January 08, 2019

What was Miami's biggest sport story of 2018? Our 20 finalists. You pick top 6. Annual poll. Last day to vote!; plus my LeBatard and Canes columns, Radio Tuesday, Hot Button Top 10, how we did on NFL playoff picks, your top-national-story winner & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, JANUARY 8. Yes I might still say "Happy New Year" and I don't care who objects with their silly rules. 2) Football is at its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild-Card Weekend picks, biggest-national-sports-story-of-2018 poll, make-Wade-an-all-star column & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, my first time back with Dan and Stu since before the holidays. Show airs 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Miami's 790 The Ticket and nationally on ESPN Radio affiliates and on ESPNews from 10 to 1. Join us! 

The Le Batard, Canes' Chaos to Calm columns: Visit From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 for a special, unusually personal column by me. And, in my latest column, UM director of athletics Blake James takes us behind the scenes on the day when Canes football when from a bombshell of upheaval to the calm of continuity within hours. Visit Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm.

Other most recent columns: Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff. Also: The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

PicksNFL playoff picks: Wild-Card Weekend results: I finished 2-2 straight-up and 2-2 against the spread in the Saturday/Sunday TV doubleheaders that got the postseason underway. Straivght-up, I called the Chargers upset win and also had Cowboys winning. ATS, got the Chargers and Eagles covering at Chicago. Got a bit unlucky. Was sailing with Dallas to cover until that late Seattle score and 2-point conversion. And had Bears straight-up if not for that double-boink final makeable field goal miss. Thanks, Cody Parkey. Visit NFL Wild-Card Weekend Gems for all of our opening round selections.

Miami18WHAT WAS MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2018? VOTING CONTINUES!: [Note: Voting continues through today and results will be announced here Wednesday morning]. This is our third year doing this. In 2016 you voted the tragic death of Jose Fernandez the biggest local story of the year, and for 2017 it was the Hurricanes' Turnover Chain-fueled surge to UM's first 10-win season in 14 years. The vote to name the biggest local story of 2018 could be tougher, and closer. We'll see. And you'll decide. Previously we invited you to name the past year's top national sports story and you did (results below). Now we invite you to select the 2018 Miami/South Florida sports story of the year, from a roughly alphabetical top 20 of my choosing. You may vote for your top six (6). I offer no synopsis beyond the description phrase in the poll, because if it needs further explaining, it obviously wasn't that big/impactful/important to you. Voting will continue until results are announced here mid-afternoon Tuesday. OK. Ready? Vote!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP SIX (6)

EaglesYOUR BIGGEST NATIONAL SPORTS STORY VERDICT: We gave you The Associated Press year-end list of Top 10 national sports stories for 2018 and invited you to select your top three. That means the highest possible percentage for any one answer would be 33.3 percent if all voters cast all three votes. Triple each vote total below for the approximate percent of times that answer was included in a top three. Your results: 1. Eagles win first Super Bowl 22.43%; 2. Larry Nasser/gymnastics sexual abuse scandal 20.15%; 3. Supreme Court allows sports betting beyond Las Vegas 15.59%; 4. Tiger Woods comeback from back surgery 9.89%; and 5. Maryland-Baltimore County first 16-seed to beat a No.1 in NCAAs 9.13%. (Nasser/gymnastics scandal won The AP vote). Others: Red Sox win World Series 6.84%; Sister Jean, 98, inspires Loyola-Chicago to NCAA Final Four 4.94%; expansion Golden Knights reach Stanley Cup Finals 4.18%; Alabama wins fifth national title under Nick Saban 4.18%; and Russia doping scandal continues into Pyeongchang Olympics 2.66%.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins in search for Gase's replacement as coach: Adam Gase is out. Chris Grier gets the personnel power Mike Tannenbaum had. The search is on for a new head coach. And none if it matters as much as this: Finding a quarterback better than Ryan Tannehill.

2. HURRICANES: Diaz continues assembling new staff: New head coach Manny Diaz digs in to try and find a new offensive coordinator to breathe life into the underperforming half of the team. Major Applewhite, perhaps? No matter who the new OC is, will N'Kosi Perry be his guy?

3. NFL: Colts, Cowboys, Chargers, Eagles advance as playoffs begin: Indianapolis won impressively in Houston, handled Seattle, the Chargers upset Baltimore and Philly upset Chicago to open the playoffs -- the latter only because Cody Parkey blew a 43-yard FG try in last seconds.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson routs Alabama for CFP title: Crimson Tide and Tigers met Monday night in Santa Clara, Calif., with both teams 14-0 and 'Bama a 5 1/2-point favorite, but it was Clemson winning in a rout, 44-16. We've seldom seen Nick Saban look so sad. Ain't it great!?

5. HEAT: All-star push for Wade is on: As Heat have won eight of past 11 and are at .500 in East race, the push is on to send Dwyane Wade off as an all-star in his final season. He's running second in fan voting. Now we'll see if the player and media vote gets it right, too.

6. UM BASKETBALL: ACC schedule begins for Canes men, women: Now it gets real. Struggling UM men dropped their ACC opener, fell at Louisville last night and now play at No. 9 Florida State Wednesday. Canes women are 14-3 after two wins to open ACC play but somehow slipped from Top 25.

7. JAMES HARDEN: Rockets star's pointfest continues: Harden has now scored 30 or more points in 13 straight games, and NBA record. There are points hidden in Harden's beard.

8. PANTHERS: Hints of hope for Cats, but is it too late?: Cats at midseason are 17-23 and a big nine points off playoff pace as they head out on five-game road trip. Even a big second half might not be enough -- not a good position to have placed yourself.

9. NBA: Warriors, King set 3's mark: Golden State and Sacramento combined for 41 3's, an NBA record. The game's evolution is such, when you pull up for a 2-point jump shot now, they look at you funny.

10. BASEBALL: Biggest deals still on hold: A destination of top free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. A trade of Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Women carry babies in their wombs less time than it's taken these deals to happen.

Missing the HB10 cut: Update: Countdown now 2,724 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 05, 2019

NFL Wild-Card Weekend playoff picks: Winners here!; plus What was the biggest national sports story of 2018? Annual poll. Here's The AP Top 10. You pick your top 3. Vote now!; also, our recent Dolphins/Hurricanes upheaval columns & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 5. I'm still saying "Happy New Year" and I don't care who objects with their silly rules. 2) Football is at its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): The 3 days that shook Miami  football, final Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwadeSend D.Wade out as an all-star: The fan vote is saying the Heat's Dwyane Wade, in his final season, should go out as an NBA all-star starter. The players and media votes should do the same. To read our latest column, visit Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff.

Other most recent columns: The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time (on firing Gase, demoting Tannenbaum). Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM (on hiring new football coach). Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes (on shocking resignation of Mark Richt). 'Bama Shows Miami The Way Back To That Good (on Tide's Orange Bowl/CFP semifinal win). And Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

NFL PLAYOFF PICKS / WILD-CARD WEEKEND: AND THE 4 SURVIVING WINNERS ARE..: The Magical Season of Cote marauds into the postseason under  shower of confetti after a personal- Picksrecord-setting regular season. We’ve been doing NFL picks in the Miami Herald since Don Shula and Dan Marino were still rocking Miami. The Patriots quarterback was somebody named “Hugh Millen.” Bill Belichick was a rookie head coach with the Browns. It was 1991 — making this our 28th season of picks. And our best. Ever. Our .705 season winning percentage overall tied our personal best. And our .582 mark against the spread stands alone on the mountaintop at No. 1, beating the previous record of .574. Not a great finishing kick last week but we still managed to hit on four dogs with points in the Lions, Cowboys, Bears and Bengals. Now we wipe the slate. Playoffs, baby! Chaff has separated from wheat. Wanna-be's like the Dolphins watch on TV while the dozen qualifiers enter the Super Bowl Tournament. This opening weekend eight teams are in play while the four bye kings rest and wait. Our four Wild-Card Weekend picks include one by-the-numbers upset and at least one other that feels like one based on betting trends. Visit NFL Wild-Card Weekend Gems for all of our latest selections.

YOU PICK THE 2018 NATIONAL SPORTS STORY OF THE YEAR: Welcome to our annual year-in-review vote on the biggest national sports story in America. The top 10 stories in this poll are 2018not mine; they are from The Associated Press official annual ranking for the calendar year. I list them alphabetically by subject here, not in the 1-through-10 order of The AP's selection, so as not to prejudice the jury. I want this to be your independent vote and not influenced by The AP's rank. I am purposely not including a synopsis of each story, because if the ballot phrase alone is not sufficient, the story mustn't have been that big or important to you. VOTE FOR YOUR TOP THREE (3). And remember, this is a national list, so please consider your vote in that broad context. On Sunday, following our national vote, we'll offer a separate poll to choose 2018's biggest Greater Miami/South Florida sports story. For now, let's go nationwide. One year ago, you voted "NFL player protests over social justice draws critics led by President Trump" as the No. 1 national story, followed closely by "Astros win 1st World Series to lift city devastated by Hurricane Harvey." What reigned for 2018? You decide, right now. My personal top 10 probably would have found room for LeBron James joining the Lakers, the corruption scandal in college basketball and Serena Williams' successful return from maternity leave, but, again, this is The AP's list. We'll keep the poll open three-plus days and announce results on Sunday as we present the South Florida poll. Vote now! 

Vote for the top three (3) biggest national sports stories of 2018:

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 24, 2018

How satisfied are you with the Dolphins? Latest DSM postgame poll. Vote now!; plus embarrassing Fins lose 17-7 to Jax, end playoff hope. Gase, Tannehill on outs? My game column; plus newest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

Ceve1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 24. Merry Christmas Eve! 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Weeek 16 picks, FIU wins Bahamas Bowl & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our 'Debacle of Disappearing Dolphins' column: The Grinch stole the playoffs in Sunday's dispiriting 17-7 Dolphins home loss to Jacksonville. But did he also steal Ryan Tannehill's Fins future and Adam Gase's job. I explore in my column from the stadium off the game. Visit End Of Hope For Dolphins. Of Tannehill, Gase, too? to read. Other most recent columns: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era and How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G15: Time again for the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, this in the wake of Sunday's 17-7 home loss to Jacksonville putting Miami's season record at 7-8 and eliminating the Fins from playoff contention. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 8 a.m. Tuesday/Christmas morning. (The DSM also takes place on Twitter @gregcote. You may vote there now, too.

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

G7: 8.9% following 32-21 loss vs. Detroit.

G8: 5.8% following 42-23 loss at Houston.

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G10: 5.8% following 31-12 loss at Green Bay.

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

G13: 83.9% following 34-33 victory vs. New England.

G14: 6.5% following 41-17 loss at Minnesota.

G:15 Voting now underway following 17-7 loss vs. Jacksonville. 

G15: JACKSONVILLE 17, @DOLPHINS 7 (FINAL): PLAYOFF HOPE EXPIRES AS MIAMI CLOSES HOME SEASON: Final thoughts: An embarrassing loss by Miami, which had been 6-1 at home this season, to a Jags team that was one of the NFL's biggest disappointments. No excuses for playoff hope to officially expire in this manner. Read my column from the game HERE ..... 4Q: JAC 17-7 on Telvin Smith 32-yard return of Tannehill interception ... JAC 10-7 on 26-yard FG, first score of game since first quarter. It's pretty bad when three points feels like a big hole for Miami ... OK. Next score wins? ..... 3Q: Jags have 1st at Miami 17 after turnover, end up with 4th and 46 and punt. A lot of awfulness on display here ... Oh my. Miami's Bolden loses fumble at own 17. Ex-Cane Calais Campbell recovers ... Jalen Davis blitz-sack for Miami forces Jags punt ... Kessler back at QB for Jags to open second half ..... Halftime thoughts: One good drive by the Miami offense, one bad series by the defense and bunch of nothing about summarizes this 7-7 first half. Telling: Fins get ball at Jags 33 after fumble recovery and fail to score. This game is to close. You must beat a bad Jax team at home! ..... 2Q: Jags have 44-yard punt return but miss 55-yard FG on last play of half ... Wake 3rd-down sack forces punt after Bortles replaces shaken-up Kessler ... Fins' Branch recovers Kessler fumble at Jags 33 but Miami fails to take advantage, misses 47-yard FG ..... 1Q: JAC 7-7 on Fournette 1-yard TD run. Fins defense looked as bad that series as the offense looked good in taking the lead ... MIA 7-0 on Tannehill-Bolden 4-yard TD pass. Ends impressive 78-yard opening drive that includes completions of 20 to Amendola, 31 to Ballage ..... Pregame notes: Xavien Howard is among Miami's inactives. They'd hoped he'd play; instead he's out a third straight game ... Betting line has dipped from Miami favored by 4 to 3 1/2 ..... Original post: Jacksonville, one of the NFL's biggest disappointments, is 4-10. Miami is a standard still-mediocre disappointment at 7-7. Together they make a 1 p.m. Hard Rock kickoff that won't set ratings records for CBS as the Dolphins close their home season before next week's finale at Buffalo. Example No. 438 of how little faith there is Mia Jaxin Miami: The Dolphins are favored by a mere 4 points, or only one point above standard home-field advantage over a colossally disappointing Jacksonville team that has lost nine of its past 10 games. Oh, and that’s with the Jaguars 1-5 on the road while Fins are a stout 6-1 at home. And with Miami still fighting on the periphery of playoff contention while Jags are mentally headed to the first tee. An insult, this 4-point line! QB Blake Bortles was bad enough for Jax to bench him but Cody Kessler has been worse. By a lot. Kessler has led one touchdown drive in 31 possessions over three games since taking over, yet will start again. Ryan Tannehill is sure to look great Sunday if only in contrast to his counterpart’s epic putridity. That figures as Miami’s secret weapon today: The other team’s QB. Dolphins also expect to have top cornerback (and lone Pro Bowl pick) Xavien Howard back from injury. Jaguars’ only real hope is to feed Leonard Fournette enough carries to reduce chances of Kessler doing something dumb. As for my earlier putting "Miami" and "playoff contention" in the same sentence, the two technically fit although it’s win-out-and-pray for the Fins. Closing at Buffalo next week won’t be easy. Neither will getting sufficient help from a confluence of other results all falling just right. But beating Jax and Cody Kessler at home? This should be the easy part of what’s left. Call it a little consolation parting holiday gift from from the Dolphins to Dolfans in the season's home finale -- a little thank-you for enduring what is looking like yet another ultimately unfulfilling Miami season. My pick: Dolphins,24-13.

