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15 posts from October 2017

October 30, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 64.3%. CSM approval shows sizable dip after escape from Chapel Hill; plus our Sunday Canes column, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), UM survives North Carolina to stay unbeaten, other state Collball Week 9 & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 30. Thanks to Paul Castronovo for having us on his Big 105.9 radio show this morning. Always enjoy it. 2) See previous blogpost for our latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter rating. Warning. It ain't pretty. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite Thursday night? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins embarrassed in Baltimore with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 picks, The List (Fins on Thursdays), ode to Fats Domino & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Canes our great hope at 7-0: Click Along For the Ride On the Road to 'Back' for our latest Sunday column. And by the way, if you aren't satisfied with 7-0, you may be trying a bit to hard not to be. Just sayin'.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: No. 8 Miami clicks Heels, moves to 7-0: UM on Saturday won 24-19 at North Carolina in what also was a (nervous) victory over the losing focus and looking ahead, with home games next vs. ranked Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. Must have been those equine blinders Mark Richt had fitted onto UM helmets Saturday. Oh, and by the way: Read somebody said UM's 7-0 feels like a "fraud." People, if you can't be happy with 7-0, perhaps you are trying a bit too hard not to be. 

2. DOLPHINS: Embarrassed Fins fall hard off national stage: Dolphins' game in Baltimore Thursday was first of three straight in prime time, a franchise first, the 40-0 humiliation an embarrassing pratfall off that national stage. As for Matt Moore's performance? Let's just say Jay Cutler has never, ever looked better.

3. HEAT: Early injuries hampering team out the gate: Miami's 2-3 start after Saturday's home loss to Boston has been marked by early injuries to key players, notably to Hassan Whiteside. Any team's fortunes rely on the crapshoot of good health. But is it too much to ask that your team at least stay injury-free for, like, the first week!? 

4. BASEBALL: Wild World Series about to end somebody's long suffering: As the World Series moves west to L.A. with Houston up 3-2, the Dodgers are seeking their first WS championship since 1988 while the Astros are after their first ever. No matter who wins, celebrating fans may need a quick lesson in how to throw a parade.

5. UM BASKETBALL: Cloud over Larranaga as season nears: The season opener for Canes men's hoops is only 12 days away, and UM is supposed to be really good. But – with coach Jim Larranaga professing innocence but admitting he is the unnamed Miami coach in that FBI recruiting probe – a major distraction welcomes the season.

6. PANTHERS: Typical mediocre start for high-hope Cats: A new coach, Dale Tallon back in charge, new hope, but it's a 4-6 start after' Saturday's home loss to Detroit, already well off playoff pace. They're in midst of five-game homestand, needing a spark. A reason for rekindled hope.

7. NFL: Turmoil continues to rock King Sport: Texans players are planning a pregame protest today over "inmates running the prison" comment by their team owner. No-win debate over national anthem protests continues. Now 17 owners on a conference call reportedly are plotting to oust commissioner Roger Goodell. Oh, and ratings are down!

8. HALL OF FAME: Riley, LeBatard among Miami inductees: Heat boss Pat Riley and Miami-based ESPN Radio lord Dan LeBatard were among latest inductees into Miami Chamber of Commerce Hall of Champions. Imagine LeBatard make the Hall of Fame despite all those years of steroid use!

9. MARLINS: Jeter, "Mr. Marlin" officially part ways: New boss Derek Jeter and Jeff Conine could not agree on Conine's role or salary, so he's out. So the Marlins dumped Mr. Marlin. Tony Perez and Andre Dawson are out for same reasons. How Loria-esque!

10. NASCAR: One race left before Homestead finale: Next Sunday in Phoenix is the final race before NASCAR's Nov. 19 grand finale down at Homestead. No Dale Jr. in the finals, though. Cinderella failed us.

Missing the HB10 cut: Aston Martin is selling a Tom Brady-edition automobile for $360,000. It is preprogrammed to drive straight to the Super Bowl ..... The Yankees parted ways with manager Joe Girardi after 10 seasons. See. I told ya it wouldn't last! ..... Florida Gators reportedly have ousted coach Jim McElwain, with ex-Canes coach Randy Shannon taking over on interim basis. There's a naked-man-lying-on-a-shark-in-a-boat joke there somewhere ..... It was reported Alabama's Nick Saban is America's highest-paid college football coach at $11.132 million. How much the guy gotta make to smile once in awhile!? ..... Astros' Yuri Gurriel disciplined for a racist slant-eye gesture aimed at Dodgers' Yu Darvish. Ah, sportsmanship! ..... Dolphins cheerleaders held annual Swimsuit Fashion Show. Instead of a calendar, troupe produced a 100-page coffee table book. Sounds like good bathroom "reading" material for Dad!

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 64.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 64.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 24-19 victory at North Carolina putting No. 8 UM's season record at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the ACC. That's a sharp drop to a season low after a fourth straight narrow win. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.
 
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
G7: 64.3% following 24-19 victory at North Carolina
Next poll: Nov. 4 following game vs. Virginia Tech 

NO. 8 HURRICANES 24, @NORTH CAROLINA 19: FOURTH STRAIGHT TIGHT GAME, BUT UM STAY UNBEATEN: Miami has won its past four games by a combined 18 points after today's 24-19 escape at North Carolina, but, when last I checked the math, 7-0 was 7-0 ..... Original post: This high-noon ACC Coastal kickoff in Chapel Hill figures as a rout, maybe even an ugly one. Miami is 6-0, 4-0 in the ACC and beginning to think it has a shot at working up into conversation for the four-team College Football Playoff. North MiauncCarolina is 1-7, 0-5 in the conference and, thanks largely to decimating injuries, every bit as bad, all over the field, as those records suggest. In some ways it's surprising Miami is "only" a 20 1/2-point favorite. And yet the seeming lopsidedness here is about all that should worry UM coach Mark Richt. With consecutive home games vs. ranked opponents Virginia Tech and Notre Dame following this, taking the Tar Heels too casually and mentally looking past them is about the only factor that could imperil the Canes here. Richt has been very good at marshaling his team's focus, though, and he has a little help. UNC has beaten Miami two in a row, and some Canes felt "disrespected" by the Heels' celebrating last year after a 20-13 win in Miami. That suggests the Hurricanes might just be in payback mode. A comfy win would be especially welcome following the past three games won by a combined total of just 13 points. "We're not foolish enough to think that we've arrived yet," Richt said of his team. "I don't think they believe that. They know we have to earn it." My pick: Hurricanes, 45-13

Other state FBS Week 9 games (chronologically, all Saturday unless noted):

Boston College 35, Florida State 3: It's time to say it. FSU is not "off to a slow start." FSU is not "struggling." FSU is a really bad team this season, and seemingly getting worse. This Friday night road loss puts Noles at 2-5, with even a minor bowl game looking more and more doubtful.

FIU 41, Marshall 30: Butch Davis' Panthers were 17-point road underdogs but started fast and held on for a huge win for the program in improving to 5-2. Cats stay in hunt for Conference USA title, and what a coaching rebirth so far for Butch!

