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25 posts from November 2011

November 29, 2011

Predicting who Dolphins, Heat, Marlins will get; plus Heat title odds, Urban Meyer-as-in-liar, dead rats & more

[Thanks to all who joined our live chat today. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join then or to post questions any time. Tuesday marked 10th anniversary of death of George Harrison: Gone but never forgotten. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote]

HEAT FAVORED TO WIN NBA TITLE: From Bodog, Heat is 9-4 favorite to win NBA championship, with Lakers 5-1, Bulls 7-1, Thunder 15-2, Mavericks 17-2 and Celtics 12-1. Heat over/under on wins (with 66-game season) is 48.5. Also, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade attended Tuesday night's Duke-Ohio State game in Columbus. Click here for the tale.

OH, CRYSTAL BALL: ON DOLPHINS, HEAT, MARLINS...: The newly unlocked Heat and newly spending Marlins are shopping in free agency while the Dolphins are preparing for the draft. Each team has its realistic top targets in mind. Here is my current prediction for each team's eventual top signing:

1aa1barkleymattDOLPHINS: QB MATT BARKLEY, Southern Cal --- Conceding Stanford's Andrew Luck to the Colts, Miami -- likely to choose somewhere between 4th and 10th in the first round -- could very well have its choice between Oklahoma's Landry Jones and USC's Barkley. Dolphins catch a break because many of the teams as bad or worse already think they have their franchise QB (Rams, Panthers) or have recently spent a No. 1 pick on the position (Vikings, Jaguars). Barkley, though only 6-2 and with good-not-great arm strength, is climbing up most mock drafts (surpassing Jones in Todd McShay's latest for ESPN) and has ready-now, pro-style skills that would suit the Dolphins' needs.

1aa1barkleysamueldHEAT: C SAMUEL DALEMBERT, Sacramento Kings --- The 6-11 center, 30, would be an upgrade at the position where Pat Riley most wants improvement/solidity. Dalembert is from Haiti, lives in Palm Beach and already has said in an interview how excited he'd be to join Miami's Big 3. He'd need to accept a significant pay-cut to the $5 million mid-level exception the Heat could offer, but he seems willing to be agreeable.

1aa1barkleycjwMARLINS: P C.J. WILSON, Texas Rangers: Wilson, here being wooed this week, is what the Marlins most need: Not only a starting pitcher, but a lefty. Getting shortstop Jose Reyes might cause more excitement, but getting Wilson would patch a bigger hole. At 31 he is in his prime and coming off a 16-7 season (31-15 the past two years) with a 2.94 ERA and 206 strikeouts. Those are ace-numbers.  

1aa1urbanmeyerURBAN MEYER-AS-IN-LIAR: Urban Meyer resigns as Gators football coach because of health concerns (he says) and to spend more time with his family (he says). One year later he is the new Ohio State coach. Voila! Guess OSU offered some magic Buckeye Juice to make him all better. Also guess he spent so much consolidated quality time with his family that he grew tired of them and needed a break. Also guess maybe Urban was kidding when he called Florida his "dream job" and "the best job in America." Gator fans, y'all got played. Dear Urban: You were always the next great offer from putting football above health and family again, and everybody knew it. Coaches' lip-service might change, but their priorities rarely do.

1aa1ozziegOH THAT OZZIE!: New Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen adorns the cover of the new ESPN The Magazine, along with his dog and his dog's tongue. 

THE SHAME OF SUH: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh suspended two games without pay for his shameful Thanksgiving stomp (followed by that ludicrous lie). That seems fair as long as it comes with a warning against any further breach of sportsmanship. The NFL worries too much about silly sportsmanship issues like end-zone celebrations. What Suh did was feloniously embarrassing.

ME, PICKS: Had an OK-to-solid Week 12 on my NFL picks, going 10-6 straight-up and 8-6-2 (two games were off-board) against the spread. Details coming on this Friday's pix page.

ME, FANTASY: The reeling Greg's Lobos sank to an embarrassing 3-9 in a heartbreaker, losing 139-138. Had an 11-point lead entering Monday night's game, with Hakeem Nicks and Marques Colston both playing. Thought I was golden. My opponent? He only had Victor Cruz. The same Victor Cruz who scored 37 and danced the salsa on my defeated, supine body.

