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26 posts from November 2010

November 30, 2010

Betting odds: Heat fire Spoelstra, Canes hire Gruden. I'll take the 'no' on both; plus Marlins moves, bowl talk, King-o-Meter, dead Kardashian & more

ODDS ARE: SPOELSTRA OUT: Bodog.com on whether the Heat will fire Erik Spoelstra at some point 1aaeriks during this season: Yes at 5/8 odds, and no at 6/5. Not sure I agree that it's likely. Very possible, sure. But probable? Pat Riley does not want to coach again, and only would, I think, if Micky Arison and/or Dwyane Wade and LeBron James came to him insisting. In any case I doubt anything would happen before the return from injury of Mike Miller can be factored in. The sky-is-falling wing of Heat fans -- and the national media fomenting anxiety, led by an intensely over-analyzing ESPN -- needs to remember that the record in November and December doesn't matter nearly as much as how well the team is meshing when winter turns to spring and the playoffs near. Unless premature panic wins out, there remains time for Spoelstra (pictured trying to call a timeout on the hysteria) to get this thing right. (By the way, I heard a rumor the Heat was playing at Cleveland this Thursday. Imagine there might be some coverage on that).

1aagruden2 1aagruden ODDS ARE: GRUDEN IN: Bodog calls Former Bucs/Raiders-coach-turned-TV yakker Jon Gruden (pictured left) even money to be the Miami Hurricanes' next coach replacing Randy Shannon. I doubt it. A lot. I think Gruden is an NFL guy much more likely to wait and instead weigh the best pro opportunities that might yet arise -- including the Dolphins if there is a postseason change here. [Developments today strongly indicated I was right]. Bodog's UM favorites after Gruden at 1-1: Jim Leavitt 2-1, Brent Venables 3-1, Gary Patterson 6-1, Marc Trestman 8-1, Mark Richt 10-1, Chris Peterson 12-1 and Mike Belotti 15-1. Leavitt (pictured right), the former South Florida Bulls coach, is good friends with Canes AD Kirby Hocutt and might have seemed a likelier hire than Gruden, although Leavitt has baggage (hit a player, suing USF) that would be a very tough sell.

1aajavierv SMART OFFSEASON FOR MARLINS SO FAR: No, I didn't think they got enough from Atlanta for Dan Uggla and they'll miss his run-production. But other than that I like what the active Marlins have been doing. Their bullpen, catching and overall defense are improved by the moves they've made, and the latest on -- signing starting pitcher Javier Vazquez (pictured) -- makes the rotation better, too. Florida hopes Vazquez returns to his 2009 form, when he was 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts. Even if he has lost a bit off his fastball, I can see him as a solid, innings-eating No. 3 guy behind Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco.

LET'S GO BOWL-ING: Latest speculation on bowl destinations for state FBS schools: Miami vs. Toledo in the Dec. 31 Hyundai Sun, or vs. Boise State in the Jan. 8 Kraft Fight Hunger. FIU vs. Texas-El Paso in the Dec. 18 R&L Carriers. Florida vs. Iowa or Penn State in the Jan. 1 Gator. FSU vs. Mississippi State in the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A. South Florida vs. Southern Miss or East Carolina in the Dec. 21 Beef O'Brady's. And Central Florida vs. Georgia in the Dec. 31 AutoZone Liberty.    

1aaking KING-O-METER: STILL LEBRON, BUT DWYANE AWAKENING: Our unpopular Heat King-o-Meter, updated through 18 games, shows LeBron James with 989.55 King points and 10 games led, and Dwyane Wade with 832.45 points and 8 games. However Wade has won two of the past three to gain slight ground. The King-o-Meter is our blog's cumulative gauge of which of the Heat's would-be Kings is having a better all-round  season, using a formula that factors 10 statistical categories. Regular updates right here.

FANTASY UPDATE: WOE IS ME: I'll be 0-2 at making the playoffs this season as I'm now 4-8 in both leagues. The Bad Newz Fennelz lost 100-72, getting no more thanh LeSean McCoy's 19 points and getting steamrolled by my opponent's Peyton Hillis. Greg's Lobos lost 135-120, despite a Herculean 48 points from my new hero Dwayne Bowe.

1aadeadkim DEAD AD CAMPAIGN: I could say the headline at right might be the dream-come-true of many who disdain those who are famous for little discernable talent other than the art of being famous. But that might be seen as mean. Anyway, turns out to be an ad campaign for World AIDS Day.

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GREG COTE: READ columns and blog in The Miami Herald and MiamiHerald.com, including general sports columns, Friday NFL predictions page and Sunday "Random Evidence" notes. FOLLOW on Twitter. WATCH for occasional appearances on ESPN's Outside the Lines and elsewhere. LISTEN on 790 The Ticket's weekly Dolphins pregame show and most Tuesdays at 4:20 p.m. JOIN in live chat Wednesdays noon to 1 p.m. CONTACT at gcote@miamiherald.com.

November 28, 2010

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 70.3%

[Main game post on Dolphins-Raiders may be found directly below this in blog].

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: DOLPHINS @ OAKLAND: Latest results are in on the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show 70.3 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 33-17 victory at Oakland, putting Miami's season record at 6-5. That's the team's highest approval rating since Game 7.

1aadsmThe DSM is a continuous gauge of how fans feel 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, the season as a whole, the direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations.

Poll and comments section stay open; however, poll results are certified official on the morning after one full day of voting. In this case, that was around 8:15 a.m. today/Tuesday.

Previous DSM scores may be found beneath this latest poll:

DSM 2010 RESULTS:

Game 1: 76.1% satisfaction (9.8 very, 66.3 somewhat) following 15-10 victory at Buffalo.

Game 2: 96.7% satisfaction (52.4 very, 44.3 somewhat) following 14-10 victory at Minnesota.

Game 3: 62.8% satisfaction (11.8 very, 51.0 somewhat) following 31-23 loss vs. N.Y. Jets.

Game 4: 7.0% satisfaction (4.5 very, 2.5 somewhat) following 41-14 loss vs. New England.

Game 5: 82.7% satisfaction (17.4 very, 65.3 somewhat) following 23-20 victory (OT) at Green Bay.

Game 6: 40.9% satisfaction (8.3 very, 32.6 somewhat) following 23-22 loss vs. Pittsburgh.

Game 7: 77.9% satisfaction (21.2 very, 56.7 somewhat) following 22-14 victory at Cincinnati.

Game 8: 7.8% satisfaction (1.9 very, 5.9 somewhat) following 26-10 loss at Baltimore.

Game 9: 58.3% satisfaction (18.3 very, 40.0 somewhat) following 29-17 victory vs. Tennessee.

Game 10: 6.9% satisfaction (4.4 very, 2.5 somewhat) following 16-0 loss vs. Chicago.

Game 11: 70.3% satisfaction (23.8 very, 46.5 somewhat) following 33-17 victory at Oakland.

Next poll: Dec. 5 following game vs. Cleveland.

G11: Dolphins 33, Oakland 17 (Final); Big, impressive road win for Miami rekindles playoff hopes

[Note: Our post on UM's firing of Randy Shannon -- with poll -- is in the blog directly below this. Watch for our latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in a separate post starting at 8:30 p.m.]

1aadol 1aadoloak G11: DOLPHINS @ OAKLAND:

Final: What a complete victory for Miami! Very, very nice. It was 24-11 in first downs, 471-263 in total yards and an ass-whipping 42-18 minutes in time of possession. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams a combined 44 carries for 180 yards. Chad Henne 307 yards passing and two TDs. Oakland guy Davone Bess 11 yards receiving. Nice, nice, nice, nice.

4Q: Miami 33-17: Ricky Williams 45-yard scoring run cinches the victory for Miami. Impressive showing by both O and D ..... Miami 26-17: Carpenter short FG, his fourth, expands lead to a now-safe 9 points with 4 minutes left ..... Oakland 17-23: Sebastian Janikowski 30-yard FG. Is there anything more nerve-wracking in the NFL than your team nursing a 6-point fourth-quarter lead?

3Q: Raiders moving but drive thwarted by Chris Clemons pickoff ..... Carpenter wide on 50-yard FG try ..... Davone Bess 47-yard punt return. Nice day for the guy who grew up a Raiders fan ..... Miami 23-14: Carpenter 44-yard FG. Suddenly Dolphins in charge ..... Miami 20-14: Marlon Moore, playing because Brandon Marshall isn't, with a 57-yard scoring play from Henne, who, but for the pick, is playing very well.

Half: Miami leading 14-4 in first downs, 234-119 in total yards and 21-9 minutes in time of possession, yet donw by 1 point. Nothing comes easy for this team, right? 

2Q: Miami 13-14: Carpenter chipshot FG late in half after 3rd-and-5 pass in close fails ..... Oakland 14-10: Jacoby Ford with his second TD of game, this a long TD pass victimizing Benny Sapp. B-b-b-benny needed jets he didn't have ..... Carpenter misses 52-yard FG try for Miami after sack makes attempt tougher ..... Bell with another takeaway, this on a fumble recovery ..... Yeremiah Bell intercepts for Dolphins, upheld on review even though replay appeared to show ball glanced off ground ..... Promising Dolphins drive from own 13 into Raiders red-zone ends with Henne interception at goalline.

1Q: All Dolphins after that opening kickoff. Offense taking advantage of Oakies D like I mentioned in the original post below ..... Miami 10-7: Patrick Cobbs 29-yard scoring pass from Henne, who's looking sharp ..... Miami 3-7: Dan Carpenter 49-yard FG. Chad Henne starts at QB, despite a certain media report earlier saying he was likely out for the season. Guess we can expect a one-word set-rec from the Sun-Sentinel : "Oops!" ..... Oakland 7-0: You've GOT to be [bleeping] kidding me! Jacoby Ford with 101-yard opening kick-return TD for Raiders. Edsel special-teams gives up TD to Ford.

Original post: see this as a big referendum-type game for Dolphins coaches. Miami at 5-5 and on the far periphery of the playoff chase is desperate for a win and, having played a week ago Thursday, there has been extra time for Tony Sparano and crew to be prepared for this challenge. Also, Oakland is an inviting opponent for a team struggling offensively. The Raiders' run-defense is allowing 4.6 yards per carry -- so what is the excuse if Ronnie Brown and/or Ricky Williams don't finally have a brutish performance? And Oakland's pass defense has allowed 19 TDs through the air and 13.1 yards per catch, so there is a big window here, too, for the likely return of Chad Henne (or if not even for Tyler Thigpen). Oakland is more competitive than in past years and this a zoo of a tough place to play -- partly why I predicted Oakland to win, 19-17 -- but this is a winnable game and a must win if Miami is to keep slender playoff hopes alive. On Friday in my weekly NFL column I mentioned that a source told me Dolphins owner Tony Sparano is a big admirer of Jon Gruden's and that a poor finish to this season by Miami coupled with interest by Gruden could mean a coaching change. Playoff hopes swing with this result, and a coach's future might a little bit, too.

Your thoughts on today's game welcome here before, during and afterward.

November 27, 2010

UM FIRES RANDY SHANNON (with poll)

[Voting continues in Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in post directly below this].

1aababcane SHANNON FIRED BY UM: The University of Miami fired football coach Randy Shannon last night in the wake of Saturday's home loss to South Florida that put the Hurricanes' record at 7-5. I would like to have seen Shannon have one more season but also understand the university's decision. I'll have much more to say in a column that will be online by late Sunday afternoon. You weigh in now. Vote in our poll and elaborate on why you feel as you do.

 

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.4%

[Main game post on Canes-South Florida / Collball Week 13 -- including FIU clinching Sun Belt title -- is directly below this in blog].

1aacsm CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: SOUTH FLORIDA-UM: Results are certified on the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show 3.4 percent overall satisfaction -- a season low -- in the wake of Saturday's 23-20 overtime home loss to South Florida, leaving UM's final regular-season record at 7-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC. (We'll have one  additional, final CSM poll after the bowl game).  

The CSM is our continuing weekly gauge of how Miami Hurricanes football fans are feeling about the team and the program's direction. A new poll appears in a separate blogpost soon after the conclusion of every Canes game.

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.

Polls never close, but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting, in this case that was around 9:15 a.m. today/Monday.

Season results may be found beneath the latest poll:

CSM 2010 Season Results

Game 1: 95.0% satisfaction (69.8 very, 25.2 somewhat) following 45-0 victory vs. Florida A&M.

Game 2: 25.6% satisfaction (9.1 very, 16.5 somewhat) following 36-24 loss at Ohio State.

Game 3: 83.8% satisfaction (22.1 very, 61.7 somewhat) following 31-3 victory at Pittsburgh.

Game 4: 88.3% satisfaction (26.3 very, 62.0 somewhat) following 30-21 victory game at Clemson.

Game 5: 5.6% satisfaction (3.5 very, 2.1 somewhat) following 45-17 loss vs. Florida State.

Game 6: 22.6% satisfaction (2.6 very, 20.0 somewhat) following 28-13 victory at Duke.

Game 7: 81.2% satisfaction (32.4 very, 48.8 somewhat) following 33-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

Game 8: 11.3% satisfaction (8.2 very, 3.1 somewhat) following 24-19 loss at Virginia.

Game 9: 50.9% satisfaction (9.9 very, 41.0 somewhat) following 26-20 victory vs. Maryland.

Game 10: 76.2% satisfaction (36.1 very, 40.1 somewhat) following 35-10 victory at Georgia Tech.

Game 11: 8.2% satisfaction (3.5 very, 4.7 somewhat) following 31-17 loss vs. Virginia Tech.

Game 12: 3.4% satisfaction (2.5 very, 0.9 somewhat) following 23-20 loss vs. South Florida.

Next/Final poll: Following bowl game.

[Thanks once again for reader Raul Pares for the design on the CSM logo!]

G12: South Florida 23, Hurricanes 20 (Final OT); Should loss and fall to 7-5 put Shannon on firing line?; plus FIU wins Sun Belt title, Noles spank Gators & more

[Welcome to the Collball Week 13 post. Already this weekend Oregon and Auburn have solidified their 1-2 BCS ranking but No. 4 Boise State is as blue as its field after losing. Look for new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in separate post just above this and vote now!].

1aacanes2 1aacanes1 SOUTH FLORIDA @ HURRICANES:

FINAL: Canes overcame a 10-point deficit to take a 17-10 fourth-quarter lead after Jacory Harris replaced Stephen Morris but could not hold on. The killer: Harris' interception with 5 seconds left in regulation that wiped out the chance for a game-winning 48-yard FG try. Hugely disappointing home loss in regular-season finale puts Miami at 7-5 and with no chance now (even with a bowl victory) to equal last season's 9-4 record. And the outcry and question will grow ever louder: Is coach Randy Shannon in danger of being fired? Should he be? I would give Shannon one more season, next year, to save his job. But I also think the matter of his job security is no longer a question that is either unfair or premature.  

OT: South Florida 23-20: Canes defense allows Bulls winning TD on 1-yard run ..... Miami 20-17: Matt Bosher 38-yard FG gives UM lead.

4Q: Oh my lord. Harris is picked off with 5 seconds left with my in range for a game-winning 48-yard FG try. Terrible. You run there to pick up a few more yards and make the winning kick ..... South Florida 17-17: QB sneak of 1-yard ties with  2 minutes left in regulation. Miami settling for that FG on previous possession has come back to haunt ..... Miami 17-10: UM sqaunders TD opp, settles for 19-yard FG..... Miami 14-10: Storm Johnson's 71-yard TD run gives Canes their first lead. 

3Q: Miami 7-10: Canes finally on scoreboard with Lamar Miller 8-yard TD run late in quarter on Harris-led drive ..... Man, that looked like a safety to me. And UM needs every two points it can get! ..... Harris in at QB ..... South Florida 10-0: An 8-yard scoring run is set up by the Morris INT ..... Stephen Morris remains in at QB and is intercepted on UM's first series of half. Jacory time! ..... Vaughn Telemaque with XXXL fumble recovery for Canes at UM's 10.

Half: Canes have only themselves to blame and should be leading, 7-0. With the offense in dire need of a spark, would think it smart to deploy Jacory Harris in place of Stephen Morris (7-15, 64 yards) to start the second half.

2Q: South Florida 3-0: Chip-shot FG on final play of half after UM's Ryan Hill turns an easy interception into an incompletion ..... Damien Berry loses fumble from USF 1. Seven points flushed down the commode. 

1Q: Scoreless quarter, small crowd, sputtering offenses making defenses look good ..... Miami starts Stephen Morris at QB again and I'm told Jacory Harris, who was medically cleared to play, is not happy. 

Original post: Miami a disappointing 7-4 and second-tier in the ACC entering its regular-season finale and home curtain-call for seniors. South Florida's Bulls, out of the Big East, arrive 6-4 and an 11.5-point underdog. UM must win -- and I think the Canes will, but closer than the line against a stout Bulls defense -- for a chance to still equal last season's 9-4 mark, post-bowl. Two quick comments on today's opponent: 1) What's with the name? When last I checked a map, Tampa was not located in or near South Florida. 2) What's with the logo? Looks like a UM ripoff. They have a U on the helmet like Miami, only they threw horns on it. Copyright infringement! Where my lawyer at! On a more serious note, it'll be intriguing to see who starts at QB and whether Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris both play. Harris, out concussed since Oct. 30, has been cleared medically to play but will he start or will coach Randy Shannon stick with the freshman Morris? Result also will be another layer of referendum on Shannon. An upset loss could raise the shouting for his ouster to heretofore unheard decibels.

Other state FBS games, in order:

Central Florida 37, Memphis 17: UCF's Knights now 9-3 and hunting Conference USA title after rout of bottom-feeding Memphis.

No. 22 Florida State 31, Florida 7: Spank! Seminoles were narrow home favorites but dominated. FSU now 9-3 and in the ACC title game Va-Tech. Florida a humbling 7-5; misery loves company, right Canes fans? Regular-season ender for both teams.

1aacanes3 FIU 31, Arkansas State 24: Call this the biggest day in the young history of FIU's program and a day of earned pride for coach Mario Cristobal. The win means the Golden Panthers are Sun Belt champions and will be in their first-ever bowl game. FIU is now 6-5 and 6-1 in the Belt. The Int'l has made history! Congratulations.

Middle Tennessee 38, FAU 14: Sun Belt duel found Howard & The Owls a 5-point road 'dog, and apparently with good reason. FAU now 4-7. Arise, Owl Nation, arise!

National top-25 matchups: On Friday, 2-Auburn d. 11-Alabama, 28-27; 1-Oregon d. 21-Arizona, 48-29; and 19-Nevada d. 4-Boise State, 34-31. Today: 12-Arkansas d. 5-Louisiana State, 31-23; and 13-Oklahoma d. 9-Oklahoma State, 47-41.

COTE TOP 30

Our own cumulative ranking, entering Week 13, of the college football programs that have had the biggest impact across the  2010 season:

Rank-LW   Team   Points

1-1   Boise State   1,092

2-2   Oregon   1,078

3-3   Texas Christian   1,037

4-4   Alabama   1,016

5-5   Ohio State   1,013

6-8   Auburn   860

7-6   Nebraska   850

8-7   Oklahoma   841

9-9   Wisconsin   800

10-10   Louisiana State   753

11-13  Stanford   661

12-14   Arkansas   632

13-11   Utah   628

14-12   Iowa   623

15-15   Michigan State   527

16-16   Arizona   493

17-18   South Carolina   491

18-17   Florida   454

19-19   MIAMI   390

20-20   Texas   386

21t-23t   Oklahoma State   377

21t-21   Missouri   377

23-23t   Virginia Tech   365

24-22   Florida State   346

25-25   Nevada   242

26-26   Southern Cal   207

27-27   Michigan   178

28-29   West Virginia   174

29-28   Penn State   168

30-30   Mississippi State   157

44-44   Central Florida   26

November 26, 2010

Will Dolphin owner's admiration of Gruden put Sparano on hot seat?; plus NFL Week 12 picks, Obama on Heat woes, new TSA slogans & more

[Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I did. My crowd always especially loves the Cajun deep-fried turkey. If only the three gallons of oil needed didn't cost three times as much as the doggone bird!]

1gruden2 1gruden SPARANO ON THE HOT SEAT? / NFL WEEK 12 PICKS: I note in my Friday Page NFL column today (click here) that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, I am told, is a big admirer of Jon Gruden, which could factor into Tony Sparano's status if this season ends in disappointment for Miami. In this week's picks I have host Oakland beating the Dolphins Sunday, 19-17, although it's a crapshoot with the QB mystery over whether Chad Henne will be back or Tyler Thigpen will go again. Brandon Marshall's very iffy status and a tough venue also tilt the pick westward. Click on Week 12 Gems for all this week's remaining NFL predictions. (Our mark on Thanksgiving games was 3-0 overall, 1-2 vs spread).

1aabasketobama OBAMA ADVISES YOU TO BE PATIENT WITH HEAT: President Obama tells Barbara Walters in an interview that "it takes some time for [the Heat] to come together." The very fact the president of the United States is discussing the Heat's troubles with Baba pretty much summarizes the over-the-top scrutiny this team is under. Miami is 8-7 with three straight losses entering tonight's home game vs. Philly. The momentum for Pat Riley to take over for Erik Spoelstra grow tea party-like in its fervor and irrationality. If there is such thing as a must win in an NBA late-November, tonight is one in terms of alleviating building pressure. A win and a big I'm-still-here performance by disappearing Dwyane Wade will work small wonders. 

1aaking KING-O-METER UPDATE: Our unpopular Heat King-o-Meter, a running cumulative gauge of whether Dwyane Wade or LeBron James is having a better season, shows LeBron opening his lead to 823.11 King points to Wade's 663.27 through 15 games. LeBron has led in five straight games and now is up 9-6 in games led. Updates in the blog throughout the season, factoring 10 statistical categories.

1aacampbell UNCLE LUKE THE (SUPPOSEDLY) CHANGED MAN: Enjoyed today's Herald piece on ex-rapper Luther Campbell's transformation into an assistant football coach at Miami Central High. Good for him. One nitpick, though: I think Uncle Luke's Twitter followers would be surprised to read that he has left the [censored] profanity behind. Umm, he [bleep]ing hasn't.

1aatsa TSA UNDER FIRE FOR AIRPORT GROPING: Personally the full-body scanner does not bother me. Nor do I mind the personal pat-down, although I always request a female patter who looks Scandinavian if possible. But the fact lots of folks are upset about the supposed intrusion has given rise to a bunch of fake Transportation Security Administration slogans, which I am happy to pass along here. My favorite: "We Are Now Free to Move About Your Pants."

Click back. Adding more stuff to this post later.

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GREG COTE: READ columns and blog in The Miami Herald and MiamiHerald.com, including general sports columns, Friday NFL predictions page and Sunday "Random Evidence" notes. FOLLOW on Twitter. WATCH for occasional appearances on ESPN's Outside the Lines and elsewhere. LISTEN on 790 The Ticket's weekly Dolphins pregame show and most Tuesdays around 4:20 p.m. JOIN in live chat every Wednesday noon to 1 p.m. CONTACT at gcote@miamiherald.com.

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you, loyal readers. It's been fun (with a holiday poll)

1aahap A VALENTINE ON THANKSGIVING: Most of you I have not met but you are dear to me -- thank you. This is the Thanksgiving Day post. It is annual, it is unabashed, it is not perfunctory. It comes from the heart. I want to say it.

Below there will be a silly cartoon video with me and also a thanks-related poll, but mostly I want this post to be a forum for you -- if you are of a mind -- to share what you are most thankful for in your life, in or out of sports, serious or silly. Regulars, occasionals and newcomers ... I'd like to hear from you. Why are you thankful?

I'll start by saying I consider myself one of you. Local kid. Grew up bare-foot in west Hollywood. McArthur High. Broward (then Community) College. FAU, long before Schnellenberger. I answered a Miami Herald want-ad (seriously) and got hired by a man named Jim Martz (thank you, James) to do little more than answer phones and write a Broward bowling column. Apparently, I had an aptitude. Or got lucky.

From thin air, a ladder materialized. Soon I was covering local high schools. Then the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Then UM football. Then the Dolphins. In time I became a columnist, and today am The Miami Herald's only fulltime general sports columnist.

Like most of you, I love sports but put it in its place, too. I have a wife and two sons who make me very happy and proud. My Mom is wonderful, I have a great brother and terrific friends. And my professional family thankfully includes readers like you who have followed me for years (maybe even some who can't quite let go the "trade Marino" column!) and who I never, ever stop appreciating.

1aaholcard OUR THANKSGIVING VIDEO: Click here for our holiday animated video (see right), starring me, Don Shula, Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley. Warning: Implied cartoon violence against turkeys! And notice Riley is the only one not smiling. Hmm...

OUR 'THANKFUL' POLL: This involves only local sports. Of what are you the most appreciative? What makes you most proud? (And why?) Don't think current troubles. Think big pic, broad view:

Thanks again, all. I'll be cooking for a dozen family and friends today, with both an oven-roasted and deep-fried turkey. What's your day like? In any case I hope it's a Happy Thanksgiving!

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GREG COTE: READ columns and blog in The Miami Herald and MiamiHerald.com, including general sports columns, Friday NFL predictions page and Sunday "Random Evidence" notes. FOLLOW on Twitter. WATCH for occasional appearances on ESPN's Outside the Lines and elsewhere. LISTEN on 790 The Ticket's weekly Dolphins pregame show and most Tuesdays around 4:20 p.m. JOIN in live chat every Wednesday noon to 1 p.m. CONTACT at gcote@miamiherald.com.

November 23, 2010

Letdown City: What is Miami's most disappointing team? (with poll); plus 4 Dolphins getting Pro Bowl love, King-o-Meter update, Haslem/Dampier & more

[Note: Because of the holiday week there will be no live online chat today. (Sorry)].

LETDOWN CITY: NAME OUR MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM: I know this is the week we're supposed to be 1aaabcpanthers 1aaabcmarls 
1aaabchurrs 1aaabcheat 1aaabcdolph thankful, but c'mon! Our Big 5 teams -- the four major pro teams plus UM football -- all have disappointed us in various ways. The question is: Which team has been the biggest disappointment, and why. Seems like the perfect time to ask as you'll note by this quickie review, alphabetically, just before the poll:

DOLPHINS dropped to 5-5 with Sunday's shutout home loss and again appear a longshot for the playoffs.

HEAT are a mere 8-6 after last night's 16-point home loss and seriously underachieving despite the Big 3.

HURRICANES are 7-4 with Saturday's home loss, didn't win ACC and are headed to another lesser bowl.

MARLINS traded fan favorite Dan Uggla to rival Braves after earlier waiving fan favorite Cody Ross.

PANTHERS are seemingly improved yet last in division and on pace for 10th straight year out of playoffs.

HEAT SWAP OLD GUYS: The struggling, tinkering Heat signed veteran center Erick Dampier (pictured) 1aadampier today and waived equally fossilized guard Jerry Stackhouse. Desperate, but smart. Dampier an accurate low-post shooter and a rebounding presence off the bench -- both weaknesses, especially with yeoman Udonis Haslem out injured at least until February and (it is now reported) possibly the rest of the season.

FOUR DOLPHINS GETTING PRO BOWL LOVE: In the top five at their position in the AFC so far are: 2. OT Jake Long, narrowly trailing Raven Michael Oher; 4. PK Dan Carpenter, in the mix on votes; 4. OLB Cam Wake, but a distant fourth; and 5. ILB Karlos Dansby, also distant. Conspicuously not in the top five: WR Brando Marshall. Voting ends Dec. 20.

FANTASY UPDATE: BLIND SQUIRREL FINDS ACORN!: You know both my fantasy team stink. But both won this week! Bad Newz Fennelz won 165-96 and are now 4-7, led by 32 points each from Drew Brees and Marques Colston. Greg's Lobos won 175-131 and also are now 4-7, with the same two guys totaling 66 points in that league. Me scoring 175? Impossible.

1aaking KING-O-METER: LEBRON PULLING AWAY: Our unpopular Heat King-o-Meter, a running cumulative gauge of whether Dwyane Wade or LeBron James is having a better season, shows LeBron now ahead for the season, 770.07 King points to 617.27. LeBron has led in four straight games and now is up 8-6 in games led. Updates in the blog throughout the season, factoring 10 statistical categories. 

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this blog post soon. No, seriously.

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GREG COTE: READ columns and blog in The Miami Herald and MiamiHerald.com, including general sports columns, Friday NFL predictions page and Sunday "Random Evidence" notes. FOLLOW on Twitter. WATCH for occasional appearances on ESPN's Outside the Lines and elsewhere. LISTEN on 790 The Ticket's weekly Dolphins pregame show and most Tuesdays around 4:20 p.m. JOIN in live chat every Wednesday noon to 1 p.m. CONTACT at gcote@miamiherald.com.

November 20, 2010

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 8.2%

[Main game post on Canes-Virginia Tech / Collball Week 12 is directly below this in blog].

1aacsm CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: VIRGINIA TECH-UM: Results are certified on the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter, and it shows 8.2 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Saturday's 31-17 home loss vs. Virginia Tech leaving the Canes' season record at 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC. That's UM's second-lowest poll approval of the season; only after the loss to FSU was it lower. 

The CSM is our continuing weekly gauge of how Miami Hurricanes football fans are feeling about the team and the program's direction. A new poll appears in a separate blogpost soon after the conclusion of every Canes game.

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.

Polls never close, but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting, in this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday.

Season results may be found beneath the latest poll:

CSM 2010 Season Results

Game 1: 95.0% satisfaction (69.8 very, 25.2 somewhat) following 45-0 victory vs. Florida A&M.

Game 2: 25.6% satisfaction (9.1 very, 16.5 somewhat) following 36-24 loss at Ohio State.

Game 3: 83.8% satisfaction (22.1 very, 61.7 somewhat) following 31-3 victory at Pittsburgh.

Game 4: 88.3% satisfaction (26.3 very, 62.0 somewhat) following 30-21 victory game at Clemson.

Game 5: 5.6% satisfaction (3.5 very, 2.1 somewhat) following 45-17 loss vs. Florida State.

Game 6: 22.6% satisfaction (2.6 very, 20.0 somewhat) following 28-13 victory at Duke.

Game 7: 81.2% satisfaction (32.4 very, 48.8 somewhat) following 33-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

Game 8: 11.3% satisfaction (8.2 very, 3.1 somewhat) following 24-19 loss at Virginia.

Game 9: 50.9% satisfaction (9.9 very, 41.0 somewhat) following 26-20 victory vs. Maryland.

Game 10: 76.2% satisfaction (36.1 very, 40.1 somewhat) following 35-10 victory at Georgia Tech.

Game 11: 8.2% satisfaction (3.5 very, 4.7 somewhat) following 31-17 loss vs. Virginia Tech.

Next poll: Nov. 27 following game vs. South Florida.

[Thanks once again for reader Raul Pares for the CSM logo design!]