Visit Week 16 Gems for all of our latest NFL selections. Had a good Saturday. Called Ravens' upset at Chargers in a bull's-eye of an Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"). Was perfect on Titans beating 'Skins until that last-second pick-six ruined us against the spread. Oh well. Them breaks work both ways.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 23-24): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, 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:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami ends home season sourly to end playoff hope: Miami playoff hopes were on life support entering the game. The plug was pulled with Ryan Tannehill's late pikc-six interception sealing Sunday's 17-7 home loss to lowly Jacksonville. Now, let the speculation about Ryan Tannehill and Adam Gase's futures begin!

2. HEAT: Hot Heat finally hitting their stride: Miami has won five in a row and nine of post 12 to surge onto playoff pace (current seventh seed) with Sunday's win in Orlando, as Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside do some heavy lifting. Heat has reached .500 at 16-16 and on Wednesday can top it for the first time since 3-2.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Five days' til CFP Orange Bowl semifinal: It'll be No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl this coming Saturday -- the sexier of the two College Football Playoff semifinals. (Sorry, Clemson-Notre Dame). With the Dolphins and Canes a combined 14-13, it'll be a nice change to see excellence on the Hard Rock field for a change.

4. HURRICANES: Bowl Thursday, but latest Perry scandal dogs team: Miami faces Wisconsin in a Pinstripe Bowl duel of 7-5 teams Thursday at Yankees Stadium with Canes a shaky 3-point favorite. Shaky because QB N'Kosi Perry may not play after reports he's posted a sexually explicit video on social media. That would make it three such errors in judgement for Perry. Isn't there a phrase ... something about three strikes?

5. FIU: ButchCats triumph in Nassau, set record for wins: FIU's 35-32 winover Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl capped a 9-4 season to set a school record for wins. Dolphins and Canes disappointed, but at least one Miami team stood up.

6. RECRUITING: Early signing period not a winner for Canes: College football's early signing period Dec. 19-21 found Miami's incoming class ranked only 34th in nation by ESPN.com. A 7-5 season and sudden departure defensive boss Manny Diaz hurt. Ranked No.1 overall is Alabama. Or, did that go without saying?

7. PANTHERS: Signs of life at last for Cats!: It is now four wins in past five games for Florida and signs of life in a down-so-far season after last night's 6-3 win in Chicago. Cats still six points off playoff NHL pace,but finally climbing.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women continue early excellence: Katie Meier's UM women are ranked No. 24 and 11-2 with five straight wins after impressing in the Florida Sunshine Classic with defeats of Vanderbilt and Alabama. Jim Larranaga's guys are more quietly at 7-4 as they ready for ACC schedule.

9. BASEBALL: Biggest winter deals still on hold: Free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and Marlins on-the-trading-block all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto are still out there and available with no deals struck. Hey, pitchers and catchers report in seven weeks. Tick tock.

10. DAVID SAMSON: Marlins ex-president, fans exchange unpleasantries: At a LeBatard Show "Mas Miami" event in Wynwood last weekend David Samson took the microphone to wish Dan a happy birthday, was roundly booed and responded by saying "F--- you" to  the crowd. Alrighty then!

Missing the HB10 cut: A New Jersey high-school wrestling official with a history of racist behavior forced a black competitor to cut his dreadlocks. What needs to be cut next: That official, from his job ..... Answer: Imprisoned-for-life Larry Nasser says his years of sexual abuse of female gymnasts should have been tried as a medical malpractice case. Question: What's the new and ultimate definition of "delusional"? ..... NFL suspends Josh Gordon. Again. The only good to come of it? Belichick and Brady are sad ..... Update: Countdown now 2,738 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

FiuMOMENTUM FOR FIU NICKNAME CHANGE?: In wake of Saturday's Bahamas Bowl victory giving FIU a 9-4 season and school-record for wins -- and two straight encouraging seasons under Butch Davis -- there is a move to change FIU's nickname from Panthers to ButchCats. Actually there is no such move. There is just me playfully suggesting it. I ran a Twitter poll, there were 734 votes, and ButchCats beat Panthers 2-to-1 -- 67 percent to 33%.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 20, 2018

Revealed and explained: My 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot; plus latest Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results (still en fuego with our picks!), Radio Tuesday, two Beatles and a Stone (video) & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20. Go here for the sharp fall in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame results. 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins get crushed in Minnesota with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Recent stuff from me: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era, on abrupt departure of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to be Temple's head coach. And How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again.

BallotREVEALED! MY 2019 BASEBALL HALL OF FAME BALLOT: I am a proud BBWAA member and Baseball Hall of Fame voter, despite the Le Batard Show's efforts to make fun. This is (I think) my fourth year as a voter, and I take it seriously. Men's legacies are at stake. Players Bbhoftake Cooperstown seriously, and so do it. My latest ballot is pictured. Hopefully it is readable. If not, licking on it will enlarge the image. I voted for nine players (the maximum allowed is 10). Last year four of the players I voted for got inducted. This year my nine votes go to five returning-eligible players I also voted for last year (Barry, Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield); two first-time-eligible guys (Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera); and two players on the ballot before who got my vote this time (Fred McGriff and Mike Mussina). There were near-misses; Todd Helton was one. For the record, Rivera, the great Yankees reliever, is the only player I'd consider a mortal lock for Cooperstown when results are announced on Jan. 22. A few others could be close in either direction. We'd discussed on the LeBatard Show my support for Juan Pierre, who I think had a very good and underrated career. Upon further research, though, I could not in good conscience vote for a player who didn't make a single all-star team. Sorry, Juan!

WATSON TAKES WEEK, MAHOMES PROTECTS LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 15: The Texans' Deshaun Watson (pictured) Watsontakes Week 15 honors with a 41.70-point game (season's lowest winning week) while Chief Patrick Mahomes maintains his overall No. 1 spot in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill suffered an awful enjoyed 3.40-point game but hangs in 29th place. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 16:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 15
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK15        Season

1       1       Patrick Mahomes, KC           32.15         560.15

2       2       Drew Brees, NO                   23.15         545.30

3       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                    30.55         526.30

4       4       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        26.75         506.10

5       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 25.75         504.15

6       7       Philip Rivers, LAC                34.65         494.55

7       6       Andrew Luck, IND                19.60        493.55

8       8       Jared Goff, LAR                   26.95        458.65

9       9       Tom Brady, NE                     27.95        451.95

10     14     Deshaun Watson, HOU          41.70        426.60

11     10     Aaron Rodgers, GB               18.70         416.20

12     12     Derek Carr, OAK                   20.15        414.85

13     11     Cam Newton, CAR                 6.55         401.75

14     13     Eli Manning, NYG                  6.45          395.95

15     15     Dak Prescott, DAL                16.30         394.80

16     18     Russell Wilson, SEA              32.85         389.25

17     17     Matthew Stafford, DET        28.40         385.75

18     16     Carson Wentz, PHI               DNP           377.70

19     21     Mitch Trubisky, CHI             34.75          331.70

20     19     Case Keenum, DEN             20.85          329.80

21     20     Baker Mayfield, CLE           22.40          326.25

22     23     Marcus Mariota, TEN          13.40          282.90

23     22     Andy Dalton, CIN                DNP           270.30

24     24     Joe Flacco, BAL                  DNP           246.25

25     25     Alex Smith, WAS                 DNP           236.00

29     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA            3.40           203.30

33     33     Brock Osweiler, MIA            DNP           126.35

Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 229.65. Week 15 best: Watson, HOU, 41.70 (22-28, 294, 2-0 in win). Week 15 worst: Cody Kessler, JAC, 0.85 (9-17, 57, 0-1 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 15 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GREAT ... AND BAD: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Great. Again. My magical year continues. We went 11-5 overall this past week and also 11-5 against the spread. We nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Steelers beating Patriots ("Aawwk!"), had a second outright upset with Titans winning at Giants, and bull's-eyed a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Redskins, Eagles and Panthers last night. All in all, maybe our best season ever hits its homestretch! Greg's Lobos: Bad. The Lobos fell to 1-1 in the consolation-bracket playoffs after a 5-8 regular season. Lorenzo Rodriguez had our number, 78 to 66.1, with Deshaun Watson (22.4) the only Lobo who showed up. Nevertheless: #WeAreTheLobos!

