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27 posts from October 2012

October 30, 2012

Marlins add amateur nudist Redmond to manager merry-go-round; plus Heat confidence poll, my Halloween video, Tannehill, SOPY rank & more

1aa1fact[1) It is THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1. Did you have a happy Halloween? We're a mid-traffic neighborhood. Probably candied about 30 kids. 2) Enough with the Dwayne Bowe-to-Dolphins speculation and rumors! (Please?) 3) Visit our video channel atYouTube/TheGregCote (on hiatus; new vids coming soon) and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Halloween video from me to you: Click HERE to watch. It stars me, new Heater Ray Allen, defrocked Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, and the sublime Lauren Tannehill. Enjoy!

MARLINS HIRE MIKE REDMOND AS MANAGER: Marlins interviewed three others including the ghost of Larry Bowa, who last managed in 2004 and turns 67 in December, but the clear frontrunner all along was Redmond, the former Marlins catcher. He has only Single-A experience as a manager but is praised as ready by those who know him. I like the hire. Redmond is perhaps best remembered during his Marlins years for once entering the batting cage nude -- wearing only spikes and batting gloves -- to help break a losing streak. That isn't legend; he admits it. And it worked. The season was 2003. The Marlins won the World Series.

OPENING NIGHT: RINGS ON, BANNER UP, HEAT BEATS CELTICS: [Update: Heat beat Celtics, 120-107, behind 29 from D-Wade, 26 from LeBron and 19 apiece from Ray Allen and Chris Bosh. Click on The Routine Of Excellence for my column from the game]. And the curtain lifts on Year 3 of the Big 3. The Heat NBA championship that was won in June and celebrated with a parade is celebrated anew 1aa1kglebonight as the 2012-13 season commences. A ring ceremony and 1aa1champslifting of the championship banner will precede a game against the Boston Celtics, who most experts expect will meet Miami in the Eastern Conference finals. Ray Allen switching sides only enlivens an already heated rivalry. Boston is counting on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (pictured with LeBron) to once again play younger than they are. The Celtics lead the Heat's East roadblock alsong with Indiana and perhaps Chicago. Waiting in the NBA Finals, should Miami returns, figures to be the fortified L.A. Lakers, Oklahoma City again, or perhaps San Antonio. I know Heat fans are confident; the question is how confident? Vote now.

Poll result: Sorry LeBron, but it's still D-Wade: We asked in a recent blog poll who your favorite Heat player is, and Dwyane Wade had 60.1 percent to LeBron James' 34.2. The other 5.7% chose "someone else."

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: OK on one, not so much on the other... NFL predix: Had a decent Week 8 on my Friday pix page, going 10-4 overall and 7-6-1 vs. the betting line. Nailed two outright upsets with Falcs over Eagles and Raiders over Chiefs, but, oh, missing that Miami game hurt. What was I thinking! Greg's Lobos: My fantasy team sucks, or I do running it. Fell to 2-6 with a 124-87 loss. Had nobody over 17 points. Not giving up on a playoff spot but the 'Bos need to pick it up. Let's go!  

TANNEHILL INJURY ONLY A BRUISE: MRI results on Ryan Tannehill's injured left leg showed no structural damage to the knee or quad, only a deep bruise. His status for Sunday's game at Indianapolis is a legitimate questionable. "What he can or can't do Wednesdday and Thursday will deteremine his availability," a club spokesman told us. Meanwhile Matt Moore's status rises as one of NFL's better backup QBs.

McKinnie and strip clubs: Hey here's an only-in-Miami story for you. Bryant McKinnie is being sued in Miami-Dade Circuit Court by the father of rap star Trick Daddy. The allegation: That McKinnie, Ravens offensive tackle and former Miami Hurricane, ran up $375,000 in bills at South Florida strip clubs -- money borrowed from the dad of Daddy. McKinnie told the Baltimore Sun the suit us "bogus."

Marlins 40-1 odds for next World Series: Bovada has new odds out already for 2013 World Series and leaders are Tigers 6-1, Yankees 7-1 and Giants 10-1. Miami is a respectable 40-1 but unfortunately that's fourth in the NL East after the 12-1 Nationals and 14-1 Braves and Phillies.  

1aa1pabloPANDA TIME! FITNESS IS OVERRATED: Moms, give your child that extra Twinkie. Dads, let that gym membership lapse. Kids, fat is the new thin! The Giants' Pablo "Panda" Sandoval is the World Series MVP -- the man sitting atop all of baseball -- following his team's sweep of the Tigers. Sandoval in the postseason led the Giants in home runs, RBIs and carbs. Here he is. Mr. America!

SOPY RANKINGS (WEEK 9): ALPHABET SOUP: E.J. LEADS B.J.: This college football season marks the blog debut of our weekly State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, which I like to call the "Sunshine State Heisman." Our chart encompasses the most productive seasons of any quarterback, running back or receiver from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida and FSU, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. (Note: Rankings consider only passing, rushing and receiving, not returns). Our formula awards one point per offensive yard gained running or receiving and a half-point per yard passing, plus six bonus points for touchdowns thrown or scored. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. After Week 9 it's Florida State's E.J. Manuel leading for a third straight week, but narrowly over South Florida counterpart B.J. Daniels. The SOPY Top 10 entering Week 10:

Rank (LW)     Player, Team-pos.     SOPY Pts. Week=Year

1 (1)     E.J. Manuel, FSU-qb     157 = 1,483.5

2 (3)     B.J. Daniels, South Florida-qb     231.5 = 1,457

3 (2)     Stephen Morris, Miami-qb     BYE = 1,241   

4 (4)     Jake Medlock, FIU-qb     110.5 = 1,112

5 (6)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb     173.5 = 1,099.5

6 (5)     Chris Thompson, FSU-rb     DNP = 965

7 (7)     Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb     88.5 = 946

8 (8)     Graham Wilbert, FAU-qb     165.5 = 941

9 (9)     Mike Gillislee, Florida-rb     117 = 834

10 (--)     Latavius Murray, UCF-rb     218 = 700

Bubble: Duke Johnson, Miami-rb, 692.

State of the State rankings: 1. Florida (7-1); 2. FSU (8-1); 3. UCF (6-2); 4. Miami (4-4); 5. South Florida (2-6); 6. FAU (2-6); 7. FIU (1-8).

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October 29, 2012

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 98.3%

[1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30. Thanks to all who tapped into our live blog Q&A/chat yesterday. We do it every Monday, 1-2 p.m. 2) Poor Tigers fans. Almost better to have not made the World Series at all than to have been swept. 3) Find our main Dolphins-Jets game post directly below in the blog. 4) Visit our video channel atYouTube/TheGregCote (on hiatus; new vids coming soon) and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show 98.3 percent overall satisfaction -- a season high -- in the wake of Sunday's 30-9 victory at the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 4-3. The 80.9% calling themselves "very" satisfied also is by far a season high. 1aa1dsmThe DSM, in its fifth year, is continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their 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. Polls never close (you may still vote), but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2012 Dolfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 17.2% (4.4-v, 12.8-s) following 30-10 loss at Houston.

G2: 90.6% (47.1-v, 43.5-s) following 35-13 victory vs. Oakland.

G3: 43.8% (7.2-v, 36.6-s) following 23-20 loss (OT) vs. N.Y. Jets.

G4: 67.4% (18.3-v, 49.1-s) following 24-21 loss (OT) at Arizona.

G5: 93.1% (43.9-v, 49.2-s) following 17-13 victory at Cincinnati.

G6: 96.7% l(52.2-v, 44.5-s) following 17-14 victory vs. St. Louis.

G7: 98.3% (80.9-v, 17.4-s) following 30-9 victory at N.Y. Jets.  

Next poll: Nov. 4 following game at Indianapolis.

Previous final season results for overall satisfaction:

2011: 34.9%

2010: 3.8%

2009: 31.2%

2008: 96.9%

Live blog Q&A / chat No. 6 now completed; next chat Nov. 5


LIVE BLOG Q&A IN COMMENTS SECTION: Thanks to all who joined our live blog chat today. Do it each Monday 1-2 p.m. Click 'Comments' below to read a transcript of today's palaver. See you next Monday for Chat No. 7.

October 28, 2012

G7: Dolphins 30, @ Stinkin' Jets 9 (Final): Hot Miami improves to 4-3 as special-teams, defense swamp NYJ

1aa1pink[1) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28. They'll use pink penalty flags in today's Dolphins-Jets game in honor of breast-cancer awareness month. DON'T GET ME STARTED! 2) You may still vote in our Heat LeBron vs. D-Wade popularity poll in post directly below this. 3) Join our Live Blog Q&A/Chat Monday 1-2 p.m. 4) Check out our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote (been on hiatus, new vids coming soon) and join us on Twitter@gregcote]

Will Heat surpass Dolphins as South Florida's biggest team?: I explore that question in this column in today's Heat/NBA special preview section. Some say it has happened already. It has not. But could. 

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: New poll today at 4:45 p.m!: We'll have the latest DSM poll in a separate blogpost today beginning at 4:45 p.m. sharp.

G7: DOLPHINS @ STINKIN' JETS: Final: Dolphins now 4-3 with a third straight win -- an enormously impressive road domination of a division rival. Special-teams and defense carry the day, with such a performance following a bye week also speaking well of Joe Philbin and his staff. Modest output offensively, but Matt Moore an efficient 11-for-19 for 131 yards and a TD in relief of injured Ryan Tannehill, whose quad/knee injury does not appear serious. The thought occured in the second half that Miami's backup, Moore, is better than Mark Sanchez (not to mention Tim Tebow). ..... 4Q: Miami 30-9 on Carpenter 42-yard FG. ... Chaz Schilens 5-yard scoring pass from Sanchez has Jets within 27-9 after missed two-point conversion pass. Way too little, too late. And shocking lack of urgency by NYJ offense. ..... 3Q: Chris Clemons INT for Miami as Jets fan boo Sanchez, call for Tebow (like that'll help!). ... Reggie Bush fumble loss. ... Moore 4-yard TD pass to TE Anhtony Fasano makes it 27-3, and the Dolphins are flat-out embarrassing the Jets. ... NYJ within 20-3 on Nick Folk 38-yard kick. ..... Half: I have never seen a better half of football by a Dolphins special-team unit. Never, ever. What a thorough domination by Miami. Tannehill's injury the only negative, but luckily it does not appears serious. ..... 2Q: Olivier Vernon blocked FG in final minute! Miami special teams continue to dominate. ... Miami 20-0 after 39-yard FG. Seems at this point Tannehill (quad/knee) won't return, although still don't think it seems serious. ... Daniel Thomas dives in from 3 for 17-0 Dolphins lead after Jets turnover. ..... 1Q: Turnover has Miami knocking on door as quarter ends. Dolphins domination in 1Q! ... Nolan Carroll blitz = Mark Sanchez fumble = Paul Soliai recovery. ... Miami 10-0 after Oliver Vernon TD off Jimmy Wilson blocked punt. ... That looked like pass interference to me. Official had his hand on flag but didn't have the spheroids to call it. ... Matt Moore in at QB for Miami but seems temporary. Tannehill on stationary bike on sideline and seems OK. ... Fins make nothing of onside kick. Ryan Tannehill limping after sack. (I called a trick play, said onside kick or fake punt, on the 790 pregame show). ... Miami 3-0 on Dan Carpenter 33-yard FG, then Dolphins recover onside kick! Early "hot sauce" with tension between Reggie Bush, Antonio Cromartie. ... Let's go! ..... Original post: Miami on a two-game win streak and coming off a bye, but a narrow 1aa1doljetunderdog today in the Joisey swamp. I think that's with reason, I'm afraid, although in this case I'd happily trade being wrong for the sight of Rex Ryan slumping dejectedly off the field after having the cocky knocked out of him. It's been a week of childish yet entertaining jawing back and forth between these heated, hated rivals but emotion won't turn this result. Miami will need to get Reggie Bush and that once-powerful running game going again to take pressure off Ryan Tannehill as the rookie tastes his first division roadie. NYJ will try to make it very tough on Tannehill and seems to have the blitz package and the secondary to do that. It is why I'm going with the home team in what I think will be a defensive, points-shy struggle. Again, though, I am never more receptive to being wrong than when I pick this team to win. Trust me on that. Miami's run defense also will be tested, because Planes ground game has been very good the past two weeks. When Mark Sanchez is your QB, you eventually figure out you need that. My pick: Jets, 19-16.

Note: I'll be on 790 The Ticket's pregame show talking Dolphins-Jets today from 10 a.m. 'til about 11:30, then right back here at kickoff for a live in-game Boutique Blog (patent pending). You are invited.

October 26, 2012

Popularity poll: LeBron vs. D-Wade. Vote!; plus Collball (Gators fall), NFL-Dolphins predix, Giant lead, Golden, Memphis, virginity auction & more

[1) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28. Major endorsements in the presidential race. Barack Obama endorsed by Colin Powell. Mitt Romney endorsed by Meat Loaf. 2) Check out our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote (been on hiatus; new vids coming soon) and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Collball Week 9 post: Because the Miami Hurricanes were off this weekend, our weekly Collball feature has been demoted from a separate post and incorporated below. Scroll to bottom of this post to find.

LEBRON VS. D-WADE! (RELAX, IT'S JUST FOR FUN...): The NBA champion Heat open defense of their crown in two days, Tuesday night here vs. Boston, and I wanted a preseason poll. Can't exactly ask how 1aa1dwlbjyou think the Heat will do, because if most experts predict a repeat title, you know that fan confidence is undebatably through the rafters. So I chose a poll on whether LeBron James has surpassed Dwyane Wade as the team's most popular player. I don't mean to cause trouble, I'm just genuinely curious. I think the question has become fair. LeBron, reigning league and Finals MVP, obviously is the team's best player, which usually equates to popularity. But Heat fans surely have embraced Wade longer. I fully understand that you can vote for one and also adore the other; you might even claim you like them equally. But, c'mon. Fans have favorite players. It's what we do. So vote and say why. Or, if you prefer, don't vote -- it'll be a protest vote! -- in righteous indignation over such an outrageously divisive poll!

Will Heat usurp Dolphins for South Florida's heart?: Our Heat/NBA special preview section is out today and my contributon is this column on whether the Heat has already or may yet surpass the Dolphins as South Floridas No. 1 pro team.

Heat to unveil new uniforms: Heat announced it will continue its "ongoing uniform progression plan" by unveiling new uniform designs during the 2012-13 season, beginning Tuesday with a championship-theme uniform featuring gold trim and trophy patch. Other designs will include a White Hot theme, 25th anniversary "Hardwood Classics" uniform, Christmas Day uniform, "Miami Black" theme and the recurring "Noche Latina" look.

NFL PREDIX: TOUGH BAPTISMAL FOR TANNEHILL: Sunday will be Ryan Tannehill's first division road 1aa1fripixgame, and there are easier situations imaginable than at Jets, in funky weather (50s, chance of rain), in a howling bowl of haters. Should be a great game. I have it Stinkin' Jets, 19-16, but am always happy to root against my pick when it involves Rex Ryan being disappointed. Click on Week 8 Gems for all my latest NFL picks, and on Pro Bowl Outlook for my early glimpse at Dolphins contenders as voting begins.

WORLD SERIES: TIGERS BATS STAY MARLINS-SLEEPY, GIANTS IN COMPLETE COMMAND: Giants up 3-0 on Tigers heading into a possible clinching Game 4 tonight/Sunday in the Motor City. It's done. Collapse by Miguel Cabrera and favored Tigers looks epic.

Poll result: It's Obama in a landslide: We asked in previous blogpost who has your support for president and Barack Obama won with 61.5 percent to Mitt Romney's 38.5. Romney had narrowly won the same poll in July with 50.8%. This time the poll was running close again before a sudden, major Obama surge, suggesting to me organized involvement by a Democrat group. That's OK. Free country.

Poll result: Close vote, but disapproval of Guillen firing: We also asked if you approved of the Marlins firing manager Ozzie Guillen, and 49.4 percent said no vs. 45.4% yes and 5.2% undecided.

AL GOLDEN'S ROUGH WEEK: It's good the Hurricanes have a bye this weekend. Coach Al Golden could 1aa1alguse some rest. Rough few days. First that big home loss to rival Florida State, a third straight defeat dropping Miami to 4-4. Then the father of defensive tackle Luther Robinson goes on local radio to blast Golden (pictured) because his kid isn't playing enough. Now a dispute over whether defensive end Kelvin Cain quit the team or was dismissed. The good news: UM still controls its own future and can play into the ACC championship game by winning all three of its remaining conference games starting next Thursday here vs. Virginia Tech.

Ron Fraser statue fund: Happy to say UM has instituted a Ron Fraser Wizard Fund to help erect a bronze statue in honor of the longtime former Canes baseball coach. Click on the link to donate. I must say the school should be doing this on its own rather than begging public money, but, in this case, by whatever means, the end is justified.

TRAVELOGUE: MEMPHIS: Wife and I met another couple (friends who live outside D.C.) last weekend in Memphis. We meet a couple of times a year in a different city. Of course we had to do Graceland; I think it's a law when visiting Memphis. Tourist-y to the max but worth the $34 if you are/were an Elvis 1aa1civPresley fan. (I was too young for Elvis' heyday but am big on pop music history, so I couldn't miss experiencing Graceland). I'd more highly recommend two other attractions to fully dive into Memphis music culture: the Rock and Soul Museum, and the Stax Museum. But the most enriching time devoted in that city for us, by far, was the hours spent in the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Forget Graceland; the NCRM should be a required stop for any Memphis visitor. Can't end the travelogue without a quick mention of ribs, the city's iconic food. Everybody points you to the famous Rendezvous, a tourist magnet. And it was OK. But better by a lot were the ribs we tasted at Central BBQ. (Hmm. Wonder if they deliver...)

STEPHEN A. SMITH: "N----, PLEASE": Stephen A. Smith appears to have dropped the N-word on ESPN's First Take Thursday. Click here to listen for yourself.

RIDICULOUSLY PHOTOGENIC HOMELESS GUY GETS HELP BECAUSE HE'S HANDSOME: Guess that headline about says it all. Click here for more.

1aa1catarinaWOMAN AUCTIONS VIRGINITY: This 20-year-old woman, from Brazil, has auctioned off her virginity to raise money for charity. The winning bid was $780,000. I think I may need to take out a loan.

COLLBALL WEEK 9: Canes off but the rest of the state is hopping. Let's get to it. Saturday's state FBS slate:

1aa1flagaNo. 10 Georgia 17, No. 2 Florida 9: The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, they call it. It also turned out to be the world's largest opportunity for Florida to blow its BCS standing and national-title shot. Oh my. I did not see this happening. My pick was: Florida, 27-20.

No. 12 FSU 48, Duke 7: Duke isn't as doormat-bad as it typically is, but Noles still rolled like a big wheel. FSU win did Miami a big favor, increasing UM's chances of reaching ACC title game. My pick was: FSU, 38-16.

FAU 34, Troy 27: Owls on the prowl! Raw hunch, but I saw Atlantic with elusive second win in home-'dog upset. Great call by me (he bragged). My pick was: FAU, 24-21.

Western Kentucky 14, FIU 6: Like the Black Eyed Peas, I gotta feeling. Alas, the wrong one. Saw the Mario Brothers in a home upset; instead, FIU's nightmare season continues. My pick was: FIU, 31-27.  

My record: This week, 2-2. Season, 31-10.

Other state FBS games: Syracuse def. South Florida, 38-37; and UCF def. Marshall, 54-17.

National Game of Week: Sorry Gator, but it was No. 5 Notre Dame @ No. 8 Oklahoma. Irish won, 30-13 

Click back. We'll be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

October 23, 2012

Two-Poll Thursday: On Obama vs. Romney, Marlins firing Guillen. Vote now!; plus the giant Giant, dumb Canes dad, SOPY rankings & more

[1) It is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25. As Hurricane Sandy pounds its way toward us to the east, I can tell you that my dog, Sandy, is not pleased to be associated with such mayhem. 2) Tonight's NFL pick is Vikings (-6 1/2) over Bucs, 23-20. 3) NFL announced that pink penalty flags would be used in Sunday's Dolphins-Jets game because of breast-cancer awareness month. Oy vey. 4) Check out our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote (been on hiatus; new vids coming soon) and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Stern anounces retirement plan: NBA commissioner David Stern today said he will retire on Feb. 1, 2014. Hey, let the 15-month farewell tour begin!

YOU'RE OUT! MARLINS FIRE GUILLEN: Marlins firing manager Ozzie Guillen after one season was not a shock, and a bit surprising only because it didn't happen right away and because, well, 1aa1guillenit's only been one year. There are decent arguments on both sides of this issue, which always is the petri dish for a blog poll. Those in favor of the move can argue that Guillen invited his own dismissal with the team's unexpected last-place finish augmented by his infamous Fidel Castro mess and other off-field issues. Those against the firing can argue one season is not a fair measure, and that the firing exposes Marlins ownership/management as buffoons with little patience or direction. I doubt there is much waffling room here, considering both Guillen and the Loria/Samson regime are each so polarizing. Chances are you heard the firing news and immediately felt either bad for Guillen or thought good-riddance. I weigh in today with my latest column, Dysfunction Starts At Top, writing that owner Jeffrey Loria's bad decisions and impatience are the hub of what's wrong with this club. Your turn now. Vote on Guillen's firing and say why. (Our presidential poll is immediately below...)

OBAMA VS. ROMNEY. ROCK THE VOTE 2.0: A few of you may be incredulous with outrage, but this blog 1aa1elect2runs on the credo that sports fans are not just sports fans. We are multi-faceted. We also like politics and art and whatever. So if a political poll here offends 1aa1electyou, move on and have a nice day. On July 2 we ran a Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney poll (Romney won with a scant majority of 50.8%) and said we'd have one more before the election. So 15 weeks later and less than two weeks from election day, here it is. Notice I provide no option for "Somebody else." Living in the real world here. If you're still dreaming of Ralph Nader, good luck with that. Also notice I provide no option for "Undecided." You have had months to consider and weigh; the debates are over. Time to finally choose, oh waffling one. Comments welcome as always, but on this topic more than most I'd ask for civility and respect. Agree these are two good men who want the best for America. Now choose one.

BROBDINGNAGIAN! SANDOVAL'S THREE HOMERS PUT GIANTS UP IN WORLD SERIES: Gigantic Giant Pablo Sandoval banged three homers last night as the Giants went up 1-0 over the visiting Tigers in the World Series. Game 2 tonight back in San Fran. The Giants were the first NL team I followed (because of Willie Mays), but they just won it all a couple of years ago, whereas Detroit last won the WS in distant 1984. Neither team -- despite San Fran's unlikely comeback in the NLCS or Detroit's title drought -- is a classic Cinderella. My rooting interest: Mostly ambivalence, but maybe, I guess, Tigers, narrowly.

Poll result: Not overwhelmingly, but A-Rod welcome on Marlins: We asked in a previous blog poll if you'd liike to see Alex Rodriguez with the Marlins next season, and 56.3 percent said yes. Another 38.0% said no, while 5.7% were undecided.   

POOR LUTHER ROBINSON: Somewhere on the UM campus, Hurricanes junior defensive tackle Luther Robinson must be looking for a hole to crawl into and disappear -- thanks to his father. On Wednesday Robinson's dad called into Joe Rose's morning show on WQAM and blasted coach Al Golden, calling him "a liar," saying he favors his own recruits over Randy Shannon's, and (this is funny) claiming Golden does not care about winning. Bottom line: Mr. Robinson thinks Luther is better than the other guys and should be playing more. All of us wish we could take back a regrettable phone call, I guess. Sad. 

SOPY RANKINGS (WEEK 8): FSU'S MANUEL MAINTAINS LEAD: This college football season marks the blog debut of our weekly State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, which I like to call the "Sunshine State Heisman." Our chart encompasses the most productive seasons of any quarterback, 1aa1ejmrunning back or receiver from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida and FSU, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. (Note: Rankings consider only passing, rushing and receiving, not returns). Our formula awards one point per offensive yard gained running or receiving and a half-point per yard passing, plus six bonus points for touchdowns thrown or scored. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. After Week 8 it's Florida State's E.J. Manuel (pictured) leading for a second straight week. The SOPY Top 10 entering Week 9:

Rank (LW)     Player, Team-pos.     SOPY Pts. Week=Year

1 (1)     E.J. Manuel, FSU-qb     148.5 = 1,326.5

2 (2)     Stephen Morris, Miami-qb     100.5 = 1,241

3 (3)     B.J. Daniels, South Florida-qb     112.5 = 1,225.5   

4 (6)     Jake Medlock, FIU-qb     182 = 1,001.5

5 (4)     Chris Thompson, FSU-rb     94 = 965

6 (5)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb     81 = 926

7 (7)     Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb     65.5 = 857.5

8 (10)     Graham Wilbert, FAU-qb     185.5 = 775.5

9 (8)     Mike Gillislee, Florida-rb     34 = 717

10 (9)     Duke Johnson, Miami-rb     46 = 692

Bubble: Mike James, Miami-rb, 677

State of the State rankings: 1. Florida (7-0); 2. FSU (7-1); 3. UCF (5-2); 4. Miami (4-4); 5. South Florida (2-5); 6. FAU (1-6); 7. FIU (1-7).

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

October 21, 2012

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 39.4%

Note: No live blog Q&A/chat today/Monday. Live blog chat will return next Monday, Oct 29. 

[1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 22. Find our main Collball Week 8 post, featuring UM-FSU, directly below this in the blog. 2) Check out our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter, and they show 39.4 percent overall satisfaction in the wake of Saturday night's 33-20 loss to visiting Florida State putting UM's record at 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the ACC. (This marks an increase following a third straight less, an aberration I'm hard-pressed to explain). In its fourth 1aa1csm12year, our blog's CSM polls are your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season. The CSM is a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, program's direction, and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Polls never close (you may still vote), but results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was, tardily, around 4:30 p.m. today/Monday.

2012 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 93.9% (40.9-v, 53.0-s) following 41-32 victory at Boston College.

G2: 14.7% (7.0-v, 7.7-s) following 52-13 loss at Kansas State.

G3: 50.2% (7.5-v, 42.7-s) following 38-10 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman.

G4: 95.9% (61.0-v, 33.9-s) following 42-36 OT victory at Georgia Tech.

G5: 95.2% (49.6-v, 45.6-s) following 44-37 victory vs. North Carolina State.

G6: 29.4% (9.1-v, 20.3-s) following 41-3 loss vs. Notre Dame in Chicago.

G7: 17.0% (5.3-v, 11.7-s) following 18-14 loss vs. North Carolina.

G8: 39.4% (8.3-v, 31.1-s) following game 33-20 loss vs. Florida State.

Next poll: Nov. 1 following game vs. Virginia Tech. 

Previous final season results:

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

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

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

October 20, 2012

G8: Florida State 33, Hurricanes 20; plus Gators, FIU & more

[1) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21. Ding dong, Heath Bell is gone! 2) Welcome to the weekly Collball post! 3) You may still vote in our A-Rod/Marlins poll in post directly below this new one. 4) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: Voting underway! Voting underway in latest edition of the CSM in a separate blogpost just above this oner.

1aa1canesfsuG8: NO. 14 FLORIDA STATE 33, HURRICANES 20: Canes hung with the Noles into the third quarter before faltering. Stephen Morris played but not particularly well, and UM could not muster a running game. Original post: Coach Al Golden was saying it could be a game-time decision whether his starting quarterback will be Stephen Morris, who is nursing a tender ankle, or inexperienced Ryan Williams, but by Friday it was clear Morris was doubtful and therefore Williams likely. 1aa1canesfsu2FSU is heavily favored either way although, with Morris, I'd have given Miami a great chance to beat the spread on a near-three-touchdown betting line. That's a huge head start to give a talented Canes squad at home in a rivalry game. Overall though it's very hard to imagine red-hot E.J. Manuel won't lead the Noles to the top of the scoreboard. Manuel has a fair shot at the Heisman Trophy now that WVU's Geno Smith has stumbled, and could really feather his chances in this ABC telecast. My pick was: FSU, 31-23.

Other Collball Week 8 featured state FBS games, in order:

Troy 38, FIU 37: FIU, preseason Sun Belt favorite, cascades to a 1-7 record with another heartbreak loss on a Troy rally. The Int't had a pretty decent upset shot against Troy's mediocre Trojans in a conference game. What happened to Mario Cristobal's mojo? Where da magic at!? My pickwas: Troy, 31-27.

No. 2 Florida 44, No. 7 South Carolina 11: Stomp! The Ol' Ball Coach Steve Spurrier ambling back into The Swamp always feels special, this time augmented as a marquee top-10 matchup and the collball Game of the Week nationally. Gamecocks had won past two vs. Gators but I liked Florida at home to stay unbeaten and protect the catbird seat of that No. 2 BCS ranking. Gators were healthier than they've been, especially on the O-line. My pick was: Florida, 24-20.

South Alabama 37, FAU 34: Owls on hunt for that elusive second victory and had a fair shot in this Sun Belt game at S-Bama, which had allowed 30-plus points in all five losses. My pick was: South Alabama, 27-21.

My record: This week, 4-0. Season, 29-8.

Other state FBS games: No. 16 Louisville d. South Florida, 27-25; and UCF d. Memphis, 35-17.

National Game of the Week: Gators hosting Gamecocks (see above).

Note: We're on holiday this weekend so updates here will be done with less alacrity than usual.

October 17, 2012

A-Rod to Marlins talk: Exciting? Ridiculous? Poll. Vote!; plus NFL predix, LeBron is Marvel-ous, Yanks are out, our shaky Super Bowl shot & more

[1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19. Dammit! I've misplaced my binder full of women! 2) You may still vote in our who's-next-on-Dolphins-Honor-Roll poll in blogpost directly below this new one. 3) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Dorsey leads UM Hall inductees: Hurricanes announced seven 2013 inductees to UM Sports Hall of Fame, led by 1999-'02 champion QB Ken Dorsey. Others alphabetically: Ed Contreras (baseball, 1957-59); Bryan Gillooly (diving, 1994-98); Norm Parsons (golf coach, 1972-'12); Brett Romberg (football, 1999-'02); Don Soldinger (football assistant, 1984-88 & '95-'05); and Jay Tessmer (baseball, 1994-95).

A-ROD TO MARLINS? HEY, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED. WELL, OK, MAYBE NOT: This first floated as an unnamed-source report on MLB.com this week, and ESPNNewYork.com seemed to lend it 1aa1arodsome credence. It grew from a supposed jocular chat between club presidents Jeffrey Loria and Randy Levine in which Loria said, "Alex is Mr. Miami. It would be great if he played here for us." And the Yanks prez supposedly cracked, "You can have him." Well, now there are reports of possible "serious trade talks in the offseason," and that A-Rod supposedly would welcome ending his career here. Predictably both teams have tried to quash the rumor. We'll see. But it's out there. Two overriding starting points: 1) A-Rod, at 37, is fast seeming like a has-been. His numbers have declined sharply for two years now, not just in the current postseason that finds him 3-for-28 and sporadically benched. He is 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against righthanders, which is problematic only in that most pitchers are righthanders. 2) He has five years and $114 million left on his contract. If you're the Marlins you don't 1aa1arod1even entertain the possibility of a trade unless the talks start with NYY's willingness to eat all or most of that remaining deal and make it fiscally reasonable for Miami. The good side of this is that A-Rod plays third, a position of need, and that as a Miami guy -- Westminster Christian High, big donor to UM -- who happens to have 647 career homers, he would put fans in seats even in his career winter. The other good side is that if the Yanks are eager sellers, they'd likely accomodate the Marlins' strong desire to dump Heath Bell. So here is the question. Assuming the money stuff could be made to work, should Miami pursue getting Rodriguez? I know there are myriad variables, but the bottom line is: Would you like to see A-Rod as Marlin next year? Vote and say why.

Tigers oust Yanks, Cardinals in command: After rain last night, Tigers closed out Yankees today in a four-game SUH-WEEEP! in the ALCS. Cards up 3-1 on Giants in NLCS, with Game 5 tonight at 8 in St. Lou. Rooting interests: Tigers strong, ambivalence in the NL.

NFL PREDIX: LOCK OF WEEK: DOLPHINS WON'T LOSE!: Click on Week 7 Gems for all our latest NFL predictions. And on Early Playoff Glimpse for our Friday page column.

IT'S OFFICIAL: LEBRON IS MARVEL-OUS: 1aa1bronAfter a game in Atlanta and two in China the NBA champion Heat -- betting favorites to repeat -- made their preseason home debut last night (and won) just as Marvel Comics and ESPN The Magazine have teamed to bring you a one-time insert comic called, "LeBron James: King of the Rings." (The cover of the comic is pictured). Meanwhile new odds out from Bovada show LeBron a 9-5 favorite to win MVP honors again, followed by OKC's Kevin Durant at 15-4, then a sharp drop to LAL's Kobe Bryant at 12-1. Other betting favorites: Scoring--Durant an even 1-1; rookie--New Orleans' Anthony Davis at 19-10; rebounding--Minnesota's Kevin Love (before his injury) at 5-4; and assists--Boston's Rajon Rondo at 5-2.

Poll result: Offerdahl, Mercury favorites for next Honor Roll: In the previous blogpost we exclusively revealed the 10 names on the Dolphins' watch-list for the next Honor Roll induction and let you vote for up to three (you still may), and your frontunners were John Offerdahl (18.7 percent) and Mercury Morris (17.3%). O.J. McDuffie and Manny Fernandez tied for third at 13.1% with Sam Madison (10.9%) the only other man in double figures.

1aa1mulchDOLPHINS' BYE-WEEK FUN!: NFL teams spend their bye weeks doing good. But it isn't just a sham photo-op like Paul Ryan in an Ohio soup kitchen. They actually do do good. Like the Dolphins did this week refurbishing a local elementary school. Pictured: Coach Joe Philbin getting ready to lay a bag of mulch while tackle Jake Long appears to loom over him like a giant about to gape its maw and eat Philbin's head whole.

SOUTH FLORIDA GOES SUPER BOWLING: Finalists are in for the next two available Super Bowl host jobs (2016 and '17). It'll be Miami vs. San Francisco for the first one, and the loser vs. Houston for the second one. I don't like our chances. Unless Miami can arrange a spate of earthquakes I'd say San Fran must be seen as a big favorite for '16 because they'll be flaunting a new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara. And logic might have Houoston a fronturnner for '17 because they have a retractable-roof stadium and because we have hosted two SBs since Houston's most recent. Dolphin stadium will only have a realistic shot if Stephen Ross can squeeze $225 million from taxpayers for major renovations, and the ground for that doesn't seem real fertile.

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

October 16, 2012

Blog exclusive: Dolphins' next finalists for Honor Roll (with poll, vote now); plus prez debate, NFL pix 'n fantasy, SOPY rankings & more

1aa1bey[1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17. Beyonce (left) will be the next Super Bowl halftime performer as two teams try to put a ring on it. I like dat! 2) See results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter (a season best) in blogpost directly below this new one. 3) Visit our video channel at YouTube/TheGregCote and join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1obpumpDebate Night in America: A presidential rebound: I thought Barack Obama edged Mitt Romney in their 2.0 debate last night. Thought Romney clearly won first debate. Thought the prez bounced back to win last night. Question: What's scarier: An Obama pumpkin (right)? Or Paul Ryan making a sham of a soup-kitchen photo-op?

BLOG EXCLUSIVE!: HERE'S WHO DOLPHINS ARE CONSIDERING NEXT FOR HONOR ROLL: You know that Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas are newly minted as the 23rd and 24th members of the club's 1aa1dolhrstadium Honor Roll. (Click on An Example For All for the latest column by me on what Taylor/Thomas can teach the current team). Now we'll tell you, from a club source, who the finalists are to be inducted next. One or two are likely to be added as soon as next year, and you can help the club decide in this poll. Vote for as many as three (3) but only vote for players you feel are Honor Roll-worthy. Let us know if you 1aa1nextthink none are, or if you think someone isn't on the list but should be. The 10-man list includes three Super Bowl-era players (Manny Fernandez, Mercury Morris and Garo Yepremian) and five more recent players (Tim Bowens, Bryan Cox, Sam Madison, O.J. McDuffie and John Offerdahl), along with former owner Wayne Huizenga and longtime radio voice Rick Weaver. (Scroll to bottom of this post for a complete list of current Honor Roll indutees). Who should be next? My vote: O.J. McDuffie and John Offerdahl. No sure anyone else rises to the measure. The older players might, but they're adequately encompassed by the '72 team being on the Roll. OK, that's me. Your turn. Remember, you may vote here for as many as three. Let's do it!

Poll result: Wildly mixed opinions on Jeff Ireland: We asked in a recent blogpost if you thought criticism of Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland was excessive, and 40.2 percent said yes, 42.4% said no, and 17.4% were undecided. I actually take that as a fairly positive result for Ireland.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: I picked the San Diego Chokers and Philip "The Pick" Rivers to win Monday night. Not that I'm bitter or anything! NFL predix: Rough week. Aren't they all? Nailed my Upset of the Week with Packers over Texans ("Aawwk!"), had another outright upset with Browns over Bengals, had 'dog Lions and Giants with the points, and still managed only 8-6 overall and 6-8 vs. the spread. Greg's Lobos: Yay. My fantasy team woke up and won 140-135 to improve to 2-4. Lobos got a huge 50 from Aaron Rodgers but needed 12 from Ryan Mathews on Monday night to eke out the win.

1aa1nyyBASEBALL UPDATE: WE ARE ALL TIGERS: Anti-Yankees Nation exalts, cartwheels and dances a merry jig! Tigers leads ALCS by 3-0 now after last night and can clinch it back in Detroit tonight. Motown is only one of four finalists whose fans haven't cheered a World Series title lately so Tigers advancing feels right even beyond the NYY hatred factor. (Having said that, I do feel bad for Derek Jeter's injury). In the NLCS its Cards-Giants tied 1-1 with series resuming today at 4 in STL.

BROWNS FAN DUNKS HEAD IN BUCKET OF URINE: Well, I guess that headline about says it all. Click here to watch if you are not weak of stomach. 

SOPY RANKINGS (WEEK 7): FSU'S MANUEL STORMS TO LEAD: This college football season marks the blog debut of our weekly State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, which I like to call the "Sunshine State Heisman." Our chart encompasses the most productive seasons of any quarterback, 1aa1ejmrunning back or receiver from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida and FSU, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. (Note: Rankings consider only passing, rushing and receiving, not returns). Our formula awards one point per offensive yard gained running or receiving and a half-point per yard passing, plus six bonus points for touchdowns thrown or scored. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. After Week 7 it's Florida State's E.J. Manuel (pictured) bounding into the lead. The SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:

Rank (LW)     Player, Team-pos.     SOPY Pts. Week=Year

1 (3)     E.J. Manuel, FSU-qb   248.5 = 1,178

2 (2)     Stephen Morris, Miami-qb     123.5 = 1,140.5

3 (1)     B.J. Daniels, South Florida-qb     BYE = 1,113   

4 (4)     Chris Thompson, FSU-rb     95 = 871

5 (5)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb     137 = 845

6 (6)     Jake Medlock, FIU-qb     203 = 819.5

7 (9)     Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb     233.5 = 792

8 (7)     Mike Gillislee, Florida-rb     79 = 683

9 (8)     Duke Johnson, Miami-rb     47 = 646

10 (--)     Graham Wilbert, FAU-qb     129.5 = 590

Bubble: Mike James, Miami-rb, 571

State of the State rankings: 1. Florida (6-0); 2. FSU (6-1); 3. Miami (4-3); 4. UCF (4-2); 5. South Florida (2-4); 6. FAU (1-5); 7. FIU (1-6).

THE LIST: DOLPHINS HONOR ROLL: The 24 inductees onto the Honor Roll in chronological order:

1990: Joe Robbie, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Paul Warfield. 1991: Nick Buoniconti. 1992: 1972 Undefeated Team. 1993: Larry Little. 1994: Dwight Stephenson. 1995: Bob Kuechenberg. 1996: Don Shula. 1999: Nat Moore. 2000: Dan Marino. 2003: Mark Clayton, Mark Duper. 2006: Dick Anderson, Richmond Webb. 2008: Bob Baumhower, Doug Betters. 2010: Jake Scott, Bill Stanfill. 2011: Jim Mandich. 2012: Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas. [Note: Selection committee consists of retired players Csonka, Griese, Marino and Moore, club president Mike Dee and owner Stephen Ross].

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