October 17, 2020

G5: No. 13 Hurricanes handle Pitt, 31-19, behind King's 4 TD passes; plus NFL Week 6 picks: Dolphins-Stinkin' Jets and the rest; also, newest Greg Cote Show podcast featuring Uncle Dick, NFL Week 5 Pix 'n Fantasy results, recent columns & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat fall as Lakers win NBA Finals, Dolphins crush Niners, Canes crushed at Clemson, Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 32 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

PitmiaG5: NO. 13 HURRICANES 31, PITT 19: KING's 4 TD THROWS, STRONG DEFENSE CARRY UM: I thought it would be a defense-first game that Pitt would cover as 13 1/2-point 'dogs. I was right as Miami  improved to 4-1 and Panthers fell to 3-3. Neither team could run and both struggled on third down. D'Eriq King was uneven and threw two picks but also had four TD throws including scoring strikes of 35, 38 and 45 yards. This result will satisfy if not wow the pollsters. Original post: No. 3 Georgia at No. 2 Alabama is of course the game most college football fans will be watching Saturday. Pittsburgh at No. 13 Miami is on the ACC Network, so even most Canes fans in South Florida who want to watch may not be able to because their carrier does not have the ACC channel. In any case, this is a danger game for UM. Warning lights are flashing. The point spread favoring Miami was bet up from 10 1/2 to 13 1/2. Hmm. Did bettors all over the Canes here not see The U obliterated 42-17 by Clemson last week? Do they not know Pitt is two 1-point losses from being 5-0? This noon start does not look like an easy one for Miami -- especially if Hurricanes are in any sort of letdown mode after playing No. 1 Clemson, or take Pitt's Panthers lightly in the least. Clemson was able to dismantle UM's running game and uptempo offense last week. Pitt is not Clemson, but the panthers' D is very good -- including a nation-leading 25 sacks. QB D'Eriq King will need his legs for escape purposes unless Miami's O-line proves better in this matchup than I think it is. Pitt's run defense also will be a challenge for Cam'Ron Harris as he tries to bounce back from being shut down by Clemson. Figure Miami's defense will arise to win this in what I see as a fairly low-scoring game and one closer than the betting line. No ACC divisions in this weird pandemic season, just one conference, so the two teams with the best conference records will make the championship game. With Clemson, North Carolina and Notre Dame all unbeaten and top-five nationally, it could be tough for somebody else to get in. Miami will have a shot if its ACC loss count stay at one. A second conference loss could be crippling. Makes this a must-win in every sense but the literal one. My pick: Hurricanes, 24-17. [My column off last week's game: Canes Not 'Back' Yet, As Clemson Emphatically Proves Again].

Other state FBS games today:

South Florida (1-3) at Temple (0-1), noon: Home-nesting Owls were 11-point faves and rallied to beat a down Bulls squad, 39-37.

UCF (2-1) at Memphis (1-1), 3:30: Knights, a 3-point betting pick, are 13-0 in series but past three very competitive.

No. 5 North Carolina (3-0) at Florida State (1-3), 7:30: Hard to see Heels ranked this high and 13-point faves. Then you recall how FSU got obliterated by Canes.

Off this week: FAU (1-0). COVID-related postponements: LSU (1-2) at No. 10 Florida (2-1); and FIU (0-2) at Charlotte (1-2).

PicksOUR NFL WEEK 6 PICKS: DOLPHINS-STINKIN' JETS AND ALL THE REST: Did you survive without a Thursday night game? Week 6 continues a season increasingly increasingly impacted by COVID, causing delayed and postponed games. It is why the Dolphins-Jets game Sunday was pushed back from 1 to 4. But our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald -- that's always reliably right on time, and we thank your for following along each week! Here are our Week 6 selections for Stinkin' Jets at Dolphins, for our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and all the rest of the 14-game slate. Hint on our big upset: An unbeaten teams falls. For all our latest game by game previews and picks visit NFL Week 6 Gems. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. (Thursday night picks appear Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print).

Coteshow MeandbroGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 32 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and the new Episode 32 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 32 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep32, 'Growing Up Cote,' we welcome in my older brother, a.k.a. Uncle Dick, and share memories of me as a (strange) child. Dick and I are pictured, circa early '80s. Also, Greg and Chris discuss Dolphins' big win over Niners, Canes' crushing loss, and Heat. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the O's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

Canes clobbered by Clemson ... yet again: My column off Saturday night's game: Canes Not 'Back' Yet, As Clemson Emphatically Proves Again.

