NEW VIDEO! WHY YOU SHOULD BE ROOTING FOR U.S. WOMEN'S SOCCER MORE THAN FOR LEBRON'S TEAM USA: Click on YouTube/TheGregCote for my latest video, the eighth we've done so far.
[1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8. Marlins activate Giancarlo Stanton. 2) Happy to be back from a week's vacation (more on that below) and in the Blog Saddle again. 3) Join us at Twitter.com/gregcote. 4) U.S. places land rover on Mars. Obama links his administration with NASA triumph. Not to be outdone, Romney says he invented Mars]
"U-S-A!" WOMEN'S SOCCER WINS OLYMPIC THRILLER: America's women's soccer team played itself into the gold-medal match vs. Japan with a 4-3 overtime thriller over Canada yesterday. Extra time in the second overtime, seconds from a penalty-kicks tiebreaker, when Alex Morgan's goal decided it. USA rallied from three deficits to win. One of the best moments of these London Games. (In more of a ho-hum result, LeBron James and Team USA routed Argentina 126-97 in men's basketball).
DOLPHINS ONLY FAVORED TO WIN FIVE GAMES, SAYS MEAN-SPIRITED COMPUTER: The good folks at predictionmachine.com have run the coming NFL season 50,000 times (so you don't have to) and what spits out is not good news for Miami. Dolphins are given more than a 50 percent chance of winning in only 5 games and, factoring upsets, are given an overall victory over/under of 6.5. Best bets to win the Super Bowl are the Eagles (18% likelihood), Patriots (14.2), Packers (9.2), Texans (9.2) and Steelers (7.2), with Miami's title shot put at 0.2%. Game-by-game, here is how the computer sees the Dolphins chances of winning, from most to least likely: 65.8% vs Titans (Game 9); 61.6 vs Jaguars (G14); 60.2 @ Colts (G8); 54.6 vs Rams (G6); 52.3 vs Raiders (G2); 48.5 vs Jets (G3); 44.5 vs Seahawks (G11); 41.1 vs Bills (G15); 37.8 @ Cardinals (G4); 33.7 @ Jets (G7); 32.5 @ Bills (G10); 31.1 @ Bengals (G5); 27.5 vs Patriots (G12); 27.0 @ Texans (G1); 20.7 @ 49ers (G13); and 15.6 @ Patriots (G16).
Garrard out the gate as starting QB: Dolphins' first official in-season depth chart is out and has David Garrard at No. 1 quarterback ahead of Matt Moore and rookie Ryan Tannehill. But, as coach Joe Philbin said in a late-morning news conference, "It's a fluid situation." Offensive chief Mike Sherman today, on his QB situation: "That will not be a weakness of our football team. We'll have a good starter when we get done." Dolphins open their preseason schedule this Frday night at home vs. Tampa Bay.
Poll result: Dolfans not a real optimistic bunch: In the previous blogpost we invited you all to set expectations for the coming Dolphins season (you can still vote) and a plurality of 37.3 peercent voted "short again: 7 or 8 wins." Next came "wild-card contention: 9 wins" with 32.6%, followed by "not pretty: 6 or fewer wins" with 20.9%. Only 9.2% voted for "playoffs: 10-plus wins."
CANES FOOTBALL PEGGED FOR 7 WINS: The latest Bovada over/unders on regular-season college football wins peg UM for 7, trailing fellow in-staters FSU (10), Central Florida (8.5), Florida (8) and South Florida. Nothing for FIU or FAU, although I'd guess Panthers for around 9 and Owls for about 4. Nationally, joining Noles in double-digits are Alabama, Oregon and Southern Cal at 10.5 and LSU and Oklahoma at 10.
UNCLE LUKE PREVAILS: Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell (pictured), former notorious 2 Live Crew frontman turned Miami high-school football coach, has won a court fight to regain his full coaching certificate to continue as Northwestern's defensive coordinator. It was a victory over the Florida Department of Education, which was letting its view of Luke's past obscure the good he does now. Congrats to Luke and to his terrific attorney, our friend Mike Carney of Kubicki Draper.
OLYMPICS UPDATE: PHELPS PARTIES WITH GOLD MEDALS, PINOCCHIO IN JAVELIN: TMZ.com reports that swimmer Michael Phelps has been partying in London with his gold medals (pictured left), which is considerably more acceptable than partying in London with his bong. Note to regular guys in London bars: You have no pickup line that will compete with Michael Phelps whipping out his gold. Pictured right: Google's latest Olympics-related icon appears to picture Pinoccio throwing a javelin. Serious Olympic comment: Serena Williams' gold-medal obliteration of Maria Sharapova was about as dominant a major championship performance as I can recall. Click here to hear a Jacksonville sportscaster rant against Bob Costas signing off past midnight. Updated pertinent Summer Olympics medal leaders are below, entering today's/Tuesday's action:
China 31 gold - 19 silver - 14 bronze -- 64 total
United States 29 - 15 - 19 -- 63
Great Britain 19 - 12 - 12 -- 43
Cote d'Ivoire 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0
Let's go Cote, Official National Team of This Blog!
Spoiler Alert! LeBron, Team USA win basketball gold!: I am tired of media outlets giving Olympic Spoiler Alerts. This is the instant-information age. If you honestly desire a self-imposed info blackout so that you can be surprised by a result eight hours after it happened, well, you're on your own, pal.
EATING SUSHI OFF A NAKED WOMAN: Well who hasn't, right? A Miami Beach restaurant, Kung Fu Kitchen & Sushi, offers -- for $500 -- a platter of sushi served atop a nude woman (pictured). I see at least one health-code violation (no hair net). Personally, I'll stick with a standard dinner plate, thanks. Although I wouldn't mind being at the table next to the person ordering the Nudie Roll.
LATEST WORLD SERIES ODDS: Bovada's post-trade-deadline, stretch-run odds to win the World Series have it Yankees at 19-4, Rangers 5-1, Angels 15-2, Nationals 9-1 and Reds/Tigers both 10-1. Bleepin' Nats! Your disappointing Marlins are slotted 21st and can't imagine many takers even at 90-1.
MY SUMMER VACATION: Just returned from an eight-day New England holiday around Massachusetts and Maine. We started and ended in Boston, around the Wharf/North End area, and in between we hit Bar Harbor, Boothsbay Harbor and Ogunquit in Maine, and then Salem and Provincetown in Mass. The latter is proudly self-proclaimed as the gayest city in America and was, for its everybody-gets-along diversity, as impressive and memorable in its way as the vista of rocky coastline. Special thanks to that Minke whale for the impressive breaching. (Who knew there were Minke whales?) The scale says I gained only three pounds while away, which is stunning because I think I ate approximately 415 pounds of lobster and also may have consumed a beer or two, as indicated here.
DEAR GREG...: "...your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a photo of an unbearably cute dog with plaintive eyes wearing a nautical life-vest. Thank you." Dear reader: Doubt I can find such a photo, sorry.
Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this Back From Vacation Jubilee Blogpost...