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:
DOLPHINS: 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.
HEAT: 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.
MARLINS: 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.
URBAN 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.
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:
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
LOMBARDI 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.
A 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...