November 26, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 32.7%; plus UM beats Pitt 24-3 for 7-5 regular season; also, Tannehill's Litmus Test, Elton in Sunrise concert review, other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25. Hope y'all are enjoying your long Thanksgiving Weekend! 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our Thanksgiving thank-yous, NFL Week 12 and Turkey Day picks & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: Tannehill has 6 games to earn his Miami future: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill returns Sunday at Indianapolis from his latest injury, with Miami at 5-5 likely needing at least four wins in the final six games to make the playoffs. This is Tannehill's Litmus test. No excuses. He must stay healthy, and perform like the highly paid, top-10-drafted passer he is. This is my latest column. Visit Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail.

Other select recent columns: On LeBron's return to Miami with Lakers: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost. Also: Latest NFL picks: Week 12 Gems. And NASCAR Needs A Next Big ThingWade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For HimHoneymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 32.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 32.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 24-3 Miami victory over Pitt putting Miami's final regular season record at 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 25%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

G6: 91.1% following 28-27 victory vs. FSU.

G7: 13.0% following 16-13 loss at Virginia.

G8: 7.8% following 27-14 loss at Boston College.

G9: 12.1% following 20-12 loss vs. Duke.

G10: 12.6% following 27-21 loss at Georgia Tech.

G11: 50.0% following 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech.

G12: 32.7% following 24-3 victory vs. Pitt.

Next/Final poll: Date TBD following bowl game. 

PittmiaG12: HURRICANES 24, NO. 24 PITTSBURGH 3: UM DELIVERS PAYBACK WITH HUGE DEFENSIVE SHOWPostgame thoughts: A somewhat insane game. Miami mostly struggled early on offense -- especially in what turned out to be a comfortable win. N'Kosi Perry was pretty awful, going 6-for-24 for 52 yards. The total offense was 345 yards, but 148 yards of that came on three runs by Travis Homer. Great defense and DeeJay Dallas' 65-yard punt-return TD sparked UM in addition to Homer's 64-yard scoring run. The defense won this game, primarily. The good news? Canes finish a 7-5 season strong with two straight wins. The bad news (beyond this being a season of overall regression for the program)? The offense is still sputtering. Perry's proving is not complete. Miami will carry that into its bowl game, and likely into next season. Oh and by the way, Pitt is exposed as a thoroughly fraudulent rep in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson will name its score. The betting line should be 30 ..... 4Q: UM 24-3 on Dallas 3-yard scoring run. Game over. Rout on. Bowl next ..... 3Q: Canes' Davis loses fumble late in quarter ... UM 17-3 on Homer 64-yard TD run ... Pitt 3-10 on 40-yard FG abetted by pass interference penalty against UM ..... Halftime thoughts: At 10-0 at half, Miami's offense has done nada, with Perry 4-for-18 for 27 yards. But UM's defense has dominated, holding Pitt to 115 net yards, and a Dallas punt-return score gives the Canes their cushion ..... 2Q: Miami turnover. Homer loses fumble near midfield ... UM 10-0 on Dallas 65-yard punt-return TD. Score first was negated by illegal-block penalty but call was (properly) reversed. Was perfect block by Homer ..... 1Q: Perry struggling early (2-for-10, 18 yards) but defense enough to carry UM in opening quarter .... Canes' Bandy recovers fumble caused by Joghnson ... UM 3-0 on Baxa 37-yard FG after drive led by Homer's 47-yard run ..... Original post: Is it payback time (of sorts) for the Miami Hurricanes? We'll see in today's UM regular season finale at The Rock, a 3:30 kickoff on ESPN that will be the last home game for Canes seniors. Last season Miami was 10-0 and ranked No. 2 before a stunning 24-14 upset loss at Pitt sent The U's season crashing to three straight losses. "That game hurt," said Jaquan Johnson, one of UM's seniors. One year later -- exactly, to  the day -- it is Pitt, not UM, riding high entering this game and bound for the ACC Championship Game while Miami is headed for a middling bowl game. (Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit? Independence in Shreveport?) So now it is Miami in the spoiler role. The (barely) ranked Panthers are 7-4 to Miami's 6-5, but the Canes are big 5-point home favorites. I say big because it indicates bettors think Miami is the better team beyond the home-field edge. (That's questionable, and to be determined). Even after a slump-ending win at Virginia Tech, it has been a tough week for Mark Richt's Canes. First a top quarterback prospect canceled his visit to Miami, then dynamic receiver Jeff Thomas abruptly left the program in frustration. Another worry for Richt should be that Pitt arrives hot, on a four-game win streak, and with an offense averaging 247 rushing yards a game. On the other side, QB N'Kosi Perry will start a third straight for UM. "He's getting better and more and more confident," says Richt. "There were times where he missed a guy here and there [last week], but he managed the game well. You could just see his comfort level rising. One day, I believe you'll see him really come into a zone." Pitt challenges Perry with a defense that is closer to average than great, although Dan Marino's alma mater averages 2 1/2 sacks a game and is facing a shaky Miami offensive line. If the line protects Perry and he avoids turnovers, Miami should win at home, though I'd hedge by leaning to Pitt getting this many points. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-24.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 13 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted):

No. 9 UCF (11-0) beats South Florida (7-5), 38-10Unbeaten Knights, who had a game canceled, closed out second straight unbeaten regular season with Friday road win over state rival and will face Memphis next week in AAC title game. But UCF lost star QB McKenzie Milton to a gruesome, season-ending right knee injury, casting somber cloud over the win and season.

No. 11 Florida (9-3) beats FSU (5-7), 41-14: Gators, playing for poll 'n bowl position, were 8-point favorites at The Doak, with rival 'Noles taking their last shot at bowl-eligibility. It was the better team vs. home field and incentive. The better team won. And FSU sees its first losing season since 1976. It was a good run, Tally.

Marshall (8-3) beats FIU (8-4), 28-25: The ButchCats were 3 1/2-point home underdogs and never led, every rally falling just short. The loss eliminated FIU from a shot at reaching the Conference USA championship game.

Charlotte (5-7) beats FAU (5-7), 27-24: The home-nesting Owls were big 17-point favorites to get Lane Kiffin bowl-eligible under the wire. But: No bowl for you, Lane!

Week 13 national Top 25 matchups (5)No. 6 Oklahoma beats No. 13 West Virginia, 59-56; 16-Washington beats 8-Washington State, 28-15; 10-Ohio State beats 4-Michigan, 62-29; 22-Texas A&M beats 7-LSU, 74-72 (OT); and 23-Boise State beats 21-Utah State, 33-24. (Ohio State won't now leapfrog Buckeyes into CFP top four ahead of No. 5 Georgia ... will it?)

EltonsunriseELTON DELIVERS POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCE IN SUNRISE FAREWELL: We saw Elton John last night at the sold-out, filled to the rafters Panthers' arena in Sunrise as part of his continuing marathon farewell tour. The 2 1/2-hour show lived up to, and exceeded, expectations. The thought that kept occurring: This man is too good to retire. I don't care his age (71). Or that he sometimes seems that age when he is up from his piano and tottering around the stage. When he is seated before his keys, the years disappear. His playing is the best there ever was. His voice (save for the lost highest notes) remains robustly strong. His catalog of hits is top-tier in the history of pop music. The show is all hits augmented by a sprinkling of deep-album cuts such as "All the Young Girls Love Alive." A career retrospective on the giant video screen enhances the performance. I'm a lifelong fan (and admirer of his generosity and philanthropy) who has seen him in concert too many times to count. If you have not, your chances are running out, and you will have missed something special, and irreplaceable.  

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 05, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 12.1%; plus UM loses at home to Duke 20-12, falls to 5-4; also, Biggest Disappointment Poll, NFL Week 9 picks. other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4. Happy new month, all! Welcome, November. Seems like we've been waiting a year! 2) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Defending Mark Richt column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's college State of State rank & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

In defense of Mark Richt and our other most recent columns: The Canes coach is feeling some heat for first time in his 2 1/2 seasons with UM. For my latest column, visit Time For Faith In Richt, And Patience. Also: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For Dolphins. Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love (fans vent). Snakebit Adam (on luckless Adam Gase). Family Tradition (on N'Kosi Perry's $$$ video). And Victory-y, Miami! (on Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr.)

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 12.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 12.1 percent overall approval --the combination of "very" and "satisfied" votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 20-12 home loss vs. Duke putting Miami's season record at 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 21%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

G6: 91.1% following 28-27 victory vs. FSU.

G7: 13.0% following 16-13 loss at Virginia.

G8: 7.8% following 27-14 loss at Boston College.

G9: 12.1% following 20-12 loss vs. Duke.

Next poll: Nov. 10 following game at Georgia Tech.

G9: DUKE 20, @HURRICANES 12: WE SAW HOW RICHT, UM DEALT WITH THE PRESSURE. NOT WELL!: Postgame thoughts: A 20-12 home loss to Duke is worse than the two previous road losses (at Virginia and at Boston College). Miami at 5-4 is a clear regression from last season, the offense struggling. Standing out, dubiously: the continued waffling by coach Mark Richt on the use of quarterbacks Malik Rosier and N'Kosi Perry. Richt doesn't seem to have a clue as to who his QB is. Worse, neither does Miami's offense. Original post: Blog readers know that I warned y'all with a Nervous-Night Alert before the game at DukemiaVirginia. Then I directly called Miami's loss at Boston College. Duke is not quite as good, and the home game is well-timed for Miami (7 p.m. Saturday at The Rock ) -- but I must say the Blue Devils are decent and will require The U's utmost attention. Both teams are 5-3 and trending wrong, after Duke once was 4-0 and Miami 5-1. UM's two straight losses have heaped some fan criticism on coach Mark Richt and his play-calling, while the Dukesters have dropped three of the last four games. So the desperation factor is close in this ACC bout. More of it though is on Miami, a 9 1/2-point favorite off a line that opened at 8 and grew with money poured onto the Canes. That may be because The U has dominated Duke all-time, leading the series 13-2 including four wins in a row. Pressure is squarely on QB Malik Rosier, who could be an interception or a scoreless quarter away from being benched for N'Kosi Perry, because Richt seems to be lacking a clear conviction on who his QB should be. Duke, though not as good as Virginia or Boston College, is far from the pushover it once was. An outright upset would surprise but not shock. The Devils are well-coached by David Cutcliffe and have a troublesome offense led by QB Daniel Jones, who some see as a potential future first-round NFL draft pick. I like Canes riding the home field to snap that two-game skid, but until Miami shows it is firing on all pistons again Duke seems like a fair play against the spread getting near-double digits. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-23.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 10 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted otherwise):

No. 12 UCF (8-0) beats Temple (5-4), 52-40: As predicted, Thursday night battle for first place in American conference East went to hometown Knights, but not easily.

Tulane (4-5) beats South Florida (7-2), 41-15: Bulls were stinging from first loss and suffered a second even worse.

North Carolina State (6-2) beats FSU (4-5), 47-28: Noles, crushed by Clemson last week, continued their downward spiral this week.

Missouri (5-4) beats No. 11 Florida (6-3), 38-17: Facing Swamp letdown after mega-loss to Georgia, Gators got flat-out swamped.

FiufauFAU (4-5) beats FIU (6-3), 49-14: The 17th annual Shula Bowl found FIU only a 3-point home favorite as Butch Davis' ButchCats fought to reach Conference USA title game. Owls, who preened last year, had little to play for other than an uphill climb to bowl eligibility and Lane Kiffin's wounded pride. FAU led all-time series 11-5 but FIU had won four of past six before FAU won last year. ButchCats were having better season and we thought should have prevailed at home, but we knew Owls would have talons out and that an upset would not surprise.  

Week 10 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 6 Georgia beats No. 11 Kentucky, 34-17; 12-West Virginia beats 15-Texas, 42-41; 5-Michigan beats 14-Penn State, 42-7; and (whoa, Nellie!) 1-Alabama beats 4-LSU, 29-0.

BigdisaANYBODY AROUND HERE WANNA WIN, PLEASE!?: You may have noticed. It's pretty obvious. Things are not good. South Florida's Big 5 sports teams -- the four major pro teams plus UM football -- are struggling to varying degrees. Each of their fans have cause for a degree of disenchantment. But what fans are entitled to be the most disappointed at the moment? I offer five choices and give you two (2) votes. Try to vote not as a fan of any one team in particular but as someone stepping back and seeing the big picture. Remember, vote for the top TWO biggest disappointments right now. Go!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP TWO (2)


PicksUPSET BIRD TIME!: HERE'S DOLPHINS-JETS, OTHER NFL WEEK 9 PICKS: It's the Stinkin' Jets at the Stumblin' Dolphins to see who'll be the least-bad on Sunday at The Rock. Jets Week used to seem big around here. This one sort of just arrives as another game. That's the residue of two franchises that don't matter a lot in the NFL right now. Can you remember when the Dolphins and Jets were both good at the same time? Me neither. So I looked it up. The last three seasons both made the playoffs: 2001, 1998 and 1985. Who'll win Sunday? That pick tops my latest NFL selections. Visit Week  9 Gems. Also included are my Game of the Week (big week for King Sport), Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is sailing very well, thanks. Entering the week we were 84-35-2 (.706) overall and a very solid 67-50-4 (.573) against the spread. Alas, our Week 9 got off to a crash of a start Thursday night as we foresaw an upset win by the Raiders only to watch as Jon Gruden and his entire team took a giant [bleep] all over the godforsaken turf. We'll rally. Our season totals say so. #Rally

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 28, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 7.8% (season low); plus UM falls at BC 27-14, now 5-3 as ACC title-game hopes take huge hit. Our thoughts; plus it ain't easy being a Dolfan (latest column), other state Collball (Gators fall, FIU wins) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27. Check out the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter (DSM) vote here. Ouch. It's a season low. 2) I've been a Red Sox fan since 1967. They're back in the World Series. Hell NO  I didn't stay up 7 hours until 3 a.m. for  last night's 18-inning game, are you insane!? 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins get clobbered in Houston with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 picks & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

IT AIN'T EAST BEING A DOLFAN (NEW COLUMN): Hundreds of Miami Dolphins fans told me what it's like to be Dolfan. Their answers informed my latest column. To read the venting and frustration, visit Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love. My other most recent work: Latest NFL picks: Week 8 Gems. Dolphins' coach is more than competent, he's just: Snakebit Adam. N'Kosi Perry's cash video isn't Canes outrage, it's a: Family Tradition. And Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr., it's: Victory-y, Miami! 

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 7.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 7.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Friday night's 27-14 UM loss at Boston College putting Miami's season record at 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:15 a.m. today/Sunday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 16% approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

G6: 91.1% following 28-27 victory vs. FSU.

G7: 13.0% following 16-13 loss at Virginia.

G8: 7.8% following 27-14 loss at Boston College.

Next poll: Nov. 3 following game vs. Duke. 

G8: @BOSTON COLLEGE 27, HURRICANES 14: SECOND STRAIGHT LOSS DROPS UM TO 5-3Postgame thoughts: We called the (slight) upset win by host Boston College. The score was legit, indicative of the flow of the game. Malik Rosier (two picks, one his fault) did not score enough. Mostly, the vaunted Canes defense allowed almost 450 yards of BC offense. Miami now 5-3, a Bc Theusharp step back from last season thus far, and a return to the ACC title game now an unlikelihood ..... Original post: When we last left the Canes they were falling 16-13 at Virginia, falling to a 5-2 record , and falling like a rock from No. 16 clean out of the national polls. (I put out a "Nervous Night Alert" for that game and was right!) Well, now, after a bye week, it doesn't get any easier for The U, folks. Tonight's 7 o'clock game at Boston College before ESPN cameras will be a rugged challenge. Both teams are 5-2 and 2-1 in the ACC. UM needs a win to keep a realistic hope of getting back to the conference championship game, but the Canes are modest 3 1/2 point favorites in temps expected in the 40s, and a win by the BC Eagles should shock nobody. Malik Rosier is back starting at QB for Miami as Mark Richt continues to waffle between his veteran and redshirt-freshman N'Kosi Perry. Rosier is back on merit, Richt says, although Perry's infamous cash-money video surely made returning to Rosier easier. Boston College also is coming off a bye, and is 4-0 at home. Miami has dominated the all-time series, 24-5, but the most recent meeting (2012) predating all the current players lessens the significance of that trend. Miami's stout defense vs. premier BC running back A.J. Dillon will be a key tonight. A shaky Canes offensive line giving Rosier time to operate also will be important. The return of BC's Dillon from injury and the weather magnifying the Eagles' home-field edge tips this coin-flip prediction. My pick: Boston College, 24-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 9 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted otherwise):

Louisiana Tech (6-2) beats FAU (3-5), 21-13: Owls were favored by 3 1/2 in the Boca nest, but Lane Kiffin saw FAU's 10-game home win streak end Friday night as his humbling sophomore season continued. Lane Train: Derailed.

No. 2 Clemson (8-0) beats FSU (4-4), 59-10: This final weekend before first College Football Playoff ranking would have been a really bad time for the Tigers, 17-point favorites, to fall. Um, no chance. A scoreless first quarter turned into an avalanche that buried the Noles.

No. 7 Georgia (7-1) beats No. 9 Florida (6-2), 36-17: World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in neutral-site Jacksonville might have been the college Game of the Year going in, but, after Gators hung in for awhile, it was quite the mismatch. Favored Dawgs earned an inside lane to reach SEC title game and also gets to believe it still has a shot at sneaking up into CFP top four.

Houston (7-1) beats No. 21 South Florida (7-1), 57-36: Big American conference duel found USF a 7 1/2-point road 'dog with good reason. Farewell polls, Bulls!

FIU (6-2) beats Western Kentucky (1-7), 38-17: FIU was a mere 3-point road favorite but the ButchCats rolled to a huge, bowl-assuring victory.

Off this week: No. 10 UCF (7-0); next vs. Temple Thursday Nov. 1.

Week 9 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 9 Florida vs. No. 7 Georgia (see above); 17-Penn State beats 18-Iowa 30-24; and 14-Washington State beats 24-Stanford 41-38.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 08, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.1%; plus Perry leads 28-27 miracle-rally pat FSU! Our game column; plus other state Collball (Gators!), your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 5 picks, World Series rooting-interest poll, Rocketman trailer & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our column from Canes' rally past FSU: From the stadium today on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, visit: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

Recent select other columns: By Mark Richt's smartly calculated design, the Hurricanes' emerging young quarterback N'Kosi Perry has faced little to no pressure in his first three college appearances. That changes today: We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry. And for our latest NFL predictions: Week 5 Gems Also: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 91.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 91.1 percent overall approval -- the combination of Csm"very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 28-27 home victory over Florida State putting No. 17 UM's season record at 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 55% approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

G5: 98.7% following 47-10 victory vs. North Carolina.

G6: 91.1% following 28-27 victory vs. FSU.

Next poll: Oct. 13 following game at Virginia.

G6: NO. 17 HURRICANES (5-1) BEAT FLORIDA STATE (3-3), 28-27: PERRY'S 4 TDS LEAD HUGE COMEBACK: For our column from the game: Kid QB Passes His Big Test ..... Final synopsis at Miami, 28-27: What to say? UM rallies from 20-7 halftime deficit as redshirt-freshman QB N'Kosi Perry throws four TD passes, three of them after halftime. Miami and FSU have played 63 times. Plenty of previous games have been bigger, with greater stakes. But few have left Miami fans spilling happier into the night than this one ..... 3Q synopsis at FSU, 27-21: Wow. Just when dirt was being shoveled onto UM's chances, TD passes from Perry to Cager and then Thomas have Miami right back in it ..... Halftime synopsis at FSU, 20-7: Miami ties it 7-7 on big 4th-and-2 gamble by Richt, who eschewed easy FG try to watch Perry toss 10-yard TD to Cager. It was downhill from there. Perry sack-fumble loss set up FSU field goal, then 44-yard Noles punt return set up TD pass. Then Richt 4th-and-3 gambled in last minute backfired, led to 53-yard FSU field goal. UM has dug itself big hole in what is unexpectedly a low-scoring game thus far ..... 1Q synopsis at FSU, 7-0: Noles QB Deondre Francois has been sharp, while Canes' attack sputtered to two punts in the quarter. Running game OK but N'Kosi Perry (2-6, 18 yards) off to quiet start ..... Original post: Visit We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry for my column previewing today's game. It isn't the 5-0 vs. 5-0 battle of unbeatens that danced through our heads leading up to the season, but FsumiaSeminoles at Hurricanes still resonates as special -- UM's biggest rivalry and biggest home game of the season even with FSU 3-2 and UM 4-1. Miami is a 14-point favorite for Saturday's 3:30 Hard Rock kickoff before ABC cameras, but that betting line feels fat. I see it closer. I see the first real challenge Miafsufor new Canes starting quarterback N'Kosi Perry in his fourth college game and second career start. The toughest test yet. UM seeks consecutive wins in the series for the first time since 2004, but to do that the Canes must beat FSU in Miami for the first time since '04. Miami lost the last two home games at the Orange Bowl to FSU, and all four at Hard Rock. "That's a meaningful history we need to change the course of," said UM coach Mark Richt, who sees the rivalry as undiminished: "Just the amount of great players who have been in this series," he noted. "How many great players have been on the field at the same time. It's kind of mind-boggling how many first-round, second-round, third-round draft picks that have played in one game." Saturday, UM's pass defense better show up vs. Deondre Francois, how has thrown for 646 yards the past two games. Richt said he envisions a day when Miami vs. FSU has national championship stakes again. "Right this minute I wouldn't say everybody is looking at this game saying it's going to decide who's in the College Football Playoff," he said. "I think for it to be really, really great, it's got to get back to that, and I think it will get back to that. "But it isn't there right yet." My pick: Hurricanes 34-26.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With the Miami-FSU game above, here's chronological Week 6 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 22 Florida (5-1) beats No. 5 LSU (5-1), 27-19: Unbeaten Tigers were 3-point faves in the Swamp, but I told you to beware the Gator. Florida has now won three straight SEC games and big defense rose up again Saturday.

South Florida (5-0) beats UMass (2-5), 58-42: Bulls, off a bye, were 14-point road picks to stay unbeaten and continue wooing the reluctant polls.

FAU (3-3) beats Old Dominion (1-5) at FAU, 52-33: Owls were comfortably favored in the home nest to get Lane Kiffin his misplaced mojo back.

No. 12 UCF (5-0) beats SMU (2-4), 48-13: Knights were favored by 24 at home to stay unbeaten and (maybe) crash the top 10.

Off this week: FIU (3-2; next vs. Middle Tennessee).

Week 6 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 19 Texas beats No. 7 Oklahoma, 48-45; Florida beats LSU (see above); and 6-Notre Dame beats 24-Virginia Tech, 45-23.

POLL RESULTS: NO CONSENSUS, BUT IT'S BREWERS, RED SOX FOR WORLD SERIES: We asked which of the eight final World Series contenders now in divisional play has your rooting-interest to win it all, and the vote was wildly without consensus. The Brewers and Red Sox led with 18.18 percent each, followed by the Yankees at 16.36% and Indians at 14.55%. The second tier: Braves 10.91%, Rockies 9.09%, Dodgers 7.27% and Astros 5.45%.

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 24, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 84.0%; plus UM handles FIU 31-17 as N'Kosi Perry comes off bench to star. Our thoughts on UM's QB situation: also, why Dolphins will beat Raiders and rest of our NFL Week 3 predictions & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22. Football's back! That makes this the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL Week 2 QB Rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State, Marlins Man, the real FitzMagic & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal update: As many know from following me on Twitter, I had recent thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest and am in recovery mode. I'm on pain meds and on rest and no-drive orders this week. That's why I've cut back on a bunch of stuff such as a temporary reduction in Herald workload, no LeBatard Show and so forth. Thanks for the understanding. Hope to be back at it starting Monday.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 84.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-best 84.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 31-17 home victory over FIU putting No. 21 UM's season record at 3-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there showed 51% overall approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

G3: 76.7% following 49-24 victory at Toledo.

G4: 84.0% following 31-17 victory vs. FIU.

Next poll: Sept. 27 following game vs. North Carolina.

Battle305G4: NO. 21 HURRICANES (3-1) BEAT FIU (2-2), 31-17Final: Miami, 31-17. Synopsis: On the day UM honored its 1983 championship team, the men who set the template, Miami may have found its next quarterback. N'Kosi Perry was pretty great Saturday in the 31-17 rout of FIU, replacing Malik Rosier with the game scoreless and taking impressive charge (17-25, 224 yards, 3 TDs), one interception his only blemish. I say rout because the final score does not reflect the lopsidedness. Miami never trailed and was never in jeopardy. But! This was FIU for Perry, a game where the idea of losing was no real concern. This coming Thursday night in prime time vs. North Carolina -- the season's ACC opener -- will tell more about The U's QB situation than Saturday did. The Tar Heels are not great, but, unlike FIU, they are a team UM's size. A fair fight. A challenge. Who starts that game at QB for Miami -- and how he performs -- will shape Mark Richt's ultimate decision more than what we just saw ..... 3Q: Miami, 31-0. Synopsis: An even bigger mismatch than imagined, but the story of the game is N'Kosi Perry replacing Malik Rosier and QB and lighting it up, although his third-quarter interception was a youthful mistake ..... Half: Miami, 24-0. Synopsis: Score doesn't show it even show UM's utter dominance. FIU has no shot, cannot move the ball (13 total net yards) on this Canes defense. N'Kosi Perry is 12-for-13 for 170 yards, two TD passes and all four scoring drives in relief of Malik Rosier. Mark Richt has himself a decision to make moving forward. Or, maybe it's already made? .....  1Q: Miami, 7-0. Synopsis: N'Kosi Perry in at QB for Malik Rosier is the news. Perry looks sharp. Travis Homer 35-yard TD for the score. Earlier 78-yard Jeff Thomas punt-return TD negated by penalty. FIU offense doing nothing. Miami in charge ..... I'll be semi-live blogging here throughout today's game, with up-to-the-minute scoring updates plus quick thoughts after every quarter ..... Original post: Here we go today/Saturday at 3:30 at Hard Rock, in front of ESPN2 cameras, the Hurricanes coming off a solid win at Toledo that failed to move them up in the polls, and crosstown neighbor FIU having hung 63 points on UMass and (as always) looking for respect. Emotion frames the matchup, of course, because so many players on either team grew up friends in MiafiuMiami, and mostly because of what happened when they met 12 years ago, in the 2006 season. BRAAAWWWLLL!!! Both benches emptied, a melee ensued, eight Panthers and five Canes were ejected, and 31 players from both teams were later suspended. Both coaches (Larry Coker, Don Strock) would lose their jobs after that season. The Backyard Brawl obviously was not the sole reason, but it was a shared embarrassment that helped shelve the natural rivalry as a regular series. UM won the brawlgame 35-0. The schools met the next season without incident, Miami winning 23-9. Today is the schools' first meeting since, the first in 11 years and only the third ever. Nobody anticipates an ugly reprise of '06. Said UM coach Mark Richt: "There will be guys getting their blood pumping. But I don't really anticipate anything foolish. I've not mentioned one thing [about the '06 brawl]to our guys." Second-year FIU coach Butch Davis, formerly with UM, of course, recruited the players who would win the 2001 national championship (Miami's most recent), but has a long way to go to hoist FIU onto a competitive par with UM. As we'll likely see Saturday. My pick: Hurricanes, 41-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami-FIU game previewed above, here's chronological Week 4 schedule for the rest:

No. 16 UCF (3-0) beats FAU (2-2), 56-36: Teams got the national ESPN spotlight Friday night with Knights coming off an unexpected bye after Hurricane Florence erased last week's game at North Carolina. UCF, a 2-TD fave, used big second half to crush Lane Kiffin's Owls.

FSU (2-2) beats Northern Illinois (1-3), 37-19: Most recent years this would have been a walkover for Seminoles, but now-struggling FSU was a rather modest 9 1/2-point home favorite as new coach Willie Taggert bought an ounce of patience.

Florida (3-1) beats Tennessee (2-2), 47-21Gators seem to be finding their groove, and this was impressive road win in a big SEC matchup.

South Florida (4-0) beats East Carolina (1-2), 20-13: A win is a win, but this one likely won't be enough vault Bulls up into the Top 25.

Week 4 national Top 25 matchups (2): No. 1 Alabama beats No. 22 Texas A&M, 45-23; and and 7-Stanford beats 20-Oregon, 38-31 in OT.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-RAIDERS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to defend The Rock and beat the Raiders here Sunday to forge a 3-0 start for only the fourth time since 1998. I explain why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We were a stout 20-10-1 overall and more importantly a strong 19-12-1 against the spread entering Week 3. Now let's keep it going! Dive into Week 3 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included within is a separate link to Thursday night's Jets-Browns pick, or find it directly at Week 3 Thursday Gem. Got off to another win-win start to our new week, only one point off a rare Exacto on the final score. Thank you, Baker Mayfield!) Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing the height of giddy optimism.

Select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 18, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 93.4%; plus Fins win 20-12 at Jets as Tannehill outduels Darnold; also, welcome back D.Wade, personal news update & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18. Football's back meaning it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes win at Toledo with CSM poll and other state Collball, NFL Week 2 picks, Bachelor Dan gets engaged & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal news: As many know from Twitter and social media, I had my thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest. It went well. I am grateful. But I'll be on pain medication and on rest and no-drive orders all this week. That is why I'm cutting back on a bunch of stuff such as Hot Button Top 10 skipping a week, and no LeBatard Show today. Thanks for the understanding.

Newest columns: On D.Wade's decision, Dolphins running game: Dwyane Wade (unsurprisingly) has decided on one more season with the Heat. I explored the delay in his decision, why it isn't bad and what Wade would do: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right Call. And: Ryan Tannehill is better when he throws less, and running more leads to Dolphins success. Enter Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. To read: Why Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to Fins.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 93.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 93.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 20-12 victory at the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 2-0. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM vote on our Twitter feed @gregcote was 80%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

Next poll: Sept. 23 following game vs. Oakland.

G2: DOLPHINS (2-0) BEAT NEW YORK JETS (1-1), 20-12: WERE YOU READY FOR AN UPSET? WE CALLED IT!: Can I get an “Aaawwwk!”? This isn’t our Upset of the Week of record for NFL Week 2, but the Upset MianyjBird nevertheless will be circling the Meadowlands vulture-like on Sunday afternoon, eyeing the Jets as carrion splayed roadside. I know NYJ rang up the Lions 48-17 last week and that Sam Darnold evidently is the greatest thing since whatever is greater than sliced bread. (Knowing all of Detroit’s offensive plays, supposedly, had to have helped). But I thought Miami’s win over Tennessee was just as impressive if not by margin. It was impressive for the grit to overcome two long lightning delays, and also for the unexpected big-play strikes. Ryan Tannehill has struggled vs. the Planes — 4-5 record, only 10-9 on TDs/picks, 72.0 rating — but he’s better than he has been and has superior offensive weapons to those of Darnold, especially if DeVante Parker plays as it seemed he likely would. Miami also presents to the rookie QB a defense much better than Detroit’s. The result? Upset! Will you join me Fireman Ed? On my count, please: “A-A-W-K — “Aawk!” My pick: Dolphins, 31-27. [Visit Week 2 Gems for all of our latest NFL predix].

Other select recent columns: Somehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 09, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (G2): 73.8%; plus UM routs Savannah State 77-0 as all 4 QBs play in home opener, with my game column; also, rest of state Collbal, NFL Week 1 picks, R.I.P. Burt, farewell Elton & more

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

Ejohn1) It's SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Elton John kicked off his three-year farewell tour last night. Elton's farewell tour will last longer than most others' entire music careers. 2) R.I.P., Burt Reynolds, gone at 82. Saw him as Vic Edwards in "The Last Movie Star" last year. A real actor. Forget the cheeky "Smokey and the Bandit" stuff. Check out the serious roles. He'll be missed. Also was an FSU running back in the '50s. 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy draft poll and results, MLS Miami gets name and logo, latest Back In My Day & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NEW: Tonight began soft stretch in Canes schedule that's all about the quarterback: Don't be overly impressed with Saturday's 77-0 UM win, considering the utterly outmanned opponent. Be more impressed that coach Mark Richt played all four quarterbacks in a newly introduced effort to find a better Malik Rosier ... or his replacement. That's my new column. To read it: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway. Other most recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... and NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 73.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 73.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of 1aa1csmSaturday night's 77-0 home victory over Savannah State putting No. 22-ranked Miami's season record at 1-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Monday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote; the unofficial approval there was 40%).  

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

G2: 73.8% following 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State.

Next poll: Sept. 15 following game at Toledo.

SavumG2: NO. 22 HURRICANES (1-1) 77, SAVANNAH STATE (0-2) 0: A PAUSE TO CORRECT THE FLAWS AS ALL FOUR QBS PLAY: For my column from the stadium off Saturday's UM home opener: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway ..... Original post: Here are two teams that could play, "Who's Coming Off the Worse Loss?" Savannah State, a second-tier FCS-level school, lost 52-0 to Alabama-Birmingham. But Miami's loss, given the stage and stakes, was worse: the 33-17 neutral-site collapse against LSU that sent the Canes cascading down the charts from a No. 8 national ranking to 22nd. Savannah State can't offer redemption this evening/Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hard Rock, but it is a chance for UM to get a little bit of feelgood back after a deflating opener. With the game off the betting boards because of its expected lopsidedness, it would be a bit concerning if Miami didn't cruise by a margin of at least 40 or 50 points. College coaches have it easy. Unlike in the NFL there are games like this one where winning is not a question, so you have the luxury to just flex your roster, tinker with what needs tinkering and not worry the least about the opponent or final score. In this case quarterback play will be under the microscope for coach Mark Richt, with starter Malik Rosier coming off an inaccurate opener that included a pick-six, and with at least two younger QBs expected to see action along with Rosier. The enthusiasm for this Hurricanes season took a huge hit with the opening-week loss. You don't get it back against an opponent like this one. But an impressive rebound win is a necessary first step. My prediction: Hurricanes, 62-3.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami game previewed above, here's chronological Week 2 schedule (all Saturday) for the rest:

South Florida (2-0) defeats Georgia Tech (1-1), 49-38: Bulls had no problem with a small opening opponent (Elon) but now took a  big step up in competition with slightly favored Ga-Tech. And delivered.

FAU (1-1) defeats Air Force (1-1), 33-27: Lane Kiffin got spanked at Oklahoma in a 49-point loss but here was a comfy 9 1/2-point pick in the Owls' home opener.

No. 19 UCF (2-0) defeats South Carolina State (0-2), 38-0: Knights throttled UConn and now got another softy in an off-the-board mismatch. 

FSU (1-1) defeats Samford (1-1), 36-26: Noles tumbled from rankings (19th) after a 24-3 spanking by 20-Virginia Tech that ended new coach Willie Taggert's honeymoon right quick. Now they get to take it out on poor lil' Samford, Bobby Bowden's alma mater. Except they almost lost! Lucky Noles needed a late rally to avoid a monumental embarrassment.

Kentucky (2-0) defeats No. 25 Florida (1-1), 27-16: Gators entered poll, albeit barely, after 53-6 rout of Charleston Southern but their stay will be short-lived after terrible loss as 14-point Swamp favorites.  

FIU (1-1) defeats Old Dominion (0-2), 28-20: FIU opened with 10-point loss to Indiana but was 1-point road fave in this conference game, and neatly rallied from 17 down to win behind James Morgan's three TD passes. Of more gravity, two FIU players -- top RB Antonio Jones and OL Mershawn Miller -- were shot in a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, a calamity for the families and the last thing coach Butch Davis needed. Miller's wound was minor. Jones' wounds are serious but non-life threatening and Davis said "encouraging reports" suggest a recovery.

Week 2 national Top 25 matchups: The only two: No. 3 Georgia defeats No. 24 South Carolina, 41-17; and 10-Stanford defeats 17-Southern Cal, 17-3.

Picks RtannyWELCOME BACK, UPSET BIRD! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Oh lord here come our 28th season of Friday (but online Thursday) NFL picks. When we started this endeavor in 1991 Ryan Tannehill was a 2-year-old toddling around Lubbock, Texas and (if memory serves) Tom Brady was an NFL rookie. All these years later we haven't been fired yet are still at it. For Kickoff Weekend we bring you our picks for Dolphins-Titans, our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and more. Dive into Week 1 Gems for the whole package. (It includes a link to last night's Falcons-Eagles pick. Atlanta led much of the way toward our upset call; alas, Philly prevailed late). By the way, the Upset Bird is back. But please follow our picks, anyway. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield. At left, Tannehill is shouting at you, "Hey, read Greg Cote's picks, everybody. But only when he picks us to win!"

Other select recent columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 01, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 68.4% final season approval; plus UM's 34-24 Orange Bowl loss to Wisconsin caps 10-3 season, with my game column & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31. Need one more gift for the Dolfans in your life? Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and check out my historical book, Fins At 50. 2) Sorry we haven't had as many general sports columns lately. Been burning a slew of leftover vacation time this month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games involving state FBS teams. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 17 picks, year-in-review polls advisory & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Note: Our Dolphins-Bills preview, latest Hot Button Top 10 will appear in blog about 2 p.m. today.

CLICK HERE FOR MY GAME COLUMN STADIUM ON UM'S ORANGE BOWL LOSS TO WISCONSIN

CLICK HERE TO VOTE IN CSM POLL ONLINE

My Hurricanes bowl-review column and thank you Orange Bowl Committee: Click Where The Swagger Was Born for my latest column on Miami's first Orange Bowl game in 14 years tonight. And thank you, OBC. At Friday's Coaches Luncheon at the Hilton Downtown Miami I was honored to receive the 2017 Edwin Pope Orange Bowl Media Award. Honored because I respect the Orange Bowl Committee's good works and especially because the award is named for my friend, longtime colleague and mentor who passed away last January. Click HERE for the Herald story.

CSMCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G13/SEASON FINAL: 68.4%: Results are certified in the latest and season-final Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 68.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 34-24 Orange Bowl Game loss by the No. 10 ranked Hurricanes vs. the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers putting UM's final season record at 10-3. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Because this is the final poll, we suggested you give special emphasis to the season as a whole. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:30 a.m. today/Monday.

2017 CSM results

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

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

G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke

G4: 97.6% following 24-20 victory at Florida State

G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech

G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse

G7: 64.3% following 24-19 victory at North Carolina

G8: 98.0% following 28-10 victory vs. Virginia Tech

G9: 98.6% following 41-8 victory vs. Notre Dame

G10: 95.4% following 44-28 victory vs. Virginia

G11: 54.9% following 24-14 loss at Pitt

G12: 57.8% following 38-3 ACC Championship Game loss vs. Clemson

G13/Final: 68.4% following 34-24 Orange Bowl Game loss vs. Wisconsin

ObowlORANGE BOWL GAME: HURRICANES VS. WISCONSIN: CAN MIAMI RIDE HOME MAGIC TO UPSET WIN?: 4Q: Wisconsin 34-24 ..... Miami 24-27: Badgley 41-yard field goal ..... 3Q: Wisconsin 27-21 ..... Miami 21-24: Cager 38-yard pass from Rosier ..... 2Q: Wisconsin 24-14 ..... Wisconsin 17-14 ..... Wisconsin 10-14 ..... 1Q: Miami 14-3: Dallas 39-yard run ..... Miami 7-3: Homer 5-yard run ..... Wisconsin 3-0 ..... Original post: It's the Big Ten and ACC runnersup tonight in the 84th Orange Bowl game as the No. 6-ranked and 12-1 Wisconsin Badgers face the No. 10 and 10-2 Miami Hurricanes on what is supposed to be a neutral field but of course won't be. Plenty of Wisconsinites in red made the trip, but, still, Hard Rock Stadium is sure to be dominated by Canes fans. Miami is playing in its first hometown bowl game since 2003, while Wisconsin (hard t believe) has never before played in the OB. Wisconsin is a solid 6-point favorite despite the venue disadvantage. Cannot say this is a bigger game for Miami than the recent ACC championship-game loss to Clemson, because that was a play-in for the College Football Playoff. Wisconsin had CFP dreams as well before losing its conference title game, so this OB is a glorified consolation prize for both teams -- but still with much at stake. A Badgers win would set a school record for most season victories. A Canes would would assure Miami its first top-10 finish since 03 on the road to 'Back.' Why is Wisconsin a clear favorite? UM's Turnover Chain-fueled defense is its strength ... but Wisconsin's D may be better than Miami's. The U had 30 defensive takeaways, but the Badgers had 26, led the nation in fewest yards allowed and ranked No. 3 in fewest points allowed. Three Badgers defenders were first-team All-Big Ten and three others were second-team. Miami's offensive line will be under the gun, and so will QB Malik Rosier, who is coming off consecutive bad games (in the Pitt and Clemson losses) and is missing his two top receivers in injured Ahmmon Richards and Chris Herndon. Miami's best upset hope by my view? Wisconsin can be sloppy with the ball, meaning that Turnover Chain could be changing hands tonight. Badgers sophomore QB Alex Hornibrook had 15 interceptions this season -- a lot. And Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, though really good, lost five fumbles. Two really good defenses are in play tonight, but only one offense that is prone to turnovers. That is the Canes' best hope tonight. Well, that and the crowd. If UM fans can lift the Canes tonight as palpably as they did in the crucial late-season home wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, Miami will win. My Orange Bowl Game pick: Upset. Hurricanes, 23-20.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 30, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 64.3%. CSM approval shows sizable dip after escape from Chapel Hill; plus our Sunday Canes column, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), UM survives North Carolina to stay unbeaten, other state Collball Week 9 & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, OCTOBER 30. Thanks to Paul Castronovo for having us on his Big 105.9 radio show this morning. Always enjoy it. 2) See previous blogpost for our latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter rating. Warning. It ain't pretty. 3) Know any people who are serious Dolfans despite Thursday night? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins embarrassed in Baltimore with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 picks, The List (Fins on Thursdays), ode to Fats Domino & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Canes our great hope at 7-0: Click Along For the Ride On the Road to 'Back' for our latest Sunday column. And by the way, if you aren't satisfied with 7-0, you may be trying a bit to hard not to be. Just sayin'.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: No. 8 Miami clicks Heels, moves to 7-0: UM on Saturday won 24-19 at North Carolina in what also was a (nervous) victory over the losing focus and looking ahead, with home games next vs. ranked Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. Must have been those equine blinders Mark Richt had fitted onto UM helmets Saturday. Oh, and by the way: Read somebody said UM's 7-0 feels like a "fraud." People, if you can't be happy with 7-0, perhaps you are trying a bit too hard not to be. 

2. DOLPHINS: Embarrassed Fins fall hard off national stage: Dolphins' game in Baltimore Thursday was first of three straight in prime time, a franchise first, the 40-0 humiliation an embarrassing pratfall off that national stage. As for Matt Moore's performance? Let's just say Jay Cutler has never, ever looked better.

3. HEAT: Early injuries hampering team out the gate: Miami's 2-3 start after Saturday's home loss to Boston has been marked by early injuries to key players, notably to Hassan Whiteside. Any team's fortunes rely on the crapshoot of good health. But is it too much to ask that your team at least stay injury-free for, like, the first week!? 

4. BASEBALL: Wild World Series about to end somebody's long suffering: As the World Series moves west to L.A. with Houston up 3-2, the Dodgers are seeking their first WS championship since 1988 while the Astros are after their first ever. No matter who wins, celebrating fans may need a quick lesson in how to throw a parade.

5. UM BASKETBALL: Cloud over Larranaga as season nears: The season opener for Canes men's hoops is only 12 days away, and UM is supposed to be really good. But – with coach Jim Larranaga professing innocence but admitting he is the unnamed Miami coach in that FBI recruiting probe – a major distraction welcomes the season.

6. PANTHERS: Typical mediocre start for high-hope Cats: A new coach, Dale Tallon back in charge, new hope, but it's a 4-6 start after' Saturday's home loss to Detroit, already well off playoff pace. They're in midst of five-game homestand, needing a spark. A reason for rekindled hope.

7. NFL: Turmoil continues to rock King Sport: Texans players are planning a pregame protest today over "inmates running the prison" comment by their team owner. No-win debate over national anthem protests continues. Now 17 owners on a conference call reportedly are plotting to oust commissioner Roger Goodell. Oh, and ratings are down!

8. HALL OF FAME: Riley, LeBatard among Miami inductees: Heat boss Pat Riley and Miami-based ESPN Radio lord Dan LeBatard were among latest inductees into Miami Chamber of Commerce Hall of Champions. Imagine LeBatard make the Hall of Fame despite all those years of steroid use!

9. MARLINS: Jeter, "Mr. Marlin" officially part ways: New boss Derek Jeter and Jeff Conine could not agree on Conine's role or salary, so he's out. So the Marlins dumped Mr. Marlin. Tony Perez and Andre Dawson are out for same reasons. How Loria-esque!

10. NASCAR: One race left before Homestead finale: Next Sunday in Phoenix is the final race before NASCAR's Nov. 19 grand finale down at Homestead. No Dale Jr. in the finals, though. Cinderella failed us.

Missing the HB10 cut: Aston Martin is selling a Tom Brady-edition automobile for $360,000. It is preprogrammed to drive straight to the Super Bowl ..... The Yankees parted ways with manager Joe Girardi after 10 seasons. See. I told ya it wouldn't last! ..... Florida Gators reportedly have ousted coach Jim McElwain, with ex-Canes coach Randy Shannon taking over on interim basis. There's a naked-man-lying-on-a-shark-in-a-boat joke there somewhere ..... It was reported Alabama's Nick Saban is America's highest-paid college football coach at $11.132 million. How much the guy gotta make to smile once in awhile!? ..... Astros' Yuri Gurriel disciplined for a racist slant-eye gesture aimed at Dodgers' Yu Darvish. Ah, sportsmanship! ..... Dolphins cheerleaders held annual Swimsuit Fashion Show. Instead of a calendar, troupe produced a 100-page coffee table book. Sounds like good bathroom "reading" material for Dad!

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 64.3%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 64.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 24-19 victory at North Carolina putting No. 8 UM's season record at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the ACC. That's a sharp drop to a season low after a fourth straight narrow win. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.
 
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
G7: 64.3% following 24-19 victory at North Carolina
Next poll: Nov. 4 following game vs. Virginia Tech 

NO. 8 HURRICANES 24, @NORTH CAROLINA 19: FOURTH STRAIGHT TIGHT GAME, BUT UM STAY UNBEATEN: Miami has won its past four games by a combined 18 points after today's 24-19 escape at North Carolina, but, when last I checked the math, 7-0 was 7-0 ..... Original post: This high-noon ACC Coastal kickoff in Chapel Hill figures as a rout, maybe even an ugly one. Miami is 6-0, 4-0 in the ACC and beginning to think it has a shot at working up into conversation for the four-team College Football Playoff. North MiauncCarolina is 1-7, 0-5 in the conference and, thanks largely to decimating injuries, every bit as bad, all over the field, as those records suggest. In some ways it's surprising Miami is "only" a 20 1/2-point favorite. And yet the seeming lopsidedness here is about all that should worry UM coach Mark Richt. With consecutive home games vs. ranked opponents Virginia Tech and Notre Dame following this, taking the Tar Heels too casually and mentally looking past them is about the only factor that could imperil the Canes here. Richt has been very good at marshaling his team's focus, though, and he has a little help. UNC has beaten Miami two in a row, and some Canes felt "disrespected" by the Heels' celebrating last year after a 20-13 win in Miami. That suggests the Hurricanes might just be in payback mode. A comfy win would be especially welcome following the past three games won by a combined total of just 13 points. "We're not foolish enough to think that we've arrived yet," Richt said of his team. "I don't think they believe that. They know we have to earn it." My pick: Hurricanes, 45-13

Other state FBS Week 9 games (chronologically, all Saturday unless noted):

Boston College 35, Florida State 3: It's time to say it. FSU is not "off to a slow start." FSU is not "struggling." FSU is a really bad team this season, and seemingly getting worse. This Friday night road loss puts Noles at 2-5, with even a minor bowl game looking more and more doubtful.

FIU 41, Marshall 30: Butch Davis' Panthers were 17-point road underdogs but started fast and held on for a huge win for the program in improving to 5-2. Cats stay in hunt for Conference USA title, and what a coaching rebirth so far for Butch!

No. 3 Georgia 42, Florida 7: Gators had won 21 of previous 26 meetings, but that meant zero in Jacksonville at this year's "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." Bulldogs were angling to get into SEC title game and CFP playoff, were 14-point favorites and had their way to drop Florida to 3-4.

Houston 28, No. 17 South Florida 24: Upset! Oh my. Percolating Bulls were 11-point home favorites but suffered first loss, are now 7-1 and could fall from polls or close to it.

FAU 42, Western Kentucky 28: Lane Kiffin's Owls took care of business with a tidy road win to improve to 5-3 and stay in hunt for C-USA title.

No. 18 UCF 73, Austin Peay 33: Hope you had the 'over.' Knights now 7-0 after rolling over and through their Ohio Valley Conference foe. 

National Collball Week 9 overview: Four big Top 25 Saturday matchups led by the one with direct College Football Playoff ramifications or both teams: No. 6 Ohio State rallying at home to beat No. 2 Penn State, 39-38. Others: 11-Oklahoma State beat 22-West Virginia 50-39; 25-Iowa State upset 4-TCU, 14-7; and 9-Notre Dame handled 14-North Carolina State, 35-14. 

THE LIST: STATE-COLLEGE FOOTBALL SALARIES: Income this season for the state of Florida's seven FBS-level head coaches, based on USA Today's annual database:

Coach, School                                2017 income

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State             $5.700 million

Jim McElwain, Florida                    $4.457

*-Mark Richt, Miami                        $4.000

Scott Frost, UCF                            $2.000

Charlie Strong, South Florida          $1.000

Lane Kiffin, FAU                             $950,000

Butch Davis, FIU                            $900,000

*-Richt salary is based on published reports. He was not included in USA Today database because UM is a private school.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Debacle (quick hits 40-0 loss in Baltimore). Time Is Right For Dolphins To Prove Doubters Wrong (on three straight prime-time games). The Godfather Speaks (Pat Riley exclusive). Also: Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season. It Isn't Just Cutler. Back On Track & Ready To Roar. Jeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2017

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 93.0%. Still in the stratosphere; plus No. 8 UM beats Syracuse 27-19 to stay unbeaten; also, rest of Collball Week 8 (updated), Heat win 30th home Opening Night & more

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

1) It is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21. Click Cemetery Joggers for this week's latest Back In My Day video from the radio show. 2) Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 7 picks, your Heat expectations verdict, my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix n' Fantasy results, updated SOPY standings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Heat home opener / Pat Riley column: Heat opened at home with win last night vs. Indiana after losing Game 1 in Orlando earlier in week. In exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, Heat majordomo Pat Riley reflects on 50 years in NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for season. Click The Godfather Speaks to read.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 93.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 93.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-19 victory over visiting Syracuse putting No. UM’s season record at 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC. The CSM polls are your invitation after every Canes game to share your overall degree of satisfaction with the team. Criteria for voting is your own, but we suggest you consider the latest performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the direction of the program and your overall sense of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Poll results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday.
 
 
 
2017 CSM results
G1: 69.5% following 41-13 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman
G2: 83.9% following 52-30 victory vs. Toledo
G3: 96.5% following 31-6 victory at Duke
G4: 97.6% following game 24-20 victory at Florida State
G5: 96.0% following 25-24 victory vs. Georgia Tech
G6: 93.0% following 27-19 victory vs. Syracuse
Next poll: Oct. 28 following game at North Carolina

 

G6: SYRACUSE AT NO. 8 HURRICANES: UM COULD USE A REST, BUT CAN'T SLEEP ON ORANGE: Postgame thoughts: Malik Rosier's 344 yards passing and two TDs fronted Miami's big 27-19 victory over visiting Syracuse Saturday, but the win keeping No. 8 Miami unbeaten really happened because of UM's defense against Orange passer Eric Dungey. He was a nightmarish 14 for 41 with four interceptions. That Turnover Chain was busy ..... Original postConsecutive emotional, close, last-second wins -- 24-20 at nemesis Florida State, then 25-24 vs. Georgia Tech -- threaten to have the Hurricanes mentally drained, sort of needing a soft spot on the schedule to coast Syrmiathrough on auto-pilot. This looked like that week, once. That was until Syracuse stunned No. 2 Clemson last week, an attention getter for the Canes that lent backbone to Mark Richt's rote preaching about how dangerous the next opponent is. The Orange with Syrmia65prolific QB Eric Dungey will be the biggest test of the season so far for Miami's secondary, and, as Clemson learned, Syracuse can also bring it on defense. Syracuse is 4-3 but has won two straight. No. 8 Miami is 5-0 and favored by 17, up from an opening 14. With the first College Football Playoff rankings near, this is not a game for UM to lose if this season is to continue special. With ABC cameras watching, this 3:30 Saturday game will be another great stage for UM to preen, grow its brand and continue toward "Back" -- or to slip and fall with the nation watching. Canes have won 10 in a row dating to last season; why stop now? I like Richt's perspective on being ranked so high: "First of all, you're not a Top-10 program unless at the end of the year you're a Top-10 program," he said. "We were ranked 10th last year and lost four in a row, so we became unranked. We were happy to be ranked at the end of the year [a final 20th after a bowl win]. But we're not at the point where we can just line up and impose our will on people." That makes Syracuse an opponent UM will have to work hard and play well to beat. I believe the Canes will. (Pictured left: A bit of nostalgia. Cover of a Syracuse-Miami program from game played in 1965). My pick: Hurricanes, 34-23.

Other state FBS Week 8 games (all Saturday, chronologically):

Louisville 31, Florida State 28: Nightmare season continues for preseason No. 3 Noles, now 2-4 and likely headed to a dismal bowl.

No. 20 UCF 31, Navy 21: Knights sink Navy to stay unbeaten in maybe toughest test thus far.

FAU 69, North Texas 31: Home-nesting Owls were narrow favorites but moved to 4-3 with authority. 

No. 16 South Florida 34, Tulane 28: Bulls now 7-0, but didn't think it would be easy, and it wasn't.

Off this week: FIU (4-2, next at Marshall); and Florida (3-3, next vs. No. 3 Georgia).

National Collball Week 8 overview: Two big Top 25 matchups this week as first College Football Playoff rankings loom: No. 2 Penn State handled No. 19 Michigan 42-13, No. 13 Notre Dame upended and 11-Southern Cal 49-14.

Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins)Also: Hope That Wasn't GoodbyeChasing HistoryWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be DullA Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote