Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Huge week as Riley magic, Fins draft trades, Marlins Opening Week, R.I.P. Howard, Elite Eight fight for first; plus our Schnellenberger tribute column, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND
1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 29. Thanks to the Paul Castronovo Show for having us on this morning to talk Dolphins and Schnellenberger. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat and Riley steal Oladipo at trade deadline, Beckham keeps name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo for Inter Miami, Deshaun Watson's escalating off-field mess, Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.
GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 13th podcast of 2021 (55th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 55 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep13 we offer a tribute to the late great Howard Schnellenberger and welcome in two special guests. Meet Mike Jack (pictured), who just a Guinness World Record for eating the hottest pepper ever grown. And Jeremy Tache' of Bally (nee Fox) Sports Florida is on to discuss Heat, Marlins and Schitt's Creek. Greg and Chris also chew over Dolphins' big draft trades. And hear the return of Mount Gregmore! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (And remember: Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).
HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 1934-2021: MY TRIBUTE COLUMN: Like grown children do with aging parents, sports fans know the day is coming for beloved old coaches who have faded from sidelines and headlines but never from our hearts. We have so long to prepare for the day, so many years, yet somehow we always feel unprepared when the news hits. Howard Schnellenberger -- father of the Miami Hurricanes football dynasty but with an impact so much greater -- passed away early Saturday. He had turned 87 two weeks earlier. We forgive hyperbole in eulogies, but sometimes what might seem like a statement too big is just right: “Without him there is no Miami football,” the Hurricanes program tweeted simply. For my full tribute column, visit In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.
Riley's magic, Beckham's optimism, Watson's mess. Our three othre most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / and Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? Other most recent columns: No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness.
HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 28-29): 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:
1. HEAT: Slump deepens, but Miami, Riley win big at draft deadline: Bad news? Heat has lost a season-high six straight games and fallen below .500 (22-24) and tumbled from fourth place to eighth in the East after Friday's loss at Charlotte. Good news? Miami and Pat Riley killed it on NBA trade deadline day. Couldn't pry Kyle Lowry from Toronto, but acquired 20-point scorer Victor Oladipo and forward Nemanja Bjelica without having to part with valued pieces like Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson. No Lowry? No problem! Miami is back in play Monday at Knicks.
2. DOLPHINS: Miami trades down in first round, gets draft windfall in return: The Fins on Friday shook up the NFL draft's April 29 first round by trading down from the No. 3 overall pick. Miami in return got San Francisco's No. 12 overall pick, its third rounder this year and two future first-round picks -- one in 2022 and one in 23. Then, Miami got the No. 6 overall pick this year and a '21 fifth-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for the '21 12th overall pick, a '21 fourth-round pick and a '22 first-round pick. Got all that? Bottom line: By moving down third to sixth in this year's first round, Fins gained a 3rd-round pick in '21 and a first-rounder in '23. Smart.
3. MARLINS: It's Opening Week for Miami's 29th MLB season!: Marlins open the regular season with a six-game homestand vs. Tampa Bay and St. Louis starting this Thursday vs. the Rays, with Sandy Alcantara on the mound for Miami. Low expectations for Fish in tough NL East, based on betting numbers, though Miami snapped a 17-year playoff drought last year. Season comes after a successful spring that saw Fish finish atop the Grapefruit League standings at 14-5 (not counting five ties) after Sunday's closing win.
4. HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: R.I.P. to Canes' first champion football coach: Howard Schnellenberger passed away Saturday at age 87. His leading the Miami Hurricanes' 1983 national championship touched off a dynasty that would lead to four titles more over the next 18 seasons. He later built FAU's program from scratch. A true South Florida sports legend. R.I.P.
5. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: March Madness' Sweet 16 turns to Elite Eight: The original 68 teams in the men's NCAA Tournament are down to the surviving Elite Eight after weekend results. Saturday, No. 1 Baylor advanced along with Houston, Arkansas and Oregon State. (Notably eliminated: Cinderella-designate Oral Roberts and Sister Jean's Loyola). Sunday, No. 1s Gonzaga and Michigan moved on along with USC and, in an upset, UCLA. Elite Eight games are tonight and Tuesday.
6. BOXING: Tyson-Holyfield III set for Miami in May ... or is it?: The third and last fight in the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson trilogy is set for May 29 at a socially distanced Hard Rock Stadium. But only if it ends up happening. It seemed set. Then Holyfield's camp announced Tyson had rejected the $25 million guarantee. Then, a day after Tyson proclaimed the fight was on, his reps told TMZ the boxer misspoke and wasn't aware how far apart the two sides are in negotiations. So stay tuned. Quick aside: Tyson is 54 and Holyfield 58. Tick tock, fellas!
7. HURRICANES: Spring football practice breaks for UM's NFL Pro Day: Midway through its 15 spring practices, UM pauses on Monday to welcome in scouts for its annual Pro Day in advance of the NFL Draft. Two ex-Cnes -- defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau -- are seen as certain first-rounders, though likely mid-round. Spring practice concludes April 17.
8. PANTHERS: Ekblad injured in Florida win: Florida is 22-9-4, third in NHL Central and only two points off the lead after a pair of wins in Dallas. Sunday's was was costly, though, as defenseman Aaron Ekblad left the ice on a stretcher with a serious left leg injury that will keep him out "an extensive time," said coach Joel Quenneville. Ekblad is a Norris Trophy finalist for NHL defenseman of the year award.
9. TENNIS: What's left of Miami Open reaches midpoint: Rocked by major late withdrawals including Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokvic and Rafael Nadal and with its prize fund gutted, the remains of the Miami Open -- back with limited crowds after being erased by the pandemic last spring -- reached its midway point this weekend outside Hard Rock Stadium.
10. HORSE RACING: Known Agenda wins Florida Derby: Todd Pletcher-trained Known Agenda won Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, a major prep race for Triple Crown season. Win qualified the horse for the Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda's owner? Vinnie Viola, who also owns the Florida Panthers.
Missing the HB10 cut: U.S. men's soccer failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after Sunday's 2-1 loss to Honduras in Guadalajara, Mexico. It's the U.S. men's third straight missed Olympics ..... Year 2 for David Beckham's Inter Miami opened with a practice game vs. the USL Tampa Bay Rowdies Sunday, a 1-0 loss in St. Pete. After five friendlies will come the MLS regular season opener April 18. Meantime Beckham keeps name-dropping Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as among stars who could end their careers with Miami. We'll hold you to that, Becks! ..... Attrition clobbers Canes hoops. UM men's season ended at 10-17, worst in 27 years, and the hits keep coming. Guard Chris Lykes announced he's turning pro as expected, although at 5-7 it's unlikely he'll draw NBA Draft attention. Now leading scorer Isaiah Wong also is pondering an early departure, and shooting guard Kameron McGusty also is gauging NBA interest. Oh, and two others, Elijah Olaniyi and Earl Timberlake, have entered the transfer portal. Tough times for Jim Larranaga ..... Yeah, innocent until proven guilty. OK. But 16 civil suits against Deshaun Watson for sexual impropriety or assault? At what point might teams negotiating a trade with Houston have second thoughts? ..... Francis Ngannou KO'd Stip Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title Saturday ..... A Miami Heat arena name change is at hand. It's going from AmericanAirlines Arena to FTX Arena, after a cryptocurrency exchange. Will players now be paid in Bitcoin? ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 11-8 entering Sunday's series rubber game at Virginia ..... Upcoming: UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches are next week on April 6; The Masters at Augusta is April 8-11; Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11; and the Kentucky Derby is in one month, on May 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 13th episode of 2021 and 55th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,919 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.
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Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.
Select other columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / 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 / 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 Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / 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.
Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk V, Smirk IV, Smirk III, Smirk II, Smirk I. Heat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Marlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.
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. Finding Greg: Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Columns. Podcast. Podcast on Twitter. Podcast on Instagram. LeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).