HALF THE BEATLES AND A STONE: In his concert last week  in London, Paul McCartney was joined onstage by Ringo Starr and Ron Wood for "Get Back." Old folks like me who actually remember who the hell Ed Sullivan was might enjoy it.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town / Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 18, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.5%; plus Sacked! Miami crushed 41-17 by Vikes, falls to 7-7, sees playoff hope go cold. With our postgame thoughts; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Mas Miami & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 17. Had a fun time at Saturday night's Le Batard Mas Miami event at The Wynwood Yard. Great to meet so many of you! 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 15 picks, you verdict on Diaz leaving Canes, our LeBatard scoop 2.0 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Most recent stuff from me: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era, on abrupt departure of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to be Temple's head coach. And How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G14: 6.5%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a sharp fall to 6.5 percent -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 41-17 loss at Minnesota putting Miami's season record at 7-7. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on Twitter @gregcote. The vote there was 26%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

G7: 8.9% following 32-21 loss vs. Detroit.

G8: 5.8% following 42-23 loss at Houston.

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G10: 5.8% following 31-12 loss at Green Bay.

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

G13: 83.9% following 34-33 victory vs. New England.

G14: 6.5% following 41-17 loss at Minnesota.

Next poll: Dec. 23 following game vs. Jacksonville. 

G14: DOLPHINS AT MINNESOTA: CAN THE ROAD-WORRIER FINS BECOME ROAD WARRIORS?: Final thoughts: Three games in one. Miami falls behind 21-0 fast with worst first quarter of season. Miami scores 17 unanswered points to get back in it. Then the first-quarter bums return in an ultimate 41-17 loss that levels the Dolphins record at 7-7 and renders playoff hopes remote. Fins must win out for 9-7 and then get lucky with other teams losing and tiebreakers. Miami was equally bad on offense and defense Sunday. The offensive line gave up nine sacks (!) and Ryan Tannehill was lousy beyond that. The defense could not do anything right, especially against the run. Only two big plays -- Minkah Fitzpatrick's 50-yard pick-6 and a 75-yard Kalen Ballage scoring run -- kept it from being an even greater embarrassment. Miami has now lost 111 of its past 12 road games to put playoff hopes on life support ..... Original post: Miami's realistic playoff hopes hang in the balance of the question posed in the headline as the 7-6 MiaminDolphins visit the 6-6-1 Vikings Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS, with the Fins sizable 7 1/2-point road underdogs. There is huge NFL Week 15 playoff impact here for your holiday season, with Minnesota presently hanging on to the sixth and last NFC seed and Miami in a mad scrum for the same final spot in the AFC. That makes it even on desperation, although Vikes’ sense of must-have may be magnified by losses in two straight games and three of past four. The pick here tilts simply and heavily on venue. It did last week in our calling the Dolphins’ home upset of New England, and it does to the other extreme here. Fins are 1-10 in past 11 road games, traveling about as well as a dead body in a trunk, while the Vikings are 10-2 in past dozen at home. I’m not a slave to trends, but not blind to ‘em either. See a big and needed home lift for a team that played Monday night and then kneejerk-fired its offensive coordinator. The change should mean better balance (more running, more Dalvin Cook), which in turn should open things up for Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Cousins infamously is 4-24 in his career vs. teams with a winning record, but this figures to be a lot to handle for a Fins defense likely without injured top CB Xavien Howard again. (He's officially "doubtful," which in NFL injury-speak almost always translates to  "out"). I also see Vikes’ D as better all-round than the Pats’. Having said all that, the betting line feels too big. Oddsmakers consistently have disrespected Miami and its competitiveness all season, and here’s the latest example. My pick: Vikings, 23-17.

Visit Week 15 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 16): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Ouch. UM loses excellent DC Diaz to Temple: Not the holiday gift Mark Richt was looking for, losing defensive coordinator and father of the Turnover Chain Manny Diaz, who bolted to become Temple's head coach but will coach Canes' D a final time Dec. 27 in the Pinstripe Bowl vs. Wisconsin. Richt promoted two from his staff to be co-defensive coordinators. Might take three to replace Diaz.

2. DOLPHINS: Roadkill! Fins get crushed in Minnesota: Last week the "Miami Miracle" beat the Patriots and kept playoff hope alive. Sunday a more standard football miracle was required. That would be a team on a 1-10 skid in road games beating a team on a 10-2 roll at home with Miami as a big 7 1/2-point underdog. Didn't happen in a 41-17 defeat putting playoff hopes on life support.

3. HEAT: Miami wraps up 4-2 road trip: Heat banked a 4-2 road trip with Sunday might's win in New Orleans. One reason Miami is spinning wheels at 13-16 this season? Up and down Heat are yet to put together more than a two-game win streak. They'll got for three in a row in returning to action Thursday vs. Houston.

4. PANTHERS: As Cats continue to disappoint, is coach on thin ice?: Should coach Bob Boughner be worried? Cats beat Toronto in OT last night but still are only 12-19 in a season that has never quite taken off. Now Florida has four straight on road starting Tuesday.

5. FIU: Four days 'til ButchCats go bowling: It's FIU vs. Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl in Nassau this coming Friday afternoon. Not a big deal? It's on ESPN, FIU has chance for a school-record ninth win, and the conch fritters over there are to die for.

6. BASEBALL: Biggest deals still pending at winter meetings: No definitive news on Bryce Harper yet. Or Manny Machado. Or the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto. How about this: Wake me when one of those three guys is officially changing uniforms.

7. UM BASKETBALL: Women carrying banner thus far for Canes hoops: The 24th-ranked UM women are 9-2 after winning Sunday and now face Vanderbilt and Alabama in a December 20-21 holiday event in Winter Park, Fla. Meanwhile the 5-4 Canes men are back in action Wednesday trying to end a four-game losing streak and find answers before ACC games commence Jan. 3.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bowl season is underway!: Six games on Saturday kicked off bowl season -- the three-week parade of 39 bowl games. Bulletin: If your team is not Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame or Oklahoma, your bowl game is superfluous.

9. RECRUITING: Early signing period is this week: December 19-21 is the early signing period for top high-school football players choosing colleges. Imagine being National Signing Day in February and having your thunder stolen like that?

10. MAS MIAMI: LeBatard Show fans flock to Wynwood: Thousands of LeBatard Show fans partied at The Wynwood Yard last night in a Mas Miami event to celebrate Dan's 50th birthday, and Greg Cote isn't sure which was the higher number: Selfies taken, or drinks consumed.

Missing the HB10 cut: Update: Countdown now 2,745 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town / Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 11, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 83.9%; plus Miami Miracle on last play beats Patriots 34-33! Playoff hopes alive! With our column from game; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (is LeBron/D-Wade finale on top?) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 10. Been burning leftover vacation days lately and so haven't been pumping out as many columns. Visit here for some of our most recent. 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 14 picks, Heisman Trophy poll, Raconteurs news & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Visit Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins for my new column from stadium on Sunday's epic 34-33 win over New England.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G13: 83.9%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 83.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of Dsm"very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 34-33 last-second victory over visiting New England putting Miami's season record at 7-6. That's the highest DSM rating since Week 3. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 69%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

G7: 8.9% following 32-21 loss vs. Detroit.

G8: 5.8% following 42-23 loss at Houston.

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G10: 5.8% following 31-12 loss at Green Bay.

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

G13: 83.9% following 34-33 victory vs. New England.

Next poll: Dec. 16 following game at Minnesota.

G13: DOLPHINS 34, NEW ENGLAND 33: PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE WITH MIRACLE FINISH!: Visit Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins for my new column from stadium on Sunday's epic win ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami trails 27-21 at half despite Tannehill's 143.8 passer rating and 142 yards rushing. This is what lousy defense and two blocked punts will get you. Tom Brady is having his way. Tannehill left with ankle injury in last minute of half; we'll see if he returns. Scoreboard says Miami has a legit upset shot, but it won't happen without a massive defensive turnaround and no more huge mistakes ..... Original postNemesis New England at 9-3 is a big 7 1/2-point road favorite playing at 6-6 Miami on Sunday at 1 at Hard Rock (CBS). It also is my Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!"). Patriots can clinch the AFC East title with a win here, but keep that champagne corked a bit longer, Pats. Yes, I know. I know it Pats-dolswell. In the broadest view the Patriots have been the division master with the Dolphins on their leash for a long time, including a 38-7 beatdown up there in Week 4. But this rivalry swings distinctly with the home field lately. The home team is on an 11-1 series run, and the Fins have beaten the Pats four of the past five in Miami, where the genius seems to often elude Bill Belichick and where Tom Brady isn’t always the G.O.A.T. The Superman Pats also have tended to be Clark Kent on the road this year, 3-3 away from Foxborough with all three losses by double digits — while Miami is impressively taking care of home business (5-1) at The Rock. Makes me love the Dolphins getting 7 1/2 points and like them enough outright to pull the trigger. One hesitation: Miami’s rising-star cornerback Xavien Howard, NFL leader with seven interceptions, was very iffy when I made my pick and has since been declared out with a knee injury. That’s a big blow. No-Howard makes it that much more likely that Brady gets the TD pass he needs to break a tie (579) with Peyton Manning for most ever, including playoffs. But offsetting the Howard absence somewhat is that Ryan Tannehill hopes/expects to have his security blanket Danny Amendola back from injury to face his former team. This call is a major upset that doesn’t feel like one to me thanks to the strong series trends. More size-XXL incentive for Miami: Fins would elevate into playoff pace and sit (for now) as the sixth and final AFC seed with a win here if Ravens also lose at Kansas City as the odds suggest they will. For Miami it's the Game of the Year! At least until the next one... My pick: Upset! Dolphins, 27-23.

Visit Week 14 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, 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:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Miami Miracle beats rival Patriots: An upset win over your big nemesis Sunday or succumbing in home defeat. For Miami that would be the difference in whether the 6-6 Dolphins have a legitimate playoff shot or were relegated as barely breathing longshots. Well, after a last-second 34-33 thriller over New England ... they're aliiive!

2. HEAT: History: Monday the end for LeBron, D-Wade: Heat at Lakers Monday night in the teams' second and last season meeting figures to be the final time on a court together for L.A.'s LeBron James and retiring Miami star Dwyane Wade, who missed the first matchup on paternity leave. They might only meet again if Wade makes the all-star team or if it's in the NBA Finals. (An LOL for that last one). Meantime Goran Dragic's return from injury could be the spark Miami has needed since last being above .500 at a distant 3-2.

3. HURRICANES: Say Uncle! Richt loses nephew to LSU: A 7-5 season is bad enough for a UM team that was top-10 in the preseason polls. So 's this: Four-star quarterback recruit Max Johnson, heavily recruited by Miami, committed to LSU instead. The double-ouch factor? Johnson is Richt's nephew. Sorry, Uncle Mark!

4. HEISMAN TROPHY: Murray narrowly wins college crown: Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray edged Alabama counterpart Tua Tagovailoa for the 2018 Heisman on Saturday night, 2,167 vote points to 1,871, with Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskinis a distant third among the three finalistst with 783. The 1-2 finishers will square off Dec. 29 in a College Football Playoff semifinal at Hard Rock in Miami.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Five days until bowl season!: The parade of 4,384 bowl games (actually, 39) begins in five days on Saturday Dec. 15. FIU, feeling good at 8-4, plays Toledo Dec. 21 in Nassau. Miami, feeling not so great at 7-5, faces Wisconsin Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium. Then the only three games that matter start Dec. 29.

6. BASEBALL: Winter meetings trade-fest begins in Vegas: Where will top-tier free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper land (and for how much)? Will the Marlins be offered enough in return to part with all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto? Answers ahead as the 2019 MLB season shape-shifts with the annual winter meetings.

7. NFL: Pack unceremoniously dumps McCarthy: A Super Bowl-winning coach of this stature and tenure is rarely let go in-season, but it  happened to Green Bay's Mike McCarthy. His interim fill-in is Joe Philbin, who looks like the farmer holding in the pitchfork in the Grant Wood painting, "American Gothic."

8. PANTHERS: Cats in playoff chase despite themselves: Florida has been trying all season to dig itself out from under an 0-4 and 2-10 start, but one-third into the NHL season finds itself only three points off playoff pace in the East entering this week. As long as the conference stays as iffy as the Panthers, there's a shot!

9. UM HOOPS: Canes men lose on, off court: Jim Larranaga's guys are off 'til Dec. 19 and licking wounds. They're 5-4 with four straight losses, the last two to Yale and Penn (!), and this week also watched longtime recruit Vernon Carey Jr. sign with Duke instead. Dad was a former Hurricane and longtime Miami Dolphin lineman. So much for bloodlines and "The U" family!

10. SOCCER: Atlanta wins MLS championship: Host Atlanta United defeated Portland Timbers 2-0 in Saturday night's 2018 MLS Cup. Atlanta reigns as an expansion team in only its second season. No pressure or anything for Miami, David Beckham!

Missing the HB10 cut: Derrick Henry!?! ..... Army beat Navy 17-10 in Saturday's traditional end to the college football regular season. Fortunately, no casualties were reported ..... Countdown 10 days 'til college football's early signing period Dec. 19-21. "Way to steal my thunder," said National Signing Day on Feb. 6 ..... Update: Countdown now 2,752 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Poll results: You Heisman vote couldn't have been closer. Literally: We asked which of the three finalists deserved to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy, and Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Alabama's Tua Tagovailao tied with 40.54 percent each. Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins was third with 18.92%.

