1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins whip Jacksonville, DSM poll, Heat, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
HEAT WIN OPENER BEHIND BOSH: Miami tonight beat visiting Washington 107-95, led by 26 points and 15 rebounds from Chris Bosh, 23 from Norris Cole and 21 from Dwyane Wade.
NEW HEAT FILM: WE ARE BIGGER THAN LEBRON: That's me saying that, not the Heat. But that is the only defiant message that can logically be derived from a new Miami Heat six-minute film that debuted tonight at 8 on the team's website. Click on Heat Nation to watch it. The club describes the film as one that "acknowledges and embraces the Miami Heat fan base, players and organization and recognizes them collectively as a nation ... a people united under one flag." What stands out to me: No reference whatsoever to LeBron James. You get a brief glimpse of Shaq. LeBron? Nada. The film will be featured prominently pregame Wednesday night as the Heat open the NBA season at home vs. Washington. The club calls the film the "cornerstone" of an ongoing Heat Nation "campaign." This whole Heat Nation thing bloomed in reaction to LeBron bolting after four seasons and returning to Cleveland. The franchise wishes to convey that it is bigger than any one player, even this one. It also is an invitation to fans nationwide who hopped the Miami bandwagon because of LeBron to stay loyal to the Heat. The film is a good idea by the Heat, and another facet of the very interesting relationship now between Miami and LeBron, one that weighs all he did in four years here vs. the way he left awkwardly, privately angering Pat Riley and others. How Miami feels about LeBron won't be known concretely until his first return here on Christmas Day. But you can provide a hint with this poll. We asked the same question on Aug. 13 and will be interested to compare the results 10 weeks later as emotions have settled, and hardened. Vote now and say why you feel as you do.
CFP RANKINGS DEBUT: LET THE WHINING BEGIN!: Update: Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn and Ole Miss are the inital Top Four. Big loser? Alabama. Original post: The first College Football Playoff ranking is out this evening, a Top 25 in which only numbers 1-2-3-4 really matter. In today's latest column -- click on Argument Is Good -- I write how the sport now has the best of both worlds: A playoff, but still the debate and discussion that is a lifeblood. The initial arguing should focus on who's No. 4? Most would agree that unbeatens Mississippi State and Florida and pedigreed Alabama are a consensus top three. But then? Here the first ranking gets interesting. Auburn, Notre Dame, Oregon, TCU and perhaps a few others have a claim. A penny for your thoughts, Condoleezza Rice!
2 WORDS FOR DUKE JOHNSON: HEISMAN TROPHY: That is an enticement Miami's Duke of Gables should be weighing as he considers whether to return for his senior season with the Canes. Big if, but if UM was 6-1 right now instead of 5-3, Johnson -- with the same numbers -- would be a considered a Heisman candidate. Here's why I say that: Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon right now is the top-ranked running back in the Heisman race, ranked third overall by ESPN, and he has 1,168 yards rushing (7.6 average) and 39 yards receiving for 1,207 total offensive yards. Johnson has 1,036 yards rushing (7.5 average) and 224 receiving for a total of 1,260. The supposition: This same Duke, on a better Canes team next year, is a legit Heisman contender. Though injury is alaways a risk, I think Duke should come back simply to improve his NFL draft stock, which right now is stamped second round. But it is the Heisman factor that isn't talked about enough.
NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS CONTINUE IN WEEK 8: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-
league team. Pix: Still trending upward. Having a great (for us) season so far. We went 11-4 overall and 9-6 against the spread again, and stayed scorching hot on Upset of the Week calls by bull's-eyeing Steelers over Colts ("Aawwk!"). Fantasy: Still trending down. Greg's Lobos fell to 2-6 with a 203-137 loss. Larry Fitzgerald finally woke up for me (30 points), but can't do much when your opponent tops 200 -- a lot even for our lil' 8-team friends 'n family league.
SOPY: CANES' DUKE OF GABLES DASHES TO NO. 1 IN NEW STATE COLLBALL RANKINGS: Miami's Duke Johnson's huge 249-yard rushing game at Virginia Tech catapults him to No. 1 this week in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- "the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 10:
SOPY WEEK 9 TOP 10
Rk (LW) Player, team-pos. Wk9 Season
1 (3) Duke Johnson, Miami-rb 298 1,308
2 (2) Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb 156.5 1,185
3 (1) Jameis Winston, FSU-qb BYE 1,076
4 (4) Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb 52 975
5 (7) Justin Holman, UCF-qb 187 913
6 (5) Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb 80 899
7 (6) Rashad Greene, FSU-rec BYE 813
8 (8) Alex McGough, FIU-qb BYE 720
9 (9) Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb BYE 667
10 (--) Lucky Whitehead, FAU-rb 106 646
Bubble: Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 636. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: Miami, FIU, FAU and USF have played 8 games; FSU and UCF have played 7; and Florida has played 6.
Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 10: 1. FSU (7-0); 2. Miami (5-3); 3. UCF (5-2); 4. Florida (3-3); 5. SoFla (3-5); 6. FIU (3-5); 7. FAU (3-5).
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