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

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

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 5 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Big finish saves the week: We finished a solid 10-4 overall and 7-7 against the spread in Week 5 -- thanks to a big finish in the three prime-time games that ended the schedule. Sunday night we bull's-eyed Seahawks winning but Vikings covering; Monday night we rightly had Saints winning but Chargers covering; and Tuesday night we nailed our Upset of the Week with Titans (+8 1/2) beating Bills outright. "Aaawwwk!" Also called Panthers' upset win in Atlanta, and had Dolphins with the points vs. San Fran. Glad you're with us on our 30th season of picks in the Herald. Greg's Lobos: Another big win in fantasy!: Lobos won again to improve to 3-2 in PFPI Fantasy, our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league. We won 112-99 thanks to 26 points from the Ravens defense and a big 25 from Emmanuel Sanders Monday night. The bad news: Dak Prescott. My big-scoring QB is out injured for the season, a huge loss. I've got Kirk Cousins in the wings but have made waiver claim for Matthew Stafford. We're a 1-point loss from being 4-1 despite also still missing our top draft pick. Michael Thomas. With Thomas' high production back and a little luck replacing Dak, we should be OK.

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THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

October 08, 2020

On the brink: Marlins try to stay alive today, Heat try to do the same Friday. Our 2 latest playoff columns; plus tonight's Bucs-Bears pick, Billy Gil drops by new Greg Cote Show podcast, NFL Week 4 Pix 'n Fantasy results and QB rankings & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins fall to Seattle, Marlins reach NLDS, Heat shows life in NBA Finals, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 31 & more. 2) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Thursday night's Bucs-Bears pick: Will Tom Brady leave Soldier Field smiling? Answer here: Week 5 Thursday Gem.

It's the Russell 'n Dak Show at quarter mark of our NFL quarterback rankings: Peruse NFL Week 4 QB Rankings for the latest Top 20.

FishPlayoffs! Miracle Marlins down 2-0 in NLDS, face elimination today: Marlins and Braves continued best-of-5 NL Division Series in the Houston bubble Wednesday with a 2-0 Atlanta win on a pair of solo homers. Column off NLDS Game 2: Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Off Game 1: Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Column of NLWC-clinching Game 2 vs. Cubs: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs. Off Game 1: Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

HeatPlayoffs! Heat down 3-1 to Lakers, face elimination in NBA Finals: Miami hoped to get even Tuesday night but instead lost 102-96 to fall into a 3-1 hole in the best-of-7 NBA Finals. Game 5 is Friday night. Column off Game 4: Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Column off Game: 3: Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Off Game 2: NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Off Game 1: Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 4 RESULTS: NFL Pix: Mad scramble for a decent week: Hardly boast-worthy, but we toughed out a 9-6 Week 4 record overall and went an even 7-7-1 against the Picks Loboslogospread (with Bucs' 7-point win a push for the tie). Missed on our Upset of the Week -- you gamble on Vegas, you lose -- but had a trio of 'dogs-with-points on covers by the Browns, Vikings and Eagles. Join us in our 30th season of picks in the Herald. (Our Tampa Bay-Chicago pick to kick off Week 5 will be online later today). Greg's Lobos: Big win in fantasy!: Lobos got even at 2-2 in our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league with a big, rollicking 143-126 win. How 'bout them Cowboys! Got 39 points from Dak Prescott and 34 from Amari Cooper. (They can keep losing as long as they keep producing like that). Four men carried the 'Bos as we also got 25 points from Chris Carson and 22 from Aaron Jones. We're a 1-point loss from being 3-1 despite missing our top draft pick. Come back soon, Michael Thomas! 

CoteshowBilly GilGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: BILLY GIL DROPS BY NEW EPISODE 31, OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and new Episode 31 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 31 we've done RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep31 we welcome in guest Billy Gil (pictured) from ESPN Radio's Le Batard Show to talk Miracle Marlins and other fun stuff. Also, Greg demands everyone please shut up about Tua. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the N's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

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THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

September 30, 2020

Playoff Wednesday: Marlins, Heat both in action; plus 'Being Izzy,' the Greg Cote Show podcast's revealing new episode, out now!; also, Marlins a sports miracle for the ages. New column, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results, QB Rankings & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30. Farewell, September. Well aren't you ending with bang! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 with Heat in Finals vs. LeBron, Marlins in playoffs, and Canes and Fins' big wins, plus Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 30 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

PLAYOFF WEDNESDAY!: Marlins at Cubs in NLWC Game 1, 2 p.m. Heat vs. Lakers in NBA Finals Game 1, 9 p.m.

Herald NFL Week 3 QB Rankings: Mahomes wins week, Wilson still No. 1, Fitzpatrick crashes Top 20: NFL Week 3 QB Rankings.

