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11 posts from August 2012

August 31, 2012

G1: Hurricanes 41, Boston College 32: Morris, The Duke, UM offense overcome defensive lapses for big opening win!; plus FIU disappoints; Noles, Gators & more

[1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1. Having a rough day? It could be worse. You could be the RNC guy who booked Clint Eastwood. 2)  NEWEST VIDEO!: ON UM, FIU FOOTBALL: Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote to peruse any of our mini-commentaries including our latest one on Hurricanes and FIU football on the eve of their season openers. 3) Click on The Team That Luck Forgot for today's special-section Dolphins column by me, and on Top 32 for my 2012 ranking of NFL teams. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1mepick 1aa1birdmockUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 6 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages Sept. 7, and began a 21-day countdown that each day is honoring notable birds. Following Winnie the Pooh's neighbor Owl, today we welome the 1974 Carly Simon/James Taylor song, "Mockingbird."

1aa1csm12Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: It's baa-aack!: Our blog's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter is back for a fourth season. A new CSM poll will appear right after every Miami Hurricanes game inviting you to express your overall level of satisfaction with the team and season. Look for the first 2012 poll following Saturday's opener at Boston College. Estimated posttime: 7:30 to 7:45 p.m. 

G1: HURRICANES 41, BOSTON COLLEGE 32: Final: UM 41-32 after Miami takes intentional safety in closing seconds. A wild, ultimately impressive season-opening win by the Canes. The pass defense was close to horrible, but the UM offense -- led by quarterback Stephen Morris and freshman runner Duke Johnson -- was enogh to overcome. 4Q: Miami defensive goalline stand with 2:17 to play denies a QB-sneak score and seals it, the call upheld on review. ..... BC 30-41. Birds draw closer with 17-yard scoring pass with 6:43 to play. ..... UM 41-23. The game is won. Stephen Morris' 18-yard TD pass to Malcolm Lewis assures that. ..... UM 34-23: Defensive fumble recovery sets up short FG. ..... 3Q: UM 31-23. Duuuuuuuuuuke! Duke again. This time a swiveling 56-yard scoring run. Amazing talent. ..... UM 24-23. We got us a thriller up here, folks. The U back up on a 22-yard FG. ..... BC 23-21. Birds regain lead on 30-yard FG. ..... Half: Early read on this UM team and season: Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson are going to make this offense exciting. But 231 first-half passing yards allowed speak ill of the defense. ..... 2Q: 20-21. Eagles add 37-yard FG. ..... UM 21-17. Miami first lead of game (and season) on nice 54-yard run by freshman RB Duuuuuuuuuuke Johnson. ..... BC 17-14. Eagles with a 26-yard chipshot FG. ..... 1Q: UM 14-14. Just like that! Denzel Perryman 41-yard TD return on interception knots the game as quarter expires. ..... UM 7-14. Canes alive! Eduardo Clements 1-yard TD run caps 83-yard drive late in quarter. .....  Stephen Morris intercepted. Nightmare start for Canes. ..... BC 14-0. Jake Sinkovec 15-yard TD pass. UM's defense is making QB Chase Rettig look like Andrew Luck. ... BC 7-0. Lousy start for Canes D. Allowed a 36-yard pass on opening series and didn't seem set/ready on Andre Williams' 4-yard scoring run. ..... Original post: Miami is very young and a scant favorite (2 points) in a near-pick 'em game, which is sort of sad because Boston College is struggling enough that 1aa1canesits coach might be on the ACC's hottest seat entering the season. The betting line verifies that not much is expected of the Canes this season as Al Golden 2.0 commences and the stewardship of junior QB Stephen Morris (pictured) begins. I think the Canes are being underestimated, perhaps because of the still-hovering NCAA issues. I also think Golden is the right man for this job; click on Digging In for my special-section column on Golden and his commitment to UM. I see Miami improving upon last year's 6-6 but might have to revisit that claim with a loss here. Canes, if you don't beat BC, even in Chestnut Hill, you could be in for a long season, especially with the Eagles' defense sorely depleted by the departure of tackler-savant Luke Kuechly. A challenging, stage-setting game right out the gate, but the Canes' superior speed decides it. Pick: Miami, 27-16.

1aa1fiuDUKE 46, FIU PANTHERS 26: The Devil Azur won at FIU last season so you know Mario Cristobal's troops were out to return the favor. And with Duke injury-depleted, they had a chance. Not enough defense, though, especially in that nightmarish 30-point second quarter. The good news: Jake Medlock looks like the real deal at QB. My pick was: Duke, 28-27.

FAU 7, WAGNER 3: Pretty unimpressive debut for new coach Carl Pelini last night as the ghost of retired Howard Schnellenberger haunted the stadium. Not sure who Wagner is or where he's from -- actually it's a very small 1-AA school from Staten Island -- but this would've been a new low if Owls didn't win this one. My pick was: FAU, 30-13.

NO. 23 FLORIDA 27, BOWLING GREEN 14: The Swamp got a soft opening and should have rolled close to a perfect game against Bowling Green. (Sorry). Gators can't seem to pick a starting QB but thought they'd hardly need one here. Instead, it was a result that won't impress the pollsters in the least. My pick was: Florida, 41-10.

NO. 7 FLORIDA STATE 69, MURRAY STATE 3: Speaking of soft openings, thought the top-10 Noles wold name their score, and they did. My pick was: FSU, 58-6.

Week's other state FBS games: Central Florida d. Akron 56-14 on Thursday; South Florida d. Chattanooga 34-13 on Saturday.

National game of week: No. 2 Alabama d. No. 8 Michigan 41-14.

SOPY Rankings: New college football blog gimmick!: The past few years we've had our own Cote's Top 30 or whatever we called it. Tired of it. Done. Our new gimmick: The weekly, cumulative State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) Rankings, a continually updated top-10 of the most productive quarterbacks, runners and receivers from our state's seven FBS teams. I suppose FSU QB E.J. Manuel might be the favorite going in but you never know 'til you know. We'll debut the rankings and explain our formula following the Week 1 games. Watch for it.

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August 29, 2012

PS4: Dallas 30, Dolphins 13: Runway mishap a fitting end to preseason (with new video); plus Donte Stallworth, 790 takeover, Upset Bird (7), zombie wedding & more

1aa1me18[1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 31. NEWEST VIDEO! DOLPHINS IN WAKE OF AN 0-4 PRESEASON: Visit our video channel, YouTube/TheGregCote, to peruse all our "The View From Miami" mini-commentaries including the most recent, a Dolphins-Cowboys post-mortem. Subscribe (it's free) to get our latest videos as they are posted. 2) More than 18,000 people have joined a Facebook group and posted nude photos of themselves in support of Prince Harry and his recent naked Las Vegas scandal. This is either inspiring or sad, I can't decide which. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1mepick 1aa1owlwpUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 7 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages Sept. 7, and began a 21-day countdown that each day is honoring notable birds. Following the skateboarder Tony Hawk, today we welcome Winnie the Pooh's compatriot, Owl.

Dolphins airport-runway mishap: How fitting...: What better way to punctuate an 0-4 preseason than to have your team plane back into another plane on the airport runway? That's what the Dolphins jet did trying to leave Dallas after last night's loss, necessitating a switch of aircraft that delayed the Dolphins' departure by three hours. Perfect! In other news, receiver-shy Miami is working out recently cut Patriot Donte Stallworth today.

PS4: DALLAS 30, DOLPHINS 13: MIAMI ENDS PRESEASON 0-4: Final thoughts: Can the Dolphins get a few more preseason games, please? Because it does not appear that this team is season-ready. Tough to read much into this result since starters played so little, but Miami completed exhibition play without a single game that generated much optimism. Tonight the biggest positive I'd take is that Ryan Tannehill looked pretty sharp. Here comes the season, ready or not. And the "not" is unfortunately looking more likely at this point. ..... Halftime thoughts: I think the Dolphins could use a few more practice games. My one positive take from this so far is that Ryan Tannehill -- 6-for-8 with a drop in two series -- looked sharp. ..... Original post: I attended the annual Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Kickoff Luncheon for the Dolphins yesterday and 1aa1dolcowdidn't sense a lot of enthusiasm. Click on Gloomy Dolphins for the resulting column. This is a franchise and a fandom in need of a jolt, of reasons to believe. Or maybe just the slightest hint of momentum at 0-3 in a ragged preseason. That's where tonight's exhibition finale at Dallas comes in. (Yeah, I Know. Wednesday night football. Weird). Miami hasn't looked all-round solid in any preseason game yet and must tonight, no matter the result, to build hope for the regular season. With the Vontae Davis trade being questioned and now tackle Jake Long out for a bit, this would be a good time for the Dolphins to give fans something to feel good about. A strong showing by the defense tonight, especially the pass-D, would be a start. So would Ryan Tannehill looking sharp tonight (and ready) even thought he won't play much. Miami needs to come out of this game feeling better about itself in terms of confidence entering this season.

Sports Illustrated has Dolphins 4-12: SI's NFL preview issue is out this week and pegs the Dolphins 4-12, last in the AFC East and better, leaguewide, than only St. Louis' 3-13. I'm inclined to think Miami will be two or three wins better than that due largely to a soft schedule, although I'm less certain than I was a month ago.

Notable from last night's Dolphins 'Hard Knocks': A few thoughts. 1) Dear Daniel Thomas: You're not proven enough or good enough to keep being late. Be careful. 2) HBO cameras love Lauren Tannehill and also Jake Long's wife. I can't blame them. 3) Stunning how unfamiliar Tannehill is with NFL divisions. Thought Chiefs were in the NFC East. 4) Indy's first offer for Vontae Davis was 5th and 6th round picks. Still think Miami getting a 2nd (and 6th) was good value.      

Poll result: Serious disagreement on Vontae Davis trade: We asked in the previous blogpost if you agreed with the Dolphins trading Vontae Davis (you may still vote) and it was close, with 47.6 percent saying yes, 42.7% no and 9.7% undecided. Interestingly, in votes cast in Florida, where a heavier concentration of Dolfans might be assumed, no-votes slightly edged yesses, 45.6 to 45.2.

790 + 104.3 = MARKET DOMINATION: Effective 5 p.m. today 790 The Ticket began simulcasting on 1aa1buy790West Palm FM station 104.3. This is big in local sports-talk radio wars because many, many more people listen to FM than AM. What it means is that rival WQAM, already trailing 790 in ratings, no longer will be able to compete in terms of overall number of listeners. Initially only 790's three locally produced show will be simulcast. The station hopes to add its Heat, Marlins and ESPN programming to the simulcast by late this year or mid-2013 at latest.   

"WILL YOU TAKE THIS ZOMBIE...": A Louisville couple, Jesse Embry and Jennifer Wilson, plan to walk down the aisle dressed as zombies on their wedding day (story here). Betting over/under on how long it will take the couple to seriously regret ruining that day by acting like morons: 4 months.

THE BETRAYING SEAL: Fox News has identified as Mark Bissonnette the former Navy SEAL who wrote (under a pseudonym) the tell-all book on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. From what I have read this sounds like a betrayal of oath, a release of classified information. I'd not buy the book in protest for the author's actions, and not be disappointed if he faced legal consequences.

1aa1elvisA LOVE OF ELVIS TO EXTREMES: Urine-stained underwear (pictured) worn by Elvis Presley in 1977 will be sold at an auction in Manchester, England next week. Estimates are the garment could fetch around $15,000. The only thing scarier than the thought someone would want this displayed in their home is the idea someone would want this because, well, they fit, and who couldn't use another pair of underwear!?

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August 27, 2012

Yay or nay on Vontae Davis trade? Vote now (with poll); plus Jerry Jones rapping, GOP strippers, Upset Bird (10 days), Royal family portrait & more

[1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 28. Visit YouTube/TheGregCote to peruse our "The View From Miami' mini-commentaries including the latest on the Dolphins trading Vontae Davis. It's the most-viewed vid we've done yet; thank you. Subscribe (it's free) to get all our newest videos as they are posted. 2) Click here for Kate Upton's greatest video hits, including the Cat Daddy. 3) Lady Gaga is in the studio recording her new album, ARTPOP, completely in the nude. Or, did that go without saying? 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote].

1aa1tweety 1aa1mepickUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 10 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages Sept. 7, and began a 21-day countdown that each day is honoring notable birds. Following the singer Sheryl Crow, today we welcome the yellow canary from Warner Brothers cartoons, Tweety Bird.

WAS VONTAE DAVIS TRADE GOOD FOR DOLPHINS?: As Dolphins prepare to wrap the preseason Wednesday night in Dallas, the week's big news is Miami trading 2009 No. 1 draft 1aa1davisvpick Vontae Davis to Indianapolis. You know from my latest video that I like the deal. A second-round pick plus a sixth from the Colts is a lot of  value for a cornerback who had lost his starting job. (Of course the key is making something of that second-round pick. Miami's recent history of 2R selections has been spotty at best). I imagine though that there are others who think Miami's defense cannot afford this trade, or that it signals giving up on the season, or perhaps that the club gave up on Davis too soon. Hence, this poll. Vote and say why.

Poll result: High hopes for Tannehill, but also caution: We asked in the previous blogpost what you foresaw for Ryan Tannehill's career and the vote was 49.0 percent "very good," 31.9% "good," 10.8% "bust" and 8.3% "greatness." I call that outlook largely favorable, but with an undercurrent of thought that he'll fall short of being special.

FINAL PRESEASON BCS, HEISMAN ODDS: From Bovada, it's Southern Cal a 3-1 favorite for the BCS title, followed by Alabama 5-1, LSU 6-1 and Florida State 13-2. Miami a 150-1 longshot, tied for 24th. Heisman pick is USC QB Matt Barkley at 3-1, Wisconsin RB Montee Ball 6-1 and Michigan QB Denard Robinson 13-2. Highest state player is FSU QB E.J. Manuel at 30-1.  

JERRY JONES RAPPING (SORT OF): It's the Cowboys owner pimping a new Papa John's pizza ad. This is something nobody should ever have to see or heat. Click this if you dare. 

1aa1palin2STRIPPERS, MEET REPUBLICANS: Many state travelers are aware Tampa, site of the ongoing Republican National 1aa1palinConvention, is billed as America's strip club capital. These savvy travelers would then be unsurprised that the clubs are rolling out the red, white and blue theme for GOP week. Pictured left: One such theme. Pictured right: Porn star Lisa Ann, in Tampa as a Sarah Palin impersonator. Ah, politics!    

1aa1johnsonsSPORTIES ON NEW 'DWTS': Dancing With The Stars' 13th season is an all-star affair, and sporties on it are Olympic gymast Shawn Johnson and speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, Cowboys great Emmitt Smith and race car driver Helio Castroneves. Johnson is pictured, because she leads the league in perky. 

THE "LAST MEAL" ON DEATH ROW: I have mixed feelings about Death Row inmates being able to order a lavish "last meal" (whatever they wish); therefore I found this story interesting. I'm not saying these societal miscreants should be served a pile of crap, but neither am I comfortable with the idea of a mass murderer setting sail with a banquet courtesy taxpayers. I say we compromise. They get a tasty burger to go. No cheese, though!

SUN BELT GIRDS FOR FIU DEPARTURE: The Sun Belt conference, which of course includes FIU and FAU, is making a public relations push (click here) to position itself as the top "other" league, the best of the big-five football conferences. I think this push also is meant to soften the blow of losing FIU to Conference USA following the 2012 season. The Int'l -- a.k.a the Mario Brothers -- are flying high now as the Belt's top football power under aegis of wundercoach Mario Cristobal.

1aa1royalportraitPRINCE HARRY NUDE VEGAS UPDATE: We are thrilled to tell you Buckingham Palace has forgiven Prince Harry his nude Las Vegas strip-billiards romp and released a new official family portrait to show everything is back to normal with the Royals. So good to hear.

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August 23, 2012

Dolphins trade Vontae Davis (with my new video); plus Tannehill's future (w/ poll), Upset Bird (11), Lance Armstrong, Prince Harry & more

1aa1gc17[1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 27. New blogpost coming later this morning! 2) NEW VIDEO! DOLPHINS TRADE VONTAE DAVIS: Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote to see all of our "The View From Miami" mini-commentaries including the newest on on today's trade of Vontae Davis. Subscribe (it's free) to receive latest videos as they are posted. 3) Musical treat: Chuck Berry and John Lennon jamming on "Johnny B. Goode" in 1972. Click here to watch 'n listen. 4) Does A's pitcher Bartolo Colon being suspended 50 games for a failed drug test mean MLB had just perfomed a Colonoscopy? 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1mepick 1aa1crowsUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 11 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages Sept. 7, and began a 21-day countdown that each day is honoring notable birds. Following the British band A Flock Of Seagulls, today we welcome American singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow.

Dolphins trade Vontae Davis: The Dolphins have traded cornerback Vontae 1aa1davisvDavis to Indianapolis for a second-round draft pick. A lower pick also will be involved, likely a sixth rounder. This strikes me initially as a positive deal for the Dolphins. Davis had had a poor camp, reporting out of shape and losing his starting job. And the Colts figure to be bad enoough that the second round pick likely will be very high. However, the trade also seems to be another indication that the Dolphins are conceding playoff chances for 2012 and are firmly in (re-)building mode. The trade also begs the question: Are Sean Smith and Richard Marshall a capable NFL starting corernback tandem. They'd better be. 

PS3: ATLANTA 23, DOLPHINS 6 (FINAL): IF THIS WAS A DRESS REHEARSAL, THE DOLPHINS ARE IN RAGS: A 23-6 loss to Atlanta last night puts Miami at 0-3 in the preseason after what was supposed to be a dress rehearsal game for the regular season. Uh oh. The first-team defense was OK, but the first-team offense stunk. So many dropped passes. Pretty ghastly. Ryan Tannehill does not have the surrounding talent in terms of playmakers to make his job any easier. Click on Help Wanted for my latest column, off last night's game. ..... Original post: Ryan Tannehill in his first performance since being named the season's starting quarterback will get the 1aa1atlmiaattention tonight. [Vote in Tannehill poll just below] But the broader picture to emerge will be how good (or bad) we can expect the team to be this year. Whether Tannehill will be piloting a credible playoff contender or a long-ways-to-go pretender should come clear in a way it hasn't yet. The first two preseason games (losses to Tampa and Carolina) were far more about player evaluation than the scoreboard. In some cases starters played little. Likewise next week's fourth and final exhibtiion will be about resting starters, staying healthy and determining final roster spots. It is preseason game No. 3 -- that's tonight -- that will see starters playing as much as three quarters and the effort to perform well and win considered paramount. This will be more of a regular-season prteview. That's why, for example, we can expect to see more Reggie Bush/running/offensive balance. Atlanta and Miami are two of only five teams that are 0-2, so a shade of added incentive will be there. This is the dress rehearsal. We're about to find out how ready for some football the Miami Dolphins really are.

HOW GOOD WILL TANNEHILL BE?: Admittedly the question of how good new Dolphins 1aa1ryantstarting QB Ryan Tannehill will be is at this point either unfair or more likely just wildly premature. We might not have an accurate read for a few years, after all. (Or at least for a few months). But, this being a blog and not a set of encyclopedias, I can't wait. I want to know now how high we're setting the bar for this guy. Dolfans and others, I am not asking what you hope but rather what you realistically expect. Vote and say why.

Four Dolphins in NFL top-200: Scouts Inc. for ESPN.com ranks the NFL's top 200 players, and the four Dolphins listed are tackle Jake Long (20th), linebackers Cameron Wake (57th) and Karlos Dansby (134th) and cornerback Vontae Davis (179th). The usual suspects in the toverall top five: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Calvin Johnson and Darrelle Revis.  

THE LATEST ON HARD KNOCKZZZ: The latest epsiode of HBO's Hard Knocks with the Dolphins was so 1aa1bmarleyforgettable I forgot to mention it right away. Is it just me or does the novelty of these shows wear off pretty quickly? I mean how many times can you watch and listen to Joe Philbin hem and haw to a player in his office without wishing you were doing something else. Highlight of the episode for me was that one of my all-time favorite songs, Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, was played in the practice bubble. (Click here to hear the song). I also had to smile at Philbin's advisory to Ryan Tannehill about the scrutiny he'll get from the media. "They're not bad people," said Joe, of reporters. "That's what they're paid to do."

NUDE ROYAL ROMP!: Britain's Prince Harry, of course, got nekked in a 1aa1harrygame of strip billiards in his Las Vegas hotel VIP suite the other day with a bunch of friends and some hotties they'd met, according to various reports. Harry evidently isn't very good at pool, based on the TMZ photos pictured. I think this is where I am obliged to be cheeky and mention "crown jewels." GET IT!? I could care less that His Princeness did this. He's young. He's single. He can afford it. I do wonder, though, about his royal judgement. Like, in a crowded, liquored-up room full of cell phone cameras, this wasn't going to get out!? No official reaction from Queen Elizabeth or from Bucknaked Buckingham Palace.

THE CONE OF PREMATURE CONCERN: I would never choose the 20th 1aa1emptyshelvesanniversary of Hurricane Andrew to make fun of our general overreaction to tropical storms. OK, maybe I would. Tropical storm Isaac remains in South Florida's watch cone even though it is veering west and now seems a greater threat to turn into Hurricane Mitt and mess with the Republican National Convention in Tampa. But, sure enough, on local TV last night, we saw the rote, stock stories about locals taking preparedness to premature extremes by stocking up on water, batteries, cans of tuna and so forth. So cute.

1aa1gymClick back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost. Meantime, am I the only one who can too closely relate to the lament expressed at right?

August 20, 2012

Tannehill era begins: Rookie named starting QB (with new video); plus Dolphins playoff odds, Hank Jr., Upset Bird (15), Giancarlo, Augusta & more

1aa1me14[1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 23. New blogpost coming later this morning. 2) TANNEHILL NAMED STARTER: LATEST VIDEO! Watch our "The View From Miami" mini-commentaries on our new video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote. Latest is on rookie Ryan Tannehill being named Dolphins starting QB, a TVFM record-setter for most views. (Thank you). (I say in the vid that Miami's last Super Bowl win was 1972. Oops. Of course I know it was '73). 3) Showtime pulled the plug a week early on "The Franchise" reality show starring the Marlins. Finale episode aired last night, not Aug. 29 as first planned. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1mepick 1aa1cparkerUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 15 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages Sept. 7, and began a 21-day countdown that each day is honoring notable birds. Following the NBA great Larry Bird, today we welcome the influential jazz saxophonist who died in 1955, Charlie "Bird" Parker.

1aa1rtRYAN TANNEHILL NAMED DOLPHINS STARTING QB: It begins. The Ryan Tannehill era in Miami. The rookie takes over as starting quarterback beginning this Friday night in preseason game No. 3 vs. Atlanta and will open the season as the starter. It was announced mid-afternoon yesterday by coach Joe Philbin, and it is welcome news -- the right decision. Also it is a decision [Brag Alert!] that I have been advocating since the first day of training camp, the first and one of few in the media to do so. Click on The Right Decision for my new column, now online and in today's/Tuesday's pulp editions. Click HERE to listen to Philbin's press conference explaining the choice. 

DOLPHINS HAVE 8TH-LONGEST ODDS TO MAKE PLAYOFFS: Bovada issues odds for each NFL team making the playoffs and the Dolphins -- at yes/plus-350 -- are tied with Arizona for the eighth-longest odds. The most likely playoff teams are seen as the Patriots at yes/minus-900 and the Packers and Texans both at yes/minus-600. The seven teams given even longer odds than Miami are the Redskins +450, Buccaneers +500, Rams +600, Colts and Jaguars both +700, Vikings +800 and Browns +1,000.

AN OPEN LETTER TO HANK WILLIAMS JR.: "Dear Bocephus: You lost me, hoss. I have been a huge fan of your music since the '70s. I still think Whiskey Bent & Hell Bound is one of the great country songs of all time. You didn't lose me because of your music. You lost me because of the man you've become. Because of the hatred. You shouted to a crowd at the Iowa State Fair: "We've got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S. and we hate him!" One of the lyrics on your lates album is, "Hey Barack, pack your bags, head to Chicago, take your teleprompter with you so you'll know where to go." Almost forgot. Last year you compared Obama to Hitler. Enough. This is hate-mongering, inciteful, and by my view un-American. Most of all, perhaps, it is just so damned disrespectful. You have every right to think it, and say it. I have every right to consider myself a disappointed former fan."

AUGUSTA NATIONAL DESERVES NO CONGRATULATIONS: The venerable home course of The Masters golf tournament has (finally) been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, admitting its first female members, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina banking executive Darla Moore. Years of public pressure and protests led to Augusta to at last act. Some might say congratulations are in order and heap the club and its directors with profound credit. I'd leave it at, "It's about damned time," and move on.

GIANCARLO STANTON: THE REASON TO STILL WATCH: The 2012 Marlins are almost unbearably sad. 1aa1giaThe dubious fight to catch up to .500 seems lost. The season cannot end soon enough, but for one reason: Giancarlo Stanton's at-bats. Despite missing a chunk of season injured Stanton (pictured) has become the 32nd Marlin in 20 seasons to hit 24 or more home runs -- he hit his 25th and 26th Monday night -- and among those we present the top five HR-per-at bat ratios, updated through Monday's game. Conclusion: Call Mike Jacobs an aberration. Stanton ranks second for now only to Gary Sheffield among the most dangerous home run hitters in club history: 

11.93   Gary Sheffield, 1994 (27/322)

12.36   Sheffield, 1996 (42/519)

12.81   Giancarlo Stanton, 2012 (26/333)

14.91   Mike Jacobs, 2008 (32/477)

15.18   Stanton, 2011 (34/516)

ON MELKY CABRERA: Cabrera, of course, is the San Francisco Giant suspended 50 games for a failed 1aa1cabmdrug test in the stretch run of a possible NL MVP season for him. It is a sad reminder MLB is not yet fully past its steroids era, and that stars are still liable to be swept up in the net. Cabrera's shame is compounded by the news he cooked up a bizzare alibi for himself, creating a fake website selling fake cream that he supposedly bought and used unaware of its illegal contents.That's rich! Here's what else should happen to Melky: 1) The All-Star Game MVP he recently won should be vacated and the trophy ordered returned. 2) He should be ineligible for league MVP votes. 3) He should be ineligible to win the NL batting title for which he currently stands second.

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August 17, 2012

PS2: Carolina 23, Dolphins 17: Tannehill so-so, Miami now 0-2; plus new video (Dolphs-Cats), U-Bird Countdown (18), Canes, food stamps, Pussy Riot & more

1aa1meps2[1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 20. Watch for a new blogpost later today. 2) LATEST VIDEO! Watch our newest video -- a post-mortem of the Dolphins' loss at Carolina -- at YouTube/TheGregCote. All 13 "The View From Miami" mini-commentaries I've done so far are there. 3) Marlin's Giancarlo Stanton hit a 495-foot home run the other night. Good lord. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1mepick 1aa1chirubUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 18 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction pages Sept. 7, and began a 21-day countdown that each day will honor a notable bird. Following the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, today we welcome the classic comedic prop, Rubber Chicken.

PS2: CAROLINA 23, DOLPHINS 17: TANNEHILL FAILS TO NAIL DOWN STARTING JOB, MIAMI DROPS TO 0-2 IN PRETEND GAMES: Miami hopes and plans to name a starting quarterback this coming week, before preseason game No. 3. Friday night's 23-17 loss at Carolina didn't make coach Joe Philbin's decision any easier. Rookie Ryan Tannehill, who started Friday, failed to maintain momentum from last week, only going 11-for-23 for 100 yards, and incumbent Matt Moore was a mere 3-for-10 for 33 yards. Reserve Pat Devlin looked pretty good late before throwing a last-second end-zone interception. If only shaky QB play was the only issue. Receivers had a lousy, drop-filled game, underlining WR as a Dolphins soft spot. The offensive line was shaky, especially the second unit. The defense wasn't very good; Panthers QB Cam Newton had his way early on. And is anybody but me a bit concerned that for a second straight game no real attention was paid to the running game? Beyond that a combined 27 penalties made the game nearly unwatchable. Now, midway through the preseason for Miami, there remain lots of issues to correct and one major decision (QB) still unresolved. ..... Original post: The Dolphins will likely name a season-opening starting quarterback in a few days, in time for the third preseason game, and so it is logical to 1aa1cardolthink the job will swing unmistakably to either Matt Moore or rookie Ryan Tannehill if either is clearly better tonight at Carolina. Since Moore started last week (in lieu of injured David Garrard) I'd be surprised if Tannehill did not start tonight and I was right. He's starting. Let's see what he can do against a starting defense. Miami will sit several slightly injured starters this evening but still will want to see improvement from last week's loss to Tampa Bay, especially on pass defense. For this team right now, though, it's all about the quarterback, about somebody stepping forward. LeBron James had "The Decision." Joe Philbin faces one of those, too, and I suspect tonight will help make it for him.

PATRIOTS TO SIGN DEMPS: The Dolphins' climb in the AFC East just got steeper because the Patriots just got better. Or at least faster. Olympic silver-medalist sprinter Jeff Demps is signing with New England, according to various reports. Seven or eight teams were interested in the former Florida Gators star running back. Would have been an interesting fit for Miami.

1aa1altuniHURRICANES TO SEE DEBUT OF AWFUL NEW NOTRE DAME UNIFORMS: This week Notre Dame revealed its new alternate football uniforms that will first be worn Oct. 6 vs. the University of Miami at Soldier Field. The helmets pictured are particularly bad.

Poll result: LeBron will (or might) surpass Michael Jordan: Few of our poll votes surprise me, but this did. In the previous blogpost I asked if you thought LeBron James will someday be considered greater than Michael Jordan (you can still vote), and a plurality of 38.5 percent said yes, another 36.9% said possibly, and only 24.6% said no. Take away votes from Florida, where Heat-related bias would most be a factor, and the 'yes' or 'possibly' votes still outnumber 'no' votes.

FOOD STAMPS FOR DESSERT?: This story interests me. Andrea Taber (pictured), owner of Ever So 1aa1andreatHumble Pie, a Massachusetts bakery, is controversially in the news for refusing to accept food stamps, saying, "American taxpayers should not be footing the bill for people's dessert." To some the case has racial tones; she says not. I think her stand is valid. Sensible. Food stamps are supposed to be for essentials, not luxuries. You can't use them for cigarettes or lottery tickets, for example. Doesn't seem unreasonable that pies and cakes might join the no-buy list.

PUSSY RIOT SENT TO JAIL: You thought Russia had softened its intolerance of dissent? It hasn't. A Moscow judge has sentenced the three members of Russian female punk band Pussy Riot each to two years in prison on "hooliganism" charges stemming from a cathedral protest against Vladimir Putin. Click here for the story. The case has drawn much attention because of the band's support from human rights groups and from major music artists including Paul McCartney.

HEADLINES YOU THOUGHT YOU'D NEVER SEE: Click here. (It's the parents who named him who should be arrested).

1aa1beckDAVID BECKHAM, LARGER THAN LIFE: Ten-foot almost-nude statues (pictured) of soccer star/underwear model/apparent heartthrob David Beckham will soon appear all over the United States in an ad campaign for his "underwear collection." For some reason this makes me sad. But I am thankful at least that the woman in the photo isn't doing to the Beckham statue what she might have been. (Use your imagination...)

Click back. It says here I'll be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

August 15, 2012

Is it time to admit LeBron James could overtake Michael Jordan? Vote now! (with poll and new video); plus the Tannehill Bandwagon & more

1aa1me12BRAND NEW VIDEO: LEBRON VS. JORDAN: Less than a month ago I launched a video channel and we'll soon surpass 2,000 views. Thanks for the interest and support. Click on YouTube/TheGregCote to find all 12 "The View From Miami" mini-commentaries we've done so far including the latest on how LeBron James maybe being better than Michael Jordan no longer is the blasphemy it once was. Subscribe (it's free) to automatically get the latest videos as they are posted.

[1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 17. Anybody out there the least bit surprised that Stephen Morris was named Hurricanes starting QB? Hands, please. Yeah that's what I thought. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

LEBRON OVER JORDAN: IT ISN'T CRAZY TALK ANYMORE: Don't get me wrong and I'm going to underline it so you don't: To say it now would be 1aa1debatepremature. But the possibility of it is emerging. Outside of Chicago, perhaps, it no longer is blasphemous to suggest. For the first time I think the NBA has an active player -- and it is the Heat's LeBron James -- who could retire having surpassed Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player ever. LeBron in 2012 and Jordan in 1992 are the only two men to have won an NBA title, been regular-season and Finals MVP, and won a gold medal all in the same year. I doubt very much LeBron will ever catch Michael for number of championship rings but otherwise could be seen someday as having been a greater all-round player. There is growing momentum to at least have this conversation, to consider it. ESPN's First Take chewed it around today/Wednesday. Charles Barkley and John Salley both have said LeBron overtaking Jordan could happen. Today, Syracuse coach and U.S. Olympic assistant Jim Boeheim told radio's Colin Cowherd: "I've always thought Jordan was the best player I had ever seen. It wasn't close. Now, I'm not so sure." I'm not, either. Are you? Vote and say why.

Poll result: Strong approval for Chad Johnson being cut: We asked in the previous blogpost if you approved of the Dolphins releasing Chad Johnson (you can still vote) and 71.8 percent said yes, versus 21.6% no and 6.6% undecided.

THE TANNEHILL BANDWAGON WELCOMES YOU: Welcome aboard the Tannehill Bandwagon. I'm your driver. We're filling up fast so please grab a seat. I wrote on the first day of 1aa1laurenttraining camp that rookie Ryan Tannehill unequivocally should be named Dolphins starting quarterback, right now, and shouted it again after the first preseason game. Glad to see some of you are coming around. To the fans who thought me an idiot because Tannehill supposedly wasn't ready, welcome aboard. I forgive you. To my media brethren who wrote that either of the team's veteran QBs would give Miami a better chance to win but who have since magically done a 180 and are now calling Tannehill the Next Marino -- hey, anybody can change his mind. (Whoa, though. Hold on. Don't want the bandwagon to be ticketed for speeding!) Welcome aboard one and all. (Best part about the Tannehill Bandwagon? Ryan's wife Lauren, pictured, will be walking up and down the aisle handing out refreshments).

Highlights of last night's Hard Knocks: Most notable from Tuesday night's episode: 1) Coach Joe Philbin is shown telling Chad Johnson he's done. Chad: "I let you down a little. A lot. " Joe: "I don't see the mesh right now." 2) The news that QB David Garrard injured his knee not on the field but at home watching his kids in the pool. 3) Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's blistering talk to his unit, including telling rookie TE Michael Egnew, "Get your head out of your ass!" 4) Tannehill, made to sing as all rookies must, serenading the team with the perhaps prescient "Lean On Me." 5) GM Jeff Ireland on his wide receivers: "We got 4's, 5s and 6s. We gotta find who the 1s, 2s and 3s are." Bonus gem: Sherman's charmingly Bobby Bowden-esque expletive, "Gosh-daggit!"

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

August 13, 2012

Hard Knocks and Chad Johnson knockout (w/ poll); plus UM/FIU football odds, my latest video, LeBron's gold, D-Wade news, Romney/Ryan & more

1aa1mechadLATEST VIDEO! ON DOLPHINS CUTTING CHAD JOHNSON: Click on YouTube/TheGregCote for my channel of frequent mini-commentaries, including the newest on the departure of receiver Chad Johnson. Click Chad Johnson's Out Pattern for today's latest column by me. I say the Dolphins were right to cut Johnson. Have your say in the poll below. 

[1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15. Marlins lost a third straight game by shutout last night. OK the plastic-bat experiment is not working. Back to the wood. 2) Thanks again for ESPN's Outside The Lines for having us as a guest for a LeBron James/Tiger Woods-related segment. Lots of face-time for me. Ratings must have been plummeting! 3) Thanks, too, to old friend Dan Le Batard for having us on 790 The Ticket for his entire show yesterday. Fun. Maybe we'll do it again, who knows? 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

On the Latest Hard Knocks: Most notable from Tuesday night's Dolphins/Hard Knocks on HBO: 1) Coach Joe Philbin is shown telling Chad Johnson he's done. Chad: "I let you down a little. A lot. " Joe: "I don't see the mesh right now." 2) The news that QB David Garrard injured his knee not on the field but at home watching his kids in the pool. 3) Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's blistering talk to his unit, including telling rookie TE Michael Egnew, "Get your head out of your ass!" 4) QB Ryan Tannehill, made to sing as all rookies must, serenading the team with the perhaps prescient "Lean On Me." 5) GM Jeff Ireland on his wide receivers: "We got 4's, 5s and 6s. We gotta find who the 1s, 2s and 3s are." Honorable mention: Sherman's Bobby Bowden-esque expletive, "Gosh-daggit!" 

DOLPHINS CUTTING CHAD JOHNSON: RIGHT OR WRONG?: The Dolphins cut receiver Chad Johnson 1aa1chadjSunday night in the wake of his dropping the only pass thrown to him Friday night and then his arrest a day later for head-butting his wife in a domestic incident. Monday morning, Dolphins defensive leader Karlos Dansby blasted the team for not giving Johnson a second chance. Coach Joe Philbin later took a mild swipe at Dansby ("I'm of the opinion you should keep things in-house") and explained Johnson was released based on an "overall body of evidence" that Johnson and the Dolphins were not a "good fit." I support the Dolphins' decision on Johnson. Maybe you side with Dansby. Vote and say why.

Poll result: Dear Hanley: Boooo!: We asked in the previous blogpost how Marlins fans should react to Hanley Ramirez in his first return as a Dodger (you can still vote) and booing led with 44.2 percent. Another 27.2 voted for silence and 24.1 for cheering, with 4.5 not sure.

HURRICANES FOURTH-RANKED TO WIN ACC: Bovada's preseason college football coneference odds find Miami a surprisingly high fourth at 9-1 to win the ACC, after Florida State (an even 1-1), Virginia Tech (3-1) and Clemson (5-1). FIU is the Sun Belt favorite at 5-2, with FAU next to last at 30-1. The power-packed SEC is topped by Alabama 2-1 and LSU 5-2, with Florida sixth at 12-1. Other major-league faves are USC in the Pac-12 at a prohibitive 5-9; UCF topping Conference USA at 11-4; Oklahoma an even 1-1 in the Big 12; Louisville 2-1 to take the Big East with South Florida next at 7-2; and the Big Ten co-led by Michigan and Wisconsin at 9-5.

NFL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS ODDS: Also from Bovada, Packer Aaron Rodgers is MVP favorite at 11-2, followed by Patriot Tom Brady at 13-2, then a dropoff to Saint Drew Brees at 9-1 and Eagle Michael Vick and Bronco Peyton Manning both 10-1. Offensive rookie pick is Colt Andrew Luck at 5-2, then Redskin Robert Griffin III at 9-2. Defensive rookie pick is Panther Luke Kuechly at 4-1. Passing yards fave is Brees at 9-2, rushing yards Texan Arian Foster 9-2, and receiving yards Lion Calvin Johnson 7-2. The only Dolphin appearing in any category is Ryan Tannehill, sixth for offensive rookie at 10-1.    

BASKING IN THE GLOW OF GOLD: Ghurka, manufacturer of upscale leather goods, is coming out in 1aa1olychampsSeptember with a line of "man bags" called the Ghurka Cavalier series inspired by LeBron James and partly designed by LeBron' personal stylsit, Rachel Johnson. (Who knew LeBron had a personal stylist?) The three sizes will range in price from $695 to $1,495. I'm guessing the biggest of the three bags will be large enough to hold an NBA championship trophy, an Olympic gold medal and the adulation of millions. At left: One of the he-purses in LeBron's collection. Above: LeBron (lower left) and his Team USA mates exalt as well they should in Sunday's gold-medal triumph over Spain.

D-Wade's fantasy camp: Men, would you spend big bucks to hear Dwyane Wade pretend that he is truly impressed by your mad skills on a basketball court? Read on! Wade's second annual fantasy camp for men 35 and older is this Thursday through Sunday, August 16-19 at Loews Miami Beach. And it's only $12,500! But at least the list of coaches is seriously impressive, including Wade, Erik Spoelstra, Tim Hardaway, Rick Barry, Frank Martin and Jim Larranaga. Visit dwyanewadefantasycamp.com to register or for more info.

OLYMPIC WRAP-UP: I guess I'm the only soul on Earth who was disappointed with Sunday night's Closing Ceremonies from London, a very disjointed music-themed extravaganza. There were rumors of a big closing number by the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Paul McCartney, which might have redeemed the whole show. Never happened. Rule of thumb: When your show's most talked-about aspect is a Spice Girls reunion, you're in trouble. Pertinent final medals leaders.

United States 46G - 29S - 29B -- 104

China 38 - 27- 23 -- 88

Russia 24 - 26 - 32 -- 82

Great Britain 29 - 17 - 19 -- 65

Germany 11 - 19 - 14 -- 44

Cote d'Ivoire 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0

Cote, the Official National Team of This Blog, disappointed with nary a single medal. You let us down, d'Ivores. You did not do my name proud. Sincerely yours, Greg d'Ivoire, The Miami Herald.  

UH-OH. HERE COMES A POLITICAL ITEM: ("What the--this is supposed to be a bleepin' sports blog you 1aa1rr 1aa1rr1moron!") Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate is interesting. Ryan looks like Romney's son. At left, Romney relays a story about that time Paul broke curfew as a teen and Dad took away the keys to the yacht for an entire week. A movie about this campaign could be called WHITE & WHITER. The Republicans fight the perception they are for the rich in terms of tax breaks. Given that, I'm not sure if I think the Romney/Ryan campaign logo (right) is a smart idea. Cannot confirm rumors that, if this ticket is elected, the presidential residence would henceforth be called The Whitest House. (Note: Since the preceding item will be seen as pro-Democrat, let me balance that by pointing out that Barack Obama has comically big ears, leading directly to America's staggering 8.3 percent unemployment rate).

Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this latest blogpost. Maybe even some sports stuff...

August 10, 2012

PS1: Tampa 20, Dolphins 7: Bad game, good Tannehill: Future is now!; plus Chad Johnson cut, LeBron is golden, new video, Hanley, Heat & more

1aa1me11NEW VIDEO! DOLPHINS-BUCS POST-MORTEM: Click on YouTube/TheGregCote for our video channel and watch my latest "The View From Miami" mini-commentary. It's four quick thoughts on last night's Dolphins preseason opener.

[1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 13. Watch for a new blogpost coming later today. 2) Dolphins release WR Chad Johnson following his domestic violence arrest. No surprise. Seems justifed. Blew the comeback chance. It's on you, Chad. 3) Team USA beats Spain for Olympic gold medal, led by Kevin Durant's 30 points, but with LeBron James' 19 including a big dunk and a huge three-pointer in final two minutes. "U-S-A! U-S-A!" 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Click on The Future Is Now for my column on Ryan Tannehill off the Dolphins game.

PS1: TAMPA BAY 20, DOLPHINS 7 (FINAL): ROOKIE TANNEHILL SHINES IN EXHIBITION OPENER: Well, Miami's performance mostly was underwhelming last night but Ryan Tannehill was a definite highlight, completing 14 of 21 passes for 167 yards including an 11-yard TD pass to Charles Clay. Just before the game it was revealed No. 1 QB David Garrard had knee issues, would undergo arthroscopic surgery on Saturday/today and be out two to four weeks. That opened the door for Matt Moore and Tannehill, and the latter made the most of his chance. Miami's choice should be clear now: The future is now. It's Tannehill time. Original post: OK, yes, 1aa1ps1preseason openers are famously irrelevant in terms of the result mattering or being any reliable gauge. And Buccaneers-at-Dolphins is nobody's likely Super Bowl preview; sadly, both teams are perceived closer to NFL bottom feeders at the moment. From a national vantage this matchup is an afterthought. Nevertheless! For Miami and Dolfans this fake-game debut has some sizzle and pop for 1aa1qb3a couple of reasons. It is the dress-rehearsal bow for new coach Joe Philbin and his high-energy, (mostly) no-huddle offense. And it is the first real shakeout in the three-headed quarterback competition among No. 1-for-now David Garrard, incumbent Matt Moore and first-round rookie Ryan Tannehill. Moore, Garrard and Tannehill are pictured left to right, and the final score of tonight's game won't matter as much as the comparative performances of those three QBs. (I'd include fourth-string Pat Devlin as if he had a shot in all this, but I'm not that polite, sorry). I'll be columnizing off tonight's game. Your thoughts before, during and after it are invited here.

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Our blog staple the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter -- the weekly poll in which you tell the Dolphins how satisfied you are -- will return for a fifth season this year but not now during exhibition play. The first DSM will follow the regular-season opener on Sept. 9.

JT, Zach, Arns added to Dolphin Honor Roll: The club yesterday revealed that defensive stalwarts Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas and Super-era defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger will be the latest inductees onto the team's stadium Honor Roll. I'd predicted JT and Zach; both are exceptionally deserving. Arnsparger is sort of out of the blue but it's hard to argue.

THE RETURN OF HANLEY RAMIREZ: CHEER OR BOO?: Longtime Marlin Hanley Ramirez, traded to the Dodgers last month, returns with L.A. for a three-game series here beginning last night. I think 1aa1hanlaHanley's introduction and first at-bat will inspire a major crowd reaction, a lot of cheering but (I'd predict) predominant booing. It's hard to say what the reaction should be. Ramirez did some good things here, including an NL batting title, but was never the team leader he should have been and ultimately disappointed. He is pictured here, either acknowleding your cheers or motioning for you to stop booing please. You're at the park and Hanley's name is announced. What are you doing? Vote and say why. [Update: Heard from several people at the game that Ramirez was loudly booed last night].

Poll result: Mixed feelings on Bonds and Clemens in Hall of Fame: We asked in the previous blogpost if Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens belonged in Cooperstown (you can still vote) and opinions were extreme. A plurality of 42.4 percent said no, but a majority were agreeable to some degree, with 35.4% saying yes, 18.1% maybe and 4.1% undecided.

DOES DWIGHT HOWARD MEAN THE LAKERS HAVE OUT-BIG 3'D (OR BIG 4'D) THE HEAT?: The Lakers are adding Dwight Howard, via a four-team trade, to Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. Oklahoma City immediately has a co-favorite in the NBA West. And the champion Heat and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen immediately have a tough (and tall) new hurdle in their efforts to grow one title into a dynasty. I'll be interested to see post-trade NBA championship odds. Bearing in mind that betting lines reflect public perception, I predict the Lakers will now be favorites over Miami. [Update: Bovada doesn't wait long. Heat at 5-2 and Lakers at 3-1 are now virtual co-faves to win NBA title, followed by Thunder at 11-2 and Chicago at 9-1]

1aa1peeweeOLYMPIC UPDATE: Huge upset today in Olympic track cycling (see right). Below, pertient medals leaders entering Saturday action:

United States 41G - 26S - 28B -- 95

China 37 - 25 - 20 -- 82

Russia 17 - 21 - 28 -- 66

Great Britain 26 - 15 - 18 -- 59

Cote d'Ivoire 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0

Time for Cote, the Official National Team of This Blog, to rally. Let's charge, d'Ivoires!

1aa1dancingpolsDANCING WITH THE POLITICIANS: As the presidential election season heats up, Dancing With the Stars announces its two newest participants (pictured). If only.

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August 08, 2012

Dolphins/Hard Knocks review: HBO tries, but...; plus "U-S-A!", Bonds/Clemens in Hall? (poll), my new video on Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & more

1aa1cotenewMY NEWEST VIDEO: ENOUGH WITH THE PAST! ON DOLPHINS' OBSESSION WITH WHAT WAS: Click on YouTube/TheGregCote for my video channel featuring my newest mini-commentary related to the Dolphins' past and present. 

[1) It is FRIDAY, AUGUST 10. New blogpost coming later this morning! 2) Congrats U.S. women's soccer with 2-1 triumph over Japan to win Olympic gold. "U-S-A!" 3) Heat announce 8-game preseason schedule starting Oct. 7 at Atlanta, followed by two games vs. Clippers in China, then the first home exhibition Oct. 18 vs. Detroit. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

On the Dolphins' Perfect Season anniversary celebration: It's the 40th anniversary year of 1972's Perfect Season, the Dolphins yesterday announced celebration plans, and I write about it in this column today. Don't get me wrong; 17-0 is worth appreciating all over again. But the franchise walks a fine line. Worshipping its distant past only underlines and magnifies how little there has been to cheer in recent years. My latest video (see above) also is on this topic.

THE PROOF: DOLPHINS A HARD CHALLENGE FOR HBO'S HARD KNOCKS: How do you make a mediocre and comparatively dull NFL team seem interesting? Well, you don't, apparently, as we were reminded 1aa1hardkwatching the one-hour debut of HBO's training-camp reality series Hard Knocks, this year featuring the Dolphins. HBO did its best to manufacture excitement. My favorite attempt was the segue straight from the sexy sizzle of South Beach to the team's training-camp hotel, done in a way that implied the Dolphins train in South Beach, not 30 miles north in a horsey Broward burg called Davie, where the center of town is (seriously) a rodeo. Another noble attempt was the gratuitous several-seconds snippet of Dolphins cheerleaders practicing, apropos of nothing. We saw David Garrard water-skiing, Ryan Tannehill's odd-looking dachsund, Mike Pouncey getting a haircut and Kevin Burnett at home with his kids. We heard owner Stephen Ross say, "I think we have a great team here" -- great evidently being open to wide interpretation. There were a couple of interesting behind-the-scenes nuggets. One was tight ends coach Dan Campbell, in a coaches meeting, calling Les Brown's blocking "a complete liability." Another was receiver Chad Johnson's boastful, profane press conference followed by coach Joe Philbin pulling Johnson aside to tell him to self-edit the language, please. The overriding problem for HBO is the lack of starpower on a team whose best player is the left tackle. Johnson and Reggie Bush wiggle the national Q-Rating needle a little, but not a lot. It doesn't help HBO that Tannehill is No. 3 on the depth chart, making it a tough-sell to package him right now as the savior. Also doesn't help that the new head coach is the visual and personality opposite of, say, Rex Ryan, in terms of scene-stealing, show-carrying command. As HBO gets more and more desperate in subsequent episodes, I'd imagine we should expect to see more scenes of South Beach, cheerleaders and Tannehill's hot blond wife, and perhaps file film of Bush on the arm of his ex-, Kim Kardashian. It would make for better TV than the stuff on the football field, alas.

Dolphins 75-1 Super Bowl longshots: New SB odds out from Bovada show Packers (6-1) and Patriots (13-2) as virtual co-favorites followed by 49ers 10-1 and Texans and Eagles both 12-1. Miami is 75-1, tied for 26th. In AFC East: Pats a prohibitive 3-10, Jets 11-2, Bills 6-1 and Dolphins 15-1.

Dolphins facility nobody refers to gets name nobody will use: A hospital has bought corporate naming rights to the Dolphins' Davie training facility and practice site that includes the indoor field nicknamed "the Bubble." In keeping with a personal policy I'll not use the corporate name, aloud or in print. Well, maybe if the Bubble was sponsored by Bubblicious, but otherwise, no. Personally I find it odd that a football team obsessed with avoiding injuries would now be sponsored by a hospital. Seems jinx-y.

1aa1bonds1 1aa1bonds2VOTE: SHOULD BONDS, CLEMENS BE IN COOPERSTOWN?: I am bestowing to you, right now, a baseball Hall of Fame vote. Players eligible beginning in 2013 will include Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both unquestionably with first-ballot career statistics, but both strongly tainted by steroids scandal putting their election in serious doubt. Bonds this week told MLB.com he should be in Cooperstown "without a doubt." Now you tell him if he's right.

ON THE OLYMPICS COLUMN BY ME: I wrote in this column the reasons why, for me, the U.S. women's soccer team is closer to the Olympic ideal and the ideal Olympics than LeBron James' Team USA in basketball. Unexpectedly, the column inspired this needling text-message exchange between friend and colleague Dan Le Batard and myself late last night after Dan read the column online: Le Batard to me, 11:32 p.m.: Herald headline -- Cote loves white women playing sports. Hates black men. My response to Dan, 12:30 a.m.: Herald headline -- Le Batard looks at rainbow, sees black and white. (For the record, black/white and male/female never occured to me while writing what I wrote. Maybe it should have? But it didn't).

London Olympics medals update: Pertinent medals standings as of late afternoon today/Thursday:

United States 39 gold - 25 silver - 25 bronze -- 89 total

China 37 - 23 - 19 -- 79

Russia 12 - 21- 23 -- 56

Great Britain 24 - 13 - 14 -- 51

Cote d'Ivoire 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0

Time running out for Cote, the Official National Team of This Blog. Let's go d'Ivoires! Dammit!  

THREE REASONS TO STILL WATCH THE SAD MARLINS: 1. Jose Reyes' hitting streak. It was 26 games until ending today, as he looks more and more like the player Miami thought it was getting. 2. Giancarlo Stanton is back in the lineup, his at-bats the most exciting minutes in the game, as two homers last night attested. 3. To see if the Marlins can still reach .500, at least. They'd need to finish 30-20 from here. (We can dream, can we not?)  

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...