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12 posts from September 2018

September 29, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 98.7%;plus UM crushes North Carolina 47-10 as QB Perry plays whole game; also, our latest Canes/Dolphins/Heat columns, NFL Week 4 picks & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29. Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): D.Wade emotional on farewell season, Herald Week 3 NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State rankings, latest Back In My Day video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our columns from this week:

HURRICANES: A coach, still looking for his magic man: It wasn't Brad Kaaya. Evidently isn't Malik Rosier. Is it N'Kosi Perry? Finding a great quarterback remains Mark Richt's elusive Holy Grail. That column: Finding Great QB Defines Canes' Season.

DOLPHINS: Defining moment in modern club history is at hand: Unbeaten Fins can stake claim to a power shift in AFC East but to do so must do Sunday what hasn't been done: Beat Tom Brady in Foxborough. That column: For Fins, Moment Of Truth Is Here.

HEAT: On Wade's farewell year: From Heat Media Day as training camp began, an emotional Dwyane Wade discusses his final Heat season.That column: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 98.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-high 98.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 47-10 home victory vs. North Carolina putting No. 16 UM's season record at 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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 10 a.m. today/Saturday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 70%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

Next poll: Oct. 6 following game vs. FSU.

G5: NO. 16 HURRICANES 47, NORTH CAROLINA 10: PERRY AT QB, BUT HARDLY NEEDED: Canes have the national stage to themselves Thursday night at 8 vs. North Carolina before ESPN
Uncmiacameras at The Rock. It's an ACC Coastal Division game -- UM's conference opener -- so, as much as the season-opening loss to LSU hurt, losing this one would hurt Miami more tangibly in terms of eventually getting back to the ACC Championship Game. With UM an 18-point favorite over the weaker-than-usual Tar Heels, such a loss isn't seen as likely. The U's quarterback situation will be squarely in the spotlight tonight, after N'Kosi Perry replaced Malik Rosier early in last week's win over FIU and played well. Who is Miami's starter from here? Perry? Rosier? Some of both? Whomever has the hot hand? Richt declined to say on Wednesday. Surely we'll know more after tonight. (UNC's QB situation also is up in the air, pun intended, with a likelihood Nathan Elliott and Chazz Surratt both might play). For Miami, dynamic big-play receiver/returner Jeff Thomas should be good to go after dehydration issues last week, but safety Jaquan Johnson and WR Ahmonn Richards are battling knee concerns. Richards' draft stock slips by the day as he continues to display proneness to injury. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-16.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Thursday night's Miami game above, here's chronological Week 5 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 13 UCF (4-0) beats Pittsburgh (2-3), 45-14Knights rolled big to make a run at top 10.

FSU (3-2) beats Louisville (2-3), 28-24: Seminoles (UM's next foe) rallied to get a little mo' going for Willie Taggert.

Florida (4-1) beats No. 23 Mississippi State (3-2), 13-6: Huge defensive road upset should get Gators ranked.

Middle Tennessee (2-2) beats FAU (2-3), 25-24: Bad last-second loss for Owls continues rough sophomore year for Lane Kiffin.

FIU (3-2) beats Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-4), 55-9: A no-worries home win for Butch Davis' Panthers.

Off this week: South Florida (4-0).

Week 5 national Top 25 matchups (5): No. 12 West Virginia beats No. 25 Texas Tech, 42-34; 4-Ohio State beats 9-Penn State, 27-26; 8-Notre Dame beats 7-Stanford, 38-17; 11-Washington beats 20-BYU, 35-7; and 19-Oregon beats 24-Cal, 42-24.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-PATRIOTS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: The Dolphins are going into dreaded Foxboro on Sunday and beating Tom Brady, who is 14-0 starting at home vs. Miami. It will be a watershed road win that signals a power shift in the AFC East. Well, at least that's what I think! I say why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We are a stout 30-16-2 overall and more importantly a strong 27-20-1 against the spread entering Week 4. Now let's keep it going! Dive into Week 4 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included within is a separate link to Thursday night's Vikings-Rams pick, or find it directly here. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing the height of giddy optimism.

Other select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 26, 2018

Emotional Dwyane Wade gets real on his 'last dance' with Heat. My latest column; plus new 'Back In My Day' video, Tannehill soars in Herald NFL QB rankings, Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results (Go Lobos!), Cote's State of the State rankings & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26. Results are complete in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll -- and they are buoyant! Scroll to the previous blogpost or find them directly HERE. 2) Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins rally past Oakland with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, The List & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Dwade DWYANE WADE GETS EMOTIONAL AS HE ENTERS FINAL HEAT SEASON: MY NEW COLUMN: Dwyane Wade was introspective at Monday's Heat media day as he ceremonially entered his final NBA season --just a few days after opting in for "one last dance" rather than retiring. I particularly loved this reflection by him: "In class I was shy. Never raised my hand because I didn’t want to get the answer wrong. [But] when I was on the basketball court I was a different person. I liked that person." One more season of that, one more chance for us to say goodbye to Wade, and for him to say goodbye to his fans, too. We never got that chance with Dan Marino; we'll have it now. No matter how good, bad or in-between the Heat do in 2018-19, Wade's farewell will be The Reason For The Season. I wrote an unabashedly sentimental, from-the-heart column on Wade. To read: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

BREES ROCKS THE WEEK, TANNEHILL MAKES BIG LEAP / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 3: Saints' Drew Brees wins Week 3 with a season-high 62.80- Tannypoint game to regain the overall season lead in the Herald's latest NFL QB Rankings. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. The Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill (pictured) scored a season-best 38.45-point game vs. the Raiders to move up five big spots, to No. 12 in the chart. (Pats' Tom Brady, if you wondered, tumbles to 20th). Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Exact formula detailed below). 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. The Top 15 table entering Week 4:
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 3
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK3            Season

1       2       Drew Brees, NO                    62.80         166.90

2       1       Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB             30.55         137.50

3       3       Patrick Mahomes, KC            39.70         129.80

4       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  39.80         121.75

5       12     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         50.15         118.00

6       14     Jared Goff, LAR                    50.70         115.05

7       4       Philip Rivers, LAC                 23.30         113.30

8       6       Aaron Rodgers, GB                29.25         105.10

9       18     Eli Manning, NYG                  46.85         103.00

10     9       Joe Flacco, BAL                    31.85         101.45

11     24     Matt Ryan, ATL                     50.70           98.85

12     17     Ryan Tannehill, MIA              38.45           97.35

13     13     Derek Carr, OAK                   29.25           96.80

14     7       Andy Dalton, CIN                 23.60           94.00

15     19     Matthew Stafford, DET         39.10           93.75

        Bubble: Alex Smith, WAS, 93.35. Week 3 best: Brees, NO, 62.80 (39-49, 396, 3-0 in win). Week 3 worst: Tyrod Taylor, CLE, minus-5.05 (4-14, 19, 0-0 in win).

        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-16); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, '01) and Tom Brady (2007, '17); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002) and Carson Palmer (2005). Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 3 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: SOLID ... AND HEARTBREAK: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the just-past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Solid again. We navigated a tough week full of upsets for a 10-6 record overall and 8-8 against the spread, including an Upset of the Week bull's-eye ("Aawwk!") on Saints winning at Falcons, a checkmark on Dolphins winning, and Giants with the points at Houston. Cost myself a game ATS with a clerical error on my part. I wrote, "Like Tennessee with points," but then had a score not reflecting that. DumbGreg's Lobos: The Lobos fell to 2-1 with a 129.4-112 loss to Randy Scott, thanks to a disappointing Monday. We had a very narrow lead entering the game, and it was my DeSean Jackson vs. his Mike Evans. Well, Evans' game shouted. My guy's ... didn't. So 25 points from Deshaun Watson and 24 from Adrian Peterson go for naught.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (3-0); 2. Miami (3-1); 3. South Florida (4-0); 4. Florida (3-1); 5. Florida State (2-2); 6. FAU (2-2); 7. FIU (2-2).

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': GROCERY STORE SHOPPING!: When an army clad in olive green plays active defense against our shopping experience...

Other select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 25, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 96.2%; plus unbeaten Fins, maestro Tannehill beat Oakland 28-20, with our postgame thoughts; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), The List & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24. The latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll shows season-best results. To see them, scroll to the blogpost directly below or find them directly HERE. 2) Football's back! That makes this the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes and Perry handle FIU with CSM poll, other state Collball, NFL Week 3 predix & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal update: As many know from following me on Twitter, I had recent thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest and am in recovery mode. Pain meds, rest and no-drive orders led me to cut back on a bunch of stuff last week such as a temporary reduction in Herald workload and no LeBatard Show. Thanks for the understanding. I'm back at it starting Monday.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 96.2%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a sky-high, season-high 96.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 28-20 Dolphins home victory over the Oakland Raiders putting Miami's season record at 3-0. 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 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 80%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

Next poll: Sept. 30 following game at New England.

G3: DOLPHINS 28, OAKLAND 20: FINS' RALLY SECURES A RARE 3-0 ROLLOUTFinal: Dolphins, 28-20. Synopsis: Man, that was impressive! Miami 3-0 with a comeback home win saw a maestro performance from Ryan Tannehill, huge plays from Jakeem Grant, two picks by Xavien Howard and a no-quit attitude. Dolphins could not cover Jordy Nelson early, could not stop Marshawn Lynch  and could not run the ball throughout, but somehow found a way to win. Great victory ..... 3Q: Oakland, 17-7: Synopsis: Late shovel-pass TD from Tannehill to Jakeem Grant (all Grant) gives Miami new life. You get the feeling one big play or a turnover will shape this game in the fourth. Miami has never led so this would be a really nice one to steal ..... Half: Oakland, 10-7. Synopsis: Miami's defense is playing good enough overall, even with the early inability to cover Jordy Nelson. And Ryan Tannehill has been excellent. The missing link so far? No ground game for Miami, with Drake/Gore a combined 5 carries for 5 yards. Winning or losing may depend on Miami being able to establish some semblance of a run ..... 1Q: Oakland, 7-0. Synopsis: Miami seems like it should be trailing by much more, but a defensive goalline stand and an Xavien Howard pickoff have kept Fins in game. Nobody is covering Jordy Nelson, and Miami offense is doing very little thus far ..... I'll be semi-live blogging today's game, meaning I'll constantly update scoring and post quick thoughts after every quarter and at game's end, just before the postgame satisfaction poll appears ..... Original post: We stand at the door of rare stuff, knuckles poised to knock, with today's 1 p.m. visit by Oakland at The Rock. The Oakmialast three seasons the Dolphins started 3-0 were 2013, 2002 and 1998. I believe that door (creaky from lack of use) will swing open once again Sunday afternoon. The availability of safety Reshad Jones (shoulder) was one key -- coach Adam Gase said he thought he'd play and I bought it -- but Jones won't play. That hurts. Miami will need every remaining defensive component — including Minkah Fitzpatrick justifying that “FitzMagic” trademark — versus a quarterback, Derek Carr, capable of going 29 of 32 as he did last week. Carr can razor through you with quick hits much as Ryan Tannehill is doing so efficiently thus far. Tannehill, though, has better surrounding weapons, and is backed by a better defense — especially now that Jon Gruden determined Khalil Mack to be expendable. (Thanks, Chucky!) I like Kenyan Drake uncorking himself against the Raiders’ soft run defense more than I like Marshawn Lynch going anywhere versus Miami’s stout ground D -- although Jones' absence has to make Lynch's fantasy owners feel a bit better. Watch for great, effective balance in the Fins’ offensive attack. Oakland won in Miami 27-24 last November, so now we get another gauge of the Fins’ improvement and the impact of Tannehill’s return. Tannehill, by the way, is 9-1 in his past 10 starts. Still, wide and stubborn doubt remains about these Fins. Miami being favored at home by a bare-bones 3 points is the latest indication. Why is today's game especially important? This: The first three games on the Dolphins’ schedule are not daunting. The next two (at Patriots and at Bengals) are more so. This 3-0 start, there for the taking, would be a welcome and perhaps needed cushion if this season is to be one of playoff contention after all. My pick: Dolphins, 24-20.

Visit Week 3 Gems for all of our latest NFL predictions.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 23): 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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Still-unbeaten Miami rallies past Gruden's Raiders: After beating Tennessee (in seven hours) and then winning at the Jets, Miami on Sunday fashioned only its fourth 3-0 start since 1998 with a 28-20 home rally past Oakland. Big plays galore and Ryan Tannehill, great again. "Happy days are here again!" ... at least pending the first loss or two.

2. HURRICANES: UM handles FIU as N'Kosi Perry stars: It was a brawl-free "Battle for the 305" as Miami burst to a 31-0 lead and then coasted to a comfy 31-17 win over crosstown rivals. N'Kosi Pery relieved Malik Rosier and was mostly excellent. With North Carolina looming Thursday in prime time, you got a decision to make, Mark Richt!

3. HEAT: D.Wade in for "last dance" as preseason nears: Dwyane Wade (finally) agreed to a 1-year contract and a final-season farewell tour of sorts, and now it starts in a flurry. Media Day on Monday begins a week's training camp, the first preseason game is next Sunday, then the season begins Oct. 17. Welcome to YOW (Year Of Wade).

4. GOLF: Tiger wins, ends long dry spell: Tiger Woods won Tour Championship event on Sunday to claim his first PGA Tour victory in five years. Or 1,876 days -- but who's counting!? Eldrick needed to close the bleepin' deal for proof he's back. And did.

5. MARLINS: Fish wrap up home schedule with win: Miami closed its home schedule Sunday afternoon  with a 6-0 win over the Reds and now end the season with seven straight on the road. The Fire Sale Fish rebuilding Marlins need win only one of their last seven games to avoid losing 100. Hey, it's a goal! 

6. PANTHERS: Cats' preseason underway, Barkov named captain: Florida is four games into its seven-game preseason, girding for the regular-season opening on Oct. 6. Meantime Aleksander (Sasha) Barkov was named Cats captain, the NHL's second-youngest C-man at 23. Hope are high in Panthersland. Clone the budding superstar Barkov and they'd be higher still.  

7. NFL: Browns win a game! Browns win a game!: Lots going on in King Sport. Le'Veon Bell's continued holdout. The Pats trading for Josh Gordon. But nothing made news this week more than the Cleveland Browns winning a game after going 635 consecutive days without. And now, a few words from Cleveland Mayor Baker Mayfield.

8. MLB: Not a lot of late drama in playoff chase: Eight of the 10 playoffs spots have been clinched or all-but entering the final week of the MLB regular season, with the ninth awaiting the NL West winner. Only intrigue is whether the NL West runnerup or Colorado will sneak off with the final postseason ticket.

9. NBA: Mavericks cited for workplace abuse: A seven-month investigation found incidents of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct in the Dallas Mavericks organization over a period of more than 20 years -- most of it on the watch of current owner Mark Cuban. Cuban agreed to donate $10 million to women's causes, but escaped any NBA suspension or discipline. Hmm.

10. NASCAR: Dale Jr. is back! Sort of...: Dale Earnhardt Jr., the NASCAR fan favorite who retired after last season, was behind the wheel again Friday, leading for 96 laps and finishing fourth in an Xfinity Series race at Richmond. Dear Athletes: Look up the word "retirement." Then either do it, or don't.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hot Button Top 10 is happy to be back after a one week hiatus. Spent my time off getting a tumor removed from my chest. And how was your vacation? ..... Finally, at long last, they won! It had been forever. Oh you thought I meant the Browns? Well them, too. But I meant the Seminoles ..... The Heat place Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk and Justise Winslow on ESPN 's latest Top 100 NBA players list, but none higher than Dragic at 61st. The latest indication of a team not bad, but likely not much better than not bad ..... Forbes' latest annual NFL team-value ranking has Cowboys No. 1 at $5 billion. Miami is a mid-pack 17th at $2.58B, the league average. Stadium improvements boosted Dolphins' value. So might sustained winning, by the way ..... Spanish Football Federation is blocking attempts to play a Barcelona-Girona league match in Miami this January. Wait, you mean the federation outranks Messi!? ..... Canes men's basketball bounced guard Miles Wilson off the team for rules violations. Sadly, there's always a use for the  #DumbAthletes hashtag ..... Seattle throws a championship parade Sunday to celebrate the Storm's third WNBA title. It also is the third for star Sue Bird, now established as the second-best Bird ever to play basketball ..... Headlines I Never Imagined Reading (one in a series): 'Colorado Football Mascot Shoots Self In Groin With T-Shirt Cannon' ..... Update. Countdown now 2,829 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

THE LIST: BEST COMBINED NFL SEASONS IN-STATE: Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay are a combined 7-2 (.778) after three NFL weeks. We wondered what have been the best combined season records for the state's three NFL teams in the 23 years since Jacksonville joined. The answer? (It's been awhile...):

Year    Combined record

1999    34-14, .708 (3 POs)

2005    32-16, .667 (2 POs)

1997    30-18, .625 (3 POs)

1998    29-19, .604 (2 POs)

2000    28-20, .583 (2 POs)

Note: Golden '99 was Dan Marino's final season. The Bucs' and Jags' primary starting QBs were Trent Dilfer and Mark Brunell. The head coaches were Jimmy Johnson, Tony Dungy and Tom Coughlin. At least one state team has made the playoffs in 13 of 23 seasons, although in only 5 of the past 15. The worst combined season record was 13-35 (.271) in 2014.

Select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 24, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 84.0%; plus UM handles FIU 31-17 as N'Kosi Perry comes off bench to star. Our thoughts on UM's QB situation: also, why Dolphins will beat Raiders and rest of our NFL Week 3 predictions & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22. Football's back! That makes this the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL Week 2 QB Rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State, Marlins Man, the real FitzMagic & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal update: As many know from following me on Twitter, I had recent thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest and am in recovery mode. I'm on pain meds and on rest and no-drive orders this week. That's why I've cut back on a bunch of stuff such as a temporary reduction in Herald workload, no LeBatard Show and so forth. Thanks for the understanding. Hope to be back at it starting Monday.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 84.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-best 84.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 31-17 home victory over FIU putting No. 21 UM's season record at 3-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there showed 51% overall approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

Next poll: Sept. 27 following game vs. North Carolina.

Battle305G4: NO. 21 HURRICANES (3-1) BEAT FIU (2-2), 31-17Final: Miami, 31-17. Synopsis: On the day UM honored its 1983 championship team, the men who set the template, Miami may have found its next quarterback. N'Kosi Perry was pretty great Saturday in the 31-17 rout of FIU, replacing Malik Rosier with the game scoreless and taking impressive charge (17-25, 224 yards, 3 TDs), one interception his only blemish. I say rout because the final score does not reflect the lopsidedness. Miami never trailed and was never in jeopardy. But! This was FIU for Perry, a game where the idea of losing was no real concern. This coming Thursday night in prime time vs. North Carolina -- the season's ACC opener -- will tell more about The U's QB situation than Saturday did. The Tar Heels are not great, but, unlike FIU, they are a team UM's size. A fair fight. A challenge. Who starts that game at QB for Miami -- and how he performs -- will shape Mark Richt's ultimate decision more than what we just saw ..... 3Q: Miami, 31-0. Synopsis: An even bigger mismatch than imagined, but the story of the game is N'Kosi Perry replacing Malik Rosier and QB and lighting it up, although his third-quarter interception was a youthful mistake ..... Half: Miami, 24-0. Synopsis: Score doesn't show it even show UM's utter dominance. FIU has no shot, cannot move the ball (13 total net yards) on this Canes defense. N'Kosi Perry is 12-for-13 for 170 yards, two TD passes and all four scoring drives in relief of Malik Rosier. Mark Richt has himself a decision to make moving forward. Or, maybe it's already made? .....  1Q: Miami, 7-0. Synopsis: N'Kosi Perry in at QB for Malik Rosier is the news. Perry looks sharp. Travis Homer 35-yard TD for the score. Earlier 78-yard Jeff Thomas punt-return TD negated by penalty. FIU offense doing nothing. Miami in charge ..... I'll be semi-live blogging here throughout today's game, with up-to-the-minute scoring updates plus quick thoughts after every quarter ..... Original post: Here we go today/Saturday at 3:30 at Hard Rock, in front of ESPN2 cameras, the Hurricanes coming off a solid win at Toledo that failed to move them up in the polls, and crosstown neighbor FIU having hung 63 points on UMass and (as always) looking for respect. Emotion frames the matchup, of course, because so many players on either team grew up friends in MiafiuMiami, and mostly because of what happened when they met 12 years ago, in the 2006 season. BRAAAWWWLLL!!! Both benches emptied, a melee ensued, eight Panthers and five Canes were ejected, and 31 players from both teams were later suspended. Both coaches (Larry Coker, Don Strock) would lose their jobs after that season. The Backyard Brawl obviously was not the sole reason, but it was a shared embarrassment that helped shelve the natural rivalry as a regular series. UM won the brawlgame 35-0. The schools met the next season without incident, Miami winning 23-9. Today is the schools' first meeting since, the first in 11 years and only the third ever. Nobody anticipates an ugly reprise of '06. Said UM coach Mark Richt: "There will be guys getting their blood pumping. But I don't really anticipate anything foolish. I've not mentioned one thing [about the '06 brawl]to our guys." Second-year FIU coach Butch Davis, formerly with UM, of course, recruited the players who would win the 2001 national championship (Miami's most recent), but has a long way to go to hoist FIU onto a competitive par with UM. As we'll likely see Saturday. My pick: Hurricanes, 41-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami-FIU game previewed above, here's chronological Week 4 schedule for the rest:

No. 16 UCF (3-0) beats FAU (2-2), 56-36: Teams got the national ESPN spotlight Friday night with Knights coming off an unexpected bye after Hurricane Florence erased last week's game at North Carolina. UCF, a 2-TD fave, used big second half to crush Lane Kiffin's Owls.

FSU (2-2) beats Northern Illinois (1-3), 37-19: Most recent years this would have been a walkover for Seminoles, but now-struggling FSU was a rather modest 9 1/2-point home favorite as new coach Willie Taggert bought an ounce of patience.

Florida (3-1) beats Tennessee (2-2), 47-21Gators seem to be finding their groove, and this was impressive road win in a big SEC matchup.

South Florida (4-0) beats East Carolina (1-2), 20-13: A win is a win, but this one likely won't be enough vault Bulls up into the Top 25.

Week 4 national Top 25 matchups (2): No. 1 Alabama beats No. 22 Texas A&M, 45-23; and and 7-Stanford beats 20-Oregon, 38-31 in OT.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-RAIDERS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to defend The Rock and beat the Raiders here Sunday to forge a 3-0 start for only the fourth time since 1998. I explain why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We were a stout 20-10-1 overall and more importantly a strong 19-12-1 against the spread entering Week 3. Now let's keep it going! Dive into Week 3 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included within is a separate link to Thursday night's Jets-Browns pick, or find it directly at Week 3 Thursday Gem. Got off to another win-win start to our new week, only one point off a rare Exacto on the final score. Thank you, Baker Mayfield!) Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing the height of giddy optimism.

Select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 20, 2018

Herald NFL QB rankings though Week 2: A new No. 1, and why Dolphins' Tannehill improved yet drops in chart; plus tonight's Jets-Browns pick, 'FitzMagic,' Marlins Man, NFL Week 2 Pix 'n Fantasy results (Lobos!), Cote's State of the State rankings & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20. Results are complete in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll (and they are sizzlin'!) Scroll to the previous blogpost or find them directly HERE. 2) Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win at Jets with DSM poll & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal news: As many know from following me on Twitter and social media, I had my thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest and am now in recovery mode. I'm on pain medication and on rest and no-drive orders all this week. That is why I'm cutting back on a bunch of stuff such as a temporary reduction in Herald workload and no LeBatard Show Tuesday. Thanks for the understanding.

Tonight's Jets-Browns pick: Could be a no-lose for Dolphins fans tonight. Y'all might either get to see the Browns' first regular-season win in 21 months, or see the Stinkin' Jets lose. Again. For tonight: Week 3 Thursday Gem.

Most recent columns: On D.Wade's decision, Dolphins running game: Dwyane Wade (unsurprisingly) has decided on one more season with the Heat. I explored the delay in his decision, why it wasn't bad and what Wade would do: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right Call. And: Ryan Tannehill is better when he throws less, and running more leads to Dolphins success. Enter Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins.

Marlinsman FitzmagicAND IN TODAY'S EDITION OF DUELING RIDICULOUS MIAMI SPORTS STORIES...: Marlins Man ends feud and returns to good graces with ballclub vs. Dolphins rookie Minkah Ftzpatrick files trademark application for phrase "FitzMagic" even though Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is already called that.

 

MahomesMAHOMES SWEET 'HOMES! / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 2: Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes (pictured) wins Week 2 while the Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick nudges ahead of Saint Drew Brees for the overall season lead in the Herald's latest NFL QB Rankings entering Week 3. This is the Miami Herald's 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill improved in Week 2 yet falls four spots to 17th. That's because it was a higher scoring week in which several QBs improved by even more. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Exact formula detailed below). 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. Here we go!
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 2
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK2            Season

1       2       Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB             55.10          106.95

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                    44.15          104.10

3       10     Patrick Mahomes, KC             57.30           90.10

4       3       Philip Rivers, LAC                 45.80            90.00

5       14     Kirk Cousins, MIN                  54.75            81.95

6       6       Aaron Rodgers, GB                37.55           75.85

7       9       Andy Dalton, CIN                  36.25           70.40

8       8       Alex Smith, WAS                   34.60           70.35

9       5       Joe Flacco, BAL                    27.80           69.60

10     4       Andrew Luck, IND                 24.95            68.90

11     7       Tom Brady, NE                      30.70            68.55

12     20     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         49.60            67.85

13     16     Derek Carr, OAK                    43.40            67.55

14     15     Jared Goff, LAR                    38.70            64.35

15     18     Cam Newton, CAR                 41.75            62.80

17     13     Ryan Tannehill, MIA               30.40           58.90

        Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 62.65. Week 2 best: Mahomes, KC, 57.30 (23-28, 326, 6-0 in win). Week 2 worst: Sam Bradford, ARI, 8.50 (17-27, 90, 0-1 in loss).

        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-16); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, '01) and Tom Brady (2007, '17); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002) and Carson Palmer (2005).

        Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 2 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD AND GOOD ... AGAIN!: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the just-past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Another solid week! Went 10-5-1 overall again (Vikings-Packers tied) and went a stout 9-7 against the spread, including outright upset calls on Dolphins over Jets and Titans over Texans, plus 'dog Chiefs and Lions with points. Greg's Lobos: The mighty Lobos are now 2-0 with a 134.7-90 rout of Sarah Spain. Consistent scoring described the day, with Deshaun Watson, Tyreek Hill, Zach Ertz and DeShaun Jackson all tallying in the 20-23 point range. Still being held hostage by the Le'Veon Bell mess, but surviving the mess nicely thus far.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (2-0); 2. Miami (2-1); 3. South Florida (3-0); 4. Florida (2-1); 5. FAU (2-1); 6. FIU (2-1); 7. Florida State (1-2).

Other select recent columns: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 18, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 93.4%; plus Fins win 20-12 at Jets as Tannehill outduels Darnold; also, welcome back D.Wade, personal news update & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18. Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes win at Toledo with CSM poll and other state Collball, NFL Week 2 picks, Bachelor Dan gets engaged & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal news: As many know from Twitter and social media, I had my thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest. It went well. I am grateful. But I'll be on pain medication and on rest and no-drive orders all this week. That is why I'm cutting back on a bunch of stuff such as Hot Button Top 10 skipping a week, and no LeBatard Show today. Thanks for the understanding.

Newest columns: On D.Wade's decision, Dolphins running game: Dwyane Wade (unsurprisingly) has decided on one more season with the Heat. I explored the delay in his decision, why it isn't bad and what Wade would do: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right Call. And: Ryan Tannehill is better when he throws less, and running more leads to Dolphins success. Enter Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. To read: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 93.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 93.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 20-12 victory at the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 2-0. 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 10 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM vote on our Twitter feed @gregcote was 80%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

Next poll: Sept. 23 following game vs. Oakland.

G2: DOLPHINS (2-0) BEAT NEW YORK JETS (1-1), 20-12: WERE YOU READY FOR AN UPSET? WE CALLED IT!: Can I get an “Aaawwwk!”? This isn’t our Upset of the Week of record for NFL Week 2, but the Upset MianyjBird nevertheless will be circling the Meadowlands vulture-like on Sunday afternoon, eyeing the Jets as carrion splayed roadside. I know NYJ rang up the Lions 48-17 last week and that Sam Darnold evidently is the greatest thing since whatever is greater than sliced bread. (Knowing all of Detroit’s offensive plays, supposedly, had to have helped). But I thought Miami’s win over Tennessee was just as impressive if not by margin. It was impressive for the grit to overcome two long lightning delays, and also for the unexpected big-play strikes. Ryan Tannehill has struggled vs. the Planes — 4-5 record, only 10-9 on TDs/picks, 72.0 rating — but he’s better than he has been and has superior offensive weapons to those of Darnold, especially if DeVante Parker plays as it seemed he likely would. Miami also presents to the rookie QB a defense much better than Detroit’s. The result? Upset! Will you join me Fireman Ed? On my count, please: “A-A-W-K — “Aawk!” My pick: Dolphins, 31-27. [Visit Week 2 Gems for all of our latest NFL predix].

Other select recent columns: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 17, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.7%; plus No. 21 Hurricanes ride Rosier's 5 TDs at Toledo, NFL Week 2 picks, Bachelor Dan gets engaged & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15. Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald debuts weekly NFL QB rankings, Week 1 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State rankings, new Back In My Day video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Newest columns: On D.Wade's decision, Dolphins running game: Dwyane Wade is taking longer than most (including Pat Riley) would like to make his Heat-or-retire decision. I explore the delay, why it isn't bad and what Wade will do: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right Call. And: Ryan Tannehill is better when he throws less, and running more leads to Dolphins success. Enter Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. To read: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3 76.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 76.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 49-24 road victory at Toledo putting No. 21-ranked Miami's season record at 2-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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 10:45 a.m. today/Monday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote; the CSM vote there for this game was 62%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

Next poll: Sept. 22 following game vs. FIU.

G3: NO. 21 HURRICANES (2-1) WINS AT TOLEDO (1-1), 49-24: Original Post: Guaranteed: Saturday's noon matinee in Ohio will not be nearly the breeze Miami enjoyed Toledo Theuwith last week's 77-0 home rout of woefully overmatched Savannah State. Toledo is an actual competitive team. Smaller than The U. But competitive. Miami is only a 10-point favorite. Toledo's little 26,000-seat stadium will be jammed and this will be a season-maker for them. As Canes coach Mark Richt said: "We'll get everything they've got." His Toledo counterpart John Candle: "I think everybody on our team wanted to play this game on June 1. This is not just another game." Toledo beat VMI 66-3 in its opener and is coming off a craftily positioned bye week. In last year's meeting at Hard Rock the Canes trailed Toledo 16-10 at the half and were only up 38-30 in the middle of the fourth quarter before pulling away to win 52-30. None of this is to suggest Miami should be worried. As Candle put it: "Whoever made that saying up, 'You always get better from Week 1 to Week 2,' didn't have to play the Hurricanes in Week 2." Still, unlike last week, this is not a game where Richt will likely enjoy the luxury of playing all four quarterbacks. Malik Rosier will start and I doubt any other QB will play unless Rosier is struggling. Richt: "Bottom line is we're going to play who we think gives us the best chance of winning. As long as [Rosier] is that, he'll start. If we think someone else gives us a better chance, we'll start that guy." Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence for Malik. This is a game that must not slip away from UM if the Canes are to rebound from that opening loss to LSU and still make this a special season. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-23.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami game previewed above, here's chronological Week 2 schedule (all Saturday) for the rest:

No. 18 UCF (2-0) at North Carolina (0-2), POSTPONED: No game as scheduled on account of Hurricane Florence. Schools are discussing makeup date.

Syracuse (3-0) beats FSU (1-2), 30-7: After barely beating lowly Samford, humbled 'Noles were mere 3-point road faves. Can Willie Taggert survive this?

South Florida (3-0) beats Illinois (2-1), 25-19: Off nice win over Georgia Tech, Bulls should be headed for Top 25 od at least rappin' on the door.

Florida (2-1) beats Colorado State (1-3), 48-10: Gators seem to be finding their a feet after slow start.

FAU (2-1) beats Bethune-Cookman (1-2), 49-28, 6: Fowl Owl on the Prowl! The Lane Train is back on track.  

FIU (2-1) beats UMass (1-3), 63-24: Panthers off nice win at Old Dominion were narrow home faves but showed up big.

Week 3 national Top 25 matchups: No. 12 LSU beats No. 7 Auburn, 22-21; 24-Oklahoma State beats 17-Boise State, 44-21; and 4-Ohio State beats 15-TCU, 40-28.

PicksDOLPHINS-JETS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 2 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to go on the road and upset the Jets on Sunday. I explain why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday (but online Thursday) NFL picks launched with a bang last week as we rolled a nifty 10-5-1 mark against the spread. That's solid. Strong. Now we need to keep it going. Dive into Week 2 Gems for all my latest picks. (Included there is a separate link to Thursday night's Ravens-Bengals pick). Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing wishful thinking.

DanvalerieBACHELOR DAN FINALLY GETS ENGAGED!: As you may know I broke the news on Thursday of Dan Le Batard's recent engagement to girlfriend Valerie Scheide. Go to Le Batard Headed to the Altar for the controversial full story -- controversial in the sense that I didn't warn Dan I was writing it or get his permission and he was less than pleased at being scooped on his own announcement. (Oops!) I think he'll forgive me. I may have to rethink that if you don't hear me on the air this coming Tuesday. Meantime here is the lovely couple and congrats to them both!  

Other select recent columns: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 13, 2018

On Dwyane Wade's big (and delayed) Heat decision. New column; plus Dolphins' Tannehill makes Top 15 in Herald NFL QB rank debut, tonight's Ravens-Bengals pick, latest Back In My Day, Week 1 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State ranking & more

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

Never1) It's THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13. There are some thing we never forget. Hope you took a moment to reflect this week, but not just on 9/11. 2) Scroll to our previous blogpost or get there directly HERE for the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter season-debut results. They're strong! 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins win lightning-delayed season opener with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Week 2 NFL Thursday pick: Bengals are mere 1-point home favorites over Ravens this week in a Thursday night matchup that should interest Dolfans. For my pick: Thursday Gem.

DwadeNEW COLUMN: ON DWYANE WADE'S BIG DECISION: The Heat venerable No. 3 is about to decide (or to reveal) whether he is returning for another NBA season in Miami ... or retiring. Pat Riley has said he hoped for a decision by mid-August. One month later, still no word. What does it mean? Some fans and media have begun to criticize Wade for his delay. That's unjustified, and I explain why in my latest column, which explores the likely what-and-when of Wade's pending decision. While South Florida immerses itself in football, its single most beloved athleteis about to make a decision affecting Miami's only three-time champion pro franchise. For my latest column: On Dwyane Wade's Big Decision.

Most recent other columns: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins. Also: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth It (on Fins' season-opening win) and Soft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QB (on Hurricanes' home-opening win).

BreesBREES-FITZPATRICK SHOOTOUT LEADS THE WAY! / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 1: You'd think the Saints' Drew Brees would look happier about leading the Herald's NFL QB Rankings after Week 1, but I guess the glum look comes from having lost the game to standings runnerup Ryan Fitzpatrick. This launches the Miami Herald's 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL quarterback rankings. Dolphins Ryan Tannehill lands a respectable 13th in the initial Top 15. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Exact formula detailed below). 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. Here we go!
 
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 1
RK    '17    Player, Team                    Week 1/Season

1       2       Drew Brees, NO                    59.95

2       34     Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB             51.85

3       6       Philip Rivers, LAC                 44.20

4       NR    Andrew Luck, IND                 43.95

5       13     Joe Flacco, BAL                    41.80

6       26     Aaron Rodgers, GB                38.30

7       1       Tom Brady, NE                      37.85

8       4       Alex Smith, WAS                   35.75

9       18     Andy Dalton, CIN                  34.15

10     50     Patrick Mahomes, KC            32.80

11     7       Case Keenum, DEN               32.45

12     NR    Sam Darnold, NYJ                 28.90

13     NR    Ryan Tannehill, MIA              28.50

14     9       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 27.20

15     11     Jared Goff, LAR                   25.65

        Bubble: Derek Carr, OAK, 24.15. Week 1/season best: Brees, NO, 59.95 (37-45, 439, 3-0 in loss). Week 1/season worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, minus-12.80 (5-18, 24, 0-2 in loss).
        Herald PASS Championships: 7—Brees (2008-11, '14-16); 6—Peyton Manning (2000, '03-04, '06, '12-13); 2—Kurt Warner (1999, '01) and Tom Brady (2007, '17); 1 each—Steve Young (1998), Rich Gannon (2002) and Carson Palmer (2005).
        Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

ThillNFL WEEK 1 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD AND GOOD!: Every Tuesday in the blog starting today I'll update you on how I did the just-past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and Picks Loboswith my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. So let's get it started in here! Herald picks: Solid week!. Went 10-5-1 overall (Steelers-Browns tied) and also a nifty 10-5-1 against the spread (Seahawks-Broncos pushed at 3). Nailed our Upset of the Week with Bengals over Colts ("Aaawwwk!"). Also called mini-upset by Dolphins, had underdog Bears and Jets with the points, and hit a rare Exacto with Patriots' 27-20 win. Greg's Lobos: What a comeback! Trailed deep into Sunday before heroically rallying to trounce Lorenzo 141-121, behind a giant 42 points from Tyreek Hill (pictured). Also got 23 from old Adrian Peterson, a last-minute start for me. I'm one of the millions of fantasy owners being held hostage by the Le'Veon Bell situation. Given that, we survived opening week nicely.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday starting today I'll rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The kickoff: 1. UCF (2-0); 2. Miami (1-1); 3. South Florida (2-0); 4. Florida (1-1); 5. FAU (1-1); 6. FIU (1-1); 7. Florida State (1-1).

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': BINOCULARS!: This debuted on Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Other select recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say ThanksNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 11, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 86.8%; plus Fins win season opener 27-20 after 2 lightning delays in longest game ever, with my column; also, Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10. Happy birthday to me! 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rout Savannah State with CSM poll, other state Week 2 Collball, NFL Week 1 predictions & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Dolphins make a 7-hour wait worthwhile: Four hours of lightning delays, seven hours total and the Dolphins beat Tennessee 27-20 in their season opener. My column from the stadium, on the game it seemed might never end: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth It.

Our column from UM-Savannah State game: For the Hurricanes, more impressive than beating a really bad team 77-0 was Mark Richt playing all four QBs in an understanding he needs better play there -- from Malik Rosier or someone else. My column: Soft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QB. Also, voting is now final in the Game 2 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. Click HERE for details.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 86.8%: Results are certified in the 2018 season-debut of the 11th year of our blog's Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 86.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon-into-evening's twice-lightning delayed 27-20 season-opening home victory over Tennessee. 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 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The approval rating on Twitter @gregcote was 71%).

Yearly DSM Results: 2017--7.7% (following 6-10 season); 2016--76.2% (10-6/playoff loss); 2015--18.1% (6-10); 2014--2.7% (8-8); 2013--4.2% (8-8); 2012--29.8% (7-9); 2011--34.9% (6-10); 2010--3.8% (7-9); 2009--31.2% (7-9); 2008--96.9% (11-5/playoff loss).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

Next poll: Sept. 16 following game at N.Y. Jets.

TenmiaG1: DOLPHINS 27, TENNESSEE 17: TWO LIGHTNING DELAYS LATER, MIAMI WINS SEASON OPENER: My column from the game: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth It ..... Original post: One year ago, Miami’s season-opening home game was postponed by a hurricane. One year later, the only strong winds affecting this game are emanating from blowhard football media insisting how lousy the Dolphins will be. That Miami is a slight home underdog here on Sunday says much about the low outside expectations. Tennessee, after all, is a team the Fins’ own size, a middling bunch despite somehow getting into the playoffs last season (a mirage unlikely to be repeated under first-year coach Mike Vrabel). Mistake-prone Titans QB Marcus Mariota is in a new Rams-like offense, except notably without anything close to the Rams’ talent. This, plainly, is one of those teetering, winnable games Miami must win if it is to surprise the many skeptics and hang in as a playoff contender. I’m not claiming the Fins enjoy a home-field advantage that’s anything special — the cheapest aftermarket tickets for this game are priced second-lowest ($26) in the league in Week 1 -- but there will be some home bounce. More than that, I think Ryan Tannehill, beginning his comeback season for real, is better than Mariota. I think Kenyan Drake and a judiciously deployed Frank Gore could be a very interesting, successful running back tandem. And I believe the Dolphins in general are better than the doomsaying I have been hearing so much of the offseason. So, technically, if barely: Upset! My pick: Dolphins, 20-17.

[Visit Week 1 Gems for all of our NFL Kickoff Weekend predictions].

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, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami wins opener in (seriously) the longest game EVER: Miami beat Tennessee 27-20. It was a four-quarter game. It started at 1 p.m. It ended just past 7. There were two lightning delays totaling four hours. The Ming Dynasty didn't last as long as this game. "I'm ready to go home," sad coach Adam Gase afterward. Weren't we all!

2. HURRICANES: No amends for opening loss, but UM cruises at home: Well, 77-0 over Savannah State says more about the sorry state of the sad foe than about Miami, but it was an uplifting win after that massive buzzkill against LSU. Mark Richt trotted out all four QBs. Message to Malik Rosier: Be better.

3. TENNIS: Serena falls in controversial U.S. Open final: Serena Williams fell 6-2, 6-4 in the women's U.S. Open final to Japan's young Naomi Osaka, in a controversy-filled match that saw Serena call the chair umpire a thief and later accuse him of sexism. Among Serena's many strengths, losing gracefully has not always been one. Novak Djokovic beat Juan Martin Del Potro and elevated the decorum in the men's final.

4. HEAT: Haslem signs, but still waiting on D.Wade: With the start of training camp looming, Heat Lifer Udonis Haslem unsurprisingly agreed to re-up for a 16th season, signing a 1-year, $2.4 million deal. Only one of 20 roster sports remains open. What'll it be, No. 3? A farewell year? Or retirement? Says here Dwyane Wade will gift Miami with one more year. And should.

5. FIU: Panthers rally to win after two players shot, wounded: FIU rallied to win at Old Dominion 28-20 last night, two days after two Panthers players -- top RB Antonio Jones and OL Mershawn Miller -- were shot in a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, a calamity for the families involved and also the last thing coach Butch Davis could possibly need. Jones' wounds are more serious but said to be non-life threatening.

6. SEMINOLES: FSU escapes colossal embarrassment: May we understate that Tallahassee isn't real sure about new coach Willie Taggert at the moment? After big loss in opener, FSU last night barely prevailed over lowly Samford 36-26, rallying to narrowly escape what would have been a monumental embarrassment.

7. SOCCER: Miami MLS team unveils name and shield: The full name is Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, but it's Inter Miami for short. Shield colors are black and (you heard right) pink, owing to the appearance of two flamingos on the crest. David Beckham's Miami Flamingos (?) open play in Major League Soccer in 2020.

8. MARLINS: Fish on long road trip as they play out string: Miami continues on its 10-game road trip. The only consolation and goals left in this fire sale rebuilding season is whether the Marlins can finish above .400 and not lose 100 games. Currently it's a .394 winning percentage and a loss pace of 98.2. On the bright side, young Sandy Alcantara has been terrific in two starts.

9. GATORS: Ouch. Florida falls in Swamp to Kentucky: The Gator was ranked No. 25 and a 14-point home favorite. So long, poll ranking! It was nice knowin' ya for a minute. 

10. COLIN KAEPERNICK: Nike backs him in bold new ad campaign: Nike, a major business partner of the NFL's, makes blackballed Colin Kaepernick the centerpiece of its new ad campaign that debuted on Thursday Night Football. Trump hated it. Nike stock soared.

Missing the HB10 cut: It's NFL Kickoff Weekend and all I care about is that I gambled and drafted Le'Veon Bell and now I and millions of other fantasyheads are held hostage to his whim ..... Barcelona hopes to play a Spanish league match vs. Girona in January at Hard Rock. If they pack Lionel Messi for the trip, I'm watching ..... Lane Kiffin and FAU beat Air Force. When will Trump's Space Force have a football team? ..... The Seattle vs. Washington WNBA Finals are underway and I can name one player from each team (Sue Bird, Elena Delle Donna) which means my WNBA knowledge is likely greater than your's ..... Tiger Woods. There. Your latest Tiger update ..... Answer: "Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Jason Kidd led a field of 13 new inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame." Question: "What makes you say the Basketball Hall of Fame lets in too many people?" ..... Headlines I Never Thought I'd See (one in a series): 'Tigers Announcers in Physical Altercation After Disagreement Over Chair' ..... Kevin Garnett is suing an accountant for $77 million in lost month. Um, a little slow to notice there were you KG? ..... R.I.P., Burt Reynolds, 82, former FSU running back who, apparently, also was a successful actor ..... Update. Countdown now 2,843 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say ThanksNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 09, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (G2): 73.8%; plus UM routs Savannah State 77-0 as all 4 QBs play in home opener, with my game column; also, rest of state Collbal, NFL Week 1 picks, R.I.P. Burt, farewell Elton & more

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

Ejohn1) It's SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Elton John kicked off his three-year farewell tour last night. Elton's farewell tour will last longer than most others' entire music careers. 2) R.I.P., Burt Reynolds, gone at 82. Saw him as Vic Edwards in "The Last Movie Star" last year. A real actor. Forget the cheeky "Smokey and the Bandit" stuff. Check out the serious roles. He'll be missed. Also was an FSU running back in the '50s. 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy draft poll and results, MLS Miami gets name and logo, latest Back In My Day & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NEW: Tonight began soft stretch in Canes schedule that's all about the quarterback: Don't be overly impressed with Saturday's 77-0 UM win, considering the utterly outmanned opponent. Be more impressed that coach Mark Richt played all four quarterbacks in a newly introduced effort to find a better Malik Rosier ... or his replacement. That's my new column. To read it: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway. Other most recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... and NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 73.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 73.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of 1aa1csmSaturday night's 77-0 home victory over Savannah State putting No. 22-ranked Miami's season record at 1-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- 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, the season as a whole, the 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 9 a.m. today/Monday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote; the unofficial approval there was 40%).  

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

Next poll: Sept. 15 following game at Toledo.

SavumG2: NO. 22 HURRICANES (1-1) 77, SAVANNAH STATE (0-2) 0: A PAUSE TO CORRECT THE FLAWS AS ALL FOUR QBS PLAY: For my column from the stadium off Saturday's UM home opener: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway ..... Original post: Here are two teams that could play, "Who's Coming Off the Worse Loss?" Savannah State, a second-tier FCS-level school, lost 52-0 to Alabama-Birmingham. But Miami's loss, given the stage and stakes, was worse: the 33-17 neutral-site collapse against LSU that sent the Canes cascading down the charts from a No. 8 national ranking to 22nd. Savannah State can't offer redemption this evening/Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hard Rock, but it is a chance for UM to get a little bit of feelgood back after a deflating opener. With the game off the betting boards because of its expected lopsidedness, it would be a bit concerning if Miami didn't cruise by a margin of at least 40 or 50 points. College coaches have it easy. Unlike in the NFL there are games like this one where winning is not a question, so you have the luxury to just flex your roster, tinker with what needs tinkering and not worry the least about the opponent or final score. In this case quarterback play will be under the microscope for coach Mark Richt, with starter Malik Rosier coming off an inaccurate opener that included a pick-six, and with at least two younger QBs expected to see action along with Rosier. The enthusiasm for this Hurricanes season took a huge hit with the opening-week loss. You don't get it back against an opponent like this one. But an impressive rebound win is a necessary first step. My prediction: Hurricanes, 62-3.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami game previewed above, here's chronological Week 2 schedule (all Saturday) for the rest:

South Florida (2-0) defeats Georgia Tech (1-1), 49-38: Bulls had no problem with a small opening opponent (Elon) but now took a  big step up in competition with slightly favored Ga-Tech. And delivered.

FAU (1-1) defeats Air Force (1-1), 33-27: Lane Kiffin got spanked at Oklahoma in a 49-point loss but here was a comfy 9 1/2-point pick in the Owls' home opener.

No. 19 UCF (2-0) defeats South Carolina State (0-2), 38-0: Knights throttled UConn and now got another softy in an off-the-board mismatch. 

FSU (1-1) defeats Samford (1-1), 36-26: Noles tumbled from rankings (19th) after a 24-3 spanking by 20-Virginia Tech that ended new coach Willie Taggert's honeymoon right quick. Now they get to take it out on poor lil' Samford, Bobby Bowden's alma mater. Except they almost lost! Lucky Noles needed a late rally to avoid a monumental embarrassment.

Kentucky (2-0) defeats No. 25 Florida (1-1), 27-16: Gators entered poll, albeit barely, after 53-6 rout of Charleston Southern but their stay will be short-lived after terrible loss as 14-point Swamp favorites.  

FIU (1-1) defeats Old Dominion (0-2), 28-20: FIU opened with 10-point loss to Indiana but was 1-point road fave in this conference game, and neatly rallied from 17 down to win behind James Morgan's three TD passes. Of more gravity, two FIU players -- top RB Antonio Jones and OL Mershawn Miller -- were shot in a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, a calamity for the families and the last thing coach Butch Davis needed. Miller's wound was minor. Jones' wounds are serious but non-life threatening and Davis said "encouraging reports" suggest a recovery.

Week 2 national Top 25 matchups: The only two: No. 3 Georgia defeats No. 24 South Carolina, 41-17; and 10-Stanford defeats 17-Southern Cal, 17-3.

Picks RtannyWELCOME BACK, UPSET BIRD! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Oh lord here come our 28th season of Friday (but online Thursday) NFL picks. When we started this endeavor in 1991 Ryan Tannehill was a 2-year-old toddling around Lubbock, Texas and (if memory serves) Tom Brady was an NFL rookie. All these years later we haven't been fired yet are still at it. For Kickoff Weekend we bring you our picks for Dolphins-Titans, our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and more. Dive into Week 1 Gems for the whole package. (It includes a link to last night's Falcons-Eagles pick. Atlanta led much of the way toward our upset call; alas, Philly prevailed late). By the way, the Upset Bird is back. But please follow our picks, anyway. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield. At left, Tannehill is shouting at you, "Hey, read Greg Cote's picks, everybody. But only when he picks us to win!"

Other select recent columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote