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Manti Te'o: Liar? Or victim? New poll. Vote now!; plus my own hoax, LeBron whips Lakers, Canes hoops, Lance's confessional & more

[1) It is FRIDAY, JANUARY 18. Brand new blogpost coming later this morning. A journalism professor once told me "brand new" was redundant. She may be right. I ignore her anyway. 2) Season debut of American Idol last night was more palatable than I'd imagined. Nicki Minaj adds something. Plus, credibility points for bouncing the one-legged guy. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

WHAT TO MAKE OF THE INCREDIBLE MANTI TE'O STORY: Yes, and Touchdown Jesus wept. Again. It isn't bad enough Notre Dame got schooled by Nick Saban's Alabama in the BCS National Championship that 1aa1mantiMiami hosted. Now its signature player, linebacker and Heisman runnerup Manti Te'o, is exposed as, well ... as what? He would be a liar of Lance-esque proportion (only much more creative) if we believe the Deadspin piece (here) that reported Manti completely made up the non-existent girlfriend who supposedly died of leukemia in November. Or ... Manti could be the victim of a heartless prank, as Notre Dame and Te'o now claim. Liar or victim. In this case there doesn't seem much gray area. Liar or victim? For the record, I lean to thinking Te'o contrived the whole tale, but am not sure. I invite you to vote and share your own thoughts.

When I was the victim of a (much smaller) hoax: Media outlets all over the country including this one were victims of the Manti Te'o/dead-girlfriend story, reporting it as fact. I sympathize. As a young 1aa1kenfreporter in 1982 I wrote what I thought was a nice, timely little story about how Fort Lauderdale Strikers soccer player Ken Fogarty (pictured) was worried because his sister was on a British military vessel headed to the Falklands War. Turned out Fogarty, a prankster, made the whole thing up. A certain trust is in play when media and subjects intersect. Should somebody have asked Te'o to see his girlfriend's death certificate? Should I have called the Royal Navy to confirm Fogarty's story? Maybe yes on both. But only in the clarity of retrospect.

1aa1lebkobLEBRON'S 39 LIFTS HEAT PAST LAKERS: LeBron's 39 points and Dwyane Wade's 27 powered Heat over Lakers in L.A., 99-90, late last night. Impressive win, and big show by the Big 2 after each was named an all-star starter earlier in the day. The result reignited the hope in Miami fans that, yes, there is a switch that this team is able to find, and flip. Original post: The Heat crushed Golden State last night as LeBron James breezed past 20,000 career points younger than anyone else. Now, tonight, it's Heat at Lakers and, yes, for this one I will stay up 'til 1 a.m. Lakers have won a couple in a row but still struggle off playoff pace. Miami is only 9-9 on the road. No matter. This is still a marquee, statement, event game, a stage on which both teams will want to bring the A-game and really perform. Can't wait! 1aa1cookie[Update: Remember last week when LeBron bragged that the pressure on the Lakers is "nowhere near what we went through"? Kobe Bryant today was asked about that. His response: "What does he want, a cookie?"]

UM HOOPS' NICE RUN, HUGE TEST: The nice run: A 13-3 record, five wins in a row and a pristine 4-0 ACC mark for Jim Larranaga's men. I'm-a start to float conspiracy theories if the Canes are still not ranked in the next poll. The huge test: This coming Wednesday, UM hosts No. 3 Duke. We'll be a college basketball hotbed ... at least for the night.

ANTICLIMACTICALLY INTO THE CONFESSIONAL WITH LANCE ARMSTRONG: Last night was the much-hyped interview with Oprah Winfrey in which shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong came clean about his PED use after years of indignant denials. "One big lie," he admitted. (I imagined the interview would star Oprah with an occasional appearance by Lance). It was the interview we already knew so much about there was almost no need to watch. It was on the network we have never seen and have no idea how to find.

Poll result: Support for Dolphins' stadium plan, but not strong: We asked in the previous blogpost if you supported the Dolphins' plan for a $400 million stadium improvement that would be shared equally by owner Stephen Ross and tax dollars. Yes won with 57.4 percent. Yes-but-only-if-Ross-pays had 35.6%. Only 5.1% thought the stadium was fine as is, and 1.9% were undecided.

THINGS GREG COTE PONDERS BUT SELDOM TALKS ABOUT (one in a series): With no evident protest or uproar, the classic 100-watt light bulb evidently is being phased out. Publix now maxes out at 75 watts. Updates as warranted.

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