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17 posts from October 2015

October 31, 2015

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.

Tim1) 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) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Opening Night with poll, Fox Sports' embarrassment, racist Halloween costumes & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine 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 FripixDolphins 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 Dsmseason 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 Dolpat
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 Dolpatlauren Dolpatgiseledifficult, 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 DonmMiami 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 Howardsschools 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 BoshWednesday'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.

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 28, 2015

Bosh back with double-double as Miami wins opener. How good do you expect Heat to be? New poll. Vote now!; plus Fox Sports' embarrassment, racist Halloween costumes & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28: Condolences to Hurricanes cornerback Artie Burns and family over the passing of his mom, Dana Smith. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our wild, wild week in sports, World Series predix, latest Dolphins all-50'ers, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy results, latest SOPY standings, Golden-firing verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

OPENING NIGHT! HEAT USHER IN MIAMI'S 28TH NBA SEASON: Chris Bosh's 21 points and 10 rebounds sparked Miami's 104-94 win over Charlotte tonight. Dwyane Wade had 20 and Gerald Green 19 off the bench -- including 5-for-8 on 3's as Miami made 12 of 20 threeballs. ..... Original post: Into the great unknown we step gingerly tonight at 7:30 as the Heat host Charlotte in its 2015-16 NBA regular season opener in the
Openingnight Dwadedowntown bayside arena. What do we have here is the question. The starting lineup of Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside looks great. But can that unit play as fast-paced as coach Erik Spoelstra likes? Is there sufficient 3-point punch there? Can it stay healthy? All agree Miami should be considerably better than the team that finished 37-45 and missed the playoffs last season. But will better mean a low playoff seed and maybe a first-round advance if that? Or will better mean a top-four seed and maybe a challenge to Cleveland's Eastern Conference reign? The portrait of this Heat team will paint itself. The blank canvas gets its first brushstrokes tonight. Meantime, what do you think is a realistic expectation of how many (of 82) games the Heat will win this season? Not what you hope, but what you honestly think. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

FOX SPORTS' WORLD SERIES EMBARRASSMENT: Long World Series Game 1 last night, Royals winning in 14 innings, but an even longer night for Fox Sports, which lost its power. Fox blames "a rare electronics failure [that] caused both the primary and backup generators inside the Fox Sports production compound to lose power," adding, "The issue was immediately addressed, although it resulted in the audience missing one at-bat during the time needed to switch to MLB's international feed. The on-field delay was due to replay capability being lost in both teams’ clubhouses. We apologize for the interruption and are working to ensure that the remainder of the World Series is broadcast without incident." Sounds like a Fox intern spilled a Red Bull on the console.

Arab Boysoldier


WALMART WAKES UP FOR HALLOWEEN:
 Mega-retailer Walmart has been goaded to stop selling racist Halloween costumes such as the one pictured right, at the urging of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Walmart also used to sell the Israeli soldier getup at left. Yes, because hatred and tension in the Middle East is not volatile enough. Let's make a joke of it and bring it door to door! 

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 27, 2015

Welcome to the Wild, Wild Week, South Florida sporties. Heat open, Dolphins-Pats, post-Golden Canes, World Series, Cats, Mattingly, oy!; plus NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos fantasy Week 7 results, new SOPY standings, landslide approval for UM firing & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Al Golden fired with poll, betting odds on his UM replacement & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Sizing up World Series from three perspectives: Mets-Royals begins tonight in Kansas City. The view from three angles: Betting--Bovada has it dead-even in terms of betting odds. ESPN experts--It's Royals by a nearly 2-1 margin (17-9), say ESPN's experts panel. Greg Cote--My gut says New York because of starting pitching but the idea of imagining Mets fans that happy is so abhorrent that I must pick the Royals.

Dolphins' latest All-50'ers: Five at a time in random order the Fins are revealing their 50th anniversary top-50 all-time players, and the latest five are Brent Grimes, Jim Langer, Reggie Roby, Paul Warfield and Ricky Williams. My thoughts: Langer and Warfield are no-brainer obvious. Williams and Roby sure would have been on my top-50 and I'm pleasantly surprised they made it. Grimes is a stunner. Hasn't served long enough. But Miami hasn't had a lot of great cornerbacks, so maybe that's it.

BUCKLE UP FOR A WILD WEEK IN LOCAL SPORTS: Sports fans -- and Your Friend The Media, too, yes --

are prone to hyperbole. Everything is the biggest game ever, most exciting week ever, et cetera. Having said that, you'd have a pretty strong hand playing this week as one of the fullest and best we've had in South Florida in a long while. A primer:

OhweekHeat: Will the improved Heat be pretty great or just pretty good? We start to find out on Opening Night this Wednesday vs. Charlotte. 

Dolphins: The Fins are 2-0 under interim god Dan Campbell but put the mjo to the ultimate test Thursday night at New England.

Hurricanes: Most fans are elated over the firing of Al Golden but now, as speculation about his replacement percolates, interim coach Larry Scott must try to divine a win Saturday at No. 22-ranked Duke.

Panthers: Playoff-thinking Cats have a three-game hockey homestand Tuesday vs. Colorado, Friday against Boston, then Saturday Washington.

Marlins: It appears increasingly likely the Fish might actually land Don Mattingly as their next manager as soon as this week.

FIU: It's FIU at FAU on Saturday in the annual "Shula Bowl" college football rivalry. It ain't Michigan-Michigan State, but it's still kind of nice.

Oops, almost forgot: The World Series, Mets-Royals, starts Tuesday night.

Buckle up, sporties!

Poll result: Landslide approval for Golden firing: we asked if you approved of YUM firing Al Golden and it was 91.6 percent yes, 6.2% no and 2.2% undecided.