Select recent columns: Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 01, 2018

NFL Week 13 picks: Dolphins-Bills and the rest; plus ranking College Championship Weekend matchups, your Cooperstown verdict (only 2 get in!), R.I.P. President Bush & more

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

Gbush1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1. Happy new month, all! Ready, set ... spend! 2) Former President George H.W. Bush passed away at 94 very early this morning. His politics and mine were not the same but I always respected his integrity. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes' Gerald Willis/All-America campaign, Baseball Hall of Fame ballot and your vote, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

PicksNFL WEEK 13 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: Our pinch-me season continues (despite Thursday night!). We rose to a robust .690 winning percentage overall for the season and a rollicking .582 against the spread with last week’s 11-4 mark outright and 10-5 vs. the Evil Betting Line. We bull’s-eyed yet another Upset of The Week with Bills beating Jaguars (“Aawwk!”), and had three more ‘dogs-with-points in Dolphins, Giants and Seahawks. But enough bragging. It's all about this week now. Thanksgiving is past. Bye weeks are done. That means the stretch run to the playoffs is upon is. All 16 games in Week 13 have some bearing on playoff aspiration, although some matchups -- like Dolphins-Bills -- are must-win-and-pray for teams hanging on the periphery. Will Miami get the must-win it needs? Visit Week 13 Gems for our latest picks, and Thursday Gem for the separate pick on last night's Saints-Cowboys game. It was a total misfire thinking the Dallas D would dominate Drew Brees in a low-scoring game. Nevertheless, sally forth! 

On UM's Gerald Willis All-America campaign: Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III got snubbed by the All-ACC first team, but Miami nonetheless has chosen Willis to push for All-America  honors. He'd be the first Canes DT so honored since Warren Sapp in 1994, and I'm on board. To read my latest column, visit Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors. And here is the UM's hype video for Willis' candidacy.

Other select most recent columns: Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail. Also: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost (LeBron's return to Miami with Lakers) / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

BIG SIX CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES RANKED BY NATIONAL INTEREST: The Canes, Gators and Noles are sitting this one out, but Conference Championship Weekend goes on. Our ranking of the Power 5 conference title games plus UCF in the AAC:

Champwknd1. No. 1 Alabama (13-0) beats No. 4 Georgia (11-2), 35-281 for SEC Championship: 'Bama was a 13 1/2-point pick but needed an epic rally led by backup QB Jalen Hurts and aided by a very dubious and failed late fake-punt call by Georgia.

2. No. 2 Clemson (13-0) beats No. 24 Pitt (7-6), 42-10 for ACC Championship: Clemson favored by 27 1/2 and it was the mismatch we all expected. If Pitt was league's second-best team, how sad for the ACC.

3. No. 5 Oklahoma (12-1) beats No. 14 Texas (9-4), 39-27 for Big 12 Championship, TX: Oklahoma the pick by 8 and covered, but will it be enough for the coveted CFP top four.

4. No. 6 Ohio State (12-1) beats No. 21 Northwestern (8-5), 45-24 for Big Ten Championship: OSU favored by 14 and won easily, but will Urban Meyer now leapfrog Sooners to make CFP?

5. No. 9 UCF (12-0) beats Memphis (8-5), 56-41 for AAC Championship: UCF a mere 3-point fave but needed huge home rally behind backup QB thanks to injury to star McKenzie Milton.

6. No. 11 Washington (10-3) beats No. 17 Utah (9-4), 10-3 for Pac-12 Championship: Washington was a 5-point favorite Friday night, and nobody outside of these two fan bases cared.

MarianoPOLL RESULT: RIVERA, BONDS GET IN ON YOUR BASEBALL HALL VOTE: We asked, "Who most deserves 2019 induction into Baseball Hall of Fame?," with the 13 of our curated finalists on the ballot and you getting five votes. The five-vote poll means the maximum total for any one player would be 20 percent if every voter cast all five votes. Therefore in our poll it would take a 15 percent vote to equate to the Hall's 75 percent minimum. (Are you getting all of this?) By that standard only Mariano Rivera and Barry Bonds got Cooperstown-level grades from you. Here are your top five overall from more than 3,500 votes cast, with the percentages indicating the share of ballots that included that player's name:

 

 
 
Competitive: Edgar Martinez 36.00% and Curt Schilling 30.45%. Far back: Fred McGriff 20.05%, Mike Mussina 19.65%, Todd Helton 16.65%, Larry Walker 16.65%, Andy Pettitte 15.50% and Omar Vizquel 15.40%.

Select other columns: NASCAR Needs A Next Big ThingDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 29, 2018

UM's Gerald Willis III / All-America push: All abooaarrd! With hype video, my column; plus your 2019 Cooperstown ballot. Last day to vote!; also, Cowboys-Saints pick, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29. Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at Indy with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

GwillisUM's Gerald Willis / All-America campaign: All aboooaaarrrd!: Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III (pictured) got snubbed by the All-ACC first team, but Miami nonetheless has chosen Willis to push for All-America  honors, and I'm on board. UM's promo video for Willis' candidacy is below. He'd be the first Canes DT so honored since Warren Sapp in 1994. To read my latest column, visit Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors.

Cowboys-Saints NFL pick: The Cowboys have a clear path to a huge upset tonight. But the Saints have answer waiting. Visit Thursday Gem for tonight's pick.

Other select most recent columns: Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail. Also: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost (LeBron's return to Miami with Lakers) / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

BbhfBASEBALL HALL OF FAME. YOUR BALLOT. VOTE NOW!: There are 35 names on the new Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for 2019 induction -- 15 back for another shot and a big 20 first-timers. But of the 35, at least half have zero shot, no chance. (Besides, 35 names is a long-ass ballot!) So I have winnowed this ballot to include the nine returning players who got at least 20 percent of the vote last year, and added the four newcomers who, by general consensus, have the best chance. The names are combined and presented alphabetically, 13 in all. If I've left anybody off, it's because I meant to. (Sorry, Juan Pierre!) On the actual ballot, BBWAA voters (such as myself) get to vote for as many as 10 of the 35. Here, I'm letting you pick up to five (5) of the 13. Disclaimer: This poll is for fun only. The results will have no influence over my own official ballot. Ready? What five players from this list most deserve 2019 induction? Vote!  

Vote for up to your top five (5)

Deciphering a five-vote ballot: In this poll, with five votes per person allowed, 20 percent would be a perfect total for a player to get if everyone cast all five votes. Take a player's total and multiply by five to get the percentage of times that player was included on a five-vote ballot. In other words, leader Mariano Rivera is being included on better than 90% of all ballots.

