphins-Colts game, with a running commentary including halftime and postgame thoughts prior to the appearance of the new DSM poll. ..... Original post: For the seventh season in a row a calendar year ebbs with another Dolphins season petering out playoff-less. Sad. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Dolphins gave their fans the Christmas gift of a playoff team once in a damned while? Instead it’s coal in the Dolfan stocking as a 5-9 Miami team Indmiahosts the Andrew Luck-less 6-8 Colts in the season's next-to-last game. Unlike Miami, Indy still is alive for a playoff spot, though ever so faintly. Despite that Miami is a narrow 2 1/2-point favorite today. I continue to believe that the Dolphins are closer to mediocre than to awful. Sad to say, I guess that makes me an optimist. (Maybe even a homer?) It is the Colts who have been closer to awful lately, with Matt Hasselbeck looking his age (40) in three straight losses. Now creaky Hasselbeck is forced to pitch again Sunday here because Luck, though close, isn’t fully healthy yet. Sidelight: FIU’s T.Y. Hilton returns to Miami for the first time as a pro. He’s been griping about Indy’s play-calling, but it is the Nags’ defense that’s been putrid lately. Ryan Tannehill could roll a 300 against this pass defense and Lamar Miller should find friendly running lanes, too. Indy's playoff prayer is that it must win out and hope Houston loses twice to sneak in. Won’t happen. Fins will see to that today. My pick: Dolphins, 27-17.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DEC. 27): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Four days until CFP semifinal in Miami: No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Oklahoma arrived in town for their New Year’s Eve faceoff in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Orange Bowl game at Dolphins stadium. Only thing keeping it from being the perfect matchup is that Miami fans don’t get a chance to boo Nick Saban.

2. HURRICANES: UM fails to end postseason drought in Sun Bowl: The Canes lost 20-14 against Washington State on Saturday in El Paso, losing a sixth consecutive bowl. UM’s last postseason win had been after the 2006 season. Counting interim guys, that was six coaches ago.

3. PANTHERS: Red-hot Cats try to extend win streak on Sunday: The Panthers have won five games in a row and 11 of their past 14 to surge within two points of second place in the NHL’s East playoff race entering Sunday’s game against Columbus. If the Cats were any hotter, the ice would be melting under their skates.

4. HEAT: Team stands precariously at season’s one-third mark: Entering Sunday's games, Miami is only a half-game from second place in the NBA East but also only two games from being off playoff pace. Remember phone booths? Picture 10 people crammed into one. That’s the Eastern Conference standings.

5. DOLPHINS: Miami hosts Colts on Sunday in next-to-last game: You are a true Dolfan if you show up Sunday to watch a 5-9 team host the Andrew Luck-less Colts. For a seventh consecutive season, the Dolphins, in lieu of the gift of a playoff season, have rewarded their fans with a metaphorical lump of coal.

6. NBA: Steph tops LeBron in marquee Christmas matchup: Golden State topped Cleveland 89-83 in a Christmas rematch of the NBA Finals. What we learned: It's still Steph Curry's league, LeBron James.

7. NFL: Pro Bowl awards bring usual outcry: Center Mike Pouncey was the lone Dolphin chosen. Bengals QB Andy Dalton and Fins safety Reshad Jones were among notable surprise snubs as the NFL named its annual all-stars. The Pro Bowl. The honor every player wants, even though it's the game nobody wants to play in, or watch.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men and women, both ranked, back in action: No. 13 men (10-1) host Princeton Tuesday, the No. 23 women (12-1) host North Carolina State Wednesday. Great season so far for Jim Larranaga and Katie Meier.
 
9. SOCCER: Blatter, Platini suspended eight years: Disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter and European chief Michel Platini received eight-year bans each for their roles in the sport's bribery scandal. Presumably the attempted bribes of the people suspending them did not work.
 
10. YEAR-END AWARDS: The AP anoints Curry, Williams: The Associated Press named NBA star Steph Curry and tennis star Serena Williams its make and female athletes of the year. "What's a horse gotta do to get a trophy," said Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
 
Missing the cut: A drone carrying a TV camera nearly crashed into a World Cup skiier. Some sentences are so ridiculous they require no punchline ... Peyton Manning denies report he used human growth hormone. It'd be a bigger story, but the report is by Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based network ... Farewell, Frank Beamer ... Carolina Panthers go for 15-0 today in Atlanta ... Junior Orange Bowl tennis ended. By habit, disgruntled parents continued screaming over line calls ... Western Kentucky beat  South Florida in Miami Beach Bowl. Marlins Park was half empty. As usual.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

December 13, 2015

The new Hot Button Top 10 with Fins, Heat, college football, Fish, Cats, Warriors, prep champs, soccer, money, Canes hoops; plus my Dolphins at 50 column, faith in Tannehill eroding & more

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

1) It is SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13. IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Faith in Ryan Tannehill poll, Dolphins/NFL Week 14 picks, Trump/Doral and PGA Tour, strength of Serena, Heat at quarter-mark verdict & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins at 50: My latest column: I attended Friday night's lavish Dolphins 50th Anniversary gala in Hollywood and it informs my latest Sunday column on how this franchise is so much better at celebrating its past than it is creating new glory days for its fans. Click on Yesterday Is Great, But What About Tomorrowto read it in full.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DEC. 13): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: 50th anniversary celebrated as Fins host Giants on Monday night: As team skids to a seventh straight year out of the playoffs, Dolphins’ 50 greatest all-time players will be introduced at halftime Monday as franchise celebrates 50 years of football. That breaks down to about 40 seasons worthy of actual celebration, and then the last 10 or so.