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

FishCOVID-DECIMATED AND 30,000-TO-1 ODDS, MIAMI MARLINS ARE A SPORTS MIRACLE FOR THE AGES: We have reached a notable touchstone in South Florida professional sports history when the Miami Heat reaching the NBA Finals, one season after not even making the playoffs, is not the most remarkable story in town. Or even close to it. The Miami Marlins are the impossible dream come true, the feel-good sports story of surreal, pandemic 2020 — the new standard for “No way! You’re kidding. Seriously!?” You want an example for the ages that anything really is possible. We have the new one, and if any team can top this, have at it. The Marlins lost 105 games last season, the most in the National League. They began this truncated MLB season in the deep throes of a ground-up rebuild after trading stars for prospects. Their preseason odds to win the World Series were 30,000-to-1, dead last. Oh, and when play finally started in July, the Marlins were embarrassed to have so many players test positive for COVID-19 that eight games in a row had to be postponed, so decimated was the roster. This is the interloper in the postseason. Must be magic. Call ‘em the Merlins! Miami’s best-of-3 series at the Chicago Cubs starts Wednesday. For our full latest column, please visit COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages

Column from Hurricanes' crushing of rival Florida State: Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is.

Column on Heat reaching NBA Finals: Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron. Also: Off Game 5--Heat Lose, Still Lead 3-2. The Prize? An NBA Finals Date With LeBron. G4--Conquering Herro! Rookie's 37 Has Heat 1 Win From NBA Finals. G3--The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. G2--Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. G1--Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

Column on Dolphins' win at Jax: We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw. Also: Off Game 2--Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to BillsOff G1--Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 3 RESULTS: NFL Pix: Solid vs. spread. Stumbled in at 8-7-1 straight-up for Week 3, with bad luck on at least four of our winners blowing fourth-quarter leads. Much better against the spread at 10-6, including Packers over Saints in our Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"), and three 'dogs-with-points (Vikings, Bengals, Panthers). Join us in our 30th season of picks in the Herald. Greg's Lobos: Heartbreak loss: Lobos fell to 1-2 in our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league with a tough-to-take 103-102 loss. Win was ours for the taking but my Baltimore defense laid an egg Monday night, with two points. Dak Prescott's team-high 28 points went for naught. Really missing our injured top draft pick, Michael Thomas.

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THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

September 18, 2020

Magic! Another rally-win has Heat up 2-0 in ECF. With our new column; plus Bengals-Browns (nailed it!), NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Wk1 results, Herald's NFL QB rankings debut, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 28, column off Dolphins' opening loss & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins drop opener at New England, Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 28 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

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

Column off Dolphins' season-opening loss at New England: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua

Herald launches 23rd year of NFL QB rankings: NFL Week 1 QB Rank: Wilson out front; guess who's last?

DragicHEAT-CELTICS GAME 2: MIAMI IN COMMAND AFTER ANOTHER RALLY, ANOTHER WIN: Something very strange is going on here. The kind of thing that makes you believe in magic and miracles and all that other stuff with no ties to logic. The Miami Heat keeps winning. Relentlessly. Astoundingly. Now Miami is two wins from reaching the NBA Finals. After not even making the postseason last year. After being the underdog in all three playoff rounds so far in the surreal pandemic bubble that is 2020. For the Heat, the Disney bubble is not bursting. It is lifting this team. Thursday night Miami trailed by 13 points at halftime. By as many as 17 at one point. It was understandable. The desperate Boston Celtics, after losing Game 1, had to have this. The Heat was so due a loss. The third quarter score was 37-17, Miami. Bam Adebayo lit it up for 15 in the quarter, of his 21 total. Final: Miami 106, Boston 101. Heat, now up 2-0 entering Game 3 of this best-of-7 Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night. Thursday’s rally was after Miami had trailed by 14 points in the fourth quarter in the series opener, only to win in the frenetic last seconds on Jimmy Butler’s basket and then Adebayo’s epic block of Jayson Tatum’s attempted last-second winning dunk — a play instantly installed as an heirloom of Heat legend and lore. Thursday’s magic? How about Goran Dragic, the Dragon breathing fire, with seven consecutive points of his 25 total to forge the late lead? Magic? Consider: None of the Heat’s three championship-winning teams had ever begun a postseason on the 10-1 run this Miami team is on. None with Dwyane Wade. None with LeBron James. Yes, something strange is going on here. For our full latest column, please visit Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues

Game 1 column: Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 28 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 28 is out now! New episodes drop early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 28 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. Start on Episode 1 and catch up. In Ep28 we get all sportsy -- sportsier than we've ever been. Greg and Chris chew over the Dolphins and Hurricanes season openers with a dash of Marlins and Inter Miami talk. Mostly we dive deep into Heat-Celtics with special guest Amin Elhassan, the ESPN NBA expert. And he makes a bold prediction. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the K's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

