September 16, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 83.0% after rout of Bethune-Cookman; also sad Dolphins shut out by New England, NFL Week 2 picks, odds for ex-Canes, Fins on 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

1) It's MONDAY SEPTEMBER 16. R.I.P. Ric Ocasek, 75. His group The Cars were very big in  my life when I was in my 20s and always held a place in my memory and heart. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 2 picks, yes Dolphins are tanking and yes they should & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksOur NFL Week 2 picks: Will the Miami Dolphins lose by less than the epic 18 1/2-point betting line on Sunday? What is our Game of the Week. Who are our upset winners? Find out that and more by visiting Week 2 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

Other most recent work: Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Also: It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Herald Week 1 QB Rankings / The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that (game column from opening loss).

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 83.0%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 83.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 63-0 UM home Csmvictory over Bethune-Cookman putting the Hurricanes' season record at 1-2 overall and 0-1 in 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 announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10 a.m. today/Monday.

2019 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.

Next poll: Sept. 21 following game vs. Central Michigan.

BcmiaG3: BETHUNE-COOKMAN AT HURRICANES: NAME YOUR SCORE: I know in the NFL very occasionally you see a crazy score like, say, 59-10. (Sorry, Dolphins). But generally speaking you don't get many silly-sized routs in the pros like you see too much in the college game, when major schools play small schools that have no shot. It is why I prefer the NFL. Which brings us to the Miami Hurricanes hosting Bethune-Cookman Saturday at 4 in UM's home opener at Hard Rock. Miami has played B-C four times this decade (most recently in 2017), and the Canes have won all four by a combined 169-37. Could have been worse. That involved a bunch of clear the bench and foot off the gas pedal. This could be more of a classic, thorough butt-whippin' because, at 0-2 for the first time since 1978, Manny Diaz and Miami are frustrated and eager to take it out on ... anybody. I'd be shocked if the final score was remotely close. If B-C had even half of Miami's score. So you're up, B-C Wildcats. The designated punching bag and stress relief for the Canes' early-season frustration. So I'll say it now, Wildcats. I'm sorry for your loss. Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 61-0.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: VOTE NOW!: Time again for the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, this in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 43-0 DsmDolphins home loss to New England putting Miami's season record at 0-2. 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 official results. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

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

G2: Voting now underway following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

NemiaG2: NEW ENGLAND AT DOLPHINS: LET US PRAYMiami is one of eight home underdogs in NFL Week 2, and oh what a dog! Combo of last week’s humiliating 59-10 opening loss to Baltimore and New England being New England has left Dolphins getting 18 1/2 points Sunday at 1. Perspective: That’s biggest NFL spread since 2007, and one of only three times in past 30 years a road team has been favored by this much. Interesting subplots: Brian Flores coaching against his former team, and Antonio Brown’s debut (maybe) for Pats. Oh, and will ornery Bill Belichick want to run it up for the way Miami stunningly beat his team here last season on that late 69-yard miracle lateral-fest? Would it shock for Fins to lose by 30-plus? Nope. But Miami is on a 5-1 run at home vs. Tom Brady, and I’m hunching that whatever pride wasn’t beaten out of the Dolphins last week will be marshaled for a credible performance that beats not the Patriots (don't be silly), but at least the point spread. Cote's pick: Patriots, 34-17. (Click Week 2 Gems for all our latest NFL picks).

ELEVEN EX-CANES, FINS ON 2020 HALL BALLOT: WE HANDICAP THEIR CHANCES: Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed its 122 contenders for 2020 induction into Canton, a list that includes six Ejamesformer Dolphins and five ex-Canes. The mass will be pared to 25 semifinalists in November and then 15 finalists in January, who'll be voted on for induction during Super Bowl Week in Miami. None of the 11 locals is a good bet to get to Canton, but here's how we see them stacking up in terms of at least making the cut to 25: Best chance: Edgerrin James (pictured), because the former UM running back was a finalist in 2019. Decent chance: Ex-Fins LB Zach Thomas deserves Canton (as I've soapboxed many times), longtime stalwart Dolphins LT Richmond Webb has a case, and ex-Canes WR Reggie Wayne has pretty stout career numbers. A tiny shot, maybe?: Dolphins CB Troy Vincent, TE Keith Jackson and punter Reggie Roby, and Canes RB Clinton Portis and TE Jeremy Shockey. Nah, sorry: Punters Jeff Feagles and Matt Turk. 

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Tankier and tankier as Fins crushed again: Miami was an 18 1/2 point underdog. On the bright side, the Dolphins could lose by double that point spread and still come closer than they did in last week's 59-10 loss. That's what I wrote. And it happened. Patriots, 43-0. Can Miami just concede the final 14 games? Please? 

2. HURRICANES: Thank you, Bethune-Cookman. The Canes needed that: Honestly, I wrote that headline Thursday afternoon. But if the Canes do anything but win comfortably Saturday, just go ahead and cancel the rest of UM's season. They won 63-0. That'll suffice. 

3. BASKETBALL: Team USA gags in awful FIBA World Cup performance: Stunner! Team USA was beaten by France and will play for seventh place Saturday in the FIBA Wold Cup in China -- worst finish ever by an American team that included NBA players. Why? Of 35 players originally selected for the U.S. player pool, only four were in China.

4. INTER MIAMI: Messi-to-Miami rumors heating up?: Soccer rumors that bloom and disseminate from Europe and and South America can be notoriously unreliable. Still, there seems to be traction to the notion Barcelona star Lionel Messi could be considering a late-career move to MLS with the new Miami team. Yes, please. Yes. Please!

5. HORSE RACING: Scandal engulfs Triple Crown winner Justify: New York Times reported that 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test one month before the '18 Kentucky Derby, and that the California Horse Racing Board decided to dismiss the case after the colt went on to win the Triple Crown. Shame, shame. Giant asterisk for the record book please.

6. BASEBALL: Going, going ... MLB sets all-time home run record: Baseball broke its all-time home run record with two weeks to spare when the 6,106th was hit this week. Oh, but the ball isn't joined. No way! 

7. PANTHERS: Cats, full of hope, open NHL training camp: The non-superstitious Florida Panthers and new coach Joel Quenneville open training camp on Friday the 13th, working toward the first of eight preseason games this Monday at Nashville. Playoffs or bust, Cats. Excuses all gone.

8. MARLINS: Fish hurtling toward most-losses mark as season wanes: Miami's club-record 108 losses set in 1998 is in play as Marlins play out the string. Currently in midst of a West Coast swing, Miami's final homestand in Sept. 20-22 before ending (mercifully) with seven straight on road.

9. HEAT: Miami announces training camp dates: The new Jimmy Butler-led Heat announced they'd hold preseason training camp Oct. 1-5 at Keiser University in West Palm Beach, after media day Sept. 30. The first of five Heat preseason games is scheduled Oct. 8 vs. San Antonio.

10. SERENA WILLIAMS: She parties after U.S. Open finals loss: Serena rented out a New York Mexican restaurant and partied with friends 'til the wee hours after losing the U.S. Open final to again be denied a record-tying 24th major. Why do I have the feeling I want her to get that record more than she does? 

Missing the HB10 cut: Antonio Brown, just on general principle ..... Sentences I Never Imagined Writing, one in a series: "LeBron James denied trademark application for phrase 'Taco Tuesday' ..... Hated to see Christian Yelich lost injured for rest of season, and in Miami no less ..... Chess World Cup underway in Russia, in case watching paint dry has proved too exciting for you ..... World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships have begun in Azerbaijan. That's like regular gymnastics, only more ridiculous ..... Update: Countdown now 2,471 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / 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 / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / 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 / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

September 12, 2019

Our NFL Week 2 picks are out, right here!: plus why overt, all-in tanking is best thing Dolphins have done in 20 years. Latest column; also, tonight's Bucs-Panthers pick & more

1) It's THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12. A day later, a month later, #NeverForget 9/11. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Quit whining! Dolphins smart to tank, will Fins get good in time to save Shula's legacy?, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 1 results, Herald Week 1 NFL QB rankings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksHEY IT'S OUR NFL WEEK 2 PICKS!: Off our record-setting 2018 season, we're back today in our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald with our Week 2 selections. Will the Dolphins cover that epic 18 1/2-point spread against the Patriots? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 2 Gems. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print. Visit Week 2 Thursday Gem for tonight's Bucs-Panthers pick). We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the point spread. Last we got off to a rough start at 8-7-1 overall and 6-10 against the spread, so, as with the Dolphins, there (probably) is nowhere to go but up! Let's see.

DoltankQUIT WHINING! DOLPHINS TANKING IS BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO THIS FRANCHISE IN 20 YEARS. NEW COLUMN: The hysteria surrounding the Miami Dolphins as they climb out from under the avalanche of the season opener and await the tsunami of Game 2 is quite unlike anything we have seen down here. I’m not sure whether to laugh out loud or simply shake my head in incredulity. The Dolphins are really bad, OK? A natural disaster. Deal with it. Except nobody seems to be dealing with it very well. Too many fans are acting like they didn;t see this coming. Too many Dolphins players (based on reports) are crying to their agents about wanting out. Fans and players alike need to understand that Miami's overt tanking -- whether they want to admit it publicly or not -- is the best, boldest, most foresightful thing this franchise has done in 20 years. It is pain now for better days ahead. I explore all of this in my latest column. Please visit Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should.

Our other most recent work: Week 2 Thursday Gem (Bucs-Panthers pick) / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Herald Week 1 QB Rankings / The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that (game column from opening loss).

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / 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 / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / 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 / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

September 11, 2019

Yes Dolphins are tanking, and yes they should. New column; plus can Fins save Shula's legacy?, Bucs-Panthers Thursday pick, 9/11 #NeverForget, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 1 results, Herald Week 1 QB Rankings & more

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11. The season-opening Dolfan Satisfaction Meter result is in, with a low (but interesting) total. Scroll down to the blogpost immediately below for details. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crushed by Baltimore in opener with DSM poll, final CSM results, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

911
IT WAS 18 YEARS AGO TODAY. #NEVERFORGET

 

Our Bucs-Panthers Week 2 Thursday pick: Jameis Winston at Cam Newton. And the winner is... visit Week 2 Thursday Gem to find out who, and why.

My column from Dolphins' 59-10 opening loss: It was not as brutal as the score suggests. It was more so. Welcome to the weirdest season, where being really, really bad can be really, really good. For my column from the stadium, visit The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that.

MIAMI HERALD WEEK 1 NFL QB RANKINGS: Out now! Who's No. 1? Is Ryan Fitzpatrick so far down we need a pickaxe and a flashlight to find him? Visit Herald Week 1 QB Rankings.

DoltankQUIT WHINING! DOLPHINS TANKING IS BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO THIS FRANCHISE IN 20 YEARS. NEW COLUMN: The hysteria surrounding the Miami Dolphins as they climb out from under the avalanche of the season opener and await the tsunami of Game 2 is quite unlike anything we have seen down here. I’m not sure whether to laugh out loud or simply shake my head in incredulity. The Dolphins are really bad, OK? A natural disaster. Deal with it. Except nobody seems to be dealing with it very well. Too many fans are acting like they didn;t see this coming. Too many Dolphins players (based on reports) are crying to their agents about wanting out. Fans and players alike need to understand that Miami's overt tanking -- whether they want to admit it publicly or not -- is the best, boldest, most foresightful thing this franchise has done in 20 years. It is pain now for better days ahead. I explore all of this in my latest column. Please visit Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should.

DonbillDEFENDING SHULA'S LEGACY AGAINST THE BELICHICK ONSLAUGHT: This is the historical subtext as the Dolphins and Patriots prepare this week to meet again Sunday in Miami. From a micro view the matchup is about Fins coach Brian Flores facing his former team, about how bad the rebuilding Dolphins are after losing their opener to Baltimore 59-10 and about this season’s impact on the 2020 draft. But the emotional heft of Dolphins-Patriots is in the broader view. The only way for Miami to protect Don Shula’s all-time NFL career wins record and legacy will be to see this arduous rebuild flourish and finally end the Patriots’ reign. Not Sunday. But someday. And soon. The Dolphins must find their long-elusive quarterback and start to win again, at the Patriots' expense. That is all that can stop Belichick, who at this pace could surpass Shula's hallowed mark as soon as 2023. I explore all of this in my recent column. To read it, please visit It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy. (Shula and Belichick are pictured circa 1992-93, as Shula zeroed in on the all-time wins record and a few years before Belichick would take over the Patriots and begin his methodical march toward The Don's record).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 1: NFL picks--Rough start. After a record-setting season last year, we opened Week 1 at 8-7-1 overall and 6-10 against the spread. Early days. LeBatard Show fantasy--Ouch. Greg's Lobos led entering Monday night behind Patrick Mahomes' 33 points but fell to Stugotz, 114-88. Friends n' family fantasy--Better. Lobos coasted to 128-83 rout led by Deshaun Watson's 30.

LousabanOH MY! THE RARITY OF CANES, FINS' EARLY STRUGGLES: The Hurricanes have begun the football season 0-2 and the Dolphins 0-1. So what, you say? It's actually a pretty big deal historically. Or a pretty rare deal, at least. The last time it happened was 1978, which was the last time the Canes started 0-2 and the Dolphins also lost their opener that season. And it happened only one other time, in 1975. So that's two instances of 0-2 UM/0-1 Dolphins in the 54 seasons since the Dolphins were born. An anomaly, but one I found notable. (Pictured: Canes coach Lou Saban, in 1978. Click on image to see larger version).

Our most recent other columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / 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.

Select other recent columns: Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QB / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

September 10, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 18.3%. Low (but interesting) result after 59-10 loss to Baltimore; plus my column from game, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), CSM results final following Canes loss, NFL Week 1 picks & more

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose at North Carolina with CSM postgame poll, our NFL Week 1 predictions, your verdict on my fantasy team & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

My column from Dolphins' 59-10 opening loss: It was not as brutal as the score suggests. It was more so. Welcome to the weirdest season, where being really, really bad can be really, really good. For my column from the stadium, visit The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that.    

Canes postgame poll results final: Voting in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll has ended with the approval rating plummeting as expected following the 28-25 loss at North Carolina. Scroll to previous blogpost for details.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 18.3%: Results are  certified to open the 12th season of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 18.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon’s 59-10 loss to the Dsmvisiting Baltimore Ravens in the Fins’ season opener. It was the most points ever allowed in a Dolphins home game, the low but perhaps better than expected DSM likely owing to the Tank for Tua wing of the fandom. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today. Online voting determines official results, although you may also vote on Twitter @gregcote, where the vote was 57% approval.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

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

Next poll: Sept. 15 following game vs. New England.

G1: BALTIMORE 59, @DOLPHINS 10: ONLY THING WORSE THAN FINS' PERFORMANCE? MY PICK!: Original post: "AAAWWWK!" shrieks the Upset Bird, ushering in the 2019 season with a big-bang pick. "Tanking schmanking. BalmiaAawwk!" OK, here’s the thing. Repeat after me: "The Miami Dolphins will not be as bad as you think." I am about the only media-ite saying this — locally or nationally. The view is kind of scary from way up here out on the limb, but that’s all right. Imagine being the Dolphins right now. You spend the whole offseason and preseason hearing and reading about how lousy you are. About tanking and no talent and eve-of-season trades that diminished that talent even further in the name of rebuilding and draft capital. Well, there are two ways to respond: 1) With dejection, dissension and self defeat. Or 2) The way I see Miami responding today/Sunday, which is to show that this maligned, mocked, written-off team is very capable of winning five to seven games in a parity-soaked league. So, yeah, give me the home-’dog upset on a hunch here. Dolphins were 6-2 at home last season and have the anger and intangible edge here. More tangibly, Baltimore had some key free agency losses on defense, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kenyan Drake — even behind a mishmash O-line — could have opportunities. Also think Miami’s defensive line depth and secondary will come through Sunday against the big challenge of dual-threat Lamar Jackson. Yes, this pick is a big swing that could miss badly, but, like the Black Eyed Peas in 2009, I gotta feeling. "Fergie! Dolphins limited ownership partner! Thataway to tie it all together," notes a grinning, nodding Upset Bird. "Tank schmank. AAWWK!" Cote's pick: Dolphins 23, Baltimore 20.

[Click on Week 1 Gems for all of our NFL Kickoff Weekend predictions].

Our most recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / 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.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Ready or not (not!), Miami falls hard in season opener: The media and betting consensus is that the Dolphins will be worst-in-the league bad this season. Tanking is assumed after a fire sale of veterans in exchange for future draft picks. Some have even floated 0-16 as a possibility. I alone, it seems, thought otherwise. Saw Miami as a five-to-seven win team and even predicted the Fins would upset the Ravens in Sunday's opener here. Um, Ravens won 59-10. Only thing worse than the Dolphins' performance was my pick. And even that's a close call.

2. HURRICANES: Ouch! UM 0-2 after blowing late lead at North Carolina: This head coaching thing ain't so easy, huh Manny Diaz? Canes are 0-2 for the first time since 1978 after last night's 28-25 loss at Chapel Hill. The U trailed much of the game, led late, then blew it, although QB Jarren Williams was great. Pretty bad when your season feels derailed two games in.

3. TENNIS: Serena falls short again, Nadal wins thriller to close U.S. Open: Serena Williams tried again for a record-tying 24th career major win Saturday but stunningly fell to barely known Canadian Bianca Andreescu, 19. (Begins to make you wonder if she'll ever get the record...) Old stalwart Rafael Nadal won the men's crown Sunday in a five-set thriller over Russian Daniil Medvedev.

4. NFL: Antonio Brown drama takes wild turn as season kicks off: First Sunday of NFL's 100th season kicks off today, and the lead story? The Oakland Raiders managing to botch the Antonio Brown situation to such a colossal degree they release the Pro Bowl receiver and he signs with ... of course ... the New England Bleepin' Patriots! If only I were kidding.

5. BASKETBALL: Team USA turns back the Greek Freak: Team USA is now 4-0 and onto the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup in China after Saturday beating Greece and its NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo 69-53 in their toughest test yet, led by Kemba Walker's 15 points. Coach Gregg Popovich's guys have not always looked great thus far, but expectations of another U.S. world title seem increasingly justified. Yanks play Brazil today.

6. SOCCER: Huge Miami crow for Brazil-Colombia: Brazil and Neymar drew a sellout of 65,232 to Hard Rock Stadium Friday night for a 2-2 draw with Colombia in a national teams friendly. Will the Dolphins draw as many to Sunday's season opener? Let's see, shall we? 

7. MARLINS: Yelich visit on deck as Fish play out the string: Stinkin' Fish are 51-91 in midst of a 7-game homestand. Christian Yelich and the Brewers are here for four starting Monday -- yet another sad reminder of all the stars Miami once had -- then Marlins play 13 of last 16 on road to end season. Meantime Marlins' Brian Moran in his MLB debut struck out his brother Thursday, first time ever a pitcher in his debut K'd his own bro.

8. PANTHERS: Cats and hockey are back on the radar: Infused with an accomplished new coach in Joel Quenneville and a top-tier goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida's now-or-bust season unfurls this week. Cats host rookie camp Tuesday and Wednesday, media day Thursday, then full training camp beginning (superstitious people look away) Friday the 13th. Is this finally the Panthers' year? (Have we asked that before?)

9. HEAT: Arisons donate to Hurricane Dorian relief: Micky Arison's Carnival cruise ships make millions bringing tourists to the Bahamas, so it was only fitting the Heat's owner donated $1 million and use of one of his ships to hurricane relief for that devastated area. Micky's other passion, the Heat, opens preseason training camp soon. In other news, Pat Riley was partying with retiree Dwayne Wade on a yacht in St. Tropez, dancing while dressed like Aladdin. Or, did that go without saying?

10.DWYANE WADE: Ex-Heat star will work out with LeBron: Retiree Dwyane Wade, says he'll be on the court with LeBron and the Lakers working out often before games this season. Wade, who is now lives in suburban Los Angeles, said he plans to work out with his former teammate before games, both at the Lakers' training facility in El Segundo and at Staples. "I just want to stay around it and be as involved as I can," says D-Wade. Hmm. Comeback with Lakers a matter of time?

Missing the HB10 cut: The Ironman 70.3 World Championships were held Saturday in France. I'd planned to compete, but decided at the last minute to wait in a long line for one of those Popeye's chicken sandwiches instead ..... The Chess World Cup begins Monday in Russia. Chess is the game/sport for folks not smart enough to play checkers ..... Update: Countdown now 2,478 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QB / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

September 07, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 15.7%. Approval plummets with 28-25 loss at North Carolina in ACC opener. Vote now!; plus our NFL Week 1 picks, your verdict on my fantasy team, Le Batard Show fantasy draft & more

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins trade Tunsil in blockbuster deal, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 15.7%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 15.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 28-25 loss at North Carolina in Miami's ACC opener, putting UM's season record at 0-2 overall and 0-1 in 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. You may vote here in the blog, elsewhere online, and also at Twitter.com/gregcote (where the approval was 18%). Online/blog voting determine the weekly verdict, which is announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

Next poll: Sept. 14 following game vs. Bethune-Cookman.

UmuncG2: HURRICANES @ NORTH CAROLINA: PRESSURE ON CANES TO SEAL ROAD WIN IN ACC OPENER: It's one thing to fall narrowly to a top-10 Florida in a a neutral-site opener. It would be quite another to be a road favorite at North Carolina in your ACC opener and lose again. Losing to the Gators stung, but Mdiazlosing this one would make it feel like a season of high hopes had gone completely off the rails two games in. That is why more pressure is on Miami now than there was in the ballyhooed opener. That makes tonight/Saturday at 8 in Chapel Hill as close to a must-win as you could want in early September, especially for coach Manny Diaz and quarterback Jarren Williams. The Canes in general must look sharper, readier, after slopping through 14 penalties for 118 yards against UF and allowing 10 sacks. The betting line opened with Miami favored by 6 points but dove to 3 1/2 before settling back up at 5, the movement indicative of a betting public still unsure what to make of the Canes. UM crushed UNC 47-10 last year in the midst of a 2-9 Tar Heels season. This won't be as easy, with ESPN's Football Power Index putting Miami's win-likelihood at a modest 63.1 percent. I like UM tonight without much reservation. Coming off a bye after the early Aug. 24 opener, The U should ride defensive domination to a comfy if not quite rout-y win. Interesting side note: Mack Brown begins his second coaching stint with the Heels. He's best known as the Texas head coach in 1998-2013, where one of his proteges was defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Diaz worked under Brown three seasons before being abruptly fired in '13. That checks one more box for why Diaz wants this win like a big dog wants that meaty bone. Diaz is pictured left using index fingers to signal the won-lost record Miami absolutely must have coming out of this game. Cote's pick: Hurricanes 27, North Carolina 16.

Picks RavenIT'S UPSET BIRD WEEK IN AMERICA! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season, we begin our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald by today revealing our 2019 Week 1 selections for Dolphins-Ravens, Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and all the rest. Could Miami actually be among my three big upset picks? To find out please visit Week 1 Gems. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print. Visit Week 1 Thursday Gem for last night's Packers-Bears pick, a misfire by us, alas). We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the point spread. Pictured: Our "How the Darts Landed" picks logo, and a charcoal rendering of the Upset Bird, the mysterious, never-photographed Corvus corax who serves as our prognosticatory sidekick and seer on all upset picks. 

Our most recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / 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.

FANTASY VOTES ARE IN AND YOU LOVED MY TEAM MOST! (NO, SERIOUSLY): Had our PFPI Fantasy friends 'n family league draft earlier this week, a 10-team PPR league that had a snake draft. The exact order was shown in a blind poll, and we invited you to vote which team you would most like to have based on each team's first five picks. Almost 800 votes had been cast when we closed it off this morning. Your results, with each team's first pick shown:

FfTeam 1: Saquon Barkley -- 25.91%. That's my team! Thanks for the support. Hope y'all are right!

Team 7: DeAndre Hopkins -- 16.84%. That's Michael, my youngest son.

Team 3: Alvin Kamara -- 13.73%. That's Brandon, a friend.

Team 4: Ezekiel Elliott -- 9.46%. That's Alex, a friend. (This vote total spiked after Zeke finally signed).

Team 2: Christian McCaffrey -- 8.94%. That's Joe, a nephew.

Team 9: David Johnson -- 6.61%. That's Earleen, my wife. Tied with below.

Team 10: Patrick Mahomes -- 6.61%. That's Dick, my brother. Tied with above.

Team 5: Tyreek Hill -- 5.05%. That's Christopher, my oldest son, from the Le Batard Show. Ouch.

Team 8: Travis Kelce -- 4.66%. That's Christie, my daughter-in-law, Chris' wife.

Team 6: Le'Veon Bell -- 2.20%. That's Cori, Christie's sister. Sorry, Cori. Exceed expectations!

GlobosLe Batard Show draft: We had our Le Batard Show "League of Lobos" draft last evening and it was a clusterf---, to be honest. There are too many teams (18), too many fraud-teams were auto-drafting, and inexplicably the draft order changed minutes before the draft, with me dropping from the 11th pick to the 16th. I got Patrick Mahomes 16th and Mike Evans after that, but this season could be a struggle. We'll have weekly updates on-air and in this space, so stay tuned. #WeAreTheLobos

Select other recent columns: Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QB / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

September 04, 2019

Fantasy family! Poll! Which of these teams would you most like to have in PPR league based on 1st 5 picks. Last day to vote!; plus NFL picks return this week & more

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins trade Tunsil in blockbuster deal, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Picks"Aaawwwk!" NFL picks return this week!: Our 29th season of NFL predictions returns this week. A Miami Herald fixture since 1991, our picks appear in print every Friday and online Thursday afternoons. Our Thursday night pick appears that day in print and online today/Wednesday. We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the betting line. Can we slay the evil point spread again this season? Come along for the ride and find out starting this week!

The Tunsil trade column: Losing Laremy Tunsil really hurts, but getting two first-round pick and second was too much to turn down. Please visit Trading Tunsil Hurts,But Dolphins Won This Deal.

Our Dolphins and Hurricanes preview-section columns: For our 2019 NFL Team Rankings: Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land. And mining UM history for perspective on a bold decision: Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years.

FantasyBLIND POLL: RATE MY FANTASY TEAM BASED ON FIRST 5 PICKS: On Sunday we held our PFPI Fantasy (friends and family league) draft, a 10-team PPR league that had a snake draft. The exact order is shown below; i.e., Saquon Barkley was the No. 1 overall pick. Vote which team you would most like to have based on each team's first five picks. After a couple of days of voting I'll tell you you how you ranked my team among the 10 and give you the results in order. Ready? Vote now!

Previous most recent other columns: Clowney Would Be Missing Piece in Dolphins' Emerging Plan / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

Select other recent columns: How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

September 02, 2019

Dolphins trade Tunsil in blockbuster deal. My latest column; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No. 1 and what else lands where, NFL picks return this week ("Aawwk!") & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2. Welcome, September, month of football, month of autumn. Thanks for hopefully sparing South Florida of Dorian's full wrath. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Flores' tough spot with Tunsil, Clowney trade talks, Luck's shocking retirement, Dolphins/Canes preview-section columns & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Picks"Aaawwwk!" NFL picks return this week!: Our 29th season -- hard to believe -- of NFL predictions returns this week. A Miami Herald fixture since 1991, our picks appear in print every Friday and online Thursday afternoons. Our Thursday night pick appears Thursday in print and online Wednesday. We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the betting line. Can we slay the evil point spread again this season? Come along for the ride starting this week!

THE TUNSIL TRADE: MY COLUMN: Losing Laremy Tunsil really hurts, but getting two first-round pick and second was too much to turn down. Please visit Trading Tunsil Hurts,But Dolphins Won This Deal.

Our Dolphins and Hurricanes preview-section columns: For our 2019 NFL Team Rankings: Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land. And mining UM history for perspective on a bold decision: Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years.

Previous most recent other columns: Tunsil/Clowney Trade Would Be Powderkeg for Dolphins, Flores / Clowney Would Be Missing Piece in Dolphins' Emerging Plan / and Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football. Also: Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Tunsil trade, QB decision and a season opener -- oh my!Can't say it's been dull in Finsville. Miami wrapped up a 3-1 preseason by (predictably and unfortunately) naming Ryan Fitzpatrick as starting quarterback, and then Saturday traded tackle Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Houston for two first-round picks and a second. (My column on that trade here). Club also released long snapper John Denney, a Fin since 2005. Meantime, oh yeah, the regular season starts this coming Sunday for new coach Brian Flores as the Baltimore Ravens fly into Hard Rock.

2. HURRICANES: UM out to shake Gators loss, preps for Heels in ACC opener: Canes are on the road at North Carolina in five days in a game compelling because it is UM's ACC opener and because, with Miami's opening loss to Florida, an 0-2 start would make UM's season feel derailed right out the gate. It shouldn't be a problem, folks. Miami crushed UNC last season 47-10 and the Heels seem down again. Time for coach Manny Diaz and QB Jarren Williams to bag their first career wins -- or y'all might as well not even bother coming back!

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No big surprises in Week 0/1 so far: Top 25 teams are 23-1 thus far in opening week of college football's 150th season, with Notre Dame playing tonight. And the only ranked-team loss, by No. 11 Oregon, came to another ranked team. What, you wanted Alabama and Clemson to suffer stunning defeats? Dream on, Bubba.

4. NFL: Three days until kickoff of King Sport's regular season!: As the league continues to reel from the aftershock of the sudden retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck, life goes on. The NFL's 100th season kicks off this Thursday night with Chicago hosting Green Bay. As for which two teams will cap the season in the Super Bowl Miami in hosting, let's just say if the Dolphins are one of those teams it would be a bigger stunner than Luck quitting. How about by default we just root as always for ABTP? (Anybody But The Patriots).

5. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): 'Noles, FIU, FAU all lose openers: The state's seven FBS (nee Division 1) teams limped to a combined 2-5 start in their openers, including Florida State losing at home to Boise State 36-31 and losses by both FIU (to Tulane) and FAU (at No. 5 Ohio State). No. 17 UCF won but South Florida fell hard. Seemed like our state mostly dodged a bullet with Hurricane Dorian, but five of seven teams didn't fare as well.

6. BASKETBALL: U.S. wins debut in FIBA World Cup: The two-week, 32-nation FIBA men's World Cup is underway in China, with the favored Team USA playing its first game Sunday and comfortably handling the Czech Republic, 88=67, led by Donovan Mitchell's 16 points. The U.S. remains the betting fave despite a tuneup loss to Australia last week, the first time in 13 years a U.S. team that included NBA players had lost in international play. (Then again, this is a superstar-less American roster whose biggest name probably is Kemba Walker, so...).

7. TENNIS: Djokovic, Osaka out in U.S Open at major's midpoint: No major upsets had happened yet in the in the U.S. Open -- but that was before No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic dropped the first two sets to Stan Wawrinka on Sunday then retired with a shoulder ailment, and No. 1 women's seed Naomi Osaka lost today/Monday. But Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are still alive on the men's side, while women's play finds betting favorite Serena Williams still gunning for the title. A triumph by Serena would be a record-tying 24th major for her. Go Williams, go! 

8. MARLINS: It's official. Jeter calls season "frustrating": You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, and you don't need Derek Jeter to tell you this has been "a frustrating year." Miami, in the midst of a six-game road trip, is on a 105-loss pace entering Sunday and threatening the franchise high of 108 losses set in 1998. Six of MLB's top 100 prospects give the Marlins hope, but when will it begin to show? Meantime, thank god for the Tigers and Orioles, who make even the Fish look good. Well, less awful.

9. FANTASY: Gentleman (and ladies), start your drafts!: This was the biggest weekend for NFL fantasy drafts, because the closer they are to the start of the regular season, the better. You want proof? Talk to anybody whose draft was two weeks ago and who was fist-pumping with happiness to have drafted Andrew Luck.  

10. PANTHERS: Ready or not, hockey is almost back: It's getting close, puckheads. Florida Panthers will stage a two-day rookie camp Sept. 10-11, then open full training camp Sept. 13. With new star coach Joel Quenneville and new star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, hopes are high. Which means a franchise that has let its fans down way too often had better live up this time.

Missing the HB10 cut: Baseball can't even get its playoff chase right. As season wanes, only one of six divisions has a real battle for first place (Cardinals-Cubs), and the biggest wild-card question is whether the Rays will make it. Yawn ..... Countdown: No dates set yet, but Jimmy Butler and the retooled Miami Heat will open training camp in late September ..... R.I.P. Jim Langer, 71, Dolphins glory-days center ..... Update: Countdown now 2,485 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

August 31, 2019

Giving up Tunsil in trade would be huge risk for Dolphins, Flores. Latest column; plus why Clowney could be missing piece for Fins (but not for Tunsil!), Andrew Luck deserves praise for retirement call & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 31. Farewell, August, month that brings us football. Thank you for blowing Hurricane Dorian away from South Florida. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall to Gators with CSM poll result, Hot Button Top 10, why Rosen must start at QB for Dolphins, your Fitzpatrick-Rosen poll verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

NEW! DOLPHINS AND HURRICANES PREVIEW SECTION COLUMNS:

Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land: Our 2019 NFL Team Rankings.

Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years: Mining UM history for perspective on a bold decision. 

TunsilFLORES USED TO TUMULT, BUT DOLPHINS TRADING TUNSIL WOULD BE TOO MUCH: Brian Flores’ introduction to NFL head coaching has included losing a defensive tackle to an amputated arm after a truck accident; abruptly firing his offensive line coach in the middle of training camp; enduring the fallout of the club owner’s fundraiser for Donald Trump; and guiding what is expected to be the worst team in the NFL. Now, as exhibition games cede to the regular season, Flores has made the wrong choice for a starting quarterback and put the mind-set of his locker room at risk amid corrosive speculation about the future of stalwart left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Coaches have had smoother preseasons. The upside: If you believe that stuff about baptism by fire, consider Mr. Flores fully baptized. And now the hard work begins. And the hard decision, too. Choosing Ryan Fitzpatrick over Josh Rosen was easy. Low risk. But choosing whether to include Tunsil in a trade for Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney? High risk. Huge stakes. And Flores’ grip on his team in the balance. The Tunsil/Clowney cloud hovers as everything begins for real, with Tunsil pictured. To read my full most recent column, please visit Tunsil/Clowney Trade Would Be Powderkeg for Dolphins, Flores.

DOLPHINS' GRAND PLAN BECOMING CLEAR. AND CLOWNEY WOULD FITA football fan need not dive deep down the rabbit hole of analytics to know the simple truth about any NFL roster. JclowneyFour positions are paramount. Essential. They are: Quarterback, a fearsome pass rusher, a lockdown cornerback and a premier left tackle. Start with QB and place the others in any order you wish. The Miami Dolphins’ understanding of this at last has come clear. Say this much: After most of 20 years of floundering irrelevance and lurching shifts in personnel and philosophy, the franchise’s current regime at least has a plan. A clue. It is why Miami gave shutdown corner Xavien Howard, who just turned 26, a record five-year, $75.3 million contract extension through 2024. It is why left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who just turned 25, is off the board, untouchable, in terms of trade inquiries, and why his contract (still dirt-cheap on his rookie deal) surely will be extended before he becomes a free agent following the 2020 season. It is why the Dolphins presently are looking hard into a trade for disgruntled Texans pass-rush star Jadeveon Clowney, 26, and more proven-elite than even Howard or Tunsil. And it is why Miami has stocked draft capital in a hell-bent plan to claim its long elusive star quarterback in 2020, buying up into the draft order if needed, ideally to get grand prize Tua Tagovailao of Alabama. To read my entire recent column, with an emphasis on the interest in Clowney (pictured), please visit Clowney Would Be Missing Piece in Dolphins' Emerging Plan.

SAVE THE SCORN. ANDREW LUCK DESERVES PRAISE FOR HIS RETIREMENT CALLIndianapolis Colts football fans will wish they could take this back, but they cannot. It was too late the Luckmoment it happened. It stained a city in a way that can’t ever quite be scrubbed clean. Only in an age driven by the immediacy of social media could this have happened. It was during Saturday night’s Colts home preseason game. Star quarterback Andrew Luck had planned to announce the next day that he was retiring. That night, not playing, he was on the sideline enjoying himself with teammates for what would be the last time. Then the news broke during the game, and it spread faster than any wildfire. It was trending on Twitter in seconds. It was caroming throughout the stadium. When the game ended and Luck walked off the field in street clothes the fans who loved him an hour before booed him. Loudly. "I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hear it," he said, forced to make his announcement that night. "It hurt." And there you have the perfect epitaph to an NFL career cut short by choice: It hurt. That is what this sport does to a body and a mind. It hurts. It leaves scars. It makes men in their 30s limp. It leaves hands gnarled and misshapen. It cuts short lives, and sometimes makes the end of those lives torturous. Congratulations to Luck for getting out when he could, on his terms. For understanding there is more to life than football. To read my entire recent column, please visit Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football.

Previous most recent other columns: Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

August 26, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss to Florida (with column); latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), plus why Rosen should start at QB for Dolphins, Fitzpatrick vs. Rosen poll result & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 25. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, case for Rosen as Dolphins' starting QB & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our column on last night's Canes loss to Gators: Please visit Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 64.1%: Results are certified for the opening game of the 11th 1aa1csmseason of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 64.1 percent overall approval (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday night's season-opening 24-20 loss to No. 8 Florida in Orlando. That's a fairly high number following a loss. 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. You may vote here in the blog, elsewhere online here, and also at Twitter.com/gregcote (where the approval was 44%). Online voting will determine the weekly verdict, which will be announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

Next poll: Sept. 7 following game at North Carolina.

MiaflaG1: HURRICANES VS. NO. 8 FLORIDA (IN ORLANDO): DIAZ / WILLIAMS ERA OPENS AS BIG 'DOGS: What a stage for Canes rookie head coach Manny Diaz and first-time starting quarterback Jarren Williams to introduce themselves nationally to college football! Miami and old rival Florida own the nation's attention as the sport's 150th season opens with this game, alone, tonight at 7 on ESPN at the old Citrus Bowl. The erstwhile yearly state rivals haven't met since 2013, and the reunion finds the No. 8-ranked Gators big 7-point favorites coming off a 10-3 season capped by a 41-15 bowl thrashing of Michigan. Miami by contrast limped to the finish at 7-6 after a 35-3 bowl loss to Wisconsin, yet expectations are high enough that UM debuts just outside the Top 25 (29th) in the preseason Associated Press poll. This game for me distills to which offense will be better able to find an answer because this matchup figures to be dominated by two strong defenses. Miami's led by linebacker Shaq Quarterman and UF's led by cornerback C.J. Henderson will be very tough to move and score on. The quarterback position alone gives Florida an edge, with Feleipe Franks' experience in contrast to Williams, whose only prior college action was three pass attempts in garbage time vs. Savannah State last year. Diaz surprised most by anointing Williams for the job over returning incumbent N'Kosi Perry and highly touted Ohio State transfer Tate Martell. Tonight we begin to see if Diaz made the right call. Cote's pick: Florida 20, Hurricanes 16.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Miami falls to Gators in season opener: Miami led three times Saturday night in Orlando but fell 24-20 to No. 8-ranked Florida to kick off college football's 150th season and the Manny Diaz era at The U. What if I'd have told you before the game that the Canes would get a really good performance from new QB Jarren Williams and four takeaways from the defense? That's a win, right? Both happened. No win. But a "right direction" feeling moving forward, am I right?

2. NFL: Stunner! Colts QB Luck retires from NFL: Indianapolis and the NFL reel with the news Saturday night that star quarterback Andrew Luck had abruptly and immediately retired from football three weeks shy of his 30th birthday, citing constant shoulder and other injuries. Jacoby Brissett is now the Indy starter. That sound you hear is the Colts falling from top-tier AFC contender to conference also-ran. 

3. DOLPHINS: Three fake games in, Fins' QB battle still undecided: Fins now 2-1 this preseason after beating Jacksonville here Thursday, but nobody cares. Fake games. What does matter is the decision at quarterback, but coach Brian Flores keeps not making it. He's still weighing Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Josh Rosen entering this Thursday's fake finale in New Orleans. Dear Brian: You're trying to find this team's future, remember? Rosen, please!

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Can anyone bust up the Clemson-'Bama stranglehold?: Canes and one other game snuck in early, but for everyone else the start of college football's 150th season is on deck this week. Highlights: Thursday, No. 1 Clemson whips whomever it's playing and Butch Davis' FIU visits Tulane. Saturday, No. 2 Alabama crushes somebody, Florida State hosts Boise State, and Lane Kiffin leads FAU to slaughter at No. 5 Ohio State.

5. BASKETBALL: U.S. shaky with men's FIBA World Cup on deck: The major 32-nation international hoops event begins this coming Saturday and runs though Sept. 15 in China, with Team USA on shaky ground after a tuneup loss to Australia -- the first time in 13 years an American team with NBA players has lost. Team USA is the favorite but no cinch for gold. Most top NBA stars said nah -- Kemba Walker is the biggest-name U.S. player -- so let's see what Gregg Popovich can do with this B-team roster.

6. TENNIS: Serena, Djokovic favored as U.S. Open begins: Year's fourth and final Grand Slam event begins today/Monday and runs through Sept. 9 in New York, with Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic the betting favorites -- although Serena is only the No. 8 seed. Williams tries again for what would be a record-tying 24th career major, but to do it she must first survive a tough first-round draw in unseeded Maria Sharapova in what, oddly, will be these old rivals' first-ever U.S. Open  meeting.

7. MARLINS: Fish playing out the string as homestand continues: Fish are an NL-worst 47-82 after 0-6 road swing and now 2-1 into a seven-game homestand vs. Phillies and now Reds. The 100-Loss Watch now projects to 59-103. The question: When will the Marlins' bright future get here ... and will Don Mattingly still be around to manage it?

8. GOLF: Mclroy wins season ending Tour Championship: Lightning injured six fans (none seriously) and delayed the Tour Championship in Atlanta, the PGA Tour's season-ending event open only to the year's top 30 money winners. But eventually Rory McIlroy avoided rivals and lightning sufficient to win.

9. YOUTH BASEBALL: U.S. reigns in Little League World Series: Curacao upset powerhouse Japan on Saturday for the international crown and River Ridge, La. beat Wailuku, Hawaii for the U.S. title in the Little League Word Series. Sunday, the U.S. team bopped Curacao 8-0 for the grand title. Now all of those 12-year-old boys can go from being on national TV to being nervous about meeting girls again.

10. SPRING FOOTBALL: XFL reveals team names, logos: Vince McMahon's new eight-team XFL, set to begin play in February 2020, revealed its team names and logos (including the Tampa Bay Vipers). If the history of previous pro spring league attempts is any indication, we can expect the "XFL is folding" announcement any time around midseason 2021.

Missing the HB10 cut: Show of hands. Who drafted Andrew Luck on their fantasy team Saturday? ..... U.S. Patent Office denied Tom Brady's trademark request for "Tom Terrific". About damned time Brady lost at something ..... Orioles set all-time record with a 259th home run allowed. Does the pitching coach walk to the mound in a false nose and glasses? ..... Dolphins coach Brian Flores played eight straight Jay-Z songs at practice a day after receiver Kenny Stills criticized Jay-Z's alliance with the NFL. To "challenge" Stills, said Flores. Weird ..... Dwight Howard to the Lakers. Hahahahaha! ..... Larry Bird complained after an artist painted a mural that depicted him with tattoos. A little too much free time there, Lar? ..... Been a minute Conor McGregor did anything embarrassing. Somebody check, make sure he's OK ..... Update: Countdown now 2,492 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

RosenZERO DOUBT NOW. ROSEN MUST START FOR DOLPHINS! LATEST COLUMN: Me, from the stadium, off last night's Dolphins win over Jacksonville in Fake Game 3: The Miami Dolphins seem prepared to take a big loss even before the NFL regular season begins. Is this a thing that might actually happen? This is the feeling, and we hope we are wrong. Because it would be much easier to say "oops" on what we think and fear might happen than to try to explain why on earth a team in the midst of a rebuild might start bearded fossil Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback at the direct expense of fully finding out what it has in young Josh Rosen. Fins coach Brian Flores acknowledged his Fitzpatrick-leaning after Thursday night’s 22-7 home exhibition win over Jacksonville, saying of Rosen’s performance: "He played well. That makes the decision harder." OK, stop right there. The decision should not be hard. The answer is Rosen (pictured), and it didn't take his leading that 99-yard scoring drive to know that. To read my full column, kindly visit Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins.

Previous most recent other columns: Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

POLL RESULT: ROSEN CLOBBERS FITZPATRICK IN HERALD TWITTER POLL: We posted a Fitzpatrick-or-Rosen poll on our Twitter feed, it drew 2,380 votes in one day and Rosen beat Fitzpatrick in a landslide with 76 percent of the vote at Twitter.com/gregcote.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

August 22, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No. 1 this week and what else landed where; plus Dolphins' QB choice (latest column), note to blog readers & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, AUGUST 22. Happy birthday to my wife! The greatest person I know, that's all. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Behind Canes' bold gamble on Jarren Williams, fallout from Ross' fundraiser for Trump, latest Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Note to readers: Blog readers, apologies that I haven't updated here lately. Been busy with special football section stuff. Will properly attend the blog again soon. Stay tuned.

JrosenNEWEST COLUMN: DON'T OVERTHINK IT, DOLPHINS. START ROSEN: The Miami Dolphins and new coach Brian Flores are trying to do the right thing with the most important position. All indications through the first half of this NFL preseason suggest that. Josh Rosen is getting the vast majority of snaps at quarterback. The stage is his to prove he deserves to start, or that he does not. He does. He has shown enough. Flores’ decision on a starter is unmade, or at least unannounced, but it should be clear to him by now. On merit and for other reasons perhaps even more important, Rosen should be given the keys to this season, and that should be unequivocal. The preceding begins my latest column. To read it in full, kindly visit Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen.

Previous most recent other columns: Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump FundraiserLe Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, back today from two weeks off on vacation, 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: Opening Week as Canes football, QB Williams take on Gators!: Countdown is now 2 days until Hurricanes face No. 8 Florida in Orlando Saturday night in the very first game of college football's 150th season. Game marks opening of the Manny Diaz era and first career start for new quarterback Jarren Williams, who seemed out of the hunt this spring but ended up beating Tate Martell and N'Kosi Perry for the job. That was the easy part. Now he must prove UM made the right choice.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins still haven't named who least-bad starting QB will be: Miami fell in Tampa 16-14 Friday night after beating Atlanta 34-27 to open the preseason, with Fake Game 3 on deck tonight/Thursday vs. Jacksonville. A starting quarterback still hasn't been named between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Maybe Fins will take a page from the Canes, look behind door No. 3 and surprise us with Jake Rudock?

3. INTER MIAMI: Team Beckham reported close to signing coach, first star player: Inter Miami, beginning play in MLS next spring, already has signed a trio of 19-year-olds who may be a part of the club's future. Now the big news is looming for Team Beckham. International reports are that Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani is prepared to join Miami next summer when his contract in France ends. And reports out of Italy are that former AC Milan coach Gennaro "Rino" Gattuso may be a leading candidate to be Miami's inaugural coach. Futbol!

4. MARLINS: Can this season end quicker, please?: Fish have lost five straight games, 15 of their past 18 and are 45-80 as six-game road trip ends tonight before start of a seven-game homestand. The 100-Loss Watch finds team's current pace still at 58-104. Meantime the 2020 schedule is out and next season will open with a seven-game homestand starting March 26 vs. Phillies. Just say that '20 had better be better than what we're slogging through right now.

5. HEAT: Udonis returns, 2019-20 schedule is set: Udonis Haslem announced he'll be back for a 17th Heat season, good news for Heat fans already suffering withdrawal symptoms from no Dwyane Wade. Meanwhile NBA revealed its 2019-20 schedule and the now Jimmy Butler-led Heat will open Oct. 23 at home vs. Memphis. Though Butler and a weakened East make Miami a likely playoff team, Heat will have only a modest six nationally televised games on ESPN or TNT.

6. PANTHERS: Cats to retire Luongo's jersey number: Fittingly and not unexpectedly, Florida announced goaltender Roberto Luongo's No. 1 would become the first retired number in franchise history in a ceremony prior to the March 7 home game vs. Montreal. Luongo, 40, retired June 26. The Cats and new coach Joel Quenneville open the new NHL season Oct. 3.

7. GYMNASTICS: Queen Simone does it again: Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, 22, reaffirmed her place as the world’s undisputed No. 1 gymnast in the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City -- winning a sixth national gymnastics title with an historic double-double dismount on the uneven bars and then an astounding triple-double during her floor routine.

8. JAY-Z: Rapper and NFL in controversial partnership: Jay-Z's Roc Nation partnered up with the NFL to lead its entertainment and social justice platforms, with Jay-Z immediately called a sellout. Might have helped if Colin Kaepernick had been made part of the marriage. But he wasn't.

9. SOCCER: No Messi is no problem as Miami  turns out anyway: Barcelona beat Napoli 2-1 at Hard Rock Stadium earlier this month in a match that drew 57,062 despite Barca star Lionel Messi missing the trip with (supposedly) a calf injury. Miami's continuing embrace of soccer has to have David Beckham and Jorge Mas smiling as they prepare for Inter Miami's first MLS season next spring. 

10. YOUTH BASEBALL: Little League World Series underway: The annually televised LLWS from Williamsport, Pa. began on Friday and runs through Aug. 25. Don't care who wins as long as it isn't the Rhode Island team accused of cheating by stealing signs to win its New England regional. Their coach should be tarred and feathered and then deported -- while still covered in tar and feathers -- to Tristan da Cunha, the world's most remote inhabited island. Update: Rhode Island got eliminated with two straight, the first by a no-hitter. Justice! Karma!

Missing the HB10 cut: Conor McGregor punched an old man in a Dublin bar in an argument over whisky. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Hot Button Top 10 returns after missing the past two Sundays on holiday. Miss us? Lie and say you did! ..... Locals sports radio giants 560 and 790 were put in a blender and mixed up by the company that owns both. In other news, "560 The Joe" may be the worst radio station name in history ..... English Premier League season is underway with U.S. star Christian Pulisic now with Chelsea. I follow Everton and Watford, proving beyond doubt I am not a frontrunner ..... U.S. Open tennis begins in eight days. Can Serena Williams finally tie the ll-time majors record? ..... The men's FIBA Basketball World Cup begins Aug. 31 in China. Will the last player to drop off the U.S. team please turn out he light? ..... Antonio Brown found a helmet he's OK with. Thanks God! We can all rest easy again! ..... Switzerland just hosted the men's Fistball World Championships. Fistball is like volleyball, only with a much dumber name ..... Six players were ejected from a WNBA game for throwing punches, proving that women occasionally can be every bit as dumb as men ..... The World Orienteering Championships end today in Norway. Are eliminated teams said to be dis-oriented? ..... The Big3 has-beens basketball league came through Miami and nobody cared ..... Fantasy football drafts, near. Greg's Lobos, girding ..... Update: Countdown now 2,499 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / 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 / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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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