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23 posts from September 2011

September 30, 2011

Hunt for October: Who should win the World Series? (with poll); plus latest picks for Dolphins, NFL

[You are invited to join us on Twitter @gregcote]

WILD FINISH, NOW THE WORLD SERIES DERBY BEGINS!: Baseball ended with maybe its greatest regular- 1aa1bb season closing day ever unless you were a Red Sox fan like me watching a piano or a giant Acme crate -- maybe an anvil? -- fall on your head. Braves fans were crushed, too, those two cities debating which suffered the more extreme late-season choke. OK let's move on to the eight surviving teams that did not lay down like mangy dogs.

Betting odds say: Bodog has Phillies favored at 7-4, followed by Yankees 4-1, Tigers 7-1, Brewers 15-2, Rays and Rangers both 8-1, and Diamondbacks and Cardinals both 14-1. The five most likely WS matchups are Phils-Yanks 5-2, Tigers-Phils and Rangers-Phils both 11-2, Rays-Phils 13-2 and Yanks-Brewers 10-1.

Greg Cote says: Three of the four opening series are foregone conclusions. Phillies over Cardinals is a 1aa1bbdet 1aa1bbphil 1aa1bbmilw no- 1aa1bbtex doubt landslide. Brewers over Diamondbacks is nearly as certain. And Rangers over Rays (sorry, fellow Floridians) is also a near-lock. The competitive one is Tigers-Yanks. I like the betting underdog Tigers on starting pitching. Justin Verlander is the best in the AL, clearly, and No. 2 guy Doug Fister is 7-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his past eight starts. Also, that Miguel Cabrera-led lineup can go pop for pop with the Yanks. So far: Entering Thursday the 6th: Rangers first to advance, 3-1 over Rays. All three others series are tied 2-2 entering deciding Game 5s.

The greatest, smartest readers in the world say: This is where you come in. Where is your rooting interest? Feel free to share in a comment who you think will win the World Series, but vote in the poll for what team you most want to win:

NFL PREDIX: I SAY DOLPHINS LOSE. SO THEY COULD WIN!:  Dolfans, rejoice! I say Miami will lose Sunday 1aa1cotepix in San Diego, so, given my 0-3 record on MIA games so far, it then follows that the Dolphins have a great chance of winning. Click on Week 4 Gems for all my latest NFL picks. Click on Pulling the Early Trigger for my Friday Page column analyzing in-seadon coaching changes: How common are they, when are they typically made ... and do they work?

Click back. Will be adding lots more to this latest blogpost throughout the day...

September 28, 2011

Marlins' All-Time Team: Who won. Who should have won. Plus, is Conine the real Mr. Marlin? (with poll)

[Follow on Twitter @gregcote. And you can still vote in our Ozzie Guillen poll in blogpost directly below this]

Click on Hurricane Ozzie for my column off Wednesday's Marlins stadium farewell. The introduction of the new manager Guillen was the news of the day. But the heart of the day revolves around memories and retiring old Jack McKeon.

WILL THE REAL "MR. MARLIN" PLEASE STAND UP?: Jeff Conine has always been given the title. I have always thought Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell had a valid claim. Hanley Ramirez should be in the mix as well. Anybody else? Who best represents the 19-year Marlins era now ending? Vote and say why. 

MARLINS' ALL-TIME TEAM: WHO'LL WIN, AND SHOULD WIN: Marlins say buh-bye to their stadium of 19 years today and part of the ceremony will be the post-game revealing of the All-Time Team as voted by fans on the club's website. Didn't want to repeat the poll here. Below we analyze the finalists at each position, predict who'll win, say who should win, then say who did win, with our picks pictured:

1aa1dlee FIRST BASE: Three official finalists: Carlos Delgado, Mike Jacobs, Derrek Lee. Will win: Lee, although Delgado has a shot. (Ballot could have slotted Jeff Conine in here but had him in outfield). Should win: Lee, without question or doubt. (Lee won).

1aa1castillol SECOND BASE: Three official finalists: Brett Barberie, Luis Castillo, Dan Uggla. Will win: Castillo edges Uggla in close finish. I think Barberie might have gotten one or two votes from immediate family members, although maybe not. Should win: Castillo. Period. (Castillo won). 