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 7: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our two Greg's Lobos fantasy teams. Pix: Fripix LobosMini-slump continues: We went an unsatisfactory 8-6 overall and a closer-to-embarrassing 4-9-1 against the spread, with nothing positive worth even mentioning. Greg's Lobos / family league: A needed win!: The original Lobos improved to 3-4 with a 134-86 triumph, led by 32 points apiece from FIU's T.Y. Hilton ans from Todd (Welcome Back) Gurley. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Upset loss ends streak: After four straight wins the Lobos fell to 4-3 with a 96.2-90.6 loss to Roy. Came down to Monday night and not quite enough from Michael Floyd. Byes really hurt us this week. Andrew Luck was our MVL with 24 points; the killer was four players scoring in single-digits.

SOPY: FSU'S COOK REMAINS IN COMMAND FOR 'STATE HEISMAN': The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- find Florida State running back Dalvin Cook still Sopyfirmly in first place through Week 7, with a narrow lead but a game in hand over the runnerup. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because they are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 9:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 8

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W7        Season

1 (1)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             138      1,290

2 (2)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         209       1,261.5

3 (4)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   267.5    1,184

4 (5)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             114       937

5 (3)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          14.5       931.5

6 (7)         Everett Golson, FSU-qb          93        863.5

7 (6)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            BYE       789

8 (9)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb       46        782

9 (8)          Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          DNP       750

10 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       BYE       617

Bubble: Thomas Owens, FIU-wr, 590. Other team leaders: FAU--Jacquez Johnson, qb, 580; UCF--Justin Holman, qb, 470. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 287 (Wk6). Note: FIU and UCF have played eight games each; all others seven.

Cote's State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (6-1); 2. Florida (6-1); 3. Miami (4-3); 4. South Florida (4-3); 5. FIU (4-4); 6. FAU (1-6); 7. UCF (0-8).

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 26, 2015

HURRICANES FIRE AL GOLDEN! Approve or not? Poll. Vote now!; plus today's new Golden-and-who's-next column by me, betting odds on new UM coach; also, Dolfan satisfaction at 96.1% & more

 GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 26: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins pound Houston and DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Latest DSM poll results: Dolphins earn a season-high 96.1 percent approval rating in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll results. See the previous blogpost for details.

My two columns on Miami football's wild weekend: Click on Firing Is Easy, Finding Who's Next Is Not for today's latest column by me, on UM's firing of Al Golden. Click on Misery, Then Magic for my previous column on the Dolphins' big win one day after the Canes loss that got Golden fired.

AlgMIAMI FIRES FOOTBALL COACH AL GOLDEN: The University of Miami early this evening fired football coach Al Golden four and a half seasons into his term, in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's 58-0 home loss to Clemson -- the most lopsided defeat in UM history. I had Tweeted on Saturday that I didn't think an already embattled coach could survive a loss as embarrassing as that, and was right. I am a bit surprised by the immediacy, though. I'd have bet Golden  might last the season and then be replaced. Assistant coach Larry Scott is the new interim coach for the balance of this season. Interesting (and telling) that neither coordinator was promoted. Athletic director Blake James praised Golden for leading the program "through some very difficult times" and for doing so "with class and integrity." James seemed to allude to a torrent of negative reaction from ex-Canes toward Golden  in saying, "Now is the time to bring the Hurricane Family together." Golden was 32-25 but with a  bad track record vs. top-tier teams. Golden thanks UM for his "tremendous opportunity," adding, "Though this moment is difficult, we wish the Canes the best of luck going forward."

BUTCH DAVIS BETTING FAVORITE TO REPLACE GOLDEN: Via Bovada, just now: Butch Davis is the betting fave to be UM's next coach at 7-4 odds, followed by Mario Cristobal 7-2, Rob Chudzinski 5-1, Justin Fuente 11-2, Doc Holliday 8-1, Greg Schiano 8-1, Tom Herman 9-1, Frank Wilson 9-1 and Tommy Tuberville 10-1. My reaction? Davis is the betting pick because initially because he's the fan favorite. I'm much less sure that he'll be UM's first choice. 

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 25, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 96.1% (season high); plus Fins hammer Houston 44-26 as Tannehill shines; plus new Hot Button Top 10 & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25: Click on Week 7 Gems for all our latest NFL predictions. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes-Clemson and CSM poll & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My new column: On the day a 58-0 Canes loss costs Al Golden his job, the Dolphins continue their revival under Dan Campbell. Click Misery, Then Magic for my new column on Miami's wild football weekend.

Postgame polls: See the previous blogpost for results of the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 96.1%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-high 96.1 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 44-26 victory over the visiting Houston Texans putting Miami's season 1aadsmrecord at 3-3. 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 5 p.m. today/Monday.

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)

Next poll: Oct. 29 (following game at New England)

G6: HOUSTON @ DOLPHINS: THE LEGEND OF DAN CAMPBELL GROWS!: Final. postgame thoughts: The 44-26 score makes the game seem a bunch closer than it really was. Miami led 41-0 and coasted, playing many reserves. Tannehill start 18-for-18 giving him 25 straight completions dating to last week and setting an NFL record. Lamar Miller was great, too. So was the starting defense, including two sacks from Ndamukong Suh. I'll have a column off the game. Look for it online by early evening. ..... Fourth Q: Houston within 44-26 with 4 minutes left. Unfortunate: Texans RB Arian Foster just left field injured. Has the look of an Achilles. Update: Achilles now confirmed. Foster done for year. ... Miami 44-20 on a field goal. ... Texans now within 41-20 with 11:27 to play. Still no worries, but one more Houston TD might make the balance of this game more anxious than it needed to be. ... Lots of defensive reserves now playing for Miami. One of them, Michael Thomas, had an INT negated by a penalty. ..... Third Q: Texans within 41-13 on Arian Foster's second TD. ... HOU scores! It's now 41-6 (after a missed extra point) on a 7-yard TD pass spoiling Miami's shutout. ... Miami is two touchdowns shy of breaking the franchise record for most points in a game: 55, set in 1977. ..... Halftime: Perfect half. Tannehill 12-for-12 for 231 yards and four TDs -- three of them over 50 yards. Lamar Miller 175 yards rushing. Defense with four sacks -- two by Ndamukong Suh -- and limiting Houston to 65 total net yards on offense. Wow. Just wow. ..... Second Q: It's 41-0 on Lamar Miller's 85-yard scoring run giving him 175 yards on the day. Mixed extra point first thing that's gone wrong for Miami all day! ... Tannehill first NFL QB in 15 years to throw three TD passes of 50-plus yards in a game. And it's mid-second quarter. ... Fins now 35-0 after Reshad Jones, 23-yard interception-return TD. This is just unbelievable. What must Joe Philbin be thinking right now? ..... Lamar Miller 54-yard catch and run for a 28-0 MIA lead. This is almost surreal. Tanny has three TDs of 50-plus yards. Crazy game, polar opposite of Canes yesterday on the same field. ..... First Q: Well, that was as close to a perfect first quarter as we have seen in a long, long time. ... Are we dreaming? MIA now 21-0 on Landry 10-yard TD catch. Tanny 7-for-7 for 137 yards, 3 TDs. ... Hard rain has begun. ... Miami 14-0. Jarvis Landry makes at least six Texans miss him on an electric 50-yard run with a short pass. ... Big crowd and really into it. Fans are buying into the "new" Fins that Dan Campbell seems to have created. ... Miami 7-0 as Ryan Tannehill to Rishard Matthews 53-yard scoring pass caps 88-yard drive. Impressive. ..... Original post: Warning: Difficult Game Ahead. Houston is better than Tennessee. Forget records. The Texans have more players who are a Houmiachallenge to defend. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins is a fantasy monster who could be a handful for Brent Grimes. Arian Foster is becoming himself again. Brian Hoyer’s passer rating the past three games is 113.6. Oh, almost forgot: I hear that J.J. Watt guy is pretty good, too. Toss in Houston’s 7-0 all-time record vs. Miami and Ryan Tannehill’s 3-10 career mark against the spread as a home favorite of three-plus points and Dolfans face all the ingredients of an anxious afternoon. Manly Dan Campbell is trying to do what only four of 25 interim coaches have done since 2000: win their first two games. And he’d better. After this game Miami faces three consecutive tough road games -- starting with New England in a quick turnaround four days later, on Thursday night. Clearly, then, home vs. the Texans is a game you circle as a win if you are optimistically plotting how the 2-3 Fins might still make the playoffs. This will be the team’s first time back at Dolphins stadium in 28 days, and it absolutely needs to be the season’s first home victory as well. I think it will be — but barely. My pick: Dolphins, 23-20.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCT. 25): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami opens 28th NBA season Wednesday night: Heat hosts Charlotte Hornets Wednesday for their 28th Opening Night, after a preseason in which Miami's starting five barely were on the court together all at once. Theme as the real games begin: Ready or not...

2. DOLPHINS: Fins host Texans, then visit Patriots Thursday: Will the legend of interim coach Dan Campbell grow with a second straight victory Sunday? It had better because three straight tough road games follow starting Thursday night against Tom Brady and nemesis New England.

3. HURRICANES: Humiliating loss to Clemson dooms Golcden: The Hurricanes were crushed 58-0 at home Saturday by No. 6 Clemson, the worst loss by point differential in UM history. It was a noon start but the field was cloaked in shadows. It wasn't a cloud cover. It was the hundreds of small planes overhead pulling anti-Al Golden banners.

4. BASEBALL: Mets deny Cubs; World Series on deck: World Series Game 1 is Tuesday night, with NL champion New York Mets visiting AL survivor Kansas City. The Mets denied Chicago a shot at its first championship since 1908. There is a God. It's just that He doesn't like Cubs fans, apparently.

5. PANTHERS: Cats cool off after fast start: Despite Jaromir Jagr's six goals in the first eight games Florida had lost three in a row before winning Saturday' in Dallas. Beleaguered Cats fans weren't saying "Here we go again" quite yet. But they were clearing their throats.

6. MARLINS: Mattingly on radar as Fish's next manager: Miami had a new managerial frontrunner when Don Mattingly and the Dodgers parted ways this week after five seasons. But is it a fit? Mattingly would be going from baseball's biggest-spending team to one of its cheapest. Talk about turbulence.

7. RICK PITINO: Louisville embroiled in stripper scandal: Coach Rick Pitino claims no knowledge, but a woman wrote a book claiming she and her two daughters were paid to have sex with Louisville basketball players and recruits. Guessing she's ruined her shot at that Mother of the Year award.

8. NASCAR: Field pares to eight on Sunday: The Chase for the Cup field narrows from 12 drivers to eight Sunday at Talladega, heading to the season finale Nov. 22 at Homestead. I like this new Chase format. Leave it alone, NASCAR!

9. STEPHEN ROSS: Dolphins owner founds anti-racism initiative: Stephen Ross founded RISE, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, and has enlisted stars such as Tom Brady and LeBron James to speak out against racism. Credit to Ross, despite the fact he had to go and stick his own name in the title. 

10. UM HOOPS: Canes men set season-ticket record: Coach Jim Larranaga announced the program had set a record for most season-ticket sales as the Nov. 13 season opener draws nearer. UM is 37th in preseason coaches' poll, or 12th among "others receiving votes." Hey, it's a start. 

Missing the cut: Florida State an upset loser ... Uh oh. MLB  commish Rob Manfred said baseball may play an exhibition game in Cuba as soon as 2016. I'm starting a rumor the Marlins will be involved so Miami's Cuban exile community can get started on the protests ... Lexi Thompson of Coral Springs, 20, won her sixth LPGA title. My biggest accomplishment at 20 was figuring out that if you rocked a vending machine an extra bag of chips might fall ... FIU football ... Canes open baseball practice ... Tiger Woods talks surgery and a long comeback. Wait, hasn't he been saying that for years now? ... Major League Football, a proposed new spring league, was formed. The date of its inevitable demise has not yet been set ... Is Lamar Odom out of the woods enough that I can start making fun of him? ... I'm beginning to get the feeling that someday we'll be marking the 10th anniversary of David Beckham wanting but not having an MLS team in Miami.

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 24, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 54.3%; plus UM blown out by Clemson 58-0, worst loss in program history all but dooms Golden's Canes future

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins-next-manager poll, Dolphins/NFL Week 7 picks, Bosh dethrones Wade, new Elton & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

UM-Clemson postgame thoughts below: Our postgame thoughts on today's UM debacle may be found directly below the new he new Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 54.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 54.3 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 58-0 loss to visiting Clemson putting UM's season record at 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in 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, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 9:15 a.m. today/Monday.

Interpreting the latest vote: Of course 54 percent approval after a 58-0 home loss is absurd, but it reflects the large number of Canes fans who wanted Al Golden gone and figured (accurately) that a loss such as this would do the trick.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Game 7: Voting now underway (following 58-0 loss vs. Clemson)

Next poll: Oct. 31 (following game at Duke)

G7: NO. 6 CLEMSON 58, HURRICANES 0: Final. Postgame thoughts: Coach Al Golden called this a statement game and thought his Hurricanes were ready for it. Unfortunately for Al, the statement a 58-0 loss makes might be, "Miami needs a new coach." I wrote of the Dolphins' Joe Philbin after the 41-14 loss to Buffalo in the home opener that embattled coaches don't survive losses like that one. I feel the same way about Golden now after today's debacle against Clemson. It is numerically the worst loss in program history. The previous worst was a 56-point defeat (70-14) against Texas A&M in 1944. Could the afternoon have gone any worse for Miami? Clemson had 567 yards of offense to Miami's 146. It was 42-0 by halftime. QB Brad Kaaya was knocked out of the game by a concussion. It was a plain embarrassment. Miami is 4-3 now, and 1-2 in the ACC. Nothing short of reaching the conference title game may save Golden's job. I doubt if getting to a second-tier bowl game will. This was a bad, bad day for UM football, and an even worse one for Al Golden. ..... Original post: Top-ten Clemson (6-0) is a fairly modest 7 1/2-point favorite over Miami (4-2) in Saturday's High Noon kickoff broadcasting on ABC-TV. Hope for UM is the Canes swearing they are over the post-FSU letdown that has
Clemsonmiamiseen The U go 2-6 the past two seasons after losing to its instate rival. A bigger hope for Miami is that Clemson tends to turn relatively mortal and beatable when not luxuriating in the maniacal home confines of Death Valley. This will be only the Tigers' second road game this season, and in the first they barely escaped Louisville, 20-17. Of course this factor would require UM posing a palpable home-field advantage at Dolphins stadium, which tends to be an iffy proposition. Clemson has a formidable passing game led by QB Deshaun Watson, and Brad Kaaya may be called upon to counter that. Clemson's last trip to Miami was a thriller, a 40-37 Tigers win in 2009, and another pointfest would not surprise. This would be the elusive "signature" win that embattled coach Al Golden needs. Unbeaten Clemson is dreaming of a spot in the four-team CFB playoffs (with the city of Miami hosting one of the semifinals in this same stadium on New Year's Eve). An upset would plunder Clemson's hopes, likely get UM ranked and feather Miami's dream of reaching the ACC championship game. Now all they have to do is do it. Tall task. My pick: Clemson, 31-26.

Other college Week 8 state FBS games (in chronology; all games Saturday):

No. 21 Houston 59, UCF 10: Knights now 0-8 as coach George O'Leary heads for exit.

South Florida 38, Southern Methodist 14: Bulls now 4-3 and thinking bowl.

FIU 41, Old Dominion 12: Panthers level at 4-4 after huge win sparked by QB Alex McGough's big day.

Texas-El Paso 27, FAU 17: The 1-6 Owls are seeing their season turn miserable.

Georgia Tech 22, No. 9 Florida State 16: Final-play shocker hands FSU its first defeat.

Off this week: No. 13 Florida (6-1).

Poll result: Marlins fans want Mattingly: We asked who you prefer as Marlins next manager, and 66.5 percent voted for Don Mattingly, the newly available ex-Dodgers skipper. "Someone else" not on the ballot was second with 15.3%. Of the five men to have interviewed for the job thus far, Larry Bowa led with 7.1%.

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2015

Dolphins/NFL Week 7 picks and The Interim Kings; plus as Mattingly enters fray, who would you like as Marlins' next manager? Poll. Vote now!; also Chris Bosh reigns, new Elton & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Best-Heat-player poll, MLB in Cuba, Dolphins, UM hoops hype video, SOPY standings & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

UPSET BIRD DAY / NFL WEEK 7: Had a bit of a dip last week with our picks but weathered it OK at 9-5 Fripixoverall and 6-7-1 against the spread. Our Week 7 got off to a double-barreled start last night as we rightly had Seattle both winning and covering. Click on Week 7 Gems for all of our latest picks and full prediction capsules. There's good news for FisherDolphins fans, who figure to be nervous Sunday but ultimately happy. Also click on The Interim Kings for my latest weekly Friday page NFL notes column. I set the bar for Fins interim coach Dan Campbell by listing the top 10 most successful interim coaches of the modern era (since the 1970 merger). One stands above all the rest. Do you know who he is? Your clue is pictured at left.

MarlinsPICK THE MARLINS' NEXT MANAGER AS MATTINGLY ENTERS THE FRAY: The Marlins will replace interim manager Dan Jennings for the 2016 season and five candidates already have interviewed for the job: Manny Acta, Larry Bowa, Alex Cora, Phil Nevin and Bo Porter. Late yesterday a sixth candidate emerged when the Dodgers and Don Mattingly mutually agreed to part ways. Mattingly is thought to be on Miami's radar, although the Fish might have competition for him from three (or more) other teams. It's early, but we invite you to weigh in on these six potential next managers currently at the forefront. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

Poll result: Bosh dethrones Wade as Heat's best player: We asked as the start of the NBA season nears, and you had it Chris Bosh as the Heat's best player over Dwyane Wade by 44.3 percent to 30.1%. After that it was 11.0% for Goran Dragic and 10.5% for Hassan Whiteside.

NEW ELTON SINGLE: Elton John issues his 33rd studio album in February and the first single from it, called "Looking Up," was released today. Here it is. Nice to hear an older pop star still rocking pretty good.

 

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 22, 2015

Who is Heat's best player? Easy answer or tough? Poll. Vote now!; plus MLB in Cuba?, UM hoops pump-up video, NFL Pix 'n Greg's Lobos Fantasy Week 6 results, Dolphins' latest All-50ers, updated SOPY standings & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22: I'm back up at Friday Page HQ today bringing forth this week's NFL Week 7 predictions. Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's Seahawks-49ers pick. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins rout Tennessee with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

"More 'Back to the Future' references! Please!!" --Greg Cote

MLB in Cuba?: Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred tells the The Hollywood Reporter: "We're working hard to try to get to a position where we might be able to do an exhibition game in Cuba as early as 2016 -- so next spring." Logistically it would be natural for the Miami Marlins to be one of the participating teams, although the backlash from many Cubans in Miami might give the Marlins pause.

Dolphins I: Wake wins AFC honor: Cam Wake is AFC Defensive Player of Week for his sackfest vs. Tennessee. It's third straight year he's been that, team's longest defensive streak since Jason Taylor's five in a row in 2002-06. Dolphins II: All-50 team: Club is revealing its 50 greatest players five at a time in random order and latest are DT Tim Bowens, DT Manny Fernandez, OG Larry Little, RB Mercury Morris and DE Bill Stanfill -- all expected, all deserving. Dolphins III: Our latest column: Hope grows, but belief must be earned. As schedule toughens we need to see a lot more of the Dolphins we saw last week. Click The Parade Isn't Here Yet for our latest column.

CLEAR CUT? TOUGH CALL? WHO IS THE HEAT'S BEST PLAYER?: With the Heat's season opener in six days, some see Miami as a greatly improved team capable of maybe reaching the NBA's Eastern BoshwadeConference finals to challenge presumptive power Cleveland. Others see Dragicdoubts; they see a lower-tier playoff team. The varying opinions are underlined in recent surveys. In NBA.com's annual general managers survey no Heat player received a best-in-the-league vote at any of the five positions. Complete shutout. Yet in ESPN.com's annual #NBARank, Miami is one of only five teams to place all five starters in the overall list of Top 100 players. Chris Bosh will be in the top 25 (exact slot still unknown), Goran Dragic is 38th, Dwyade Wade is 46th, Hassan Whiteside is 68th and Luol Deng is 92nd. Is Bosh now clearly the Heat's best player? Has Wade fallen to No. 3? I'm more curious what you think than what an ESPN experts panel thinks. Hence, this poll! It is alphabetical. And it is not a favorite player poll. It is asking who the team's best player is, right now, heading into this season. Vote and say why.

UM MEN'S HOOPS SETS SEASON-TICKET RECORD: Jim Larranaga's program announced it has set a UM season-ticket sales record and that fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for most games. Hurricanes begin the season in three weeks. Anticipation is high. Here's a pump-up video:

 

NFL PIX 'N GREG'S LOBOS FANTASY: WEEK 6: We update you briefly every Tuesday on how we did the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our 1lobos Fripixtwo Greg's Lobos fantasy teams. Pix: Cooling off a bit: We were due for an off-week and had one at 9-5 overall and 6-7-1 against the spread (Lions pushed). Bull's-eyed two outright upsets with wins by Dolphins and 49ers and had 'dog Browns and Panthers with points, too, but misfired badly on our Aawwk pick Monday night. Greg's Lobos / family league: Tough year continues: The original Lobos fell to 2-4 with a 112-94 loss. You're doomed when  nobody has even 20 points for you, and Odell Beckham led us with 19. Greg's Lobos / radio-show league: Hot hot hot!: The new Lobos are now 4-2 with a fourth straight win -- 151.8 to 122.7 over assistant producer Allyson. Devonta Freeman was our MVL once again with a big 35.6 points.

SOPY: FSU'S COOK CONTINUES SURGE, UM'S KAAYA NOW THIRD: The fourth season of our blog's SOPY rankings --State Offensive Player of the Year -- find Florida State running back Dalvin Cook now Sopyfirmly in first place through Week 7. The Canes' Brad Kaaya has risen to No. 3. Our weekly cumulative rankings measure the most productive QBs, running backs and receivers for the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Because they are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of season. The 2015 SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:

2015 SOPY TOP 10 / WEEK 7

Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                W7        Season

1 (2)          Dalvin Cook, FSU-rb             235      1,152

2 (1)          Alex McGough, FIU-qb         132       1,052.5

3 (4)          Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb          151       917

4 (5)          Quinton Flowers, SoFla-qb   194.5    916.5

5 (6)         Alex Gardner, FIU-rb             125       823

6 (3)         Will Grier, Florida-qb            DNP       789

7 (9)         Everett Golson, FSU-qb         176       770.5

8 (7)          Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb          117       750

9 (8)          Joseph Yearby, Miami-rb      117        736

10 (10)       Kelvin Taylor, Florida-rb       47        617

Bubble: Thomas Owens, FIU-wr, 553. Other team leaders: Greg Howell, FAU-rb, 492; Justin Holman, UCF-qb, 356.5. Season's best week: Cook, FSU-rb, 287 (Wk6). Note: Florida, FIU and UCF have played seven games each; all others six.

Cote's State of the State ranking: 1. Florida State (6-0); 2. Florida (6-1); 3. Miami (4-2); 4. South Florida (3-3); 5. FIU (3-4); 6. FAU (1-5); 7. UCF (0-7).

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 20, 2015

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 92.0% (season high); plus Fins rout Titans 38-10 in Campbell debut; also the latest Hot Button Top 10 & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 19: Click on Week 6 Gems for our Dolphins-Titans prediction and all our NFL picks for the week. 2) IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): UM-Virginia Tech and CSM poll, other state Collball, Tannehill/Spurrier poll results & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

Latest CSM results: Find the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll results -- a season high! -- in the previous blogpost. Click on A Most Necessary Win for my column off UM's 30-20 victory over Va-Tech.  

Find our Dolphins-Titans live in-game blog directly below the new DSM poll.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 92.0%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 92.0 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very" and "somewhat" 1dsmsatisfied votes) in the wake of Sunday's 38-10 victory at Tennessee putting Miami's season record at 2-3. 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 morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

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)

Next poll: Oct. 25 (following game vs. Houston)

G5: DOLPHINS @ TENNESSEE: NEW INTERIM COACH. NEW DEFENSIVE CHIEF. NEW ATTITUDE. NEW FINS? YES: Final: What's to love about today's 38-10 Dolphins win? Everything. Game balls to interim coach Dan Campbell in his debut, to Lamar Miller with 113 yards rushing, and to Cam Wake with four sacks. Miami had offensive balance and defensive ferocity causing four Titans turnovers. It was a front to back, end to end triumph. It was the game Dolfans dream about, and seldom see. What a terrific start for Campbell, who earned a Gatorade bath and surely will get a game ball. Our 5 Keys (see below) all came true ..... Fourth Q: Tanny to Jordan Cameron TD pass makes it 38-10. ... Tannehill short TD pass to Dion Sims makes it 31-10, Miami. A 97-yard drive, with 5-for-5 in it for 89 yards. Dolphins. Impressive. All day. ... Grimes interception near Miami goalline is huge! Fourth takeaway by Fins defense. ... Titans defense picking up its game, crowd back in it, game not in the books yet. ..... Third Q: TEN within 24-10 in last seconds of quarter on Mariota's 3-yard TD flip to Dexter McCluster. ... Ouch. Illegal block by Miami wipes out around a 50-yard punt return by Landry. ... Boom! And suddenly it's 24-3, safe and comfy, on Reshad Jones' 27-yard interception-return TD. ... NFL's weird. Tough to win. Miami dominating, but Titans one score from making it a nervous lead. ... Titans punt. Tennessee fans booing. Music to a Dolfan's ears. ..... What a Halftime: What a half for Miami! Balance: 17 runs for 132 yards (99 by Miller) and 15 passes for 149 yards. And five sacks by the defense, four by Cam Wake. Look at my 5 Keys below. I have seen four of them happen (and Tanny hasn't been that bad despite two picks, one not his fault). ..... Second Q: Tannehill intercepted just before half with Miami in FG range. ... MIA 17-3 on Lamar Miller's 7-yard scoring run. He already has 91 yards rushing. ... Wake strips ball free, Brent Grimes recovers. Big takeaway that led to TD! ... Tannehill intercepted on tipped pass. Threw into decent coverage, but ball was off Jordan Cameron's hands and perhaps catchable. ... Dan Campbell wins coaching challenge, denies Titans FG attempt and becomes Dolphins fumble recovery. Dan the Man! ... Olivier Vernon will be fined for that low hit on Marcus Mariota. ... A sack by Miami's defense. What!? Cam Wake! Wow. Miracle game! ..... First Q: Miami had 158 yards of offense in first Q. That'll work. ... Fins 10-3 in closing seconds of quarter on 30-yard FG. ... Love the early variety. An end-around TD, now a designed Tannehill run. ... Tennessee within 7-3 on 37-yard opening FG. ... Miami up 7-0 fast on Jarvis Landry's 22-yard run. Very impressive, balanced, 75-yard opening drive. All coaching! ..... Dan Campbell Era underway! Original post: A fiery new interim head coach in Dan Campbell (pictured), a change in defensive coordinators, the claim of a new attitude and spirit. How will it all translate? It needs to translate into an immediate victory Sunday Doltitans Dancampbellafternoon for 1-3 Miami in a winnable road game at 1-3 Tennessee. A victory would rekindle playoff hopes; a loss would all but snuff those out. Here are five things I'll be looking for today: 1. Attitude. I want to see fire, enthusiasm and aggressiveness that noticeably marks a palpable change from the Philbin Era. 2. Fast start. An early lead would be a pleasant change and a huge lift. 3. Commitment to the run. Better offensive balance is a must. Fifteen or even 20 carries for Lamar Miller would be a good sign. 4. Sacks. Will the sack drought finally end? It is time for Ndamukong Suh to start creating the "havoc" he spoke of this week. It's flatly embarrassing that Miami has one sack all season and the next fewest of any team is six. If it takes blitzing, then blitz. And 5. Ryan Tannehill. He needs the kind of in-charge, faith-restoring game that will quell his reanimated doubters -- but no more than the Dolphins need that from him. My pick: Dolphins, 23-20.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCT. 18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. Click on Hot Button for today's print-only Top 5 version:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: New coach. New culture. New results? Yes!: Miami played at Tennessee today in its first game since interim coach Dan Campbell replaced fired Joe Philbin. Campbell has tried to light a fire and change the culture. Must have worked, based on today's 38-10 rout. Coach of the Week!

2. HURRICANES: UM tops Virginia Tech in big conference game: With last week's loss at Florida State and No. 5 Clemson visiting next week, Canes needed to beat Virginia Tech here Saturday to realistically stay alive for an ACC division title, and did, 30-20. Winning the Coastal Division is pretty much Al Golden's get-out-jail-free card in terms of keeping his job.

3. BASEBALL: Impartiality is overrated. "Let's go Cubs!": Cubs vs. Mets and Blue Jays vs. Royals gives us NL and AL league championship series in which the four finalists have not won a World Series in a combined 188 years. But one team accounts for 107 of those years. We all know whose fans lead the league, and the world, in drought. So (despite losing Game 1 last night), "Let's go Cubs!" 

4. PANTHERS: Ageless Jagr sparks Cats' rare fast start: Florida was 3-1 before Saturday's loss to Dallas here, led by Jaromir Jagr's four goals. It was only the third time since 1999 and the first time since 2011 that the Cats opened an NHL season with three wins in the first four games. Can we start the playoffs now, please?

5. HEAT: Good news, bad news 10 days from season opener: The bad news as the NBA preseason continues and Hassan Whiteside is finally playing? Dwyane Wade is slotted only 46th, down 10 spots and a career low, in ESPN's latest annual NBA Rank, below both Chris Bosh and Goran Dragic. The good news? If Dwyane Wade is your third-best player, your team might be really good.

6. GATORS: UF falls in Top 10 duel of unbeatens at LSU: Gators started QB Treon Harris for suspended Will Grier last night but the bigger story was Florida's very good defense failing, 35-28, against LSU super-back Leonard Fournette and that big Tigers attack.

7. STEVE SPURRIER: The Old Ball Coach abruptly quits: He left South Carolina suddenly, at mid-season, walking away. Spurrier had a great, storied career. The story had a pretty bad ending, though.

8. LAMAR ODOM: Former NBA star recovering from scare: Odom reportedly is out of a coma and breathing on his own after being hospitalized following a night of partying at a brothel. We wish him a full recovery, partly so we can make fun of the brothel part without it seeming unseemly.

9. FIU: Panthers take a hit on the road: FIU fell to 3-4, losing a road shootout at Middle Tennessee.

10. WNBA: Minnesota Lynx win again: The Lynx won their third WNBA title in the past five years. Far more interesting: The women celebrated with victory cigars and a private three-hour concert by reclusive Minnesota pop star Prince.

Missing the cut: NASCAR Chase winnows down ... DraftKings and FanDuel's legal battles ... Serena Williams loses a match, which by itself is newsworthy ... Fort Lauderdale Strikers wrap up home season. ... Still wondering about U.S. men's soccer after last week's 3-2 loss to Mexico. Are we sold on Jurgen Klinsmann as the coach? Does the question itself not hint at the answer?

Revisit the blog a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest posts...

Twitter @gregcote

October 19, 2015

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 89.1% (season high); plus UM bops Va-Tech 30-20 behind Kaaya, defense; also Gators lose, Noles win, FIU falls, verdicts on Tannehill/Spurrier & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17: IThe Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Faith-in-Ryan Tannehill poll, Stephen Ross' anti-racism initiative, NFL Week 6 picks, Spurrier-quitting poll & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and Periscope.

My column off the UM-VT game: Click on A Most Necessary Win for my column on the Hurricanes -- and Al Golden -- beat Virginia Tech last night. And find our live in-game post directly beneath the new CSM poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 89.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 89.1 percent overall satisfaction (a combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday's 30-20 victory over visiting Virginia Tech putting UM's season 1aacsmrecord at 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. That's a season high. The CSM, in its seventh season, is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in 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, this season as a whole, program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:15 a.m. today/Monday.

2015 CSM Results

Game 1: 62.3% (following 45-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman)

Game 2: 34.2% (following 44-20 victory at Florida Atlantic)

Game 3: 35.9% (following 36-33 OT victory vs. Nebraska)

Game 4: 4.6% (following 34-23 loss at Cincinnati)

Game 5: 59.6% (following 29-24 loss at Florida State)

Game 6: 89.1% (following 30-20 victory vs. Virginia Tech)

Next poll: Oct. 24 (following game vs. Clemson)

G6: HURRICANES 30, VIRGINIA TECH 20: A STEP CLOSER TO SAVING A SEASON, AND A COACH: Final report: It was not an altogether impressive home win over a mediocre Virginia Tech but it was what it needed to be for Miami: A conference victory that keeps alive UM's hope of somehow working itself into the ACC championship game and saving Al Golden's job. The 30-20 win makes Miami 4-2 and 1-1 in conference play, led today by Brad Kaaya's 296 yards passing and four defensive takeaways. ..... Fourth Q: Artie Burns with his second INT of the game for Miami's fourth defensive takeaway. ... Miami with a comfy 30-20 lead now with 2:44 left after Kaaya's 2-yard TD pass to Rashawn Scott. ... Tech pulls within 23-20 with 7:20 to play. Uh oh. Miami gives up 33-yard TD pass to Isaiah Ford. ... Defense is winning the game to this point. Three takeaways by Canes, two of which have led directly to 10 points. ..... Third Q: UM now up 23-13 with 21-yard FG in final minute of quarter but its a letdown. Canes had 1st-and-goal at 2 and somehow couldn't push it in. A false start penalty really hurt. ... Big interception by Juwon Young is UM's third takeaway and sets up Canes deep in Tech territory. ... Artie Burns with a big INT for UM defense after Tech had driven to Canes 30. Artie Burns sounds like the name of a Borscht Belt comedian from the '50s. ... A needed win here for the taking. Two quarters to go get it. ..... Halftime report: A 20-13 lead at home against a mediocre opponent is OK but not great. It took a 79-yard drive in 54 seconds to end the half with a go-ahead TD to make it OK. Prior to that, Miami's only touchdown had been set up by a defensive takeaway at the VT 3. UM in the second half must show that same offensive spark it showed on that last drive. ..... Second Q: UM up 20-13 on 7-yard Kaaya pass to Rashawn Scott four seconds before halftime. A 45-yard pass to Herb Waters made it happen. ... Tech knots it again at 13-13 on 38-yard FG with about a minute left in half after defense toughens in time. ... Canes turn it over on downs with incomplete pass from VT 33. ... UM back up 13-10 on career-long 49-yard FG by Michael Badgley. ..... First Q: VT equalizes 10-10 as quarter ends with 9-yard pitch-pass finishing 75-yard drive. Canes defense shabby on that series. ... UM 10-3. Miami settles for 24-yard FG after offensive pass interference against UM's Christopher Herndon negates 14-yard Kaaya TD pass to Mark Walton. Canes now 14 TDs in 30 red-zone trips, not a good percentage. Must finish. ... VT within 7-3 on 30-yard FG. Not a bad result for Canes considering it was 1st-and-10 from UM 13. ... UM 7-0 on Joe Yearby 3-yard run after Trent Harris fumble recovery for Canes at the Va-Tech 3. Miami now an ACC-leading plus-10 on turnovers this season ... Must win. Gotta have it. Period. ..... Pregame: It's a flyover frenzy! Two small planes pulling the usual anti-Al Golden banners have been countered by two other planes pulling pro-Golden banners. Banner of the day based on originality: "Al's only signature win is his contract." ..... Original post: Head coaches are paid to have their team well-prepared for a game. That means X's and O's stuff tailored to the particular opponent, but it also means having your team mentally prepared for the situation they're in. CanesvatechThis is Al Golden's challenge as his 3-2 Hurricanes host 3-3 Virginia Tech at 3:30 p.m Saturday with UM a 4-point favorite. See, this is a "sandwich" game for Miami, one it might be easy to be distracted from or look past. Va-Tech comes right after last week's big, emotional loss at No. 11 Florida State, the game the Canes had circled in red, and just before next week's big home game vs. No. 5 Clemson. To beat the Hokies, a worthy if not special opponent, Golden must see that his Canes marshal their focus, which means leaving the FSU disappointment behind and not glancing ahead to Clemson. UM, plainly, is not good enough to look ahead and beat Virginia Tech on auto-pilot. Golden must instill in his team that the ACC Coastal Division title is still very much in play but that no more losing winnable games can happen. Losing at Cincinnati was one of those bad losses. A home loss to Va-Tech would be another one, and better not be. Miami is 2-6 the past two seasons following a loss to FSU. The same post-Noles letdown cannot happen again. The 2015 UM season has become about showing fight, finishing strong and saving Golden's job in the process. But can they do it? My pick: Hurricanes, 27-20.

Other college Week 7 state FBS games (in chronology; all games Saturday):

South Florida 28, Connecticut 20: Nice lil' road upset levels Bulls at 3-3.

Marshall 33, FAU 17: Owls fall to 1-5 with home defeat.

Middle Tennessee 42, FIU 34: Panthers 3-4 after shootout road loss.

No. 11 Florida State 41, Louisville 21: Convincingly routine win for now 6-0 Noles. Dalvin Cook with 163 yards rushing, ho hum.

No. 6 LSU 35, No. 8 Florida 28: Gators started QB Treon Harris for suspended Will Grier but dropoff was minimal, if any, in this battle of unbeatens. Bigger key in game was UF's very good defense not looking it against LSU super-back Leonard Fournette and that big offense.

Temple 30, UCF 16: Temple stays unbeaten, drops Knights to an abysmal 0-7.

Poll result: Faith in Tannehill is shaky and wavering: We asked your degree of faith in Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill, and only 12.3 percent answered "strong." Then it was 29.3% "medium," 32.1% "wavering" and 26.3% "weak." Clearly, Tannehill must rebuild the faltering trust that he's the right guy.

Poll result: Mixed verdict on Spurrier abruptly quitting: We asked if you thought less of Steve Spurrier because he abruptly quit as South Carolina's coach this week, and a plurality of 48.1 percent said no. But another 29.6% said yes, and 22.3% answered "maybe a little."

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