Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 35.3% following 30-10 home loss to Chargers; latest new Hot Button Top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; also, Riley introduces Butler 'cause the Heat don't tank, NFL Week 4 pick & more
1) It's MONDAY SEPTEMBER 30. Visit Herald Week 3 NFL QB Rankings if you missed our updated standings entering this week. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 4 picks, HistoryMiami Museum gives Dolfans escape to glory days, why Fins are still better-positioned than Canes for turnaround, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.
G4: L.A. CHARGERS 30, DOLPHINS 10: WELL, A LITTLE BETTER, AT LEAST: Visit Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins for my column from Sunday's game. Original post: Fins are 15-point home underdogs for Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff at The Rock, which, compared to the two previous games, is a nail-biter! I wrote last week that I was done with the Dolphins as the bandwagon — driverless, passenger-free and in flames — careened over a cliff. Well, I’m back on the Fins in NFL Week 4. To win? LOL, don’t be silly! But I do believe they’ll at least manage to cover the point spread at home. Why? Philip Rivers is prone to the occasional INT, and my chips are on Xavien Howard doing a reasonable job on Keenan Allen. Plus still no Melvin Gordon for LAC, although the RB ended his holdout Thursday. More than that, the poor Miami offense catches a lil’ break, at last. After facing the monstrous D’s of the Ravens, Patriots and Cowboys the first three games, the Fins see an average unit in the Bolts, whose vaunted pass rush has even been ordinary thus far. Could be offensive fireworks from Josh Rosen and Miami. By which I mean two touchdowns. Maybe. After being outscored 133-16 — the minus-117 the biggest point differential in the NFL through three games since 1950 — Sunday might feel almost like a victory for Dolfans. Hey, I said almost. Cote's pick: Chargers, 31-17. (Visit Week 4 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks).
DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 35.3%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 35.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon’s 30-10 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers putting Miami’s season record at 0-4. This is a new season high as Tank For Tua fans weigh in. In its 12th season, 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. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.
2019 DSM game-by-game results
G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.
G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.
G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.
G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers. Visit DSM: Dolphins-Chargers for complete results.
Next poll: Oct. 13 following game vs. Washington (after bye)
HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday/Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:
1. DOLPHINS: Fins, still seeking escape from embarrassment, fall to Chargers: The tanking Dolphins had lost their first three games by (in order) 49, 43 and 25 points, before Sunday's 20-point home loss (30-10) to the Chargers. I call that progress! Hey, trying to accentuate the positive here. It ain't easy. Work with me.
2. BASEBALL: Let the World Series tournament begin!: MLB regular season wrapped Sunday and the two wild-card games are Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the real postseason begins. The four clear betting favorites for the World Series title, in order, are the Astros, Dodgers, Yankees and Braves. My defending champion Red Sox didn't make it and the Marlins finished 873 games back, but we're going to bravely feign interest in the postseason anyway.
3. PANTHERS: Drop that puck. It's Opening Week for Cats!: Florida began the preseason 0-4 but rallied to win three of eight games. Now Panthers open their 26th NHL season this Thursday at Tampa Bay, with the first home game Saturday, also against the Lightning. There is a fresh-start feel led by new coach Joel Quenneville and new goalie Sergie Bobrovsky -- both big stars. No excuses left, Cats. Playoffs or bust.
4. MARLINS: Fish are done (thank you, Lord); Mattingly isn't: Miami finished 57-105 by winning Sunday's season finale in Philadelphia. So it's over for the Fish, but not for manager Don Mattingly, given a two-extension. Upside? At least the young, rebuilding Marlins avoided the club-record 108-loss season set by the Fire-Sale Fish of 1998. In other depressing Marlins news, this week marked the third-anniversary of the tragic death of Jose Fernandez.
5. HEAT: Training camp on deck for new-look, post-Wade Heat: Heat media day was Monday, now comes a five-day training camp Tuesday through Saturday in West Palm Beach, then the preseason begins Oct. 8 vs. San Antonio. Gone: Retired Dwyane Wade. Arrived: New star Jimmy Butler. Expectations: Playoffs. Not much more than that. No title talk. No East takeover. Just ... playoffs, please.
6. INTER MIAMI: Ouch. Shade from reported top coach candidate: Reports persist that Manchester City star will join Inter Miami after the English Premier League season to become David Beckham's first marquee player. But former Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari, speculated frontrunner to be Inter's new coach, told BBC News: "I would like to coach in Europe, in a serious project in one of the big leagues." Ouch. Shade.
7. HURRICANES: UM licks wounds, preps for ACC in off week: The Canes barely beat little Central Michigan 17-12 at home and the NCAA punished Miami by not letting it play this week. OK, not really. This was a scheduled bye week for UM. And well-timed, as 2-2 Miami girds for its chunk of ACC games starting next Saturday vs. Virginia Tech. If we keep seeing the same Canes who struggled to survive the Chippewas, this could be a long season in the Gables.
8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Will Clemson drop from top after near-loss?: No top-10 team lost this week, but No. 1-ranked Clemson barely survived at North Carolina, 21-20, thanks to a failed Tar Heels two-point conversion in the closing seconds. Will the Tigers now fall behind No. 2 Alabama in the next rankings? In my vote (if I had one): Yes. And AP voters agreed.
9. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): Gators play patsy, FIU licks wounds: No. 9-ranked Florida Gators had a virtual bye week in hosting Towson on Saturday, winning 38-0. In other state FBS action, FSU handled North Carolina State 31-13 in another relieving win for beleaguered Willie Taggert, No. 22 UCF got back on track 56-21 over visiting UConn, FAU won at Charlotte 45-27, South Florida got crushed at home 48-21 by SMU, and 1-3 FIU was idle.
10. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NCAA drops hammer on Kansas, Self: With college hoops season only about five weeks away, an NCAA/FBI investigation has storied program Kansas and Hall of Fame coach Bill Self in the crosshairs. Kansas is accused of substantial cheating and lack of institutional oversight, charges Self is mostly denying. Sorry, Jayhawks but this can't end well. Self said the controversy would be "no distraction." Everybody else said, "Hahahahahahahaha!"
Missing the HB10 cut: The Connecticut Sun and heavily favored Washington Mystics begin a best-of-five WNBA Finals today/Sunday. Why is Washington heavily favored? Because it has Elena Delle Donne, league MVP and perhaps the only WNBA player I can name. Unless Sue Bird is still playing ..... The Rugby World Cup is underway, and host Japan stunned Ireland, which in rugby is a gargantuan upset. If Japan wins it all, I'll swim and hitchhike to Tokyo ..... Update: Countdown now 2,457 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.
RILEY INTRODUCES BUTLER -- 'CAUSE THE HEAT DON'T TANK: Welcome back to winning, South Florida. Or — and this is important — trying to win, at least. Welcome back to the idea of relentless competitiveness, and a sports franchise that bitterly regards the strategy of tanking as an insult, an anathema. Welcome back, Miami Heat. Your return is well-timed. It arrives as an antidote. As salve for what hurts us. Heat season unfurled ceremonially on Friday as club president Pat Riley and new star Jimmy Butler met with the media. Training camp is next week, the preseason begins Oct. 8 and the real NBA games start Oct. 23. This is the one Miami pro team that expects to make the playoffs every season and is plainly embarrassed not to. That’s something very different for us at the moment. Riley did not mention the tanking Dolphins or Marlins, but the message was clear as he said Friday: "The one thing I owe the franchise and the city is to put the most competitive team on the court that I can,” he said. “Having a Jimmy Butler here is a step in that direction for real." For my full latest column, please visit Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank.
OUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a hot Week 3 in our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the Dolphins finally cover a point spread by staying (reasonably) close against the Chargers on Sunday? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 4 Gems now. Beginning this week subscribers get an early look at our picks, ahead of non-subscribers, so sign in or sign up! Tough start to our week when Green Bay's defense majorly let us down Thursday night. Sally forth!
Also from this week: Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days (on HistoryMiami Museum's new massive Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit) and Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes. Other most recent columns: Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.
CANES, FIU TAKE WEEK OFF TO LICK WOUNDS: Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers both are off this weekend, and for each the break seems well-timed. UM is 2-2 after a thoroughly unimpressive 17-12 home win over smaller-school Central Michigan, while Butch Davis' FIU has started 1-3. At least better days are ahead in the short term. Canes resume their ACC schedule Oct. 5 at 3:30 at home vs. Virginia Tech. Hokies are 2-1 but down. Miami beat VT 38-14 last year and figure as around a three-touchdown favorite again. FIU hosts a winless Massachusetts next Saturday at 7 p.m. and should be around a four-TD pick. State FBS games this Saturday: FAU at Charlotte, 3:30; Towson at No. 9-Florida, 4; SMU at South Florida, 4; UConn at No. 22-UCF, 7; and North Carolina State at Florida State, 7:30.
Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / and From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.
APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.
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