2. HEAT: Still wondering at NBA’s quarter turn: How good is Miami?: With the season one-fourth done, Miami fans are still trying to decide how good the Heat is. Eastern finals? Barely make playoffs? Stay tuned, although three straight losses entering Sunday's game vs. Memphis have made the latter seem likelier at the moment.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Canes practice for bowl as city prepares to host CFP semifinal: UM readies for the Dec. 26 Sun Bowl in El Paso as Miami prepares for Clemson-Oklahoma in the Dec. 31 Orange Bowl game. Oh, and if your biggest gripe is why the College Football Playoff semifinals are on New Year’s Eve, you lead a charmed life, friend.

4. MARLINS: Lots of Jose talk, but little action for Fish at winter meetings: The Marlins made headlines entertaining offers but not trading ace Jose Fernandez during the MLB winter meetings in Nashville, but the front office struck out on making any deals to bolster their starting rotation or bullpen.

5. PANTHERS: Government tax help approval assure Cats’ local future: Broward County committed $86 million in tourist tax dollars to keep Panthers in Sunrise at least for 13 more years. Now how about a little payback, Cats? Like an occasional playoff appearance, perhaps?

6. GOLDEN STATE: Warriors finally lose after 24-0 start: It was a 108-95 loss at mediocre Milwaukee that ended the Warriors' record-setting perfect start to the NBA season. Cannot confirm that, out of habit, the '72 Dolphins raised a champagne toast. 

7. HIGH-SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Four local schools win state titles: Congrats to Miami Central, Booker T. Washington, St. Thomas Aquinas and Flanagan for winning state prep football championships. Can we invent some way for that success to trickle up to the Canes and Dolphins, please? 

8. SOCCER: Champions League, Euro '16 draw have fans buzzing: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich lead the field that is down to the round of 16. Meanwhile the 24 teams have been set for next summer's Euro 2016. America contributes Portland beating Columbus for the MLS Cup title. Hey, it's better than nothing!

9. BASEBALL SPENDING: Greinke the latest to get windfall: Arizona acquired ace Zack Greinke by agreeing to pay him $206.5 million over six years. Based on my math he'll average about $1 million per start, or per starts missed injured. Put a baseball in Junior's crib, Dad.

10. CANES BASKETBALL: College hoops in Miami back with a vengeance in six days: Saturday, Dec. 19 Mark it. That's when the 10-0 UM women host No. 4 Baylor, the 17th-ranked Canes men host Charleston, and the OB Classic pits in Sunrise pits FSU vs. FAU and Florida vs Oklahoma State.

Missing the cut: They announced Alabama running back Derrick Henry as the Heisman Trophy winner Saturday. I thought I saw Nick Saban almost smile but it may have just been indigestion ... Carolina Panthers put their 12-0 record on line today. Sorry, Cats, we'll pay attention when you're going for 16-0, or 19-0 ... LeBron James signs lifetime deal with Nike. Am picturing LeBron, at 75, pushing Nike's new line of orthopedic bedroom slippers ... Florida Panthers reportedly will unveil a new logo and jersey design next season. Better they should unveil a team good enough to make the playoffs ... Dolphins safety Reshad Jones has undertakena Twitter campaign  to get Pro Bowl votes. Another idea he might consider: An interception or two on Monday Night Football ... R.I.P., NBA pioneer Dolph Schayes, gone at 87. "Sad. There aren't many of us left," noted Dolph Lundgren ... The week-long Orange Bowl International Junior tennis tournament ends Sunday in Plantation. It'll seem so quiet without all those boorish parents yelling ... New York Supreme Court ruled against DraftKings and FanDuel as those daily fantasy sites continue an apparent slide toward extinction. Sure will miss all those TV commercials (!).

Poll result: Faith in Tannehill is dwindling: We asked your degree of faith that QB Ryan Tannehill is as good as the Dolphins need him to be -- two months after asking the same thing. The downturn in faith is notable:

Faith level        Now        October

Strong              9.1%        12.9%

Medium            18.3%      29.1%

Wavering          36.8%      31.9%

Weak               35.8%      26.1%

Tannehill's strong or medium support has shrunk from 42.0% to 27.4%, while his wavering or weak support has increased from 58.0% to 72.6%. This is far from scientific. But it is a snapshot that indicates Tannehill has work to do in restoring the faith in him. Because, without question, it is eroding.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 24, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.8%; plus Miami falls to Cowboys, new Hot Button Top 10 (uypdated), Kyle Busch wins NASCAR crown at Homestead, UM hoops' big win & more

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

JFK1) It is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22. See previous blogpost for results of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. 2) Fifty-two years ago yesterday, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Pray for Paris and for peace on Earth, but remember JFK, too. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes host Georgia Tech with CSM poll, other state Collball, UM next-coach verdict & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Hurricanes men's basketball rockets from unranked to No. 15 today in new Associated Press poll.

Gordon's career trumps Busch's crown at Homestead: Click on End of the Rainbow for my column from the racetrack on Jeff Gordon, who ran his final NASCAR race at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 3.8 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 24-14 home loss to Dallas putting Miami's season record at 4-6. 1aadsm
The DSM, in its eighth year, 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 6:15 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2015 DSM Results

Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)

Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)

Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)

Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)

Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)

Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)

Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)

Game 8: 4.8% (following 33-17 loss at  Buffalo)

Game 9: 44.6% (following 20-19 victory at Philadelphia)

Game 10: 3.8% (following 24-14 loss vs. Dallas)

Next poll: Nov. 29 (following game at N.Y. Jets)

G10: DALLAS 24, DOLPHINS 14: NOT ENOUGH OFFENSE AS MIAMI PLAYOFF HOPES TAKE A HIT: Final thoughts: Miami falls to 4-6 and sees its wild-card hopes take a hit today because of a reason that has been common this season: Too little offense. Two touchdowns won't win many games, especially when your QB, Ryan Tannehill, gives the other team six free points on a pick-six interception. The result was fair. Miami was dominated in many ways, in total yards 386-210 and in first downs 22-9. The Fins converted only one of 10 third downs. A disappointing home loss in what had (in terms of betting odds) been a dead-even game going in. ..... Halftime: A mostly absymal first half by Miami in rainy Miami, but sunshine beamed in on the Fins late. Team doing nothing offensively until the final drive, when Ryan Tannehill's 47-yard strike to Jarvis Landry set up a 12-yard TD throw to Jordan Cameron. Defense doing OK. Only has given up one TD, considering Tanny's pick-six accounts for half of Dallas' points. ..... Note: I'm writing from NASCAR in Homestead today but will be updating Dolphins score live throughout today's game and be back with halftime and postgame thoughts prior to the posting of the new DSM poll. ..... Original post: Isn't often two teams with a combined record of 6-12 present a game as tasty as this one. Miami at 4-5 doesn't enjoy much margin of error, so call today a must-win for the Dolphins, realistically if not literally. The Dolcowopponent, despite its sorry record, arrives dangerously revitalized by the return from injury of its star, and brings with it the swagger of "America's Team" and its many fans. It will be very difficult today for the Dolphins to sack Tony Romo on account of that hero’s white steed he’s riding in on. They’ll have to tackle the horse, too, I guess. Dallas went a season-ruining 0-7 with their QB out with a broken collarbone but gets him back just in Romotantime for Miami. Romo has not shied from portraying himself in the savior’s robe, even knowing Dallas likely must finish on a 7-0 run for a playoff shot. This week he tweeted the scene from the movie Major League with the line, "Well, then I guess there’s only one thing left to do … win the whole [bleep]ing thing." A 2-7 team on the road with an even betting line further indicates Joe Public is buying into the Romo-savior myth. It won’t happen, though. Dallas won’t make the playoffs. I doubt they’ll win today, either. I see a pumped-up, sold-out crowd fomenting a palpable home-field advantage and inspiring a big, emotional effort from the Dolphins. Miami is the first NFL team since the 1970 merger to play in its home stadium only twice in the first 10 weeks. That and the marquee opponent should have Joe Robbie’s place rocking for Dallas’ first regular-season visit since 2007. These may be two teams with losing records, but it still feels like an "event" game. Adding to that: Don Shula, flanked by Bob Griese and Dan Marino, will be presented a special Hall of Fame ring in a halftime ceremony today. Key to the Fins winning will be much better pass defense than we’ve seen the past three games. A particular concern today is a depleted linebacking corps vs. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. But between Brent Grimes’ return and Romo’s rust, I see the big home crowd leaving happy. My pick: Dolphins, 27-23.

KYLE BUSCH WINS RACE, SEASON TITLE BUT IT'S JEFF GORDON'S DAY AT HOMESTEAD: Update: Kyle Busch wins NASCAR season Sprint Cup championship by finishing ahead of the three other qualifiers for the title. Busch won the race, with Kevin Harvick second, sentimental favorite Jeff Gordon sixth, and Martin Truex Jr. 12th. The night was about the season crown, and whether Gordon, in his last race, could write the perfect ending to his storied career. Original post: I'm down at Homestead-Miami Speedway today columnizing on NASCAR's Championship Sunday, because it is an event of greater national scope than the Dolphins-Cowboys game (and will draw a bigger crowd, too). It is bigger than even a typical Sprint Cup finale, because this one is Jeff Gordon's farewell ride before retiring to the TV booth. Gordon (pictured), defending series champ Kevin Harvick, bad-boy Kyle Busch and designated-underdog Martin Truex Jr. are the four drivers in the full field who'll be competing for the season title, a great mix. My preview column, online and in today's Miami Herald print editions, focuses on the 20th anniversary of the Homestead racetrack and how its origin helped lift a city from the ravages of Hurricane Andrew. Today's race is big. What this track meant and means to Homestead is bigger. Click on Saving A City to read the column in full. Race starts at 3, presuming good weather. Rain, rain, stay away. Vroooom!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOV. 22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature (updated Mondays) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. NASCAR: Kyle Busch wins season crown, Gordon bids farewell at Homestead: Imagine. Jeff Gordon, set to retire, runs his final race and in it dramatically wins his fifth NASCAR title and first since 2001. If only. Kyle Busch won it all Sunday night to deny Gordon the perfect ending to his career.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami falls to Romo, Cowboys: Tony Romo played Sunday for first time since Sept. 20 as "America's Team" came to town in a rare visit — Dallas was last here in 2007. Lots of hoopla. Almost forgot. Fins needed to win to bolster fading playoff hopes. They did not, falling 24-14.

3. HEAT: Whiteside's Block Party highlights early season: Miami avoiding a loss to winless Philly Saturday allows us to spotlight sensation Hassan (Sultan of Swat) Whiteside, whose 58 blocked shots in 12 games are on pace to be NBA's highest per-game average since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1989-90. 

4. HURRICANES: UM whips Georgia Tech in home finale: As UM searches for its next coach, there is plenty left to play for. Saturday's 38-21 win over Georgia Tech and this Friday at Pitt will determine whether Canes are invited to a bowl game you don't care about or one you barely care about.

5. UM BASKETBALL: Canes win Puerto Rico tournament: Big week for UM hoops. The 2016 recruiting class added two big prizes, and Canes beat No. 22 Butler last night 85-75 in final of Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament after earlier beating No. 16 Utah 90-66. Canes now 5-0 and up to No. 15 in AP poll. Hey, can Jim Larrañaga coach the football team, too!?

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Ohio State loss shakes up the CFP: College Football Playoff will have a new-look top four after Ohio State's loss Saturday. The national group, People Who Feel Sorry For Urban Meyer, is meeting tonight. Waffle House. Corner booth.

7. FAU: Almost as lowly Owls take Gators to OT: Top-ten Florida would prevail 20-14 in overtime Saturday but it was a Swamp scare from now 2-8 Florida Atlantic. I'm not big on moral victories/good losses, but this performance by Owls was bigger than any win in program history.

8. PANTHERS: Trying to keep the faith at the quarter mark: Roughly one-fourth into the NHL season, Florida has played 20 games and won eight entering Monday's date with the L.A. Kings here. Cats not currently on playoff pace. Or, by now, did that go without saying?

9. MARLINS: Jose Fernandez trade rumors swirling: Much media speculation lately about Marlins shopping ace Jose Fernandez, as well as reports he has an attitude problem. Of course it would make no sense to trade Fernandez for at least two more seasons. Then again, these are the Marlins.

10. SOCCER: Latest 'El Clasico' chapter a rout: Barcelona thumps Real Madrid 4-0 Saturday in an El Clasico rout being seen as exemplifying "team" triumphing over "individuals." The three times many Americans pay attention to soccer: World Cup, Olympics, Barca-Real.

Missing the cut: Miguel Cotto vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez for middleweight title. Smart on that nickname. Fighters named Saul don't scare anybody ... Steph Curry and Golden State improve to 15-0 ... FIU loses finale, misses bowl eligibility ... Fort Lauderdale Strikers fire coach Gunter Kronsteiner. Again. Who owns that team? Jeffrey Loria? ... MLB post-season awards ... David Ortiz to retire after '16 season ... Florida Sports Hall of Fame inductees ... Track & Field governing body suspends Russia for doping. Shocker!

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 19, 2015

UM's latest basketball recruiting gets a tribute to Larranaga's stewardship; plus Dolphins' playoff odds, David Beckham, cheetah picks NASCAR/Homestead winner, SOPY rankings, NFL Week 10 Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy results & more

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

Paris1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19. PRAY FOR PARIS, AND FOR PEACE ON EARTH. 2) I'm back at Friday Page HQ today bringing forth my NFL Week 11 picks, girding loins for a better effort than last week. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's Titans-Jaguars pick. 3) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win in Philly with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Fins in random fives are announcing the club's all-time 50 greatest players. The latest wave: Bob Brudzinski, Norm Evans, Mike Pouncey, Patrick Surtain and Jason Taylor. Taylor is obvious. Evans and Surtain are expected. Brudzinksi for me is borderline but I'm OK with it. Surprised by Pouncey mainly for the lack of longevity.

 "BeckhamDavid Beckham has been named People's latest 'Sexiest Man Alive.' Too bad he hasn't been named 'Most Successful Man Alive at Closing an MLS Stadium Deal in Miami.'" --Greg Cote

On Canes' coach-search: This week's latest column from me is on the Hurricanes' search to replace fired football coach Al Golden and his interim fill-in Larry Scott. UM must find a great coach whose strength is recruiting and the ability to win back the South Florida talent-market. The priority should not be appeasing fans by necessarily hiring someone with Canes ties. Click on Recruiting The Best to read the column in full.

CANES' BIG RECRUITING GETS A TRIBUTE TO LARRANAGA'S STEWARDSHIP: UM basketball's 2016 recruiting class soared into the national top 10 rankings with the addition this week of Miami Norland 6- Larranaga10 power forward Dewan Huell and Massachusetts 6-4 shooting guard Bruce Brown. The biggest schools in the sport, like Louisville and Kansas, were after Huell. It's a tribute to coach Jim Larranaga and where he has the Canes program now and where it is headed under his stewardship. In Larranaga and women's coach Katie Meier, UM has one of the elite coaching duos in the entire country. Rock solid. South Florida is in good shape generally at the coach level at the moment among our top teams. The Heat's Erik Spoelstra is excellent, the Marlins made a promising managerial hire in Don Mattingly, and it seems the Panthers finally have a guy they can win with in Gerard Gallant. The questions are in football. Will Dan Campbell be a keeper for the Dolphins or will a postseason search open? That's to be determined. And the Canes job is wide open, of course. The U would do well to make a hire even approaching the quality of what basketball has in Larranaga and Meier.

DOLPHINS PLAYOFF CHANCES: A PULSE, BUT STILL A FAINT ONE: Winning in Philadelphia elevated the Dolphins' playoff chances from negligible to small. The computers of makenflplayoffs.com put Miami's playoff likelihood at 12.7 percent and numberfire.com has it at 7.2% entering this coming weekend -- both ranking the Fins 12th in the jockeying for six AFC postseason tickets. Patriots, Bengals and Broncos are the consensus definitely-in picks. The 4-5-6 seeds will be Steelers, Bills and Colts according to makenflplayoffs, and Steelers, Colts and Jets according to numberfire.

CheetahCHEETAH FORECASTS NASCAR/HOMESTEAD WINNER: Sorry, storybook-ending fans. Retiring Jeff Gordon won't be going out a champion in Sunday's season-ending race south of Miami. Koda, a 2-year-old cheetah and official Zoo Miami "wildlife prognosticator," chose Kevin Harvick from among the four miniature die-cast cars of the title-contending final four of Harvick, Gordon, Martin Truex and Kyle Busch. Koda is pictured ruminating over his decision. Zoo officials denied it was a publicity stunt.

SOPY: FLOWERS POWER! 'STATE HEISMAN' HAS A NEW LEADER: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- is too close to call as we reach the final stretch. It's Sopynow South Florida QB Quinton Flowers narrowly ahead of Florida State RB Dalvin Cook. It's pretty much a two-man race because FIU QB Alex McGough has fallen to third place and has played one additional game than the players he must catch. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. 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 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 12:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 11

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W11        Season

1 (t2)       Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   223         1,717

2 (t2)       Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             167        1,661

3 (1)        Alex McGough, FIU-qb          37         1,543.5

4 (5)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          153        1,236.5

5 (7)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          290        1,206

6 (4)        Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             15         1,167

7 (6)        Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       153        1,108

8 (9)         Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb      139       956 

9 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       126        929

10 (8)       Everett Golson, FSU-qb          26         889.5

Bubble: Will Grier, Florida-qb, 789. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 713. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 290 (Wk11). Note: FIU has played 11 games; all others 10.

Cote's State of the State ranking: 1. Florida (9-1); 2. Florida State (8-2); 3. Miami (6-4); 4. South Florida (6-4); 5. FIU (5-6); 6. FAU (2-8); 7. UCF (0-10).

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 10: OH THE AWFULNESS! RECORD EMBARRASSMENT!: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams, and, this week, the admission pains us: Pix: A record-worst week: This is our 25th 1aacote2
1lobosseason doing the Friday Page picks and we have never -- ever -- had worse week than last week's 2-12 record overall and 3-11 against the spread. I mean, there were some weird results and losing picks I'd probably make again. But still. No excuses. Just abysmal. Or, as the Upset Bird muttered: "Aaawwwkful!" Greg's Lobos / family league: Another loss: The original Lobos lost 125-112 to fall to 4-6, off playoff pace but still in it with four weeks left in our regular season. Rode Adrian Peterson for 31 big points, but five positions scoring in single-figures and only 12 points from Drew Brees killed us. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Big loss to open playoffs: The LeBatard Show Lobos fell 117.1 to 69.4 to Bills in the first round of our playoffs. It's a two-game opening series so I'm still alive but would need to rout Billy next week to have any chance. Ill-timed bye weeks ruined me this week. Just-signed Joe Flacco was our MVL with 20.1 points but we had two guys score zero. Miserable showing for the 'Bos. Embarrassing. But, yes, I do believe in miracles, so watch us next week.

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 17, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 44.6%; plus Fins rally, win at Philly 20-19 with our postgame thoughts; also, new Hot Button Top 10 with Homestead field set, Canes, Heat, Rousey's loss, Cats, UM hoops, Gators, FIU & more

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

Paris1) It is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16. PRAY FOR PARIS, AND FOR PEACE ON EARTH. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes clobbered in Chapel Hill with CSM poll, other state Collball & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

CSM poll results: The latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter approval rating has fallen to 49.5 percent, its lowest total since Week 4. See the previous blogpost for details.

My Ryan Tannehill column: My Sunday column is on the failure thus far of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to transcend and be the difference-maker Miami needs him to be. Three and a half seasons in, we still aren't sure what we have in this guy. Click on When Good Isn't Good Enough to read the column. Update: Leading a winning rally from 16-3 down in Philadelphia yesterday was a step forward for Tannehill.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 44.6%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 44.6 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 20-19 victory at Philadelphia putting Miami's season record at 4-5. The DSM, in its eighth year, 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.

2015 DSM Results

Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)

Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)

Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)

Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)

Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)

Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)

Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)

Game 8: 4.8% (following 33-17 loss at  Buffalo)

Game 9: 44.6% (following 20-19 victory at Philadelphia)

Next poll: Nov. 22 (following game vs. Dallas)

G9: DOLPHINS 20, PHILADELPHIA 19: MIAMI RESCUES ITS PLAYOFF HOPES!: Final: Terrific road win today for underdog Miami, overcoming an early 16-3 deficit. Admit it. At that point, did you think they would? Ryan Tannehill had a solid game with 217 yard passing, two TDs and no picks. The running game toughed out 26 carries for balance. The run defense was strong. And Mark Sanchez replacing injured Sam Bradford and throwing a costly late pick (by Reshad Jones) sure helped. All in all a big win making Miami 4-5 now and keeping Dolphins close enough to playoff contention to foment hope with seven games yet to play. MIA now 3-2 under interim coach Dan Campbell. ..... Fourth Q: Reshad Jones end-zone interception of Sanchez prevents PHI a likely go-ahead score. But why'd he run it out!? ... PHI within 20-19 on 37-yard kick by ex-Dolph Caleb Sturgis. Ends 17 unanswered points by Fins. ... Wow! Miami up 20-16 (first lead since 3-0) when Jarvis Landry comes down with short pass in end zone that had been deflected and was up for grabs on first play of last quarter. A 43-yard completion to Rishard Matthews had given MIA 1st-and-goal. Birds Third Q: Birds QB Sam Bradford injured, Mark Sanchez in. ... Miami still under 200 yards total offense. Tannehill needs to go win this game. ..... Halftime: Miami allows 16 unanswered points by Eagles but rallies to within 16-13 at half. The bad: Pass D has let Sam Bradford got 16-for-20 for 196 yards, and Miami offense has a meager 153 total yards. Considering the hole once was 16-3, though, a somewhat encouraging half. ..... oughing-Second Q: Roughing-passer penalty against MIA negates a last-minute interception. Then Brice McCain injured as half ends. ... Dan "Man" Campbell wins challenge to force Philly punt but MIA gives it right back. ... Miami within 16-13 now on 13-yard Tanny pass to Miller, after blocked punt by Zach Vigil set up Fins at Philly 12. Vigil-ant! ... Fins within 16-6 but it's settling, with a 1st-and-goal turning into a 22-yard FG. Jay Ajayi runs of 24, 20 yards key the drive. ... MIA been outscored 66-6 in first quarter of its five losses and today. ... Birds miss 32-yard FG try. Something goes right for Miami! ..... First Q: Rough start. PHI up 16-3 after Ryan Mathews' 1-yard TD run following safety. ... Tannehill sacked in end zone for safety, third straight game Miami has given up one. First time in NFL since 1980 a team has given up a safety three straight games. ... Kick returner Damien Williams dumbly returns from deep in end zone, slips at own 1. Why is he evn playing with a bad hand? That's a losing-team play right there. ... Birds up 7-3 on 2-yard TD pass to finish drive that included a 61-yard catch and run by TE Brent Celek. ... MIA up early 3-0 on 42-yard FG but it was a fizzle in the red zone on a drive featuring a 35-yard completion to Lamar Miller. ..... Pregame: CB Brent Grimes is a surprise inactive today because of illness. Sam Bradford is smiling. ..... Original post: Miami begins the second half of its season a touchdown underdog in Philadelphia today, and for the Dolphins this is about nothing less than saving a season's playoff hopes or watching them all but realistically disappear. A 5-4 record is Dolphilplayoff pace in the wide-open AFC entering NFL Week 10, so Miami at 4-5 with a win today would stay in the hunt, while at 3-6 with a loss today you could all but fuhgedaboudit. Unfortunately, Miami has lost five consecutive road games as underdogs, and I’m having a tough time imagining a happy flight back from the team’s first trip to Philly since 2007. The Dolphins defense I have watched the past two games — the one clobbered by the Patriots and then absolutely gouged by the Bills — won’t find this opponent much easier. The Birds ground game has found its stride with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, while QB Sam Bradford seems to have found his comfort zone running Chip Kelly’s offense. Offensively, the Fins are averaging a paltry 14.8 points this year in the six games apart from those magical two against the Titans and Texans. I just can’t trust Ryan Tannehill to score sufficiently, on the road, against a Phils defense that is fourth in the NFL in interceptions and sixth in opponent passer rating. It might take a Jarvis Landry touchdown return or a defensive TD to keep Miami in this one. But this is a Dolphins defense that last Sunday became the first team — ever — to allow an opponent two 100-yard rushers and a 150-yard receiver in the same game. That’s the defense I don’t trust to win in the City of Brotherly Shove. My pick: Philadelphia, 27-17.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOV. 15): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins win in Philly, stay in playoff hunt: Miami came in 3-5 and had lost two in a row, which is why today's 20-19 rally-win in Philly was huge. Now the Dolphins host Dallas and the return from injury of Tony Romo. You like a challenge, Dan Campbell? You got one. You want to keep turning around the doubters, Dolphins? Go do it.

2. HURRICANES: UM trounced in Chapel Hill, sees ACC title hopes perish: Al Golden never could seem to get that elusive “signature win.” Saturday would have been that for interim replacement Larry Scott, but the Hurricanes did not have another miracle in them. Or even any fight in them losing 59-21.

3. HEAT: Bosh, hot Heat earn a few days off; Chalmers traded: Heat is 6-3 amidst a rare four days off before returning to action here Tuesday. Meantime, Mario Chalmers was traded in a tax-relief move. Give Chalmers this: He lost his starting job, he lost his minutes, but he never lost his swagger.

4. UFC: Stunner! Ronda Rousey loses!: Holly Holm stunned the MMA world in UFC 193 in Australia Sunday, beating formerly unbeaten champion Ronda Rousey with a kick to the head and a second-round stoppage. This may be good for UFC, not bad. Rousey needed competition, a rival who could beat her.

5. NASCAR: Up next, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts season finale: NASCAR’s race Sunday in Phoenix determined that Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex will join retiring star Jeff Gordon in the final four competing for the season championship next Sunday in Homestead. Gordon winning would be a storybook ending. Am picturing Cinderella in a flame-retardant racing suit and earplugs.

6. PANTHERS: Cats see an upturn as homestand begins: Saturday's 5-4 shootout win at Tampa Bay made it two wins in past three games for Panthers, who now begin a five-game homestand Monday night vs. the same Lightning. 

7. UM BASKETBALL: Canes face first real challenge in Puerto Rico: Jim Larrañaga’s team gets its first real test of the young season in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament starting this Thursday vs. Mississippi State. If they win the tournament, Canes could get where many think they belong: in the Top 25.

8. GATORS: Florida keeps hope for miracle finish alive: Saturday's 24-14 win over South Carolina put 10th-ranked Gators at 9-1 and still dreaming that, if they win out, they might somehow still rise into the College Football Playoff's top four. A one-loss SEC champ would be hard to keep out.

9. FIU: Panthers bowl hopes now faint after clobbering: A 52-0 loss to Marshall on Saturday left FIU 5-6 and needing a win its its last game to become bowl-eligible. That game is vs.8-2 Western Kentucky. Good luck with that.

10. MISSOURI: Mizzou at the intersection of sports and social issues: A threatened boycott of football games by Missouri players forced the resignation of the university president over charges he turned a blind eye to a culture of racism on campus. Power to the people!

Missing the cut: David Beckham spends the day with Hurricanes women's soccer team. Hey, as long as he didn't spend the night, too, then it's OK ... Marlins president David Samson and agent Scott Boras feuding! ... MLS playoffs down to final four ... Steph Curry and 11-0 Golden State on a planet all their own right now ... Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team beats local NFL Alumni team 63-28 at Flanagan High ... Draft Kings, FanDuel continue to lose in court. If you want to make those apparently easy millions, better do it quick. ... U.S. men's soccer trains at Barry U for World Cup qualifying. The pressure is on, Jurgen Klinsmann! ... Dez Bryant screams at a reporter. Everybody hates us!

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

November 13, 2015

PARIS; plus NFL/Dolphins Week 10 picks, college basketball 1 through 351, Canes' fake interest in Butch Davis, kiss Jose Fernandez goodbye, Heat yays/nays, UM hoops, Lobos T-shirt update & more

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

Friday131) It is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13. Happy Friday the 13th, all! Aside to paraskevidekatriaphobes: Stay inside today. Your seemingly irrational fears are not unfounded. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Missouri Tigers' biggest win, new 'Back In My Day,' Dolphins all-50'ers, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos results, SOPY standings & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

GOOD MUST PREVAIL. GOOD HAS NO CHOICE: Thoughts with Paris and its wonderful people today after last night's terrorist attacks by cowards that killed more than 100 innocents. We spent eight days there this summer. What a wonderful, enchanting city and hospitable people. 

Paris

 

 

UPSET BIRD DAY: DOLPHINS/NFL WEEK 10: We went a cringe-worthy 7-6 straight-up last week, and an 1aacote2OK 7-6 against the spread, too. Our Week 10 started with a stumble as the Jets blew that late go-ahead shot and lost to the Bills. Click on Week 10 Gems for all of our latest picks and full prediction capsules. Highlights: Fins fall in Philly, Pats stay unbeaten, and Titans stun Panthers in Upset of the Week. ("Aawwk!"). Also, click on King Sports Middies for my latest weekly Friday Page NFL notes column, leading with our midseason awards (including Dolphins MVP), plus a shot at Greg Hardy.

RANKING ALL 351 NCAA DIVISION 1 MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAMS: ESPN does it today, from No. 1 Kansas to No. 351 Mississippi Valley State. How the state of Florida's seven big schools are ranked: 34--Florida State Seminoles; 40--Florida Gators; 47--Miami Hurricanes; 171--UCF Knights; 179--South Florida Bulls; 266--FIU Panthers; and 291--FAU Owls.

ON JOSE FERNANDEZ, BUTCH DAVIS, HEAT YAYS/NAYS, CANES HOOPS, NHL'S MATH AND STARBUCK'S CUPS: A six-pack of quick thoughts...

JoseBoras vs. Samson and Jose's future: Scott Boras, outspoken, hardball agent, vs. David Samson, outspoken, thin-skinned Marlins president, is a feud made in media heaven. Boras has been lippy this week about two of his Marlins clients, mentioning the possibility of an innings limit for Jose Fernandez and criticizing the club's treatment and motives with Marcell Ozuna. Samson in turn essentially told Boras to buy his own team or shut up. Bottom line: Kiss Fernandez goodbye after the 2018 season. I see no way he re-ups long-term with Miami because Boras likes his guys to test free agency (where the money likely will be bigger) and Samson and the Marlins don't believe in long-term deals for pitchers.

ButchPlace bets on Butch Davis at your own risk: Anonymous UM sources feeding the media about how Butch Davis has not been ruled as as the next Hurricanes football coach -- be careful what you believe. Those sources obviously want to appease Miami fans by suggesting no rock will be unturned in the search for the best man. And, since Davis is a fan favorite, it is in UM's clear interest to appear to seriously consider him. The reality: I'm told Davis is a longshot.

DragicThe Heat thus far: Miami at 6-3 looks just like what we figured they'd be this season: a playoff team, but one that could be anywhere from midpack in the East top eight to as high as second. Encouraging thus far: Chris Bosh has been great, especially on the boards, and Hassan Whiteside continues to progress in a big way. Discouraging: It isn't the tax-break trade of Mario Chalmers. It isn't even the weird episode with Gerald Green. It's that Goran Dragic (pictured) seems uncomfortable right now. Granted we're just 10 percent into the season, but Erik Spoelstra needs to make Dragic fit.

Canes basketball, rising: UM men's basketball tips off its regular season tonight (Friday) at home vs. Texas-Rio Grande Valley and, after making it to NIT Final last season, much is expected. This should be a Top 25 team that can do something in the NCAA Tournament. Also, for the first time in a long time, home games could be a tough ticket. And I don't just mean when Duke comes to town.

Me vs. NHL standings: A Panthers PR person emailed to correct me because I'd listed the team's record as 5-9 instead of the official 5-6-3 -- meaning three of those nine losses were in overtime and thus brought one standings point. Sorry, Cats, but I'm a bottom-line guy on records. If you have played 14 games, won five and the other team won the rest, you're 5-9. (Update: Team is now 6-10, or, if you insist, 6-7-3).

Maddening Starbuck's: Gawd, this story is so Starbuck's. The chain removes the snowflakes and other Christmas-y designs from its red holiday cups so as not to offend non-Christians. The political correctness that steers that company is comical. But now there's an Internet-driven thing happening which I love: When the Starbuck's barista asks your name to write on the cup, say, "Merry Christmas." Touche!

LobosTHE GREG'S LOBOS T-SHIRTS HAVE ARRIVED!: This won't make much sense except to hopefully the majority of our readers who follow me not only in the Herald and online but also on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on national ESPN radio, where I'm in-studio every Tuesday as a co-host. We have fun on the show making a big deal of my fantasy football team, Greg's Lobos, which in turn has spawned something of a national following for the team. Well, the show will soon be giving away Lobos T-shirts to select listeners. I don't have details yet how that giveaway will work, but you'll know when I do. I'm sure it'll be discussed on-air this coming Tuesday. The shirt design is shown. Why I am pictured in my underwear I have no Earthly idea. It's ludicrous. Mainly because I'm a boxers guy, not briefs.

 

Revisit our blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

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