January 04, 2021

G16: Buffalo 56, Dolphins 26: Collapse! Miami finds a way to miss playoffs. Our column off game; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), our Orange Bowl column, NFL Week 17 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast new episode out! & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 4. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes Rally But Fall in Cheez-It Bowl, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 16 results, Greg Cote Show podcast's Holiday/Year-End episode & more. 3) 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...).

No. 5 Texas A&M makes its case in 87th Orange Bowl game: For or column off A&M's OB win over North Carolina: It Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB. Other most recent columns: 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue yet Again / 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.

MiabufG16: BUFFALO 56, DOLPHINS 26: MIAMI FINDSWAY TO MISS PLAYFFS: Fins finish a credible 10-6 but miss postseason. Our column off the game: Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse ..... Original post: Buffalo. Early January. Temps in the 30s. Snow showers likely. That’s the Dolphins’ opponent today (1 p.m., CBS). Oh, and the AFC East champion Bills, too. The point spread, given the weather, should be favoring Buffalo by maybe double the 3 points it is. Heck, Bills were only favored by a mere 1 1/2 before Miami lost insurance-QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a COVID test-positive Thursday and the bet-line doubled. So what gives? 1) Bills are locked into AFC’s No. 2 or 3 seed, with no clear advantage to either. Makes it likely or at least very possible Buffs will rest key starters. As a template for what we might expect: When Week 17 didn’t matter much one year ago, QB Josh Allen played only seven snaps. 2) Dolphins make playoffs with a win, or if either the Ravens, Browns or Colts lose. No guarantees there, though, so Fins looking at this as must-win. Buffs at full strength, in this climate, are clear faves. But Bills’ big edge is on the attack, and fall from Josh Allen to backup Matt Barkley is steep, so that’s a difference maker if indeed Allen plays little or at all. Having said that, it’s all-or-nothing with Tua Tagovailoa Sunday, because the backup goes now from super-reliable Fitzpatrick to thoroughly untested Jake Rudock. It’s an all-Sunday, all-division games schedule to wrap this NFL regular season, and the slate is a minefield of games like this where the pick is at the mercy of who starts and who plays how much. Bottom line? If Sean McDermott goes all-out and Allen is slinging 40 passes, I may be in trouble picking Miami. If it plays out as I imagine, the weather will limit the score and play into the Fins' defense-first modus operandi. The league’s most improved D has gotten the Fins this far. Time to bring it home. (P.S., please do take the day off Josh Allen. You earned the rest!). My pick: Upset! Dolphins (+3), 20-17. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 17 Gems

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANJUARY 3-4): 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: With playoffs on line, Miami suffers monumental collapse: The Dolphins would have made the playoffs Sunday with a win, or if either the Ravens, Browns or Colts lost. Sorry, none of it happened. Leaves Miami as the NFL's only 10-win team to not reach the postseason. Sad ending to an otherwise upbeat season. 

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 'Bama, Ohio State coming to Miami for CFP finale: No Doubt I: Alabama over Notre Dame 31-14. No Doubt II: Ohio State over Clemson 49-28. Result: Crimson Tide an early 7-point favorite over Buckeys in College Football Playoff national championship game January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Oh, and Dabo Swinney keeps insisting he doesn't regret voting Ohio State 11th in the coaches' poll. Admit it or not, Dabo, you were your own team's worst enemy with that motivation-on-steroids for the opponent.

3. HEAT: Embarrassment vs. Bucks tops Miami's slow start: Defending NBA Finals runnerup Miami is only 2-3 entering Monday's game vs. Oklahoma City. Lowlight: A 144-97 blowout home-loss to Milwaukee as the Bucks avenged its playoff ouster by the Heat three months earlier. Milwaukee made an NBA-record 29 3-point shots (of 51 tries) in burying the Heat. Miami allowed fans in the arena (about 100 family and friends of players) for the first time. Pity they had to witness such a night. 

4. HURRICANES: Cheez-It Bowl loss continues UM's recent bowl woes: The Canes fought nobly from an early 21-0 deficit in losing 37-34 to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl to finish 8-3. That's 'A' for effort but still a failing grade overall, with two straight losses to end the season, and a 10th defeat in the past 11 bowl games dating to 2008. (Also, when you are a five-time national champion whose season ends in the Cheez-It Bowl, sorry, but you cannot call that a successful year.

5. ORANGE BOWL: Texas A&M beats North Carolina in overshadowed OB: The No. 5-ranked Aggies handled No. 13 North Carolina, 41-27, in he 87th Orange Bowl game Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium, the same city and stadium that will host the CFP title game next Monday. Did A&M make its case that it should have been in the the four-team playoff. Not convincingly.

6. PANTHERS: Cats set to open camp as NHL season nears: Florida opens preseason training camp today/Monday with a 39-man roster. The Panthers begin their 27th season with a four-game homestand starting January 14 vs. the Dallas Stars.  

7. LE BATARD: ESPN era ends for Miami-based personality: The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz bids farewell to ESPN's airwaves on Monday, then continues Tuesday as an independent enterprise before announcing its next destination. Exciting times ahead!

8. MARLINS: Back to earth for Fish in first '21 rankings: Miami unexpectedly made the expanded MLB playoffs last season and won a series, yet the Marlins are ranked only a mid-pack 17th in MLB.com's initial 2021 pre-spring rankings. Miami also ranks fourth of five in the NL East, ahead of only the Nationals. Still waiting for new GM Kim Ng to make some splash moves.

9. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women try to shake doldrums: Both UM teams began the new season 3-0. Now the Miami men are 4-4 after Saturday's 1-point home loss to Clemson, and the women are 5-3 with Sunday's win, also vs. the Tigers. 

10. MLB: Did someone forget to turn on the Hot Stove?: Yeah, pitchers Blake Snell and Yu Darvish have been traded. Otherwise there hasn't been a lot of major action in the major league offseason.

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy New Year, all! Hot Button Top 10 happy to be back after a week off ..... Johnny Manziel is coming out of retirement to play in something called the Fan Controlled Football league. The FCF is to debut with four teams in February. Over/under on the startup league folding: June 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 43 is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,003 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

PicksNFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, 4 BIG UPSETS, PLAYOFFS ON LINEWeek 16 holiday-gifted us 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!”), nailed 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! Now comes the tough part as Week 17 is wrought with games where it isn’t certain to what degree one team will be resting starters vs. playing to win — Bills-Dolphins one of those. No excuses, though. Let’s finish strong to toast 2021! Topping our Week 17 marquee: Fins at Buffalo, an unusual Game of the Week, four (!) upsets and a slew of game that will shape who's in the playoffs and out. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. For all of our latest picks to wrap the regular season, visit NFL Week 17 Gems

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our No. 1 episode of 2021 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 43 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep1 of '21, ESPN star Sarah Spain discusses the Le Batard Show on Dan's last day at the network, Greg and Chris chat up the Dolphins' massive collapse in Buffalo and, oh no, Mount Gregmore is back! Hear all of that and more in our first new episode of the year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

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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).

November 23, 2020

G10: Dolphins fall at Denver 20-13. Tua benched but still starter; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas 57 years ago yesterday. Never forget. 2) 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! 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 11 picks, Hurricanes season rocked and postponed by COVID, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 37 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Some of our most recent stuff: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Herald Week 10 NFL QB Rankings / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / and In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 38 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 38 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep38 we welcome in special guest Christie Cote to share family secrets and embarrassing stories about her husband Chris and father-in-law Greg. She also talks about being a fan of the winless Jets -- the Dolphins' next opponent. Greg and Chris also chat up Sunday's Fins loss in Denver. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (U's) and more. Appreciate you listening each week and check out the new ep!

