Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 32.4%; plus Patriots remind Miami who's boss, 36-7; also, Heat lose at Cavs, NFL Week 8 predix, Mattingly-Marlins, FAU letter for Schnellenberger & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30: Homestead-Miami Speedway announced that country superstar Tim McGraw will perform at NASCAR's season ending race there Nov. 22. 2) Marlins surprised nobody yesterday by announcing that Dan Jennings, already out as manager, would not return to the front office at all. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Opening Night with poll, Fox Sports' embarrassment, racist Halloween costumes & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Periscope.
Heat fall at Cavaliers: As last night was a measuring stick for the Dolphins, so would tonight be for the Heat facing LeBron James in Cleveland. Heat was 1-0 after beating Charlotte, the Titans/Texans of the NBA. The Cavs are the Patriots. Or something like that. Cleveland 102, Miami 92. LeBron 29, D.Wade 25.
UPSET BIRD DAY / NFL WEEK 8: No sugarcoating: I was about as bad with my NFL picks last week as the Dolphins were in New England last night. Stumbled to 8-6 overall and sank to 4-9-1 against the spread. If those numbers aren't my season's nadir, I'm in trouble. Our Week 8 got off to a split start last night as I had Patriots winning but not covering. Click on Week 8 Gems for all of our latest picks and full prediction capsules. Click on Rare History for my latest weekly Friday page NFL notes column. I lead with Sunday night's Packers-Broncos matchup, which is only the fourth meeting ever between teams 6-0 or better, and only the second career head-to-head for Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.
See our Dolphins-Pats in-game blog and postgame thoughts immediately below the new DSM poll.
DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 32.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they shows 32.4 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 36-7 loss at New England putting Miami's season record at 3-4. The DSM, in its eighth year, is a 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, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the day after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Saturday.
Interpreting the latest vote: This was a tough vote, having to weigh a really disappointing loss at New England against the elation of the previous two weeks. But a fresh loss to the Patriots weighs heaviest, and 3-4 is 3-4. So 32.4 percent sounds about right.
2015 DSM Results
Game 1: 31.0% (following 17-10 victory at Washington)
Game 2: 1.7% (following 23-20 loss at Jacksonville)
Game 3: 18.0% (following 41-14 loss vs. Buffalo)
Game 4: 2.7% (following 27-14 loss vs. N.Y Jets in London)
Game 5: 92.0% (following 38-10 victory at Tennessee)
Game 6: 96.1% (following 44-26 victory vs. Houston)
Game 7: 32.4% (following 36-7 loss at New England)
Next poll: Nov. 8 (following game at Buffalo)
G7: NEW ENGLAND 36, DOLPHINS 7: MEASURING STICK SPANKS MIAMI, WAKE LOST FOR YEAR: Postgame thoughts: Wow. This is the difference between Titans/Texans and Patriots. Miami was never really in this game after being down early. Tom Brady was his usual excellent self, with 356 yards passing and four TDs. Ryan Tannehill countered with a 300-yard game that demeans the standard, with a meager 64.6 rating and two interceptions. Fins also managed a mere 15 yards rushing on 13 carries, the third-worst total in the franchise's 50 seasons. And cloaking the whole night like a sinister cloud: Cam Wake's injury. An Achilles. That is never good, and I'd expect it to be confirmed today what ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report this morning: That it's a torn Achilles and that Wake is done for the season. To summarize: Miami falls to 3-4, is 0-3 vs. the AFC East, just got embarrassed on national TV by its biggest rival, and now has lost its most impactful defender. The legend of Dan Campbell has taken a broadside hit. The rollicking, jam-packed DC Bandwagon suddenly has a few good seats available. ..... [Note: A computer gremlin zapped our live third and fourth quarter snippets. Apologies]. ..... Second Q: Miami tries 63-yard FG on last play of half, misses badly. ... Pats 19-0 just before half on short Brady pass to Dion Lewis. Man, this has turned into a rout. Miami defense barely OK, offense abysmal. ... Tannehill intercepted, leading to 52-yard Pats FG. Miami has 39 net yards of offense late in first half. Ugh. ... NE 9-0 on dumb safety against Miami. Tannehill in shotgun, not ready for snap, and Pouncey hikes it past Tanny and out of the end zone. ..... First Q: Brady ends 1Q 9-for-11 for 128 yards. ... Pats quick 7-0 lead on Gronkowski 47-yard catch and run from Brady. Missed tackle by Reshad Jones let Gronk loose. ..... Original post: They are both hot, and they are what makes this Dolphins-Patriots matchup extra special. Red-hot QBs Tom Brady vs. Ryan Tannehill? Oh that, too, I guess, now that you mention it. But I meant Gisele Bundhcen vs. Lauren Tannehill.. Anyway, the revitalized Dolphins we have seen the past two games look good enough to beat anyone, anywhere -- and that might even include the mighty Patriots in chilly Foxborough tonight on national TV. An upset win by
Miami (an 8-point 'dog) would mildly surprise but certainly not shock. This feels like a great matchup to kick off NFL Week 8. Miami will have a big chance especially if the Cam Wake-led sack party continues and gets in Brady's pocket ... and in his head. This game is the ultimate challenge, though, and until the Dolphins prove they can pass a test this difficult, then thinking they will remains risky. The Titans and Texans that Miami dominated have a combined 3-10 record. The Patriots fronted by Bill Belichick and Brady are a whole different animal. One with claws and fangs. The palpable lift interim coach Dan Campbell has given the
Fins is real; I respect that. But what I respect even more is that "at New England" might be any opponent's scariest three words. Too many trends pointing Pat-ward make an outright upset too tall a call here. NE has won 21 of its past 22 home games. Brady is 12-1 with eight wins in a row at home over Miami. Tannehill is 0-3 with five picks at Gillette Stadium. Having said all of that, the point spread still feels a bit fat. I trust the Dolphins' improvement enough to see this one TV-pleasing close. Click on Thursday Night Gem for our full prediction capsule. My pick: Patriots, 28-24.
MARLINS REPORTEDLY HIRE MATTINGLY: The news site Vice Sports reports today (story here) that the Miami Marlins have agreed to terms on a four-year contract with manager and former Yankees star Don Mattingly, who led the Los Angeles Dodgers for five years until the team and he parted ways after this past season. His Dodgers record was 446-363, .551. The deal reportedly will not be announced until after the World Series. Mattingly would be the third high-profile "star" manager in Marlins history, after Jim Leyland and Ozzie Guillen. He'll also be the eighth Marlins manager (including interims) just since 2010, crazy instability that needs to stop. Mattingly feels like a smart hire initially but we'll ponder further. In any case his Yankees ties can't hurt in a South Florida market filled with NY transplants.
FAU SENT "LETTER OF SUPPORT" FOR SCHNELLENBERGER IN COLLEGE HALL: In a recent column pushing Howard Schnellenberger for the College Football Hall of Fame I noted that none of the three schools stamped by his success -- Miami, Louisville and FAU -- had formally nominated him for induction, a necessary first step. Well, this from FAU Athletic Director Patrick Chun: "I have spoken directly to the National Football Foundation. Per their suggestion, Dr. [John] Kelly [FAU president] has drafted and submitted a letter directly to the NFF expressing our support of Howard Schnellenberger entering the Hall of Fame. We have been told this is the most effective and appropriate manner to show our support for Howard in the quest to get him into the College Football Hall of Fame." The NFF still would need to make an exception to one of its rules: that entrants have at least a .600 career winning percentage. Because he does not meet that criteria a school may not submit a "formal" nomination, but FAU's official letter of support is a step never before taken. It at least opens a door and gives Howard, 81, a fighting chance.
BOSH, HEAT OPEN SEASON RIGHT: Click on Opening Night, Opening Right for my column off Wednesday's Heat season debut, leading with Chris Bosh's big game in his official return from blood clots. Three other takeaways: Miami's Gerald Green-led 3-point shooting will be better than expected. Heat's depth is so obviously improved, led led by impressive rookie sparkplug Justise Winslow, whose defense especially impressed last night. And Pat Riley, who has cultivated an un-dyed white beard, looks like a too-thin non-finalist in a Hemingway lookalike contest.
Poll result: Most see Heat in 46-50 win range: We invited you to to predict the Heat's regular-season win range and a plurality of 41.9 percent had it 46-50 victories, with another 36.5% saying 51-55. Less popular: 11.6% for 56-plus, 8.7% for 41-45 and 1.3% for 40 or less.
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