1aa1hanleyr SHORTSTOP: Three official finalists: Alex Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Edgar Renteria. Will win: Renteria, in a surprise that amounts to a referendum on Hanley's relative lack of popularity. Should win: Ramirez, as the most qualified current Marlin selected. (Ramirez won).

1aa1mikel THIRD BASE: Three official finalists: Bobby Bonilla, Jorge Cantu, Mike Lowell. Will win: Lowell, easily. (Might have been a closer call if they'd put Miguel Cabrera at 3B, but ballot had him in outfield). Should win: Lowell in mega-landslide. (Lowell won).

1aa1cj CATCHER: Three official finalists: Charles Johnson, Pudge Rodriguez, Benito Santiago. Will win: The popular Pudge prevails in a strong category. Should win: Johnson, the always underappreciated defensive maestro. (Rodriguez won).

1aa1jeffc 1aa1juanp 1aa1garys OUTFIELD: Eleven official finalists (not broken down by left/center/right): Moises Alou, Miguel Cabrera, Jeff Conine, Juan Encarnacion, Cliff Floyd, Kevin Millar, Juan Pierre, Cody Ross, Gary Sheffield, Josh Willingham, Preston Wilson. Will win: "Mr. Marlin" Conine and the popular Pierre, with the third spot narrowly going to Sheffield over Cabrera. Should win: Break it down by position -- like they do in real baseball!-- and make it Conine in left, Pierre in center and Sheffield in right. (Sheffield, Cabrera and Conine won).

BENCH: Three official finalists: Alfredo Almezaga, Lenny Harris, Wes Helms. Will win: Does anybody care? I'll say Almezaga. Should win: I wouldn't even have the category. This is the All-Time Team's Miss Congeniality award. Give it to Almezaga (not pictured as a category protest). (Amezaga won).

1aa1dwillis 1aa1beckett PITCHERS: Thirteen official starter finalists: Josh Beckett, Kevin Brown, A.J. Burnett, Ryan Dempster, Alex Fernandez, Livan Hernandez, Charlie Hough, Josh Johnson, Al Leiter, Ricky Nolasco, Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis. Will win: Willis edges Beckett, assuming they pick just one starter. Should win: My all-time team would have Beckett as a righty starter and Willis as a lefty. You want a five-man rotation? Add Brown, Johnson and Leiter. (Brown, Hernandez, Leiter, Beckett, Willis and Johnson won. Big staff!).

1aa1robbnenn BULLPEN: Five official reliever finalists: Antonio Alfonseca, Armando Benitez, Kevin Gregg, Bryan Harvey, Robb Nenn. Will win: Nenn, although I give Alfonseca an oustide shot. Should win: Nenn. (Nenn won).

1aa1jackmck MANAGER: Five official finalists: John Boles, Fredi Gonzalez, Rene Lachemann, Jim Leyland, Jack McKeon. Will win: I'll say first-champion Leyland in a mild surprise. Should win: Cigar beats cigarette. McKeon, who won his World Series with a less talented team. (McKeon won).

September 26, 2011

OzFest 2012! Fasten seat belts. Ozzie Guillen is next Marlins manager (with poll); plus Henne's missed chance, Heat, toplessness & more

[Three notes: 1) Today's Live Chat Wednesday is canceled because of a scheduling conflict. Will return next week, 1-2 p.m. as usual. Click HERE to post questions any time. 2) Read results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll directly below this in blog. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