MiadenverG10: DOLPHINS FALL AT DENVER 20-13. TUA BENCHED BUT STILL STARTER: Miami was due a loss after five straight wins, and Tua was due a less than stellar start. Both happened Sunday as the Dolphins missed a great chance to tie for the AFC East lead and solidify their playoff hopes. Original post: Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 as a starter with five touchdown passes and zero interceptions — only the second rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era (Carson Wentz, 2016) to start 3-0 with zero picks. If Tagovailoa bags a fourth consecutive victory Sunday to begin his career he will be only the second rook since 1976 to do that, and the first since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Heady stuff, the way the Golden Samoan has introduced himself to Miami. He has helped make the Fins one of 15 teams with six-plus wins, the most ever entering Week 11. He also is a win in Denver Sunday (4:05 p.m., CBS) from hoisting Miami into a tie for the AFC East lead with idle Buffalo. This might give us pause: Miami somehow has lost 10 consecutive road games vs. teams with losing records. Except: Denver has lost eight of the past nine at home vs. teams with winning records. Mile High is no longer a scary visit. The Broncos are in shambles. QB Drew Lock (ribs) is iffy to play and has 10 interceptions in past five games when he does play. The once-proud Denver defense has allowed an average of 36 points during the past four games. The Broncos’ decline and the way Miami is playing are a stark contrast. Can’t recall when last I said what I’m about to: Miami losing on the road Sunday would be a huge surprise. My pick: Dolphins (-3), 27-13. For all of our latest King Sport picks (we're coming off an 11-3 week against the spread), visit NFL Week 11 Gems.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 22-23): 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:

1HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua Train pulls into Denver, gets derailed in loss: Favored at Denver Sunday and with Jets and Bengals next, we thought Miami could very plausibly be 9-3 after a dozen games. Now, maybe 8-4? The playoffs still loom realistically, by Miami likely must win the next two to have a cushion entering a much tougher four-game stretch to end the regular season. A bit of pressure on Tua Tagovailoa now, too, after his benching late in Sunday's 20-13 loss.

2. HEAT: Miami nabs Memphis forward in NBA Draft, re-signs Dragic: The Heat selected Memphis 6-9 forward Precious Achiuwa 20th overall, seeing him as a big who'll back up Bam Adebayo. Precious has sisters named Grace and Peace, and brothers named Promise, God'sgift, God'swill and God’slove. If Precious is as good at basketball as his family is at naming babies, Miami just won the draft. Free agency opened two days after the draft and Miami quickly re-signed Goran Dragic and role player Meyers Leonard, but is lsing Jae Crowder to Phoenix.

3. HURRICANES: COVID outbreak disrupts, postpones UM season: No. 12 Canes -- how do you win and then drop three spots in The AP poll? -- were supposed to host Georgia Tech Saturday night. But the global coronavirus pandemic had something to say about that. A COVID outbreak got in the way, with much of the UM team including coach Manny Diaz in isolation after positive tests. Presuming no further outbreak, Hurricanes won't play again until December 5 at Wake Forest.

4. INTER MIAMI: Quick playoff exit ends strangest of rookie years: Inter Miami has finished its inaugural expansion season in Major League Soccer with a 7-14-3 record after Friday night's 3-0 loss at Nashville in the first round of the expanded playoffs. Miami had won its final regular season match to clinch the 10th and last spot in the East playoffs. Inter Miami starters Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez did not play Friday after ill-timed COVID test-positives.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: First CFP ranking due as virus ravages season: The first College Football Playoff raking is out Tuesday and good luck to the committee making sense of this season. Nineteen more games were canceled (12) and postponed (7) this week, including ppd's for Miami-Georgia Tech (see above) and FSU-Clemson. Some games were played. Among results: Gators beat Vandy, FAU won and FIU lost (again).

6. NBA: Crazy week as free agency rolls out two days after draft: A whirlwind: Chris Paul to Suns. Jrue Holiday to Hornets. James Harden turns down $50 million to stay as he attemts to broker deal to join Nets. Anthony Davis not recommitting to Lakers just yet. Giannis mulling options. Toronto re-signs Fred VanFleet. Oh, and Raptors will open season in Tampa after Canada says no home games in Toronto just yet. 

7. UM BASKETBALL: It's opening week for Canes and college hoops: Under the shadow of a pandemic, college basketball gets underway Wednesday, with Gonzaga (AP) and Baylor (coaches) No. 1 in the men's polls and South Carolina dominant in the women's rankings. It's a season of low expectations for UM, with neither team ranked or receiving votes. Canes women open Wednesday at home vs. Jacksonville; Miami men launch next Sunday vs. North Florida.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Champion LSU rocked by scandal: Ed Orgeron's reigning national champion LSU Tigers program is under fire after a USA Today investigative report found systemic mishandling of sexual misconduct and dating violence complaints against the school's football team. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was "deeply troubled" and has called for an investigation, and the NCAA won't be far behind.

9. SOCCER: Champions League play resumes this week: UEFA Champions League group play continues Tuesday toward a winnowing to the round of 16. Barcelona, one of four team that are a perfect 3-0 thus far, plays Tuesday. The other three perfectos, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool, get back at it Wednesday. Two more weeks of play will follow to complete the group stage.

10. THANKSGIVING: Time to give thanks, if at all possible: Thursday we eat (a lot), watch football (a lot), and enjoy the company of loved ones (but not too close). Many of us, when we say grace before the Thanksgiving banquet, count the blessings of the year. In cursed 2020, that could make for a record-short grace. "Thank God this !@#$%in' year is almost over! Let's eat."

Missing the HB10 cut: Waiting for that first big Marlins offseason deal to trumpet GM Kim Ng's arrival ..... R.I.P., Jake Scott, Dolphins career leader in interceptions. Free safety, free spirit, gone at 75 ..... As MLB free agency rolls out, sport suspended Mets 2B Robinson Cano an entire season for PEDs. So long, Cooperstown ..... Baseball Hall of Fame ballots have been mailed, and I (a voter) received mine. Rudy Guiliani is standing by to contest the results of the election ..... The wife of Lions QB Matthew Stafford on Instagram called Michigan a "dictatorship" for its COVID lockdown rules, was shouted down by rational people aware there is a pandemic, and had to apologize ..... LaVar Ball vs. Michael Jordan 1-on-1? Yes, please. But only if it is guaranteed MJ will crush and humiliate the world's most annoying sports dad ..... Florida Panthers have entered into an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Minor-league nicknames rule! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 38 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,045 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other most recent columns: 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 / Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / 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.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

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).

November 02, 2020

G7: Dolphins 28, L.A. Rams 17: Tuaaaaaaaaaa! (And big defense). My new column; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2. I'm on ESPN's Le Batard Show today, 11 a.m. to noon, to talk Tua. 2) Hope y'all had a safe Halloween, and now happy November! (Sure hope so, anyway. Know soon enough). 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes bye-week look ahead, NFL Week 8 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 34 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 35 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 35 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep35, myself and Chris dive deep into the first career NFL start of new Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa -- and Greg debuts his new tribute song! Also, a new Greg's Top 10 and Mount Gregmore -- the R's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

TuatG7: DOLPHINS 28, L.A. RAMS 17: BIG DEFENSE MAKES TUA'S FIRST CAREER START EASY: My column off the game: Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start. ..... Original post: It's time. Tua time. Time for the most-anticipated first start by any Miami Dolphins rookie since Dan Marino on October 9, 1983. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa takes the football from Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was openly disappointed to give it up after leading two wins in Lamiaa row and three in the past four games. The Fins’ recent success and Fitzpatrick saying he was "heartbroken" by the decision only increases the pressure on Tagovailoa to be good right away and justify the timing of coach Brian Flores’ QB switch. Having a snorting bull named Aaron Donald across the line of scrimmage won’t make Tagovailoa’s baptism any easier. Typically I’m not huge on the weight of intangibles, but the limited-capacity home crowd witnessing history and the Dolphins themselves will be stoked, firing on adrenaline. South Floridians watching from home will be ravenously glued to Fox starting at 1. Miami is coming off a bye week and L.A. off a short week after playing Monday night — another strong edge. Although these teams rarely play each other, I would also note Fins have won 10 of past 11 over Rams including five in a row in the 3-0-5. More tangible to right now, the Rams and Dolphins rank No. 2 and 3 respectively in scoring defense. Miami averages slightly more points on offense. There is little in the evidence to state the Rams are appreciably better than the Dolphins, or at least that Miami isn’t right there. The wild card on this pick? Tua. A rookie’s maiden start. For this upset to come true Tagovailoa must make quick, sound decisions, the line must give him that extra second in the pocket, and the defense must rise up and insist itself upon a low-scoring game. I see it all happening. My pick: Upset! Dolphins (+3 1/2) over Rams, 23-20. Visit NFL Week 8 Gems for all of our latest previews and picks.

Most recent other columns: Tua Week, Justin Turner: Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami and Turner -- With COVID -- Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season. Also: 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.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 1-2): 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: It. Is. Time. Tua wins first start as Fins whup Rams: Thirty-seven years and three weeks after Dan Marino's first rookie start for Miami, Tua Tagovailoa took his turn on Sunday as the Dolphins hosted and beat the favored Los Angeles Rams at The Rock, 28-17. Was the timing right? Should Ryan Fitzpatrick have been benched now, after two straight wins and three in the past four games? Will Tua be the transformational star Dolfans have longed for since Marino? We have just begun to find out. 

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson QB Lawrence tests positive for COVID: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence of No. 1-ranked Clemson tested positive for coronavirus and was held out of Saturday's anxious win over Boston College, as little-known backup D.J. Uiagalelei led a 34-28 comeback. Lawrence also has been declared out for Clemson's huge visit to No. 4 Notre Dame next Saturday in South Bend.

3. HURRICANES: No. 11 UM comes off bye week in 4 days: The now 11th-ranked and 5-1 Canes didn't play this weekend but are back in action Friday night at North Carolina State, with UM expected to be narrow road favorites. It's prime time on ESPN, the latest national showcase for The U. The 4-2 Wolfpack also will be coming off a bye.

4. MLB: Justin Turner's idiocy sullies Dodgers championship: The Dodgers beat Tampa Bay in six games for their first World Series title since 1988, but third baseman Justin Turner quickly kicked dirt on the accomplishment. Turner tested positive for COVID late in the game, was ordered to self-isolate and blatantly defied the protocol. He celebrated on the field with teammates, no mask, no social distancing, putting everyone else at risk of being infected. He shamed MLB and the Dodgers on their crowning night. What a fool.

5. INTER MIAMI: First-year team still chasing playoffs as season wanes: MLS expansion team Inter Miami is 6-13-3 -- a decent 6-8-3 after an 0-5 start -- after Sunday's 2-1 loss at Toronto. Regular season ends next Sunday in Fort Lauderdale vs. Cincinnati. Miami presently stands 12th in the Eastern Conference but is only one point from finishing 10th and earning a postseason play-in game.

6. NASCAR: Sunday completes the Championship 4: Only Joey Logano was safely in the Championship 4 as NASCAR ran its penultimate race Sunday at Martinsville, where the other three spots would be determined for next week's season finale at Phoenix. Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski made it -- and Chase Elliott bumped Kevin Harvick for the final spot. Thatm after Harvick won nine regular season races. Hmm. Playoff format need another tweak?

7. FIU: Panthers season derailed by coronavirus yet again: FIU's Friday night home game vs. unbeaten No. 19 Marshall was postponed for COVID-related reasons -- the fourth FIU game this season so far postponed by the virus. The good news? The 0-3 Panthers' fourth loss is delayed, at least. Poor Butch Davis. What a nightmare season, on and off the field.

8. MLB: White Sox unearth LaRussa to manage: The Chicago White have recycled Tony LaRussa, yes Tony LaRussa, to manage the team. The Tony LaRussa who is 76. And last managed nine years ago. Trump, Biden, LaRussa -- let's hear it for old white men!

9. UFC: Khabib says he's retired and nobody believes him: Undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, after winning last week to go 29-0 and entering the sport's G.O.A.T. pen, announced he is retiring. UFC president Dana White quickly (and wishfully) predicted Khabib would fight again. Nobody on Earth believes he won't.

10. POLITICS: Presidential election is Tuesday: More than 60 million Americans already have early-voted. If you still have not, please do your civic duty on Tuesday. Get out there and vote for the candidate of my choice.

Missing the HB10 cut: World's No. 2 woman tennis player Simona Halep tested positive for COVID ..... College hoops starts November 25 and Hurricanes men and women still don't know their schedules, because, well, pandemic ..... NASCAR announced its 2021 schedule and Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the second race weekend of the season February 20-21, with the secondary Xfinity Series race following by one day the main-race NASCAR Cup Series race. With the Daytona 500 opening the season's schedule, this will mark the first time since 1954 the first two weekends of racing have been held in state of Florida ..... Cream is rising in UEFA Champions League. First clubs to 2-0 in group-stage play are all giants: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona and Man U ..... ESPN inexplicably ranked all 116 World Series for excitement. No. 83--'97 Marlins beat Indians. No. 59--'03 Marlins over Yankees. No. 30--'20 Dodgers-Rays in a pandemic. And No. 1--'75 Reds beat Red Sox ..... NFL trade deadline is Tuesday ..... NBA Draft is November 18 ..... Mike Tyson, 54, and Roy Jones Jr., 51, will stage an exhibition fight for charity November 28 in Los Angeles without fans. Oxygen tanks ready! ..... Old rich white guy Jack Nicklaus, 80, endorsed Donald Trump. Or, did that go without saying? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 35 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,066 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Select other recent 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).

October 29, 2020

Justin Turner's outrageous, ignorant selfishness. New column; plus Welcome to Tua Week in Miami, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now, NFL Week 7 Pix 'n Fantasy results and QB Rankings, new Back In My Day video (Potato Chips!) & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 33 & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

NFL Week 7 QB Rankings: Old G.O.A.T. Tom Brady wins week, rockets to third overall. Details and updated Top 20: NFL Week 7 QB Rankings.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 34 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 34 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 34 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep34, myself and Chris engage in a sometimes contentious debate over the Dolphins quarterback-change drama, Chris reveals his first career parenting faux pas, and we offer a new edition of 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies.' And of course a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the Q's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

TurnerSELFISH JUSTIN TURNER -- WITH COVID -- JOINING DODGERS CELEBRATION A SADLY FITING END TO SEASON: Baseball’s World Series gave us an absolutely perfect ending to the 2020 season, the strangest of all time. It was not perfect from a baseball standpoint, except of course to a Los Angeles Dodgers team winning it all for the first time in 32 years, since Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson. No, it was a perfect ending as a mirror on America in this year of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The final images of the season reflected so damned accurately a country literally playing in a pandemic, and not taking seriously enough a plague whose American death toll on Wednesday stood around 227,000. And climbing. We should be talking today about the Dodgers finally getting over the hump to win the franchise’s first World Series since 1988. About L.A. celebrating yet again just 17 days after the Lakers won the NBA Finals. We should be talking baseball and second-guessing the manager! Can you believe Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash giving the early hook to Blake Snell when Snell was dominating? Over-managing gone way wrong. Instead, we must talk about what is more important, and what kicks dirt on the Dodgers’ triumph: Justin Turner and his outrageous selfishness. (The literal grinning fool, in the red beard, is pictured). For our full latest column, visit Turner -- With COVID -- Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season.

TuandFitzDRAMA, CONTROVERSY, TORQUED-UP PRESSURE: WELCOME TO TUA WEEK IN MIAMI: In ways ceremonial and real, Monday began the Tua Tagovailoa Era in Miami. Let’s capitalize era for added gravitas — such are the expectations, pent up around here for 20 years, ever since we said goodbye to to Dan Marino and waited (and waited) for another like him. We will know by degrees over time whether Tua possesses that potential. We have had but a two-minute blink. The first real hint comes with his first start this coming Sunday against the visiting Los Angeles Rams. This week would have been one of great anticipation maybe tinged with trepidation under any circumstances. Is the kid ready? After two NFL minutes and two short passes? Dial back to 1983 and remember that Marino, before his first start, had seen extensive action in two games, completing 23 of 39 passes for 240 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. That after the full preseason that Tagovailoa was denied by the COVID pandemic. (And Marino did not bear the shadow of injury history, of hip surgery). But to all of that already entailed in Tua Week, we added something expected. We add elements of drama, pressure, even controversy. All of that is courtesy the man benched to make way for Tagovailoa, the veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has caused this not with malice or ill intent, but with plain, raw honesty. For our full recent column, visit Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami.

Most recent other stuff from me: NFL Week 7 picks, Dolphins' QB change and fun time in Miami sports: NFL Week 7 GemsDolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right MoveHeat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 7 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Ouch!: Went 9-5 straight-up this past week. Can live with that. Went 5-9 against the spread. Can head straight to the poorhouse with that. Our worst week yet ATS, by a lot. Had a few nice hits, including Pittsburgh's mini upset at Tennessee, and 'dogs-with-points covers by Panthers and Jets. Also had some bad luck with blown leads and near misses. Still, no excuses for three what-was-I-thinking picks: Texans over Pack, Cowboys over Washington and Pats over Niners. Somebody slap me. Glad you're with us on our 30th season of picks in the Herald. Promise a big bounceback week. Greg's Lobos: Ouch 2.0: Lobos had been hot. Man did that end. 'Bos got clobbered 127-73 to fall to 4-3 in PFPI Fantasy, our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league. Hard to win when your top scorer with 18 points is newly signed Matthew Stafford. We were scrambling, with Dak Prescott lost for the year, two starters on byes and Michael Thomas and Aaron Jones both injured. The good news? Still tied for 3rd in hunt for four playoff spots!

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': POTATO CHIPS!: Fresh out the oven, this one. Premiered earlier today on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and TV. Hope you enjoy:

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Other most recent columns: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages / Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is / Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron / and We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

Football special-section columns: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-A-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other recent 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 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. 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).

October 26, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Topping the marquee, a Fins QB change tinged in drama, wins by Canes and Inter Miami win and World Series; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new episode 34 out now!, NFL Week 7 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 26. Hope y'all had a nice weekend! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes host Virginia with preview and pick, FIU falls badly, NFL Week 7 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 33 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Most recent stuff from me: NFL Week 7 picks, Dolphins' QB change and fun time in Miami sports: NFL Week 7 Gems // Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move // Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 34 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 34 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 34 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep34, myself and Chris engage in a sometimes contentious debate over the Dolphins quarterback-change drama, Chris reveals his first career parenting faux pas, and we offer a new edition of 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies.' And of course a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the Q's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 25-26): 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: Miami names Tagovailoa starter, benches Fitzpatrick: Can't say the Fins didn't pack major news and unwanted controversy into their bye week. Miami named rookie Tua Tagovailoa as starting quarterback beginning next Sunday, with benched Ryan Fitzpatrick admitting surprise and disappointing and calling himself "heartbroken." Fins have won two in a row, with Fitzpatrick playing well. His reaction turns up the pressure on Brian Flores to have made the right call -- and on Tua to justify his coach's faith, and timing.

2. HURRICANES: UM doesn't dominate but gets past Virginia: No. 11 Miami never trailed Saturday here in a 19-14 victory over Virginia that was more efficient than overly impressive. D'Eriq King's 322 yards passing -- 170 of them to Mike Harley -- fueled the home win. With No. 8 Penn State losing, the now 5-1 Canes are likely to  nudge up into the top 10 in the next polls. 

3. MLB: Dodgers on brink of World Series title: Dodgers lead Rays 3-2 in games after last night's 4-2 Los Angeles win -- putting L.A. one more victory from its first World Series crown since 1988. Does Tampa Bay have another comeback in it? The Series pauses today before resuming with Tuesday night. And the city that just celebrated the Lakers i poised again.

4. INTER MIAMI: A dramatic late home win for Miami over Orlando: MLS expansion team Inter Miami is now 6-11-3 -- a credible 6-6-3 since an 0-5 start -- after Saturday's 2-1 win over rival Orlando City before a limited number of fans in Fort Lauderdale. Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez headed in  an 89th minute goal off a corner kick to decide it. Next match: Wednesday at FC Dallas.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Cowardly Big Ten, Ohio State join season: No. 5 Ohio State and the Big Ten began their season Saturday, after righteously saying they would not play in 2020 due to the COVID threat -- and then changing their minds, putting money over safety. (Buckeyes beat Nebraska, 52-17, Saturday). Pac-12 also went from not playing to changing its mind and will begin play November 7.

6. NBA: League mulls starting next season sooner, playing fewer games: COVID shows no signs it will stop messing with sports anytime soon. As the NBA plans for a delayed, virtual draft next month, the league's board of governors met and discussed possible changes to the 2020-21 season, including starting as quickly as possible -- as soon as Christmas Day -- playing fewer than 82 games and not waiting for fans to be permitted to all arenas.

7. HEAT: Riley hints at offseason plans: Godfather Pat Riley in his annual postseason state-of-the Heat news conference suggested he's reday to stand pat next season with a team that unexpectedly reached the NBA Finals as a 5 seed. Said he'd keep the team as close to intact as possible and maintain spending money to go whale-hunting in 2021. Our takeaway: Re-sign as many of own free agents as possible -- priority: Goran Dragic -- and gun hard for Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer.

8. SOCCER: Barcelona-Juventus spices Champions League play: UEFA Champions League group-stage play is underway, and this Wednesday delivers the much anticipated Barcelona-Juventus match in Group G. It would pit longtime rival soccer gods Lionel Messi of Barca vs. Juve's Cristiano Ronaldo -- if Ronaldo is cleared to play after testing positive for COVID on October 13. Butsome reports in Europe are that he'll be ruled out.

9. NASCAR: Logano first to reach Championship 4: Joey Logano's win at Kansas made him the first to qualify for the November 8 championship race in Phoenix. Two more runs (Monday at Texas after Sunday's rain postponement and November 1 at Martinsville) will complete the Championship 4 field, with Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski currently owning the inside track.

10. FIU: Butch Davis' miserable 2020 gets worse: Panthers football fell to 0-3 Friday night, absorbing an embarrassing 19-10 home loss to FCS-level Jacksonville State. This after three FIU games already had been postponed by COVID issues. Otherwise, everything going great for Butch Davis!

Missing the HB10 cut: Antonio Brown to Bucs. A 32-year-old problem child on a team with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin getting enough targets to keep him happy? Yeah good luck with that, Tom Brady ..... Steelers-Titans today is only sixth time in Super Bowl era two unbeaten teams have met this late in a season ..... 0Congrats Stan Van Gundy on the New Orleans Pelicans job. He inherits Zion Williamson. Also, Lonzo Ball's dad! ..... Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje in UFC 254. Betting favorite: Me misspelling one of their names ..... South Park cutouts to be seen at Broncos-Chiefs game Sunday ..... Ha! ESPN's Adam Schefter added Antonio Brown to his fantasy team moments before tweeting out the news Brown's suspension had been lifted and the Seahawks were interested ..... Happy birthday to Pele'. The Brazilian soccer legend turned 80 on Friday ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 34 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,073 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Other most recent columns: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages / Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is / Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron / and We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

Football special-section columns: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-A-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other recent 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 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. 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).

October 19, 2020

Dolphins smother Stinkin' Jets 24-0 and we have a Tua sighting! My new column; plus overstuffed latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 19. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes handle Pitt, NFL Week 6 picks, NFL Week 5 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 32 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

NyjmiaG6: DOLPHINS 24, N.Y. STINKIN' JETS 0: MIAMI SAILS, REACHES .500 ... AND WE HAVE A TUA SIGHTING!: My column off the game: For Dolphins, 4th Straight Good Game -- And Tua, Too! Original post: Strange to ask, but after playing Seattle tough and then last week’s exhilarating road rout over San Fran, are the Dolphins at risk of overconfidence or a letdown Sunday vs. the lowly Jets? The division rivalry says probably not, but rarely in this series have the Fins been such a favorite or NYJ been so awful. The Jets stink at just about Tuaeverything. How does old friend Adam Gase still have a job? (Rhetorical question. He might not if Planes lose here). Now Le’Veon Bell is gone. Gase’s inability to get along with star players sounds like a bit of a job detriment. Bell also was available and ESPN reported he intended to sign with Buffalo, Kansas City or Miami; unsurprisingly he picked the Chiefs. Fins could have used him, obviously. Miami’s supposedly improved running game has been way disappointing. Even lacking balance, though, Fins’ offense still is averaging a decent 27.2 points per game. NFL has set five-week records for most TDs (453) and points (3,958) — no thanks to Jets’ league-worst offense, although NYJ’s equally bad defense probably deserves a little credit. Sam Darnold (shoulder) won’t play Sunday, but his regression and capable backup Joe Flacco make the QB change a push at worst for the Jets. Flacco is 6-0 in his career vs. Miami. But those six were with Baltimore, filet mignon to the Jets’ dog food. On the other side in this mis-matchup, Ryan Fitzpatrick should have another big game. Oh, and if Miami leads big late, might there even be a Tua Tagovailoa sighting for a series or so? This is the first time all season — the first game and situation — where I can see it as at least a possibility. Although with a bye on deck, a Week 8 first taste ‘o Tua may be likelier. This, by the water, is yet another NFL game affected by COVID-related schedule shuffling. Original 1 p.m. start was shifted to 4:05 to sneak in the previously postponed Denver-New England game at 1. My pick: Dolphins (-9 1/2) over Stinkin' Jets, 37-16. Visit NFL Week 6 Gems for this and all of our other latest previews and picks.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 33 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and the new Episode 33 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 33 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep33, 'Growing Up Cote II,' we welcome back my older brother for Uncle Dick 2.0. He makes fun of explains the phenomenon of PFPI and the PFPI Gala, shares how Greg is so odd on a golf course, and reveals what he really thinks about how Dan Le Batard treats his little brother on the air. Also, Greg and Chris chat up Tua's long-awaited Dolphins debut. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the P's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 18-19): 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: Hot Fish blank Stinkin' Jets as Tua makes NFL debut: Yes I said hot. Miami has now strung together four strong efforts in a row, winning big in Jacksonville, fighting nobly in a loss to unbeaten Seattle, that unexpected easy rout at San Fran, and now Sunday's 24-0 waltz past the Jets. Even better than the shutout: Tua Tagovailoa debuts late, enters to an ovation, goes 2-for-2.

2. HURRICANES: UM bounces back from Clemson debacle, handles Pitt: The Canes shed last week's flat 42-17 loss to Clemson and handled Pitt at home Saturday, 31-19, behind solid defense and D'Eriq King's four TD passes. Win elevated UM two spots to No. 11 in polls. The ACC tests keep coming next week at home vs. Virginia in prime time, with now 4-1 Miami ill-affording a second conference loss if it stills hopes to reach ACC title game.

3. MLB: It's a Rays-Dodgers World Series!: Tampa Bay Rays took ALCS Game 7 Saturday over the Houston Cheatin' Astros, while Los Angeles Dodgers pushed NLCS to a Sunday Game 7 vs. Atlanta and won. Braves had earlier eliminated Marlins in NL Division Series to end Miami's first postseason in 17 years. The two leagues' best-record teams advance in an LA-Tampa World Series starting Tuesday.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Tide beats Dawgs, FSU stuns UNC: No. 2 Alabama beat No. 3 Georgia 41-24 Saturday, with Nick Saban back on the sideline after getting COVID. Shocker of the day: Florida State's 31-28 win over No. 5 North Carolina. LSU at No. 10 Florida was postponed after Gators' COVID outbreak. UF coach Dan Mullen also tested positive -- the same guy who said he wanted a packed stadium. 

5. PANTHERS: Ouch! Cats taking hits in free agency: Ottawa poached steady Florida scorer Evgenii Dadonov in free agency, signing him to a three-year, $15 million deal after three straight seasons of 25-plus goals. Cats now brace to lose Mike Hoffman, who had 29 goals last season. Panthers' free-agent gains have been more modest, with defenseman Radko Gudas and forwards Alexander Wennberg and Vinnie Hinostroza fronting a low-watt bunch.

6. MARLINS: Fish parting with longtime exec Michael Hill: The timing is odd, but Marlins CEO Derek Jeter announced Sunday the club will not renew the contract of longtime president of baseball operations Michael Hill. Comes after the club's first winning season in nine years and first postseason trip since 2003. 

7. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team falls at Montreal: Inter Miami, in this strangest of MLS expansion seasons, is now 5-11-3 after Wednesday's 1-1- draw with Atlanta and then Saturday's 2-1 loss at Montreal. Miami is a credible 5-6-3 after an 0-5 start. Next: Home in Fort Lauderdale vs. budding rival Orlando City next Saturday.

8. HEAT: Miami approaches 2020 offseason mostly girding for '21: After an unexpected run to the NBA Finals and eventual loss to LeBron' champion Lakers, expect Miami's 2020 offseason priority to be re-signing pending free agents Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder, then adding perhaps a second-tier, rotation-type FA from a modest class. The larger goal: Enough cap-space to whale hunt when the monster free agents come around in '21. Can you say Giannis Antetokounmpo? No, I'm serious. I mean, can you pronounce it?  

9. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League group play at hand: Group-stage play begins this Tuesday, running into early December. Among the 32 clubs Bayern Munich and Manchester City are co-favorites at most books just head of Liverpool. Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for COVID, but Juventus are hopeful Ronaldo will be available for its Champions League match vs. Barcelona and old rival Lionel Messi on October 28.

10. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Hurricanes, others open preseason practice: Jim Larranaga's Miami men, Katie Meier's Canes women and the rest of college basketball began preseason practice this week toward a delayed November 25 planned start to the season. But nothing is the same due to COVID. Last season ended with a canceled March Madness. This one began with no Midnight Madness first practices in packed gyms.

Missing the HB10 cut: It was announced this week the NFL is canceling this season's Pro Bowl game for the first time since 1949. Fans nationwide reacted with yawning indifference. The NFL said the Pro Bowl would return after missing just this one. "No that really isn't necessary," said fans in a chorus ..... The Mumbai Indians won the toss today and elected to bat first against the Kings XI Punjab ..... The Lakers' championship celebration in L.A. included some rowdiness, a few fires and not much attention to social distancing. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Teofimo Lopez at age 23 became youngest undisputed lightweight champion by dethroning Vasiliy Lomachenko in Las Vegas Saturday night. People enthralled by lightweight boxing might care, if there are such folks out there ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 33 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,080 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Too soon for a "U-S-A!" chant?

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Other most recent columns: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages / Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is / Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron / and We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

Football special-section columns: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-A-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other recent 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 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. 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).

September 28, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): History! 4-way tie for 1st: Marlins in playoffs, Heat in Finals vs. LeBron, UM crushes FSU, Fins crush Jax; plus our Six Pack 'O Takeaways from Canes-Noles, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 30 out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28. If you missed who won the week, who leads the early season Top 20 and where Fins' Ryan Fitzpatrick lands, check out our NFL Week 2 QB Rankings2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crush Jacksonville, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 29 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Our latest NFL picks: NFL Week 3 Gems.

HEAT IN FINALS VS. LEBRON!: For my column off last night's Game 6 win that catapulted Miami into the NBA Finals, visit Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron. Off Game 5: Heat Lose, Still Lead 3-2. The Prize? An NBA Finals Date With LeBron. Game 4: Conquering Herro! Rookie's 37 Has Heat 1 Win From NBA Finals. G3: The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. G2: Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. G1: Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

Newest Dolphins columns: Off Thursday night's big win in Jacksonville: We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw. Off Game 2: Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to Bills. Off Game 1: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

SixpackCANES 52, FSU 10: OUR SIX PACK 'O TAKEAWAYS: For our column from last night's UM win, visit Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is. Six Pack 'O Takeaways: 1. King D'Eriq. Transfer D'Eriq King continues his excellent play and is nominating himself as UM's best QB since Ken Dorsey closed out the glory years. 2. Putting the No in Noles. After losing seven in a row to its state and ACC rival, Miami has now beaten FSU four straight times. 3. Kickin' It. After the field goal and extra point nightmare that contributed to 2019's 6-7 record, transfer kicker Jose Borregales has been a godsend. 4. Monster D. Six sacks, seven hurries 13 tackles for loss. Canes defense had its way. P.S., Noles QB James Blackman? Not very good. 5. Discipline. Miami needs more of it. Two defensive ejections last night, too many penalties. Against better foes, those things can beat you. 6. Next, please. As the gist of my game column stressed, UM's 3-0 start gets its ultimate test at No.1 Clemson on October 10. Are the Canes teasing us again? Soon we find out.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 27-28): 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:

HButton

1. MARLINS: Miracle Fish make playoffs for first time in 17 years!: They did it. One year after losing 105 games, in a pandemic season that began with much of the team COVID-positive, the Marlins somehow made the playoffs for the first time since 2003. It'll be a best-of-three vs. Cubs to follow the 60-game season. Amazin'!

1. HEAT: Miami wins East to get to LeBron and Lakers: Heat beat Boston last nibght for a 4-2 series and an NBA Finals berth vs. old friend LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers. 

1. HURRICANES: UM crushes rival FSU, heads for top 10: Miami's 52-10 rout of Florida State last night at Hard Rock was the biggest in the series since 1976. The 3-0 Canes now have leaped to No. 8 (from 12) after two teams above UM lost Saturday. But is The U really that good? We all find out October 10 at Clemson.

1. DOLPHINS: Miami crushes it in Jax. Who are these guys!?: A Dolphins team we hadn't seen the first two games showed up and crushed host Jacksonville 31-13 Thursday night. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 18-for-20 with two TDs passing and one running. The defense dominated. It was a night when Miami's improvement and potential showed itself, and rather gloriously at that!   

5. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team back in action, falls in Philly: Miami returned to the pitch on the road Sunday night vs. a strong Philadelphia Union squad and lost 3-0. Despite two straight lopsided losses, Inter Miami since an 0-5 start has won three and drawn two of its past nine matches. Miami now has with it recently signed Gonzalo Higuain, the former Juventus striker.

6. NHL: Stanley Cup Final Game 6 is Monday: Tampa Bay leads Dallas 3-2 after the Stars staved off elimination Saturday night. The Lightning will win it all, or be forced to a Game 7, on Monday night. 

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weak! Pac-12 follows Big Ten back into play: Two of the Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, said they would not play in 2020 over COVID-19 concerns. Then the weak Big Ten caved and agreed to begin play in late October. Now the weak Pac-12 has caved and said it will play a seven-game schedule starting in November. Sad.

8. NASCAR: Michael Jordan buys into race team: With NASCAR in the midst of its playoffs, Michael Jordan has become a team owner for next season. The basketball legend has teamed up with NASCAR star Denny Hamlin -- currently second in the playoff standings with seven races left -- and with Bubba Wallace, the Black driver whose fight led to the sport banning Confederate flags from its tracks.

9. PANTHERS: Florida NHL club signals win-now mode with trade: New Panthers general manager Bill Zito swung a trade acquiring veteran forward Patric Hornqvist from Pittsburgh in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour. Hornqvist, 33, appeared in 52 games with the Penguins this season scoring 17 goals with 15 assists.

10. WNBA: Seattle, Connecticut can advance to Finals Sunday: The Seattle Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday for a 3-0 series win and a spot in the WNBA Finals. The Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces are tied 2-2 in their semifinal in the Bradenton bubble heading into a deciding Game 5 on Tuesday.

Missing the HB10 cut: The majors keep a-comin'! Next: Tennis' French Open starts Sunday. Rafael Nadal has won a record 12 French Opens and is the strong betting favorite to make it 13, with Novak Djokovic the second pick. Simona Halep is a less-sure favorite on women's side, with Serena Williams a distant fourth ..... Conor McGregor says he'll fight Manny Pacquiao. Oh lord! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 30 is out now! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,101 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll have crowds in stadiums again by then?

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 30 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 30 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 30 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep30 we welcome back special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN for Iz 2.0. Last week we talked sports and silly stuff. This week -- vey different. On the fifth anniversary of his coming out publicly as gay, Izzy talks about his life since, including the heartache and a very recent loss. It's emotional, and a must-hear. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the M's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

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THE ARCHIVES:

Our football special-section column troika: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

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

August 24, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Inter Miami wins, Heat in command, Sixto wins debut, Paris-Bayern. See who's No. 1 and and what else falls where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 25 out now!, links to recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 24. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Riley's grand plan on track as Heat near playoff advance, Greg Cote Show podcast on a bye week & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: SILVER POD-IVERSARY EPISODE 25 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with Silver Pod-iversary Episode 25, out now! New episodes drop Monday mornings on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 25 we've done RIGHT HERE. Free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep25 we chat with special guest Mike Tannenbaum, the former Dolphins and NFL executive, about Tua and the Fins; Juju Gotti drops by; Greg saves the U.S. Postal Service'and of course we bring you the Mount Gregmore Name Game -- H's! All that and more in new Ep25! 

Latest column: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance

Other most recent columns: For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / ''Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off 

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 23-24): 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. INTER MIAMI: Finally! MLS expansion team plays at home --and wins!: Five months later than planned due to the coronavirus, Inter Miami finally played its first home match Saturday, albeit in front of cardboard fans at its temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The bigger news: A win! Coming in 0-5, Miami beat natural rival Orlando City 3-2 on a pair of goals by Julian Carranza, a 20-year-old Argentine, and one by team star Rodolfo Pizarro. Next up for Miami: Wednesday back home vs. Atlanta United, and next Sunday at Nashville SC.

2. HEAT: Miami takes commanding 3-0 series lead over Pacers: This one's (all but) over. Miami took a 3-0 first-round NBA playoff series lead over Indiana with Saturday's 124-115 win. Four 20-ppiint scorers led the way: Jimmy Butler 27, Goran Dragic 24, Bam Adebayo 22 and Tyler Herro 20 off the bench. Heat can earn club's first playoff advance since 2016 in Game 4 in the Orlando bubble Monday evening. (Toronto and Boston are the first two teams to advance, both with sweeps). 

3. MARLINS: Sanchez wins in debut; Fish fall Sunday: The Marlins are hanging onto second place in NL East after Saturday's double-header split at Washington -- led by Sixto Sanche'z win in his first start for Miami -- then a loss Sunday. Fish had earlier snapped a recent five-game losing streak when Miguel Rojas homered in his first game back after a COVID-19 related absence. Miami has now had 11 games postponed by the virus, most recently when two Mets got it. Fish are in midst of an eight-game road trip. (Be smart, guys. Nobody sneaks out, right?)

4. SOCCER: It's Bayern Munich atop UEFA Champions League: It was Germany's mighty Bayern Munich defeating French power Paris-St. Germain 1-0 on Sunday in the UEFA Championship League title match in Lisbon, Portugal. Both advanced with no-doubt 3-0 semifinal verdicts, Bayern over Lyon and Paris over Leipzig, forming the battle for one of the major international futbol trophies.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NCAA grants extra year to fall-sport athletes: In the wake of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and other smaller conferences opting to not risk playing football in 2020 due to the pandemic, the NCAA Division I board of directors voted to give all fall sport student-athletes an additional year of eligibility and an extra year to complete it through a blanket waiver. Meanwhile Ohio State QB Justin Fields began a petition against the Big Ten postponement. The other three of the Power 5 conferences plan to play as scheduled, at least for now.

6. DOLPHINS: Three weeks from opener, a bit of QB tumult: Starter-for-now Ryan Ftzpatrick returned after missing one practice due to  mysterious Whel personal reasons. Meantime quarterback of the future Tua Tagovailoa looks healthy (the good news) but not close to NFL-ready yet (the bad). Josh "Remember Me" Rosen has looked better than Tua at times. Ready or not, Fins open at New England in three weeks.

7. HURRICANES: RB Harris stars in second fall scrimmage: Miami’s offensive star Saturday in its second fall football scrimmage was junior running back Cam’Ron Harris, who scored three touchdowns, rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries and caught five passes. With the ACC one of three of the Power 5 conferences still planning to play this fall, the Hurricanes are set to open in 18 days, September 10 at home vs. UAB, though likely in an empty stadium.

8. NHL: Dallas first to win as conference semifinals underway: While the eliminated Florida Panthers continue their search to replace departed general manger Dale Tallon, the Stanley Cup playoffs skate into the conference semifinals -- the final eight. In the West it's Dallas up 1-0 on Colorado after a 5-3 win Saturday, with Vegas 1-0 on Vancouver. In the East it's Boston 1-0 over Tampa Bay and Philadelphia-New York Islanders starting Monday. 

9. NBA: Lottery awards No. 1 overall draft pick to Minnesota: In a lottery drawing for the delayed-unti- October 16 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves lucked to draw the top pick. Their likely choice? Point guard LaMelo Ball, who eschewed American college ball and has been playing in Australia. Uh oh. Brace yourself for the reemergence of the dreaded Annoying Dad we haven't heard from lately to our great delight -- LaVar Ball.

10. MLB: Padres make grand slam history: The San Diego Padres hit a grand slam in four straight games, an MLB first. Hadn't been done in even three straight since 2006. And three straight by an NL team had last been done by the Cleveland Spiders in (!) 1895. I was there. Quite a feat.

Missing the HB10 cut: Oscar de la Hoya, 47, says he is coming out of retirement. (Cash-strapped, Oscar?) Over/under on his retiring again following an embarrassing comeback defeat: Four months ...... First Bubba Wallace leads a successful fight to ban Confederate flags at all NASCAR tracks. Now Erik Moses is named president of Nashville Superspeedway, becoming the first Black man to hold that title at any of the sport's tracks. Welcome to the 21st Century, NASCAR! Been waitin' for ya ..... Baseball and its damned "unwritten rules"! Somebody please just write them down for poor Fernando Tatis ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast returns Monday morning with extravaganza silver pod-iversary Episode 25! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,136 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll all be back to uncomfortably close social interaction by then.

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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 03, 2020

Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 23 out now! Heat! Marlins! Leftovers! Mount Gregmore!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else ranks where; also, our Marlins Hell Week column trilogy & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 3. Welcome, August. Be nice. And thank you, Isaias, for going easy on us. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Hell Week column trilogy, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 22 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 23 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 23 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 23 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Episode 23 Greg and Chris are joined by two special guests. ESPN's Amin Elhassan is in to discuss the Miami Heat/NBA restart and leftovers. (Yes, leftovers). And Herald Marlins writer Jordan McPherson joins us to talk about working in a pandemic hotspot and covering the team whose season was derailed by a COVID-19 outbreak. New episode also includes the latest Mount Gregmore Name Game (F's). Hear all of that and more now in new Ep22! 

DonmatMarlins Hell Week: Column Trilogy: As Miami's COVID-19 outbreak wreaks havoc with the roster and with MLB, putting the Marlins season on pause: Latest: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Middle: Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / And first: Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Our most recent other columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps. And: He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 2-3): 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. HEAT: Miami wins season (re-)opener as NBA returns: NBA resumed with an eight-game regular season starting Thursday, and Heat (after going 1-2 in scrimmages) tipped off Saturday with an impressive 125-105 win over Denver in the Orlando bubble. Bam Adebayo, back from a bout with COVID-19, scored 22 for Miami as did Jimmy Butler. Next, Heat face Toronto Monday. Eight games each for the 22 teams still alive will determine playoff seedings.

2. MARLINS: Miami returns from virus-outbreak 'pause' Tuesday: Marlins went 2-1 in Philadelphia to open MLB's 60-game season on an upbeat. Then all hell broke loose. Miami's next seven games including the home opener were postponed when 20 members of the team including two coaches tested positive for COVID-19 -- putting all of MLB on high alert. Uninfected players remained in Philly and will bus to Baltimore to resume season on Tuesday, further delaying the already delayed home opener. Also: Team traded for lefty pitcher Richard Bleier, a local kid from South Plantation High (his story here in a 2016 column by me), and young 2B Isan Diaz opted out of the season.

3. MLB: Marlins-led mess has entire season wobbling: What began with the Marlins is spreading across the league, causing other games to postpone and some players to begin opting out. Remember MLB's plan for a Phoenix bubble where everybody would play to avoid travel? And how it was vilified as a crazy idea? Looking pretty damn good right about now. Play ball? 

4. DOLPHINS: Tua cleared for full activity as training camp ramps up: The good news? Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa passed his physical and was OK'd for all activity (no surprise), and the Fins so far have had no players opt-out of the season. The bad news? Oft-injured CB Xavien Howard is on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and the team has reassembled IN A PANDEMIC! 

5. PANTHERS: Cats fall to Islanders in series Game 1 of NHL restart: Florida is down 1-0 in its five-game play-in series vs. the New York Islanders after a 2-1 Game 1 loss on Saturday in hockey's straight-to-playoffs resumption in the Toronto bubble. Isles were up two goals  before Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the third period. Game 2 is on Tuesday, with Cats now two losses away from seeing their season end short of advancing to the Stanley Cup tournament.

6. NFL: Sport hit hard by growing list of players opting out of season: The latest number is 37 players opting out of the 2020 season so far over coronavirus concerns, including seven Patriots, star linebacker Dont'a Hightower among them, and Jets star linebacker C.J. Mosley. More than half of all teams have been affected by the opt-outs. Miami has lucked out. So far.

7. HURRICANES: UM football opens full preseason camp this week amid uncertainty: Canes will open their full fall training camp this coming Friday. ACC's no-divisions schedule brings Notre Dame into league. UM will not play Irish but will play at Clemson (Uh oh). Canes hope their season will open on Sept. 12, with fans or no fans still to be determined. UM AD Blake James admitted the whole thing is "aspirational."

8. GOLF: This week's PGA Championship is year's first major: There'll be no fans but a stellar field in San Francisco for the first major of the virus-wracked golf. The logjam of betting favorites includes Bryson Dechambeau, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. Some guy named Tiger is playing, too. Starts Thursday.

9. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team preparing for August 22 restart of MLS season: As the MLS Is Back tournament moves toward its August 11 championship match, long-eliminated Inter Miami is preparing for a scheduled August 22 restart to the MLS regular season. An 18-game season is planned (9 home, 9 away), but the schedule is not yet announced. Inter Miami will resume play under pressure, its 0-5 start the league's worst ever for an expansion team.

10. SOCCER: Arsenal tops Chelsea for FA Cup crown: Arsenal rallied from an early hole to defeat Chelsea 2-1 in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley, one of the major trophies in European soccer. Chelsea found no luck, including young U.S. star Christian Pulisic (Chelsea's goal scorer) erased by a hamstring injury early in second half.

Missing the HB10 cut: Seattle Kraken. Sorry. Not growin' on me ..... Free agent Antonio Brown, looking for work at 32, is now suspended first eight games of NFL season for "multiple" violations of personal conduct policy. Teams still interested, line forms here. Plenty of spots available ..... Patrick Mahomes is now a part owner of the Kansas City Royals. Still, all that money could not buy Pat better than a No. 4 in NFL.com's Top 100 ranking ..... Woj is back! He's in the NBA bubble. I think I'd rather be suspended ..... Still hanging onto that nickname, Indians? I hear 'Cleveland Baseball Team' is  still  available ..... Delayed WNBA season is underway in Bradenton bubble ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 23 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,157 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Full stadiums again by then?

Other recent columns: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

July 27, 2020

The latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Marlins postpone opener amid COVID outbreak, Dolphins convene, Heat and Cats on deck. Sports in a pandemic!; plus new Greg Cote podcast out now!, links to recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 27. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins and Dolphins in race for relevance, When will Fins unleash Tua?, Concerns threaten football in the fall, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 21 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 22 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 22 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 22 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 22 Greg and Chris are joined by special guest co-host Juju Gotti, the Atlanta rapper, for a fun and veering conversation. New episode also includes Greg's Mail Sack, the top 10 Miami sports stars of all time, and the Mount Gregmore Name Game (E's). Hear all that and more in new Ep22! 

MattinglyMARLINS POSTPONE HOME OPENER, BECOME SCARY LESSON FOR ALL SPORTS ON PERILS OF PLAYING IN PANDEMIC: For all the world to see, the Miami Marlins just became Exhibit A for all that can go wrong when you try to play games in a pandemic. It is this baseball club, situated in one of America’s continuing coronavirus/COVID-19 hotpots, that you look to now when you wonder if this whole sports restart — for our entertainment and so leagues can make money, not necessarily in that order — is worth the risk. The worst that can happen, happened. The Marlins (masked manager Don Mattingly is pictured) suffered a virus outbreak infecting half the team on the first road trip of the season. At least 12 players and two coaches have tested positive — forcing Monday night’s scheduled home opener at Marlins Park to be canceled. It is an historic happenstance in a year unlike any in American history as the U.S. virus death toll grimly approaches the 150,000 milestone while sports start back up in empty stadiums and arenas. The Marlins’ next game, when and where it will be — all to be determined. For our full newest column, please visit Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Our most recent other columns:

Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That

When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report

Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps

Also: He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is -- And Knows It By Heart  /  Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns  /  and Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): 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. MARLINS: Baseball's back, but Fish postpone home opener amid outbreak: Baseball's delayed, truncated 60-game regular season is underway minus fans in the stands because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The good news: Marlins opened by winning two of three in Philly led by Miguel Rojas' 7-for-10 bustout. The overarching bad news: Four Fish missed Sunday's game after testing positive (Jose Urena, Jorge Alfaro, Garrett Cooper and Harold Ramirez), and club postponed Monday's home opener with at least 14 players and two coaches now infected.  Oy.

2. HEAT: It's time. Basketball in a bubble starts this week: Miami is 1-1 in scrimmage games in the Orlando bubble, with one left Tuesday. NBA regular season resumes with eight games leading into the playoffs, with Heat opening this coming Saturday vs. Denver. Almost forgot: Inexplicably, Jimmy Butler sings the Hall & Oates song, "You Make My Dreams Come True" in a new commercial for Michelob Ultra. And he ain't half bad!

3. DOLPHINS: Training camp opens ... but what's ahead?: Miami's recent draft picks including Tua Tagovailoa and other rookies are here, and now the full team is to report this Tuesday as training camps open around the NFL. But, with the preseason already canceled, can we expect an on-time season? With any fans. Into the great unknown steps King Sport!

4. HURRICANES: UM football lands prized recruit in Williams: As Canes move toward an uncertain season (full preseason work begins August 7), the program and coach Manny Diaz landed their top class of 2021 recruit in Western High OLB/safety James Williams. He is ranked No. 8 in Florida and 33rd in the nation by ESPN.com, which currently rank UM's '21 class 11th overall. It's been a big backyard win thus far. The U's eight Top 300 recruits all are from Miami-Dade or Broward schools. (Oh, and in the least surprising news ever, UM named D'Eriq King as starting QB).

5. MLB: Dr. Fauci, Mookie, expanded playoffs highlight Opening Week: Baseball returned Thursday night with America's virus doctor (and Nationals fan) Anthony Fauci, in a mask, throwing out the first pitch. It was hilariously wide left by about a quarter of a mile. In other MLB news, the playoffs will expand from 10 teams to 16 for this season, at least. And Mookie Betts signed a record 12-year, $365 million contract extension with the Dodgers. (Brother, can you spare a dime?)

6. PANTHERS: Cats are back in action in 5 days: The Panthers arrived Sunday in the NHL's Toronto hub to resume preparation for the direct-to-playoffs season restart. Florida's five-game East qualifying series vs. the New York Islanders begins this coming Saturday, August 1. Isles won all three regular season meetings, by 3-2 (SO), 2-1 and 3-1.

7. NFL: Former Redskins adopt most boring name in history: Until it settles on a new nickname to replace the thankfully retired "Redskins," the cub announced it will be called Washington Football Team. And the funny thing is, I'm not kidding! I like Washington No Names better.

8. INTER MIAMI: Is expansion team's coach already on hot seat?: MLB Is Back tournament is in midst of its round of 16 knockout stage working toward an August 11 finale. Inter Miami failed (badly) to advance after its 0-3 tourney run left the team 0-5 this season -- worst start ever for an MLS expansion team. And, yes, coach Diego Alonso already is feeling the heat. Washington Post reported MLS hopes to follow the tournament with an 18 to 22 game regular season in home markets, but no schedule or confirmation has yet been made.

9. NEW YORK JETS: The J-e-t-s have a wild week: These things happened on the eve of training camp: 1) Disgruntled, trade-seeking star safety Jamal Adams ripped coach Adam Gase, saying he isn't the "right leader" and has no relationship with players. And 2) Jets owner Woody Johnson was accused of sexist and racist remarks in his role as U.S. ambassador to the U.K. But NYJ made it right on Saturday, trading Adams to Seattle for two first-round picks.

10. BOXING: Lookout! Old man Tyson is coming back: Former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson -- who last fought 15 years ago -- is making a comeback. At age 54. He's fighting Roy Jones Jr. Who is 51. It'll be an eight-round exhibition on September 12, on pay-per-view, of course. Oxygen tanks in both corners, please.

Missing the HB10 cut: Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif  became the first NFL player to opt out of the coming seasons related to the pandemic. Who's next? ..... QB Alex Smith finally is cleared to play for the Washington No Names ..... Canes transfer QB D'Eriq King made the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the college player of the year. He earlier made the Davey O'Brien top-QB watch list ..... It'll be Arsenal vs. Chelsea in the FA Cup final this coming Saturday at an empty Wembley Stadium ..... Educate yourself, Sam Coonrod ..... The delayed WNBA season started Saturday in a bubble in Bradenton ..... Couldn't play in Canada this season, then Pittsburgh has turned 'em down. But the homeless folks, the Toronto Blue Jays, finally found a place to play in Buffalo ..... The Seattle Kraken, the NHL's new expansion team, nicknamed itself after a mythological sea creature. Will they be playing in the Bigfoot Division? ..... Woj: Unsuspended and back at work! ..... The Redskins may get company in the Graveyard of Shamed Nicknames. The Cleveland Indians are now considering a change and meeting with Native American groups ..... The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were supposed to start this week. Now there is concern a Summer Games in 2021 may not even happen ..... The FHSAA wisely voted to delay the start of fall prep sports in Florida ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 22 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,164 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. We still in our masks then or what?

Other recent columns: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear  /  Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision  /  Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope  /  The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1  /  Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020  /  Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back  /  Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction  /  Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?  / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred  /  and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / 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 updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote:  Twitter.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Columns.  Podcast.  Podcast on Twitter.  Podcast on Instagram.  LeBatard Show.  Book: Fins At 50.  Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).