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 collball Week 14:

1aa1fla1. FSU Seminoles (1) 8-4, 5-3 ACC

2. Miami Hurricanes (2) 6-6, 3-5 ACC

3. Florida Gators (3) 6-6, 3-5 SEC 

4. S. Fla. Bulls (4) 5-6, 1-5 Big East

5. FIU Panthers (5) 8-4, 5-3 Sun Belt

6. C. Fla. Knights (6) 5-7, 3-5 C-USA

7. FAU Owls (7) 1-10, 0-7 Sun Belt

1aa1lombardiLOMBARDI AT THE MOSAIC: Thanks to the good folks at the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation for having us out to watch Lombardi and then host an audience discussion afterward. Good time, great play. Those who judge actors and acting only by TV and film cheat themselves. What a performance by Ray Abruzzo as Lombardi in an intimate, 150-seat venue. Check out the Mosaic if you haven't.

1aa1ratA RAT'S LIFE: Over the long holiday weekend I detected and swiftly killed a rat in my garage with a baited trap. Do I feel guilty? Not even a little bit. Do I care what PETA might think? Even less. I wrote a haiku, less in eulogy than celebration: "Oh dirty rat, nocturnal invader. Clickety click, sniff sniff, snap!"

GOLF FOR GOOD CAUSE: The Piper High baseball program I've been involved with has its annual fundraiser golf tournament this Saturday Dec. 3 (1 p.m.) at the new Seven Bridges Springtree course in Sunrise. Only $80 per golfer, includes dinner buffet. If interested call Mike Morejon at (954) 494-8140.

INTERNET VS. SANTA: This story posits that kids' access to the Internet makes it harder for parents to grow Santa Claus-believing children. I hope Santa doesn't read this. He'll stop giving computers as gifts.

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a season-long 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. This aggregate ranking following Week 13 will be the last until the final post-bowls standings:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Louisiana State   1,235   (1)

2   Alabama   1,200   (2)

3   Oklahoma   1,104   (3)

4   Stanford   1,080   (4)

5   Oklahoma State   1,073   (6)

6   Boise State   1,059   (5)

7   Arkansas   979   (7)

8   Oregon   960   (8)

9   Wisconsin   889   (9)

10   Virginia Tech   797   (10)

11   South Carolina   744   (11)

12   Nebraska   726   (12)

13   Clemson   628   (13)

14   Michigan State   613   (14)

15   Michigan   486   (16)

16   Houston   459   (17)

17   Texas A&M   457   (15)

18   Kansas State   405   (20)

19   West Virginia   401   (19)

20   FLORIDA STATE   394   (18)

21   Georgia   331   (23)

22   Texas   323   (21)

23   Georgia Tech   307   (22)

24   Penn State   289   (24)

25   Texas Christian   287   (26)

26   Baylor   281   (27t)

27   FLORIDA   262   (25)

28t   Southern Cal   244   (30)

28t   Arizona State   244   (27t)

30   Auburn   209   (29)

33   SOUTH FLORIDA   144   (33)

43   MIAMI   13   (43)

48t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   7   (47t)

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

November 26, 2011

Peace on Earth! NBA lockout ends, Heat & league to open Christmas; Excited or residual resentment? (with poll)

[See latest results -- the 2011 final season results -- in our Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in blogpost directly below this. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1heatbackPEACE ON EARTH! HEAT, NBA OPENING CHRISTMAS DAY: Saturday it was announced there was a tentative areement reached to end the four-months-plus NBA lockout, and that if approved as expected a shortened 66-game season would begin on Christmas Day with a tripleheader. Reports are the Heat will be one of the six teams first in play, at Dallas. That's perfect: That the Big 3 Part 2 begin right where the first season ended, in a Finals loss. To whet your appetite, click here for a Very LeBron Thanksgiving, from his Twitter feed. And Click on What Lockout? for today's column by me, online and in the inky-pulp edition.  

Wondering if excitement over the season finally starting immediately overwhelms any resentment over the long delay, or whether rancor lingers. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

November 25, 2011

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: Final: 22.1%

[Main game post on UM-Boston College (and more) is directly below this in the blog. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote]

The final 2011 CSM: What was your overall degree of satisfaction with the Hurricanes this season? Results below!

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: GAME 12/FINAL: Results are in on the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter -- the final one of 2011 and they show a season-ending 22.1 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Saturday's 24-17 home loss to Boston College, a 1aa1csmconference result putting UM's final season record at 6-6 overall 3-5 in the ACC. (Miami self-imposed a bowl-ban so this wraps up the season).

In its third year, the CSM was a continuing weekly gauge of how Miami Hurricanes football fans were feeling about the team and the program's direction, with a new poll appearing in the blog after every Canes game. Criteria for voting was your own, but I suggested 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 suggested making this about the team on the field, not about off-field NCAA matters. And because this was the final poll, I suggested your vote place an emphasis on the season as a whole. 

Polls never close, but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:30 a.m. today/Sunday.

2011 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G12/Final: 22.1% satisfaction (8.1 very, 14.0 somewhat) following 24-17 loss vs. Boston College.

G11: 65.2% satisfaction (14.9 very, 50.3 somewhat) following 6-3 victory at South Florida.

G10: 33% satisfaction (8.1 very, 24.9 somewhat) following 23-19 loss at Florida State.

G9: 89.2% satisfaction (45.9 very, 43.3 somewhat) following 49-14 victory vs. Duke. 

G8: 31.5% satisfaction (5.0 very, 26.5 somerwhat) following 28-21 loss vs. Virginia.

G7: 94.0% satisfaction (58.6 very, 35.4 somewhat) following 24-7 victory vs. Georgia Tech.

G6: 85.3% satisfaction (24.0 very, 61.3 somewhat) following 30-24 victory at North Carolina.

G5: 50.9% satisfaction (10.0 very, 40.9 somewhat) following 38-35 loss at Virginia Tech.

G4: 45.0% satisfaction (6.3 very, 38.7 somewhat) following 45-14 victory 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% satisfaction (9.1 very, 40.1 somewhat) following 32-24 loss at Maryland.

2011 Final: 22.1% overall satisfaction (following 6-6 season)

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

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

Boston College 24, Hurricanes 17: UM, Jacory end season on sour note, but Golden contract extended; plus FIU, FAU, NFL predix & more

[See results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in post directly below this. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote].

See results in the latest and season-finale Canesfan Satisfaction Meter in blogpost directly above this one! 

1aa1bcmiaG12: BOSTON COLLEGE 24, HURRICANES 17: PICK BUG RETURNS TO BITE JACORY: Very disappointing way to end the season for UM Friday, finishing at 6-6 with a 24-17 home loss to underdog Boston College. Senior QB Jacory Harris had thrown only five interceptions all year but threw four in this game, spelling the defeat. On a brighter note, UM announced during the game that coach Al Golden had signed a four-year contract extension, through the 2019 season -- ending at least for now the speculation that he might leave for Penn State or anywhere else. ..... Original post: Hope y'all had a terrific Thanksgiving! The 6-5 Canes should win today/Friday in what will be the final game of coach Al Golden's first season because of the self-imposed bowl ban. BC is 3-8. The 3:30 game will be emotional for Jacory Harris, Sean Spence and their fellow seniors. In effect, this will be UM's bowl game, so I expect a big performance. Pick: Hurricanes, 45-10.

Other state-college FBS games: Also Friday, Louisville beat South Florida, 34-24; and Central Florida beat Texas-El Paso, 31-14. Saturday, FIU beat MIddle Tennessee, 31-18; FAU beat Alabama-Birmingham, 38-35; and Florida State beat Florida, 21-7. FIU awaits a (possible) bowl bid, FAU at last wins its first game in Howard Schnellenberger's swan-song season; and The Swamp sees a humbling meeting in a down season for both teams. Pick: Gators, 24-20. (Oops).

National top-25 matchups: Friday, No. 1 Louisiana State beat No. 3 Arkansas, 41-17. Saturday: 13-Georgia beat 23-Georgia Tech, 31-17; 2-Alabama @ 24-Auburn, 42-14; 16-Wisconsin beat 19-Penn State, 45-7; 12-South Carolina beat 17-Clemson, 34-13; and 6-Stanford beat 22-Notre Dame, 28-14. BCS shakeup? Not where it counted. LSU and 'Bama both had supposedly loseable games but both impressively took care of business.     

1aa1fripixNFL PREDIX: UP FROM A SHAKY THURSDAY: Ouch. Misfired on two of our three Thanksgiving Day picks, erring to gamble that Green Bay and Baltimore both would lose by upset, and barely getting the Dallas pick right. Geez. The rest of my week had better be better. Click on Week 12 Gems for all our remaining selections, and on Backup Plan for our Friday Page column on the NFL's quarterback tumult.

TARGETING BLACK FRIDAY AN ERROR BY "OCCUPY" MOVEMENT: I thought Occupy Wall Street was an inspired idea and a righteous movement because it targeted the "1 percent" disparity of wealth in this nation and the corporate greed that is its face. But the Occupy movement loses me with its "Occupy Black Friday" initiative today. It is wrong to target retail stores and shoppers. The point of the movement should not be to discourage what helps the economy. Nor are the vast majority of shoppers anywhere close to representing the 1%'ers.

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

November 24, 2011

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 38.5%

[Main Dolphins-Cowboys game post -- plus our Happy Thanksgiving video greeting and more -- is directly below this in blog. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote].

The 15.3 overnight rating for Dolphins-Cowboys was CBS' best for a Thanksgiving Day game since the network acquired NFL broadcast rights in 1998.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: GAME 11: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction  Meter, and they show 38.5 percent ov erall satisfaction in the wake of Thursday's 20-19 Thanksgiving Day loss at Dallas, a result putting Miami's season record at 3-8.

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. I also suggest your vote be based on this season only, and not how it might affect the 2012 draft.

The poll never closes but results are certified official after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Saturday.

2011 Dolfan Satisfaction Meter

Next poll: Dec. 4 following game vs. Oakland.

G11: 38.5% satisfaction (14.0 very, 24.5 somewhat) following 20-19 loss at Dallas.

G10: 58.5% satisfaction (23.8 very, 34.7 somewhat) following 35-8 victory vs. Buffalo.

G9: 35.9% satisfaction (7.8 very, 28.1 somewhat) following 20-9 victory vs. Washington.

G8: 31.6% satisfaction (16.0 very, 15.6 somewhat) following 31-3 victory at Kansas City.

G7: 19.6% satisfaction (18.1 very, 1.5 somewhat) following 20-17 loss at N.Y. Giants.

G6: 14.5% satisfaction (14.0 very, 0.5 somewhat) following 18-15 loss vs. Denver.

G5: 9.6% satisfaction (9.2 very, 0.4 somewhat) following 24-6 loss at New York Jets.

G4: 5.6% satisfaction (5.4 very, 0.2 somewhat) following 26-16 loss 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.

G11: Dallas 20, Dolphins 19 (Final): Heartbreak, again. Last-second FG beats Miami; plus Happy Thanksgiving video from me to you, NFL bird-day predix

[Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Watch for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in separate blogpost starting at 8:30 p.m. sharp!

G11: DALLAS 20, DOLPHINS 19 (Final): This was No. 4. The fourth game by my count that should-a/could-a been a win and that means a Dolphins team now 3-8 and thinking next year could be 7-4 and thinking playoffs. Realistically, I mean. Matt Moore was pretty good again. The defense was stout. That one turnover on the bad snap that got past Moore was a killer. Do I blame Tony Sparano for going for one not two on that one extra point? No. It was still the third quarter. the "book" says one on that. ..... Original post: Let the Leon Lett references fly! Dolphins try to make it four straight today against a hot Tony Romo in Dallas in the middle game of the NFL's Bird Day tripleheader starting at 4:15. I am told our Dolphins In Depth blog is napping all this week, therefore today we'll be hosting, right here, the official Miami Herald Dolphins game blog. Ooh, such pressure! This post will magically transmogrify into our Dolphins-at-Dallas post prior to kickoff and we hope you'll join us then. Meantime, eat, drink and be merry!

1aa1birddayHAPPY THANKSGIVING! A VIDEO GREETING FROM ME TO YOU...: You know me. I like to have fun. I lean to sarcasm. But I offer a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving to all, and a thanks in general especially to all my long-time readers. OK now back to the fun. Click on PILGRIM DAY for my latest holiday video, this one staring me, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, Heat star Dwyane Wade, dethroned Penn State king Joe Paterno, and Denver deity Tim Tebow. Enjoy!

1aa1fripixNFL PIX: UPSETS IN TWO OF THREE BIRD-DAY GAMES: Green Bay finally will lose in the first of today's tripleheader as the '72 Dolphins rejoice. San Francisco will upset Baltimore in the Bros Bowl tonight. Alas, in between, Miami will not partake of the upsetting. Click on Thanksgiving Day Gems for today's three complete predictions capsules.

November 22, 2011

Sparano needs miracle; might Canes also need one to keep Golden? (with poll); plus Wrangler, Favre rip off The U & more

[Belated apologies for my skipping today's regularly scheduled live chat without notice. My bad. Got caught up working ahead in order to take Thanksgiving off and the chat slipped between the cracks. Sorry, again. We'll get back doing it next Wednesday as usual. Meantime join us on Twitter @gregcote]

AS THE COACHES TURN: ON SPARANO, GOLDEN: I wrote in Tuesday's column it would likely take the Dolphins 1aa1alpsurunning the table, finishing 9-7 and making the playoffs to save coach Tony Sparano's job. Click on Do You Believe In Miracles? for that column. Today I tackle the far less definite, more nuanced coaching situation slowly playing out with the Canes and Al Golden. Click on I Believe... for that column. Golden publicly pledges allegiance to the job he has -- and did so again Tuesday, if not quite unequivocally. Should we believe him? Speculation swirls that his alma mater, Penn State, desires him to be the white knight who rides in to replace Joe Paterno and remake the school's battered name. Just this week a respected website, SportsByBrooks (a site especially involved in college football), Tweeted: "Al Golden to PSU is not opinion. What I've been told. Stay tuned." Doesn't mean that is accurate or that Golden will leave, but I also think it's naive to discount the possibility. Golden stated Tuesday on an ACC conference call, when asked: "I believe I'm going to be the head coach at Miami in 2012, that's correct." The "I believe" waters that down. In any case we have learned, from Butch Davis to Nick Saban and in between, that what a coach says now and does later can be two very different things. Curious your level of concern on UM losing Golden. That's why I tacked this poll up on the blog corkboard! Vote and say why.

TD STREAK BY EX-CANES ENDS: The remarkable record streak of 149 straight NFL game-weeks with at least one touchdown by a former Miami Hurricane finally has ended. It began in 2002. Here is all you need to know to know the record never will be broken: The longest active TD streak now is 13 straight weeks by former Pitt Panthers.

BRETT FAVRE, WRANGLER RIP OFF THE U!: A new Wrangler jeans advertisement with Brett Favre promotes what it calls a U-shaped "comfort zone" and ends with Favre proclaiming,, "It's all about the U." I take it the Hurricanes have not patented the phrase. If they have, call the lawyers!

ME, PICKS: Fairly solid last week at an OK 9-5 overall and an above-water 7-5-2 (Ravens and Falcons pushed) against the spread. But oh that one abysmal, embarrassing, what-was-I-thinking pick, and it happened to be Bills over Dolphins. Oy. Details on this week's Friday Page.   

ME, FANTASY: Greg's Lobos stink. Fell to 3-8 with a sixth straight loss, 141-115, and will need a miracle to sneak into my fantasy playoffs. Got 29 points from Aaron Rodgers and 21 from Maurice Jones-Drew, but only 15 combined from Greg Jennings, Hakeem Nicks and Jermichael Finley. My son says my having Rodgers but still being bad is an indictment of my drafting. He may be right.    

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 collball Week 13:

1aa1fla1. FSU Seminoles (1) 7-4, 5-3 ACC

2. Miami Hurricanes (2) 6-5, 3-4 ACC

3. Florida Gators (3) 6-5, 3-5 SEC 

4. S. Fla. Bulls (4) 5-5, 1-4 Big East

5. FIU Panthers 7-4, 4-3 Big East (6)

6. C. Fla. Knights (5) 4-7, 2-5 C-USA

7. FAU Owls (7) 0-10, 0-7 Sun Belt

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a season-long 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 aggregate ranking entering Week 13:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Louisiana State   1,145   (1)

2   Alabama   1,113   (2)

3   Oklahoma   1,049   (3)

4   Stanford   999   5)

5   Boise State   993   (4)

6   Oklahoma State   991   (6)

7   Arkansas   910   (7)

8   Oregon   888   (8)

9   Wisconsin   836   (9)

10   Virginia Tech   717   (12)

11   South Carolina   693   (11)

12   Nebraska   692   (10)

13   Clemson   598   (13)

14   Michigan State   551   (14)

15   Texas A&M   457   (15)

16   Michigan   443   (16)

17   Houston   387   (19)   

18   FLORIDA STATE   375   (17)

19   West Virginia   372   (18)

20   Kansas State   359   (20)

21   Texas   307   (21)

22   Georgia Tech   302   (22)

23   Georgia   276   (26)

24   Penn State   264   (25)

25   FLORIDA   262   (23)

26   Texas Christian   247   (28)

27t   Baylor   244   (27)

27t   Arizona State   244   (24)

29   Auburn   209   (29)

30   Southern Cal   198   (32)

33   SOUTH FLORIDA   144   (33)

43   MIAMI   13   (41)

47t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   7   (44t)

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

November 21, 2011

UM bowl-ban is right call. Agreed? (with poll); plus Tony Stewart, Heat, Fix-a-Flat buttocks & more

[Note: See latest results of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter in blogpost directly below this one. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote]

UM MADE RIGHT CALL. DID CANES' SENIOR CLASS REALLY DESERVE BOWL GAME, ANYWAY?: Miami became bowl-eligible at 6-5 Saturday and on Sunday withdrew itself from bowl consideration -- which might be 1aa1algoldenbanshocking but for the circumstances that make it the right call. The circumstances, of course: The ongoing NCAA/Nevin Shapiro investigation. The self-imposed ban is a smart strategy and the right call for many reasons. Mainly, it will mitigate in UM's favor as the NCAA weighs penalties of its own. Also, even with a 7-5 record it would have been a lousy or at least minor bowl anyway. One also could argue (and I do, right here) that the Jacory Harris-led senior class ostensibly being penalized didn't do much to deserve a bowl reward anyway, either on the field or as the team leaders under whose watch the Shapiro manure continued to spread. Swallowing a self-imposed bowl ban now theoretically will mean UM will be bowl-eligible in a future season a year sooner than it otherwise might have been. Coach Al Golden (pictured) said he supports the school's decision. But I also understand many fans might disagree with the bowl-ban, feeling that UM seniors earned this bowl and that fans deserve to enjoy a bowl experience this season expressly because likely NCAA sanctions are ahead. How do you feel? Take a dip in our poll and say why.

1aa1stewarttonySTEWART WINS ONE FOR THE AGES: Tony Stewart talked a good game and drove a better one. And NASCAR and Homestead-Miami Speedway got an instant-classic finale Sunday with the audacious Stewart outdueling points leader Carl Edwards to win his third career season crown in a 1-2 finish. What a race! I'm a casual race fan, not a gearhead, but this was exciting. Click on Tony the Tiger for my column off the race. NASCAR needed somebody to break the rather boring Jimmie Johnson dynasty, and Stewart has the attitude and personality, the resume' and the racing chops to make him the right man.

LEBRON, D-WADE'S 'HOMECOMING TOUR': With the NBA lockout dragging on endlessly and annoying the crap out of everybody, Heat's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have pairted with Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul to headline a four-game Homecoming Tour Dec. 1 in Akron (James' home), Dec. 4 in New Orleans (Paul), Dec. 7 in Chicago (Wade) and Dec. 10 in East Rutherford, N.J. (Anthony). I find two things interesting about this tour: 1) Will leftover Cleveland animus make for any hostility in Akron? And 2) Three of the four headlining players have last names that also are first names: James, Paul and Anthony. Actually, Wade also can be a first name, too. At least Wade Phillips' parents thought so.

1aa1buttocksFAKE DOCTOR FIXES WOMAN'S FLAT BUTTOCKS: Here is yet another only-in-South Florida tale that reads like a chapter in a madcap Carl Hiaasen novel. A fake doctor who happens to be a transgender female and a woman desiring buttocks augmentation intersected and the unhappy result was that the faux-MD injected Fix-a-Flat into the woman, resulting in what is pictured and nearly killing her. Story here. (Raise your hand if you remember when most women thought their a--es were too big). I cannot confirm this but I heard that when the victimized woman was asked about the symptoms of having a Fix-a-Flat derriere she replied, "I feel tired."

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

November 20, 2011

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 58.5%

[Main Dolphins-Bills game post -- plus Canes withdraw from bowl consideration and Tony Stewart wins NASCAR/Homestead -- is directly below this in blog. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote].

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: GAME 10: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction  Meter, and they show 58.5 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Sunday's 35-8 home win over the Buffalo 1aa1dsmBills, a division result putting Miami's season record at 3-7. Amazing what a three-game win streak can do. The reading is a season high.

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. I also suggest your vote be based on this season only, and not how it might affect the 2012 draft.

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

2011 Dolfan Satisfaction Meter

Next poll: Nov. 24 following game at Dallas.

G10: 58.5% satisfaction (23.8 very, 34.7 somewhat) following 35-8 victory vs. Buffalo.

G9: 35.9% satisfaction (7.8 very, 28.1 somewhat) following 20-9 victory vs. Washington.

G8: 31.6% satisfaction (16.0 very, 15.6 somewhat) following 31-3 victory at Kansas City.

G7: 19.6% satisfaction (18.1 very, 1.5 somewhat) following 20-17 loss at N.Y. Giants.

G6: 14.5% satisfaction (14.0 very, 0.5 somewhat) following 18-15 loss vs. Denver.

G5: 9.6% satisfaction (9.2 very, 0.4 somewhat) following 24-6 loss at New York Jets.

G4: 5.6% satisfaction (5.4 very, 0.2 somewhat) following 26-16 loss 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.

G10: Dolphins 35, Buffalo 8 (Final): Can surging Miami actually run the table?; plus Canes won't play in bowl, Stewart reigns at Homestead

[See latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll results directly below this in the blog. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Vote now in latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll in separate blogpost directly above this one.

G10: BUFFALO @ DOLPHINS: CAN MIAMI MAKE A MIRACLE HAPPEN?: Final: What a royal a-- kicking by surging Dolphins, a third straight win putting season record at 3-7. QB Matt Moore was terrific, and the defense pitched a third consecutive TD-shutout. And now the question must be asked, remote as the possibility still is: Can Miami make history by running the table, ending 9-7 and maybe sneaking into the playoffs? I'm just askin'. ..... 4Q: Weird. Ex-Dolph Tyler Thigpen finishing game at QB for Buffs, and ex-Bill JP Losman mopping up for Miami. ..... Daniel Thomas tackled in end zone for safety; score now 35-8. Dolphin defense TD-shutout streak now into 12th quarter. ..... 3Q: Lex Hilliard recovers blocked punt for TD and 35-6 lead. Incredible. ..... Half: Wow. Did not anticipate such a rout. Matt Moore has been fantastic: 11-for-14 for 148 yards and three TDs. And Dolphins defense is halfway toward pitching its third consecutive TD-shutout. ..... 2Q: Bills cash last-second 56-yard FG. ..... Davone Bess 4-yard TD pass from Matt Moore inside of two minutes, a score set up by Yeremiah Bell interception. ..... Charles Clay 12-yard scoring pass from Matt Moore for 21-3 lead. Moore with excellent game so far. My prediction not looking real good right now to say the least. ..... 1Q: Fins 14-3 after Reggie Bush 5-yard TD run in final minute. Shayne Graham XP kick, in for injured Dan Carpenter. ..... Anthony Fasano 1-yard TD pass from Matt Moore ends impressive first drive for Miami and makes it 7-3, after Buffs opened with 30-yard FG. ..... Original post: Well beating the Buffs 1aa1buffsdolphstoday wouldn't constitute a miracle, no. But running the table from 0-7 would. Making history by finishing 9-7 and being in the wild-card hunt would. Preposterous to even mention? Yes, frankly, but after two straight wins coach Tony Sparano has his players thinking that's possible. Every NFL precedent says it is not. The odds of it would be astronomical; then again, less than two games ago. Could be a moot thought anyway because I have a feeling the Bison win today, ending Miami's two-game W-streak. Fred Jackson has been the best running back in the NFL today and I think he'll get Ryan Fitzpatrick and that offense untracked. Suck For Luck might be out of realistic play, but a top-5 draft pick is still in the mix for those thinking consolation prize. Pick: Bills, 23-20.

CANES SMART TO SAY THEY WON'T PLAY IN BOWL GAME: Miami has withdrawn itself from bowl consideration due to the ongoing NCAA/Nevin Shapiro investigation, although bowl-eligible at 6-5. It's a smart move for all kings of reasons. It would have been a lousy/minor bowl game, anyway. More than that, a self-imposed penaloty such as this will mitigate in UM's favor as the NCAA considers penalties of its own. 

VROOOM! NASCAR, HOMESTEAD GET DREAM FINALE: Three points, two drivers, one race. Tony Stewart beat Carl Edwards tonight to win both the Ford 400 at Homestead and the NASCAR season Sprint Cup championship. Click on Perfect Ending for my advance column on the race. I was down here columnizing live for Monday's paper, too. To Dolfans this was the "other" big sporting event in town, but in terms of the crowd it drew, the spectacle and national interest, the race going on an hour's drive south of the game was the bigger deal, by a lot. Edwards had a three-point lead, the pole position and a history of running better on this track. I just had a feeling, though, that Stewart would prevail for his third career belt. (After bombing on my Dolphins pick, at least it was good to be right about something).