WIZARD OF OZZIE: GUILLEN IS NEXT MARLINS MANAGER!: The Marlins just got louder, more 1aa1guillen interesting, and bigger on the national baseball landscape. Ozzie Guillen brings all that. He is a marquee manager, famous, notorious, full of large ego and great quotes. The Marlins thought Logan Morrison went a little wild on Twitter? Welcome to OzFest. I like the hire, think it breathes much excitement into the franchise. But there is also combustion potential here. If Jeffrey Loria couldn't get along with strong-willed Joe Girardi or mild-mannered Fredi Gonzalez, well, good luck with this guy, Jeff. Did I mention Guillen's religion is Santeria? Yeah, click here. Should be a fun, wild ride. One caveat: Managers don't make that much difference in MLB, maybe a few games a year. Guillen will be a genius or a failure based not on his own skills, but more on the health of Josh Johnson, the bounce-back of Hanley Ramirez, whether the club can add a starting pitcher and a veteran clubhouse presence and so forth. Original post: Chicago Sun-Times first reported the Marlins and White Sox were close to a deal to make Guillen the new manager here as the renamed Miami Marlins open the new ballpark next spring. ESPN-Chicago later reported the deal was done and that Chicago would receive two unnamed Marlins minor league players. Guillen was under contract through 2012 so the White Sox were due compensation. Guillen, 47, won a World Series ring as Marlins third-base coach in 2003 before beginning an eight-year stint as CWS manager. In 2005 he became the first Latin American manager (Venezuela) to win a World Series, though the Sox have made the playoffs only once since. Guillen, who has a home in Miami, is as known for his eccentricities and outspokenness as he is for his managing. I like the presumed hiring, assuming the compensation was not a frontline player. Guillen, for all his quirks, is a proven winner and will be the biggest-name manager the club has had, bearing in my mind Jim Leyland had never won a championship before coming here. Your thoughts on Guillen are welcome. Vote now and say why.

HENNE'S MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Dolphins QB Chad Henne isn't there yet, despite signs of progress. Sunday's loss in Cleveland showed that. At the end of a strong game for him, Henne had a perfect chance to be a hero and direct a game-winning drive but could not. All his fault? No. But quarterbacks are judged by such moments, and Henne was not up to this one even as a team, an embatled head coach and starving Dolphins fans needed a hero in the worst way. That's my new column, online now and shipping to Tuesday's inky pulp editions. Click on Henne Lets A Big Chance Slip to read.

HEAT'S BIG 3 BACK IN ACTION OCT. 8: NBA lockout, schmockout. Heat's BIg 3 stars will host one of those touring charity games Oct. 8 in FIU's arena. It'll be the first time in ages FIU coach Isiah Thomas is assured of having a winning team on his court.

ME, FANTASY: Sadly, Greg's Lobos fell to 1-2 with a 201-114 rout-loss to an opponent who got 50 points -- 5-0! -- from Wes Freakin' Welker. Being honest, I can't compete with somebody who's gonna roll a 201. I got a combined 47 from Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings and not much else worth mentioning.

ME, PICKS: Went a so-so 10-6 straight-up last week on my NFL Friday picks page, but bagged another solid 9-5-2 vs. the spread (two games were off the board). Bull's-eyes included my Upset of the Week with Raiders outright over Jets. Details coming on this Friday's page.    

1aa1katemoss ON TOPLESSNESS: I love a topless woman as much as the next man, and more than many, but I have to say that the topless magazine cover (this of Kate Moss from the September French Elle) has become quite the cliche'. Am I wrong?

DANCING WITH THE WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONS: The above item reminds me that Nancy Grace evidently had a wardrobe malfunction on last night's Dancing With The Stars that involved a brief glimpse of nipple. Sorry, Nancy, you're not my type. However, if you could lend your malfunctioning dress to fellow competitor Hope Solo, that'd be sweet! 

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE: Our latest updated weekly ranking of the seven FBS teams in our state, with previous week's rank in parentheses. Entering Week 5:

1aa1fla 1. Florida Gators (2) 4-0, 2-0 SEC 

2. FSU Seminoles (1) 2-2, 0-1 ACC

3. S. Fla. Bulls (3) 4-0, 0-0 Big East

4. Miami Hurricanes (4) 1-2, 0-1 ACC

5. C. Fla. Knights (6) 2-2, 0-0 C-USA  

6. FIU G-P's (5) 3-1, 1-1 Sun Belt

7. FAU Owls (7) 0-3, 0-0 Sun Belt

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a combination of the three major polls: Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN. Points based on 30 for a No. 1 ranking, 29 for No. 2, etc. The combined ranking entering Week 5:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Oklahoma   448   (1)

2   Alabama   429   (2)

3   Louisiana State   428   (3)

4   Boise State   397   (4)

5   Stanford   378   (5)

6   Oklahoma State   355   (7)

7   Wisconson   346   (8t)

8   Texas A&M   326   (8t)

9   Oregon   319   (10)

10   FLORIDA STATE   315   (6)

11   Nebraska   310   (11)

12   South Carolina   293   (12)

13   Virginia Tech   283   (13t)

14   Arkansas   260   (13t)

15   FLORIDA   208   (15)

16   Michigan State   165   (16)

17   West Virginia   161   (18)

18t   Texas   149   (20)

18t   Texas Christian   149   (19)

20   Ohio State   145   (17)

21   SOUTH FLORIDA   142   (21)

22   Baylor   140   (22)

23   Arizona State   93   (24)

24   Mississippi State   90   (23)

25t   Clemson   80   (32)

25t   Michigan   80   (28t)

27   Auburn   77   (25)

28   Missouri   58   (26)

29   Georgia Tech   51   (34)

30   Southern Cal   49   (27)

36   MIAMI   13   (36)

39t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   7   (38t)

Click back. Adding much more stuff to this latest blogpost tonight and Tuesday...

September 25, 2011

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.9%

[Main game post on Dolphins-Cleveland is directly below this in the blog. Love, Twitter @gregcote]

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: GAME 3: Results are now certified in the latest edition of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show a negligible 3.9 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 17-16 loss at Cleveland putting Miami's season record at 0-3.

That figure is just about as low as the reading will get, when you factor in a scant minority of voters who might be anti-Dolphins fans and voting approvingly of failure. 

1aa1dsm The DSM, in its fourth season, 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.

The poll never closes but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:15 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2011 Dolfan Satisfaction Meter

Next poll: Oct. 2  following game at San Diego.

G3: 3.9% satisfaction (3.3 very, 0.6 somewhat) following 17-16 loss at Cleveland.

G2: 3.7% satisfaction (2.6 very, 1.1 somewhat) following 23-13 loss vs. Houston.

G1: 34.4% satisfaction (3.9 very, 30.5 somewhat) following 38-24 loss vs. New England.

2010 Final: 3.8% overall satisfaction.

2009 Final: 31.2% overall satisfaction.

2008 Final: 96.9% overall satisfaction.

Cleveland 17, Dolphins 16 (Final): Heartbreaker! Miami trails for first time in final minute; devastating loss puts team at 0-3

[Results now certified in latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll directly below this in the blog. Love, Twitter @gregcote]

Watch for the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in a separate post beginning at 5 p.m!

1aa1dol 1aa1dawg G3: DOLPHINS @ CLEVELAND: HEARTBREAKING LOSS SENDS MIAMI SPIRALING TO 0-3 RECORD: Final: What a heartbreaking loss for Miami, never trailing until giving up the lead in the final minute. Dolphins dominated in time of possession (38 minutes to 22) and in total yards (369-280) but could not hold on. Another strong day by rookie RB Daniel Thomas with 23 carries for 95 yards and a generally solid outing by Chad Henne (19-for-29, 255 yards) -- although Henne was 0-4 with an INT on the hope-ending final series. Henne needed one first down for a likely winning field goal and failed to deliver when it mattered. Also spelling the ultimate defeat: Miami gave up five sacks but had none defensively. .....  4Q: Dolphins hopes end on Henne interception on 4th and 10 from Browns 47 with 13 seconds left. Miami could have tried 64-yard FG but elected not to. ..... Miami trails for first time 17-16 on TD pass with 43 seconds left, Colt  McCoy to Mohamed Massaquoi over the fingertips of Jimmy Wilson. ..... Miami with a nervous 16-10 lead with 3:23 left after a Carpenter 38-yard FG. TDs in the red-zone continue tough to find for Dolphins. ..... 3Q: Miami back up 13-10 on 41-yard Carpenter FG after squandering 1st and goal opportunity. Dumb personal foul by Brandon Marshall elongated the kick. ..... Cleveland opens second half with tying 30-yard FG. ..... Half: Miami should be ahead by more than three after an exceptionally strong first half by Chad Henne -- who was 15 for 19 for 191 yards and a TD -- and by the defense, which held Cleveland to 99 total yards. A missed FG and a Bush lost fumble have cost the Dolphins between six and 10 points. Miami catching a break with Browns RB Peyton Hillis out with strep throat. ..... 2Q: Mami back up 10-7 in last minute of half on 23-yard Carpenter FG. They settled, though, after a nice drive led by a great 31-yard sideline catch by Brian Hartline. ..... Earthtones tie it 7-7 on Josh Cribbs' nice 33-yard end zone catch over Sean Smith on pass from Colt McCoy. ..... Dan Carpenter wide left on 51-yard FG try that had plenty of distance, after he missed on two makeable tries a week earlier. Careful, Dan. Kickers are pretty interchangeable in the NFL. ..... 1G: Badly timed turnover by Reggie Bush, fumble snuffing a promising drive at Cleveland 20. ..... Miami 7-0 mid-quarter on Chad Henne 10-yard TD pass to rookie Daniel Thomas off a fake reverse. A pick by fellow rookie Jimmy Wilson sets up the drive. ..... Pregame: OK so that's maybe a tad dramatic. Any sentence referencing "an abyss" is automatically a tad dramatic. But you get the point. At 0-2, and with tough roadies immediately following at Chargers and at Jets, Miami is for-real staring at an 0-5 start if it cannot score a minor upset today in Cleveland. That would be calamitous. It could even cause an in-season coaching change. Somehow, I think the Dolphins will win. (Uh oh).

September 24, 2011

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 19.9%

[Main game post on UM-Kansas State/Collball Week 4 is directly below this in blog. Love, Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1csm CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: GAME 3: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show 19.9 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Saturday's 28-24 home loss to Kansas State putting UM's season record at 1-2. In its third season, the CSM is a continuing weekly gauge of how Miami Hurricanes football fans are feeling about the team and the program's direction, with a new poll appearing in the blog after every Canes game.

Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, program's direction, and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. This year I also suggest making this about the team and how it performs on the field, not about the NCAA or Nevin Shapiro.

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.

2011 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

Next poll: Oct. 1  following game vs. Bethune-Cookman.

G3: 19.9% satisfaction (6.2 very, 13.7 somewhat) following 28-24 loss vs. Kansas State.

G2: 92.8% satisfaction (40.0 very, 52.8 somewhat) following 24-6 victory vs. Ohio State.

G1: 49.2% overall satisfaction (9.1 very,  40.1 somewhat) following 32-24 loss at Maryland.

2010 Final: 4.2% overall satisfaction (following 7-6 season).

2009 Final: 41.7% overall satisfaction (following 9-4 season).

Kansas State 28, Hurricanes 24 (Final): UM go-ahead score overturned in final minute; plus FIU also loses in home upset

[Note: Our Tony Sparano poll still accepting your votes in blog post immediately below this. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Look for latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in separate blogpost beginning at 8 p.m!

Today's Canes pump-up video: Click on The U.

1aa1kstate2 1aa1kstate G3: KANSAS STATE 28, HURRICANES 24 (Final): Final: Very bad home loss for UM today, very much one of those games a fan will look back on if the season turns out disappointing. Jacory Harris had a  nice second half and finished 21 of 31 for 272 yards, with two TD passes offsetting one pick. I don't think he was the problem. Kansas State defended Lamar Miller pretty well (he weas 17-47 aside from his 59-yard run) and Miami's run defense was pretty awful. As for the telling, last-minute UM TD that was overturned, don't go there. The overturn was correct. Canes were not robbed. ..... 2H: Oh my. Jacory Harris runs for apparent winning TD with 49 seconds left but play overturned on review -- properly overturned, based on replays. ..... Where is UM 's run defense? K-State back up 28-24. ..... Travis Benjamin 34-yard TD pass from Jacory Harris and Canes finally back up 24-21. ..... Lamar Miller = Lamarvelous! A 59-yard TD run draws Miami within 21-17. ..... Canes in trouble, down 21-10 late in third after K-State answers Miami TD with one of their own. ..... Jacory Harris to Tommy Streeter short TD flip and Canes back in it, down 14-10. ...... 1H: UM down 14-3 at home at the half, a semi-major upset in making. Jacory Harris has not done much -- 10 for 18, 81 yards, one INT -- and the defense is struggling against K-State's old-fashioned option offense. Time for Stephen Morris? I'd have a short leash with Harris in second half. Early spark needed. Miami cannot lose this game. ..... Pregame: How bizarre. UM game start delayed 30 minutes by lightning, but there also are reports of swarms of dragonflies (left) at the 1aa1dragonfly stadium. I'm thinking we should either blame Nevin Shapiro or The Imposter Formerly Known As Leo Nunez. If Canes lose to Kansas State, dragonflies will be replaced by locusts. ..... Original post: UM is a comfortable 13-point favorite but "comfortable" is the operative word of warning. It's a potential letdown week for UM after last week's big, emotional home-opening triumph over ranked Ohio State. Kansas State, featuring former UM commitment-turned-turncoat Bryce Brown, is a lightweight challenge by comparison -- but not light enough to overlook. The purple-y Wildcats of the Big 9, 10, 11 or 12 were a decent 7-6 including a bowl loss last year and are now 2-0, albeit with wins over flyweights Eastern Kentucky and Kent State. A victory here could lift Miami back into the national Top 25s or more likely right on the cusp. One subplot to watch today : Can Jacory Harris play mistake-free? His grip on the QB job is loose. The two-INT games must cease. Pick: Hurricanes, 31-14.

