« Greg's Lobos: Mock (or laud) my team. Annual fantasy draft blind poll. VOTE NOW!: plus 3 football preview columns, 30th year of NFL picks debut this week, new Greg Cote Show podcast with Chuck Todd & more | Main | G1: @New England 21, Dolphins 11: Power shift in AFC East? (Not yet). My column off game; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) as Fins opener, Heat-Celtics vie for top; also, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 28 out now & more »

NFL Week 1 picks: Dolphins-Pats, Brady-Brees and all the rest!; plus It's Heat-Celtics!, Hurricanes slap UAB 31-14. My 6-Pack 'o Thoughts; also, Chuck Todd talks Canes on latest Greg Cote Show podcast, your verdict on Lobos fantasy draft, 9/11 & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12. HEAT-CELTICS. EAST FINALS. GAME 1 TUESDAY. DELICIOSO! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual Grade-My-Fantasy-Draft poll, NFL picks prepare for debut, our Football Special-Section Triumvirate, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 27 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

OUR FOOTBALL SPECIAL-SECTION TRIUMVIRATE!:

TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE

WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS

FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 27 STARRING CHUCK TODD OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with new Episode 27! New episodes drop early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 27 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep27 we welcome in very special guest Chuck Todd, the NBC Meet the Press moderator who also happens to be Miami born and raised and a huge Hurricanes fans. He talks growing up in the 3-0-5, UM football and also a bit of politics. What was his pinch-me moment? The answer will surprise you. Greg and Chris also talk Heat-Bucks. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore -- the royal J's. Here all that and more on the the Greg Cote Show podcast now!

Picks RavenIT'S UPSET BIRD WEEK IN AMERICA! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid '19, we begin our 30th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald with our Week 1 selections for Dolphins-Patriots, our Game of the Week -- the Brady vs. Brees 'Old G.O.A.T.s Bowl,' the Upset of the Week and all the rest. We picked four big upsets. ("Aawwk!," says the Upset Bird, pictured). Is a Dolphins road win one of those upsets? To find out please visit NFL Week 1 Gems for our previews and picks on every matchup. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print). Visit Week 1 Thursday Gem for our separate Texans-Chiefs pick. We had a split verdict on Chiefs' 34-20 win to cover the 9-point spread. Had KC winning 34-17 for a Texans cover. Expected a bit more from Deshaun Watson. I’m coming off a solid 2019 for my picks: a .663 winning percentage straight-up and .518 against the point spread. That followed a record-setting 2018: .705 overall and .582 vs. the betting line. To those who’ve followed our picks for years, welcome back. To newbies out there, welcome aboard. We take our picks seriously but have fun doing 'em. Ready? Go!

DkingG1: HURRICANES SLAP UAB 31-14 AS NEW QB KING SHINES: SIX PACK 'O THOUGHTS: 1. Relief. That was the feeling off the start of Manny Diaz 2.0. "Couldn't be more proud of our players," Diaz said. "Just everything they did to get us to this day. They did everything we asked during the summer. We kept each other safe. They gave us the opportunity to play today." More relief: UAB was a Conference USA foe. The last two of those -- FIU and Louisiana Tech -- embarrassed Miami late last season. Progress. 2. D'Eriq King. The transfer QB was dual-threat solid, 16-24 passing with a TD, 83 yards rushing with two more scores, 227 yards total. RB Cam'Ron Harris (134 hyards) also stood out. 3. The defense. It forced 11 punts but had zero takeaways and only one sack. More will be needed as competition gets bigger. 4. A kicker! UM finally has one. After last year's nightmare on fields goals and extra points, Jose Borregales is a delight! 5. The crowd. The 8,153 being well below the 13K max allowed by coronavirus protocols was no surprise. UAB would-a been tough draw anyway, even for a season opener. 6. My pick. Canes won 31-14. I said they'd win 34-13. Sorry. I'll do better next time. Original post: Trying to pretend any of this is normal as the Canes open their season in a pandemic before a Hard Rock Stadium crowd that will be capped at 13,000 max due to COVID-19 protocols Thursday night at 8, beamed across ACC Network. Will even that many fans risk it to show up? I can tell you UM was still pushing available tickets late Wednesday. UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) is a lesser opponent, with Miami a 14-point favorite, but that alone makes this game an instant measuring stick for The U based on last year's travails. UM's 6-7 season in 2019 include losses to Conference USA foes FIU, the crosstown little bro, and Louisiana Tech, 14-0, in the Why Bother Even Playing In It Bowl. Both were embarrassing losses. Well, UAB is also a C-USA team, and the modest two-TD point spread suggests lingering doubt about unranked (but receiving votes) Miami. The big unveiling of dynamic transfer (from Houston ) QB D'Eriq King is this game's centerpiece. King has as much Heisman Trophy buzz (no, seriously) as any player not named Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, so let's begin to see if the hype is justified. This would be the right game to pad those stats and kick-start the campaign. Miami should roll pretty easily. I thought thata few times last year and got burned. Let's see how new and improved the Canes really are in the Year of Manny 2.0. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-13. Crowd, sub-13K.

[Note to readers: The Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (and Dolfan Satisfaction Meter) postgame polls have retired. After a long and successful run, we are using this weird pandemic season to make a clean break. Thanks to all you many CSM and DSM fans who have participated over the years!]

Other state FBS games this week:

Georgia Tech at FSU (Saturday 3:30 ABC) -- Seminoles a solid 12 1/2-point pick at The Doak. Noles visit UM September 26.

The Citadel at South Florida (Saturday 7 ESPNU) -- Bulls a three-TD (20.5-point) pick to do the goring.

FantFANTASY DRAFT VERDICT: YOU BLIND-VOTED GREG'S LOBOS MID-PACK: Had our annual blind poll inviting you all to rate the 10 teams in my friends 'n family PPR league based on everyone's top five draft picks. Your verdict: 1st--Team #8 (Top pick Dalvin Cook) 25.32%--That's Brandon's team, a family friend. 2nd--Team #3 (Ezekiel Elliott) 17.72%--Alex, another friend. 3rd--Team #1 (Christian McCaffrey) 16.46%--Cori, my daughter-in-law's sister. 4th--Team #5 (Patrick Mahomes) 11.39%--Dick, my brother. t5th--Team #2 (Saquon Barkley) 8.86%--Chris, my eldest son. t5th--Team #4 (Michael Thomas) 8.86%--Me, Greg's Lobos! Others--3.79% each: Christie my daughter-in-law; Joe, my nephew; and Earleen, my wife. No votes:  Michael, my youngest son.

Other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic and our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2: Lifting Spirits And A City: Heat, Up 2-0, Continue Pandemic Playoff Run and Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency. Also: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk. And: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Special Don Shula tribute: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me.

George Floyd-related: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Select columns from earlier in 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / and two-part series on how Dolphins' Glory Day happened: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

Comments