November 17, 2017

My new column on Canes QB Malik Rosier and his father; plus Ferdie Pacheco R.I.P., Stanton's MVP win (and a guess where he'll end up), NFL Week 11 picks & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17. Know any diehard Dolfans? Just in time for the holidays, surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, latest SOPY standings, new Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Malik Rosier: A family crisis and a father's love: In my new column I write about all that quarterback Malik Rosier is dealing with off the field as he leads the unbeaten Canes on it. Click on A QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love to read.

FerdieFERDIE PACHECO, THE FIGHT DOCTOR, 1927-2017: Ferdie Pacheco, "The Fight Doctor," passed away in his sleep Thursday at 89 in his Miami home. He would have turned 90 in three weeks. I knew Ferdie well and admired him much. He was a Renaissance man of many passions, including medicine, writing, painting and kindness. He was a boxing legend for his work as ring doctor with Cassius Clay-turned-Muhammad Ali in the 5th Street Gym heydays, and as a boxing analyst. Ferdie and I stood with each other and watched the day a wrecking ball turned that famed, gloriously dilapidated gym to rubble. What a fascinating life well led. R.I.P., good sir.

StantonSTANTON MVP MUCH DESERVED: Congrats to the Marlins' (for now) Giancarlo Stanton for last night being named NL MVP for his 59-homer season. He joins only Dan Marino (1984) and LeBron James (2012 and '13) as Miami-team athletes to have won their league's highest individual honor. I wonder if this will merit a personal congratulatory call from new Fish CEO Derek Jeter, or if Jeter will delegate a minion to pass along his good wishes? It seems a given Stanton and his enormous contract will be traded in the next few weeks. I hope it is not. Stanton genuinely loves living in Miami; just bought a new penthouse here. Hopefully the new ownership resolve to build around Stanton and grow their farm system other ways, such as other deals and smart drafting.

Speculation on Stanton's landing spot: CBS Sports here lists all 30 teams from most to least likely to end up with Stanton. Marlins keeping him ranks a fairly encouraging No. 6, after the leading Red Sox, Cardinals Dodgers, Yankees and Giants.  

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 11 PICKS: DOLPHINS SHED AWFUL, GET BACK TO AVERAGE, BEAT BUCS: Miami's defense has been terrible in three straight losses but I see a big bounceback at home Sunday. Click on Week 11 Gems for my picks on Dolphins-Buccaneers, Game of the Week (Eagles-Cowboys), Upset of the Week (Rams-Vikings: "Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our week got off to a perfect start last night. We said Steelers would cover a 7-point line over Titans, and Pittsburgh won, 40-17.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 16, 2017

Dolphins' Cutler makes big leap in latest Herald NFL QB rankings; plus Canes No. 3 in CFP, Pix 'n Fantasy results, updated SOPY standings, new 'Back In My Day' video & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16. Dolphins approval rating sinks to new season low in latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter. See previous blogpost for details. 2) Know any people who are (still) serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins collapse in Carolina with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Tonight's Steelers-Titans pick: Two division leaders on four-game win streaks. Wow. A Thursday night football game worth watching! Click Thursday Gem for our predix capsule.

No. 3 in CFP a great spot for Hurricanes: Miami being raked behind Clemson is a huge benefit to the Canes. Click CFP Does Canes A Favor to read my latest column. And click The Mark 'n Manny Show for my previous column on Canes.

BRADY RETAKES LEAD, CUTLER MOVES UP / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 10: Patriot Tom Brady takes advantage of Alex Smith's Chiefs bye week to regain Jcthe season lead after Week 10 of the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. The Rams' Jared Goff wins the week with a 44.75-point game, edging Brady. Meanwhile Miami's Jay Cutler (pictured) moves up five big spots to No. 21 overall, putting him in position to crack the Top 20 chart this week. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week (such as Smith in Week 10) take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / Top 20 plus Dolphins

RK LW Player, Team               Wk10   Season

1     2  Tom Brady, NE              43.30   345.35

2     1  Alex Smith, KC              BYE     318.20

3     3  Drew Brees, NO            25.20   312.90

4     7  Russell Wilson, SEA       34.90   281.15

5     5  Kirk Cousins, WAS         23.35   273.70

6     6  Josh McCown, NYJ        20.10   270.10

7     4  Carson Wentz, PHI        BYE     268.10

8     8  Matthew Stafford, DET 31.45   267.05

9     9  Matt Ryan, ATL             33.75   257.60

10  12 Jared Goff, LAR            44.75   254.50

11  10 Dak Prescott, DAL         18.80   237.70

12  16 Cam Newton, CAR         36.70   233.60

13  17 Eli Manning, NYG           38.65  230.65

14  15 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  26.80  223.90

15  19t Case Keenum, MIN        39.20  220.70

16  11 Derek Carr, OAK             BYE    217.70

17  14 Philip Rivers, LAC          19.75  217.15

18  13 Tyrod Taylor, BUF           -0.20  202.20

19  19t Jacoby Brissett, IND     18.10  199.60

20  25 Andy Dalton, CIN           24.25  195.20

21  26 Jay Cutler, MIA              20.65  189.95

40  39 Matt Moore, MIA            DNP     29.20

Bubble: Cutler, MIA, 189.95. Week 10 Best: Goff, LAR, 44.75 (25-37, 355, 3-0 in win). Week 10 Worst: Taylor, BUF, minus-0.20 (9-18, 56, 0-1 in loss).

FripixNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 10 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 10Herald picks: Mixed results again. Went a very solid 11-3 straight-up but a terrible 5-9 against despite an Upset of the Week bull's-eye ("Aawwk!") on Bucs over Jets. Also had Packers-with-points over Bears. Got a bit unlucky in missing two games by a half-point each. Greg's Lobos: Loss. Lobos fell to 6-4 (still tied for third in a 14-team league) with a tough 102.1-99.5 loss to Domonique Foxworth. Had nobody better than Todd Gurley's 19.6 points. Still had a shot with two in play Monday night, but Jarvis Landry and Graham Gano fell just short for me. #GurleyMen #GoLobosGo

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 11: CANES' HOMER CLIMBS CHART: Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier maintains third place but loses ground to the leaders Sopywhile UM running back Travis Homer rises two spots to No. 6 in the race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award. QBs Quinton Flowers of South Florida and McKenzie Milton of UCF are in a virtual dead heat for the No. 1 spot. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams have played the same number of games at the same time. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 12:

RK LW Player, School-Pos.                          Average  Total points (Games)

1    1  Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb                 208.06    1,872.5 / 9

2    2  McKenzie Milton-UCF qb                   207.33    1,866 / 9

3    3  Malik Rosier-Miami qb                       188.94    1,700.5 / 9

4    4  Devin Singletary-FAU rb                    167.10     1,671 / 10

5    5  Alex McGough-FIU qb                        136.83    1,231.5 / 9

6    8  Travis Homer-Miami rb                      113.00    1,017 / 9

7    6  Cam Akers-FSU rb                             107.83       970.5 / 9

8    7  Thomas Owens-FIU rec                      105.06      945.5 / 9

9    9  Marquez Valdes-Scantling-SoFla rec     96.11      865 / 9

10  -- Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec                       94.44      850 / 9

Bubble: Darius Tice-SoFla rb, 94.11. Other team leader: Feleipe Franks-Florida qb, 68.33. Week 11 best: Milton-UCF qb, 225.5 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 341.5 points (W10).

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

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': UNNECESSARY AUTOMATION!: On self-parking cars, automatic doors and moving walkways. Not my best BIMD, but they can't all be, right?

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 15, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.5%. Season-low approval rating for Fins; plus Miami clobbered in Carolina 45-21 in defensive collapse; also, Canes column, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes crush Notre Dame 41-8 with CSM postgame poll, other state Collball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

New Hurricanes column: As 9-0 Canes await arrival tonight into the College Football Playoff ranking's top four, we write about the real reason for this season. Click The Mark 'n Manny Show. Also, click Championship In View For Soaring Canes for column from Saturday night huge win over Notre Dame. And, no surprise: Approval rating in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll hit 98.6 percent, another season high. See previous blogpost for details.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 3.5%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 3.5 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Monday night’s 45-21 Dolphins loss at the Carolina Panthers putting Miami's season record at 4-5. That is a new season low. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its 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 morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Wednesday.

 

2017 game-by-game DSM results

G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)

G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)

G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)

G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)

G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)

G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)

G7: 6.1% (following 40-0 loss at Baltimore)

G8: 13.1% (following 27-24 loss vs. Oakland)

G9: 3.5% (following 45-21 loss at Carolina)

Next poll: Nov. 19 (following game vs. Tampa Bay)

G9: CAROLINA 45, DOLPHINS 21: OK YOU SAW WHAT THE CANES JUST DID, FINS. WHAT YOU GOT? NUTHIN'!:  Our five takeaways from Monday night’s 45-21 Dolphins loss at Carolina: 1) With Miami 4-5 after a third straight loss, please do not mention the phrase “playoff contention” again until you hear otherwise. You cannot rely on either offense or defense As ESPN’s Jon Gruden put it Monday night, Miami “is perhaps the most inconsistent team I‘ve seen in a while.” 2) We knew the offense was among the NFL’s worst. But we thought the defense was OK, maybe even pretty good. Until now. Carolina totaled 548 yards of offense, including 294 rushing (and 8.2 per carry). Embarrassing. 3) Not Yet Ready For Prime-Time Players. Dolphins just became the first team ever to play three consecutive prime-time games and lose them all. 4) Miami remains the only team in the league to not score a rushing touchdown this season. Larry Csonka and Ricky Williams are spinning in their graves, and they aren’t dead yet. 5) Game-turning play: Fins were headed into halftime down only 10-7, then Jay Cutler through a bonehead interception from his own end that set up Carolina for a 17-7 lead. It was over from there ..... In- game: MIA 21-45 (4Q): Landry 9-yard pass from Cutler ..... CAR 45-14 (3Q): Funchess 32-yard pass from Newton ..... CAR 38-14 (3Q): McCaffrey 2-yard pass from Newton ..... MIA 14-31 (3Q): Drake 66-yard run ..... CAR 31-7 (3Q): Artis-Payne 12-yard run ..... CAR 24-7 (3Q): Funchess 28-yard pass from Newton ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami down in total yards 220-118 but a fairly even half except for the late, dumb Jay Cutler interception that gifted Carolina an easy TD ..... CAR 17-7 (2Q): Dickson 7-yard pass from Newton ..... MIA 7-10 (2Q): Thomas 2-yard pass from Cutler ..... CAR 10-0 (2Q): McCaffrey 4-yard run ..... CAR 3-0 (1Q): Gano 40-yard FG ..... Live blog tonight will mean as-they-happen score updates, halftime and postgame thoughts, then the DSM postgame poll ..... Original post: The Dolphins have lost two in a row, and there are no pity-points for improved effort or barely losing to Oakland 27-24 last week as what had been a comatose Miami offense finally showed a pulse. Fins still must prove they 

Miacar1can play a complete, complementary game with all cylinders pumping, and if they don't do it Monday night in Charlotte that would make it 0-for-3 in consecutive prime-time showcases. I give Miami a big chance here -- certainly against the spread, getting 10 points. Dolphins may be a shaky .500 at 4-4, but the Panthers' 6-3 mark Miacar2wobbles a bit, too. Cam Newton's passer rating actually is a fair bit worse than Jay Cutler's (78.4 to 87.4), thanks to Cam's 11 interceptions, tied for most in the league. The Cats are minus-8 overall on turnovers, fourth-worst in the NFL. Miami also has the benefit of safety T.J. McDonald's debut after serving an eight-game league suspension for substance abuse. Carolina's defense, though, is really stout -- much better than what Cutler picked apart last week vs. Oakland. And it doesn't help that Fins right tackle Ja'Wuan James is now on injured reserve. Also the Monday night stage, though diminished, still tends to magnify a home-field advantage. The good news? I'd bet on a close game, Miami-plus-points, and an outright upset would not shock. The bad news? I need to see a solid, four-quarter performance by the offense and defense in synch before the Dolphins earn my trust to conjure another major road upset like what they pulled off in Atlanta. My pick: Carolina, 24-17.

 

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM crushes Notre Dame, stakes championship intentions: Canes crushed Fighting Irish 41-8 Saturday, clinched a spot in ACC title game and made case to leap from No. 7 into College Football Playoff top four. For me, other than the five national-championship wins, the last in 2001 -- maybe the greatest night in UM football history. #TurnoverChain

2. DOLPHINS: Miami crushed at Carolina on Monday Night Football: Fins had lost two games in a row on Thursday night (at Baltimore) and Sunday night (vs. Oakland) and now gave Monday a shot in last chance to avoid being first team ever to lose three consecutive prime-time games. Didn't work.

3. NASCAR: Six days 'til Championship Sunday at Homestead: Sunday's penultimate race in Phoenix finalized the Championship Four for this Sunday's run at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It'll be Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex and Brad Keselowski racing for season crown. As many eyes, though, will be on Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his last race before retiring.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: CFP committee ready to shuffle top four: With No. 1 Georgia, 3-Notre Dame and 6-TCU all losing Saturday, Miami should leap 7-to-4 -- at least -- in Tuesday's new College Football Playoff ranking. New No. 1 figures to be Alabama ... unless Miami Hurricanes fans commandeer the votes. Would not shock to see Canes second behind only 'Bama.

5. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women both open season 2-0: No. 13 UM men routed Gardner-Webb 77-45 in Friday's season opener behind Bruce Brown's triple-double while Canes women beat FIU 77-69 led by Mykea Gray's 27 points, then both won again Sunday. Men's team plays under cloud of that FBI investigation into college recruiting, but winning is a diversion, at least.

6. MARLINS: Stanton trade speculation gains traction: Fish confirmed Don Mattingly would return as manager but remain noncommittal on slugger Giancarlo Stanton as assumption grows that they'll trade him, with Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants and Phillies out front among reported suitors. Dear Marlins: Small request. Get (a lot) more for Stanton than you got for Miguel Cabrera.

7. HEAT: Must we get used to being average?: Miami is 6-7 after Sunday's loss in Detroit, after finishing right at .500 last season. Long season, folks. And it's looking like another thrilling fight for that seventh or eighth seed. Pardon the attitude. The Big 3 years spoiled me.  

8. PANTHERS: Florida sinks to bottom of East: Cats are 5-11 after loss in New Jersey and in last place in the NHL's Eastern Conference. Either the club will show patience seldom associated with the Panthers, or rookie coach Bob Boughner may be on the edge of trouble.  

9. FIU: Panthers fall at home: FIU was an upset loser to Old Dominion 37-30 Saturday but still is an impressive 6-3 under first-year coach Butch Davis, though overshadowed by UM's unbeatenness. I mean, what were the odds FIU would today have as many wins as the Seminoles and Gators combined?

10. BASEBALL: Japanese phenom headed to America: Touted Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani will be in Major League Baseball starting in 2018. hailed as perhaps the greatest two-way player since Babe Ruth. Hey, no pressure or anything, Shohei!

Missing the HB10 cut: Free man O.J. Simpson has been banned from the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino in Vegas over alleged drunken, belligerent behavior. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Lonzo Ball's younger brother was among UCLA players arrested for shoplifting in China. Does the Bruins defense get statistical credit for those steals? ..... Bulletin: Ezekiel Elliott's suspension is back on, pending another 47 appeals ..... On behalf of Richard Sherman and his Achilles, can we finally abolish Thursday Night Football? Please? ..... R.I.P., Roy Halladay. And a slap in the face to those Boston radio idiots who made light of the private plane crash that took his life ..... What the hell did you start, Harvey Weinstein? Now Louis C.K., too? Keep it in your pants, fellas. Y'all are giving men a bad name, by which I mean even worse than usual.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 13, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 98.6%. Another season-high approval rating for unbeaten UM!; plus Hurricanes rout Notre Dame 41-8 in epic night to put national-title shot in play, our column from game

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

1) It is SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 10 picks, Herald NFL quarterback rankings, updated SOPY standings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

NEW: COLUMN FROM STADIUM ON CANES' EPIC WIN: Click Championship In View For Soaring Canes. Also: The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, America (column advancing game) and Canes-Irish: Game For The Ages (earlier column listing Top 10 UM wins since glory days, and why this tops them all).

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 98.6%: Results are certified in the latest edition of the Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 98.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday Pic98.6night’s 41-8 home victory by unbeaten No. 7 Miami over No. 3 Notre Dame putting UM's season record at 9-0. That's another season high -- and about as close to 100% as you'll ever see in an online poll. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday. Votes came directly below and also online here.

2017 CSM results

G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
G7: 64.3% following 24-19 victory at North Carolina
G8: 98.0% following 28-10 victory vs. Virginia Tech
G9: 98.6% following 41-8 victory vs. Notre Dame
Next poll: Nov. 18 following game vs. Virginia  

 

G9: NOTRE DAME @ HURRICANES: UNBEATEN UM SLAYS A GIANT, MAKES MOVE ON CFP TOP FOUR: MIA 41, ND 8 (Final). Click Championship In View For Soaring Canes for my column from the stadium .....  MIA 41-8 (4Q): Dallas 5-yard run ..... ND 34-8 (3Q): Winbush-Mack 14-yard pass ..... MIA 34-0 (3Q): Dallas 4-yard run ..... MIA 27-0 (2Q): Bandy 65-yard interception return ..... MIA 20-0 (2Q): Badgley 30-yard FG ..... MIA 17-0 (2Q): Badgley 23-yard FG ..... MIA 14-0 (1Q): Rosier 16-yard run ..... MIA 7-0 (1Q): Rosier-Berrios 7-yard pass ..... Original post: It was 1989, the season of Miami's third of five national championships, when the Hurricanes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish last played a football game in Miami. Omen? History repeating? Let's find out as 8-1, No. 3- Miandranked Notre Dame and 8-0, No. 7 UM play Saturday night at 8 at a filled-up Hard Rock Stadium before a national audience on ABC. That was after ESPN's College Gameday did its show from the Coral Gables campus earlier in the day -- yet another indication this is the Game of the Week and the Canes are top-tier-relevant again in the sport. That the TochainIrish are higher-ranked and favored (by 3 points) despite being the road team is no shock, nor is it an injustice or insult. Notre Dame has won seven straight games, all by double digits, since losing by one point to now-No. 1 Georgia. Miami by contrast had won its previous five games by a combined 18 points prior to last week's impressive 28-10 home dismantling of Virginia Tech in its first 2017 win over a ranked opponent. The onus is on the underdog Canes to prove their defense can penetrate a premier Irish Chainsrosariesoffensive line that bulldozes the way to a 325-yard rushing average per game. UM already has allowed 200-plus ground yards to three opponents this season, so that's the matchup that most makes the visitor the betting favorite. Apart from that 20-19 loss Leprechaunto Georgia, Notre Dame has averaged 44 points per game. This gives UM hope, though: ND's defense gave up 37 points to Wake Forest last week. The stakes could hardly be higher. The game's winner will be in the driver's seat to be in the College Football Playoff as one of the top four teams, while the loser will be a longshot. "It's single-elimination for both teams," as Irish coach Brian Kelly put it. I get why Notre Dame is favored, but I also think intangibles weigh heavily and favor Miami. The crowd and ambience and noise vs. Virginia Tech created a palpable, difference-making home field advantage for UM, and Saturday's crowd will be even more electric. UM expects more than 300 former players and coaches at the game, a record. It figures as one of the biggest nights in Miami sports history, any team, any time. Pictured left: Dueling magic. Lucky Turnover Chain vs. Lucky Leprechaun. My pick: Hurricanes, 30-27.

Other state FBS Week 11 games (chronologically, all Saturday):

No. 18 UCF 49, Connecticut 24: Knights, now 9-0, were favored by 40 1/2 over 3-6 UConn, so this won't impress poll voters much.

South Carolina 28, Florida 20: Gators can't climb from early 14-0 hole they dug on road, sink to 3-6 (and 0-2 under interim coach Randy Shannon).

No. 4 Clemson 31, Florida State 14: Tigers were big 16-point home favorites but only led 17-14 before two late scores verified their CFP status and clinched a spot in ACC title game as FSU tumbles to 3-6.

FAU 48, Louisiana Tech 23: Bowl-bound Owls are now 7-3 after another impressive win for Lane Kiffin's resurgent program.

Old Dominion 37, FIU 30: Butch Davis' Panthers were 9 1/2-point home favorites but forgot to bring their defense to the stadium, fall to 6-3.

No. 7 Miami 41, No. 3 Notre Dame 8: Epic. See above.

Off this week: South Florida (8-1).

National Collball Week 11 overview: Five more CFP Top 25 matchups Saturday along with Miami-Notre Dame. No. 10-Auburn stunned No. 1 Georgia 40-10, 13-Ohio State routed 12-Michigan State 48-3, 15-Oklahoma State beat 21-Iowa State 49-42, 5-Oklahoma beat 6-TCU 38-20, and 2-Alabama survived 16-Mississippi State 31-24.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 10, 2017

Ranking Top 10 Hurricanes wins since last national championship, and why beating Notre Dame would be No. 1; plus Dolphins-Panthers and other NFL Week 10 picks, Cutler wins Week 9 passing title, Owl crashes SOPY party, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall to Oakland with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

MiandMiami-Notre Dame Week: In my latest column I name the Top 10 Miami Hurricanes football wins of the post-dynasty era (since the last national title in 2001) and declare that beating the Fighting Irish here Saturday night would top them all. Click on Canes-Irish: Game For The Ages.  

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 10 PICKS: I THINK I SPRAINED AN ANKLE JUMPING OFF THE DOLPHINS BANDWAGON: After mistakenly picking the Dolphins to win the past two games, I'm done thinking they'll rise to the prime-time occasion. Click on Week 10 Gems for my picks on Dolphins-Panthers Monday nighter, Game of the Week (Saints-Bills), Upset of the Week (Jets-Buccaneers: "Aawwk!") and the rest. Our week got off to a nifty start last night. We said Seahawks would cover a 5-1/2-point line at Arizona, 24-16, and Seattle won 22-16.

SMOKIN'!: DOLPHINS' CUTLER WINS WEEK 9 PASSING TITLE / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 9: The Dolphins’ Jay Cutler scored a 50.55-point game to lead Cutlerall passers in Week 9 of the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings, while the Chiefs’ Alex Smith overtook Patriot Tom Brady for the overall season lead. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week (such as Brady in Week 9) take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

HERALD NFL WEEK QB RANKINGS / Top 20 plus Dolphins

RK  LW  Player, Team                        WK9     SEASON

1     2    Alex Smith, KC                     32.15    318.20

2     1    Tom Brady, NE                      BYE       302.05

3     3    Drew Brees, NO                    41.15    287.70

4     4    Carson Wentz, PHI                29.95    268.10

5     7    Kirk Cousins, WAS                 28.35     250.35

6     6    Josh McCown, NYJ                23.00     250.00

7     5    Russell Wilson, SEA               17.85     246.25

8   11    Matthew Stafford, DET          48.05     235.60

9   10    Matt Ryan, ATL                     28.65     223.85

10  12   Dak Prescott, DAL                 32.45     218.90

11  13   Derek Carr, OAK                    32.00     217.70

12  21   Jared Goff, LAR                    38.55     209.75

13  22   Tyrod Taylor, BUF                  38.25     202.40

14   8    Philip Rivers, LAC                  BYE       197.40

15   9    Ben Roethlisberger, PIT          BYE       197.10

16 14    Cam Newton, CAR                 13.85     196.90

17 19    Eli Manning, NYG                   18.00     192.00

18 15    Aaron Rodgers, GB                 DNP       182.25

19t 25   Jacoby Brissett, IND              36.40      181.50

19t 16   Case Keenum, MIN                 BYE        181.50

26  29   Jay Cutler, MIA                      50.55      169.30

39  37   Matt Moore, MIA                    DNP          29.20

Bubble: tie, Carson Palmer ARI and Deshaun Watson HOU, both 180.95. Week 9 Best: Cutler MIA 50.55 (34-42, 311, 3-0 in loss). Week 9 Worst: Jameis Winston TB 4.35 (7-13, 67, 0-0 in loss).

FripixNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 9 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 9Herald picks: Mixed results. Went an awful 6-7 straight-up as my struggles there continued, but fashioned a solid 7-5-1 against the spread  including two exact-score bull's-eyes in Titans winning 23-20 and Panthers 20-17. Greg's Lobos: Win! Lobos rose to 6-3 with a 120.3-78.3 rout of Billy, fueled by 25.6 points from Matt Forte and 24.4 from Todd Gurley. #ReturnOfTheGurleyMen #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 10: AN OWL CRASHES THE PARTY, ENTERS 'STATE HEISMAN' RACE: It's been a three-man race all season for the Herald's 2017 State SopyOffensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Well, make it four now. Add Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary to the quarterback troika of South Florida's Quinton Flowers, UCF's McKenzie Milton and Miami's Malik Rosier. All had huge Week 10 performances, with Flowers overtaking the No. 1 spot with a season-high 341.5-point game, Singletary scoring 287, Milton 262 and Rosier 215.5. Also in the 200 club: Florida State RB Cam Akers with 229. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams have played the same number of games at the same time. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 11:

RK   LW Player, School-Pos.                            Average / Total (Games)

1      3   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb                  208.06 1,872.5 / 9

2      1   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb                    205.06 1,640.5 / 8

3      2   Malik Rosier-Miami qb                       197.00 1,576 / 8

4      4   Devin Singletary-FAU rb                     173.11 1,558 / 9

5      5   Alex McGough-FIU qb                        132.00 1,056 / 8

6      9   Cam Akers-FSU rb                             113.94 911.5 / 8

7      6   Thomas Owens-FIU rec                      107.31 858.5 / 8

8      7   Travis Homer-Miami rb                      105.88 847 / 8

9     --    Marquez Valdes-Scantling-SoFla rec     96.11 865 / 9

10   --    Adrian Killins, UCF rb                          95.63 765 / 8

Bubble: Darius Tice-SoFla rb, 94.11. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 74.50. Week 10 best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 341.5. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 341.5 points (W10).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 06, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 98.0%. Another season high approval rating follows UM's 28-10 whipping of Va-Tech to go 8-0; also, NFL Week 9 picks, FIU wins again, hoot-hoot for the Owls, your clear verdict on Ajayi trade & more

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

NOTE: DUE TO A COMPUTER GLITCH OUR BLOGPOST INCLUDING DOLPHINS-RAIDERS LIVE BLOG AND HOT BUTTON TOP 10 WAS DELETED. APOLOGIES...

1) It is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4. Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite last Thursday? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ajayi trade with poll, Ross wins big with 2021 CFP title game, Herald NFL QB rankings, updated SOPY standings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, newest BIMD video (Halloween!) & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My Canes-Virginia Tech game column: Click Everything Is In Play Now for my column from the stadium.

Troika! Our 3 most recent columns: Miami Wins Again: Hard Rock Stadium awarded 2020-season college football national championship game. How to Make a Bad Offense Worse: Dolphins trade Jay Ajayi. Appreciate Perfection -- Period: Quit finding fault with Canes at 7-0.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 98.0%: Results are certified in the latest edition of the Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 98.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 28-10 home victory by No. 10 Miami over No. 13 Virginia Tech putting UM's season record at 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the ACC. That's a season high and as much consensus as you'll ever see in an online poll. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
G7: 64.3% following 24-19 victory at North Carolina
G8: 98.0% following 28-10 victory vs. Virginia Tech
Next poll: Nov. 11 following game vs. Notre Dame. 

G8: NO. 13 VIRGINIA TECH @ NO. 10 HURRICANES: IT'S BIGGEST GAME OF RICHT ERA (UNTIL NEXT WEEK...): Final: Huge win for Canes. Click Everything Is In Play Now for my column from game. 4Q: UM interception is fourth takeaway of game by Cabnes' defense ..... Turnover Chain! Again. UM recovers another fumble. Hokies killing themselves ..... Miami now in complete control at 28-10 on 13-yard scoring run by Rosier ..... 3Q: Interception (and Turnover chain) by UM's Johnson late in quarter. Every time Va Tech threatens to get back in game, Canes' defense steps up ..... Miami back in charge, 21-10, on Rosier 43-yard catch and run by Herndon. Much needed ..... UM is so fortunate that only one of Rosier's three INTs have proved costly ..... Rosier suffers third interception. QB is giving away this game! ..... Va Tech within 14-10 on 1-yard Jackson TD run, a direct result of Rosier INT ..... Rosier suffers second interception of game ..... Halftime thoughts: At 14-3, the half was all Miami, bearing in mind the Canes squandered an early 1st-and-goal opportunity with no points. Miami led in total yards, 260-149. And yet Canes have not pulled away. Hokies are one score from making it anxious game for The U ...... 2Q: McIntosh recovers VT fumble. Turnover chain! ..... Rosier intercepted ...... Va Tech within 14-3 on 50-yard FG ..... Miami 14-0 on Homer 64-yard TD run ..... Miami 7-0 on Rosier-Berrios 8-yard scoring pass finishing 87-yard, 9-play drive. All Canes thus far ..... 1Q: Oh My. Rosier 36-yard run to VT 2, but Miami fails to score, stuiffed on 4th-down gamble by Homer. Should UM have kicked short FG? Probably. But early enough in game to like the bravado ...... Pregame: Losses today by No. 6 Ohio State and 7-Penn State really enhance UM's bid to move up closer to coveted CFP top four -- if UM can win ..... Original post: All rankings you see here beginning this week are those of the College Football Playoff, whose ultimate top-four is all that matters now for big-dreaming teams -- and this game features two of those. It 

Vtmiasays much about skepticism surrounding Miami that the Hurricanes have a better record than Virginia Tech, are higher-ranked and are home, yet were 2 1/2-point underdogs to the Hokies before a late wave of bets made Miami the favorite by one point, still less than the typical home-field edge. Teams prone to having sharp antenna for disrespect might be a little insulted by that. That is why this 8 p.m. prime-time game on ABC is such a wonderful stage for UM to declare itself for real ... that, or to prove the skeptics right. Miami is 7-0 and Va-Tech 7-1 and it's a huge game not only in the national CFP context but also in the ACC. A Miami win would all but assure the Canes a spot in the conference championship game. There are reasons the Canes are not clear favorites, of course, even at home. UM has won its past four games by combined 18 points after last week's 24-19 escape in Chapel Hill against a North Carolina team that Virginia Tech had recently manhandled 59-7. The Hokies also have been a bit of a nemesis for The U, with Canes only 5-8 against this opponent since both schools moved from the Big East to the ACC in 2004. Miami hosts No. 3-ranked Notre Dame next week but better have blinders on because Va-Tech will demand all of UM's attention and best effort and then some. This may be UM's biggest game of the season because of the ACC importance, and also because a win here could put Canes in position to vault into the CFP's coveted top four by also then beating the Fighting Irish. OK. Deep breath. One game at a time, please. Virginia Tech first. My pick: Hurricanes, 28-24.

Other state FBS Week 10 games (chronologically, all Saturday unless noted):

FAU 30, Marshall 25: Big home win Friday night for Owls, now 6-3 and bowling. Devin Singletary's 203 yards rushing fueled it as FAU closes in on shot at Conference USA title in Lane Kiffin's first season.

Missouri 45, Florida 16: Ugh. Gators now 3-5 and the misery continues as Randy Shannon makes an unsuccessful interim-coach debut for sacked Jim McElwain.

Florida State 27, Syracuse 24: Noles win! Noles win! FSU now 3-5, led by Cam Akers' 199 yard rushing. Rare, sort-of bright spot in midst of Season From Hell for the Seminoles.

South Florida 37, Connecticut 20: Newly unranked Bulls are now 8-1 and likely to climb back up into polls.

FIU 14, Texas-San Antonio 7: Butch Davis' Panthers were 4 1/2-point home 'dogs, but Cats, now 6-2, have been surprising everybody all season.

No. 18 UCF 31, Southern Methodist 24: Closer than expected for the Knights, now 8-0.

National Collball Week 10 overview: A season-high seven big Top 25 Saturday matchups this week including No. 10 Miami throttling No. 13 Virginia Tech 28-10. The others: 24-Michigan State upset 7-Penn State 27-24; 4-Clemson beat 20-North Carolina State 38-31; 25-Washington State beat 21-Stanford 24-21; 5-Oklahoma beat 11-Oklahoma State 62-52; 2-Alabama beat 19-LSU 24-10; and 17-Southern Cal beat 22-Arizona 49-35.

UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 9 PICKS: I LIKE DOLPHINS OVER OAKLAND. THE WAY MY SEASON IS GOING, THAT MIGHT NOT BE GOOD NEWS: I am Fripixhaving a rough season with my NFL predictions at around midseason, maybe the single worst, in fact, in 27 years of doing it. My .555 win percentage straight-up and .420 against the spread are figures I'd normally only admit under oath. And that was before I blew last night's game, failing to call the Jets' win over Buffalo. So when I tell you the Dolphins will beat the Raiders, 24-20, Sunday night, that might mostly be seen as good news in and around Oakland. Still, we sally forth, undeterred, and hell-bent to rally from here. Click Week 9 Gems for our full predix capsules on Fins-Raiders, our Game of the Week (Chiefs-Cowboys), Upset of the Week (Rams-Giants: "Aawwk!") and all the rest. I keep saying, "It can only get better from here." We'll see...

POLL RESULT: MIXED FEELINGS, BUT STRONG MAJORITY DON'T LIKE AJAYI TRADE: We asked, "What do you think of the Dolphins trading RB Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for a 4th-round draft pick?" And 62.8 percent voted "against it." Another 26.2% voted "for it," while the remaining 11.0% were "undecided." That's a thumbs-down by better than a 2-to-1 margin among those who had a clear opinion.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 02, 2017

On Dolphins' Jay Ajayi trade: Poll. Vote now!; plus Herald NFL QB rankings, Bills-Jets pick, Stephen Ross' big win, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, new Back In My Day video, updated SOPY standings (Canes' Rosier makes his move), a message for UM fans & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2. Click Thursday Gem for my pick on tonight's Bills-Jets Thursday Night Football game. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite last Thursday? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes win at North Carolina with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 , state Collball Week 9, The List (college coach-salaries) & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Miami, Stephen Ross win big: Miami and Hard Rock Stadium are awarded the 2020-season college football national championship game and it's a huge win for the city, Stephen Ross and (maybe) the Hurricanes. Click Miami Wins Again for my latest column.

Dolphins' Jay Ajayi trade: Dumb!: Miami traded its young, really good No. 1 running back and got in exchange the NFL equivalent of a tackling sled and a box of kicking tees. Dumb. Dumb! Dumbdumbdumb. Click How to Make a Bad Offense Worse for my column.

A message for Hurricanes fans: Quit finding fault at 7-0: Desperate Gators turn to Randy Shannon. Embarrassed Seminoles are 2-5. Is this really the season you want to look at Hurricanes' 7-0 record and complain it hasn't been dominant enough? Click Appreciate Perfection -- Period.

JayaON DOLPHINS' JAY AJAYI TRADE: YAY OR NAY? VOTE NOW: I have had my say. The link to my column is just above here. I think the Dolphins trading their top young running back and getting next to nothing in return made a bad offense worse, erased somebody the team should have made a part of its future, and was just plain dumb. No spinning it. No yeah-buts. No equivocation. DUMB! But that's just me. Now have your say:

BRADY OVERTAKES SMITH FOR SEASON LEAD / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 8Miami’s favorite quarterback -- not -- has
Tbradyovertaken first place after Week 8 in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback season rankings. That would be the Patriots’ Tom Brady (pictured) surpassing the Chiefs’ Alex Smith, who has led all but one week this season. Seattle’s Russell Wilson climbs to fifth place overall on the strength of a 47.60-point week that gave Wilson his second straight weekly title. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

RK LW Player, Team                  Wk8       Season

1     2 Tom Brady, NE                  41.65     302.05

2     1 Alex Smith, KC                 15.10     286.05

3     4 Drew Brees, NO               37.95      246.55

4     3 Carson Wentz, PHI           22.55      238.15

5   10 Russell Wilson, SEA           47.60     228.40

6     6 Josh McCown, NYJ           37.85      227.00

7     5 Kirk Cousins, WAS             26.15     222.00

8     7 Philip Rivers, LAC             14.60     197.40

9   12 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT     23.85     197.10

10 16 Matt Ryan, ATL                 30.70     195.20

11 19 Matthew Stafford, DET     30.15      187.55

12 14 Dak Prescott, DAL             18.15     186.45

13 18 Derek Carr, OAK               25.65      185.70

14 15 Cam Newton, CAR            16.70      183.05

15  8 Aaron Rodgers, GB             BYE       182.25

16 21 Case Keenum, MIN            33.40     181.50

17t 20 Deshaun Watson, HOU     31.10     180.95

17t  9 Carson Palmer, ARI           BYE       180.95

19 11 Eli Manning, NYG              BYE       174.00

20 17 Jameis Winston, TB          8.50       172.65

29 29 Jay Cutler, MIA                 DNP       118.75

37 38 Matt Moore, MIA              8.80         29.20

Bubble: Jared Goff, LAR, 171.20. Week 8 best: Wilson, SEA, 47.60 (26-41, 452, 4-1 in win). Week 8 worst: Mitch Trubisky, CHI, 1.20 (14-32, 164, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 8 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my FripixMiami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 8Herald picks: Disappointing. Went an OK 9-4 straight-up and a poor 5-8 against the spread. That included a huge misfire in believing Dolphins would win at Baltimore. Greg's Lobos: Lobos sank to 5-3 (still tied for second in the league) with a 83.3 to 66.6 loss to Roy. Is it even possible to score fewer points? We got bitten by the bye bug bad. Still, no excuses. Never a good sign when your leading score is tight end Kyle Rudolph with 14.7 points. #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 9: MIAMI'S ROSIER JUMPS TO 2ND IN 'STATE HEISMAN' RACE: Malik Rosiers' 216-point game at North Carolina (second-best among state FBS schools this past weekend) lifted him one spot to second place, now narrowly trailing only UCF's McKenzie SopyMilton, in the race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Devin Singletary's 279-point game for FAU, a statewide season high, solidified his hold on fourth place. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams have played the same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 10:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total (Games)

1     1   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               196.93         1,378.5 (7)

2     3   Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  194.36          1,360.5 (7)

3     2   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             191.38         1,531 (8)

4     4   Devin Singletary, FAU-rb               158.88         1,271 (8)

5     5   Alex McGough-FIU qb                   132.93            930.5 (7)

6     6   Thomas Owens-FIU rec                 111.64           781.5 (7)

7     7   Travis Homer-Miami rb                 103.71           726 (7)

8     9    Darius Tice-SoFla rb                      98.13           785 (8)

9     8   Cam Akers-FSU rb                          97.50           682.5 (7)

10  --   D'Ernest Johnson-SoFla rb               90.13           721 (8)

Bubble: Marquez Valdes-Scantling-SoFla rec, 88.38. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 85.14. Week 9 best: Singletary-FAU rb, 279 points. Season best: Singletary-FAU rb, 279 points (W9).

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

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': HALLOWEEN!: In our latest LeBatard Show BIMD rant I lay out my rules for Halloween. How many did you observe followed or broken on your street last night?

Select other recent columns: Along For the Ride On the Road to 'Back' (UM at7-0). Dolphins Debacle (quick hits 40-0 loss in Baltimore). Time Is Right For Dolphins To Prove Doubters Wrong (on three straight prime-time games). The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Also: Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying SeasonIt Isn't Just CutlerBack On Track & Ready To Roar. Jeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 30, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 64.3%. CSM approval shows sizable dip after escape from Chapel Hill; plus our Sunday Canes column, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), UM survives North Carolina to stay unbeaten, other state Collball Week 9 & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 30. Thanks to Paul Castronovo for having us on his Big 105.9 radio show this morning. Always enjoy it. 2) See previous blogpost for our latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter rating. Warning. It ain't pretty. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite Thursday night? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins embarrassed in Baltimore with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 picks, The List (Fins on Thursdays), ode to Fats Domino & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Canes our great hope at 7-0: Click Along For the Ride On the Road to 'Back' for our latest Sunday column. And by the way, if you aren't satisfied with 7-0, you may be trying a bit to hard not to be. Just sayin'.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: No. 8 Miami clicks Heels, moves to 7-0: UM on Saturday won 24-19 at North Carolina in what also was a (nervous) victory over the losing focus and looking ahead, with home games next vs. ranked Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. Must have been those equine blinders Mark Richt had fitted onto UM helmets Saturday. Oh, and by the way: Read somebody said UM's 7-0 feels like a "fraud." People, if you can't be happy with 7-0, perhaps you are trying a bit too hard not to be. 

2. DOLPHINS: Embarrassed Fins fall hard off national stage: Dolphins' game in Baltimore Thursday was first of three straight in prime time, a franchise first, the 40-0 humiliation an embarrassing pratfall off that national stage. As for Matt Moore's performance? Let's just say Jay Cutler has never, ever looked better.

3. HEAT: Early injuries hampering team out the gate: Miami's 2-3 start after Saturday's home loss to Boston has been marked by early injuries to key players, notably to Hassan Whiteside. Any team's fortunes rely on the crapshoot of good health. But is it too much to ask that your team at least stay injury-free for, like, the first week!? 

4. BASEBALL: Wild World Series about to end somebody's long suffering: As the World Series moves west to L.A. with Houston up 3-2, the Dodgers are seeking their first WS championship since 1988 while the Astros are after their first ever. No matter who wins, celebrating fans may need a quick lesson in how to throw a parade.

5. UM BASKETBALL: Cloud over Larranaga as season nears: The season opener for Canes men's hoops is only 12 days away, and UM is supposed to be really good. But – with coach Jim Larranaga professing innocence but admitting he is the unnamed Miami coach in that FBI recruiting probe – a major distraction welcomes the season.

6. PANTHERS: Typical mediocre start for high-hope Cats: A new coach, Dale Tallon back in charge, new hope, but it's a 4-6 start after' Saturday's home loss to Detroit, already well off playoff pace. They're in midst of five-game homestand, needing a spark. A reason for rekindled hope.

7. NFL: Turmoil continues to rock King Sport: Texans players are planning a pregame protest today over "inmates running the prison" comment by their team owner. No-win debate over national anthem protests continues. Now 17 owners on a conference call reportedly are plotting to oust commissioner Roger Goodell. Oh, and ratings are down!

8. HALL OF FAME: Riley, LeBatard among Miami inductees: Heat boss Pat Riley and Miami-based ESPN Radio lord Dan LeBatard were among latest inductees into Miami Chamber of Commerce Hall of Champions. Imagine LeBatard make the Hall of Fame despite all those years of steroid use!

9. MARLINS: Jeter, "Mr. Marlin" officially part ways: New boss Derek Jeter and Jeff Conine could not agree on Conine's role or salary, so he's out. So the Marlins dumped Mr. Marlin. Tony Perez and Andre Dawson are out for same reasons. How Loria-esque!

10. NASCAR: One race left before Homestead finale: Next Sunday in Phoenix is the final race before NASCAR's Nov. 19 grand finale down at Homestead. No Dale Jr. in the finals, though. Cinderella failed us.

Missing the HB10 cut: Aston Martin is selling a Tom Brady-edition automobile for $360,000. It is preprogrammed to drive straight to the Super Bowl ..... The Yankees parted ways with manager Joe Girardi after 10 seasons. See. I told ya it wouldn't last! ..... Florida Gators reportedly have ousted coach Jim McElwain, with ex-Canes coach Randy Shannon taking over on interim basis. There's a naked-man-lying-on-a-shark-in-a-boat joke there somewhere ..... It was reported Alabama's Nick Saban is America's highest-paid college football coach at $11.132 million. How much the guy gotta make to smile once in awhile!? ..... Astros' Yuri Gurriel disciplined for a racist slant-eye gesture aimed at Dodgers' Yu Darvish. Ah, sportsmanship! ..... Dolphins cheerleaders held annual Swimsuit Fashion Show. Instead of a calendar, troupe produced a 100-page coffee table book. Sounds like good bathroom "reading" material for Dad!

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 64.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 64.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 24-19 victory at North Carolina putting No. 8 UM's season record at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the ACC. That's a sharp drop to a season low after a fourth straight narrow win. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.
 
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
G7: 64.3% following 24-19 victory at North Carolina
Next poll: Nov. 4 following game vs. Virginia Tech 

NO. 8 HURRICANES 24, @NORTH CAROLINA 19: FOURTH STRAIGHT TIGHT GAME, BUT UM STAY UNBEATEN: Miami has won its past four games by a combined 18 points after today's 24-19 escape at North Carolina, but, when last I checked the math, 7-0 was 7-0 ..... Original post: This high-noon ACC Coastal kickoff in Chapel Hill figures as a rout, maybe even an ugly one. Miami is 6-0, 4-0 in the ACC and beginning to think it has a shot at working up into conversation for the four-team College Football Playoff. North MiauncCarolina is 1-7, 0-5 in the conference and, thanks largely to decimating injuries, every bit as bad, all over the field, as those records suggest. In some ways it's surprising Miami is "only" a 20 1/2-point favorite. And yet the seeming lopsidedness here is about all that should worry UM coach Mark Richt. With consecutive home games vs. ranked opponents Virginia Tech and Notre Dame following this, taking the Tar Heels too casually and mentally looking past them is about the only factor that could imperil the Canes here. Richt has been very good at marshaling his team's focus, though, and he has a little help. UNC has beaten Miami two in a row, and some Canes felt "disrespected" by the Heels' celebrating last year after a 20-13 win in Miami. That suggests the Hurricanes might just be in payback mode. A comfy win would be especially welcome following the past three games won by a combined total of just 13 points. "We're not foolish enough to think that we've arrived yet," Richt said of his team. "I don't think they believe that. They know we have to earn it." My pick: Hurricanes, 45-13

Other state FBS Week 9 games (chronologically, all Saturday unless noted):

Boston College 35, Florida State 3: It's time to say it. FSU is not "off to a slow start." FSU is not "struggling." FSU is a really bad team this season, and seemingly getting worse. This Friday night road loss puts Noles at 2-5, with even a minor bowl game looking more and more doubtful.

FIU 41, Marshall 30: Butch Davis' Panthers were 17-point road underdogs but started fast and held on for a huge win for the program in improving to 5-2. Cats stay in hunt for Conference USA title, and what a coaching rebirth so far for Butch!

No. 3 Georgia 42, Florida 7: Gators had won 21 of previous 26 meetings, but that meant zero in Jacksonville at this year's "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." Bulldogs were angling to get into SEC title game and CFP playoff, were 14-point favorites and had their way to drop Florida to 3-4.

Houston 28, No. 17 South Florida 24: Upset! Oh my. Percolating Bulls were 11-point home favorites but suffered first loss, are now 7-1 and could fall from polls or close to it.

FAU 42, Western Kentucky 28: Lane Kiffin's Owls took care of business with a tidy road win to improve to 5-3 and stay in hunt for C-USA title.

No. 18 UCF 73, Austin Peay 33: Hope you had the 'over.' Knights now 7-0 after rolling over and through their Ohio Valley Conference foe. 

National Collball Week 9 overview: Four big Top 25 Saturday matchups led by the one with direct College Football Playoff ramifications or both teams: No. 6 Ohio State rallying at home to beat No. 2 Penn State, 39-38. Others: 11-Oklahoma State beat 22-West Virginia 50-39; 25-Iowa State upset 4-TCU, 14-7; and 9-Notre Dame handled 14-North Carolina State, 35-14. 

THE LIST: STATE-COLLEGE FOOTBALL SALARIES: Income this season for the state of Florida's seven FBS-level head coaches, based on USA Today's annual database:

Coach, School                                2017 income

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State             $5.700 million

Jim McElwain, Florida                    $4.457

*-Mark Richt, Miami                        $4.000

Scott Frost, UCF                            $2.000

Charlie Strong, South Florida          $1.000

Lane Kiffin, FAU                             $950,000

Butch Davis, FIU                            $900,000

*-Richt salary is based on published reports. He was not included in USA Today database because UM is a private school.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Debacle (quick hits 40-0 loss in Baltimore). Time Is Right For Dolphins To Prove Doubters Wrong (on three straight prime-time games). The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Also: Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season. It Isn't Just Cutler. Back On Track & Ready To Roar. Jeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 25, 2017

See where Dolphins' Matt Moore debuts in latest Herald NFL QB rankings; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 7 results (Lobos win again!), latest SOPY standings show Canes' Rosier in 3-way fight for 'state Heisman' & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25. Sorry again I had to miss yesterday's LeBatard Show because of illness. Hope to be back on next Tuesday. 2) See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. It's a season best. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Jets with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

SMITH MAINTAINS LEAD OVER BRADY, DOLPHINS' MOORE DEBUTS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 7: The Seahawks' Russell Wilson wins Week 7 honors with Mattmoorea 45.70-point game, edging Tampa's Jameis Winston by less than one point, in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Chiefs' Alex Smith maintains his overall season lead over Patriots' Tom Brady. Now-injured Jay Cutler holds steady in 29th place overall, while Miami starter-for-bow Matt Moore (pictured) debuts in 38th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 7

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK7       Season

1      1     Alex Smith, KC                   40.10      270.95

2      2     Tom Brady, NE                    36.45      260.40

3      4     Carson Wentz, PHI              36.40      215.60

4      6     Drew Brees, NO                  34.55      208.60

5     11    Kirk Cousins, WAS                41.15      195.85

6      7     Josh McCown, NYJ              23.45      189.15

7      9     Philip Rivers, LAC               24.15      182.80

8      3     Aaron Rodgers, GB              DNP        182.25

9      5     Carson Palmer, ARI              5.10       180.95

10   18     Russell Wilson, SEA            45.70      180.80

11    8      Eli Manning, NYG                8.70       174.00

12   15     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT      26.20      173.25

13   14     Jared Goff, LAR                 23.75      171.20

14   17     Dak Prescott, DAL              32.70      168.30

15   12     Cam Newton, CAR             12.55       166.35

16   16     Matt Ryan, ATL                  27.65       164.50

17   23     Jameis Winston, TB           45.20       164.15

18   22     Derek Carr, OAK                40.85       160.05

19   10     Matthew Stafford, DET       BYE         157.40

20   13     Deshaun Watson, HOU        BYE         149.85

29   29     Jay Cutler, MIA                 19.90        118.75

38   --      Matt Moore, MIA               20.40          20.40

Bubble: Case Keenum, MIN, 148.10. Week 7 best: Wilson, SEA, 45.70 (27-39, 334, 3-0 in win). Week 7 worst: Drew Stanton, ARI, minus-3.90 (5-14, 62, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 7 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Fripix LobosHerald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 7Herald picks: Mixed bag. Went 10-5 straight-up, not bad, but had to scramble to go 5-8-2 against the spread, not good, with two games pushing with 3-point lines. Had Browns with the points but not a lot else to brag about. Greg's Lobos: Lobos improved to 5-2, tied for second in the LeBatard Show league, with a 119.4 to 77.9 rout of Dan. Got 25.4 points from Todd Gurley -- the Gurley Men are back! -- 22.3 from Jarvis Landry, 19.1 from Drew Brees and an unexpected 17.3 from Latavius Murray on a last-minute flex play. That's coaching, baby! #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 8: 3-WAY BATTLE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN' INTENSIFIESMiami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what continues to be Jdriskela three-way race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." UM running back Travis Homer also finds himself in the state Top 10, along with a pair of FIU Panthers. FAU quarterback Jason Driskel (pictured) won Week 8 honors with a 264.5-point game, elevating his season average to 92.00 -- just outside the Top 10. Rosier (229) and Quinton Flowers (219.5) also bagged 200-plus games to solidify their spots in the chart's upper reaches. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 9:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1     1   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb                201.33         1,208 / 6

2     2   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb              192.79         1,349.5 / 7

3     3   Malik Rosier-Miami qb                   190.75         1,144.5 / 6

4     5   Devin Singletary, FAU-rb                141.71            992 / 7

5     4   Alex McGough-FIU qb                    134.50            807 / 6

6     6   Thomas Owens-FIU rec                  109.25            655.5 / 6

7     9   Travis Homer-Miami rb                   104.83            629 / 6

8     8   Cam Akers-FSU rb                          101.67            610 / 6

9    --   Darius Tice-SoFla rb                        99.00             693 / 7

10  --   Adrian Killins-UCF rb                       98.83             593 / 6

Bubble: D'Ernest Johnson-So Fla rb, 97.57. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 95.00. Week 6 best: Jason Driskel-FAU qb, 264.5 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (W3).

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

Select recent columns: The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 93.0%. Still in the stratosphere; plus No. 8 UM beats Syracuse 27-19 to stay unbeaten; also, rest of Collball Week 8 (updated), Heat win 30th home Opening Night & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21. Click Cemetery Joggers for this week's latest Back In My Day video from the radio show. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 7 picks, your Heat expectations verdict, my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix n' Fantasy results, updated SOPY standings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Heat home opener / Pat Riley column: Heat opened at home with win last night vs. Indiana after losing Game 1 in Orlando earlier in week. In exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, Heat majordomo Pat Riley reflects on 50 years in NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for season. Click The Godfather Speaks to read.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 93.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 93.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-19 victory over visiting Syracuse putting No. UM’s season record at 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday.
 
 
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following game 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
Next poll: Oct. 28 following game at North Carolina

 

G6: SYRACUSE AT NO. 8 HURRICANES: UM COULD USE A REST, BUT CAN'T SLEEP ON ORANGE: Postgame thoughts: Malik Rosier's 344 yards passing and two TDs fronted Miami's big 27-19 victory over visiting Syracuse Saturday, but the win keeping No. 8 Miami unbeaten really happened because of UM's defense against Orange passer Eric Dungey. He was a nightmarish 14 for 41 with four interceptions. That Turnover Chain was busy ..... Original postConsecutive emotional, close, last-second wins -- 24-20 at nemesis Florida State, then 25-24 vs. Georgia Tech -- threaten to have the Hurricanes mentally drained, sort of needing a soft spot on the schedule to coast Syrmiathrough on auto-pilot. This looked like that week, once. That was until Syracuse stunned No. 2 Clemson last week, an attention getter for the Canes that lent backbone to Mark Richt's rote preaching about how dangerous the next opponent is. The Orange with Syrmia65prolific QB Eric Dungey will be the biggest test of the season so far for Miami's secondary, and, as Clemson learned, Syracuse can also bring it on defense. Syracuse is 4-3 but has won two straight. No. 8 Miami is 5-0 and favored by 17, up from an opening 14. With the first College Football Playoff rankings near, this is not a game for UM to lose if this season is to continue special. With ABC cameras watching, this 3:30 Saturday game will be another great stage for UM to preen, grow its brand and continue toward "Back" -- or to slip and fall with the nation watching. Canes have won 10 in a row dating to last season; why stop now? I like Richt's perspective on being ranked so high: "First of all, you're not a Top-10 program unless at the end of the year you're a Top-10 program," he said. "We were ranked 10th last year and lost four in a row, so we became unranked. We were happy to be ranked at the end of the year [a final 20th after a bowl win]. But we're not at the point where we can just line up and impose our will on people." That makes Syracuse an opponent UM will have to work hard and play well to beat. I believe the Canes will. (Pictured left: A bit of nostalgia. Cover of a Syracuse-Miami program from game played in 1965). My pick: Hurricanes, 34-23.

Other state FBS Week 8 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

Louisville 31, Florida State 28: Nightmare season continues for preseason No. 3 Noles, now 2-4 and likely headed to a dismal bowl.

No. 20 UCF 31, Navy 21: Knights sink Navy to stay unbeaten in maybe toughest test thus far.

FAU 69, North Texas 31: Home-nesting Owls were narrow favorites but moved to 4-3 with authority. 

No. 16 South Florida 34, Tulane 28: Bulls now 7-0, but didn't think it would be easy, and it wasn't.

Off this week: FIU (4-2, next at Marshall); and Florida (3-3, next vs. No. 3 Georgia).

National Collball Week 8 overview: Two big Top 25 matchups this week as first College Football Playoff rankings loom: No. 2 Penn State handled No. 19 Michigan 42-13, No. 13 Notre Dame upended and 11-Southern Cal 49-14.

Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote