August 30, 2021

New Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Fins/Watson rumors return, Canes-Bama week, Messi/Ronaldo, hot Fish. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now (!) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 30. Was back on the Le Batard Show last week for first time in awhile, the holdout suspended, not ended. Unsure about this Tuesday. 2) Join me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And follow the Greg Cote Show podcast separately on TwitterInstagram and now TikTok, too! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Only one way ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance can out-SEC the SEC, Time to start believing in Tua and Dolphins, Greg Cote Show podcast, R.I.P. Charlie Watts & more.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE -- GREG'S LOBOS AND THE PFPI FANTASY DRAFT -- OUT NOW!: Our 34th episode of 2021 and 76th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 76 we've done HERE, for free. In our newest episode: Join the Cote family and friends on a fun-filled Saturday. Hear all the banter during the PFPI Fantasy Draft featuring Greg's Lobos, and emceed by Greg, followed by pool time and a Paella Party. You'll feel like you were there! Also: Greg discusses the return of Deshaun Watson-to-Dolphins rumors, and we debut a new song revealing Greg's Lobos being featured on HBO's Hard Knocks. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns: There Is Only One Way an ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 Alliance Can Out-SEC the SEC / Time to Finally Start Believing in Tua, Flores and Miami Dolphins / and Why Dolphins, Canes Should Be Taking Lead In Requiring Fans To Be COVID-Vaccinated. Also: An Appreciation of Udonis Haslem As He Re-Ups For 19th Heat Season / Dolphins' 'Big Picture' Begins To Emerge With Unveiling Of Year 2 Tua / Unraveled: The Story Behind Who Aubrey Huff Became / and What Lionel Messi's Sudden, Stunning Move Means For Inter Miami.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 29-30): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Watson talk resurfaces, ill-timed, as Fins close preseason: Miami ended the preseason 2-1 with a 29-26 win at Cincinnati Sunday, with Tua Tagovailoa not playing and Joe Burrow throwing one pass. Third-stringer Reid Sinnett led Fins with 343 yards passing. Meanwhile, with season starting in two weeks, distraction-with-a-capital-D-speculation about DeShaun Watson landing in Miami resurface with a Saturday Yahoo Sports report that Fins and Denver are the two finalists to trade for him. Houston wants three first-round pick and two seconds. That's a ton, given his well-known legal situation and the specter of a major league suspension apart from the civil/legal cloud.

2. HURRICANES: Football! Countdown 5 days 'til Saban and No. 1 Alabama: The No. 14-ranked Canes open Year 3 for Manny Diaz and QB D'Eriq King's senior season vs. No. 1 reigning national champion Alabama and Nick Saban next Saturday in Atlanta. King hasn't blinked, said, "I expect to finish No. 1. I don't expect to lose to any team." It's the ultimate statement game right out the gate. The statement one way or the other: "The U is back!" Or, "Not yet, Miami."

3. SOCCER: Messi makes PSG debut, Ronaldo back to Man U: Big week for the two greatest active players in international futbol. Lionel Messi made his debut for Paris Saint-Germain Sunday in a league match at Reims, setting viewing records in Spain. And Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is heading back to the Premier League and Manchester United, the team that turned him into a global superstar.

4. INTER MIAMI: Hot Herons continue playoff chase Friday at Orlando: MLS All-Stars including Inter Miami's Rodolfo Pizarro beat Liga MX all-stars on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Los Angeles this week, with the game halted briefly as Mexican fans (as is their notorious, embarrassing custom) broke into homophobic chants. Inter Mia (6-9-4 but on a 4-1-2 hot streak) plays at Orlando Friday night as MLS league plays resumes.

5. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): Gators, Noles, FIU and return of Orange Blossom Classic: In sequence: Thursday--Long Island University at FIU; Boise State at UCF; and South Florida at North Carolina State. Saturday--FAU at No. 13 Florida. Next Sunday--No. 9 Notre Dame at Florida State. Not FBS-level but also notable next Sunday: Deion Sanders' Jackson State vs. FAMU at Hard Rock in a welcome renewal of the famed Orange Blossom Classic for HBCU teams, last played in 1978.

6. MARLINS: Fish heat up after 8-game skid: Miami is 55-76 having won four of past five after an eight-game losing skid with Sunday's 2-1 win over visiting Cincinnati to end a six-game homestand. Marlins now play three games at Mets.

7. TENNIS: Depleted U.S. Open begins on Sunday: The year's final tennis major began Sunday in New York -- but with notable stars including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Serena Williams all out injured. Betting favorites are Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL (NON-STATE): We have liftoff! Six Saturday games just opened 2021 season: FBS-level college football kicked off Saturday/yesterday with five games, none involving a Top 25 team. Besides UM-Alabama, biggest Week 1 matchup nationally is No. 5 Georgia at No. 3 Clemson next Saturday. Three other Top 25 Week 1 matchups that day are 19-Penn State at 12-Wisconsin, 17-Indiana at 18-Iowa and 23-Louisiana at 21-Texas. 

9. OLYMPICS: Paralympic Games underway in Tokyo: The 16th Tokyo Paralympic Olympics Summer Games began this week and continue through next Sunday. U.S. has lagged early in the medal count. The U.S. is third in golds and overall medals, trailing China and Great Britain in both categories.

10. YOUTH SPORTS: Michigan teams reigns in Little League World Series: The Little League World Series ends Sunday with Taylor, Michigan beating Westside, Ohio from the same Great Lakes Region in the championship game. South Dakota pitcher Gavin Weir, who dominated the LLWS with two no-hitters and struck out almost everybody -- his team fell one win short of the title game.

Missing the HB10 cut: Patrick Cantlay won the BMW Championship on Sunday and goes to the Tour Championship next week with a 2-shot lead over Tony Finau in the final of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs ..... Honduran club Olimpia and Mexican club Pachuca meet next Sunday in a soccer friendly at Inter Miami's stadium in Fort Lauderdale ..... The Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix debuting in 2022 named veteran F1 race promoter Richard Cregan as chief executive officer ..... Upcoming: Florida Panthers' developmental camp opens September 10 ..... Also on deck: Chris Bosh's Hall of Fame induction September 11 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,765 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES

Bobby  Bowden tribute column: College Football and FSU Lose a Treasure In Passing Of Bobby Bowden

Hall of Fame quartet: Columns on the four men with strong South Florida ties enshrined last week in Canton: Biggest Victory Of Hall Of Famer Jimmy Johnson's Life Was Getting His Son Back / Hurricanes' Edgerrin James / Dillard High's Isaac Bruce / and Coral Springs High's Steve Hutchinson.

Additional recent other columns: Xavien Howard Right To Feel Disrespected, And Dolphins Need To Fix This Mess / Biles' Withdrawal For Mental-Health Reasons Merits Empathy, Not Scorn / Top 10 NFL Storylines Entering Training Camp (Where's Tua?) / Where Dolphins Rank Among Teams With Longest Championship Droughts / Dolphins Owner Ross Unveils New $135 Million Training Site As Another Reason Team Must Win Now / It's Selfish, Me-First Athletes Who Are Refusing the COVID Vaccine / Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / Tokyo Olympics Should Be Delayed Again But It's Too Late. Why? Money / May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight / and Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History.

Select other columns: Exhibition Losses Give Team USA Wakeup Call It Needs Headed to Olympics / Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling / Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs / Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal / Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz.

Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

August 28, 2021

Only one way an ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance matters. Here's how. New column; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast is a 'Fantasy Football Prepisode', Time to go all-in on Tua and Dolphins, R.I.P. Charlie Watts & more

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

Cwatts1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 28. R.I.P., Charlie Watts (pictured), gone at 80. He was the drummer/backbone of the Rolling Stones, the dapper elegance in the maelstrom. 2) I was back on the Le Batard Show on Tuesday for the first time in a few weeks due to a holdout. I would refer to the holdout as suspended, not ended. Still no contract or payment from Meadowlark. 3) Join me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And follow the Greg Cote Show podcast separately on TwitterInstagram and now TikTok, too! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Time to start believing in the Dolphins, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more.

Coteshow SiazoomGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW 'FANTASY FOOTBALL PREPISODE' OUT NOW!: Our 33rd episode of 2021 and 75th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning at 7 ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 75 we've done HERE, for free. In our new episode: Hear fantasy football expert Sia Nejad, pictured lower-right (CBS Sports, Sirius XM, Win Daily Sports show) share tips to help your dominate your draft and league. (Can he save Greg's Lobos?) Greg shares detailed update on his holdout from the Le Batard Show. Pet peeves at the roulette table. And two new songs! Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

AllianceTHERE'S ONLY ONE WAY AN ACC/BIG TEN/PAC-12 ALLIANCE CAN OUT-SEC THE SEC. HERE'S THE PLAN: How to summarize the shifting of tectonic plates in the Power 5 college conferences? Here it is in a nutshell (and I use the word with care because this whole thing seems a little nutty): ▪ The Southeastern Conference , already reigning and preening on account of the Alabama dynasty, gets appreciably stronger, more prestigious and richer by poaching traditional powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 effective in 2025 at latest. ▪ The suckerpunched Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Pac-12, scrambling in the wake of the SEC’s audacious power grab, meet and quickly form an “alliance” as everybody else scrambles to figure out exactly what that will mean. ▪ The already diminished Big 12, bracing to lose its two biggest football programs and drop to eight schools, and left out of the ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance, drifts like a forlorn tumbleweed through a ghost town. Is any of this good for college football? No. Instability seldom is. What this is good for is the SEC and its soon-to-be-enriched 16-team super-conference, and everybody else be damned. It’s a time of tumult in college football beyond teams switching conferences. The NCAA oligarchy is losing power by degrees. The NIL law (name, image, likeness) means college athletes can be paid. The College Football Playoff weighs major expansion. So now the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 join hands and start singing “Kumbaya” in a show of solidarity. But why? to what end? For our full latest column, visit There Is Only One Way an ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 Alliance Can Out-SEC the SEC
 
TuaWHY IT'S TIME TO GO ALL-IN, FINALLY START BELIEVING IN TUA, FLORES AND MIAMI DOLPHINS: Faith can be a tricky thing. Sometimes it takes a leap to get there. Whether it’s falling in love, going all-in on a bet or trusting that this is finally the year for your team, you have to believe in something. Your heart. Your gut. Just a wisp of a feeling. Something. It gets complicated when, for example, your football team has mostly let you down for the past 20 years or so. When your franchise’s best days are your father’s memories, not yours. That is when optimism gets calloused, replaced by cynicism. When the easiest thing to trust is that your team will let you down again. What I am about to say, in this context, comes from both the innately skeptical veteran journalist and from the young boy who attended that first ever home game with his Dad in the Orange Bowl in 1966 — because those two are the same. It is time to start believing in the Miami Dolphins again. Believing that last year’s 10-win season was not a mirage. Believing that Brian Flores is just the right coach. Believing that Tua Tagovailaoa’s doubters are falling away, one by one. Believing that a corner has (finally!) been turned. For our full recent column, visit Time to Finally Start Believing in Tua, Flores and Miami Dolphins.

Other most recent columns: Why Dolphins, Canes Should Be Taking Lead In Requiring Fans To Be COVID-Vaccinated and An Appreciation of Udonis Haslem As He Re-Ups For 19th Heat Season. Also: Dolphins' 'Big Picture' Begins To Emerge With Unveiling Of Year 2 Tua / Unraveled: The Story Behind Who Aubrey Huff Became / and What Lionel Messi's Sudden, Stunning Move Means For Inter Miami.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES

Bobby  Bowden tribute column: College Football and FSU Lose a Treasure In Passing Of Bobby Bowden

Hall of Fame quartet: Columns on the four men with strong South Florida ties enshrined last week in Canton: Biggest Victory Of Hall Of Famer Jimmy Johnson's Life Was Getting His Son Back / Hurricanes' Edgerrin James / Dillard High's Isaac Bruce / and Coral Springs High's Steve Hutchinson.

Additional recent other columns: Xavien Howard Right To Feel Disrespected, And Dolphins Need To Fix This Mess / Biles' Withdrawal For Mental-Health Reasons Merits Empathy, Not Scorn / Top 10 NFL Storylines Entering Training Camp (Where's Tua?) / Where Dolphins Rank Among Teams With Longest Championship Droughts / Dolphins Owner Ross Unveils New $135 Million Training Site As Another Reason Team Must Win Now / It's Selfish, Me-First Athletes Who Are Refusing the COVID Vaccine / Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / Tokyo Olympics Should Be Delayed Again But It's Too Late. Why? Money / May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight / and Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History.

Select other columns: Exhibition Losses Give Team USA Wakeup Call It Needs Headed to Olympics / Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling / Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs / Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal / Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz.

Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

August 23, 2021

Time to go all-in, start believing in Tua, Flores and Dolphins. New column; plus Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; also, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 23. Join me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And follow the Greg Cote Show podcast separately on TwitterInstagram and now TikTok, too! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins and Canes should require fan's proof of vaccination to attend home games, Ode to Udonis Haslem as he re-ups for 19th Heat season, Greg Cote Show podcast & more.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW 'FANTASY FOOTBALL PREPISODE' OUT NOW!: Our 33rd episode of 2021 and 75th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning at 7 ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 75 we've done HERE, for free. In our new episode: Hear fantasy football expert Sia Nejad (CBS Sports, Sirius XM, Win Daily Sports show) share tips to help you dominate your draft and league. (Can he save Greg's Lobos?) Greg shares detailed update on his holdout from the Le Batard Show. Pet peeves at the roulette table. And two new songs! Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

TuaWHY IT'S TIME TO GO ALL-IN, FINALLY START BELIEVING IN TUA, FLORES AND MIAMI DOLPHINS: Faith can be a tricky thing. Sometimes it takes a leap to get there. Whether it’s falling in love, going all-in on a bet or trusting that this is finally the year for your team, you have to believe in something. Your heart. Your gut. Just a wisp of a feeling. Something. It gets complicated when, for example, your football team has mostly let you down for the past 20 years or so. When your franchise’s best days are your father’s memories, not yours. That is when optimism gets calloused, replaced by cynicism. When the easiest thing to trust is that your team will let you down again. What I am about to say, in this context, comes from both the innately skeptical veteran journalist and from the young boy who attended that first ever home game with his Dad in the Orange Bowl in 1966 — because those two are the same. It is time to start believing in the Miami Dolphins again. Believing that last year’s 10-win season was not a mirage. Believing that Brian Flores is just the right coach. Believing that Tua Tagovailaoa’s doubters are falling away, one by one. Believing that a corner has (finally!) been turned. For our full latest column, visit Time to Finally Start Believing in Tua, Flores and Miami Dolphins.
 

Other most recent columns: Why Dolphins, Canes Should Be Taking Lead In Requiring Fans To Be COVID-Vaccinated and An Appreciation of Udonis Haslem As He Re-Ups For 19th Heat Season. Also: Dolphins' 'Big Picture' Begins To Emerge With Unveiling Of Year 2 Tua / Unraveled: The Story Behind Who Aubrey Huff Became / and What Lionel Messi's Sudden, Stunning Move Means For Inter Miami.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 22-23): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua, Fins sail in big fake-game home: Miami squared its preseason record at 1-1 with a 37-17 rout of Atlanta in its only home exhibition Saturday night. Tua Tagovailoa completed 16 of 23 passes for 183 yards and a TD and LB Sam Eguavoan had four sacks (one for a safety) to lead the domination of the Falcons' reserves. Fins wrap up preseason next Sunday at Cincinnati.

3. INTER MIAMI: Hot Herons win fourth straight at home: Rodolfo Pizarro scored twice and Robbie Robinson once as Inter Miami handled visiting Toronto 3-1 Saturday night. It was the fourth straight home win for Miami, now 6-9-4 overall but 4-1-2 in its past seven matches. Herons have climbed within five points of playoff pace with 14 games left.

3. MARLINS: Stinkin' Fish lose seventh straight game: Marlins are 51-74 (12-24 since the break), last in the NL East and have dropped seven straight after being swept in Cincy. Miami now returns for a six-game homestand vs. Nationals and Reds.

4. HEAT: Miami reveals season schedule as bookies set win totals: Heat announced its 2021-22 season schedule will begin with six preseason games starting October 4. Miami will make 22 national TV appearances, with five each on ESPN and TNT and 12 on NBA TV. Heat will tip-off its 34th regular season at home vs. reigning NBA champion Milwaukee on October 21. Caesars Sportsbook's win-total over/unders put Brooklyn on top at 54 1/2, with Heat tied for eighth of 30 teams at 47 1/2. Heat prospects finished 4-3 in Summer League play, 2-0 in Sacramento and 2-3 in Las Vegas.

5. SOCCER: Messi's PSG debut expected next Sunday: Seven more days. Can you wait? Lionel Messi's debut with new French club Paris Saint-Germain is now expected to be next Sunday August 29 in a league match on the road at Reims prior to the international break.

6. BRYAN PATA: Finally a charge in 2006 Pata murder: A former teammate was arrested this week in the 2006 murder of Miami Hurricanes football player Bryan Pata. A longtime suspect, Rashaun Travon Jones, now 35, was charged with first-degree murder. The modern-day, No. 14-ranked Canes, after a closed scrimmage Saturday, open the season in 13 days vs. No. 1 Alabama in Atlanta. "I'm super confident," QB D'Eriq King told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Three big leagues including ACC talking 'alliance': First it was Texas and Oklahoma announcing intentions to leave the Big 12 and move to the SEC. Now, the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 conferences have begun exploring options for an ill-defined  counter move of some sort. The three league have formed an "alliance committee" including athletic directors from each league and the three commissioners. 

8. PANTHERS: Cats set roster for developmental events: Panthers announced a 24-man roster for their September 10-14 development camp in Coral Springs and the September 18-21 Tampa Bay Lightning-hosted Prospect Showcase Tournament in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Roster includes three former first-round picks in Anton Lundell (12th overall in 2020), Spencer Knight (13th, 2019) and Grigori Denisenko (15th, 2018).

9. BOXING: End for Pacquiao after upset loss?: Manny Pacquiao lost decisively to Yordenis Ugas in Vegas Saturday night, leaving fans to wonder if the great Pacquiao, nearing 43, had fought his last fight.

10. TENNIS: Major hits to U.S. Open men's side: Rafael Nadal joined Roger Federer in withdrawing from the U.S. Open, the season's final Grand Slam event that starts August 30 in New York.  That means the men's side will be missing five players who have won the event in 12 of the past 17 years.

Missing the HB10 cut: Miguel Cabrera hits 500th home run! (Nice trade, Marlins) ..... The annual Little League World Series is on in Williamsport, Pa., with 16 teams in two divisions hoping to reach the championship game next Sunday. One Florida team, Palm City in Martin County just north of Palm Beach, is competing ..... Former Heat star Ray Allen is the new boys basketball coach at Miami's Gulliver Prep high school ..... Oregon and Oregon State became the first Power 5 schools to announce they will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for fans over age 12 to attend football games. The NFL's Saints and Raiders previously did the same ..... A 2-year-old filly named Bold And Bossy escaped before a race in Henderson, Ky. Saturday and ran onto a highway alongside cars before being apprehended ..... Electrifying MLB: Shohei Ohtani ..... Embarrassing MLB: Trevor Bauer ..... Getting close: Chris Bosh's Hall of Fame induction is September 11 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,772 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES

Bobby  Bowden tribute column: College Football and FSU Lose a Treasure In Passing Of Bobby Bowden

Hall of Fame quartet: Columns on the four men with strong South Florida ties enshrined last week in Canton: Biggest Victory Of Hall Of Famer Jimmy Johnson's Life Was Getting His Son Back / Hurricanes' Edgerrin James / Dillard High's Isaac Bruce / and Coral Springs High's Steve Hutchinson.

Additional recent other columns: Xavien Howard Right To Feel Disrespected, And Dolphins Need To Fix This Mess / Biles' Withdrawal For Mental-Health Reasons Merits Empathy, Not Scorn / Top 10 NFL Storylines Entering Training Camp (Where's Tua?) / Where Dolphins Rank Among Teams With Longest Championship Droughts / Dolphins Owner Ross Unveils New $135 Million Training Site As Another Reason Team Must Win Now / It's Selfish, Me-First Athletes Who Are Refusing the COVID Vaccine / Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / Tokyo Olympics Should Be Delayed Again But It's Too Late. Why? Money / May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight / and Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History.

Select other columns: Exhibition Losses Give Team USA Wakeup Call It Needs Headed to Olympics / Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling / Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs / Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal / Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz.

Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

August 07, 2021

Greatest victory of Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson's life? Getting his son back. New column; plus Edgerrin James' unique journey (and Isaac Bruce, Steve Hutchinson, too); also, J.J. on latest Greg Cote Show podcast on eve of Hall induction & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 7. I was back on the Le Batard Show this week with a new Back In My Day. Check out Tuesday's show podcasts. 2) Join me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. And follow the Greg Cote Show podcast separately on TwitterInstagram and now TikTok, too! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more.

Jimmy Johnson X 2: Podcast and column: You'll want to listen and read as we feature the only man to be head coach the Hurricanes and Dolphins on the week of his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of fame on Saturday. You'll hear plenty in the podcast that isn't in the column, including Jimmy's appraisal of today's Canes and Fins. And you'll read lots in the column that isn't in the podcast -- including Jimmy on the struggles of one of his sons, and an interview with Chad Johnson, the son whose triumph over some 20 years of alcoholism helped repair a family and make this the happiest time of Jimmy's life.

Jj2GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH JIMMY JOHNSON OUT NOW!: Our 30th episode of 2021 and 72nd overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 72 we've done so far HERE, for free. In our newest episode: The great former coach Jimmy Johnson, on the week of his enshrinement into the Pro Footballl Hall of Fame, joins us for a fun, candid and at times poignant reflection on his passions: Football, family, fishing and Fox. We also ask J.J. for an appraisal of Manny Diaz and the Canes and Brian Flores and the Dolphins. Also in the new ep: Greg, Chris and Yeti discuss the small details of any marriage or relationship. Also: Simone BIles, MLB trade deadline and NBA free agency and the Heat. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HALL OF FAMER JIMMY JOHNSON KNOWS BIGGEST VICTORY OF HIS LIFE HAPPENED IN HIS OWN FAMILY: He is up in the dark at 4:30 most mornings. By sunrise he is aboard his 39-foot SeaVee, “Three Rings,” named for his national championship with the Miami Hurricanes and two Super Bowl wins with the Dallas Cowboys. Jimmy Johnson is Jjboatusually alone. “If I’m out there by myself there’s no pressure to catch any fish,” he says, smiling. “If I entertain people I feel kind of obligated to catch a big fish for ‘em.” He fires up the diesel engines and heads maybe 25 miles offshore as the sun is chasing the dark away. Before long he will have five active lines out in search of mahi (“What they call dolphin down here”), tuna, maybe amberjack or wahoo — “Whatever gets on the hook,” he says. Jimmy’s fishing bona fides are for real. He has caught and released five huge blue marlin in the 300-pound range, some after near two-hour struggles. He hosts the annual J.J.’s Championship Fishing Week that has included Michael Jordan among anglers. His house includes a separate room full of offshore-grade rods and reels and plastic boxes full of lures and hand-tied rigs. He cleans and vacuum-seals his own fish. (Doesn’t cook ‘em, though. His wife Rhonda handles that).But Johnson’s passion for fishing isn’t just about what he catches. He is out there fishing for more than that. “It’s peaceful out there,” he says. “It’s relaxation.” It gives a man time to think. He just turned 78. It can be an age that invites reflection. Johnson reaches the pinnacle of his professional life this coming weekend: the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The enshrinement ceremony for the Class of 2020, delayed to this summer by the pandemic, is on Saturday. More important, this feels to Johnson like the best his life has been, period, above and beyond sports or the fame he achieved in football or for the past 20 years as a studio analyst on “FOX NFL Sunday.” “I used to say the most fun time of my life was was those five years at the University if Miami. It was that way for a long time,” he says. “Winning back-to-back Super Bowls was rewarding as well. But, really, the greatest time of my life is now. The most fun time of my life has been right now.” It wasn’t football that got him to this place. It wasn’t fishing, or Fox TV. It was family. Johnson in reflection knows it was at great cost he achieved all he did in football. A divorce. Missing so much of his two sons growing up. Being far away, in headsets on sidelines, as his parents aged and passed away. Even the most successful people can feel tinges of guilt or regret. For our full latest column, visit Biggest Victory Of Hall Of Famer Jimmy Johnson's Life Was Getting His Son Back. Pictured: Jimmy out fishing with his son Chad.
 
Jimmy Johnson is one of four men with strong South Florida ties to be inducted Saturday into Pro Football Hall of Fame. On Edgerrin James (pictured in middle), Isaac Bruce and Steve Hutchinson:
 
 
 

 

Our most recent other columns: Xavien Howard Right To Feel Disrespected, And Dolphins Need To Fix This Mess / Biles' Withdrawal For Mental-Health Reasons Merits Empathy, Not Scorn / and Top 10 NFL Storylines Entering Training Camp (Where's Tua?).

Other recent columns: Where Dolphins Rank Among Teams With Longest Championship Droughts / Dolphins Owner Ross Unveils New $135 Million Training Site As Another Reason Team Must Win Now / It's Selfish, Me-First Athletes Who Are Refusing the COVID Vaccine / Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / Peril vs. Possibility: Should the Heat Gamble and Try to Fix Ben Simmons? / Tokyo Olympics Should Be Delayed Again But It's Too Late. Why? Money / May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight / and Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES

Select other (fairly) recent columns: Exhibition Losses Give Team USA Wakeup Call It Needs Headed to Olympics / Injury-Wrecked Playoffs, Asterisk Champion: Why Greedy NBA Is Getting What It Deserves / Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum / Rumors, Speculation and the Truth on Spoelstra, Lillard and Heat / Wanted: A 'Next Big Thing' In Men's Tennis, Golf / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling / Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs / Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal / Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins /  Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? /  It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished /  Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz.

Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

July 26, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Olympics, Dolphins open camp, Cats' big week, Inter Miami and Fish out front. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with 'Ted Lasso' creator Bill Lawrence out now & more

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

Tiktok1) It's MONDAY, JULY 26. Join me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. And follow the Greg Cote Show podcast separately on TwitterInstagram -- and now on TikTok, too! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Sports teams with longest title droughts, Stephen Ross turns up heat on Dolphins, Anti-vax athletes are me-first not team-first, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more.

Medecal TedlGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH 'TED LASSO' CREATOR OUT NOW!: Our new 29th episode of 2021 and 71st overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 71 we've done so far HERE, for free. In our newest episode: Bill Lawrence, the creative force behind 'Ted Lasso,' joins us to discuss the hit AppleTV+ show whose season 2 is now streaming. Greg has a special request of Bill. Hear his response. A fun, wide-ranging conversation. Also in the new ep: Greg shares a Don Shula story; we discuss the origin of the phrase “shooting the ****”; the amusement park-like slide at the Dolphins’ new $135 million training facility; the strangest Summer Olympics that ever were; NFL continuing to put the hammer down on unvaccinated players; a two-part live report by Greg and Chris from the recent 5-0 home loss by sad Inter Miami; and a new Mount Gregmore. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns: Where Dolphins Rank Among Teams With Longest Championship Droughts / Dolphins Owner Ross Unveils New $135 Million Training Site As Another Reason Team Must Win Now / and It's Selfish, Me-First Athletes Who Are Refusing the COVID Vaccine.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JULY 25-26): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. OLYMPICS: Team USA loses as COVID Olympics underway in Tokyo: Today/Sunday is the first marquee day of the no-fans, pandemic Summer Games amid a COVID surge in Tokyo. Team USA men's basketball lost this morning to France -- its first Olympic loss in 17 years. Gymnastics G.O.A.T. Simone Biles and team finished second in event qualifying. And swimming star Katie Ledecky debuted and settled for silver in the 400M freestyle. Saturday, U.S. women's soccer got back on track in group play, routing New Zealand 6-1 after earlier being shocked 3-0 by Sweden.

2. DOLPHINS : Training camp begins at lavish new site: Players report this week with the first preseason practice this coming Saturday at Miami's new $135 million training site adjacent to Hard Rock Stadium. Team unveiled the new digs this week, and owner Stephen Ross turned up the win-now heat, mentioning GM Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores and saying, “Now the pressure is on them. If you can’t win with a facility like this, you’re never gonna win!” Meantime Fins signed free-agent linebacker Shaquem Griffin to a one-year deal.

3. PANTHERS: Cats nab teen forward in NHL Draft, make semi-big trade: Florida drafted forward Mackie Samoskevich, 18, in first round of NHL Draft Friday, 24th overall, the club's lowest top selection since 2008. Samoskevich will play for University of Michigan in 2021-22. Earlier in the week, Cats lost goalie Chris Driedger to Seattle in the expansion draft. Cats also swung a significant trade, acquiring forward Sam Reinhart, 25, from Buffalo in exchange for Cats' 2022 first-round pick and goalie prospect Devon Levi. Reinhart led Sabres in scoring with 25 goals and 40 points last season. Florida opens regular season at home October 14 vs. Pittsburgh.

4. INTER MIAMI: Finally! Miami ends losing streak with tie: Second-year MLS club Inter Miami tried yet again Sunday night to stop the bleeding vs. the visiting Philadelphia Union and did, sort of, with a 1-1 tie. Miami is now a still-rotten 2-3-8 but its six-game losing streak (after a listless 5-0 home embarrassment vs. New England) is over. First-year coach Phil Neville's job is in jeopardy, and if it isn't it should be. Right, David Beckham?

5. HURRICANES: ACC kickoff, fall camp and an arrest: Coach Manny Diaz, QB D'Eriq King, receiver Mike Harley and safety Bubba Bolden repped The U at the ACC Kickoff media days in Charlotte. Canes will open fall camp on Friday, Augusts 6 ... but minus one player. UM booted safety Avantae Williams off the team after his arrest for domestic battery against a pregnant ex-girlfriend -- the latest athlete to detonate his future in one moment reckless stupidity.

6. MARLINS: Fish struggling but win second straight: Miami is 4-7 since the All-Star break, 43-57 overall and mired in the NL East cellar but won a second straight game Sunday to wrap up a four-game home series with San Diego today. Miami has disappointed thus far after last year's unexpected playoff spot.

7. NBA: It's Draft Week, but not in Miami: The two-round NBA Draft is this Thursday night but interest in Miami will be muted as the Heat have no picks and the Hurricanes will (barring a shock) have no one drafted. Detroit is nearly certain to make Oklahoma State point guard Cade Cunningham the No. 1 overall pick.

8. SOCCER: U.S. tops Jamaica to reach Gold Cup semifinal: Will the U.S. and Mexico renew their rivalry in next Sunday's CONCACAF Gold Cup championship match? The American men took a big step Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Jamaica in a quarterfinal match in Arlington, Texas. Thursday's semifinals will pit the U.S. vs. Qatar, and Canada vs. Mexico.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Texas, Oklahoma reported headed to SEC: Two traditional powerhouse programs, the Longhorns and Sooners, seem poised to ditch the Big 12 conference for the SEC within weeks, say multiple reports. ESPN reported the schools likely would owe the Big 12 about $76 million each to buy out the remainder of their share of TV rights in an agreement that runs until 2025 -- a buyout made easily affordable by the pending SEC windfall.

10. MLB: The Cleveland ... Guardians?: Cleveland will drop its contentious Indians moniker and become the Guardians after this season, trading a racist nickname for one just plain weird. The flimsy-ish justification: The locally famous "Guardians of Traffic" statues featured at the city's Hope Memorial Bridge. 

Missing the HB10 cut: So sorry to hear that former Florida State coaching great Bobby Bowden is terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. Our thoughts with him and his family ..... Naomi Osaka, representing host Japan, became first tennis  player to light the Olympic cauldron ..... Tens of thousands of Bucks fans flooded the Deer District as Milwaukee celebrated its first NBA title in 50 years and Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo ..... Tadej Pogačar of Slovenia won the Tour de France for the second time in a row ..... Tampa Bay turned up the heat on Boston in AL East by acquiring slugger DH Nelson Cruz from Minnesota for two top minor league pitching prospects. MLB trade deadline is this coming Friday ..... This Aaron Rodgers s--- gettin' real. He ain't coming back to Green Bay. Your move, Pack ..... Horizon: Only four more races until NASCAR playoffs begin ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,800 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Other most recent columns: Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security / Peril vs. Possibility: Should the Heat Gamble and Try to Fix Ben Simmons? / Exhibition Losses Give Team USA Wakeup Call It Needs Headed to Olympics / and Tokyo Olympics Should Be Delayed Again But It's Too Late. Why? Money. Also: May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight / and Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES

Select other recent columns: Injury-Wrecked Playoffs, Asterisk Champion: Why Greedy NBA Is Getting What It Deserves / Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum / Rumors, Speculation and the Truth on Spoelstra, Lillard and Heat / Wanted: A 'Next Big Thing' In Men's Tennis, Golf / Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling / Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs / Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal / Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins /  Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? /  It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished /  Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

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

July 03, 2021

'I'm D'Eriq King for College Hunks Hauling Junk!' New column; plus NBA getting what it deserves with asterisk playoffs, Panthers to host 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend, Sports should tell Cole Beasley he's wrong, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 3. Farewell, June and welcome July! 2) No me on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past weel; still under the weather. 3) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast on Twitter and Instagram. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW: SURFSIDE STORIES, IZZY ON NASSIB: Our 25th episode of 2021 and 67th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 67 we've done so far HERE, for free. In our latest episode Greg and veteran TV reporter Ari Odzer of WTVJ-NBC6 discuss the Surfside tragedy, and Ari shares stories from victims' families. And ESPN's Izzy Gutierrez stops by the pod to discuss the significance of the Raiders' Carl Nassib becoming the NFL's first openly gay active player. Iz also talks NBA playoffs, and scoffs at a Ben Smmons-to-Miami rumor that Chris tries to float. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Dking'I'M D'ERIQ KING FOR COLLEGE HUNKS HAULING JUNK!' IT'S A STRANGE NEW WORLD IN COLLEGE SPORTS: All of that ... for this!? Must admit that was our gut reaction on Thursday when quarterback D’Eriq King made history of sorts by being the first Miami Hurricanes athlete to take advantage of new NCAA laws that allow college players to make money off their name, image and likeness. The NCAA had resisted the progressive NIL law for years but finally gave in after several states including Florida enacted or threatened their own legislation. After such a long fight and buildup one imagined what the first deal struck by an athlete might be. Not that we were envisioning a multimillion dollar deal with Gatorade or Nike for King, but somehow neither were we imagining local deals with a pair of Tampa-based businesses: the moving company College Hunks Hauling Junk, and Murphy Auto Group. So will King soon be cocking his arm to pass on the side of a moving van? Or in a TV ad hawking used Buicks? (ESPN reported UM safety Bubba Bolden also has a deal with the companies). Hey, does not the road to riches always begin with one small step? The two deals combined reportedly are worth a bit more than $20,000. If that’s what the quality starting quarterback is getting, we imagine the backup long snapper is presently negotiating a deal with Al’s Bike Shop for 20 bucks a week and three hours a week of a Schwinn loaner. (A backup on the Canes women’s rowing team, unable to secure an endorsement deal, has opened up a boutique lemonade stand outside her dorm). For our full latest column: 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports.

NbainjsASTERISK CHAMPION AFTER INJURY-WRECKED PLAYOFFS: WHY GREEDY NBA GETTING WHAT IT DESERVES: There was an excuse for the farcical nature of the NBA playoffs a year ago, at least. It was called a global pandemic. The league removed travel from the delayed, shortened season, threw every playoff team into a bubble in Orlando and hoped for the best. Virtual fans and cardboard cutouts cheered as the Lakers and Heat floated through the bubble to the Finals, L.A. winning in six. It felt like a mirage. Wait. Did that really just happen? The trophy should have been in the shape of a giant asterisk. A year later, right now, it’s worse. A bigger farce. A nationally televised embarrassment. This is what happens, when — hell-bent to recoup revenue COVID stole — the NBA plows ahead with a near full (72-game) season, with travel, despite a short offseason and not enough rest and recovery time. Players predictably break down. Injuries steer the season. And you get a playoffs like this. Foe our full recent column: Injury-Wrecked Playoffs, Asterisk Champion: Why Greedy NBA Is Getting What It Deserves.
 

CatsEXCLUSIVE: BETTER TWO YEARS LATE THAN NEVER, PANTHERS WILL HOST 2023 NHL ALL-STAR WEEKEND: It seemed like a thief in the night, except in broad daylight. They came in a stole it with everybody watching. Nobody saw a thing. One moment the Florida Panthers and South Florida had the 2022 NHL All-Star Weekend ... and then it was gone. The league this week quietly announced its ‘22 signature midseason party would be held in Las Vegas. Wait. What. No explanation was given. Florida was supposed to host this season’s 2021 all-star show, but that was canceled due to the COVID-related shortened schedule. So first the Cats get punched by the pandemic. Now they get punched by the NHL’s infatuation with being in Vegas and all things Vegas? Not fair, right? I was getting ready to file a police report. “Hullo, 9-1-1? Someone stole my All-Star Weekend.” But wait. Turns out it’s OK. Florida will host the 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend festivities instead, a source with the city of Fort Lauderdale told me Wednesday. [Panthers president/CEO Matthew Caldwell is pictured]. It isn't often news is broken in a column, but we did it here. For our full recent column: Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend.

AntivaxTELL COLE BEASLEY HE'S WRONG. TIME FOR SPORTS TO QUIT HIDING AND LEAD PRO-VACCINE FIGHT: Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said adult deaths from COVID-19 have become “entirely preventable” due to the effectiveness of vaccinations. A study of government data by The Associated Press reported that, since May, 99.2 percent of all COVID- Coleb
related deaths have been unvaccinated people. Curious what Cole Beasley’s reaction to that might be. Fake news? I wonder the mind-set of anyone still holding out against the vaccine — which is readily available, quick and free — despite science, evidence and logic begging that we all please come together as Americans on this, at least. COVID has killed more than 600,000 in the United States thus far, the cure is there, and yet fewer than half of us — 46.6 percent — have been fully vaccinated. Beasley, the Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver, dubiously volunteered himself as the face of anti-vax nation last week, defiantly saying he will ignore new NFL protocols that afford freedoms to vaccinated players and restrictions for those unvaccinated. He is daring the league to fine him. Saying he would rather retire than get vaccinated. He declared on social media. “I will be outside doing what I do. I may die of COVID, but I’d rather die actually living.” (Or: You could get the vaccine and live actually not dying?) Instead, it’s all about you, right? Don’t worry about sending a terrible message to fans. Don’t concern yourself with your teammates. Ignore that 99.2 percent of COVID deaths are now unvaccinated folks. Just go ahead and make this all about you and your personal freedom. (And be blithely tone-deaf to how spectacularly selfish this makes you seem). Beasley out front on this crusade underlines the idea that sports in general have not done nearly enough to push a pro-vaccine agenda. Leagues, teams and star players need to do much more to support this pro-science, pro-health cause in the same way they have been on the right side of social and racial justice issues. For our full recent column: Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight.
 

Our most recent other columns: Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History / Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum / Also:  Rumors, Speculation and the Truth on Spoelstra, Lillard and Heat / and Wanted: A 'Next Big Thing' In Men's Tennis, Golf.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES

Select other recent columns: Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling / Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs / Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal / Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins /  Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? /  It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished /  Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

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

June 14, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Mad scramble in bunched field. Fins? Inter? NBA? CFP? Euros? See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with Jessica Smetana out now!, recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JUNE 14. After surviving the 24-hour marathon show I was back on the Le Batard Show last Tuesday for my regular weekly appearance. Check out that day's show podcasts including my latest Back In My Day. 2) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast on Twitter and Instagram. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our Top 15 Miami pro athletes 25 and younger, the galling disrespect of Aaron Rodgers, Messi-to-Miami is getting real, The Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow MejessGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH JESSICA SMETANA OUT NOW!: Our 23rd episode of 2021 and 65th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 64 we've done so far HERE for free. Our new episode features Jessica Smetana, newest member of the Le Batard Show Shipping Container. (Did the chat get too personal?) Also, hear DeArdo The Magnificent flex his encyclopedic knowledge of sports. Plus, what's in the Queen's handbag? Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our columns from the past week: Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger  /  As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling  /  and Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs.

Other most recent columns: Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph  /  The Pirate Ship Sails! Details, Guests For Le Batard Show's 24-Hour Relaunch  /  and The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JUNE 13-14): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Fins wrap offseason with minicamp; preseason set: King Team wraps up its offseason work with a mandatory three-day minicamp this Tuesday through Thursday. Next stop: Full training camp starting in late July. Meantime NFL put out its preseason schedule. Dolphins are at Bears August 14, home vs. Falcons August 21 and at Bengals August 29. Real season opens September 12 at Patriots.

2. INTER MIAMI: Owner says he's 'optimistic' on getting Messi: Inter Miami principal owner Jorge Mas calls himself "optimistic" his club will land Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi for the 2023 and '24 MLS seasons as part of deal currently being negotiated that we wrote about last week. Inter Miami, in its second season, has won two and tied two of its first eight matches and resumes play this coming Saturday June 19 at D.C. United.

3. NBA/HEAT: Suns first to conference finals; Riley fined: Suns beat Nuggets Sunday for  4-0 sweep, making Phoenix the first team through to conference finals. Utah and Philly carry 2-1 leads into games today. Nets and Bucks are 2-2. Meantime Miami Heat prez Pat Riley got fined by $25,000 by NBA for innocuous comment about LeBron James during the Le Batard 24-hour show. (I think Dan should pay the fine, don't you?) 

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: CFP to consider expanded 12-team playoff: The College Football Playoff management committee will consider expanding its playoff from four teams to 12 when it meets in June 17-18 Chicago. The proposed bracket would include the six highest-ranked conference champions, with the six remaining highest-ranked teams determined by the CFP selection committee.

5. SOCCER: Euro 2020 begins with major medical scare: The UEFA European Championship (Euro 2020, delayed from last year) got underway Friday and runs through July 11, with Portugal the defending champ but England and France narrow betting favorites this time. Major scare when Denmark's Christian Eriksen collapsed during the Danes' opening match vs. Finland and needed CPR and a defibrillator. He is resting comfortably. Match was suspended before Finland's eventual 1-0 win. Euro 2020 is the biggest soccer event since the pandemic. Meanwhile Copa America (a South America-based event) began Sunday and runs through July 10, with host Brazil the reigning champion and betting fave.

6. TENNIS: Djokovic rallies for French Open men's title: Top-seeded Novak Djokovic ousted 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in four sets to reach Sunday's Roland Garros final, then rallied from two sets down to win a five-set thriller over little-known Stefanos Tsisitsipas. In Saturday's who's-that! women's final, 31st-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia faced unseeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, Krejcikova winning in three sets.

7. NHL/PANTHERS: Playoff semifinals underway; 2 Cats up for awards: Stanley Cup playoff's semifinals began Sunday with a 2-1 New York Islanders win at Tampa Bay. Vegas-Montreal get going Monday. Panthers are still alive on the awards front, with Joel Quenneville a finalist for the Adams Award (coach of the year) and Aleksander Barkov for the Selke Trophy (forward who also excels on defense).

8. GOLF: U.S. Open tees off this week at Torrey Pines: The U.S. Open, the year's third of four men's golf majors, runs this Thursday through Sunday at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Jon Rahm is betting favorite at 10-1, ahead of Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith and Justin Thomas all bunched at 14-1.

9. MARLINS: Fish hit the road: Miami is 29-36 after Sunday's loss to Braves ended a three-game win streak fashioned on Trevor Rogers' seventh win, another quality start from Sandy Alcantara and Zach Thompson's first career win. Marlins set out now on six-game road trip starting tonight in St. Louis.

10. LE BATARD: 24-hour marathon proved a ratings home run: Last week's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz 24-hour marathon ('Freedumb') show drew almost 3 million views across YouTube Live and social platforms, with the total watch-time nearing 430,000 hours. Analysts credit the live Greg Cote Show podcast that aired from 4 to 5 a.m. (OK I made up that last part).

Missing the HB10 cut: Leon Edwards won the fight but Nate Diaz won the night in UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona. Diaz, fighting for first time since November 2019, owned the crowd and social media after the bout ..... Vanderbilt and Stanford won their NCAA Super Regional are on to the men's College World Series. The other six best--of-3 regionals continue today and Monday ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,842 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES:

Our Heat/Panthers playoff columns: Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Heat Fans Showed Up For Game 3. Their Team Did Not / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Time For Heat Fans To Help Lift Their Team Back Into This Series / Heat Fall, Panthers Need Miracle On Ice As Both Lose On Big Day for Miami Sports / Panthers, Hopes Of Fans In Peril After Game 2 Loss, 2-0 Series Hole Chasing Respect, Florida Panthers' 5-4 Home Loss A Crushing Start to Playoffs / This Looks Like Best Florida Panthers Team Ever. But The Proving Starts Now.

Select other most recent columns: Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts / It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

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

May 03, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Dolphins draft, Heat, Le Batard, Cats jostle for top spot; plus our mock draft and draft poll results, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now (!) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 3. Farewell, April. Welcome, May! 2) I was back on Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past Thursday. Check out that day's show podcasts. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our 30th NFL Mock Draft (and how we did), Le Batard's $50 million DraftKings deal, Greg Cote Show podcast with ESPN's Mina Kimes talking draft & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow TonyGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new 17th episode of 2021 and 59th overall is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 59 we've done HERE for free. Our latest episode, out now, features special guest Anthony (Tony) Calatayud, pictured, from the Le Batard Show Shipping Container before mysteriously falling off the pirate ship. Also, Greg raves about the Dolphins draft, how the Arizona Diamondbacks won Twitter and much more. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

DOLPHINS DRAFT POLL: Mixed results on Waddle, but mostly thumbs up: We asked in a Twitter poll what you thought of Miami picking Alabama WR Jaylon Waddle sixth overall. You said: Love it 30.5%; Like it 29.1%; Hmm 26.5%; Disappointed 14.0%.

MY MOCK DRAFT RESULTS VS. KIPER AND MCSHAY: ESPN's Todd McShay crushed it, with 26 correct first-round picks overall, six misses and a big 11 Exactos -- right player to right team. ESPN's Kiper and your guy Cote both had 25 correct overall, seven misses and seven Exactos. However I give myself the tiebreaker over Kiper because I also had two players pegged to the exact position they were taken, but to different teams. Highlight: One of my Exactos was Hurricane Gregory Rousseau going to Buffalo 30th overall. Neither Kiper nor McShay had Rousseau in their first round. [Find my full 30th annual Mock Draft HERE].

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 2-3): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: WR Waddle, ex-Cane Phillips front Miami's draft: Fins didn't luck into top receivers Kyle Pitts or Ja'Marr Chase with the sixth overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft in Cleveland, so they picked Jaylen Waddle over Heisman winner DeVonta Smith in a choice of 'Bama wideout toys for Tua to play with. It was hardly "settling"; Waddle's really good. Dolphins addressed edge rush at No. 18 and didn't leave the 3-0-5 in getting ex-Hurricane Jaelan Phillips. Solid Day 1 bounty continued in a heralded draft that ESPN's Mel Kiper graded 'A.'

2. HEAT: Miami back on right side of play-in with seven games left in regular season: Up and down Heat sit sixth now in East after Sunday's win in Charlotte left Miami 35-30 with seven games left in the shortened 72-game season. Miami must finish in top six to make the playoffs proper and avoid the play-in that awaits the 7-through-10 finishers.

3. DAN LE BATARD: Leaving ESPN pays. Le Batard strikes gold with DraftKings deal: Meadowlark Media, the content company formed by Miami's Dan Le Batard and former ESPN president John Skipper, landed a three-year, $50 million sponsorship deal with DraftKings. The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz is Meadowlark's flagship. Good for you, Dan. Can you loan me $20? 

4. PANTHERS: Cats jockey for playoff position as regular seasons wanes: Florida is 34-14-5 and two points back of Carolina in the NHL Central after Saturday's 5-4 win at Chicago. Regular season ends now with three at home: Tonight/Monday vs. Dallas, then Saturday and next Monday vs. rival Tampa Bay. Florida must jump Carolina and win the division to avoid facing Tampa in first round of the playoffs, a very tough draw.

5. HURRICANES: First time in 6 years 2 Canes drafted in first round: Defensive ends Jaelan PPhilhe (18th overall to Miami) and Gregory Rousseau (30th to Buffalo) gave UM two 1R NFL Draft picks for the first time since 2015. Tight end Brevin Jordan (5th round, Houston) and DE Quincy Roche ((6th, Pittsburgh) also were drafted.

6. NFL: Rodgers report breaks ahead of QB-laden NFL Draft: ESPN reported that Packers superstar quarterback, reigning league MVP and mediocre Jeopardy! host Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, the buzz of that looming over the start of the draft. The story of round 1? Five QBs go, including the top three and with all five in the top 15. Only the 1983 draft (with six) had more QBs go 1R.

7. MARLINS: Fish at bottom after being swept at Washington: Miami is 11-16 and last in the NL East, but only 2 1/2 games off the lead after being swept at Washington with Sunday's loss. NL East is the only division in MLB without a team over .500. Who wants it. Anybody?

8. INTER MIAMI: Second-year team in scoreless draw at Nashville: Buried in a new pandemic, Inter Miami's inaugural season began with five straight losses and ended 7-13-3. Year 2 started loss-win. That meant 1-1-0 Miami had a chance for its first-ever winning record Sunday at Nashville. Alas, a 0-0 tie ensued.

9. HORSE RACING: Medina Spirit wins Kentucky Derby: Medina Spirit won the 147th Kentucky Derby Saturday to commence the 2021 Triple Crown season. Jockey John Velazquez entered the race with 12-1 odds but delivered trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh Derby win.

10. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League nears title matchup: Second-leg semifinal matches this week will determine which two teams advance to the Champions League finale. Manchester City carries a one-goal edge over Paris-Saint Germain in their Tuesday match. Wednesday, Real Madrid and Chelsea enter even after a draw in in the first leg.

Missing the HB10 cut: There is now speculation Texans QB Deshaun Watson,  besieged by 23 accusations of sexual misconduct, may not play in 2021 ..... Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will sign a bill banning transgender females from women’s and girls’ sports. So  much for the notion of equal rights ..... Four games Sunday will bring us to next Saturday's semifinals in the second-tier FCS college football playoffs. South Dakota State is No. 1 seed of teams still alive from the original 16 ..... Canes baseball is 24-14 entering today's rubber game at Boston College ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is back with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,884 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

IFFY TRADES THAT COST THEM PITTS MEAN DOLPHINS BETTER BE RIGHT ON WADDLE: The top of the Miami Dolphins’ NFL Draft on Thursday night was all about one thing: Making second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa better. They did it in drafting his former Alabama teammate, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (pictured), sixth overall in the first round of the draft in Cleveland. Another Jwaddleway to frame what the Fins’ draft priority was: Tagovailoa has one less excuse now. The coming season must see a leap from him, a verification why Miami put the franchise keys in his hand just one year earlier. Think about the AFC East moving forward. Buffalo has rising star Josh Allen at quarterback. The New York Jets (Zach Wilson) and New England (Mac Jones) drafted their QBs of the future Thursday night. Tua is suddenly in the mix with three young rivals. Miami went defense with its second first-round pick, and looked to the backyard in drafting former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Jaelan Phillips 18th overall. It was a need-filling smart pick (although I believe DE Kwity Paye, who went three spots later, may have a greater career). The way the draft played out — with coveted tight end Kyle Pitts going fourth overall and receiver Ja’Marr Chase going fifth — limited Miami’s options with its top pick. The Dolphins were left to choose among Waddle, his Bama teammate DeVonta Smith, the Heisman Trophy-winning receiver, or offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Waddle’s name being called felt like a bit of a surprise to some. In a pre-draft poll on Twitter that presumed Pitts would be gone before No. 6, I asked who should Dolphins fans hope Miami takes, with four choices. It was Chase 49.0 percent, Smith 23.9 percent, Sewell 19.5 percent and Waddle only 7.6 percent. But consider: Tagovailoa has played with both Waddle and Smith. Do you think the Dolphins brought Tua in on that decision? Of course they did. Any second-guessing of the Dolphins shouldn’t center on Waddle over Smith or Sewell. But it might legitimately center on the club yo-yoing from the third pick to the 12th and back up to sixth via two major trades. Stay at three and you get Pitts, who is said to be a generational, franchise-changing talent. But in the maneuvering that cost them Pitts the Dolphins gained the 49ers’ first-round draft pick in 2023. So here is what a Dolphins fans must weigh. What would you rather have moving forward: Pitts? Or Waddle plus an additional 2023 first-round pick? It isn’t an easy question or a knowable answer right now. For our full column, visit Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle
 
Dolphins 2021 Draft:
1-6   Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
1-18 Miami DE Jaelan Phillips
2-36 Oregon S Jevon Holland
2-42 Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg
3-81 Boston College TE Hunter Long
7-231 UMass OT Larnel Coleman
7-244 Cincinnati RB Gerrid Doaks
 

Our most recent other columns: Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts   and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

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

February 22, 2021

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): NASCAR, boxing and Canes baseball even crash the top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus our most recent columns, new Greg Cote Show podcast drops Monday & more

1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22. Search out last Tuesday's podcasts of the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz for way too much of me including the new 'Back In My Day' (Shoes!). 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Two questions steer Dolphins' path on Watson vs. Tua, Serena's legacy firm but unfinished, Marlins double-down on youth as spring training opens, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Dolphins, Serena, Marlins: Our three latest columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / and Marlins Stick With Youth Blueprint As Rest Of NL East Spends BigOur other most recent columns:Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? We Weigh In /Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / and Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE DROPS MONDAY!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted last March and our new Episode 8 of 2021 -- our 50th overall -- is out Monday! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 49 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. In our latest Ep7 of '21, we bring in ESPN expert Tim Kurkjian to talk baseball and Marlins as MLB spring training unfurls. Also, Greg and Chris reveal the genuinely (and uncharacteristically) romantic thing they did to surprise and delight their wives on Valentine's Day. Plus the return of Greg's Mail Sack and a new Mount Gregmore. Hear all of that and more in our latest podcast. Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (FEBRUARY 21-22): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami gets needed spark with upset of Lakers: Miami improved to 13-17 with Saturday night's 96-94 win at LeBron's L.A. Lakers, who were without injured Anthony Davis. Kendrick Nunn's 27 points sparked the Heat. Miami is 3-3 on this seven-game road trip ending Monday at Oklahoma City. The 72-game season still is young(ish), but Heat are on pace to miss the playoffs just one season after reaching the NBA Finals.

2. TENNIS: Osaka, Djokovic win Australian Open: Japan's Naomi Osaka, after ousting hero idol Serena Williams in the semis, beat American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in Saturday's championship match for her fourth career major win. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat No. 4 Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's men's final for his nintg Aussie crown and 18th career major, third all-time in men's tennis.

3. PANTHERS: Fire on ice! Cats continue hot start to NHL season: Florida took two of three from rival Tampa Bay and was 11-2-2 and atop the Central Division after Friday's 7-2 win at Detroit, before falling 2-1 to the Red Wings Saturday. Panthers return for a five-game homestand starting Monday. Jonathan Huberdeau and a goaltending spark from Chris Driedger have the Panthers looking strong under second-year coach Joel Quenneville.

4. MARLINS: Spring has sprung, with first game one week away: Miami full-squad practices are under underway in Jupiter, with the first of 24 scheduled spring games next Sunday. pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Jupiter this week with the full squad soon following and the first spring game set for February 28. Expectations are low (a common wins over/under is 67 1/2) for a young, building team that unexpectedly ended a 17-year playoff drought last season.

5. NASCAR: Racing returns to Homestead next weekend: NASCAR invades Homestead-Miami Speedway for a doubleheader weekend of racing Dixie Vodka 400 next Sunday in the main NASCAR Cup Series, following Saturday's Contender Boats 250 in the undercard Xfinity Series.

6. NBA: All-Star Game reserves to be named Tuesday: March 7 in Atlanta is the NBA All-Star Game nobody seems to want, including top players in it and the mayor who has advised fans not to travel in for the game. LeBron James and Kevin Durant were named capatins of the West and East starting teams. Seven reserves in each conference will be announced Tuesday. Miami's Bam Adebayo is no certainty but has a good chance to make it, with Jimmy Butler a longshot.

7. CANES BASEBALL: UM takes season-opening series vs. Gators: Coach Gino DiMare and Canes baseball, ranked No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, opened its season with a three-game series in Gainesville and took two of three vs. the nemesis and No. 1-ranked Florida Gators. UM lost the opener 7-5 on Friday but won 10-9 in 13 innings Saturday and won 8-6 Sunday.

8. INTER MIAMI: Season 2 in MLS kicks off as camp opens Monday: Miami's second season in Major League Soccer begins with the start of training camp Monday under new coach Phil Neville. The season begins April 17, though the schedule has not yet been announced. Inter Miami finished 7-13-3 in its inaugural season.

9. BOXING: Canelo Alvarez in title defense at Hard Rock: Hard Rock Stadium will host its first boxing match this coming Saturday February 27 as Canelo Álvarez defends his WBC, WBA Super and Ring Magazine World Super-Middleweight titles against Avni Yidirim. Bout will be available on pay-per-view in U.S., with limited fans at the stadium.

10. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Sport returns (sort of) with spring season: Alabama won the 2020 national championship just one month ago, but the 2021 college football season is underway. Sort of. It's the little guys of the FCS level (nee Division 1AA), playing a shortened spring schedule, Glomming much attention: The debut of "Coach Prime," Deion Sanders, whose Jackson State Tigers of Mississippi clobbered Jacksonville's Edward Waters College 53-0 in their season opener Sunday. Saners ranted that his belongings had been stolen from his coaches office during the game, later sayng, oops, they'd been placed elsewhere for safekeeping and weren't swiped after all. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Sad seasons are winding down for Hurricanes men's and women's basketball. UM men are 7-13 (3-12 ACC) with Saturday's loss to Georgia Tech, and now with point guard Chris Lykes done for the year. Four games left starting Wednesday vs. No. 16 Florida State. Canes women are 9-10/6-10 with two games left: Thursday vs. Wake Forest and next Sunday at Clemson ..... Eagles trade Carson Wentz to Colts ..... Padres sign Fernando Tatis Jr. to mega long-term deal ..... There are two NHL Outdoor Games this weekend at Lake Tahoe, with Saturday's paused eight hours by bad ice. Better luck today? ..... UEFA Champions League soccer has resumed with first-leg matches in round of 16 ..... Miami Open tennis will allow limited fans later this spring ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new 50th episode (No. 8 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,954 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Why A Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl Is Torture For Dolphins Fans / Chad Henne: Ex-Dolphin An Overnight Sensation, 13 Years Later / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse/ 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Super Bowl With a Smirk series: Smirk V, Smirk IV, Smirk III, Smirk II, Smirk IHeat NBA Finals last column: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to FinalsMarlins postseason run last column: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

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

January 18, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated)! See who or what reigns; also, MLK Day, NFL Divisional Round playoff picks & more

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

Mlk1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 18. It is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America, a time to celebrate the life and works of the slain civil rights leader and to keep on the work of moving his dream forward. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild Card Weekend playoff picks, Hot Button Top10, Dolphins' recommitment to Tua, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

NFL Divisional Round playoff picks!: Four games, one upset. Off a 5-1 playoff start last week, find all our latest picks at NFL Divisional Round Gems.

Say cheese! Packers' Rodgers wins elusive first Herald NFL QB season title: The details including the final season Top 35, here: Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings.

Alabama, king Saban reign in Miami with CFP title: For our full column off the 52-24 rout of Ohio State at Hard Rock Stadium: Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our new No. 3 episode of 2021 (45th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 45 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the new Ep3 of '21, we welcome in friend of the pod (FOP) Amin El Hassan, who explains why he left ESPN after eight years and is betting on Dan Le Batard. Amin also talks Heat, James Harden and NBA. Also, a new listener song, "Greg Cote Killed the Radio Show," the last Mount Gregmore topic you'd ever expect, and a new edition of the popular segment, "Greg Doesn't Know Movies." Hear all of that and more in our third new episode of the new year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 17-18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NFL: It's Bills-Chiefs, Pack-Bucs in final four set today: The weekend's NFL Divisional Round results have sent Green Bay and Tampa Bay to the NFC final and Buffalo and Kansas City in the AFC. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes. Gee, you get the feeling quarterbacks matter a lot in this sport or what?

2. NBA: Blockbuster Harden trade shakes up basketball: James Harden traded from Houston to  the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal, joining Kevin Durant and (when he's agreeable to be an adult and play) Kyrie Irving. The Beard dropped a 30-point triple-double in his debut vs. Magic Saturday night. Yay, a new Super Team to hate!

3. PANTHERS: Yandle sparks Cats' win in delayed season opener: Puck drops on Florida's 27th NHL season Sunday night with a 5-2 win over Chicago in the Sunrise home rink, a season opener delayed when Thursday and Friday games vs. Dallas were postponed due to the Stars' COVID outbreak. Florida defenseman Keith Yandle scored his 100th career goal and kept his consecutive games streak alive at 867, fourth longest in NHL history, when earlier in week it seemed he might be a healthy scratch.

4. INTER MIAMI: Beckham hiring former teammate as new coach: David Beckham and Inter Miami have agreed to terms to hire as new coach Beckham's former Manchester United teammate, Phil Neville, to replace departed Diego Alonso for Miami's upcoming second MLS season. Neville most recently coached England's national women's team.

5. DOLPHINS: Speculation around QB enlivens offseason: Coach Brian Flores has re-confirmed his re-commitment to Tua Tagovailoa amid swirling rumors that disgruntled Deshaun Watson may want out of Houston and into Miami. Then there's that Herald story in which three unnamed Dolphins questioned how good Tua is. Those three players' names? Lame, Weak and Cowardly.

6. HEAT: Reeling Miami loses third straight: Heat, reigning NBA Finals runnerup, fell to 4-7 with Saturday's 20-point home loss to Detroit a third straight L. Miami hosts Pistons again Monday, needing to get healthy and prove last season's postseason run introduced a team on the rise ... and wasn't an aberration or fluke.

7. NFL: Former star college coach headed to Jaguars, NFL: Urban Meyer, former Florida and Ohio State championship coach, has entered the NFL fray with Jacksonville. Less splashy but arguably a better hire: the New York Stinkin' Jets landed prized 49ers defensive chief Robert Saleh.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Things go right when Canes men go Wong!: Victory of the year Saturday night for Miami's men's team: a 78-72 home upset of No. 16 Louisville, led by Isaiah Wong. Jim Larranaga's guys are now 6-6, with some tailwind. UM women are 6-5 after Sunday's loss at No. 24 Syracuse.

9. HURRICANES: Diaz finalizes '21 football coaching staff: The Miami Hurricanes hired Jess Simpson as defensive line coach and promoted DeMarcus Van Dyke to cornerbacks coach as Manny Diaz finalized his 2021 staff. Three other new additions led by new defensive coordinator Blake Baker previously had been announced. Also notable: Diaz said he'll call defensive plays from now on, after horrible D in the last two games ended 2020's 8-3 season sourly.

10. TENNIS: COVID already shadowing Australian Open: Three coronavirus cases were detected among charter flights carrying tennis players, coaches and officials to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, the year's first major set to begin February 8. A total of 47 players from the two affected flights are now in a tightly enforced 14-day quarantine.

Missing the HB10 cut: Josh Gordon has been suspended again. Or did that go without saying? ..... After 17 years with Coca-Cola, LeBron James is signing with rival Pepsi. Hey, a man's tastes can change! ..... As MLB free agency continues, like a lifeguard surveying a crowded pool, I am looking for a big splash from the Marlins. Bring back J.T. Realmuto? Just sayin' ..... Former Hurricane LB Dan Morgan made the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame -- which lets in way too many people, but, somehow, shamefully, not Howard Schnellenberger ..... Still can't wrap my head around it: Nick Saban crowned college football's all-time G.O.A.T. coach in Miami, of all cities ..... Dolphins coaches will be on one sideline for the January 30 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. What'd they do, lose a bet? ..... A Mickey Mantle baseball card sold at auction for $5.2 million. Sounds like a good deal, if the card was attached to a check for $5.1 million made out to cash ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 45 (No. 3 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,989 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

THE ARCHIVES:

Select other mots recent columns: Dolphins' Re-Commitment to Tua is Smart, And Well-Timed / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing CollapseIt Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue yet Again / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / and Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener.For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

xxx