No. 3 Georgia 42, Florida 7: Gators had won 21 of previous 26 meetings, but that meant zero in Jacksonville at this year's "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." Bulldogs were angling to get into SEC title game and CFP playoff, were 14-point favorites and had their way to drop Florida to 3-4.

Houston 28, No. 17 South Florida 24: Upset! Oh my. Percolating Bulls were 11-point home favorites but suffered first loss, are now 7-1 and could fall from polls or close to it.

FAU 42, Western Kentucky 28: Lane Kiffin's Owls took care of business with a tidy road win to improve to 5-3 and stay in hunt for C-USA title.

No. 18 UCF 73, Austin Peay 33: Hope you had the 'over.' Knights now 7-0 after rolling over and through their Ohio Valley Conference foe. 

National Collball Week 9 overview: Four big Top 25 Saturday matchups led by the one with direct College Football Playoff ramifications or both teams: No. 6 Ohio State rallying at home to beat No. 2 Penn State, 39-38. Others: 11-Oklahoma State beat 22-West Virginia 50-39; 25-Iowa State upset 4-TCU, 14-7; and 9-Notre Dame handled 14-North Carolina State, 35-14. 

THE LIST: STATE-COLLEGE FOOTBALL SALARIES: Income this season for the state of Florida's seven FBS-level head coaches, based on USA Today's annual database:

Coach, School                                2017 income

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State             $5.700 million

Jim McElwain, Florida                    $4.457

*-Mark Richt, Miami                        $4.000

Scott Frost, UCF                            $2.000

Charlie Strong, South Florida          $1.000

Lane Kiffin, FAU                             $950,000

Butch Davis, FIU                            $900,000

*-Richt salary is based on published reports. He was not included in USA Today database because UM is a private school.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Debacle (quick hits 40-0 loss in Baltimore). Time Is Right For Dolphins To Prove Doubters Wrong (on three straight prime-time games). The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Also: Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season. It Isn't Just Cutler. Back On Track & Ready To Roar. Jeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

October 28, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.1%. Huge 80-point drop following Fins' embarrassing 40-0 loss in Baltimore; plus our postgame observations, NFL Week 8 picks, The List (Fins on Thursdays), ode to Fats Domino & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27. Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite last night? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, SOPY standings & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

NEW: QUICK-HIT OBSERVATIONS ON DOLPHINS' 40-0 THURSDAY LOSS: Click Dolphins Debacle. Fins last night in Baltimore embarked upon three consecutive prime-time games -- a franchise first. With the nation watching, this is Miami's chance to get the elusive credit and respect it thinks it is due, with a 4-3 record even after last night's collapse. The national stage is yours, Miami. Last night they fell from it. For the challenge moving forward, click Time Is Right For Dolphins To Prove Doubters Wrong.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 6.1%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 6.1 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday Dsmnight's 40-0 Dolphins loss at the Baltimore Ravens putting Miami's season record at 4-3. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its 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 8:30 a.m Saturday.
 
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)
G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)
G7: 6.1% (following 40-0 loss at Baltimore)
Next poll: Nov. 5 (following game vs. Oakland)

UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 8 PICKS: HOPING OUR FINS-RAVENS FORECAST WAS NO HARBINGER...: I predicted Miami would win in Baltimore Fripixlast night, 20-16, in a small upset. The Dolphins lost, 40-0. Oops! Nobody has been this wrong since New Coke, or that time I predicted the Internet would never catch on. This is what I get for having faith (even a little) in the Dolphins. But, we carry on! Click Week 8 Gems for our predix capsules on our Game of the Week (Broncos-Chiefs), Upset of the Week (Steelers-Lions: "Aawwk!") and the rest. It can only go up from here. By the way, if you wondered, 40-0 was the fifth-worst loss numerically in franchise history. Biggest margin of defeat remains the 62-7 playoff loss at Jacksonville to end 1999 season. This was Miami's worst shutout loss since 41-0 at Indianapolis in '97.

G7: DOLPHINS AT BALTIMORE: START OF PRIME-TIME TRIFECTA (WAS) A HUGE CHANCE FOR MIAMI: Original post: The 4-2 Dolphins are 3-point underdogs at the 3-4 Ravens for Thursday Night Football tonight starting at 8:25 on CBS and NFL Network, where you'll be watching if you wish to avoid Tony Romo incessantly predicting what Miabalthe next play will be. King Sport Week 8 kicks off with a matchup that should satisfy those in the mood for a low-scoring game between two lurching offenses and two teams trying to prove they’re playoff-caliber against prevailing doubts about that. The week also kicks off with an upset, it says here. “AAAWWWK!” Baltimore is favored less for the home field than for the recent series trend, with Ravens a nemesis that has beaten Miami in six of past seven meetings dating to 2008. Baltimore is not favored on merit, or shouldn't be. The fact they’re favored at all verifies my latest column’s point that Nobody Believes In The Dolphins. This first of three straight prime-time games for Miami -- a franchise first -- offers a unique chance for the Dolphins to go get (earn) the national credit and respect they believe is due. The sinking Crows are on a 1-4 skid because Joe Flacco has been close to awful and because a once-vaunted defense is dead-last in the NFL in stopping the run. And now the Crabcakers are beat up with injuries on both their offensive line and receivers corps. Contrarily, Miami has won three straight and brings a solid defense that should continue Flacco’s woes. And if Jay Ajayi isn’t the league’s No. 1 fantasy running back this week, he’s close. BAL coach John Harbaugh called Matt Moore a “great quarterback” to reporters on a conference call this week, presumably to muffled laughter. Moore isn’t great, of course. But he’s good enough. And probably better than Flacco right now. Meanwhile Romo will be up in the CBS booth predicting every play. Wish he’d been available this week to tell me who’s going to win, but I’m on my own there. Does this pick mean I’m totally sold on the Dolphins as a good team? No. Not as much as it means I think the Ravens are not right now. My pick: Upset! Dolphins, 20-16.

THE LIST: DOLPHINS' THURSDAY NIGHT HISTORY: Last night marked only Miami's 12th all-time game on a Thursday night. Dolphins are now 6-6 overall, 5-2 at home and 1-4 away. The chronology:

Year    Opponent            Result

1979    vs. Patriots         W 39-24

1980    vs. Chargers       L 27-24 (OT)

1981    vs. Steelers        W 30-10

1990    vs. Patriots         W17-10

2006    @ Steelers          L 28-17

2009    @ Panthers         W 24-17

2010    vs. Bears            L 16-0

2012    @ Bills                L 19-14

2013    vs. Bengals         W22-20 (OT)

2014    vs. Bills               W 22-9

2015    @ Patriots           L 36-7

2017    @ Ravens            L 40-0 

ODE TO FATS DOMINO, 1928-2017: New Orleans legend Antoine (Fats) Domino died yesterday at 89. He put 35 records in the Billboard Top 40 including the classics Blueberry Hill and Ain't That a Shame. Domino also has a place as one of the originators of modern rock 'n roll. In fact the song below, The Fat Man, from 1949, is credited by some as the first rock n roll record. The song was adapted from Champion Jack Dupree's blues song, Junker Blues, recorded in 1940, but Fats made it his own, and it launched a career that would see him a major player in pop and R&B music in the 1950s and into the early '60s. R.I.P., Fats. Your music lives on...

Select other recent columns: The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

October 25, 2017

See where Dolphins' Matt Moore debuts in latest Herald NFL QB rankings; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 7 results (Lobos win again!), latest SOPY standings show Canes' Rosier in 3-way fight for 'state Heisman' & more

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

1) It is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25. Sorry again I had to miss yesterday's LeBatard Show because of illness. Hope to be back on next Tuesday. 2) See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. It's a season best. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Jets with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

SMITH MAINTAINS LEAD OVER BRADY, DOLPHINS' MOORE DEBUTS / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 7: The Seahawks' Russell Wilson wins Week 7 honors with Mattmoorea 45.70-point game, edging Tampa's Jameis Winston by less than one point, in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Chiefs' Alex Smith maintains his overall season lead over Patriots' Tom Brady. Now-injured Jay Cutler holds steady in 29th place overall, while Miami starter-for-bow Matt Moore (pictured) debuts in 38th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 7

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK7       Season

1      1     Alex Smith, KC                   40.10      270.95

2      2     Tom Brady, NE                    36.45      260.40

3      4     Carson Wentz, PHI              36.40      215.60

4      6     Drew Brees, NO                  34.55      208.60

5     11    Kirk Cousins, WAS                41.15      195.85

6      7     Josh McCown, NYJ              23.45      189.15

7      9     Philip Rivers, LAC               24.15      182.80

8      3     Aaron Rodgers, GB              DNP        182.25

9      5     Carson Palmer, ARI              5.10       180.95

10   18     Russell Wilson, SEA            45.70      180.80

11    8      Eli Manning, NYG                8.70       174.00

12   15     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT      26.20      173.25

13   14     Jared Goff, LAR                 23.75      171.20

14   17     Dak Prescott, DAL              32.70      168.30

15   12     Cam Newton, CAR             12.55       166.35

16   16     Matt Ryan, ATL                  27.65       164.50

17   23     Jameis Winston, TB           45.20       164.15

18   22     Derek Carr, OAK                40.85       160.05

19   10     Matthew Stafford, DET       BYE         157.40

20   13     Deshaun Watson, HOU        BYE         149.85

29   29     Jay Cutler, MIA                 19.90        118.75

38   --      Matt Moore, MIA               20.40          20.40

Bubble: Case Keenum, MIN, 148.10. Week 7 best: Wilson, SEA, 45.70 (27-39, 334, 3-0 in win). Week 7 worst: Drew Stanton, ARI, minus-3.90 (5-14, 62, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 7 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Fripix LobosHerald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 7Herald picks: Mixed bag. Went 10-5 straight-up, not bad, but had to scramble to go 5-8-2 against the spread, not good, with two games pushing with 3-point lines. Had Browns with the points but not a lot else to brag about. Greg's Lobos: Lobos improved to 5-2, tied for second in the LeBatard Show league, with a 119.4 to 77.9 rout of Dan. Got 25.4 points from Todd Gurley -- the Gurley Men are back! -- 22.3 from Jarvis Landry, 19.1 from Drew Brees and an unexpected 17.3 from Latavius Murray on a last-minute flex play. That's coaching, baby! #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 8: 3-WAY BATTLE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN' INTENSIFIESMiami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what continues to be Jdriskela three-way race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." UM running back Travis Homer also finds himself in the state Top 10, along with a pair of FIU Panthers. FAU quarterback Jason Driskel (pictured) won Week 8 honors with a 264.5-point game, elevating his season average to 92.00 -- just outside the Top 10. Rosier (229) and Quinton Flowers (219.5) also bagged 200-plus games to solidify their spots in the chart's upper reaches. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 9:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1     1   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb                201.33         1,208 / 6

2     2   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb              192.79         1,349.5 / 7

3     3   Malik Rosier-Miami qb                   190.75         1,144.5 / 6

4     5   Devin Singletary, FAU-rb                141.71            992 / 7

5     4   Alex McGough-FIU qb                    134.50            807 / 6

6     6   Thomas Owens-FIU rec                  109.25            655.5 / 6

7     9   Travis Homer-Miami rb                   104.83            629 / 6

8     8   Cam Akers-FSU rb                          101.67            610 / 6

9    --   Darius Tice-SoFla rb                        99.00             693 / 7

10  --   Adrian Killins-UCF rb                       98.83             593 / 6

Bubble: D'Ernest Johnson-So Fla rb, 97.57. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 95.00. Week 6 best: Jason Driskel-FAU qb, 264.5 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (W3).

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

Select recent columns: The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

October 24, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 86.1%. Approval hits season high!; plus Fins beat N.Y. Stinkin' Jets 31-28. Moore subs for injured Cutler, leads win; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 23. ICYMI, click The Godfather Speaks for my column from an exclusive, lengthy interview with Heat majordomo Pat Riley. 2) Click Cemetery Joggers for our latest Back In My Day video from the radio show. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes-Syracuse with latest CSM poll, Heat open at home, rest of Collball Week 8 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 86.1%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show an 86.1 percent approval rating -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied" votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-28 victory over the visiting New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 4-2The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its 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 8:30 a.m today/Tuesday.
 
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)
G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)
Next poll: Oct. 26 (following game at Baltimore)  

G6: N.Y. JETS at DOLPHINS: A BAROMETER OF PROGRESS AWAITS MIAMI: Dolphins beat Jets 31-28 on late field goal. Matt Moore subs for injured Jay Cutler, leads Miami to 4-2 record ..... Original post: First score wins? Defenses should dominate in Sunday's 1 p.m. AFC East grudge match as oft-bitter rivals meet for 105th time. Revenge will be in the air at The Rock for the home team after Dolphins got flat-out embarrassed in a 20-6 NyjmiaWeek 3 loss up there -– shut out but for a meaningless last-second score. That will make the rematch a barometer of progress for the Fins, who are 3-point favorites. Both teams come in with some tailwind. Miami improved to 3-2 with an exhilarating road-rally that stunned Atlanta, 20-17, as a comatose offense finally showed a pulse in the second half. And NYJ, thought to be the NFL dregs entering the season, is a surprising 3-3 and might well have upset the Patriots last week if not for an officiating blunder negating a TD. Key injuries may shape this result. Center Mike Pouncey and receiver DeVante Parker seemed unlikely late in the week to go for Miami, while the Planes' best runner (Bilal Powell) and D-lineman (Muhammad Wilkerson) also were iffy to play. Crowd also could be a factor, believe it or not. Dolfans will need to assert; Jets had won four straight in Miami before Fins won here last November. Bottom line? If Adam Gase's game plan is on point, Jay Ajayi should have a big, clock-dominating day against a Planes' run defense allowing a fat 4.6 yards per opponent carry. That's why the Jets should “L-O-S-E, Lose!” My pick: Dolphins, 23-17. (Click Week 7 Gems for all our last NFL predictions).

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami seeks revenge vs. hated, Stinkin' Jets: Dolphins host Jets Sunday with Miami 3-2 and seeking momentum after last week's huge road-rally win in Atlanta. An ESPN poll of 155 players voting anonymously found Jay Cutler named QB they'd least want as teammate. Wait. I dunno. I think the Dolphins sort of liked him last week. At least in the second half.

2. HURRICANES: No. 8 UM defeats dangerous Syracuse: Orange became the new dangerous last week by shocking No. 2 Clemson, which sure helped Mark Richt make the case to players not to take Syracuse lightly. Huge pass defense carried UM, 27-19. Saturday would not have been a good day for an aspiring playoff team like UM to lose, with the CFP selection committee's first meeting coming up Oct. 30.

3. HEAT: Spo's guys beats Indiana in home opener: After losing their season opener at Orlando despite Hassan Whiteside's 26 points and 22 rebounds, Heat beat Indiana Saturday night in club's 30th home opener. Opinions vary wildly, and we might not know until Christmas how good Miami is. Question is whether the answer will come as a gift or a lump of coal.

4. BASEBALL: Dodgers-Astros: Almost time to get World Serious!: Los Angeles Dodgers bounced Cubs in the NL Championship Series to put the LADs in World Series for first time since 1988, while Houston Astros won two straight at home over Yankees for the AL crown. Well, Don Mattingly previously managed the Dodgers, so I guess that's almost sort of like the Marlins are in the World Series OK not really at all.

5. PANTHERS: Challenge: Do something to make us watch, Cats!: Florida skated to a 2-3 start with 20 goals allowed under new coach Bob Boughner. Time for Cats to show signs this NHL season might be special. For a change.

6. UM BASKETBALL: Bar set high for Canes men: Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes men's basketball team is ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/coaches' preseason poll as it prepares for its Nov. 10 season opener. But will cloud of that FBI national recruiting probe be gone by then?

7. INJURIES: Rodgers, Hayward injuries cloud two seasons: Star Aaron Rodgers' injury ruined Packers hopes. And the first lasting image of the 2017-18 NBA season? Top free-agent acquisition Gordon Hayward down in agony with a gruesome, likely season-ending ankle injury just minutes into his Celtics career.

8. NFL: Protest/anthem mess continues: NFL owners and players met and not much was decided as the White House vs. NFL war continues over player protests. Meanwhile owners keep saying Colin Kaepernick is not being blackballed. Hahahahahahahahahaha! 

9. GOLF: Tiger cleared to resume full activities: It isn't that I'm pessimistic, but I hear that Tiger Woods is free to resume full golf activities and I immediately wonder when his next setback will be?

10. SOCCER: No clean sweep after U.S. World Cup fiasco: Naturally coach Bruce Arena was sacrificed after the U.S. men shockingly failed to qualify for the next World Cup tournament. But how on earth does U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati continue to keep his job?

Missing the HB10 cut: The NBA season has begun and LaVar Ball is still annoying and won't shut up. So that's reassuring xxxxx ..... Only three more NASCAR races after Sunday's before the Nov. 19 Championship Weekend at Homestead. Still trying to find a way to rework the rules to get retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the final ..... A Maine high school football coach, Duane Greaton, was fired for telling his players to taunt an opponent for having two mothers as parents. Ahh, sportsmanship!

Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 93.0%. Still in the stratosphere; plus No. 8 UM beats Syracuse 27-19 to stay unbeaten; also, rest of Collball Week 8 (updated), Heat win 30th home Opening Night & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21. Click Cemetery Joggers for this week's latest Back In My Day video from the radio show. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 7 picks, your Heat expectations verdict, my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix n' Fantasy results, updated SOPY standings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Heat home opener / Pat Riley column: Heat opened at home with win last night vs. Indiana after losing Game 1 in Orlando earlier in week. In exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, Heat majordomo Pat Riley reflects on 50 years in NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for season. Click The Godfather Speaks to read.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 93.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 93.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-19 victory over visiting Syracuse putting No. UM’s season record at 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday.
 
 
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following game 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
Next poll: Oct. 28 following game at North Carolina

 

G6: SYRACUSE AT NO. 8 HURRICANES: UM COULD USE A REST, BUT CAN'T SLEEP ON ORANGE: Postgame thoughts: Malik Rosier's 344 yards passing and two TDs fronted Miami's big 27-19 victory over visiting Syracuse Saturday, but the win keeping No. 8 Miami unbeaten really happened because of UM's defense against Orange passer Eric Dungey. He was a nightmarish 14 for 41 with four interceptions. That Turnover Chain was busy ..... Original postConsecutive emotional, close, last-second wins -- 24-20 at nemesis Florida State, then 25-24 vs. Georgia Tech -- threaten to have the Hurricanes mentally drained, sort of needing a soft spot on the schedule to coast Syrmiathrough on auto-pilot. This looked like that week, once. That was until Syracuse stunned No. 2 Clemson last week, an attention getter for the Canes that lent backbone to Mark Richt's rote preaching about how dangerous the next opponent is. The Orange with Syrmia65prolific QB Eric Dungey will be the biggest test of the season so far for Miami's secondary, and, as Clemson learned, Syracuse can also bring it on defense. Syracuse is 4-3 but has won two straight. No. 8 Miami is 5-0 and favored by 17, up from an opening 14. With the first College Football Playoff rankings near, this is not a game for UM to lose if this season is to continue special. With ABC cameras watching, this 3:30 Saturday game will be another great stage for UM to preen, grow its brand and continue toward "Back" -- or to slip and fall with the nation watching. Canes have won 10 in a row dating to last season; why stop now? I like Richt's perspective on being ranked so high: "First of all, you're not a Top-10 program unless at the end of the year you're a Top-10 program," he said. "We were ranked 10th last year and lost four in a row, so we became unranked. We were happy to be ranked at the end of the year [a final 20th after a bowl win]. But we're not at the point where we can just line up and impose our will on people." That makes Syracuse an opponent UM will have to work hard and play well to beat. I believe the Canes will. (Pictured left: A bit of nostalgia. Cover of a Syracuse-Miami program from game played in 1965). My pick: Hurricanes, 34-23.

Other state FBS Week 8 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

Louisville 31, Florida State 28: Nightmare season continues for preseason No. 3 Noles, now 2-4 and likely headed to a dismal bowl.

No. 20 UCF 31, Navy 21: Knights sink Navy to stay unbeaten in maybe toughest test thus far.

FAU 69, North Texas 31: Home-nesting Owls were narrow favorites but moved to 4-3 with authority. 

No. 16 South Florida 34, Tulane 28: Bulls now 7-0, but didn't think it would be easy, and it wasn't.

Off this week: FIU (4-2, next at Marshall); and Florida (3-3, next vs. No. 3 Georgia).

National Collball Week 8 overview: Two big Top 25 matchups this week as first College Football Playoff rankings loom: No. 2 Penn State handled No. 19 Michigan 42-13, No. 13 Notre Dame upended and 11-Southern Cal 49-14.

Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

October 20, 2017

NFL picks for Dolphins-Jets, rest of Week 7; plus your verdict on Heat expectations, my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, new 'Back In My Day,' latest SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Atlanta with DSM poll, The List (Fins), Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

My Pat Riley column: In exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, Heat's majordomo reflects on 50 years in NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for this Heat season as it began with loss in Orlando and opens at home Saturday. Click The Godfather Speaks to read in full.

Latest BIMD: Cemetery Joggers!: The latest Back In My Day segment rails against the gall of people who use cemeteries as places to exercise. Click Cemetery Joggers for the video.

UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: DOLPHINS MAINTAIN MO', BEAT STINKIN' JETS: The Dolphins and Dolfans will beat the Jets and all those Fripixobnoxious NYJ fans Sunday at The Rock in a low-scoring game. If you're at the game, single out that one fat New Yorker shoehorned into that Gastineau jersey and make fun of him. I'm not normally that mean, but I make exceptions for Jets fans. Click Week 7 Gems for our predix-capsules on Dolphins-Jets, our Game of the Week (Patriots-Falcons) and Upset of the Week (Saints-Packers: "Aawwk!"), plus all our other latest picks. Our week got off to a crazy/unlucky/disappointing start last night. We had Chiefs (-3) covering in a win, and they were up 30-21 in fourth quarter, only to lose on final play, 31-30.

POLL RESULT: IT'S HIGH-40S WINS, PLAYOFFS FOR HEAT: You may still vote in poll directly below, but we'll call it now officially. We asked what is most likely number of Miami Heat regular-season wins in 2017-18? Your verdict: 50 plus--27.4 percent; 45 to 49--49.8%; 40 to 44--15.1%; 35 to 39--5.1%; and 34 below--2.6%. That's more than 77% who clearly expect playoffs, and some 92% in that low-40s wins typically sneaks in. 

DragicwhitesideHEAT EXPECTATIONS POLL: SETTING BAR FOR THE 2017-18 SEASON: The Miami Heat last season finished 41-41 and (narrowly) missed the playoffs, though it seems better in the recollection because of the 30-11 record the second half of the schedule. That leads to an assumption of overall improvement from a team led by Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside (pictured). Yet outside expectations are somewhat modest as the season opened with loss last night in Orlando, and resumes Saturday at home vs. Indiana. For example, ESPN's Power Rankings entering the regular season has Miami slotted only seventh best in the Eastern Conference (eight make the playoffs) and 18th overall in the 30-team NBA. The Heat's projected record is put at 43-39. Now what do you think? What is your honest, realistic expectation for the season based on anticipated number of regular-season wins? Remember: Not asking what you hope happens ... but rather what you'd bet will. Vote now.

 

SMITH STAYS NO. 1 OVER BRADY, CUTLER INCHES UP / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: The Cardinals' Carson Palmer wins Week 6 honors with a 39.15- Arodgerspoint game (unusually low for a winning total), while the Chiefs' Alex Smith keeps his overall lead ahead of Patriot Tom Brady in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Packer Aaron Rodgers (pictured) is third but will fall week by week with his season-ending injury. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler inches up one spot, to 29th overall. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK6       Season

1      1     Alex Smith, KC                   19.30      230.85

2      2     Tom Brady, NE                    22.85     223.95

3      3     Aaron Rodgers, GB               0.90     182.25

4      4     Carson Wentz, PHI             27.10     179.20

5      9     Carson Palmer, ARI             39.15    175.85

6      5     Drew Brees, NO                  25.30    174.05

7     12    Josh McCown, NYJ              32.70    165.70

8      6     Eli Manning, NYG                17.40    165.30

9    14     Philip Rivers, LAC               35.40     158.65

10    8     Matthew Stafford, DET       13.60     157.40

11   18    Kirk Cousins, WAS                37.50    154.70

12    7     Cam Newton, CAR                9.95     153.80

13    16    Deshaun Watson, HOU        27.25     149.85

14   13     Jared Goff, LAR                  15.20    147.45

15   17     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT       26.60    147.05

16   20     Matt Ryan, ATL                   25.40    136.85

17   10     Dak Prescott, DAL                BYE     135.60

18   11     Russell Wilson, SEA              BYE     135.10

19   23     Case Keenum, MIN              26.95    127.70

20   24     Trevor Siemian, DEN           23.80     124.20

29   30     Jay Cutler, MIA                   20.55       98.85

Bubble: Andy Dalton, CIN, 123.00. Week 6 best: Palmer, ARI, 39.15 (18-22, 283, 3-1 in win). Week 6 worst: Brian Hoyer, SF, minus-1.30 (4-11, 34, 0-0 in loss).  

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 6 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald Fripix Lobospredictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 6Herald picks: Improvement, at least. After a nightmarish recent slump, we'll take an 8-6 overall and do cartwheels over a 7-5-2 against the spread (two games were off the board when we picked 'em). Highlights: Nailed our Upset of the Week with Steelers over Chiefs ("Aawwk!"), hit another outright upset with Vikings over Packers, hit a third (barely) upset with Cardinals over Bucs, and had underdog Dolphins and Jets with the points. Greg's Lobos: Tough loss, 107.3-101.4, to Chris. Byes hit us hard but Lobos scrambled to put six in double figures, led by Jarvis Landry's 20.2, but lost it with only 11.5 from Drew Brees. What are the odds Saints top 50 points but Brees has an off game!? Oh well. 'Bos still 4-2 and only one game back. #GoLobosGo

SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 7: CANES' ROSIER IN 3-MAN BATTLE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN'Miami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what keeps Sopylooking like a three-man race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Canes running back Mark Walton, out injured for the season, is seventh and falling. UM back Travis Homer is back in the chart in ninth place after a week-leading 200-point game. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               207.60         1,038 / 5

2    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             188.33         1,130 / 6

3    3    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  183.10          915.5 / 5

4    6    Alex McGough-FIU qb                   134.50          807 / 6

5    4    Devin Singletary-FAU rb               134.33          806 / 6

6    8    Thomas Owens-FIU rec                109.25          655.5 / 6

7    5    Mark Walton-Miami rb                  107.40          537 / 5

8   --    Cam Akers-FSU rb                         103.20          516 / 5

9   --    Travis Homer-Miami rb                  100.20          501 / 5

10   9   Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec                 97.20          486 / 5

Bubble: D'Ernest Johnson-So Fla rb, 97.17. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 95.00. Week 7 best: Homer-Miami rb, 200 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (W3).

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

Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

October 17, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 79.7%. Huge spike in DSM approval after upset in Atlanta; plus Fins stun Falcons 20-17 with rally as offense, defense come alive; also, see who's No. 1 and what falls where in latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 16. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes' 'minor miracle' beats Georgia Tech with CSM poll, other state Collball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Sunday column on Canes' huge win over Georgia TechClick Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble for my column from Saturday's 25-24 UM triumph keeping The U unbeaten. Also, voting continues in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll, both in the blogpost directly below and here.

Vote in DSM poll online, too: Click here.

DOLPHINS RALLY, STUN FALCONS IN ATLANTA, 20-17: The Dolphins' huge second half Sunday in Atlanta beats the Falcons 20-17 to complete an exhilarating weekend of football for South Florida fans, after the Hurricanes beat Georgia Tech 25-24 the day before. What a second half by Miami in recovering from a 17-0 deficit Sunday. Whatever Adam Gase said at the half, bottle it and sell it. Jay Cutler and offense came alive with two touchdown passes and the defense arose to limit Atlanta to 106 total yards after halftime. Fins now 3-2 after the upset of the season in the NFL, with Miami a 14-point road underdog coming in. This will alleviate tremendous heat from Cutler. I'd predicted that Miami would lose narrowly (I said 27-23) but with an effort that would see a wakeup by the offense and be encouraging to fans. Now let's see how encouraged fans really are with the latest DSM poll. Vote now.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 79.7%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 79.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 20-17 upset victory at the Atlanta Falcons putting Miami's season record at 3-2. That's a huge spike from three straight weeks in single digits. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its 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.

2017 Game-by-Game DSM Results:
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)
Next poll: Oct. 22 (following game vs. N.Y. Jets)

G5: DOLPHINS AT ATLANTA: SEE ENCOURAGING SIGNS FOR MIAMI, EVEN IN DEFEAT: Final thoughts: What a second half by Miami in recovering from a 17-0 deficit. Whatever Adam Gase said at the half, bottle it and sell it. Jay Cutler and offense came alive with two touchdown passes and the defense arose to limit Atlanta to 106 total yards after halftime. Fins now 3-2 after the upset of the season in the NFL, with Miami a 14-point road underdog coming in. This will alleviate tremendous heat from Cutler ..... 4Q: Jones interception inside final minute denies Atlanta tying FG try, seals 20-17 upset, comeback win for Miami! ... Fins take first lead 20-17 on Parkey 38-yard FG with just over 2 minutes left in regulation ... MIA ties it 17-17 on Parkey 49-yard FG after big 4th-down gamble and conversion ... Momentum is all Miami's right now. Fins with ball near midfield after muffed Falcons punt play ..... 3Q: MIA within 17-14 on Cutler-Landry 7-yard TD pass after roughing penalty negates Cutler scrimmage-line interception ... Pouncey out under concussion protocol. Cannot keep that man on the damned field! ... Gase sticks with Cutler and it pays off. MIA with 17-7 on his 11-yard scoring pass to Stills ..... Halftime thoughts: How much longer will Gase's support for Cutler continue? QB is 8-for-14 for 64 yards and a pick (39.0 rating) in half as offensive woes go on. Ajayi (11 carries, 71 yards) the lone bright spot. Not even the defense (233 yards allowed) is playing great. If Cutler cannot lead this offense to the end zone, why not try Moore? ..... 2Q: ATL misses 59-yard FG to end half ... Miami driving to finally score (seemingly), but Cutler picked off at Atlanta 10. Ugh ... ATL 17-0 on Coleman 6-yard scoring run. My forecast of a close game and an encouraging Dolphins effort not coming true -- so far. Still early ... It failed, but totally agree with MIA going for it on 4th-and-3 from ATL 39 ..... Ajayi  1Q: Ajayi 51 rush yards on five carries the 1Q bright spot for MIA ... Ryan 40-yard scoring strike to hall and 10-0 Falcs lead ... ATL 3-0 on opening-drive 50-yard FG ..... Pregame: Final betting line at Falcons by 14. Wow. The 2-2 Dolphins being treated like 0-4 out of Vegas ... WR Parker notable among inactives today, a hinderance to MIA upset chances ..... Original post: Miami rarely finds itself the week's biggest NFL underdog -- that's why the Browns and Jets were invented! -- but it does this week, by 11 1/2 points, and, alas, with fair reason. The 3-1 Atlanta Falcons are coming off a bye week and Miaatlexpect to have two key players, receiver Julio Jones and sackman Vic Beasley, back from injury. The 2-2 Miami Dolphins are coming off a week in which the two biggest topics of distracting conversation (not necessarily in this
G5order) were Jay Cutler's tepid, barely scoring offense, and the assistant coach forced to resign in shame over a cocaine/stripper scandal. Still, I like Miami with the points in this 1 p.m. CBS tilt and give the Fins a medium shot at an outright upset, believe it or not. Atlanta is not invincible; it lost its last game at home to Buffalo, 23-17. Falcons' defense is good but not great; Miami's may be better. Jay Ajayi should find the running easier than Devonta Freeman will. I cannot bring myself to predict what might be the league's biggest upset of Week 6. But I do foresee a performance that may encourage Dolfans, even in defeat. Have you ever experienced a 2-2 start enveloped in such gloom? Miami will gradually find itself offensively, and there should be signs here. And I believe this team has the coaching, leadership and lockerroom mettle to not only overcome this week's Snortgate scandal, but maybe even to use it as coalescing fuel. Let's see if I'm anywhere close right. My pick: Falcons, 27-23. [Click on Week 6 Gems for all our latest NFL picks].

THE LIST: DOLPHINS SLOW STARTS OFFENSIVELY: Fewest points scored in Dolphins' first four games of a season:

Points    Year        Starting QB / Coach

32          2004       Feeley (3), Fiedler (1) / Wannstedt

41          2017       Cutler / Gase

42          1967       Griese (2), Norton (2) / Wilson

50          1988       Marino / Shula

51          2006       Culpepper / Saban

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM 'minor miracle' beats Georgia Tech for ACC lead: Finally beating Florida State last week was bigger for The U symbolically. But beating Georgia Tech 25-24 Saturday was bigger tangibly, as the No. 11 Canes -- now No. 8 -- earned sole possession of the ACC Coastal lead. The road to all the way “Back” starts there. 

2. HEAT: It's Opening Week for Miami, NBA: The meaningless six-game exhibition schedule is done, now Miami opens its regular season Wednesday in Orlando, then has its home opener in six days, Saturday vs. Indiana. Soon we see if last season's 30-11 second half was a harbinger or a mirage. 

3. DOLPHINS: Fins shed off-field, on-field woes with huge win in Atlanta: The second-worst four-game scoring start in Dolphins history. An assistant coach resigned in a cocaine/stripper scandal. It all went away Sunday in Dolphins' big 20-17 comeback win in Atlanta, the NFL upset of the week -- and maybe of the season.

4. SOCCER: Shocker! Embarrassed U.S. men fail to make World Cup: Team USA failed to qualify for men's World Cup for first time since 1986, thanks to humiliating, eliminating 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago that saw coach Bruce Arena resign in shame. Guys, can't you just be half as good as the U.S. women?

5. BASEBALL: AL, NL championship series underway: MLB's final four includes the team that just won (Cubs), the team that wins the most (Yankees) and the team that spends the most (Dodgers). Your process-of-elimination independent rooting interest if you like a true underdog? Houston Astros, who've never won it all dating to 1962 Colt .45s.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Four more Top 10 teams lose: You know what that means, right Miami Hurricanes fans? UM rising from No. 11 to 8th in the new polls.

7. PANTHERS: Cats underway, name new alt-governor: The Panthers, 2-2 through four games with an encouraging 16 goals scored, named retired Army general Raymond Odierno as chairman and alternate governor. Cannot confirm he has ordered strategic bombing of select Eastern Conference opponents.

8. NFL: Anthem/kneeling hot topic at owners meetings: Fall owners meetings in New York this week will center on polarizing issue of players using NFL platform to protest social injustice during national anthem. Solution expected? None whatsoever!

9. MARLINS: Jeter imprint begins to show: This is Derek Jeter's first significant, major hire as the guy running the Marlins. Period. Gary Denbo, 56, his mentor from the Yankees, will oversee the Fish player development and scouting departments, a crucial job for a club with cupboards bare.

10. TENNIS: Sharapova wins first post-ban title: Maria Sharapova won the Tianjin Open, her first women's title since May 2105 following a doping ban. Yes, evidently a minor title in China counts.

Missing the HB10 cut: Miami Hurricanes' men's basketball preparation underway for the Nov. 10 season opener as national FBI probe of recruiting in the sport continues. Here's hoping the season doesn't arrive with a cloud attached  ..... Newly freed O.J. Simpson is out and about in Las Vegas, boozing, schmoozing, playing golf, posing for photos, shamelessly pushing memorabilia and allegedly staging fake altercations with paparazzi to then sell to TMZ. Welcome back. O.J! Missed ya!!

Select recent columns: Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

October 16, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 96.0%. UM approval rating stays in stratosphere!; plus UM rallies late past Georgia Tech 25-24 in thriller, stays unbeaten and atop ACC Coastal!; also, other FIU wins big one and state Collball & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14. Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite recent performances? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 6 predictions, your verdict on benching Jay Cutler & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Click Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble for my column from Saturday's game.

Click Canesfan Satisfaction Meter to vote in the latest postgame poll.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 96.0%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 96.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 25-24 victory over visiting Georgia Tech putting No. 11 UM’s season record at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the ACC. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following game 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
Next poll: Oct. 21 following game vs. Syracuse

G5: GEORGIA TECH AT NO. 11 HURRICANES: MIAMI ON MAJOR UPSET ALERT IN HUGE ACC TEST: Postgame thoughts: In one of the greatest games we have seen at any level, the Hurricanes rallied to beat Georgia Tech 25-24 on a last-second 24-yard field goal Saturday. With a loss, it would have been hard to feel that Mark Richt's onside-kick decision to open the second half -- which backfired for a Georgia Tech TD -- was not the difference in this game. Miamim needed heroes. Plenty volunteered ..... 4Q: MIA up 25-24 late on Badgley 24Y FG ... Homer 27-yard scoring run in driving rain has Miami within 24-22 early in fourth after Rosier 2-point pass is deflected incomplete ... Heavy rain as fourth Q begins. Bad omen? ..... 3Q: UM within 24-16 on 21-yard FG. Settled, though, after a 70-yard Rosier-Thomas play play to the Tech 3 ... Tech now up 24-13, adds 31-yard FG ... Oh my. Miami opens second half with onside kick (why!?) and it is returned 42 yards by Simmons for a TD. Canes now trail 21-13 ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami's defense has been not great but OK; this Tech "flexbone" offense is going to get its ground yards. Miami's running game led by Travis Homer has been fine. The difference in this huge ACC Coastal game right now, with Canes down 14-13 at half, was a non-existent passing game until very late in the half. Malik Rosier was 3-for-10 for 20 yards. Some of that was coverage, much of it was inaccuracy. But the air game opened up late, including Rosiweer's `17-yard TD pass to Homer. This is where Miami will come back to win in the second half, or suddenly be "formerly unbeaten." Passing! ..... Halftime ceremony: UM has Ring of Honor ceremony for all-time greats Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and (posthumously) Sean Taylor. Reed was not present; the other three were putting up 'U's to huge ovations ..... 2Q: Miami within 14-13 on Homer 17-yard scoring pass from Rosier late in half. About time UM opened up the air game! ... Miami within 14-6 on Badgley 43-yard FG. UM settled, had 1st at GT 20 after 32-yard Homer run but drive fizzled ... Uh oh. GT now up 14-3 on Marshall-Green 3-yard TD pass after QB was under siege and in the grasp ..... 1Q: Georgia Tech up 7-3 on 5-yard Green run in series featuring 48-yard run by Lynch ... Miami up 3-0 on Badgley 33-yard FG on drive sparked by Berrios 34-yard punt return ..... Original postGeorgia Tech arrives 3-1 for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game at The Rock and is on the verge of rankdom, while the 11th-ranked Canes are 4-0 and feelin' it after last week's hex-busting win in Tallahassee. Finally beating 

GtmiaFlorida State (after seven straight losses) was bigger symbolically and emotionally for Mark Richt's program, but beating the Yellow Jackets today would be bigger tangibly, with both teams 2-0 atop the ACC Coastal division. Saturday may tell more G5than last week about whether UM has the mettle to get all the way to the ACC Championship Game. Miami is favored by 6 1/2 points but should be on major, major upset alert. Any post-FSU letdown will find the Canes with a first loss. And I say that knowing The U has beaten this rival seven of the past eight meetings, and that GT hasn't won in Miami since 2007. The key matchup, of course: The Hurricanes' daunting defensive front seven versus Tech's vaunted "flexbone" rushing attack. The Jackets average 396 rushing yards per game and have scored 16 TDs on the ground. Quarterback Ta'Quon Marshall alone has 523 yards running in four games. But, likewise, Tech has not faced an offense as potent as Miami's. Malik Rosier will have his chances downfield. The big question: What will be the dropoff (if any?) as Travis Homer replaces injured star Mark Walton as featured back. I like the Canes at home, but this one makes me nervous. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-27.
 
Other state FBS Week 7 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

Florida State 17, Duke 10: Seminoles now 2-3 after holding on on road. Another loss here and you'd have begun to wonder if preseason No. 3 FSU would  even climb up to bowl-eligible.

No. 22 UCF 63, East Carolina 21: Biggest opponent here was overconfidence, with Knights a five-touchdown home favorite and takin' care of biz.

FIU 23, Tulane 10: OK, you have our attention, Butch Davis. Panthers were 14-point home betting 'dogs, but the bowl-bound Butchers won a big one to improve to 4-2. 

Texas A&M 19, Florida 17: Newly unranked UF was a 3-point Swamp fave but falls to 3-3 on a late score. What's come easily this season for Florida? Now a tough home loss, plus those hideous reptilian uniforms they wore.

No. 18 South Florida 33, Cincinnati 3: Bulls cruise to 6-0 in drama-free rout.

Off this week: FAU (3-3), next vs. North Texas.

National Collball Week 7 overview: Not a single national Top 25 matchup this week and no CFP-dreaming team seems in peril. Game of the Week might have No. 12 Oklahoma beating Texas 29-24 in the annual Red River Showdown.

October 13, 2017

Surprise! Your poll verdict on benching Jay Cutler better than expected for the embattled Dolphins QB; plus NFL Week 6 picks for Fins-Falcons & more

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

Friday13th1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13. Stay in bed, paraskevidekatriaphobes! Whatever you do, do not leave the house!! 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite recent performances? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Jay Cutler poll, Snortgate column, Herald Week 5 NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, SOPY standings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

JaycurtlerPOLL RESULT: YOUR BENCH-CUTLER VERDICT BETTER FOR JAY THAN EXPECTED: We asked, "Should the Dolphins bench quarterback Jay Cutler?" This in the wake of some fans chanting for that at last week's game, but coach Adam Gase firmly stating that-ain't-gonna-happen. Players in turn have predictably publicly supported Cutler. Maybe some of the thinking is that, after a week dealing with an assistant coach quitting in a cocaine/stripper scandal, perhaps further controversy ought be avoided. In any case, a huge vote as you'd expect, and it was 45.36 percent "Yes" to bench Cutler, 39.15% "Not yet but soon if offense doesn't improve," and 15.49% "No." That's better than I thought for Jay. Yes, strong support on either extreme was nearly 3-to-1 against him. But, a pretty sizable middle ground is calling for a bit more patience. And if you were to spin it in his favor, a majority of 54.64% don't think he should be benched ... or at least not yet.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 6 PICKS: THE GOOD NEWS? DOLPHINS OFFENSE AWAKENS A BIT...: Dolphins face a tough road game Sunday in Atlanta as (tied for) the NFL's biggest Week 6 underdog. The good news? I have Miami with a needed offensive breakout, and beating the point spread. But winning? Not quite. Click on Week 6 Gems for our predix-capsules on Dolphins-Falcons, our Game of the Week (Steelers-Chiefs) and Upset of the Week (also Steelers-Chiefs: "Aawwk!"). That's right. Kansas City, the only unbeaten left, loses. So it'll be a great day for the '72 Dolphins, and at least a somewhat encouraging one for the 2017 Fins. Our week got off to a disappointing start last night. Saw Panthers (-3 1/2) winning and covering vs. Eagles, 27-23. Had a near-exact-score but it was flipped, with Birds winning, 28-23.

Select recent columns: Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

October 12, 2017

Time for Dolphins to bench Jay Cutler? (Adam Gase won't take a public poll ... but I will). Vote now!; plus Eagles-Panthers pick, Herald Week 5 NFL QB rankings, our NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Snortgate column, Canes in latest SOPY standings & more

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

1) It is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12. Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite recent performances? Surprise them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Titans with DSM poll, Fins line coach snorts way out of job, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Dolphins: On Chris Foerster / Snortgate: Assistant coach appears in scandalous video, snorts his way out of job. Can't make this stuff up, folks. Click Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season for my latest  column. On Jay Cutler, offense: Even winning, Dolphins offense continues woeful. Click It Isn't Just Cutler for my column from Sunday's game.

Thursday's Eagles-Panthers pick: Click on Thursday Gem for tonight's prediction capsule.

JaycutlerTHE JAY CUTLER POLL: TIME TO BENCH HIM?: You heard Dolfans in the stadium Sunday with their "We want Moore!" chants calling for backup quarterback Matt Moore to replace struggling starter Jay Cutler. You have heard media blowhards with no dog in the hunt lobbing opinions from afar, with Boomer Esiason, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and others calling for a change. You also have heard coach Adam Gase saying he has not intention of a change, saying blame for offensive woes is everywhere and that Cutler is "way down the list" of problems. I agree with Gase, as I wrote in this column from Sunday's game. Moore might be a popular fix, but not necessarily a smart one, or a fix at all. Gase said he wouldn't be swayed by outside views, saying Sunday, "We're not going to take public polls." OK, maybe he isn't. But I am! I'm taking a public poll! Right here and now. No idea how this vote will turn out (well, I think I do), but in any case vote and be heard, even if Mr. Gase doesn't want to listen:

SMITH RETAKES SEASON LEAD FROM BRADY, CUTLER CONTINUES TO FALL / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 5: The Chiefs' AlexsmithAlex Smith (pictured) wins Week 5 honors with a 51.20-point game and nudges past Patriot Tom Brady for the season lead in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler falls a few more spots, to 30th overall. As the season enters its heart we expand our weekly chart from a Top 15 to a Top 20. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 5

RK   LW   Player, Team                     WK5       Season

1      2     Alex Smith, KC                   51.20      211.55

2      1     Tom Brady, NE                    40.15     201.10

3      4     Aaron Rodgers, GB             34.05     181.35

4     10    Carson Wentz, PHI             41.20     152.10

5      3     Drew Brees, NO                  BYE       148.75

6      5     Eli Manning, NYG               20.25     147.90

7     22    Cam Newton, CAR              50.75     143.85

8      8     Matthew Stafford, DET       28.45     143.80

9    13     Carson Palmer, ARI             29.55     136.70

10  14     Dak Prescott, DAL               32.55     135.60

11  11     Russell Wilson, SEA             25.90     135.10

12  18     Josh McCown, NYJ              33.70     133.00

13   6      Jared Goff, LAR                   5.40      132.25

14  16     Philip Rivers, LAC               21.90      123.25

15  19     Andy Dalton, CIN                26.40      123.00

16  21     Deshaun Watson, HOU         29.05     122.60

17  12     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT       11.60     120.45

18   7      Kirk Cousins, WAS                 BYE      117.20

19  23     Jameis Winston, TB             25.70     115.90

20   9      Matt Ryan, ATL                    BYE       111.45

30  27      Jay Cutler, MIA                    7.60       78.30

Bubble: Tyrod Taylor, BUF, 106.50. Week 5 best: Smith, KC, 51.20 (29-37, 324, 3-0 in win). Week 5 worst: DeShone Kizer, CLE, 0.35 (8-17, 87, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 5 RESULTS: Every Tuesday in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with Fripix Lobosmy Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. In Week 5: Herald picks: Embarrassment continues! -- It won't end. And it's getting worse. The season is kicking my ass. The Dolphins offense is outperforming me. I went a horrific 6-8 overall last week and an even-worse 3-10-1 against the spread. I'd elaborate, but it's too painful. If this ain't rock bottom, I'm in trouble. much else went right. Greg's Lobos: And the W Train keeps rollin'! -- Opposite of our picks, the Lobos improved to 4-1 (tied for the league lead) by beating Mike, 100-85.8. We had starter Drew Brees on a bye and backup Sam Bradford iffy to play, so we signed and started (are you ready?) Brian Hoyer. And got a team-leading 22.1 points from him. That's coaching, baby! #GoLobosGo

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 6: CANES' ROSIER MAINTAINS 3RD PLACE IN 'STATE HEISMAN' RACE: Miami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what is Mmilton Sopylooking like a three-man race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Canes running back Mark Walton is in fifth place but will tumble week by week now that he is done for the season with an ankle injury. Season frontrunner McKenzie Milton of UCF is pictured. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. 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.

SOPY Top 10 entering Week 7:

RK  LW  Player, School-Pos.                      Average        Total/Games

1    1    McKenzie Milton-UCF qb               213.13          852.5 / 4

2    2    Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb             190.40         952 / 5

3    3    Malik Rosier-Miami qb                  185.25          741 / 4

4    6    Devin Singletary-FAU rb               134.33          806 / 6

5    4    Mark Walton-Miami rb                  134.25          537 / 4

6    5    Alex McGough-FIU qb                   129.80          649 / 5

7    7    D'Ernest Johnson-SoFla rb            106.00          530 / 5

8    --    Thomas Owens-FIU rec                100.70          503.5 / 5

9    --    Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec                 98.25          393 / 4

10   8    Darius Tice-SoFla rb                       97.00         485 / 5

Bubble: Cam Akers-FSU rb, 93.75. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 90.20. Week 6 best: Milton-UCF qb, 223 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (Week 3).

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

Select other recent columns: Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote