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10 posts from December 2020

December 31, 2020

Bowl: Hurricanes' bowl-woes continue with Cheez-It loss. Our column; plus Greg Cote Show podcast's Year-End Extravaganza, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy 16 results, newest Dolphins, Heat columns & more

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

Newyeareve1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31. Happy New Year's Eve, everybody! And by happy I mean this cursed year is almost over. Now stay home and celebrate quietly. There's a pandemic, in case you hadn't heard. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' miracle win at Las Vegas, 'Greg Cote Tuesdays' bid farewell on ESPN, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 15 results, Greg Cote Show podcasts' holiday edition coming & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

'Greg Cote Tuesdays' era ends on ESPN: Last week was our final Tuesday cohosting on the Le Batard Show under the ESPN umbrella. Thank you all much for the outpouring. The show's next and final day on ESPN will be Monday January 4. It will continue as a pirate ship on January 5 until it finds a new home. Will my role on the show continue? Ya neva know! (Stay  tuned...).

Dolphins and Heat: Our most recent columns: The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / and For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

MiaosuBOWL: HURRICANES RALLY BUT FALL 37-34 TO OKLAHOMA STATE IN CHEEZ-IT BOWL: Miami ends season 8-3 with Tuesday's 37-34 Cheez-It Bowl loss to Oklahoma State in Orlando, making it 10 losses in past 11 bowls for The U. Miami rallied from a fast 21-0 deficit, with N'Kosi Perry ably replacing injured D'Eriq King. My column off the game: 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue yet Again ..... Original post: Today, 5:30 p.m., Orlando, ESPN -- the first Power 5 conference matchup of bowl season. That bad news? It's the Cheez-It Bowl. It's a consolation bowl for two teams that Cheez-itexpected more. Oklahoma State began this pandemic season thinking Big 12 championship. Miami late in the season was top-10 and thinking Orange Bowl. Then ... the Cheez-It Bowl. OSU lost three times. UM got embarrassed 62-26 by North Carolina, giving up 554 rushing yards. So, here we are, in only these schools' second-ever meeting (1991). Miami opened a slight favorite but money on the Cowboys made OSU a 1 1/2-point pick by this afternoon. OSU averages 194.7 yards rushing per game so it'll be trouble for UM if the same Canes run-D that got run over by UNC shows up again. QB D'Eriq King will be the best player on the field, which makes us lean Hurricanes. Two caveats: 1) Canes sack men Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche opted out of this bowl to prepare for the NFL draft; i.e., to avoid getting injured. That erases a big UM advantage here. 2) Miami tends to crap the bed in bowl games. (Sorry for the candor). UM has lost nine of its past 10 bowls, including that beyond-embarrassing 14-0 loss to Louisiana Tech last year. It makes likely Miami here tough. I'm doin' it anyway. My pick: Upset! Hurricanes, 31-27.

Coteshow YearendGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW HOLIDAY/YEAR-END EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our new Episode 42 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 42 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the new Ep41, it's a festive, song-filled romp as Greg and Chris review the past year (actually, 10 months) of this grand podcast experiment and share their favorite and least-favorite bits from the show — as well as their least- and most-favorite guests, and the most- and least-popular episodes based on listener downloads. Fun snippets from throughout the past year are included. Also in the the new podcast: Greg and Chris discuss their holiday gifts, rhapsodize about Saturday’s miraculous Miami Dolphins win at Las Vegas (spawning a spur-of-the-moment tribute jingle for Ryan FitzMagic, and also discuss the Miami Hurricanes’ upcoming bowl game. There also is big news on the future of the love-it-or-hate-it Mount Gregmore. Hear all of that and more in the new podcast out now!

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 16 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Good and good!: Week 16 was a nice bounceback from a recent lull. We went 12-4 overall and 10-6 against the spread -- solid on both. We bull's-eyed yet another Upset of the Week with Steelers over Colts ("Aawwk!"), had a second outright upset with Cowboys over Eagles, and also hit on a trio of 'dog-covers by 49ers, Falcons and Bengals. This is our 30th season of picks in the Herald and we thank you for following along! Greg's Lobos: The good news? It's over: Lobos finished 6-10 with a 141-88 loss in the consolation playoffs of our 10-team PPR friends 'n  family PFPI Fantasy league. Finished eight of 10, bitten by terrible injury luck (Dak Prescott, Michael Thomas). Our MVL? The Most Valuable Lobo? Aaron Jones! Slim pickins', but, still.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 28, 2020

Do you believe in (Christmas) miracles? Dolphins win at Las Vegas, 26-25, as Fitzpatrick leads rally; plus NFL Week 16 picks, Heat and Dolphins columns, my last Le Batard Show for ESPN, Greg Cote Show podcast news & more

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

Xmas201) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 28. Hope y'all had enjoyed the long Christmas Weekend! 2) Hot Button Top 10 had Sunday off. See you back here next Sunday. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins handle Patriots, Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 41 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

The 'Greg Cote Tuesdays' era ends on ESPN: Today was our final day cohosting on the Le Batard Show under the ESPN umbrella. Thank you all so much for the outpouring. The show's next and final day on ESPN will be Monday January 4. The show will continue as a pirate ship on January 5 until it finds a new home. Nothing is official, but I hope my role on the show might continue. Stay  tuned.

Miami Heat a Disrespected Returning Finalist, and Opening Loss Won't Help: My column off Wednesday night's season-opening Heat loss to the Magic in Orlando: Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener.

MialvG15: DOLPHINS 26 @RAIDERS 25: MIAMI GREATLY INCREASES PLAYOFFS CHANCES WITH MIRACLE RALLY!: The Christmas Weekend miracle in one word: FitzMagic ..... Original post: I of little faith picked Dolphins to lose to New England last week and took a big L. Well, I’m nervous for Miami again in this prime-time end to NFL Week 16’s Saturday tripleheader (8:15 p.m., NFL Network). High stakes for sure. Miami hangs onto seventh and last AFC playoff ticket and can ill afford a loss here. Vegas, with more time to prepare after playing last Thursday, needs a win and a miracle. A wrench in this pick: QB Derek Carr (groin) is cleared to play, but there has been some thought Jon Gruden may surprise and go with Marcus Mariota, who offers more of a dual-threat with the run. Either way, Raiders’ offense will struggle vs. Fins D. And Vegas’ defense should be little match for a Dolphins attack that hopes to have back RB Myles Gaskin as well as top receivers DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki and Jakeem Grant. That could make it a big-numbers night for rookie Tua Tagovailoa. So why am I nervous for Miami? A) Vegas is home and Gruden is as desperate to win as a man can be. And B) Following the Dolphins closely the past 20 years has made me mistrust the idea of good things happening. Still, there are two comparatively productive offenses in this game but only one quality defense — one great defense vs. one awful one, actually. That’s enough to steer any pick with some confidence. My pick: Dolphins (-3), 30-20. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 16 Gems. Our column as rookie QB navigates his most telling month: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

FinsneTHE KING IS DEAD! DOLPHINS VICTORY SUNDAY ENDS DYNASTY FOR BELICHICK, PATRIOTS: The king is dead. There when it happened Sunday, causing it, the Miami Dolphins — the once downtrodden-now-rising franchise that had suffered so long under the ruler’s iron hand. Miami’s 22-12 home victory against the New England Patriots advanced the new-era Fins, now 9-5, closer to an NFL playoff ticket and continued the fresh bloom on the blossoming era of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. It did more than that, though. It ended Bill Belichick’s Patriots dynasty. The loss eliminated the now 6-8 Pats from postseason contention, ending a run of 11 consecutive playoff appearances for Belichick, and a run of Super Bowl championship-gilded excellence going back ever further. Tom Brady left Belichick during the offseason. The greatest epoch in football history left the old coach Sunday, becoming a thing of memory, of history. Of used to be. The postgame handshake might as well have been a symbolic passing of a baton as Belichick met his protege, Brian Flores, who in his second season here, ahead of schedule, has transformed the Dolphins with a winning culture and should be NFL Coach of the Year. For our complete column off Sunday's Miami win, visit The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 15 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Mixed, but another tough hit ATS: Week 15 was another tough one as the late-season sledding turns rocky. We were an OK 10-6 overall but (ouch) only 4-9-3, as the Colts, Cardinals and Chiefs wins all pushed. Missed two other games by 1 and 2 points against the spread. We did bull's-eye another Upset of the Week with Cowboys beating 49res ("Aawwk!"), and Washington covering over Seattle, but not much else went right. Nothing to do now but shake it off and finish strong! This is our 30th season of picks in the Herald and we thank you for following along! Greg's Lobos: A win, but no joy: Lobos improved to 6-9 with a playoff win, 108-99, thanks to 28 point from Marvin Jones and 25 from Aaron Jones. But it's the consolation playoffs, so no celebrating here.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: WHAT'S AHEAD AFTER HOLIDAY WEEK OFF: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our latest Episode 41 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. We're taking this holiday week off but you can find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. It's a great week to catch on up on what you've missed so please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins, Canes and Heat. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. (But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out!) Hear all of that and more in the latest podcast -- and stay tuned for a special new year-end episode dropping December 28! Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out our latest Ep41 now.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 21, 2020

G14: Dolphins 24, New England 12: Big defense (again), and the king is dead. My column off game; plus jam-packed new Hot Button Top10 (updated), Greg Cote Show podcast news & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 21. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): College football's Championship Weekend and Canes/OB outlooks, NFL Week 15 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 41 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

G14: DOLPHINS 22, NEW ENGLAND 12: MORE BIG DEFENSE, AND THE KING IS DEAD: For my column off Sunday's Dolphins win: The King Is Dead. Dolphins' Win Sunday Ends Dynasty For Belichick, Patriots. ..... Original post: This is disrespect, folks. If "bulletin board material" is still a thing in 2020, the Dolphins have some here. Miami — better record, better offense, better defense, and home — is a negligible 1-point favorite Sunday at 1 p.m. (CBS) vs. New England. The line opened at 2 1/2 but was Nemiabet down as gambled money flowed to the Patriots. Why? Habit, for one. Miami is disrespected because this season hasn’t erased from the public mind all those years when New England reigned over the AFC East and the Fins were also-rans. (Do we trust that all that has now changed?). And there is this: post-Tom Brady, Bill Belichick still famously has his mastery over rookie quarterbacks he faces. He takes raw QBs to the woodshed. His Pats have beaten nine rookie passers in a row since last losing to one in 2013. The latest was Justin Herbert in a 45-0 thrashing just two weeks ago. It is not far-fetched to think the Pats will dial up trouble for Tua Tagovailoa. There is also a revenge factor in play. MIA beat NE in the 2019 season finale to deny the Patrots an all-important first-round playoff bye. Now the Pats, with but a scant hope of making the postseason, can play spoiler and hugely damage Miami’s hopes. Oh and this: New England played last Thursday, so Genius Bill had had added time to outmaneuver one of his disciples, Bran Flores. This is not nothing: Belichick teams have won 21 of past 25 games with added time to rest and prepare. The disrespect in the betting line has tangible roots, too, though. It’s rested Pats vs. banged-up Fins. Tua will likely be without TE Mike Gesicki and WRs DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant -- all inactive today. With Miami’s big-play defense able to disrupt Cam Newton anything is possible. But Belichick, vs. a rookie QB, with extra time to prepare, remains too good to pass up. Mini-upset! My pick: Patriots (+1), 23-19. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 15 Gems. Column as rookie QB navigates his most telling month: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 20-21): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Belichick's rookie-killing streak screeches to a halt Sunday vs. Tua: Patriots at Dolphins Sunday distilled perhaps to Bill Belichick's scary-good track record (9-0 run) vs. rookie quarterbacks. Enter Tua Tagovailoa. A home loss by the 8-5 Dolphins would have been a huge hit to playoff hopes. Instead Miami eliminated the Patriots 24-12. And the king is dead.

2. HEAT: It's Opening Week for Miami's 33rd NBA season: After a 1-1 preseason the NBA Finals-runnerup Heat open the new 2020-21 season on Wednesday in Orlando and then  Christmas Day at home vs. New Orleans. Heat will start the season with no fans permitted at home games due to COVID. Miami isn't getting much respect/love from the betting public. Heat is tied for fourth favorite to repeat as East champs, after Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Boston.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Championship Weekend sets predictable CFP: Alabama and Clemson were assured spots in the College Football Playoff final four semifinals after Saturday's results, it would have be shocking if Ohio State wasn't invited, too, and a one-loss Notre Dame seemed likely to be in as well. Sure enough, that was it: Alabama vs. Notre Dame and Clemson vs. Ohio State playing to see who reaches the CFP title game in Miami. The odd-man-out left to complain about everything and call for an expanded playoff: Texas A&M.

4. RECRUITING: Canes ranked 10th in early signing day bounty: Softening the blow of the UNC loss and bowl fallout (see below), the Hurricanes bounced with with an early National Signing Day class ranked 10th by ESPN. The bounty included nine ESPN 300 athletes led by quarterback Jake Garcia, heir to D'Eriq King, and five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor.

5. HURRICANES: Cheez-It!? UM feels devastation of late loss: The result of Miami's season-ending 62-26 loss to UNC went far beyond UM plummeting 10 spots to 18th in the polls. The loss meant Canes blew a ticket to the hometown Orange Bowl and instead will settle for the Cheez-it Bowl in Orlando vs. Oklahoma State. Orange to Cheez-It. Same color, different stratosphere as Canes fail to finish a promising season.

6. ORANGE BOWL: OB lands Texas A&M to pair with UNC: The Orange Bowl seems likely to pair either Texas A&M or Florida with North Carolina in its January 2 game at Hard Rock Stadium. Can't-miss choice. No. 5 A&M is the team that most closely missed the College Football Playoff. Gators just gave No. 1 Alabama a 52-46 scare and would be the people's choice in South Florida. Choice: A&M. 

7. PANTHERS: Cats add scoring punch with Duclair: The Florida Panthers agreed on a one-year contract with winger Anthony Duclair, 25, a first-time all-star who scored a career-best 23 goals for Ottawa last season. The NHL will play a truncated 56-game 2020-21 season beginning January 13. The league has not said whether teams will play in hub cities or their own arenas.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes fall hard in biggest early-season test: The unranked 4-1 Miami Hurricanes women's team visited No. 4 North Carolina State on Sunday in its biggest test of the young season and got spanked 78-47. The UM men also are now 4-2 after Saturday's home win over Jacksonville.

9. SOCCER: Updated Champions League odds after round-of-16 draw: Germany's Bayern Munich and England's Manchester City and Liverpool emerge as top three betting favorites to win the UEFA Champions League after the recent round-of-16 draw at the conclusion of group-stage play. The first leg of the round-of-16 is February 16-24 and the second March 9-17. 

10. GOLF: Tiger, Charlie don't win, but win, father/son event: The PNC Championship, an annual father/son golf event, was won by Justin Thomas and his father Mike in Orlando. But all eyes were on Tiger Woods and 11-year-old son Charlie, the youngest to ever compete in the event. They finished seventh, but won hearts.

Missing the HB10 cut: Started your Christmas shopping yet? That's why God invented the gift card ..... Inter Miami coach Diego Alonso’s remains on the job (for now) after mistakenly believing he had been let-go in a year-end meeting. Now come reports is a subject of interest from his former Uruguayan club Penarol to return as manager ..... Stanford's Tara VanDerveer won her 1,099th game to pass Pat Summitt for most career wins in women's college basketball. UConn's Geno Auriemma is right behind them ..... Drew Brees returns from injury for Saints today to enhance their Game of the Week matchup with Chiefs ..... Canelo Alvarez, maybe boxing's biggest star, dominated previously unbeaten Callum Smith in a unanimous decision Saturday in San Antonio to consolidate the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is off this week with no new episode Monday. Perfect chance to check our our 41-pod back catalog! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,017 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: WHAT'S AHEAD AFTER HOLIDAY WEEK OFF: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our latest Episode 41 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. We're taking this holiday week off but you can find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. It's a great week to catch on up on what you've missed so please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins, Canes and Heat. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. (But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out!) Hear all of that and more in the new podcast -- and stay tuned for a special new year-end episode dropping December 28! Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out our latest Ep41 now.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 19, 2020

The Road to Miami: On college football's Championship Weekend, CFP, bowl outlooks for Canes and OB; plus NFL Week 15 picks: Dolphins-Patriots, Chiefs-Saints, 3 big upsets and the rest; also, latest Greg Cote Show podcast a must-hear for pet owners & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 41, Chargers-Raiders pick, NFL Week 14 Pix 'n Fantasy results and QB rankings & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

THE ROAD TO MIAMI COMES CLEAR ON SATURDAY: Miami and Hard Rock Stadium will host the College Football Playoff national championship game on January 11, following New Year's Day semifinals in Pasadena and New Orleans. Here are the five games on Saturday (chronologically) that will have an impact in determining the Chosen Four teams invited into the CFP: 

CfpNo. 14 Northwestern (6-1) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (5-0): Big Ten championship, noon, Indianapolis -- It's simple. The Buckeyes, favored by 20, must win to get in.

No. 5 Texas A&M (7-1) at Tennessee (3-6): Regular season, noon -- Aggies, 14-point faves, will look to win resoundingly and pray Ohio State loses.

No. 10 Oklahoma (7-2) vs. No. 6 Iowa State (8-2): Big 12 championship, noon, Arlington -- With an upset, 6-point 'dog Iowa State would have a case for leapfrogging A&M into the top four should Ohio State lose.

No. 3 Clemson (9-1) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame (10-0): ACC championship, 4 p.m., Charlotte -- The big one. Irish beat Tigers 47-40 in double-OT November 7 -- but Clemson was missing star QB Trevor Lawrence. Not this time, so Tigers are 10 1/2-point favorites. Chances are good, though, that both will be in the CFP with even the loser likwly not dropping lower than fourth.

No. 1 Alabama (10-0) vs. No. 7 Florida (8-2): SEC championship, 8 p.m., Atlanta -- Crimson Tide are 17-point favorites and quite possibly would remain in top four even with an unlikely loss. The better question: Would a shocking upset lift the Gators into the CFP assuming Ohio State won?

Prediction on CFP semifinal after Saturday's results: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Notre Dame; No 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State. 

BOWL OUTLOOK FOR HURRICANES, OTHER STATE FBS TEAMS, ORANGE BOWL: Eleven bowl games have canceled because of COVID but 32 are still being played. Here's the is the outlook for the Orange Bowl, the Miami Hurricanes and other state FBS teams:

CheezOrange Bowl: January 2, Miami -- Oh, what might have been! December began with the OB looking like Frida Gators vs. Miami Hurricanes. Oh well. Settle for what's looking like North Carolina vs. Texas A&M. Canes fans and OB officials ate crestfallen.

Miami Hurricanes -- All indications are it'll be UM vs. Oklahoma State in the December 29 Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando. The good news? Big step up for Miami from the ignominy of last year's sad matchup with Louisiana Tech in the minor Independence Bowl after a 6-6 season. The bad news? With one spectacularly ill-timed, lay-down loss to North Carolina the Canes fell from the Orange Bowl to ... the Cheez-It Bowl. Which alone and in and of itself is a resounding, irrefutable answer to the ubiquitous question, "Is The U back?"

Florida Gators -- Pending Saturday results it's looking like Gators vs. Oklahoma in the December 30 Cotton Bowl.

FAU Owls -- Confirmed: Owls vs. Memphis in the December 23 Montgomery Bowl.

UCF Knights -- Confirmed: UCF vs. BYU in the December 22 Boca Raton Bowl. 

FSU Seminoles -- There is speculation FSU may face Louisiana in the December 26 Gasparilla Bowl. Yes, the Seminoles are 3-6 entering Saturday's finale vs. Wake Forest, but pandemic rules have waived minimum-wins requirement. Still, geez have a little pride, 'Noles! Your season deserves no reward. Stay home.

PicksNFL WEEK 15 PICKS: DOLPHINS-PATRIOTS, CHIEFS-SAINTS (GOTW), 3 BIG UPSETS AND ALL THE REST: Week 14 was rough on us, folks. We staggered in at 9-7 overall and [censored] against the spread. I cannot say what it was here because there are no obscenities allowed in the blog. Although you can un fortunately find it in the link below. We move on! Topping our Week 15 marquee: Patriots at Dolphins, a.k.a. rookie-killer Bill Belichick vs. Tua Tagovailoa. Miami at 8-5 is hanging onto the seventh and last AFC playoff spot going in and can ill-afford a loss in its regular season home finale. Also in this week's picks we highlight our Chiefs-Saints Game of the Week and our Upset of the Week among three upset picks in total. This is our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and we thank you for joining us on the journey. For our latest picks for the entire slate of 16 games, visit NFL Week 15 Gems. Our week got off to a luckless start Thursday night. Wehad the Raiders (-3 1/2) winning and covering at home over the Chargers, but the Bolts prevailed 30-27 in overtime. Luckless? Vegas QB Derek Carr's early injury-exit. Hey, no complaints, as the Luck Door swings both ways. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print.

Coteshow PetsGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: ATTENTION PET OWNERS! NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 41 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins' Sunday loss to Kansas City, the Canes' awful defensive collapse and the Heat/James Harden rumor. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out! Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep41 now!

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 17, 2020

New Greg Cote Show podcast: Animal psychologist on dogs and cats, Dolphins, mysterious future of Mount Gregmore; plus tonight's Chargers-Raiders pick, NFL Week 14 Pix 'n Fantasy results and updated QB rankings & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall to Chiefs, Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 41 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Tonight's Chargers-Raiders pick: Watch for a Justin Herbert-Derek Carr shootout and not a lot of defense. our pick: NFL Week 15 Thursday Gem.

Updated Herald NFL QB rankings: A rookie wins Week 14. (No, unfortunately not that rookie). And the overall season lead is getting close! Check out Herald NFL Week 14 QB Rankings.

Coteshow PetsGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 41 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins' Sunday loss to Kansas City, the Canes' awful defensive collapse and the Heat/James Harden rumor. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out! Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep41 now!

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 14 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Ouch. Took a hit against the spread: Week 14 was unkind to us, delivering a subpar 9-7 mark overall and a far worse 5-11 against the spread, our worst this season ATS. We had some nice plays. Nailed our Upset of the Week with Denver winning at Carolina ("Aawwk!"). Had a second outright upset bull's-eye with Washington winning at San Fran, and also had Dolphins-with-points covering vs. Kansas City. The rest we won't mention. Wrong side of too many point spreads. We move on. Glad you're along for the ride on our 30th season of picks in the Herald! Greg's Lobos: A loss in (consolation) playoffs: Lobos almost made main playoffs even at 5-8 but fell short, then lost in first rou d of consolation playoffs 188-73. (How in hell does a team capable of 188 points not make the Championship Playoffs? But 73 points won't win much, either; neither will 18 points (Chris Carson) for a leading scorer. This is PFPI Fantasy, our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league. We'll keep you posted on the big finish.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

Select recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 14, 2020

G13: Kansas City 33, @Dolphins 27: So much went right for Miami, but...; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Canes embarrassed, Harden rumors, Gators lose to flying shoe; also, new Greg Cote Show podcast drops Monday & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 14. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes fall hard to North Carolina, Greg Cote Show podcast, recent columns & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 41 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins' Sunday loss to Kansas City, the Canes' awful defensive collapse and the Heat/James Harden rumor. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out! Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep41 now!

KcmiaTuaMahG13: KANSAS CITY 33, @DOLPHINS 27: SO MUCH WENT RIGHT, BUT...: Tua threw for a career-high 316 yards. The defense intercepted Mahomes three times and forced four Chiefs turnovers, Fins fought hard and rallied from 20 points down. A lot of good Sunday. A lot of proof that Miami  can compete with any team. But Kansas City showed that champions find a way. ..... Original post: Coming off a big week for Miami. The Dolphins won again, easily handling Cincy to make it a 7-1 run, the playoffs within reach. The 1972 Dolphins won again, too, with Pittsburgh’s loss making it a 48th consecutive season no other team has equaled Miami’s Perfection. (If there’s a heaven, they were raising a toast to Don Shula up there. Down here, too). Now, in the all-good-things-must-end category, come Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. I do give Miami a legit upset shot as 7 1/2-point home 'dogs in the 1 p.m. kickoff (CBS) at Hard Rock Stadium. It’s why this was in my mix for Game of the Week. The Dolphins defense is for-real legit. Don’t know if anybody can stop Tyreek Hill, but Xavien Howard is waving around eight interceptions and raising his hand. Also note that KC’s last four wins have been by one score, 15 points total. Chiefs have lately been finding a way more than dominating. Mahomes has not faced a particularly rugged schedule and the Dolphins might just be his toughest test yet. Having said all that, Mahomes is Mahomes. The best. Hill and TE Travis Kelce can seem unstoppable. Now RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns from an illness. Miami’s paths to an upset are A) Tua Tagovailoa getting into an arms-race shootout with Mahomes, or B) Miami’s defense being at its absolute best. Choose B. Might not be enough to win, but should be enough to stay on the right side of the betting line.

My pick: Chiefs (-7 1/2), 24-20. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 14 Gems. Column as rookie QB begins his most telling month: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 13-14): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature, back after one week off, 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Miami does a lot right but loses to Chiefs anyway: What if I told you Tua would pass for a career-high 316 yards and Miami's D would intercept Patrick Mahomes three times and have four takeaways? Sounds like a win over the reigning Super Bowl champs, right? It was a 33-27 loss instead as Miami squandered a 10-0 lead, fell behind by 20 and rallied. Now 8-5, Fins may need to win two of last three games to reach playoffs.

2. HURRICANES: UM gets run all over in crushing home loss to UNC: Unfathomable. But it happened. Beyond embarrassing. But it happened. No. 10 Miami got crushed 62-26 by No. 17 North Carolina at Hard Rock Saturday -- giving up NCAA-record 554 yards rushing. A win in the regular season finale would have assured an invite to the hometown Orange Bowl. Now, at 8-2, Canes will cascade in the polls and face shopping for a lesser bowl. A devastating, epic defeat for Manny Diaz and his program.

3. HEAT: Exhibitions, Harden rumors, then a new season: Miami plays exhibition games Monday/tonight vs. New Orleans and Friday at Toronto, then opens the new season Dec. 23 at Orlando and Christmas Day at home vs. the Pelicans. Heat will start the season with no fans permitted at home games due to COVID. Meantime speculation swirls that Miami could be interested if Houston decides to trade James Harden. Could the man be taking his beard to South Beach? Odds are against it, but don't discount Pat Riley's propensity to make a big splash.

4. GATORS: Flying shoe costs No. 6 Florida in loss: The high-ranked Gators were beaten by unranked LSU 37-34 in the Swamp Saturday on a 57-yard field goal in final seconds. The Tigers were stopped and overtime seemed likely before Gators defender Marco Wilson threw a defender's shoe downfield, drawing a penalty and keeping LSU alive. Six plays later, the deciding FG. Marco Wilson, welcome to Gator infamy.

5. BERNIE ROSEN: Miami TV-sports legend passes away: The most significant pioneer in South Florida TV sports coverage, Bernie Rosen, died at 93. He was to Miami TV what Edwin Pope was in print. Rosen founded the first local television sports department in the state at WTVJ in 1949 and continued a presence in local press boxes long after his retirement. R.I.P., sir.

6. INTER MIAMI: Changes underway as MLS club preps for second season: The club announced sporting director (i.e. GM) Paul McDonough had stepped down, and that options had been declined on eight players including veteran goalkeeper Luis Robles. And future of coach Diego Alonso is unclear. David Beckham's Inter Miami finished inaugural season 7-13-3 with quick exit from expanded MLS playoffs.

7. SOCCER: Champions League round-of-16 draw is Monday: The UEFA Champions League round-of-16 draw is Monday/today in Switzerland, with eight group winners and eight runnersup advancing. Manchester City and Bayern Munich got through cleanest with 5-0-1 group runs for 16 points. The first leg of the round-of-16 is February 16-24 and the second March 9-17. 

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women absorb first losses: Both Miami teams are 3-1 after the men lost Saturday to Florida Gulf Coast and the women fell Thursday to No. 20 Syracuse. Canes men are back at it Wednesday vs. Pitt; the women host North Carolina on Monday/tonight.

9. PANTHERS: Details emerge on new NHL season: NHL owners and players have targeted a January 13 start date for the 2020-21 season, and a reduced schedule of 52 or 56 games. The Florida Panthers have not yet released their scheduled, but have named retired Roberto Luongo to head a new "goaltending excellence department." Alrighty then.

10. MLS: Columbus crushes Seattle for title: Columbus Crew SC throttled Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 Saturday in the MLS Cup championship match. Seattle had won it all in 2019 and 2016. The crown is Columbus' second, after it previously reigned in 2008.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hot Button Top 10 is happy to be back after a week off! ..... My 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been mailed. I Tweeted it out. I never realized Andruw Jones had so many fans ..... Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he wondered if college basketball should be played in a pandemic. Then again, he happened to say it after two early season home loss to non-conference teams ..... The University of Nevada-Las Vegas quarterback apologized for eating sushi off the body of a nude model. It had to be Vegas, right? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 41 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,024 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 12, 2020

G10: No. 17 North Carolina at No. 10 Hurricanes: UM tries to secure Orange Bowl invite in regular season finale. Our preview and pick; plus NFL Week 14 picks, our Tua column, Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 14 picks for Dolphins-Chiefs and the rest, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Recent stuff from us: NFL Week 14 Gems / For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / and Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: LATEST EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 40 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 40 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep40 we welcome in special guest Harvey Greene, the Dolphins' PR guy for almost 30 years who began his career being fired five times by George Steinbrenner. Hear his great behind-the-scenes stories. Also, Greg and Chris talk over the wild Dolphins-Bengals game, Greg opines on the Le Batard-ESPN divorce, and of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (the W's). Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep40 now!

UncmiaG10: NO. 17 NORTH CAROLINA (7-3) AT NO. 10 HURRICANES (8-1): HUGE GAME AS ORANGE BOWL BID MAY BE AT STAKE: Off last week's 48-0 tuneup rout at Duke, the 10th-ranked Miami Hurricanes host the No. 17 UNC Tar Heels Saturday at 3:30 at Hard Rock Stadium. Bettors have it pretty even, as Miami is a scant 3-point home favorite in what figures as a high-scoring game between two big-time offenses. Stakes? The ACC Championship Game is out of play; that'll be Clemson-Notre Dame. The College Football Playoff will be four other schools' playpen. But this matchup is huge nonetheless. An Orange Bowl bid may be the reward for the winner. The Canes and Florida Gators seem on a collision course for the January 2 OB, but a Miami loss here could disrupt that path. The Heels pose a gargantuan challenge for UM's defense. UNC brings a balanced offense averaging 41 points a game, led by a very good QB in Sam Howell but also featuring a ground game averaging 219 yards per game. Miami will really miss CB Al Blades Jr., who is sideline by myocarditis an inflammation of the heart muscle. The defensive key may be pocket pressure to disrupt Howell against a UNC offensive line that has allowed 29 sacks this season. D'Eriq King and Miami's offense should be able to keep up in a shootout vs. a North Carolina defense that gives up almost 29 points per game. Two big offenses here. But UM's edge on defense -- and the incentive of a win all but clinching a spot in the hometown Orange Bowl -- tip the scales toward The U. With the Georgia Tech game canceled because of Tech's COVID issues, this also is UM's final regular season game. My pick: Hurricanes 37-31.

Other state FBS games this week (in order; all Saturday unless noted):

Southern Mississippi 45, FAU 31: Bad, bad road loss Thursday night for an Owls squad now 5-3. Southern Miss came in 2-7 as a 9 1/2-point home 'dog.

Duke (2-8) at Florida State (2-6), 4: Seminoles a 5-point home favorite as two downtrodden ACC teams battle to see whose lousy season is slightly less disappointing.

LSU (3-5) at No. 6 Florida (8-1), 7: Gators are big 23-point Swamp favorites in a scandal-ridden off-year for the once-mighty Tigers.

Off this week: FIU, UCF and South Florida. COVID Count: Ten games canceled nationally this week, and two postponed.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 11, 2020

NFL Week 14 picks: Dolphins-Chiefs, Game of Week, 6 (!) big upsets and all the rest; plus Tua's telling month (new column), Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Telling month ahead for Dolphins' Tua, NFL Week 13 Pix 'n Fantasy results and QB rankings, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

On Tua's telling month. Our latest column: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach. Also: Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 40 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 40 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep40 we welcome in special guest Harvey Greene, the Dolphins' PR guy for almost 30 years who began his career being fired five times by George Steinbrenner. Hear his great behind-the-scenes stories. Also, Greg and Chris talk over the wild Dolphins-Bengals game, Greg opines on the Le Batard-ESPN divorce, and of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (the W's). Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep40 now!

PicksNFL WEEK 14 PICKS: DOLPHINS-CHIEFS, GAME OF THE WEEK, 6 (!) BIG UPSETS AND ALL THE REST: The Week 13 picks were an unsatisfactory 9-6 overall and a just-OK 8-7 against the spread. Time to start our climb. Topping our Week 14 marquee: Chiefs at Dolphins, a.k.a. Patrick Mahomes vs. Tua Tagovailoa. Miami has two paths to an upset win: A) Tua outguns Mahomes in a shootout, or B) the Dolphins' defense is a result-steering force. Better hope for B. Also in this week's picks we designate a Game of the Week and offer up six big upsets, which may be a personal record for one week. This is our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and we thank you for joining us on the journey. For our latest picks for the entire slate of 16 games, visit NFL Week 14 Gems. Alas, our week got off to a rotten start Thursday night. We had the Patriots (+5) upsetting the Rams. Neither the game nor my pick were close. Rams dominated. Hey, it happens. Time to bounce back! Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 10, 2020

The telling month. Now is when we begin to find out if Dolphins' Tua has greatness in his reach. New column; plus latest Greg Cote Show podcast, Thursday's Patriots-Rams pick, Herald Week 13 NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Bengals, Canes rout Duke, Le Batard leaving ESPN, NFL Week 13 picks, Week 12 Pix 'n Fantasy results and QB rankings, new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 39 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

New: Thursday night Patriots-Rams pick: Do we smell an upset cooking?: NFL Week 14 Thursday Gem.

Updated Herald NFL QB rankings: A Bill wins the week and a Packer passes a Seahawk to narrow a Chief's lead: Herald NFL Week 13 QB Rankings. 

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 40 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 40 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep40 we welcome in special guest Harvey Greene, the Dolphins' PR guy for almost 30 years who began his career being fired five times by George Steinbrenner. Hear his great behind-the-scenes stories. Also, Greg and Chris talk over the wild Dolphins-Bengals game, Greg opines on the Le Batard-ESPN divorce, and of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (the W's). Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep40 now!

TuatIT IS THE TELLING MONTH. FOR DOLPHINS' TUA, WE BEGIN TO SEE IF GREATNESS IS IN HIS REACH: Though Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has impressed, the proving has just begun. And now it elevates to a whole new level. See, it shouldn’t be Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert who Tagovailoa is judged against. Aim higher. If Dolphins fans truly believe/hope Tagovailoa is the long-sought answer for real, the conduit to sustained winning and winning big, then aim higher they must. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They are Tagovailoa’s competition now if a path back to the Super Bowl is how high Miami dares dream. Which brings us to the next month that closes the NFL regular season as the 8-4 Dolphins try to not only reach the postseason but to win the franchise’s first playoff game in two decades, since December 30, 2000. Tagovailoa must lead them there. Here is his gauntlet. To read our full latest column, please visit For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 13 RESULTS: NFL Pix--A head-above-water week: Some nutty Week 13 outcomes -- Giants over Seattle? Washington over Steelers? -- but we weathered the storm to go 9-6 straight-up and 8-7 agains the point spread. That included a trio of 'dogs-with-points in covers by the Jaguars, Jets and Washington. Glad you're with us on our 30th season of picks in the Herald! Greg's Lobos: A win ... but no miracle: Lobos ended a six-game losing streak by closing regular season with a 123-92 win fueled by 24 from Aaron Jones, 22 from Cam Newton and 20 from Michael Thomas. But it wasn't enough to make the 6-team playoffs in PFPI Fantasy, our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league. At 5-8 we finished in seventh place. Oh well, at least we're in the consolation playoffs. We'll announce our MVL -- Most Valuable Lobo -- after the season. Our three finalists are Amari Cooper, Jones and Newton. So stay tuned.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

Select recent columns: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 08, 2020

New Greg Cote Show podcast out now! It's Radio Tuesday, too!; plus Dolphins and Tua club Cincy 19-7, Hurricanes roll at Duke 48-0, Le Batard leaving ESPN, NFL Week 13 picks, Pix 'n Fantasy Week 12 results and updated QB rankings & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Stinkin' Jets, Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 39 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday!: Me. Today. Le Batard Show With Stugotz. 10 a.m. to noon nationally on ESPN Radio. Catch it while you can.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 HAD THE DAY OFF. SEE YA NEXT SUNDAY!

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 40 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 40 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep40 we welcome in special guest Harvey Greene, the Dolphins' PR guy for almost 30 years who began his career being fired five times by George Steinbrenner. Hear his great behind-the-scenes stories. Also, Greg and Chris talk over the wild Dolphins-Bengals game, Greg opines on the Le Batard-ESPN divorce, and of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (the W's). Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep40 now!

CinmiaG12: @DOLPHINS 19, CINCINNATI 7: TUA'S BACK, D'S STRONG AGAIN ... AND A BRAWL!: Tua threw for 296 yards, Miami's defense came up big again and there was an ejections-strewn brawl as playoff-chasing Fins improved to 8-4 ..... Original post: You had been savoring a tantalizing platter of Joe Burrow vs. Tua Tagovailoa 1.0 in the maiden head to head duel of the two high-drafted quarterbacks today at 1 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium. You will be settling for Brandon Allen vs. Tua, with Allen subbing for the injured Burrow. Tagovailoa also was iffy with his thumb injury but is now expected to start. Would not heave been surprised by another Ryan Fitzpatrick start, because he is capable and the opponent is lousy. Though the job should be and will be Tagovailoa’s when healthy, one advantage of another Fitz start on Sunday would have been his superior chemistry with top WR DeVante Parker. In any case Miami should be able to get it’s modest ground attack going against a really poor Cincy run defense, especially with Myles Gaskin back from injury. The greatest mismatch might be on the other side. Cannot see the Gals’ offense and Allen, in his fifth career start, doing much at all against Miami’s pass rush and stout secondary. Fins are on a 9-1 roll when favored at home and should keep that streak going without much fret. They'd better as they chase the playoffs, because the schedule closes tougher after today, with home games vs. Chiefs and Patriots and then roadies at the Raiders and Bills. My pick: Dolphins (-11 1/2), 26-0. For all of our latest picks, visit NFL Week 13 Gems.

UmdukeG9: NO. 10 HURRICANES 48, @DUKE 0: KING'S 4 TD'S LEAD ROUT: D'Eriq King threw for three TDs and ran for one and the defense forced five Duke turnovers in Saturday night's 48-0 rout as No. 10 Canes improved to 8-1 ..... Original post: Saturday night at Duke (8, ACCN) will be Miami's first game since November 14 because of COVID-related schedule upheaval. And it should be a fun evening for The U. D'Eriq King's offense should feast on a Blue Devils defense that has been trampled for 112 points in its past two losses. Cam'Ron Harris should run wild, as Duke allows 200 opponent rushing yards per game. And bad defense isn't the only thing the Hurricanes should be able to take advantage of. Duke's offense has committed a nation-leading 30 turnovers, including 13 interceptions by Chase Brice. It's a bit of a surprise Miami isn't bigger than a 14 1/2-point favorite; perhaps that's because Duke has won the past two meetings, in 2018 and '19. This one looks a mismatch, though. Duke's best shot at a home upset might be using its strong ground game to keep the ball out of King's hands. RBs Mataeo Durant and Deon Jackson have 1,276 combined rushing yards, so UM's front seven best be ready. Miami hasn't had a great track record under Manny Diaz performing after time off, so a fast start by UM will be a key. The Canes also may need to shake off the disappointment of officially being eliminated from ACC Championship Game contention. No. 2 Notre Dame is in, and No. 3 Clemson will qualify Saturday night assuming it wins at heavy underdog Virginia Tech. Means the Canes could fly home disappointed, even in victory. My pick: Hurricanes, 45-16.

Other state FBS games this week (in order; all Saturday):

No. 6 Florida beats Tennessee 31-19: Gators are headed to SEC Championship Game vs. Alabama but this win as 17 1/2-point favorites won;t impress rankings voters much. Vols have now lost six straight but put up a fight.

Georgia Southern beats FAU 20-3: Disappointing road effort for the now 5-2 Owls, who were only 2 1/2-point 'dogs.

Off this week: FIU, Florida State, South Florida and UCF. FIU was scheduled on Saturday to make up a postponed game at Charlotte, but that game will not be played. FIU has had six games postponed for COVID-related reasons this season, and only two will have been made up with the other four canceled. 

LE BATARD ERA AT ESPN DRAWING TO A CLOSEWhat has long been rumored and speculated became official Thursday with the news Dan Le Batard and ESPN are Danlebmutually parting ways in one month. The final day on air will be Monday, Jan. 4, for both ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz and the televised Highly Questionable show that Dan hosted. Le Batard immediately assured his legion of fans and listeners that he is not retiring and he will be heard from again soon. "Thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings," Le Batard said. "To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough." Greeny with Mike Greenberg will fill ESPN’s 10 a.m. to noon radio slot beginning Jan. 5. Highly Questionable will remain on the network’s TV lineup with a contributing team of hosts and guests. Le Batard and the network had grown apart in recent months with several moves that disappointed Le Batard or caught him by surprise. One was the national show being reduced from three hours to two. Another, more recently, was when Chris Cote, one of the show’s producers, was included among ESPN’s massive layoffs without Le Batard ever being informed or consulted. For this story in full, visit Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon.

PicksNFL WEEK 13 PICKS: DOLPHINS VS. BENGALS, GAME OF THE WEEK, 2 UPSETS AND ALL THE REST: The Week 12 picks were a sizzling 13-3 straight-up and an unlucky 8-8 against the spread. Now, like Bob Seger, we turn the page. Topping our Week 13 marquee: It won't be Tua Tagovailoa vs. Joe Burrow 1.0, but Dolphins try to stay hot vs. Cincinnati Bengals. We designate a Game of the Week from among a thin list of contenders. Two big upsets. And a tightening AFC East. This is our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and we thank you for joining us on the journey. For our latest picks for the entire slate of 15 games, visit NFL Week 13 Gems. There was no Thursday night game this week. Tampa Bay and Carolina are off for the final byes of the season. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 12 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Mix of good ... and bad luck: We were a robust 13-3 overall in elongated Week 12 -- our second-best week of the season straight-up -- but an unlucky 8-8 against the point spread. Unlucky? We had Denver covering at home vs. Saints -- before all the Broncos QBs went on the COVID list and a wide receiver took snaps to abysmal Loboslogoresults. Unlucky II: Lost another cover when our pick came before Ravens lost QB Lamar Jackson to COVID and the line changed dramatically. Could-a/should-a been 10-6 ATS, but we don’t change/update picks. Such is the peril of predicting NFL games on Thursday afternoons in a pandemic-rocked season. Still, we nailed our Pats over Cardinals Upset of the Week (“Aawwk!”), bull’s-eyed another outright upset with Redskins over Cowboys, and had a trio of ‘dogs-with-points in covers by Bengals, Jaguars and 49ers. Glad you're with us on our 30th season of picks in the Herald! Greg's Lobos: Do you believe in miracles?: Lobos lost a sixth game in a row, this one 112-105. Got 24 from Amari Cooper and 20 from Dallas Goedert and not much else. So we slid to 4-8 in PFPI Fantasy, our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league. Astoundingly we still have a mathematical shot at the sixth and last playoff spot, but it will take a big final-week win coupled with a bunch of other results falling just right. Won't happen. We're done. Sad.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

Select recent columns: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / 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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).