RIVERS IS FLOWING / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 12: Thanksgiving Week kicks off the start of the NFL playoff push and also the stretch run in our Herald NFL quarterback rankings. The Chargers' Philip Rivers (pictured) takes Week 12 honors with a 53.95-point game to edge Vikings Kirk Cousins by a couple of points. Saint Drew Brees maintains his overall season lead. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. With byes done, our playing field is now level to the finish line! This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 13:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 12
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK12         Season

1       1       Drew Brees, NO                   30.55         475.75

2       4       Matt Ryan, ATL                    44.85         447.10

3       2       Patrick Mahomes, KC            BYE           444.40

4       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 51.10         430.95

5       3       Jared Goff, LAR                   BYE           422.35

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                48.15         409.60

7       6       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        46.10         408.20

8       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                53.95         389.95

9       11     Cam Newton, CAR               35.80          350.95

10     10     Tom Brady, NE                     34.15          349.55

11     12     Eli Manning, NYG                 29.85          343.65

12     9       Aaron Rodgers, GB               18.90         340.05

13     14     Matthew Stafford, DET         23.80         321.05

14     16     Deshaun Watson, HOU          35.50         320.35

15     17     Russell Wilson, SEA              40.95          319.55

16     13     Derek Carr, OAK                   10.70         308.35

17     18     Carson Wentz, PHI               31.80          307.00

18     15     Mitch Trubisky, CHI               DNP           290.45

19     22     Dak Prescott, DAL               38.45          277.35

20     20     Case Keenum, DEN              22.85          272.10

21     19     Andy Dalton, CIN                  8.00          270.30

22     21     Joe Flacco, BAL                    DNP           246.25

23     26     Baker Mayfield, CLE            41.90          241.10

24     23     Alex Smith, WAS                   DNP           236.00

25     24t    Blake Bortles, JAC               4.35           229.65

29     31     Ryan Tannehill, MIA             25.20         137.80

31     29     Brock Osweiler, MIA              DNP           126.35

Bubble: Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB, 225.30. Week 12 best: Rivers, LAC, 53.95 (28-29, 259, 3-0 in win). Week 12 worst: Bortles, JAC, 4.35 (12-23, 127, 1-2 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 12 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD, BAD: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picksGood. Our strong season continues. We were a solid 11-4 straight-up last week and a nifty 10-5 against the spread. Nailed another Upset of the Week with Bills over Jags ("Aawwk!") and had three 'dogs-with-points in Dolphins, Giants and Seahawks. Greg's LobosBad. Lobos fall to 4-8 with a 117.1-94.8 loss to Stugotz, despite a heroic 29.4 from Deshaun Watson Monday night. With only one week left in the regular season the 'Bos are out of playoff contention and rightly so. We sucked this season, from the Le'Veon Bell nightmare on down. Only drama left: Who'll win season MVL honors. #WeAreTheLobos!

StateCOTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. Here's the latest, with one final, post-bowls ranking yet to come: 1. UCF (11-0); 2. Florida (9-3); 3. Miami (7-5); 4. Florida State (5-7); 5. South Florida (7-5); 6. FIU (8-4); 7. FAU (5-7).

Select other columns: Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 06, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 29.6%; plus Fins beat Jets 13-6 behind big defense, with my new column from game; also, latest Hot Button Top 10, NFL Week 9 picks, your most-disappointing-team verdict (landslide!) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5. Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results are in. Find 'em in the previous blogpost. They ain't pretty. 2) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose to Duke with CSM poll, Biggest Disappointment Poll, NFL Week 9 picks, other state Collball & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

My Dolphins-Jets game column: From the stadium and the lockerroom Sunday, visit Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not Rainbow.

Select other recent columns: Time For Faith In Richt, And Patience. And Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For Dolphins. Also: Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love (fans vent). Snakebit Adam (luckless Adam Gase). Family Tradition (N'Kosi Perry's $$$ video). And Victory-y, Miami! (Marlins sign Victor Victor Mesa).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 29.6%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 29.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 13-6 home victory over the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 5-4. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 32%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 86.8% following 27-20 victory vs. Tennessee.

G2: 93.4% following 20-12 victory at N.Y. Jets.

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

G7: 8.9% following 32-21 loss vs. Detroit.

G8: 5.8% following 42-23 loss at Houston.

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

Next poll: Nov. 11 following game at Green Bay.

G9: DOLPHINS 13, N.Y. JETS 6: BIG DEFENSE OVERCOMES LITTLE OFFENSE FOR MIAMI: Postgame thoughts? How about an entire game column! Visit Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not Rainbow ..... Halftime thoughts: The Jets offense has been just the cure for Miami's defensive woes that we imagined. Miami has allowed only 117 total yards in the first half, while its own offense has generated only 134. In sum, 3 field goals, 8 punts, 1 lousy game thus far ..... Original post: The Jets won their season opener — big — and Sam Darnold was the mayor of Gotham. The NyjmiaDolphins started out 3-0 and Ryan Tannehill was back and better than ever. What the hell happened!? Rhetorical question. The NFL happened. Darnold’s rookie learning curve kicked in; he doesn’t get much help and the Planes (led by Dead Man Coaching Todd Bowles) have averaged a meager 13.6 points in their five losses at 3-5. And Miami continues to wait for Tannehill’s return from a shoulder injury like Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot. Godot never showed. Tannehill might, someday, meanwhile we get a fourth straight game of Brock Osweiler. Brockvember? (Who else works a 1950s Samuel Beckett play into an NFL pick, by the way? You’re welcome!). The fact the home team here has a better record at 4-4 yet is only favored by a bare-bones 3 points verifies how little bettors believe in Miami. I get that. At the same time, what better salve for the Fins’ colossal downturn in defensive success than a sincerely bad NYJ offense? Miami beat the Stinkin’ Jets 20-12 in Week 2 and I’d imagine a similar score, and result. Jets dissolve into a puddle on the road and Miami has won five of its past seven division home games. So let’s make it a venue call fortified by the belief Miami’s defense cannot possibly be worse than we’ve seen lately. Dolfans, prepare to step inside off of that high ledge because the Jets are about to “L-O-S-E, lose!” My pick: Dolphins, 23-16.

Visit Week 9 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. 

POLL RESULT: CANES FOOTBALL IS BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: We asked (and this was mostly before Saturday's UM loss to Duke) what major South Florida sports team is the most disappointing to you right now? Your verdict: 47.30 percent--

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, 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:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM falls at home to Duke for 3rd straight loss: Once 5-1 and ranked, UM is now 5-4 following Saturday's rain-drenched 20-12 loss at home to Duke. Canes were 9 1/2-point favorites but were doomed by two key lost fumbles. Or three, if you count Mark Richt's fumbling of his quarterback situation.

2. DOLPHINS: Big defense helps Stumblin' Fins get past Stinkin' Jets: Miami is 5-4 after Sunday's 13-6 home win over the Stinkin' Jets. Based on low preseason expectations this is not bad. Based on a 3-0 start, sputtering offense and Brock Osweiler ... not so good.

3. UM HOOPS: Hurricanes men open play this Friday: Jim Larranaga's unranked (but receiving votes) UM men open their season this Friday vs. Lehigh. Canes have no freshmen on roster, the fallout of recruiting damage from last year's implication in that FBI probe into corruption in the sport -- one that has found Larranaga and the program not found guilty of anything yet sullied. Katie Meier's UM women, ranked No. 25, open on Tuesday at FIU.

4. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Kentucky-Duke tops marquee as season opens: No. 2-ranked Kentucky faces No. 4 Duke and 1-Kansas plays 10-Michigan State as the men's college basketball season rolls out with a bang this Tuesday. Now if we can keep attention on the court this year and away from the shady dealings of Adidas executives and teams on the take, we'll be OK.

5. HEAT: Slumping Miami drops third straight: The Heat is 3-5 after a third straight loss last night in Atlanta despite Josh Richardson's 32 points. Miami is at Detroit Monday night then home for four. And if you haven't circled it in red on the calendar yet: Heat host LeBron's Lakers Nov. 18.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Shakeup ahead in CFP top four: Alabama and Clemson solidified their 1-2 spots in the College Football Playoff ranking with huge wins Saturday -- 'Bama's at the expense of No. 3 LSU. Watch Notre Dame and Michigan hike up to 3-4 in the new rankings, with the Tigers now on the outside. 

7. MLB: Hey big spenders, free agency now underway: It officially began on Saturday, with the Nationals' Bryce Harper and Dodgers' Manny Machado seen as the big two big prizes. Free agency involves big spending by teams willing to put their wallets where there hopes are. Meaning we'll likely hear crickets from the Marlins.

8. PANTHERS: Luongo back as Cats split games in Finland: Panthers are now 3-8 on the season after splitting two games with Winnipeg in NHL Global Series in Helsinki, Finland. Games resume Thursday vs. Edmonton here with goalie Roberto Luongo finally back healthy again.

9. SHULA BOWL: FAU stuns FIU in rivalry renewal: FIU was home, favored and having a better season. FAU was the visitor, the underdog and having a relatively lousy season. There was every reason to imagine Butch Davis smiling at the end, not Lane Kiffin. Final: FAU, 49-14. 

10. ELECTION DAY: Mid-term election are Tuesday. Vote!: Do your civic duty as an American citizen. Go out and vote for the candidate of my choice!

Missing the HB10 cut: Sure the Canes lost again, but Florida and FSU also lost Saturday. What's that they say about misery? ..... The World Series trophy was damaged by a thrown full can of beer during the Red Sox championship parade. That's terrible. Talk about a waste of beer! ..... Golfers beginning in 2019 may opt to putt with the flagstick in, and at least one, Bryson DeChambeau, says he will. I'd be more impressed if he planned to putt with the flagstick itself ..... American star Simone Biles dominated at the world gymnastics championships in Qatar despite suffering from kidney stones. Which sounds impossible, by the way ..... With only 14 days until NASCAR finale at Homestead, Joey Logano is only driver who's locked into Championship Four ..... ESPN analyst Tim Tebow criticized Maryland for firing scandalized football coach D.J. Durkin. "Not even I can agree with Timmy on that one," said God ..... Breeders' Cup ran Saturday at Churchill Downs. It's the one horse race that folks who only care about the Triple Crown races might actually watch ..... Major League Soccer playoffs are down to the final eight. Is Inter Miami sending a scout, David Beckham? ..... After months of blessed quiet, public buffoon LaVar Ball reemerged to say he could coach the Lakers with his "eyes shut." I'd prefer he try anything with his mouth shut ..... Update: Countdown now 2,787 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 29, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else falls where; plus Red Sox reign, it-ain't-easy-being-a-Dolfan column, NFL Week 8 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 29. Check out the latest Canesfan and Dolfan postgame satisfaction polls at CSM and DSM. Warning. They're both both depressing. 2) Homer Me the Red Sox fan is presently staging a one-man championship parade in his house. Go Saaawx! 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose at Boston College with CSM poll, it-ain't-easy-being-a-Dolfan column, other state Collball & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It ain't easy being a Dolfan: Hundreds of Miami Dolphins fans told me what it's like to be Dolfan. I bet some of y'all can relate. Their/your answers informed my latest column. To read the venting and frustration, visit Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love.

NFL Week 8 picks: We bull's-eyed Thursday night's Dolphins loss in Houston. For all of Sunday's (and tonight's) picks, visit Week 8 Gems.

Other most recent stuff: On Dolphins head coach: Snakebit Adam. On N'Kosi Perry's lap-cash video: Family Tradition. And on Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr.: Victory-y, Miami! 

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, 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:

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins fall in Houston as defense collapses again: The 42-23 Thursday night loss at Houston dropped Miami (once 3-0) to an even 4-4 at midseason. However, other than Ryan Tannehill still being out, the recent embarrassing defensive collapse, the spate of injuries and palpable fan dissatisfaction, indications are all is well!

2. HURRICANES: Slumping UM loses at Boston College: UM's 27-14 Friday night loss at Boston College found neither Malik Rosier nor the defense playing particularly well. Canes now 5-3 after the second straight loss, with hopes fading sharply for a return to ACC title game. Mark Richt's third season in the Gables is looking like regression.

3. MLB: Dominant Red Sox roll to World Series championship!: Boston bounced the Dodgers in five games, clinching last night with a home run barrage in L.A. -- the Red Sox's only loss that record-setting 18-inning, 7-hours-plus marathon on Friday. Red Sox fans weren't sure whether to want the clincher back at Fenway or to get it over with last night -- a happy dilemma indeed.

4. HEAT: Miami above .500 for first time: Heat's 120-111 home win over Portland has Miami 3-2 and on good side of .500 for first time in the young NBA season. Dwyane Wade's 18 in first half and Goran Dragic's 28 total did the heavy lifting. Oh, and Chris Bosh earlier made his first return to arena since his medical departure. It was a love-fest, a hug-in! The soundtrack of the visual would have been the whole crowd singing Kumbaya!

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Season's first CFP ranking on deck: First College Football Playoff pecking order comes out Tuesday, with the top four all that matters. Alabama-Clemson-Notre Dame should be a clear, perfunctory top three, but then it gets interesting. Call it The Fight For Fourth.

6. GATORS: Florida's big chance goes awry vs. Georgia: It was No. 9 Gators vs. No, 7 Bulldogs in neutral Jacksonville Saturday and it was close ... and then it wasn't. Georgia pulled away and won 36-17, dropping UF's season from potentially special to shades of pretty good.

7. PANTHERS: Struggling Cats headed for pair in Finland: With Saturday's 3-2 loss at New Jersey the Panthers have now won only two of their first nine games, five of them going to overtime or shootouts. Florida now faces Winnipeg two in a row in Helsinki, Finland, as part of NHL's Global Series this Thursday and Friday. Maybe a break from North America will do the Cats good.

8. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Canes men's hoops still embroiled in FBI mess: FBI wiretaps into college basketball corruption include Adidas reps discussing whether to divert a top recruit from Arizona to UM, an Adidas school. Neither Jim Larranaga or his program have been implicated in wrongdoing, but it's still an unwanted cloud as his Hurricanes' Nov. 9 season opener nears.

9. SOCCER: It was an unusual El Clasico Sunday: Real Madrid at Barcelona in La Liga play on Sunday was the 238th El Clasico but the first in more than a decade featuring neither Cristiano Ronaldo (who left Madrid for Juventus over the summer) nor Lionel Messi (out injured for Barca with a fractured arm). Call it El Clasico Reducido. And a rout: Barca, 5-1.

10. FIU: ButchCats win, get bowl-eligible: FIU is 6-2 and bowl-eligible after a 38-17 rout at Western Kentucky. Last year FAU's Lane Kiffin dwarfed FIU's Butch Davis in attention among the first-year coaches. This year so far: Lane Train off the rails and it's all ButchCats.

Missing the HB10 cut: Halloween is Wednesday. I wanted a costume nobody else would have, so I'm dressing up as someone who isn't the least bit worried that America is going insane ..... That reminds me: Robert D. Bowers and Cesar Sayoc, your reservations in Hell are confirmed ..... Four Jaguars reportedly tried to skip out on a $64,000 bar tab in London. I'm guessing they went top-shelf? ..... LeBron wins! Finally, after the Lakers' 0-3 start ..... Marlins' recently signed young Cuban star, Victor Victor Mesa, is relentlessly active on social media. If his hitting is as productive as his Tweeting, Fish fans will be in for a treat ..... Countdown now 21 days 'til NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway ..... Update: Countdown now 2,794 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter GradeWade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackKid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote