May 18, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See what's No.1 as sports inch closer to no-fans resumption, and what else falls where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 12 out now!, our Don Shula tribute columns & more

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 18. I'm pleased to be hosting this year's Miami Herald All-County Athletic Awards, an annual tradition since 1957 -- but virtual this time because of the pandemic. Mark it: We'll honor Miami-Dade & Broward's best in prep sports on Wednesday May 27 at 6 p.m. on our Facebook & YouTube pages. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Anticipation is gift Tua has given Dolfans, NBA and MLB plot returns but sports have never seemed more trivial, Greg Cote Show's all-Don Shula podcast & our Shula tribute columns & more. 4) Join us on and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 12 OUT NOW!: Our new(ish) Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in early March and the new Episode 12 is out now! Find a new episode out every Monday morning on Apple and Google Podcasts as well as on Spotify, iHeart, iTunes, Megaphone, Stitcher or wherever you do your podding, and of course at Find all 12 episodes we've done so far right here. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! Episode 11 was a special hour-long, all-star tribute to Don Shula. Now in Episode 12 m wife in her first interview reveals embarrassing things about me and we make fun of Le Batard for a gross noise he made while talking about Don Shula. Also, ex-Marlins president David Samson joins us. Find every podcast we've done including the new one HERE.

My Shula tribute columns: DON SHULA, 1930-2020, R.I.P. and WHAT SHULA MEANT TO A FATHER & SON. THE BOY WAS ME

Most recent other columns: As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial and Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 17-18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur 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 (non)sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NFL: Teams may reopen facilities Tuesday but with major restrictions: NFL teams can begin reopening their facilities this Tuesday but with coaches and non-rehabbing players still not permitted. Teams must meet protocols and have permission under state and local regulations. Employees allowed back into facilities would include no more than 50 percent of non-player staff, up to a total of 75 per day. Meantime the NFL extended its virtual offseason workouts another two weeks, through the end of May.

2. DON SHULA: Dolphins detail first public event honoring late coach: Fans may pay tribute to Shula, who passed away May 4 at age 90, later this week in the team's first public event honoring the coach. Fans may form a procession line -- with social distancing -- past the statue of Shula outside Hard Rock Stadium this Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 to 4. Fans may enter through Gate 5. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions fans are asked to not bring items to the statue.

3. MLB: Player salaries a sticking point as baseball plots return: MLB plans to resume spring training in June and eyes a July 4 (or thereabouts) start to its season, in home stadiums where allowed by local regulations, but with no fans. However, Tampa Bay ace Blake Snell emphatically said he won't play with a pay cut for a shortened schedule, and others including Bryce Harper support that stand.

4. NASCAR: Harvick wins as racing resumes, sans spectators: NASCAR was back Sunday with a no-fans race at Darlington, and Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag in the sport's first race since March 8. It was the first of seven races in 10 days, all at Darlington or Charlotte. Noise will be back at fan-less Homestead-Miami Speedway as well on June 13-14, culminating with the Dixie Vodka 400.

5. NBA: Basketball toying with two-city return plan: No timetable is set but the NBA is considering a no-fans resumption in what commish Adam Silver calls a "campus environment" with all games at two locations. Focus continues to be on Orlando's Disney World Resort and on Las Vegas.

6. FOX SPORTS: One network's bizarre plan if games have no fans: Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck said NFL broadcasts on his network will use recordings of crowd noise and fake images of fans in the stands if the league’s games are barred from having real fans attend. Yeah that'll really fool viewers! How about they throw in a '60s sitcom-style laughtrack as well!

7. GOLF: Details set for Tiger-Phil charity match: It'll be Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning vs. Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady next Sunday in "The Match: Champions for Charity." TBS and TNT will televise the 3 p.m. no-fans event from Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., 100 miles north of Miami. On Sunday, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson defeated Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a charity skins game, leading analysts to wonder, "Who on earth is Matthew Wolff?"

8. CORONAVIRUS: The updated South Florida Games-Lost Tracker: The SFGLT updates you each week on how many local pro sports games have been lost to the coronavirus shutdown. Through today/Monday -- 90-plus games lost: Marlins have missed first 48 games of regular season. Heat missed last 17 games of season and at least two first-round playoff games based on NBA standings when season stopped. Panthers missed last 13 games but would not have made playoffs based on NHL standings at time of stoppage. Inter Miami, after playing first two games of season, has missed last 10.

9. NFL: Rewards coming for teams who make minority hires?: The NFL is considering "improved draft slots" for teams that hire minorities as head coach or primary football executive. Too bad it isn't retroactive. Dolphins would hit the quiniela with coach Brian Flores and GM Chris Grier.

10. INTER MIAMI: MLS plans to return in June: Major League Soccer's plan to return would have all 26 teams including expansion Inter Miami begin training June 1 at Orlando's ESPN Wide  Wodl of Sports complex, followed three or four weeks later by a summer tournament with all matches sans fans.

Missing the HB10 cut: Zion Williamson's ex-agent says he received improper benefits before his one-and-done career at Duke. And the people utterly shocked by that will be convening over there in that phone booth in violation of social distancing edicts ..... The World Baseball Classic, which was to have included games at Marlins Park, will not be played in 2021 and may not return until '23 ..... The people running the Kobe Bryant-affiliated Mamba Sports Academy have dropped "Mamba" from the name, and ex-Heat star Dwyane Wade called that "quite disrespectful." Right on, D-Wade! ..... Um, anybody want a slightly used Cam Newton? ..... The Bundesliga (German soccer) became first European sport to resume, albeit with no fans ..... English Premier League resumes training June 1 but henceforth no tackling will be permitted in matches ..... Arrest warrants were issued by for Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker and Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar (both from Miami) in connection to an armed robbery at a party in Miramar. Sure, because NFL players don't make enough money? Lawyers for both claim their clients' innocence ..... OK, I'm officially getting tired of that Michael Jordan documentary series ..... Tualia Tagovailoa (Tua's brother), rumored transferring to the Miami  Hurricanes, took the portal to Maryland instead ..... Aaron Rodgers says retiring a Packer "may not be a reality" after team drafted eventual replacement Jordan Love ..... As NHL remains in limbo, American Hockey League canceled rest of its season ..... ATP and WTA canceled all tennis events through July ..... Mike Tyson planning a comeback at 53? Oh lawd ..... MLB plans a virtual/remote and shortened draft on June 10-11 ..... PGA Tour will resume mid-June in Texas, with no fans ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with Episode 12 Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,233 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll all be out of our masks by then?

Featured most recent other columns:

Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19

Miami Sports Right Now If Coronavirus Never Happened and Games Never Stopped

Dolphins Are Winning Rebuild With 3-Year Plan That Won't Rush Top-Prize Tua

Also: Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Hackers, Barking Dogs, Crazy Pressure: Why Virtual NFL Draft Is Biggest Ever For Dolphins / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / Amid a Pandemic, to Florida, Pro Wrestling is 'Essential' / A Pie Chart of QB Possibilities For Dolphins / Baseball's Bizarre Restart Plan Would Be Unfair to Players / and NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent

Other featured recent columns: Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in No-Fans Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Desperate Fans Turn to NFL After Reality Of First Weekend With No Games / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / It's Dominate Or Bust For Dolphins GM Grier Over Next 6 Weeks.

Select other columns from earlier in 2020: Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Pressure On Marlins for Big Improvement Now -- and It's About TimeTime For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Our two-part series: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / and Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team

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Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category in 2018. Greg is also a regular co-host on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go and The Ballad Of 1440.

December 05, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 56.4%; plus Miami clobbers Broncos 35-9 for rare easy win; plus new Hot Button Top 10. Canes' ACC loss, UM-Wisconsin in Orange Bowl, CFP semis on top, but see what else falls where & more


1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 4. Holiday season? That can only mean one thing: Giving the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes get spanked in ACC title game with CSM poll, other State Collball and conference champ-games, your Cooperstown verdict & more. 3Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Column Dolphins' win over Denver: Click Dolphins Find Needed Joy for my column from Sunday's 35-9 Miami home trouncing of Denver.

Column on Canes' ACC title-game loss: Click Seeing Past the Pain to read. See previous blogpost for latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 56.4%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 56.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 35-9 Dolphins victory over the Denver Broncos putting Miami's season record at 5-7. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.
2017 game-by-game DSM results
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)
G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)
G7: 6.1% (following 40-0 loss at Baltimore)
G8: 13.1% (following 27-24 loss vs. Oakland)
G9: 3.5% (following 45-21 loss at Carolina)
G10: 3.6% (following 30-20 loss vs. Tampa Bay)
G11: 7.7% (following 35-17 loss at New England)
G12: 56.4% (following 35-9 victory vs. Denver)
Next poll: Dec. 11 (following game vs. New England)

G12: DOLPHINS 35, DENVER 9: WELL, SOMEBODY'S LONG LOSING STREAK FINALLY ENDED...: Final: Watch for our column from game online soon ..... 4Q: MIA 35-9: Safety as Bronco tackled in end zone on kickoff return ..... Fins' Verner recovers Miami onside kick ..... MIA 33-9: Cutler-Stills 23-yard pass. Set up by Howard's second INT of game ..... 3Q: Grant 27-yard punt return for Miami as quarter ebbs ..... MIA 26-9: Drake 42-yard run ..... DEN 9-19: Simmons 65-yard interception return, 2-point pass failed .....  And Miami gives the gift right back as Stills loses fumble ..... Big 3rd-down sack by Phillips forces Denver punt, and Fede blocks the kick ..... MIA 19-3: Parkey 37-yard FG. Just when you forget Fasano is still on team, he catches a 29-yard pass to lead to the points .....  Halftime: Halftime tribute honoring Jason Taylor's election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame ..... Welp, this is like an offensive onslaught for the low-scoring Fins, although nine points were courtesy the defense. A putrid opponent helps. The Broncos are out-badding the Dolphins ..... 2Q: Cutler intercepted ..... MIA 16-3: Howard 30-yard interception return ..... MIA 9-3: Cutler-Thomas 9-yard TD pass ..... DEN 3-2: McManus 31-yard field goal on 67-yard drive ..... 1Q: MIA 2-0: Safety on Denver bad snap out of end zone ..... McDonald intercepts for Miami. Where the Turnover Chain at? ..... DT Suh 95th straight NFL start today, longest streak in league at that position ..... Penalties big issue for Fins this year. Recall how much pride Shula always took in team not being flagged much. Times have changed ..... Original post: The utter lack of public faith in and respect for the Dolphins shows in the fact Miami opened a negligible 1-point favorite but soon became a 1 1/2-point home underdog as bets flooded toward Denver. Um, that would be a DenmiaDenver team with worse record, on a seven-game losing streak and 0-5 on the road. The Fins’ are on a season-ruining five-game skid of their own, the slump leaving Miami 4-7 to Denver's 3-8, both AFC also-rans. If this matchup were any less watchable it would be banned from television by the FCC. They might not even allow a live audience to watch for fear of mass mental anguish. There are interesting sidelights, though. Dolphins coach Adam Gase was a Denver assistant six years (2009-14) and QB Jay Cutler — starting again after missing one game concussed — began his career a Bronco in 2006-08. Oh, and Denver coach Vance Joseph was Miami’s defensive coordinator last year. But none of these connections are enough to sufficiently hoist this moribund matchup of teams going nowhere and doing very little well. As much as I don’t trust the Dolphins’ offensive line, Miami at home vs. an even-more-dreadful opponent is worth the gamble here. But I still can’t help but think, as I anticipate an epic Trevor Siemien vs. Cutler duel, that this would be a so much more interesting game if the quarterbacks Sunday were John Elway and Dan Marino. I mean them right now. At ages 57 and 56. Playing in business suits and wingtips. My pick: Dolphins, 19-17. [Click Week 13 Gems for all our latest NFL predictions].

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 3): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM routed by Clemson for ACC title, Orange Bowl next: Canes and Clemson faced a Saturday night play-in game for one of four spots in the College Football Playoff, with semifinal matchups set on Sunday. UM went in a big underdog and played like it, losing 38-3. Pretty decent consolation prize upcoming, though: Canes in their home stadium for the Orange Bowl game vs. Wisconsin.
2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Conference championships shape final CFP foursome: The College Football Playoff announced its final four teams and two semifinal matchups today: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama and No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia. Big loser: Snubbed Ohio State, which thought it should be fourth. Second big loser: Tough draw for top-ranked Clemson, which likely will be underdog vs. 'Bama.
3. DOLPHINS: Sad Fins host Denver in moribund matchup: How's this for a weekend contrast, Miami? First your Hurricanes play Clemson for ACC title and spot in college playoffs. And then your Dolphins host Broncos in a duel of hopelessness between teams with a combined 12 straight losses. Hasn't been a dropoff that sharp since Thelma and Louise drove over the cliff.
4. SOCCER: 2018 World Cup sets group play: The 32 qualifying nations were drawn into eight four-team groups for next summer's men's tournament in Russia. But I'm still trying to figure something out so maybe you can explain: The United States and Italy failed to qualify but Iceland got in!? Aurora, Colorado has more people than Iceland. Do they play soccer on skates over there?
5. MARLINS: Giants, Yankees, others in play for Stanton: I heard the Marlins have now decided to not trade Giancarlo Stanton and that Miami also will spend big to go after Japanese hit/pitch sensation Shohei Ohtani. And then I woke up from that dream and it was back to reality. With baseball's winter meetings approaching, Stanton is now like one of his home runs: Going, going ... gone!
6. HEAT: As Warriors visit, erratic Heat a mystery even to Spo: Miami, .500 last season, is an up-and-down 11-11 now entering Sunday's huge home test against Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and reigning champion Golden State. Coach Erik Spoelstra says even he doesn't know what to make of his team and can't quite figure 'em out. Hey, we're all right there with you, bud!
7. UM BASKETBALL: Canes, Kansas win as expected: No. 10-ranked Miami men routed Princeton 80-52 and No. 2 Kansas handled Syracuse 76-60 in the Hoophall Miami Invitational at the Heat arena Saturday. UM game tipped off at same time as Canes-Clemson in Charlotte. Turns out the basketball Canes had a much better game.
8. FAU: Owls win C-USA championship: Lane Kiffin's Owls routed visiting North Texas 41-17 to go 10-3 and win Conference USA crown. Oh, and Butch Davis' FIU Panthers whipped UMass 63-45 to end regular season 8-4. Canes didn't take care of business Saturday, but SoFla's other two FBS teams sure did.
9. GOLF: Tiger Woods erratic in latest comeback: He opened with an eye-opening 69, but shot 75 on Saturday and is 10 shots off the pace entering the final round of the Hero World Challenge in Nassau -- his first competitive round in 10 months. Be good again, Tiger. Golf needs you.
10. HORSE RACING: Gulfstream opens winter meet: The venerable Hallandale racetrack opened its winter season Saturday, with upcoming jewel events to include the Florida Derby and second annual Pegasus World Cup. Get out of the casino and watch an actual horse race, would ya? 
Missing the HB10 cut: Florida Panthers: We don't even make your HB top 10!? Me: You're 10-16, Cats. How 'bout you win a little? ..... Jimbo Fisher dumps Florida State and follows the big bucks to Texas A&M. Money aside, is that even a lateral move? ..... Tennessee Vols fired the athletic director over the botched football coach search. He got Schiano'd! ..... Cleveland Cavaliers have won 11 games in a row. It's all Dwyane Wade! ..... It's Seattle and Toronto in the Major League Soccer finals. Meantime it feels like we're getting close to the 10-year anniversary of David Beckham's efforts to bring MLS soccer to Miami ..... Jason Taylor was honored for his Hall of Fame election in a private event at the stadium last night. Hopefully they had a TV on for the UM-Clemson game. Come to think of it, maybe better that they didn't.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 25, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 83.9%; plus UM bops Toledo 52-30 behind Rosier, Walton; also, our Sports Cornucopia, rest of Collball Week 4 (Noles lose) & more


1) It is SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23. Click on Straws! or our latest Back in My Day video from the LeBatard Show. Based on reaction, it may be our most popular ever. 2) Know any serious Dolfans? Treat them to our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order here: Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week picks, hating Heat uniform patch and media reaction & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Jose Fernandez tragedy, 1-year later: My latest Sunday column. Click on Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow to read. 

IT'S A SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS CORNUCOPIA!: It's the grand intersection of our Big Five teams and sports. The Dolphins and Canes are playing the same weekend for the first time all season, going airborne vs. Jets and and Rockets. Giancarlo Stanton is still chasing 60 home runs. The Panthers' preseason is underway. And the Heat opens training camp Tuesday. Appreciate. Enjoy.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 83.9%Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 83.9 percent Csmoverall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 52-30 Hurricanes victory over visiting Toledo putting UM's season record at 2-0. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

2017 CSM results

G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman

G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo

Next poll: Sept. 29 following game at Duke

G2: TOLEDO (3-0) AT NO. 14 HURRICANES (1-0): FINALLY! A FULL STATE SLATE INCLUDING MIAMI!: Postgame thoughtsWhat seemed like calamity at the half turned out OK. The defense stepped up, Malik Rosier stepped up, Mark Walton came from back injury and all was well in a less-than-dominant-early and yet ultimate convincing 52-30 Miami Hurricanes home win over Toledo Saturday afternoon. Hey, Florida State earlier in the day fell to 0-2, so take the blessings when they present themselves, right? We still don't know how good UM really is after low-watt wins over Bethune-Cookman and now Toledo, but, when last I checked, 2-0 is 2-0. This win was formulaic, really. Smaller-conference team starts out strong, but then yields to the greater size, speed and depth of the bigger foe. The defense and Rosier really came on big and Walton, who missed a chunk of the game with a turned ankle, returned and finished with a career-best 204 yards rushing (on only 11 carries). The big concern: Miami's pass defense. Still, for me, for a team shaking off a three week Irma-related layoff and having its practice schedule in upheaval, this was a pretty impressive result ..... Halftime thoughts: Well this is embarrassing! No panic mode -- yet -- but trailing Toledo at the half at home? C'mon. Manny Diaz's pass defense has been out of synch and is getting dominated by Rockets QB Logan Woodside, who has 213 yards passing. Miami also getting dominated on the clock, with Toledo running 50 offensive plays to The U's 21. Mark Walton the only bright spot with 137 yards rushing, but he left injured. Turned-up defensive effort and more Malik Rosier (8-for-12, 50 yards) will be required from here if Miami is to avoid a shocking upset ..... Original postThanks to Hurricane Irma and its after-effects, this 

Toledomiami Toledomiami2Collball Week 4 marks the first time since Week 1 that all seven state FBS schools will be in action. Toledo's Saturday (3:30 p.m.) visit will be the Hurricanes' first game since Sept. 2, marking the longest gap between regular-season games in UM history, and following a week of displaced Canes practices held in Orlando. "Frustrating, to say the least," said Miami receiver Braxton Berrios. The schedule upheaval and rust factor weigh against the Canes here, but Miami is a 13 1/2-point favorite for a reason. Despite Toledo's unblemished record in the Mid-American Conference, the ACC Hurricanes will have the speed, size and depth advantages to pull away. This is only these schools' second all-time meeting and first in 30 years, since a 24-14 UM win in 1987. Defensively, UM's secondary had better be on its toes against a pass-happy Rockets attack. Offensively, new Canes starting QB Malik Rosier still may not have injured top receiver Ahmmon Richards at his disposal, but the air doesn't figure to be where UM will win this game. The Toledo defense gave up 423 rushing yards to Tulsa last week, so look for Canes running star Mark Walton to put up huge numbers. My pick: Hurricanes, 38-17.

Other state FBS Week 4 games (chronologically):

No. 21 South Florida 43, Temple 7: Quiet game from Quinton Flowers Thursday but Bulls still rolled to 4-0.

North Carolina State 27, No. 12 Florida State 21: FSU never led, falls to 0-2 and likely out of Top 25, hugely diminishing upcoming visit by Miami.

UCF 38, Maryland 10: Terps were 3 1/2-point home pick so this is nice road win for Knights, now 2-0.

Buffalo 34, FAU 31: Tough loss in winnable game drop Owls to 1-3. 

No. 20 Florida 28, Kentucky 27: fla 2-1 Gators, now 2-1, rally from 27-14 down early in fourth to stun Wildcats to keep alive 31-game series winning streak. Yes, 31.

FIU 13, Rice 7: Defense leads Panthers, who were 1 1/2-point road 'dogs, to a huge win and a 2-1 record under Butch Davis.

National Collball Week 4 overview: Only two national Top 25 matchups on Saturday, neither high-wattage: No. 16 TCU upset No. 6 Oklahoma State, 44-31, and 11-Georgia crushed 17-Mississippi State, 31-3.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 17, 2014

What's your faith in Ryan Tannehill? Poll. Vote!; plus LeBron's new hair, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, new SOPY Top 10, Kevin Olsen, 3D-printed car & more

MESSAGE TO OUR BLOG FAMILY: (Note, this decision is corporate, not my own): "Starting Tuesday (yesterday), to comment on this blog you’ll need to log in with a Facebook account. We encourage lively discussion, but also believe respect and civility must be part of good debate. Your blog posts will carry the name on your Facebook account; you will have the choice whether your post also appears on your own Facebook page." Find a broader explanation here. Change affects all blogs, not just this one. I apologize for any inconvenience and thank our blog community -- the strongest on all of -- for standing together through the change.

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17. A belated happy birthday to Dan Marino, who turned 53 this week. Time flies like his passes once did. Fast. 2) The latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results, showing a sizable dip, may be found in blogpost directly below. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo, DSM poll, Heat signing, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

CONUNDRUM: TANNEHILL HASN'T FULLY EARNED TRUST, BUT DOLPHINS MUST TRUST HIM: I explore the curious state of Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins in my latest column; click on Pass Or Fail to 1aa1adolqbread. Two mediocre games into this third season, some fans and media already are concluding he isn't the team's long-term answer at quarterback. I say it looks like the Dolphins are afraid to find out. They are not letting him throw deep as often as they should. Sunday in the loss at Buffalo they ran out the clock with 2:21 left in the half and three timeouts (plus the two-minute warning) left. That was negative coaching betraying a lack of confidence in the man running the offense. Unshackle Tannehill, I say. It is the only way to know for sure what you have, and what the future holds. But enough of my opinion. Time for yours. Take a dip in our poll and say why you feel as you do.

LEBRON UNVEILS NEW SHOE, NEW HAIR: LeBron James has unveiled 1aa1alebronnewshoe
1aa1alebronhair2 1aa1alebronoldhairhis latest sneaker, the $200 LeBron 12 pictured left, a shoe whose color scheme seems to pay subconscious homage to the NFL in the city he left behind. Of more interest, it seems LeBron also has quietly also unveiled a new hairline that has reduced his growing expanse of forehead. Check out the before and current pics at right.

ON CANES QB KEVIN OLSEN: [Update: UM released the following statement in its entirety: "Kevin Olsen is no longer a student at the University of Miami. We wish him the very best in the future."] My original post: I have a personal policy to not criticize 1aa1akolsencollege athletes as I would pro athletes. Kevin Olsen (pictured in this week's police mug shot) makes that a challege. UM's oft-suspended quarterback is suspended again after his latest off-field issue, a DUI arrest with a fake ID -- dropping an unneeded distraction onto Al Golden's lap as the team prepares to play Nebraska. I temper this with a degree of sympathy, because it has become obvious the kid has an alcohol problem. He needs help and the school should try to give it as a last step before cutting ties altogether.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 2 DIPS: We update you briefly every week on how we 1aa1afripixdid the previous NFL weekend with our published predictions and with our fantasy-league team. Pix: We went 9-7 overall in Week 2 and 8-8 against the spread, nailing our Upset of the Week call ("Aawwk!") with Cowboys winning at Tennessee. Fantasy: Thud! Greg's Lobos fell to Earth like the Dolphins, losing 136-90 with nobody topping 15 lousy points.

SOPY: CANES' KAAYA VAULTS TO THIRD PLACE: A 177-point Week 3 vaults Canes QB Brad Kaaya to third place in our latest blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings -- 1aa1asopy"the State Heisman." This is a cumulative weekly list of the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from Florida's seven FBS college football teams: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Our past two season SOPY winners have been FSU QB Jameis Winston (2013; 2,107 points) and Canes QB Stephen Morris (2012; 1,900.5 points). Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The SOPY Top 10 entering Collball Week 4:


Rk (LW)   Player, team-pos.                Wk2    Season

1 (1)        Marlon Mack, SoFla-rb            49       433

2 (--)       DeMarcus Robinson, Fla-rec   228      357

3 (7)        Brad Kaaya, Miami-qb            177      353.5

4 (2)        Jameis Winston, FSU-qb        DNP     348

5 (9)        Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb           182.5    319.5

6 (5)        Duke Johnson, Miami-rb        116       314

7 (--)       Phillip Dorsett, Miami-rec       206       302

8 (3)        Rashad Greene, FSU-rec       80       289

9 (--)        Matt Jones, Florida-rb           176      262

10 (--)     Jacquez Johnson, FAU-qb     201     256.5

Bubble: Alex Gardner, FIU-rb, 252. Other team leader: UCF--Justin Holman-qb, 250.5. Season's best week: Mack, SoFla-rb, 304 (Wk1). Note: UCF, Florida and FSU have played one fewer game (2) than the other four state FBS teams.

Cote's State of the State rank entering Collball Week 4: 1. FSU (2-0); 2. Florida (2-0); 3. Miami (2-1); 4. UCF (0-2); 5. SoFla (1-2); 6. FAU (1-2); 7. FIU (1-2). 

1aa1astratiWORLD'S FIRST 3-D PRINTED CAR: This technology is beyond my comprehension -- I still listen to CDs -- but I find this fascinating. The Strati (pictured), a two-seat electric car with a range of 120 miles and a max speed of 40 mph, has been unveiled at a Chicago auto show. It was manufactured with a 3-D printer by Local Motors of Phoenix. The Strati will cost between $18,000 and $30,000 when it goes on sale later this year. Click here for the backstory.

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September 12, 2014

Stanton injuries "devastating" but prognosis good, with new column; plus Ray Rice poll, NFL Week 2 pix, Ferry-Deng audio, Al Golden & more

1aa1asep111) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12. I'm up at Random Evidence Laboratories today conjuring Sunday's notes-column package. 2) Thirteen years later, never forget doesn't just mean on Sept. 11. Means always. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Al Golden poll, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, updated SOPY standings & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

1aa1afripixNFL Week 2 picks: Good start last night with Ravens winning. Click on Week 2 Gems for all our predictions capsules (have the Dolphins winning, but it's a low-confidence pick), and on Eventually, Forgiveness for our Friday Page NFL column, on the engulfing Ray Rice controversy. Had an earlier column on how Miami suddenly is an "it" team in the NFL. Click on The State of Show-Me to read.  

Faint memories of Tony C., and thanks this wasn't worse: My new column on Giancarlo Stanton's injury and how close he came to a career-changing tragedy. Click on Lucky to read. 

MARLINS' STANTON HIT IN FACE BY FASTBALL; SEASON LIKELY DONE: The unimaginable struck the Marlins in Milwaukee last night, with Giancarlo Stanton hit on the left cheek by an 88-mph Mike Fiers fastball, 1aa1agstantondownwheeled off in an ambulance cart and almost certainly done for the remainder of the season. Stanton, co-favorite for the NL MVP award with Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, by rights should not lose his shot at the award over this, but sadly might. Stanton lay in pain for several minutes near home plate, being attended to after the fifth-inning beaning -- the scene pictured -- before being carted off. Incredibly, home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled he swung while raising his arms to defend himself. Reed Johnson came in to finish Stanton's at-bat, also was hit (on the hand), but also was said to have swung. The two dugouts emptied, with Marlins manager Mike Redmond and Casey McGehee both ejected for arguing. What an awful  break for Stanton, who had not missed a single game injured all season and was in the home stretch of a career year. Redmond afterward described Stanton as "bleeding heavily from his mouth" near home plate, adding, "It was scary." Might he possibly return in the final weeks of the season? "It's not looking good," said the manager. "It's devastating for us. Devastating." Medical update from Marlins Friday morning indicates Stanton suffered "facial lacerations requiring stitches, multiple facial fractures & dental damage," but the club said it is not expected he will require surgery. A doctor friend who deals with facial injuries said it was good news no mention was made of an orbital-bone fracture, which would involve the eye and vision, so early indications based on what we know suggest Stanton should be fully recovered by spring training. What bookend misfortune, though: the Marlins lose their two true stars -- Joe Fernandez early in the season to Tommy John surgery, and now Stanton late in the year to this. Best wishes to Giancarlo, a classy, good guy. I hope MVP voters rally around him and don't add insult to his injury by penalizing him for being hit in the face.

AUDIO OF HAWKS GM'S 'AFRICAN' COMMENT ON DENG: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained a 2-minute 22-second audio of the conference call in which Hawks GM Danny Ferry says of Luol Deng (now with the Heat), "He's got some African in him." Comes about midway through. Ferry claimed he was reading from a scouting report, but it sure doesn;t seem like that on the tape. Click here to listen.

CONDEMNATION, FORGIVENESS AND RAY RICE: The revealing this week of the awful video that shows Ray Rice slugging his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator has NFL commissioner Roger Goodell scrambling to keep 1aa1arricehis job and Rice's future in the league in limbo and jeopardy. The Ravens cut him and league suspended him indefinitely amid speculation he'll never play again. I think that's harsh. Plenty don't agree. Rice and Janay Palmer both say he had never struck her before so we must assume this was a first-time offense, appalling as it was. Based solely on that he should be suspended two games (his original sentence) or six games (if the new, tougher rules are applied), and then be reinstated and be eligible to be signed. But some say the graphic video merits a full-year suspension or even a lifetime ban. And even if he were to be reinstated, would any team risk the public-relations backlash to sign him? Rice is 27 and before last season was rated among the NFL's top handful of running backs. I think this poll distills to the shades of gray in one not-simple question: Does Ray Rice deserve a second chance? Vote and say why.

MOST NFL PLAYERS BY COLLEGE: Ex-Canes, Gators and Noles in the NFL are prevalent once more. Top 10 pro-producing schools in 2014 based on opening-week NFL rosters: LSU 38 players, Southern Cal 37, Alabama 36, Georgia 34, Florida and FSU 33 each, Miami 31, Cal and Ohio State 29 each, and Notre Dame and Tennessee 28 each. 

Poll result: Most still back UM's Golden, but support wavering: We invited you to describe your support (or lack of) for UM football coach Al Golden in any of four categories (you may still vote), and it was 27.0 percent "strong," 34.5% "medium," 24.2% "weak," and 14.3% "none." That's mostly favorable -- 61.5% strong/medium to 38.5% weak/none -- but it's a soft thumbs-up, with increasing dissatisfaction apparent.

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August 07, 2014

LeBatard reacts to ESPN suspension for LeBron billboards; plus Oden's arrest, Scott Mitchell at 366 lbs, Dolphins calendar, unfriendly us & more

1aa1ame1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 7. If you doubt the Le Batard billboards are causing a big reaction, check out the screengrab at right. I'm not a "trending" kind of guy, but trended for a bit after I Tweeted out a link to the blog item below. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Al Golden's greatest challenge, Stanton MVP odds, emaciated Gap model and more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

Coming soon: I Defy Logic, Time and Distance: I plan to kick a 50-yard field goal. I'll share details in the blog soon, so stay tuned.

ESPN SUSPENDS LE BATARD FOR TWO DAYS FOR LEBRON STUNT: [See item directly below for what led to suspension] ESPN today yanked Dan Le Batard off the air from his radio and television shows and will have him off again Friday as punishment for putting up billboards in Akron needling LeBron James. The ESPN statement: "Dan will be off the air for two days, returning Monday. His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN's standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance." Le Batard described the stunt as "fun anarchy" in comments exclusively in this blog yesterday. The two-day suspension, though a wrist-slap, is comically unnecessary. It's also this: Great publicity for Dan and his two ESPN platforms. I asked Dan for a comment. He just texted me: "I guess ESPN didn't find it all quite as funny as I did."

LEBATARD RADIO SHOW'S STEALTH ATTACK ON LEBRON'S AKRON HOMECOMING NOW UNDERWAY!: It is underway, and we had it first. Radio star Dan Le Batard of ESPN and Miami's The Ticket has today 1aa1adanbillbdbegun to unleash a good-natured advertising surprise on LeBron James as the Cavaliers celebrate his return to Cleveland with a homecoming in Akron on Friday. (Although "surprise" may be too strong a word considering he has yakked about it on-air as, in his words, an unabashed "attention grab disguised as a cause.") The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz initially considered full-page ads that pictured James' two championship rings won in Miami and read, "You're Welcome, LeBron" -- a gentle jab at LeBron not thanking Miami fans in his departure essay. When that idea was rejected by self-righteous Cleveland and Akron newspapers, LeBatard moved on to a no-longer secret Plan B now underway: Billboards! Pictured is what we think is the first of several to go up around Akron, the photo texted to me by a friend who lives just outside the city. Show producer Mike Ryan will be in Akron on Friday to give the show a live presence. There are rumors of an additional tier of the ad-assault that remains top secret, perhaps to be revealed on Friday. I pledged to not share more than I have at this time so that LeBron's "people" would not have enough advance notice or information to crush the plan. You especially don't (bleep) with Nike, which (not a lot of people know this) has its own CIA and military, including rumors of nuclear arms. Update: Dan just texted me his explanation for why he's doing this: "It's just fun anarchy. All meant in fun -- which, of course, will turn into Cleveland people getting filled with rage, poison and irrational hostility and want to use those billboards as a guillotine. Sports are so great, the more irrational the better. This is a publicity stunt disguised as a movement. Please don't tell anyone there is no actual movement."

Greg Oden arrested: TMZ reports Greg Oden has been arrested for beating his ex-girlfriend. Story here. Oden was iffy/doubtful to be back with Heat even before this. Now? Forget it.

SCOTT MITCHELL WEIGHS 366 POUNDS: I can now state, as a matter of fact, that I once wrote a 1aa1ascottmcolumn suggesting the Miami Dolphins trade Dan Marino for a man who weighs 366 pounds. Quick explainer: Back in the early '90s, I wrote that the Dolphins should look into trading Marino, who then still had much trade value, because Mitchell at the time was a young, hot QB coming off a big season for Miami after Marino's Achilles injury. Well, fast forward to now. The long-retired Mitchell weighs 366 pounds (pictured) and appears on the new season of TV's The Biggest Loser weight-loss show starting in September. I'll end the item with that because A) it isn't nice to make fun of fat people, and B) OK I may have been wrong on that trade-Marino column, in retrospect. There. Are you happy!?

1aa1adolswimURGENT DOLPHIN CHEERLEADERS UPDATE: Your Dolphin cheerleaders this Saturday will unveil their 2015 swimsuit calendar, the strongest evidence yet that there will be a 2015 despite scattered reports of impending Armageddon. A Dolphin cheerleader of undisclosed month is pictured, her smile and calm outward demeanor yet another reassurance that everything little t'ing gonna be alright.

"WE'RE NO. 10! WE'RE...!": The magazine Conde Nast Traveler emits its annual list of America's 10 friendliest and unfriendliest cities, and top rankings go to Charleston, S.C. for most welcoming and to Newark, N.J. for threatening to kill you. Two Florida cities earn a mention -- Key West tied for eighth most friendly, and our own Miami checking in as 10th unfriendliest. "[Bleep] that and [bleep] the [bleep-bleepers] in charge of the list," said the city of Miami in a prepared statement.

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July 06, 2013

In new NBA, who is Heat's biggest threat? New polls. Vote!; plus the king of England, the shame of Urban Meyer, Marlins' wild day & more

1) It is SUNDAY, JULY 7. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes column. 2) Played golf yesterday for first time in ages and shot a bad-for-even-me 97 at Inverrary-East. The greens mocked me all day. Must have missed a half dozen 4-to-5 foot par putts. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron on Forbes power list, Happy 4th, Miami top-10 athletes under 25 & more.

Join us on TWITTER @gregcote and INSTAGRAM @ upsetbird and VINE @ Greg Cote. Cost: Free. Return on investment: Commensurate with outlay.

1aa1kingjDWIGHT HOWARD HAS LANDED. NOW WHO IS HEAT'S BIGGEST THREAT?: We have seen the draft. Mostly, we have now seen the major moves in free agency, culminating with the biggest 2013 prize, Dwight Howard, ditching the Lakers for the Houston Rockets. So, Heat fan, as you survive the altered NBA landscape, who look like Miami's biggest threats to a Three-Peat? First in the Eastern Conference, then from the West in The Finals? The two polls below list the top three challengers in each category based on new Bovada betting odds, post-Howard trade. But the teams are alphabetically listed in the poll, not based on odds. I figure you all are going to set the real order, right here. Vote, say why and check back often to track the evolving results.

Note: Participating in these polls does not indicate particular concern that any team will dethrone the Heat, only which is most likely.

THE SHAME OF URBAN MEYER: Urban Meyer, now at Ohio State, tries to distance himself from the 1aa1meyeruAaron Hernandez murder-charge scandal, which is understandable, though Hernandez was a Gator under Meyer and reportedly a punk in Gainesville, too. But it's awfully hard for Gator fans to deny the program ran amok off the field during his years there. And if you know any UF alum or fans still in denial, have them read this piece from The New York Times.

MARLINS' WILD DAY: HELLO JOSE, GOODBYE RICKY: Marlins rookie pitching phenom Jose Fernandez (pictured) ceremonially arrived as a future star Saturday with his not-unexpected selection to the NL All-Star team 1aa1fernj-- one of 17 rooks on the National's 35-man rster. (The AL roster has 13 rookies). Outbound was Ricky Nolasco, the club's all-time leader in wins with 81, in a long-anticipated trade to the Dodgers. This isn't one of those salary-dump, here-they-go-again type of moves. Nolasco is 30, was 27-34 the past three-plus seasons, and Miami has four starters (at least) who are younger and better. Need one of those three prospects in return to make it, but even if not, Nolasco is not a big loss. Meantime, Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison both should be embarrassed by their combined error that ended yesterday's game. Lazy throw, muffed catch. Sloppy, sloppy.

ANDY MURRAY: THE KING OF ENGLAND: You lead the league in stoicism if you didn't get emotional 1aa1amurraywatching Andy Murray (pictured) win Wimbledon today over Novak Djokovic, the first Brit to do so since 1936. The storybook endings that seem too good to be true -- nobody does 'em like sports. Great day for Great Britain. on Saturday, Marion Bartoli beat Sabine Lisicki for the women's title. It was a star-less final and dull match, spiced only by Lisicki's tears during play as she tried to rally to respectability. A competitive match (not that this was) isn't enough. I can see good, competitive tennis at my local club. In a major final I want starpower; so do TV viewers. The men came through on that today. Andy Murray came through.

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December 02, 2011

A farewell to Howard Schnellenberger; plus NFL predix, new D-Wade ad, Heath Bell, radio ratings, Carl Pelini, Newt, Frosty & more

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A FOND FAREWELL, HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: Howard Schnellenberger deposited 53 years of football coaching into the past tense Saturday, placing a life's work in the memory box as Florida Atlantic hosted Louisiana-Monroe. The sun set on the stadium as it set on a man's storied 1aa1howardumcareer. Of course it would be ending differently had anyone put me in charge of the fairy tale. It would be ending in a bowl game, with Howard triumphantly on the shoulders of players, being carried off the field. Instead it would end in a half-empty campus stadium with another loss, this one 26-0. The coach's sendoff was a 1-11 record. One must step back, though, way back, to take in the full measure of what Schnellenberger has meant to South Florida. In college or pro coaching, I think only Don Shula has meant more. Schnellenberger helped guide the Dolphins to their 1972 Perfect Season, he led the Miami Hurricanes to their watershed 1983 1aa1howardfaunational championship, and he founded from scratch the FAU football program, bequeathing it a brand new stadium borne of his own initiative and persistence -- a stadium that should be renamed in his honor. And those are just the highlights. I'll never forget the snapshot of Schnellenberger drinking in that national title the night of Jan. 2, 1984 at the old Orange Bowl, the then-ubiquitous pipe in his hand, and wife Beverlee at his side, incongruously but somehow appropriately in a full-length mink. They were royalty. They had set the Hurricanes off on their remarkable way. This man was a big part of the best of Dolphins history, then a bigger part of the best of UM history, and finally the only part that mattered in making history in Boca Raton, literally creating a football program from nothing. Pictured is the man in his halcyon UM days at left and in his later FAU years at right, hair gone snow-white but fire still burning. Now he retires at 77, and he has earned the rest. A monumental and well-spent career that mattered is ending. Well done, Howard. Farewell.

Other Collball Week 14 state FBS games: South Florida lost Thursday to No. 23 West Virginia, 30-27. National top-25 matchups: 24-Southern Miss d. 6-Houston, 49-28; 17-Baylor d. 22-Texas, 48-24; 1-LSU d. 14-Georgia, 42-10; 3-Oklahoma State d. 11-Oklahoma, 44-10; 20-Clemson d. 5-Virginia Tech, 38-10; and 15-Wisconsin d. 13-Michigan State, 42-39.

1aa1fripix 1aa1rolandomcclainNFL PREDIX: DOLPHINS IN SPOILER MODE: Miami beats Oakland on Sunday, 23-17, playing spoiler to the Raiders' playoff hopes. Dolphins defense has played well enough in this 3-1 spurt to handle Carson Palmer, and I think Miami can control the ball offensively vs. an OAK run-D allowing 5.3 yards per carry. Raiders MLB Rolando McClain is expected to play Sunday despite a Thursday arrest in Alabama for allegedly threatening a man with a pistol and firing a shot near his head while in town to attend his grandfather's funeral. McClain is pictured at right during his arrest, grinning like a fool. Literally. Click on Week 13 Gems for all our latest NFL picks. Also check out my Friday Page column on how three unusual QB situations lend intrigue to an otherwise drama-free playoff chase.

THE NEW DWYANE WADE AD: "This Is Flight," the new D-Wade commercial for Jordan Brand. Impressive. Click here.

MARLINS HIT BIG WITH BELL, SEND MESSAGE: The Miami Marlins now have a premier closer in former 1aa1bellhPadre Heath Bell, who has had 42, 47 and 43 saves the past three seasons, an all-star each year. Call it an early Christmas present for Josh Johnson and for other starters who can probably count on two or three more victories each from what would have been blown saves. The Closer Formerly Known As Leo Nunez is relegated to an odd bit of club history now with Bell's arrival. The message? Two-fold. 1. Bell is 34, meaning the Marlins want and expect to win now. 2) This formerly penurious franchise is serious about spending, and contending. Are you listening, Jose Reyes? You'd also think a free-agent starter like lefty C.J. Wilson finds the Marlins a lot more enticing with Bell closing than when the position was a question mark. Bonus: Bell (pictured) comes with the good, menacing Closer Beard.

790 THE TICKET IS KICKING WQAM'S A--: I compare the four major South Florida sports-radio stations -- 790 The Ticket, WQAM-560, WINZ-940 and 640-WMEN -- by combining the full day (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.) November ratings for each station's four programs in the most-desirable men 18-34 and men 25-54 1aa1mikeradiodemographics. Results: 790 a combined 17.7 rating to QAM's 10.0, 940's 3.5 and 640's 0.8. Here is the breakdown: 6-10 a.m.---790's Jorge Sedano beats QAM's Joe Rose a combined 4.9 to 3.1, with 940's Mike & Mike at 1.6 and 640's Armando & The Amigo at 0.3. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.---790's Colin Cowherd whips QAM's Gino Torretta, 4.6 to 2.5, with 940 and 640 in at 0.3 and 0.0, respectively. 1-3 p.m.---790's The Sports Brothers beat QAM's Michael Irvin, 2.9 to 1.7, with 940 and 640 at 0.8 and 0.1. And 3-7 p.m.---790 Dan Le Batard & Stugotz crush QAM, 5.3 to 2.7, with 940 and 640 at 0.8 and 0.4. Summary: WQAM needs to find a way around or through 790's across the board dominance, which only figures to be enhanced now that the Heat are on again. WINZ-940 has disappointed despite becoming the flagship station of the Dolphins. As for 640, well, based on these numbers...why bother?  

1aa1carlpeliniFAU REPLACES HOWARD WITH THE "OTHER" PELINI: Howard Schnellenberger puts the wrap on 53 remarkable years in football coaching Saturday, and now word comes that FAU will replace its retiring program creator with Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini, 46, the brother of Huskers head coach Bo Pelini. Hmm. Carl (pictured) was last a head coach in 2002 at Fitch High in Austintown, Ohio. Since then he has been a defensive assistant at two small colleges (Minnesota State, Ohio) before being hired at Nebraska by his look-alike younger brother. I'm not saying nepotism, but I do think The Other Pelini has much to prove. The Nebraska bloodline alone makes him a credible hire for FAU, but I can't help but think a major-program defensive coordinator who is highly regarded and seen as head-coach material might land a bit higher than the Owls, no?

NEWT GINGRICH?: Newt Gingrich predicted flatly this week, "I'm going to be the [Republicican presidential] nominee." At that, the sound you heard sweeping the nation was the collective relieved exhale of Barack Obama supporters. In 2008 Obama might well have lost the presidency if John McCain had not boneheadedly chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate. In 2012, Obama will be susceptible to defeat again but for the lack of an electable opponent. Enter Newt. The perception here is that Obama's reelection campaign has no greater hope than Newt Gingrich grand-marshaling a parade of Herman Cain, Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry on the other side.

1aa1frostyMAN DRESSED AS FROSTY THE SNOWMAN TERRORIZES SMALL TOWN: Well, I guess that headline about about says it all. Click here for the tale.

Check back. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...

September 14, 2010

Parcells on TV sitcom as favor to actor/friend; plus UM Tweetgate, Stan Van Whiny vs. Heat, Jet haters, Gator busts, Ines Sainz, Toddler Bums on Counters & more

1aasvg STAN VAN WHINY VS. PAT RILEY: This is delicious, this back and forth between the Orlando Magic and Heat in the wake of Pat Riley going all in and winning big with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. What you thought would have died out by now has only escalated. Get this straight: It's one thing for ex-players, fossils like Charles Barkley, to knock LeBron or whatever. It's quite another for other teams to get involved and wear their jealousy on the sleeve like that. It's unprofessional. So Magic coach Stan Van Gundy calls Chris Bosh a lap dog" for following Dwyane Wade, and Magic GM Otis Smith says, "I though [LeBron] was, I guess, more of a competitor." Then Riley fires back at the critics, mentioning the Magic by name. Then Van Whiny, who leads the NBA in can't-let-it-go, fires back (click here) against Riley firing back. Good Lord! Van Grudge even mentioned Riley's supposed "moral judgements" against his brother Jeff during the Knicks-Heat rivalry of the '90s. Geez, let it go, Stan! This isn;t about the Heat's free-agency windfall, of course. This goes back to the way Van Gundy left the Heat 21 games into the 2006 title year, ostensibly to spend more time with his family (!) but clearly because Shaquille O'Neal wanted SVG out and Riley chose Shaq over the coach. Four years later, this is about that. This is about a coach who can't let it go. His name? Stan Van Bitter.

BULLETIN! LEBRON NOT AS LOVED AS BEFORE: Although I look at this headline and I have only one question. Did Van Gundy get to vote more than once? 

TWITTERGATE AT THE U!: OK that's being overly dramatic. But Randy Shannon did bar his players from Twittering and Tweeting. The school announced the ban on Twitter. Seems like an overreaction (would the ban have happened if they'd beaten Ohio State?), but I have no real problem with it. Not sure the Founding Fathers mulling freedom of expression had 140-character Tweets in mind. I think Shannon's ban will catch on. Think NFL teams will be next and hope that starts with the Bengals, because Chad Ochocinco is a dangerous serial Tweeter who must be stopped!

JET-HATERS, REJOICE!: Oh but why we do we dislike Rex Ryan and the Jets so!? Hey time is limited. This is a blog, not a mini-series. But for the short answer, click on H-A-T-E! for a new column by me, online and in Wednesday's pulp edition. And I don't even mention Fireman Ed. "Oh I'm sorry your house burned down, m'am, but our fireman was leading cheers at a football game."

1aabms 1aabill TUNA TAKES A TV TURN: Dolphins personnel chieftain-turned-consultant Bill Parcells, who is to comedy what motor oil is to a ham sandwich, will make a guest appearance this fall on the second season of "Blue Mountain State," Spike TV's bawdy sports/comedy series, we are told. Season debuts Oct. 20. Maybe this is why Tuna is scaling back on his NFL duties. Ironic as it sounds of a hermit-man who eschews media and public utterances, perhaps the TV camera loves him! [Wednesday update: Have a few details for you. Tuna's appearance was filmed in June. In the scen, he takes a phone call from the BMS coach, played by Ed Marinaro. It was Ed who talked Parcells, a friend, into doing the show. I just watched Tuna's scene and I have on word: Emmy].  

1aabrandon MIAMI RECEIVER POWER: Pictured right, the great ex-Cane Michael Irvin and the great current Dolphin Brandon Marshall, at a Monday football watch party at Lucky Strike Lanes. Defensive backs get nervous just looking at this photo.  

1aagator GATORS REACH ARREST MILESTONE: I guess congratulations are in order as Florida WR Chris Rainey's bust marks the 30th Gator arrest of the Urban Meyer era. (That's 29 more than have occured at UM under Randy Shannon, for those scoring at home). I'm not sure, but I think when the Gator totals reaches 50 arrests, players should wear a commemorative jersey patch.

NFL FRIDAY-PAGE PICKS: I went an OK 10-6 overall in Week 1, and 6-7-3 vs. the spread. Nailed my Upset of the Week with Texans over Colts ("Aawwk!"), had Ravens upsetting Jets, had 'Skins with points over Cowboys. But other results (notably (Seahawks-Niners) kicked my ass.

FANTASY REPORT. I STINK AGAIN: It hurts to tell you both my teams have begun 0-1. The Bad Newz Fennelz lost 81-68 in my main league. Boner of the Week: I started Beanie Wells, not knowing he was inactive. Lame excuse: It was because I was traveling Saturday. My Lobos lost 136-95 in my smaller, family league, with Ryan Grant's early injury typifying my day.

1aaines INES SAINZ PLAYS HER ROLE IN JETS INCIDENT, TOO: You might know by now that Ines Sainz is a hottie attractive reporter for Mexico's TV Azteca, and the victim of unprofessional catcalls et cetera while at Jets camp. The league and team are investigating. Now this is not to condone the Jets. Anybody who watched Rex Ryan and his squad on Hard Knocks can readily imagine the frat-boy mentality at the core of this. But I also must mention that Sainz bears her responsibility in this, too. She has done photo shoots in a bikini, inviting the portrayal of her as a sex symbol. Pictured right is what she wore to Jets camp, a not-unpleasing redefinition of "tight-fitting jeans." Again, this does not condone any Jets who disrespected her. But it explains it a little. [Update: Clinton Portis says here it's normal that a woman reporter would check out a player's package. And then of course immediately apologizes]. [Update II: Ines Sainz is not the TV Azteca reporter who showed up to a Super Bowl press conference in a wedding dress to "propose" to Tom Brady. That was Ines Gomez Mont. Apologies from me. Have a history of mixing up my Ines's]. 

TODDLER BUMS ON COUNTERS: Toddler Bums on Counters (TBC) is a growing national health-risk and annoyance that I am introducing. You have seen it. You're at a Dunkin Donuts (me, this morning) or a Burger King, and the young parent ahead in line sits her toddler on the counter, facing her. Parents: Nobody wants your precious one's diapered ass on a counter where food goes! I believe next time I see this at DD I might have to "accidentally" spill coffee. Hint: It won't be on the innocent toddler.  

SLOW DEATH OF SEARS (CONT'D): Click here for the latest embarrassment for the once-proud retail giant. Somewhere, Roebuck is weeping.

THE LIST: DOLPHINS CELEB-OWNERS' MONEY: Net worth of five celebrities associated with Dolphins as part-owners or business partners, according to website

Gloria Estefan   $500 million

Jimmy Buffett   $400 million

Jennifer Lopez   $110 million

Serena Williams   $85 million

Venus Williams   $60 million

Note: Today's list brought to you by New York Yankees captain Derek Cheater.


GREG COTE WORLD: READ columns and blog in The Miami Herald and, including general sports columns, Friday NFL predictions page and Sunday "Random Evidence" notes. FOLLOW on Twitter. WATCH for occasional appearances on ESPN's Outside the Lines and elsewhere. LISTEN on 790 The Ticket's weekly Dolphins pregame show and also Tuesdays around 4:20 p.m. JOIN in live chat every Wednesday noon to 1 p.m. CONTACT at [email protected], although responses might not be as prompt as you'd like. No phone messages or snail-mail, please.

March 23, 2010

Sparano kills chance of Brandon Marshall trade; plus Ronnie Brown's arrest (with poll), Erin Andrews dancing, Tiger's latest mea culpa & more

[MARCH MADNESS HAIKU CHALLENGE ending soon! Get entries in now in appropriate post] 

BRANDON MARSHALL DREAM DIES FOR REAL: Today at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Tony Sparano said nah-no-thanks to the possibility of a trade for on-the-block Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall. More understandably, he also said nah to aging free agent Terrell Owens. Marshall for the overall No. 12 pick, straight up? I'd do it in a heartbeat. Sparano instead indicated satisfaction with his current group of receivers. OY!

RONNIE BROWN THE LATEST ATHLETE WHO DOESN'T GET IT: I like Ronnie Brown, think he's a good guy, and do not think he stops being a good guy because his previously clean record is now blemished by a DUI arrest. But Brown's arrest is indicative of a troubling pattern in which pro athletes seem to take for granted what a privilege it is to be doing what they do for a living. They are paid millions to A) perform on the field and B) be responsible citizens who do not embarrass their club. It is the latter that they seem to fall short of so often. Click on Crumbling Pedestal for my latest column.

1aaerin1 1aaerin2 ERIN ANDREWS WIGGLES HIPS: ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews wows crowd on TV's "Dancing With the Stars." Shown here: Photographic evidence that Erin looks pretty good even when not seen nude through a hotel peephole.

TIGER'S LATEST APOLOGY: Speaking of nude women, Tiger's latest mea culpa was a brief 5-minute quickie interview with ESPN. Click here for the video. Not much new or different than in his earlier, lengthy statement. I'm sure this was calculated to maybe lessen the circus atmosphere of his Masters return. Won't work. I predict Tiger at some point will announce that at Augusta he will answer only golf-related questions. That won't work, either.

DONALD THOMAS POCKETS EXTRA 316K: Announced by the NFL today (Tuesday), Miami guard Donald Thomas is the only Dolphin in the top 25 (at No. 7) in the performance-based pay bonus program for the 2009 season, with an added $316,577. The program was established in 2002 to reward players whose playing time most exceeds the relative size of their salary.

DOLPHS PICK UP EXTRA DRAFT PICK: Today in the 5 o'clock hour the NFL awarded the Dolphins one of dozens of compensatory draft picks. Miami's will be the 45th choice in the seventh and last round, or the 252nd pick overall. Make the most of it, Tuna! 

THE LIST: FLORIDA DERBY: I enjoy lists, and starting today will present one in each new blogpost (until I forget to). Today, the 17 Florida Derby winners who have gone on to win a total of 27 Triple Crown races:

1955   Nashua   (Preakness, Belmont)

1956   Needles   (Kentucky Derby)

1958   Tim Tam   (Ky, Pr)

1960   Bally Ache   (Pr)

1961   Carry Back   (Ky, Pr)

1963   Candy Spots   (Pr)

1964   Northern Dancer   (Ky, Pr)

1968   Forward Pass   (Ky, Pr)

1979   Spectacular Bid   (Ky, Pr)

1984   Swale   (Ky, Bel)

1986   Snow Chief   (Pr)

1990   Unbridled   (Ky)

1995   Thunder Gulch   (Ky, Bel)

2001   Monarchos   (Ky)

2003   Empire Maker   (Bel)

2006   Barbaro   (Ky)

2008   Big Brown   (Ky, Pr)

[By the way, the sadness of my ravaged NCAA Tournament bracket may be experienced in the blogpost immediately below this].