November 16, 2019

The best will race for title at Homestead Sunday, but here is what NASCAR is lacking and needs. New column; plus NFL Week 11 picks for Dolphins-Bills and the rest, are suddenly winning Fins failing at failing? & more

1) It's SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16. A bout of laryngitis had me off the air Friday on the Le Batard Show. Sorry. Hope to be back Tuesday for my regular co-host slot. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins earn upset win at Indy with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, NFL Week 10 picks, Le Batard Countdown Clock & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksDOLPHINS-BILLS, UPSETS, WATSON VS. JACKSON AND THE REST: OUR NFL WEEK 11 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a solid first half-plus of our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald. Last week was not great at 7-6 overall but not bad also at 7-6 against the spread. We bull’s-eyed yet another Upset of the Week pick (“Aawwk!”) with Seahawks winning Monday night at previously unbeaten San Fran, nailed another outright upset with Steelers over Rams, and also had a pair of ‘dogs-with-points in road covers by the Dolphins and Cardinals. Now here are our Week 11 picks, including Bills at Dolphins at, Game of the Week (Texans-Ravens a.k.a. Deshaun Watson vs. Lamar Jackson), upsets and all the rest. Please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call NFL Week 11 Gems. We misfired badly last night in seeing an upset win by Steelers in Cleveland to get our week off to a bumpy start. Que sera, sera. Let's rally!

NascarVROOOM! NASCAR AT HOMESTEAD: GREAT FINAL RACE. BUT HERE IS WHAT'S  MISSING: NASCAR's Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway has the year's top four drivers competing for the 2019 season championship in Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex. (I leave the "Jr." off the latter's name because we all know by now it isn't his Dad out there). Hamlin seeks his first season championship, while the other three all have won once and recently, since 2014. There is history in this year's race. It will be the 18th and final season that Homestead has the final race and crowns the champion each year. Homestead will continue to be a NASCAR track, but starting next season its race will be held in March on the schedule. Sunday's Championship 4 is a really good one, yet NASCAR is missing something. I explore in my latest column. To read, please visit The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs.

FinswinAFTER 20 YEARS OF NOT WINNING, THE MIAMI DOLPHINS ARE SUDDENLY FAILING AT FAILING, TOO?: Nineteen consecutive seasons without an NFL playoff victory establishes beyond reasonable debate that the Miami Dolphins have been averse to winning for, well, for pretty much the entire 21st Century. Now here comes the scary part. After two decades of not winning anything, the Fins are now even failing at failing. Here is the franchise that boldly and strategically decimated its roster — swapping talent for future draft picks — to be bad enough to select high enough to get its magic quarterback. To abide pain and embarrassment now in exchange for big winning down the road. And what do they do at the midsection of the season? They suddenly forget to fail. They win their way out of the top of the draft. And the Weirdest Season gets weirder as Dolphins fans who rationalized seeing the good in being 0-7 now wring hands nervously at 2-7 after Miami stacked Sunday’s 16-12 victory at Indianapolis on top of the previous week’s win over the rival Jets. This is the genesis of my latest column, in which I explore how the Dolphins now stand in the race for the overall 2020 No. 1 draft pick and their choice of quarterbacks. To read that column in full, please visit After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing?

WITH MIAMI, FIU OFF, A LIGHT SATURDAY SLATE FOR STATE FBS TEAMS: The Hurricanes and FIU are off this week, awaiting next Saturday's neutral site meeting at Marlins Park. FAU and UCF also are off, meaning only three of seven state FBS teams are in action: No. 10 Florida at Missouri, noon; Alabama State at Florida State, noon; and No. 20 Cincinnati at South Florida, 7. (Gators are modest 6 1/2-point favorites). 

Our other most recent work: The Player Who Started the Glory Days for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Enjoy The Win, Miami. Here's Why Fins Still in Great Shape For Top Pick / After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! / and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal.

Other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 12, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 70.9% following 16-12 upset win at Indianapolis; plus latest Hot Button Top 10, NFL Week 10 picks, Le Batard Countdown Clock & more

Vetday1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11. It is Veterans Day. Thank you, all who have served! 2) Scroll to our previous blogpost for results of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. They're a season high! 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes wallop Louisville with CSM postgame poll, our UM football column, Shula Bowl, LSU-'Bama, NFL Week 10 picks, Le Batard Countdown Clock & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Newest column: Canes football program's pedigree, quantified: A new ESPN list has the Hurricanes having played in 11 of the greatest 150 games in college football history -- including four of the top six. That is the bar set by five national championships. That is the mountain Manny Daz and the current Canes are trying to climb. We caught up with the player who kicked open the door to the dynasty. To read that full column, visit The Player Who Started the Glory Days for Canes Football.

G9: DOLPHINS AT INDIANAPOLIS: WILL RED-HOT MIAMI TAKE COLTS LIGHTLY? (JUST KIDDING!): Original post: The Dolphins surf a one-game winning streak into Indianapolis for Sunday's 4:05 kickoff, and I am concerned the cocky 1-7 Fins risk overconfidence against the 5-3 Colts. Actually I hope to live to see the day when Miami might be so good again as to have any such concerns. Back to Miaindreality: Imagine going on a long car trip with a constipated dog that won’t stop barking. OK, the Dolphins travel about as successfully as that. Miami has lost 10 consecutive away games and 15 of the past 16, and it looks like more road-kill on Sunday. The Colts, 10 1/2-point favorites, have treated Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement like a mere bump in the road, with Jacoby Brissett seeming likely to play despite spraining a knee last week. Even if not, Brian Hoyer is an experienced, seen-everything veteran in the Ryan Fitzpatrick mold. No matter who’s pitching for the Nags, Marlon Mack could put up big numbers vs. Fins’ generous run defense. Nevertheless, I like Miami getting double-digit points. After an embarrassing string of blowout losses to start the season, the Dolphins have been increasingly competitive the past month-plus culminating with last week’s handling of the Jets. And Indy doesn’t blow anybody out. The Colts’ eight games have been decided by 35 total points, with no margin greater than seven, or one score. If Fitzpatrick plays as well as he did last week and Miami’s D forces a couple of turnovers, I could even see an outright upset here. But let’s not go crazy. Settle for close. Cote’s pick: IND 27-18. Visit Week 10 Gems for all of our latest picks. And watch for the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll online soon after Sundays game ends.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 70.9%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 70.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 16-12 victory at Indianapolis putting  DsmMiami’s season record at 2-7. In its 12th season, 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. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 11 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

G7: 28.8% following 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh.

G8: 76.4% following 26-18 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G9: 70.9% following 16-12 victory at Indianapolis.

Next poll: Nov. 17 following game vs. Buffalo.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive weekend-into-Monday 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. HURRICANES: UM rides Williams' arm past Louisville: Miami clobbered Louisville 52-27 Saturday at The Rock to get bowl-eligible at 6-4 -- with Jarren Williams scorching the Cardinals for a UM-record six touchdown passes. Canes have FIU next week at Marlins Park then close with Duke, a must-win for any shot at the ACC Coastal crown. The Georgia Tech loss still haunts, but UM will have shed that 0-2 start pretty nicely of it wins out.

2. DOLPHINS: Hot Fins (!) win at Indianapolis for second straight: The Dolphins are surfing a two-game winning streak with Sunday's 16-12 triumph at Indianapolis today, self esteem climbing while draft standing slips. Three teams now have worse records. Don't give up though. Long season. Lots of losing left to do.

3. HEAT: Waiters gummies drama clouds early season: Miami is 6-3 after losing at LeBron's Lakers Friday and is back in action vs. Detroit here Tuesday. But  it isn't the games fans are talking about. It's Dion Waiters needing medical attention on the recent road trip after reportedly ingesting THC-infused edible gummies and having a panic attack. Waiters faces team and/or league discipline. There is Heat Culture ... and then there's Dion.

4. NASCAR: Homestead's Championship Four is set!: Sunday's race in Phoenix determine the Championship Four drivers who will race for the NASCAR season title next Sunday at Homestead. Martin Truex and Kevin Harvick were already in, and Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin join them -- Hamlin pushing out Joey Logano. Vrooom.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: LSU, Minnesota top major weekend: No. 2 LSU's 46-41 thriller over No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa and No. 17 Minnesota's 21-26 home upsets of No. 4 Penn State shook up the College Football Playoff picture on Saturday. As America enjoyed its favorite sight: Nick Saban, sad. And if that isn't enough upheaval, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, a likely top-five draft pick, was suspended indefinitely over suspected 2018 NCAA rules violations.  

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men drop opener, women win: UM men fell at home to No. 5-ranked Louisville to open the season before handling FAU Friday night to get to 1-1. Meanwhile the higher-regarded, No. 18-ranked Canes women opened at home Sunday with an 83-68 cruise past Jackson State.

7. PANTHERS: Cats win at Rangers: Florida were at the New York Rangers Sunday trying to shed a two-game losing streak, and did, 6-5. Joel Quenneville's guys are now 8-9 around the season's one-fifth mark, once again lolling around the far edge of playoff contention and looking for a run.

8. SOCCER: Seattle wins MLS Cup!: It was Toronto at Seattle Sunday for the Major League Soccer (MLS Cup) championship, and a record crowd of 69,274 left happy with a 3-1 Sounders win for Seattle's second title in four years. We expect you in that game in one year, Inter Miami. No pressure.

9. MLB: Free agency on, GM meetings next: Nationals just won the Series, but baseball ain't done. Free agency is underway, and the GM meetings are Nov. 11-14. If your team is a spender, be excited. If you're a Marlins fan, chill out.

10. UFC: Loss sending Diaz into retirement?: Days after losing to Miami's Jorge Masvidal, Nate Diaz hinted in an Instagram post that he may be done fighting. Those who believe he actually is could meet in a Waffle House booth and have plenty of elbow room.  

Missing the HB10 cut: Forget the tree falling in the forest. If the Chargers moved to London, would anybody miss them? ..... Update: Countdown now 2,415 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

PicksDOLPHINS-COLTS, GAME OF THE WEEK, BIG UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 10 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a solid first half of our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, including an 11-3 mark straight-up last week and 8-5-1 against the spread (led by Dolphins over Jets in our Upset of the Week; "Aawwk!"). Now here are our Week 10 picks, including Dolphins at Colts, Game of the Week (Seahawks-49ers), two sizable upsets and the rest. Please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call NFL Week 10 Gems. Our week got off to a losing start Thursday. Already past it. Let's rally!

LE BATARD RETURNS TO AIR COUNTDOWN CLOCK: Because I think it has the potential to at least mildly annoy Dan (always a noble goal), we present our "Le Batard Returns To Air!" countdown clock. After an extended absence Dan is to finally rejoin the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio this coming Monday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. Here's the time remaining until the national appetite is sated by the long-awaited return of Dan's dulcet tones:

Our other most recent work: Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint and Enjoy The Win, Miami. Here's Why Fins Still in Great Shape For Top Pick. Also: After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! / and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal.

Other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 09, 2019

G10: Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 95.1% (season high) after 52-27 rout of Louisville; plus the player who started the UM glory days (column), LSU-'Bama and FIU-FAU, NFL Week 10 picks, LeBatard-returns-to-air Countdown Clock & more

Bowden1) It's FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8. Happy 90th birthday, Bobby Bowden! He hit the milestone Friday, and here's to many more for the FSU Seminoles living legend! 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes lose basketball opener, Dolphins in great draft shape despite win, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 9 results, Canes football among top 150 games & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Canes football program's pedigree, quantified: In a new list the Hurricanes have played in 11 of the greatest 150 games in college football history -- including four of the top six. That is the bar set by five national championships. That is the mountain Manny Daz and the current Canes are trying to climb. We caught up with the player who kicked open the door to the dynasty. To read the full column, visit The Player Who Started the Glory Days for Canes Football.

LoumiaG10: @HURRICANES 52, LOUISVILLE 27: NO LETDOWN FOR CANES: Original post: Back home after the exhilarating 27-10 win over Florida State in Tallahassee, the Canes are at risk of a letdown in Saturday's 3:30 ACC meeting with Louisville at The Rock. Aside to Canes: At 5-4 you aren't good enough to take anybody lightly, especially a 5-3 Cardinals team against whom you are a somewhat modest 7-point home favorite. L'ville brings one of the most potent offenses Miami has yet faced, so Gregory Rousseau, Shaq Quarterman and friends better bring it on Senior Day, with bowl eligibility the reward for the winner. Two UM injuries of concern: Bubba Bolden lost for the season with a dumb ankle injury suffered celebrating an interception, and top tight end Brevin Jordan iffy to play. Miami's clear edges: The U's defense (at its best) is good enough to limit a good Cards attack, and, mostly, Louisville's defense is quite bad. Jarren Williams and crew should have a chance to go north of 30. Miami must win out and get some luck to still win the ACC Coastal. That starts here. Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 31-23. Watch for the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll online right after today's game ends.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10. 95.2%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canes Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show a season-high 95.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 52-27 home victory vs. Louisville  Csmputting the Hurricanes' season record at 6-4 overall and 4-3 in ACC conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:15 a.m. today/Monday.

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

G3: 83.0% following 63-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman.

G4: 8.5% following 17-12 victory vs. Central Michigan.

G5: 28.8% following 42-35 loss vs. Virginia Tech.

G6: 82.0% following 17-9 victory vs. Virginia.

G7: 11.3% following 28-21 OT loss vs. Georgia Tech.

G8: 61.0% following 16-12 victory at Pitt.

G9: 91.8% following 27-10 victory at Florida State.

G10: 95.2% following 52-27 victory vs. Louisville.

Next poll: Nov. 23 following game vs. FIU.

FiufauShula Bowl: @FAU 37, FIU 7: Davis vs. Kiffin in C-USA rivalry: Original post: Butch Davis' 5-4 Panthers and Lane Kiffin's 6-3 Owls renew their rivalry with FAU 4-1 in league play and still angling to reach the Conference USA title game. Owls are big 10 1/2-point favorites and should raise the 18th annual Shula Bowl trophy for the third year in a row, but I like the Butchers to keep it inside the fat bet-line. Cote's pick: FAU, 27-23.

Other state FBS games: South Florida lost 17-7 to Temple on Thursday, and UCF lost 34-31 to Tulsa on Friday. Today/Saturday, No. 10 Florida whipped Vanderbilt 56-0, and Florida State won at Boston College 38-31.

LsualaBonus national pick: No. 2 LSU 46, @No. 3 Alabama 41: Original post: The Game of the Year (so far) is Saturday at 3:30 in Tuscaloosa. Both teams are 8-0, and the College Football Playoff and national championship picture sway with the result. (By the way, Trump is supposed to be at the game in a continuing effort to find a crowd that won't boo him). Crimson Tide are favored by 5 1/2, fueled by the home field edge and the sense 'Bama is just a little better beyond that. I agree. The wild card: Tide (and future Dolphins?) QB Tua Tagovailao, who is questionable with an ankle injury. Nick Saban calls it a game-time decision. My bet: Tua plays, but isn't 100 percent. On that basis: Cote's pick: Alabama, 31-27.

PicksDOLPHINS-COLTS, GAME OF THE WEEK, BIG UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 10 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a solid first half of our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, including an 11-3 mark straight-up last week and 8-5-1 against the spread (led by Dolphins over Jets in our Upset of the Week; "Aawwk!"). Now we offer our Week 10 picks,including Dolphins at Colts, our Game of the Week (Seahawks-49ers), two sizable upsets and all the rest. So please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call our NFL Week 10 Gems. Unfortunately our week got off to a disappointing start last night. We had the Chargers (-1) winning in Oakland 23-10. And they were winning, 24-10, very late, visions of a near perfect-score win dancing in my head. Then the Raiders scored with a minute left. Damn. Already past it. Let's rally!

Our other most recent work: Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint and Enjoy The Win, Miami. Here's Why Fins Still in Great Shape For Top Pick. Also: After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! / and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal.

LE BATARD RETURNS TO AIR COUNTDOWN CLOCK: Because I think it has the potential to at least mildly annoy Dan (always a noble goal), we present our "Le Batard Returns To Air!" countdown clock. After an extended absence Dan is to finally rejoin the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio this coming Monday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. Here's the time remaining until the national appetite is sated by the long-awaited return of Dan's dulcet tones:

Other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 07, 2019

Hurricanes lose basketball opener, but it's UM fans who disappoint. Latest column; plus tonight's Chargers-Raiders pick, NFL Week 9 PIx 'n Fantasy results, Fins still in great draft shape despite win, Canes football among all-time top 150 games & more

1) It's THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7. Scroll to our previous blogpost for results of the latest Dolfan and Canesfan postgame polls -- both season highs. 2) Watch for the NFL Week 9 Pix 'n Fantasy results and updated Herald NFL QB rankings right here later this afternoon. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Jets with DSM poll, Canes beat FSU with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Le Batard's return to air & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Chargers-Raiders pick: This is something rare. A true tossup game. But, for me, it turns on one factor. Visit Week 10 Thursday Gem to find out what that is, and who wins.

Canes basketball loses opener, but it's the crowd that disappoints: Miami opened its 2019-20 men's basketball season last night with an 87-74 home loss to No. 5-ranked Louisville. It wasn't that close. Cardinals led by as many as 32 before a bunch of garbage time Canes points. But the UM team didn't disappoint. Its fans did. For my full column from the arena, please visit Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint.

FinswinCHILLAX, DOLFANS: MIAMI IN GREAT DRAFT SHAPE DESPITE 'COSTLY' WIN. NEWEST COLUMN: Miami as a sports town can be an easy target for derision, so when we get a weekend the like the one just past, it is worth savoring by a collective fan base that deserves the respite, the feel-good. Hurricanes crush Florida State 27-10 in Tallahassee, running Noles coach Willie Taggert straight outta town. Panthers blank Detroit 4-0 for a first Florida shutout by new goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Heat dominate a strong Houston team 129-100 behind a record-setting 46-14 first quarter. And Dolphins turn back bitter-rival New York Jets 26-18 for their first win of the season. It had been more than two years, since Oct. 21-22, 2017, since a Saturday and Sunday delivered wins by all four South Florida teams. The notable difference in those wins? Canes, Panthers and Heat fans are purely happy today. Dolphins fans — at least a good portion of them — are wondering if this will prove to be a win too costly. It is perfectly fitting for the snake-bit Fins: At midseason they finally win a game to shed the specter of 0-16, and half of their fans are wringing hands, caught between pumping fists and wondering, "Oh what have we done?" So let us recalibrate the Race to the 2020 NFL Draft. It is the dubious race for the No. 1 overall pick (worst team wins), but not every team is eyeing a quarterback, a distinction that works in Miami’s strong favor. We size up the five teams best-positioned for No. 1 at midseason in our recent column. To read in full, please visit Enjoy The Win, Miami. Here's Why Fins Still in Great Shape For Top Pick.

Our other most recent work: After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day, from stadium off Sunday's win. Also: NFL Week 9 Gems / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! / and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 9: SOLID, SOLID II, OUCH: NFL picks -- Solid. We went 11-3 overall and 8-5-1 against the spread last week. We'll take both. Especially pleased to nail another Upset of the Week pick ("Aawwk!") with Dolphins beating Jets. ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Solid II. Greg's Lobos improved to 5-4 with a 89.9 to 63.6 triumph over Papi. All that went right was 36 points from Mike (Money) Evans but that was enough this week. We're tied for sixth place and playoff-hopeful. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Ouch. Lobos fell to 5-4 with a 128-89 loss to snuff a four-game win streak. Deshaun Watson led us with 19 points, while big producers Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs all underperformed. Still in fourth place and looking good for the playoffs. Go 'Bos!

THE LIST: CANES FOOTBALL GAMES AMONG ALL-TIME TOP 150: ESPN named the top 150 college football games of all time as a part of celebrating the sport's 150th anniversary, and Miami turned up 11 times -- including four of the top six. Complete list here. The 11 UM games to make it:

Ob84Rank    Game                                                                Date, Occasion

2          No. 5-UM d. No. 1-Nebraska, 31-30                    1-2-84, Orange Bowl (right)

4          10-Boston College d. 12-UM, 47-45                    11-23-84, "Hail Flutie"

5          2-Penn State d. 1-UM, 14-10                              1-2-87, Fiesta Bowl

6          4-Notre Dame d. 1-UM, 31-30                            10-15-88, "Catholics vs. Convicts"

25        2-Ohio State d. 1-UM, 31-24 (OT)                       1-3-03, Fiesta Bowl

27        3-UM d. 4-Florida State, 26-25                           10-3-87

41        Maryland d. 6-UM, 42-40                                    11-10-84

48        2-UM d. 1-Florida State, 17-16                           11-16-91

58        7-UM d. 1-Florida State, 27-24                           10-7-00

62        2-Alabama d. 1-UM, 34-13                                  1-1-93, Sugar Bowl

84.       UM d. 3-UCLA, 49-45                                          12-5-98 

Note: I'm honored to have covered (I think) eight of these 11, including the top four. 

Other select recent columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 04, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.4% after 26-18 defeat of Stinkin' Jets; plus latest Hot Button Top 10; also, Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.8% after UM beats FSU, Dawgs top Gators, details on Le Batard's return, NFL Week 9 picks & more

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4. Happy new month, all! 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 9 picks, Dolphins/Tua and Tim Donaghy columns & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

My column on Dolphins' win over Jets: Go to After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day for my column from the stadium on Sunday's Miami win.

PicksOur complete NFL Week 9 picks: We went a perfect 15-0 straight-up last week. Can we approach that again? Will the still-winless Dolphins win at home vs. the equally bad Stinkin' Jets and be one of our three upset picks? Answers to that and more, here: NFL Week 9 Gems.

MianyjG8: STINKIN' JETS AT DOLPHINS: UPSET! FINS WIN, FINS WIN! OMG!! (AND I CALLED IT...): Go to After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day for my column from game. Original post: We can all agree, I hope, that the Dolphins have risen from being historically embarrassing in the first few games to being merely regular-bad lately. We can also agree, I hope, that the Stinkin’ Jets are hardly any better, and that Adam Gase looks about as happy as an inmate whose final stay of execution has just been denied by the governor. There is negligible difference between the 0-7 Fins and 1-6 Jets -- not enough for NYJ to be a 3-point road favorite. Overshadowing this matchup, of course: The jockeying for the overall No. 1 draft pick, as the winless, bye-week Bengals watch keenly. Why the upset pick? 1) Sam Darnold (who sees ghosts, by the way) has seven interceptions in the past two games. Darnold bad is worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick bad. 2) Fins players and coaches are beyond-tired of the accusation they are intentionally trying to lose games. The franchise is tanking; the lockerroom is not. That is an important distinction. It gives Miami the greater incentive here, in addition to the home field. Am I nervous about the pick? Oh hell yeah. I just picked Miami to win! Let's see. Cote’s pick: MIA 24-21. Vote in the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll directly below.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 76.4%: Results are certified in  the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 76.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- a season high -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 26-18 home victory over the New York Jets Dsmputting Miami’s season record at 1-7. In its 12th season, 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. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 1 p.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

G7: 28.8% following 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh.

G8: 76.4% following 26-18 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

Next poll: Nov. 10 following game at Indianapolis.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive weekend-into-Monday 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. HURRICANES: Miami with nifty win over 'Noles in Tally: Florida State was favored at home in the battle of two once-proud rivals both coming in 4-4, but it was Miami going home with the big 27-10 win -- and renewed hope. At 5-4 off two straight wins UM is now looking good for a bowl game and still has an outside shot at the ACC Coastal title. Canes must win out vs. Louisville and FIU and at Duke.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins win! Fins win!, beat Stinkin' Jets: I tell ya, Sunday's matchup in Miami had everything ... but a good team in it. The 1-6 Jets at 0-7 Dolphins with the overall No. 1 draft pick among the possible stakes ... what could be worse? Actually, it was a pretty compelling game. Ryan Fitzpatrick was great and the Dolphins (finally) won, 26-18.

3. HEAT: Miami swamps Houston in big early test: Miami is an impressive 5-1 early this season after Sunday measuring-stick triumph here over Houston, 1290-100 led by a surreal 46-14 first quarter. James Harden and Russell Westbrook were only 9-for-25 between them. Can the Heat really be this good?

4. MLB: Nationals top Astros in World Series: Had to feel good about Washington celebrating its first MLB title since 1924. Well, unless you're a Houston fan. But seven games and the home team didn't win a single one. Had never been done before. In any sport. Weird Series is more like it. 

5. UM BASKETBALL: Opening Week! Canes men host mighty Louisville: So much for soft openings. Jim Larranaga's unranked UM men's team opens by hosting No. 5 Louisville Tuesday night. Can they shock the world? More is expected from Katie Meier's No. 18-ranked Canes women, who open at home next Sunday vs. Jackson State.    

6. PANTHERS: Hot Cats rounding into form: With last night's 4-0 home win over Detroit, Florida has now shed a rough 1-4 start to go level at 7-7 in this still-young NHL season. Cats can score, but now new goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky are tightening up on defense. Good signs.

7. UFC: Masvidal bloodies, beats Diaz: Miami's Jorge Masvidal bloodied and beat Nate Diaz in UFC 244 last night at Madison Square Garden, with a doctor stopping the fight in the third round. Masvidal later partied with The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Hopefully, Stugotz crashed the party. Oh, and Donald Trump attended and got loudly booed. Or, did that go without saying?

8. NBA: Reeling Warriors lose Curry: Golden State is 1-5 and now Steph Curry will be lost at least three months with a broken hand. if you didn't think the Warriors' dynasty was done, you sure as hell do now. Call 'em the Golden State Worriers.

9. SOCCER: It's Seattle-Toronto for MLS title: Seattle hosts Toronto next Sunday in a sold-out Major League Soccer Cup championship final. No Cinderellas here. Seattle won the league title in 2016 and Toronto in '17. A year from now ... Inter Miami?

10. HORSE RACING: More tragedy at Santa Anita as Breeders' Cup runs: Vino Rosso won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Saturday at Santa Anita, but tragedy struck as Mongolian Groom injured a hind leg and later was euthanized. It was the 37th horse death at Santa Anita Park since last December. Am I sending my horse to that place? Oh hell naw!

Missing the HB10 cut: World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg opted out of his deal with Nationals and will be a free agent. Teams needing an ace with tons of money, start your bidding! ..... Tiger Woods won a record-tying 82nd PGA Tour event last week, a reminder that all anybody cares about with him is major wins, not "regular" titles ..... South Africa stunned England to win the Rugby World Cup as America mostly yawned ..... Only two more races starting today at Texas before NASCAR's Nov. 17 championship finale at Homestead ..... Thousands more will unnecessarily run 26.2 miles when the New York City Marathon goes off Sunday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,422 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

MiafsuG9: HURRICANES 27, @FLORIDA STATE 10: TWO OLD RIVALS MEET AGAIN -- BOTH TRYING TO GET BACK TO GREAT: Jarren  Williams and defense were great in Saturday's 27-10 Miami win in Tally, and I got the upset pick right! Original post: There were plenty of years when Canes-Noles was a national game of the week with championship implications. But that was plenty of years ago. Now, Saturday's Miami at Florida State meeting at 3:30 p.m. is just a pair of .500 teams trying to rediscover the mojo and get back to where they once were. "I think we’re both kind of waiting for that kick-start to get things going," as Miami coach Manny Diaz put it. Still, "It’s one of those games that you come to Miami to play in, to coach in," Diaz said. "It’s a legacy game." Both old rivals are 4-4, with FSU 3-3 in ACC play and UM 2-3. The Seminoles are stuck in their division behind Clemson. At least if UM wins it still has a shot at the division title in the weaker Coastal, if it wins out and gets some help/luck. FSU was favored by as many as 5 points but that whittled down to 3 as money poured in on Miami. Noles have won their past four home games but Miami has won past two in this rivalry including 28-27 last year at Hard Rock after the Canes trailed 20-7 at the half. These teams' past five meetings all have been decided by 5 points or fewer, so the safest bet is a close game. FSU is better on offense although that draws closer with Jarren Williams back starting at QB for Miami (as he should) and RB DeeJay Dallas expected back from injury. The difference for me is that Miami clearly is better on defense. I do not trust the Seminoles without the ball. Cote's pick: Upset! Hurricanes, 27-23. See latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll results below.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 91.8%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 91.8% approval, the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes  -- a season high -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-10 Hurricanes victory at Florida State putting the Hurricanes' season record at 5-4 overall and 3-3 in ACC conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

G3: 83.0% following 63-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman.

G4: 8.5% following 17-12 victory vs. Central Michigan.

G5: 28.8% following 42-35 loss vs. Virginia Tech.

G6: 82.0% following 17-9 victory vs. Virginia.

G7: 11.3% following 28-21 OT loss vs. Georgia Tech.

G8: 61.0% following 16-12 victory at Pitt.

G9: 91.8% following 27-10 victory at Florida State.

Next poll: Nov. 9 following game vs. Louisville.

Other state FBS games (all Saturday):

FlagaNo. 8 Georgia 24, No. 6 Florida 17: A Cocktail Party worth attending: Original post: Annual neutral-site game in Jacksonville kicks at 3:30 Saturday with, well, everything in play. This is for the SEC East lead, and the winner only also maintains at least a prayer of a shot at the College Football Playoff. It's the Game of the Week in collball. Gators 7-1 to Dawgs' 6-1 but Georgia is a 5 1/2-point favorite. I get that. See UGA with slightly more offensive pop and every bit as good defensively. Cote's pick: Georgia 23-20.  

Also: UCF beat Houston 44-29, FIU beat Old Dominion 24-17, and FAU beat Western Kentucky 35-24. South Florida was off this week.

DanlLE BATARD'S RETURN TO AIR, NEW 'MAS MIAMI.' DETAILS HEREFans who have missed Dan Le Batard during his extended on-air absence from ESPN have gotten some welcome news — on two fronts. The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz announced Friday that Dan would return to the show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews on Nov. 11, a week from Monday. The Miami-based show emanates from ESPN studios on South Beach. Le Batard also is to return to his ESPN television show, Highly Questionable, that day, the network confirmed Friday. Le Batard has been off the air for several weeks, first for a long-planned pre-wedding honeymoon and more recently to attend to what the show called "personal matters." Both shows have continued with various guest hosts in his absence. Also Friday, details on Le Batard’s latest "Mas Miami" event were revealed. It is set for Saturday, Dec. 14 at Wynwood Factory, a nightclub at 55 Northeast 24th Street in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. Tickets to the event are $25 and available at MasLeBatard.com. For the full story: Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event.

Our two most recent columns: Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal

Other select recent columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 01, 2019

New! Our NFL Week 9 picks for Dolphins-Jets, upsets and all the rest; plus Radio Friday!, our Fins/Tua and Tim Donaghy columns & more

Halloween1) It's FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1. Hope ya'll had a Happy Halloween! Oh and welcome November! 2) Condolences on the passing this week of the great former University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich, who died at 84. I knew Sam very well in the 1980s. He was a good man and a good AD. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins must stayed focused on Tua, Fins lose in Pittsburgh with DSM poll, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 8 results & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Friday!: Double duty this week. I'm back in-studio today on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. It airs 10 to 1 nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. And watch for a local-only hour linked from the show's social media platforms.

PicksDOLPHINS-JETS, GAME OF THE WEEK, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 9 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid first half of our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. We went a perfect 15-0 straight-up last week and a tough 7-8 against spread despite hitting on two outright upset picks. This week, will the still-winless Dolphins win at home vs. the equally bad Stinkin' Jets? What about our Patriots-Ravens Game of the Week? And our three new upset picks? Answers to all of that and more may be found in the motherlode of prognostication that is our NFL Week 9 Gems. We can't top 15-0, but we can try. Got off to a mixed start last night. Had Niners beating Cardinals and also covering. They won, but didn't cover. You let me down, San Fran D.

TuaEyes on the prize! Why Dolphins must remain steadfast for Tua: We’ve been reading and hearing it from South Florida media to the talking heads on Monday's Dolphins-Steelers telecast. The what-if game on the 2020 NFL Draft. The notion that whomever ends up with the No. 1 pick next spring — including the favorite, Miami — dare not pass on the draft’s hot new shiny object, Ohio State’ havoc-wreaking pass rusher Chase Young. No! Let's hope this is a false narrative floated purely for the sake of argument. Because, at least in the Dolphins’ case, it is an absurd supposition that Miami should or might bypass the franchise arm for anybody else The whole point of this season, this exquisitely orchestrated tanking, is to wind up with Tua Tagovailoa. The full column: Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua!

IgameDisgraced ref Tim Donaghy talks game-fixing: He was at the center of one of NBA's major scandals of the 2000s. A movie about it is out this week. We spoke with the villain himself. The fiull column: Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal. The movie preview: Inside Game Trailer.

Our most recent other columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

Previous other select columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 31, 2019

Eyes on the prize! Dolphins mustn't waver on Tua. Latest column; plus DSM result after Fins' Monday loss, disgraced ref Tim Donaghy talks NBA scandal, tonight's 49ers-Cards pick, NFL Pix n Fantasy Week 8 results including my perfect 15-0 & more

Halloween1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31. Happy Halloween! Have fun, stay safe. Oh and see you next year, October. 2) Condolences on the passing of the great former University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich, who died yesterday at 84. I knew Sam very well in the 1980s. He was a good man and a good AD. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes win at Pitt with CSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, NFL Week 8 picks & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's 49ers-Cardinals pick: Astonishingly the Cards have won eight in a row in this season. Will an upset make it nine. Answer here: Week 9 Thursday Gem.

Herald Week 8 NFL QB rankings: We welcome back our Week 8 winner and crown a new season leader. Visit Herald Week 8 NFL QB Rankings.

TuaEYES ON THE PRIZE! WHY DOLPHINS MUST REMAIN STEADFAST FOR TUA TAGOVAILOA. LATEST COLUMN: Eyes on the prize, Miami Dolphins. Stay strong. Focus. As the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose famously sang in 1972, "It’s too late to turn back now." We’ve been reading it and hearing it from South Florida media to the talking heads on this week’s Dolphins-Steelers Monday Night Football telecast. The what-if game on the 2020 NFL Draft has begun. The notion that whomever ends up with the overall No. 1 pick next spring — including the favorite, Miami — dare not pass on the draft’s hot new shiny object, Ohio State’ havoc-wreaking pass rusher Chase Young. As if on cue, ESPN draftnik Todd McShay this week elevated Young to No. 1, ahead of Tua Tagovailoa, in his latest updated draft rankings. Let us hope the suggestion the Fins should consider drafting Young ahead of a generational QB qualifies as a classic sports straw man — a false narrative floated purely for the sake of argument. Because, at least in the Dolphins’ case, it is an absurd supposition that Miami should or might bypass the franchise arm because, what, the trendy defensive end is a point higher on your draft board? The whole point of this season, of this exquisitely orchestrated tanking, is to wind up with Tua Tagovailoa (pictured), the generational QB from Alabama. For the full column, please visit Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua!

InsidegameDisgraced ref Tim Donaghy talks game-fixing: He was at the center of one of NBA's major scandals of the 2000s. A movie about it is out this week. We spoke with the villain himself. For our recent column, please visit Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal. For the movie's preview: Inside Game Trailer.

Our most recent other columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Also: Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins / and Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

Pit miaG7: @PITTSBURGH 27, DOLPHINS 14: ANOTHER TEASE, ANOTHER FADE, STILL WINLESS: [See latest DSM results below] Is Original post: Is the No. 1 victory of the season most important, Miami fans? Or is it the No. 1 overall draft pick? You can have both. It's just that getting the former hurts your chances of having the latter. The winless and allegedly tanking 0-6 Miami Dolphins take the Monday night stage seen quite literally as the Not Ready For Prime Time Players. I cannot recall any 2-4 team being this big a favorite (14 1/2 points), but that is a commentary not on the Steelers’ latent greatness, but on the subterranean regard for Miami. The Fins actually have been appreciably better lately. Competitive! But like all bad teams they have found ways to lose. In Buffalo last week Christian Wilkins gets himself ejected 33 seconds into the game, two huge turnovers steal a likely win, then afterward, in a punctuation of "undisciplined," Bobby McCain angrily confronts a 13-year-old Bills fan. Miami traveled north with a depleted secondary; meanwhile Minkah Fitzpatrick is a Steeler. Pittsburgh, off a bye week, gets QB Mason Rudolph back healthy and expects RB James Conner back, too. I still like Ryan Fitzpatrick and an improving Fins offense getting this many points. If Miami has zero turnovers (admittedly a large ask), this thing might even be interesting late. Cote’s pick: Pittsburgh, 27-16. Click NFL Week 8 Gems for all our latest picks -- we're a perfect 14-0 straight-up entering tonight. And watch for the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll right after tonight's game ends.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 28.8%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 28.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Monday night’s 27-14 Dolphins loss at Pittsburgh putting Miami’s season record at 0-7. That's a huge drop, and the first time this season the total has been less than the game before. Is the cost of "Tanking For Tua" finally kicking in with fans?  In its 12th season, 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. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Wednesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

G7: 28.8% following 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh.

Next poll: Nov. 3 following game vs. N.Y. Jets. 

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 8: PERFECT! GREAT! MARVELOUS!: NFL picks -- Perfect! Literally. We were 15-0 straight-up, running the table on the week -- nearly unheard of. We were an OK 7-8 against the spread, including a bull's-eye on our Eagles over Bills Upset of the Week and another outright upset with Chargers over Bears. Also had Miami with points at Pittsburgh. Oh but that overall perfecto! Wheee! ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Great! Greg's Lobos improved to 4-4 with a 141.9 to 119 win over Allyson. We got a huge 42.8 points from Mike Evans and a surprising 36.2 from fill-in QB Daniel Jones. We're now tied for eighth place and thinking playoffs. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Marvelous! Lobos are now 5-3 with a fourth straight win, a nail-chewing 153-152 over my youngest son. (Sorry/not sorry, Michael!) We got 81 points -- 27 each -- from Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook and Deshaun Watson. We're now tied for third place and definitely thinking playoffs! Go 'Bos!

Previous other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Deba0te / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 28, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 61.0% following 16-12 win at Pitt as Jarren Williams saves the day; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), NFL Week 8 picks & more

1) It's FRIDAY-SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25-27. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 8 picks, Heat Opening Night, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 7 results & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Heat Opening Night, other most recent columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Also: Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins / and Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

G8: HURRICANES 16, @PITT 12: I SAID ERRATIC MIAMI WOULD SURPRISE US SATURDAY. AND THEY DID!: [Click on CSM to vote in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll]. Original post: Do know what you'll see from Miami Saturday at noon? Which Hurricanes to expect? Liar! No you don't. I don't even think coach Manny Diaz does. This has been an unpredictable season that sees UM a disappointing 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the ACC entering this road matinee against a Pitt squad that is 5- Miapit2/2-1 off four straight wins. I do know this. The Canes for some reason have been a big letdown against softer teams they should handle, as with last week's OT home loss to a Georgia Tech team they were favored by 18 to beat -- but they tend to rise up vs. better teams, as in the win over ranked Virginia. So it is reasonable to expect a big showing Saturday by the Canes as 5-point underdogs in a backs-against-the-wall sort of scenario. The downer of a season thus far has Diaz embattled, at least with many fans, although he got the obligatory strong vote of confidence this week from AD Blake James. The home team has won the past three meetings in this conference rivalry, and UM is only 5-14 against the spread in its past 19 ACC games, but I am going to defy those odds. I love The U getting five points and like them to win outright. This assumes that UM finds one healthy QB in N'Kosi Perry or Jarren Williams, both nursing shoulder issues. Perry will start, Diaz said Friday. Canes hope both will be available. Not as sure about RB DeeJay Dallas (knee), but I still like a road rise-up by a desperate Miami. Cote's pick: Upset! Hurricanes, 27-20.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8 61.0%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 61.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satifiedd votes -- in the wake of Saturday afternoon's 16-12 victory at Pitt putting the Hurricanes' season record at 4-4 overall and 2-3 in ACC conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was about 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

G3: 83.0% following 63-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman.

G4: 8.5% following 17-12 victory vs. Central Michigan.

G5: 28.8% following 42-35 loss vs. Virginia Tech.

G6: 82.0% following 17-9 victory vs. Virginia.

G7: 11.3% following 28-21 OT loss vs. Georgia Tech.

G8: 61.0% following 16-12 victory at Pitt.

Next poll: Nov. 2 following game at Florida State.

Other state FBS games (all Saturday): FIU lost at Middle Tennessee 50-17; FAU crushed Old Dominion 41-3; Florida State beat Syracuse 35-17; South Florida won at East Carolina 45-20; and UCF whipped Temple 63-21. No. 7 Florida was off.

PicksDOLPHINS-STEELERS, GAME OF THE WEEK, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 8 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid start to our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the winless Dolphins cover the huge point spread in Pittsburgh Monday night? Who won honors for Game of the Week? Can we start another Upset of the Week streak? Answers to all of that and more may be found in the motherlode of prognostication that is our NFL Week 8 Gems. We were a bit off last week (8-6 overall, 5-9 vs. the spread), but aim to rebound. Our week got off to a split start last night as Vikings beat Redskins, 19-9. Had the win, but misfired on them not covering a 16-point line. Rally time. Let's go!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive weekend-into-Monday 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: Winless Fins on Monday night stage in Pittsburgh: The "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" is A) the nickname given the original cast of Saturday Night Live, circa 1975-78, or B) the football team facing the Steelers Monday night in Pittsburgh? The Dolphins on MNF? That's a little like Adam Sandler performing Hamlet.  

2. HEAT: Winslow shines, Butler absent as Miami open season: New star Jimmy Butler missed the Heat's Wednesday season opener for "personal reasons" but Justise Winslow stepped up with 27 points to lead a 120-101 home win over Memphis. Miami is now 2-1 entering its next home game on  Tuesday. Will you join us, Jimmy? 

3. HURRICANES: Desperate Miami wins at Pitt: The staggering Canes were 3-4 (1-3 in the ACC) and a betting underdog entering Saturday's noon conference test at 5-2 Pitt -- but earned a 16-12 win. UM coach Manny Diaz had been under fire from some fans, but got a recent vote of confidence from AD Blake James. Uh oh.

4. MLB: Astros take charge of World Series: Underdog Washington was up 2 games to 0 before Houston stormed back to win three straight. Astros can win the championship with a win Tuesday  or Wednesday, both at home. This was the first time Washington has hosted a WS game in 86 years. If I recall, it was chilly that night.

5. MOTORSPORTS: City nixes Formula One racing at Hard Rock: Formula One racing must be getting the idea Miami doesn't like it. In 2017 a proposed F1 race in downtown Miami failed to get green-lit. This week the city of Miami Gardens voted against allowing an annual race at Hard Rock Stadium and nearby streets. Too bad. Race isn't dead yet, though. Just stalled?

6. NBA: League tilts West (again) as season begins: As the NBA tries to leave its China mess behind with an actual season, prepare to stay up very late, East Coasters, to watch the best play, because the two top teams in the league might be Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers and LeBron James' L.A. Lakers. As if that city didn't have a big enough ego already? 

7. PANTHERS: Overtime woes continues to plague Florida: Eleven games into the new NHL season the Cats are 5-6, four of the L's in overtime. Panthers can't win in extra time and new star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has been so-so, yet Cats are close to .500. Good sign?

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women ready for tip off: Miami's men's team, 14-18 last season to end a five-year streak of reaching the postseason, plays an exhibition Wednesday before  opening Nov. 5 at home vs. No. 5 Louisville. The Canes women, 25-9 and ranked No. 20 last year and with preseason ACC Player of the Year Beatrice Mompremier back, open Nov. 10.

9. SOCCER: MLS playoffs down to final four: The Major League Soccer playoffs -- will Inter Miami be in them in a year? -- are down to the semifinals: Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles FC and Toronto FC vs. Atlanta United. Only LAFC, which ousted Zlatan Imbrahimovic's L.A. Galaxy, have ever won a title.

10. NASCAR: Playoff field eight to four to Homestead: The advancing eight drivers will have three races to determine the final four heading to Homestead for the Nov. 17 season finale. The current frontrunneres: Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. Vrooom!

Missing the HB10 cut: The Coach Watch continues with MLS expansion team Inter Miami, which hopes to hire its first coach very soon. Club has been linked to former Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari ..... Tom Brady appeared in a Netflix film walking out of a massage parlor, but said it was not a spoofy jab at the travails of Pats owner Robert Kraft. Nobody believed him ..... MLB umpire Rob Drake threatened in a tweet to buy an assault rifle and join a civil war if Donald Trump is impeached. Drake immediately deleted the tweet and apologized for being an a--hole ..... MIchigan State is No. 1 and Florida No. 6 in the AP's men's college hoops preseason poll ..... Conor McGregor returns to UFC in January. Do we still give a s---? ..... Wishing Mark Richt a full recovery from his recent heart attack ..... Breeders' Cup is next weekend, a biggie in horse racing ..... The NFL fall meeting took place at Fort Lauderdale's Ritz Carlton hotel, because that league has more money than God ..... Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman yelled profane stuff at a female reporter in support of a player tied to domestic violence. Houston fired him for being an idiot ..... O.J. McDuffie, Roberto Luongo and Tamara James are newest inductees into the Broward Sports Hall of Fame. If I have to explain who they are, they probably shouldn't be in ..... Update: Countdown now 2,429 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Previous other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Deba0te / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 25, 2019

Butler didn't show ... but Winslow sure did! Our column from Miami Heat Opening Night; plus our NFL Week 8 picks, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 7 results & more

1) It's FRIDAY OCTOBER 25. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall in Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

BUTLER DIDN'T SHOW BUT WINSLOW SURE DID AS HEAT OPEN SEASON:  The Miami Heat’s 32nd regular season unwrapped itself strangely Wednesday night in the downtown bayside arena. It was the missing persons who made it weird. Miami icon Dwyane Wade: Retired, not beginning an NBA season for the first time since 2002, a franchise moving on from its most beloved
Jwinfigure. New star and big offseason acquisition Jimmy Butler: Absent, shockingly and mysteriously missing his own grand opening for "personal reasons." Dion Waiters: Suspended, not there because of conduct detrimental to the team, a sign affixed to the nameplate above his empty locker rather incongruously reading, ‘Absolute Respect.’ And James Johnson: Inactive on account of "Conditioning," a kinder way of saying the dude showed up out of shape. Wade we knew would be missing, of course. The other three? Those you sort of hoped might be available for the launch of your season as the Memphis Grizzlies visited. Didn’t matter, it turned out. The night began with Butler’s absence the theme. But it ended with the declaration of Justise Winslow’s full arrival in a 120-101 Heat victory seized on a 24-1 fourth quarter run. The continued ascension of Winslow (pictured), now in his fifth season but still only 23, is seen as a key to this season -- and he left little doubt Wednesday that he’s up to a co-starring role with Butler. Winslow was quite magnificent, with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and tenacious defense. He was, palpably, the team leader. He looked like a man introducing himself as a rising star. For my full column from the arena off a strange but ultimately uplifting Heat Opening Night, visit Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star. For our earlier Heat column, visit Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins.

Other most recent columns: Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins / and Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

PicksDOLPHINS-STEELERS, GAME OF THE WEEK, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 8 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid start to our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the winless Dolphins cover the huge point spread in Pittsburgh Monday night? Who won honors for Game of the Week? Can we start another Upset of the Week streak? Answers to all of that and more may be found in the motherlode of prognostication that is our NFL Week 8 Gems. We were a bit off last week (8-6 overall, 5-9 vs. the spread), but aim to rebound this time. Our week got off to a split start last night as Vikings beat Redskins, 19-9. Had the win, but misfired on them not covering a 16-point line. Rally time. Let's go!

LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 7: TOUGH, HEARTBREAK, WIN!: NFL picks -- Tough. Our worst week yet in a solid season saw us manage 8-6 overall and (oy) 5-9 against the spread. Our Upset of the Week streak derailed badly with our Falcons over Rams misfire. We had Dolphins-with-points in Buffalo and Saints to cover at Chicago; otherwise, not much went right. Rally time! ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Heartbreak. Greg's Lobos fell to 3-4 in the worst way possible, 98.5 to 98, when Roy Bellamy's Jamison Crowder caught a very late, meaningless pass Monday night. We'd surged ahead behind Sony Michel's 22.4 points only to lose by an iota at the end. Now we must navigate the temporary loss of Patrick Mahomes. We're tied for ninth, midpack, but still thinking playoffs with six weeks left. 'Cause Lobos don't quit! ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Win! Lobos are now 4-3 with a third straight win, a 122-106 victory over the league's previously last unbeaten team. The Vikings came through for me, with 28 from Dalvin Cook and 22 from Stefon Diggs. Had four others in the 14-16 points range. (Welcome back, Saquon). We're tied for fourth and thinking playoffs. Go 'Bos!

Previous other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 22, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 55.2% after 31-21 loss at Buffalo -- another season high as pro-tanking crowd grows; plus Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Heat Opening Week, my Canes/Diaz column & more

1) It's TUESDAY OCTOBER 22. See previous blogpost for results of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall to Georgia Tech with my column and CSM poll & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our Canes column on bad loss, Diaz's excuse: An awful home loss to 18-point underdog Georgia Tech, 28-21 in OT, dropped the Hurricanes to 3-4 Saturday, and coach Manny Diaz was suddenly talking about a "rebuild." No sale. Lousy excuse, Manny. For my column from the stadium, visit Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech. Also, voting continues online all day in the Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

My NFL Week 7 picks: Will the winless Dolphins cover the enormous point spread in Buffalo? Who'll prevail in our Game of the Week? Can we keep our Upset of the Week streak alive? Answers to all of that and more in the gridiron motherlode that is our NFL Week 7 Gems.

Other most recent columns: LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat.

MiabufG6: BUFFALO 31, DOLPHINS 21: STILL WINLESS, BUT ... GOOD TRY?: Vote in our Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. Original post: Cannot confirm but I hear the Dolphins didn't take a plane to Buffalo — they drove a tank. But, seriously: Winless tanking-suspect Miami switching from Josh Rosen back to Ryan Fitzpatrick is an indication that rookie coach Brian Flores is A) wishy-washy, or B) actually trying to win. (Maybe both?) Thing is, for Miami this year, trying to win and winning seem Doltanka world apart, and that's the case again today as 0-5 Fins visit 4-1 Buffs. Fitzbeardrick gives Miami a better shot today at 1, but it’s slight. Buffalo, off a bye, presents really strong defense to a Fins offense averaging fewer points per game (8.4) than any NFL team has averaged over a full season since 1977. The Beard will be under sack-attack all day. The upset hope — more likely the beating-point-spread hope — is that Miami’s D won’t be overwhelmed by a mediocre Buffs offense. Or that Bills QB Josh Allen (seven INTs, two lost fumbles) will charitably continue his proneness to turnovers. Dolphins have lost 17 of last 19 road games to teams with winning record, and that won’t change in Billsville. But I do lean to Miami covering a very big point spread for what should be a score-shy game. Cote’s pick: Buffalo, 23-10. Click NFL Week 7 Gems for all our latest picks. And watch for the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll right after today's game ends.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6 55.2%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 55.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 31-21 loss at Buffalo putting Miami’s season record at 0-6. That's another season high in an odd year in which DSM voting reflects the sizable influence of "Tanking for Tua" voters among Dolfans who would otherwise likely be very disappointed overall. In its 12th season, 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. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 8:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

Next poll: Oct. 28 following game at Pittsburgh.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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. HEAT: It's Opening Week for Miami's regular season: The Heat's 32nd NBA season, d.b.a. Year 1 of the Jimmy Butler era, opens Wednesday night at home vs. Memphis. That's after an encouraging preseason in which Miami was 4-0 with a plus-75 points differential before closing with a loss vs. Houston Friday night. Can the Butler do it? Front a playoff team? The cloud: Dion Waiters suspended for the opener for, essentially, pouting and childish behavior.

2. HURRICANES: Ugh. UM embarrassed in home to Ga-Tech: Manny Diaz had an excuse. He said after Miami's 28-21 OT loss to 18-point underdog Georgia Tech that this was a"rebuild" season. Uh oh. No sale. Lousy excuse. This team can't put away bad opponents and should be better than 3-4. Period.

3. DOLPHINS: Fins tease but stay winless in Buffalo: Miami was the NFL's biggest underdog this week (although by now that may go without saying), but gave it a decent shot in a 31-21 loss Sunday. Fins are 0-6 now but led much of Sunday's game. Alas, in the NFL, you get no points for "good try."

4. MLB: It's Nationals vs. Astros, and I'm World Serious: World Series Game 1 is tonight/Tuesday after Nationals swept Cardinals 4-0 and Astros eliminated Yankees 4-2 on last night's walkoff homer by tiny Jose Altuve. The Astros won the World Series in 2017. Washington last cheered a World Series champion (then the Senators) in 1924. If you aren't living in downtown Houston or related to an Astro, you'd better be rooting for the Nats.

5. INJURIES: Loss of Mahomes, Zion rocks two leagues: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, reigning NFL MVP, and Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, NBA overall No. 1 draft pick, will miss several weeks with knee injuries. People immediately calling Zion the next Greg Oden: Chill, please. 

6. NBA: LeBron drags himself into China mess: Lakers star LeBron James embroiled himself in NBA's China controversy by criticizing Rockets GM Daryl Morey, whose tweet in support of Hong Kong protests started this. James called Morey "misinformed." No. It's called "freedom of expression," LeBron.

7. PANTHERS: Cats back home after needed win: Panthers with a much-needed 3-2 shootout win in Nashville Saturday night are now 3-5 on the season with three OT losses. Cats are back home tonight/Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh looking to get on a run. Or a skate?

8. SOCCER: New-look MLS playoffs underway: The 14-team, three-week Major League Soccer playoffs got underway Saturday with a new single-elimination, win-or-done format. So the one-year countdown has begun to Inter Miami's first playoff game. Right, David Beckham?

9. INTER MIAMI: Getting close on coach, players: Miami's MLS expansion team set to begin play in 2020 plans to hire its first head coach by the end of October and begin adding players in November. This Thursday, Miami city commission takes (another!) vote related to team's Miami Freedom Park stadium plan. Games, please. Can't wait for spring!

10. NASCAR: Playoff field pares to eight: Sunday at Kansas, NASCAR's current 12-man playoff field pared to eight surviving drivers. The prize: A chance to win the season championship Nov,. 17 at Homestead in South Florida's final year hosting the grand finale.

Missing the HB10 cut: MLB is considering a plan that would eliminate 40 of its 160 minor-league teams. Fortunately, the Miami Marlins are thought to be safe ..... Update: Countdown now 2,436 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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Twitter @gregcote