Aaafiu G4: LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 36, FIU 31: Tough home loss for The Int'l. Goodbye, shot at national ranking. ..... Original post: Like UM, FIU's Panthers must stave off a natural letdown in this Sun Belt duel against a 17-point-underdog opponent after consecutive big wins at Louisville and vs. Central Florida that have given the Panthers "also receiving votes" status in the national polls for the first time. Louisiana-Lafayette -- La-La to me -- has the edge in this game in only one category: Nickname. Gotta love Ragin' Cajuns. C'mon! FIU faces an ACC opponent in Duke a week after this, so there is some look-ahead danger as well. Pick: FIU, 24-10.

Other notable state FBS games:

No. 21 Clemson 35, No. 11 Florida State 30: Tough, quarterback-less road loss for FSU, its season of national-championship now dashed by consecutive defeats.

No. 15 Florida 48, Kentucky 10: Ho-hum win for The Gator.

Other state FBS games: Brigham Young beat visiting Central Florida on Friday, 24-17; No. 18 South Florida whipped Texas-El Paso 52-24; and FAU lost respectably at Auburn, 30-14. Let's go Owls! Dammit.

Collball Week 4 national Top 25 matchups (besides FSU-Clemson): 2-Louisiana State d. 16-West Virginia, 47-21; 3-Alabama d. 14-Arkansas, 38-14; and 7-Oklahoma State d. 8-Texas A&M, 30-29.

September 22, 2011

Should Dolphins coach Tony Sparano's job be seen as in jeopardy? (with poll); plus NFL Week 3 picks, T.Y.'s Heisman stock, Leo Nunez & more

[Note: Our UM vs. FIU poll is still accepting votes in the post directly below this in the blog. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1doltony WHAT DO WE THINK OF TONY SPARANO?: I have a new column on the job status of Dolphins coach Tony Sparano online now and in today's/Thursday's inky-pulp editions. Click on Hot Seat to read. I write that, from what I have been told, owner Stephen Ross is growing impatient fast. I also write -- and I must emphasize this part is purely speculation by me -- that it would not shock if the club made a coaching change as soon as the coming bye week if Miami was 0-4 entering the bye, or after this road trip if the record was 0-5. I like Sparano and hope he coaches his way out of this predicament. For the record my vote below would be the middle option: That any change should wait until after the season. But the question here isn't what I think, it's what you think. What do you think should be Sparano's status right now in terms of job security (and why)?

1aa1fripix NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: DOLPHINS ... YES, AGAIN: Yes I pick the Dolphins to win again this week, Sunday in Cleveland, meaning it is a close call what has beren worse so far: The Dolphins, or my predicting their games. Click on Week 3 Gems for all the latest NFL picks, and on It's Offensive for my Friday Page column on record-setting pass attacks.     

LATEST ODDS ON SUPER BOWL, COACH-FIRINGS: Patriots at 9-2 and Packers at 11-2 have separated themselves a bit in Bodog's latest Super Bowl odds. After that it's Eagles at 8-1, fast-rising Texans 10-1, Chargers 11-1 and Jets and Saints at 12-1. Dolphins are now a 125-1 longshot, tied for 25th. Bodog's first-coach-fired odds have Miami's Sparano 3-1, tied for second with Jax's Jack Del Rio. Only guy on a hotter seat at 3-2 is KC's Todd Haley.

T.Y. HILTON UP IN HEISMAN POLL: FIU receiver/returner T.Y. Hilton rises to 18th (from 24th) in the latest StiffArmTrophy.com survey of actual heisman voters. In-state, only Florida running back Chris Rainey (15th) ranks higher. Stanford QB Andrew Luck is the overall frontrunner.

ON MARLINS' LEO NUNEZ: Reports are that Marlins closer Leo Nunez has been suspended and left the team amid reports he has been playing under an assumed name. Too bad he didn't assume the name of somebody who never blew saves.

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...

September 20, 2011

UM vs. FIU in football: Who'd win? (with poll); plus Uncle Luke sues Nevin Shapiro, new Marlins logo, Ron Jeremy rum & more

[Thanks to all today's live-chat participants. We do it each Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click RIGHT HERE to join us live then, read transcripts or to post questions any time. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote].

Click on Super Mario for my latest column, on coach Mario Cristobal and the rise of FIU football.

1aa1mialogo 1aa1fiulogo COULD FIU BEAT THE HURRICANES IN FOOTBALL?: I think, for the first time, the question at least is fairly debatable. UM is 1-1 off a nice, big home win vs. Ohio State. FIU is 3-0 after consecutive big wins at Louisville and vs. Central Florida. Both Miami teams are "also receiving votes" this week just outside the national Top 25 polls. I am very sure the Canes would be favored. I think but am not as sure the Canes would win. I am curious what y'all think, and why. I am not looking to start an uncivil war here. (A civil war is OK). And once again I challenge you to set aside your biased fan's interest and vote the way you honestly feel. An undercurrent of this topic is the general state of both football programs and whatever advances FIU has made. But let's focus on the core question: Who'd win and why if the Miami neighbors were playing this Saturday? 

1aa1lukerat 1aa1luke UNCLE LUKE SUES LITTLE LUKE: Random Evidence blog exclusive, first reported here: Luther Campbell is suing Nevin Shapiro, claiming the convicted Ponzi thief and renegade UM booster "slandered and defamed" him. Campbell is pictured at left and Shapiro at right. Case number 11-30137CA21 was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court Tuesday by Campbell's attorney, Michael J. Carney. The gist of the suit is this Shapiro quote: "Luther Campbell was the first uncle who took care of players before I got going ... and someone needed to pick up that mantle. He was Uncle Luke and I was Little Luke." Right on, Luke. Good luck ever seeing a dime. But right on, anyway.

1aa1marlinsnewlogo MAY IT NOT BE REAL!: Appearing out of the ether and on the Internet is this logo purported to be the new imprint of the Marlins. The team has no comment prior to a planned Nov. 11 unveiling of the new team logo and colors. That also is the day they drop 'Florida' and officially become the Miami Marlins. I don't like this logo. Do you? Especially I don't like the design or colors of the M. One reason this logo might not be real: Marlins president David Samson hinted this week the new colors would not include the original signature color, teal. But isn't that teal on the bottom of the M? Logo talk! 

1aa1charlie CHARLIE SHEEN ROAST: Watched it with an open mind and thought this: 1) You have a really bad roast panel when all the speakers' running gag is making fun of how little-known the other speakers are. 2) You have a really bad roast panel when your biggest stars are Mike Tyson and William Shatner. 3) You have a really sad roast when everybody is making fun of the guest of honor for his drug abuse and hookers, but it isn't a caricature. I also found it notable that on the same night Sheen starred in this ode to the dissolution of his career, the reconstituted Two And a Half Men, now starring Ashton Kutcher, earned the highest ratings in the history of the show. G'night, Charlie.

1aa1chaz SPEAKING OF TV...: How obvious is it that the new season of Dancing With The Stars is pushing Chaz Bono (left) to at least be a season-long presence? They have turned him into a novelty act at best, a freak show at worst. You know what, though? Pretty good dancer for a fat guy. Am I allowed to refer to a transgender man as a fat guy or is that doubly mean? I am imagining for some reason a Charlie Sheen/Chaz Bono Variety Hour. C'mon, people, work with me!

ME, FANTASY: Greg's Lobos lost 146-113, falling to 1-1 in my family 'n friends league. Aaron Rodgers' 26 points did not suffice. Got buried by my opponent's 39 from Vincent Jackson. Do I suck as a fantasy owner? I do. I am the opposite of "involved" player. Latest example: I forgot to not start Marques Colston, who was out injured. Inexcusable! Didn't cost me the game. But made me deserve to lose.

ME, PICKS: Nice bounceback for me in Week 2 of my NFL picks. Went 13-3 overall and 9-5-2 against the spread (wins by Bills and Cowboys pushed). Details on our Friday pix page.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE: Our latest updated weekly ranking of the seven FBS teams in our state, with previous week's rank in parentheses. Entering Week 4:

1aa1fla 1. FSU Seminoles (1) 2-1, 0-0 ACC

2. Florida Gators (2) 3-0, 1-0 SEC

3. S. Fla. Bulls (3) 3-0, 0-0 Big East

4. Miami Hurricanes (5) 1-1, 0-1 ACC

5. FIU G-P's (6) 3-0, 1-0 Sun Belt

6. C. Fla. Knights (4) 2-1, 0-0 C-USA

7. FAU Owls (7) 0-2, 0-0 Sun Belt

1aa1ronjeremy MMM, GOOD RUM. TASTES LIKE PORN!: Porn legend Ron Jeremy -- I have no idea if he is retired or still acting and probably wouldn't admit it if I did know -- lends the imprimatur of his good name to "Ron de Jeremy Spiced Rum" and will 1aa1jeremydouble appear this coming Saturday at a local Crown Liquors to pimp his product. If the bottle mentions a "secret ingredient," run like hell. (In a related story, see left, Ron Jeremy and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy might be the same person).

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a combination of the three major polls: Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN. Points based on 30 for a No. 1 ranking, 29 for No. 2, etc. The combined ranking entering Week 4:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Oklahoma   360   (1)

2   Alabama   344   (2)

3   Louisiana State   339   (3)

4   Boise State   317   (4)

5   Stanford   301   (6)

6   FLORIDA STATE   293   (5)

7   Oklahoma State   278   (7t)

8t   Wisconsin   274   (9)   

8t   Texas A&M   274   (7t)

10   Oregon   254   (10)

11   Nebraska   242   (11)

12   South Carolina   230   (12)

13t   Arkansas   221   (14)

13   Virginia Tech   221   (13)

15   FLORIDA   151   (17)

16   Michigan State   150   (15)

17   Ohio State   138   (16)

18   West Virginia   136   (18)

19   Texas Christian   118   (20)

20   Texas   107   (22t)

21   SOUTH FLORIDA   95   (25t)

22   Baylor   93   (25t)

23   Mississippi State   90   (19)

24   Arizona State   77   (21)

25   Auburn   74   (22t)

26   Missouri   58   (24)

27   Southern Cal   49   (30)

28t   Michigan   44   (31)

28t   Notre Dame   44   (27)

30   Penn State   37   (28)

36   MIAMI   13   (35t)

38t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   7   (33t)

Note: FIU does not yet chart because a team must be in top five outside Top 25s each week to score points. This week FIU is 16th outside Top 25 by The AP, 13th outside USA Today and 9th outside ESPN.

Click back. Will be adding a bunch more stuff to this latest blogpost...

September 18, 2011

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.7%

[Note: Main game post on Dolphins' loss to Houston may be found directly below this in the blog. Click Dolphins Suck the Life Out of Stadium for my column off the game. Also, join on Twitter @gregcote].

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: GAME 2: Results are certified on the latest edition of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show a plummet to only 3.7 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 23-13 Dolphins home loss vs. Houston putting Miami's season record at 0-2.

1aa1dsm The DSM, now in its fourth season, 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.

The poll never closes but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:15 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2011 Dolfan Satisfaction Meter

G2: 3.7% satisfaction (2.6 very, 1.1 somewhat) following 23-13 loss vs. Houston.

G1: 34.4% satisfaction (3.9 very, 30.5 somewhat) following 38-24 loss vs. New England.

Next poll: Sept. 25 following game at Cleveland.

2010 Final: 3.8% overall satisfaction.

2009 Final: 31.2% overall satisfaction.

2008 Final: 96.9% overall satisfaction.