OUR NFL WEEK 2 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS AND THE REST: As we dig into our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our Week 2 selections for Dolphins-Bills, our Game of the Week -- Lamar Jackson vs. Deshaun Watson -- our Upset of the Week and all the rest. We pick two big upsets in all including a prime-time stunner ("Aawwk!). Is a Dolphins home-debut win one of those upsets? To find out please visit NFL Week 2 Gems for our previews and picks on every matchup. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print). Visit Week 2 Thursday Gem for our separate Bengals-Browns pick. We nailed it for a perfect start to our Week 2, getting it right straight-up and against-the-spread win. We had Cleveland winning but Cincy-plus-six. Thanks to Joe Burrow's late TD drive, both happened. Thanks, Joey. Owe you a cup o' coffee.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 1 RESULTS: Late on this. Will have it in the blog Tuesdays each week henceforth. NFL Pix: Rough start. Went 8-8 straight-up and 6-9-1 against the spread -- not the kind of launch I envisioned for my 30th season of picks in the Herald. Had some bad luck. Example: Dropped last-second TD pass costing me the Lions win I'd predicted. Anyhoo. No excuses. Sally forth! Greg's Lobos: Opening loss: No Le Batard Show league this year so this is our friends 'n family league. The 'Bos fell 139-109, with five starters perfoming below projections. A bright spot: Chris Carson's team-leading 24 points. The bad news moving forward: My thoroughbred spilled his jockey out the gate. Top draft pick Michael Thomas, with a high-ankle sprain, could miss several weeks. Oy vey. Stay tuned. 

Other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic and our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2: Lifting Spirits And A City: Heat, Up 2-0, Continue Pandemic Playoff Run and Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency. Also: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk. And: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All SportsSpecial Don Shula tribute: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was MeGeorge Floyd-related: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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

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

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

September 12, 2020

NFL Week 1 picks: Dolphins-Pats, Brady-Brees and all the rest!; plus It's Heat-Celtics!, Hurricanes slap UAB 31-14. My 6-Pack 'o Thoughts; also, Chuck Todd talks Canes on latest Greg Cote Show podcast, your verdict on Lobos fantasy draft, 9/11 & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12. HEAT-CELTICS. EAST FINALS. GAME 1 TUESDAY. DELICIOSO! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual Grade-My-Fantasy-Draft poll, NFL picks prepare for debut, our Football Special-Section Triumvirate, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 27 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

OUR FOOTBALL SPECIAL-SECTION TRIUMVIRATE!:

TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE

WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS

FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 27 STARRING CHUCK TODD OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with new Episode 27! New episodes drop early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 27 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep27 we welcome in very special guest Chuck Todd, the NBC Meet the Press moderator who also happens to be Miami born and raised and a huge Hurricanes fans. He talks growing up in the 3-0-5, UM football and also a bit of politics. What was his pinch-me moment? The answer will surprise you. Greg and Chris also talk Heat-Bucks. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore -- the royal J's. Here all that and more on the the Greg Cote Show podcast now!

Picks RavenIT'S UPSET BIRD WEEK IN AMERICA! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid '19, we begin our 30th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald with our Week 1 selections for Dolphins-Patriots, our Game of the Week -- the Brady vs. Brees 'Old G.O.A.T.s Bowl,' the Upset of the Week and all the rest. We picked four big upsets. ("Aawwk!," says the Upset Bird, pictured). Is a Dolphins road win one of those upsets? To find out please visit NFL Week 1 Gems for our previews and picks on every matchup. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print). Visit Week 1 Thursday Gem for our separate Texans-Chiefs pick. We had a split verdict on Chiefs' 34-20 win to cover the 9-point spread. Had KC winning 34-17 for a Texans cover. Expected a bit more from Deshaun Watson. I’m coming off a solid 2019 for my picks: a .663 winning percentage straight-up and .518 against the point spread. That followed a record-setting 2018: .705 overall and .582 vs. the betting line. To those who’ve followed our picks for years, welcome back. To newbies out there, welcome aboard. We take our picks seriously but have fun doing 'em. Ready? Go!

DkingG1: HURRICANES SLAP UAB 31-14 AS NEW QB KING SHINES: SIX PACK 'O THOUGHTS: 1. Relief. That was the feeling off the start of Manny Diaz 2.0. "Couldn't be more proud of our players," Diaz said. "Just everything they did to get us to this day. They did everything we asked during the summer. We kept each other safe. They gave us the opportunity to play today." More relief: UAB was a Conference USA foe. The last two of those -- FIU and Louisiana Tech -- embarrassed Miami late last season. Progress. 2. D'Eriq King. The transfer QB was dual-threat solid, 16-24 passing with a TD, 83 yards rushing with two more scores, 227 yards total. RB Cam'Ron Harris (134 hyards) also stood out. 3. The defense. It forced 11 punts but had zero takeaways and only one sack. More will be needed as competition gets bigger. 4. A kicker! UM finally has one. After last year's nightmare on fields goals and extra points, Jose Borregales is a delight! 5. The crowd. The 8,153 being well below the 13K max allowed by coronavirus protocols was no surprise. UAB would-a been tough draw anyway, even for a season opener. 6. My pick. Canes won 31-14. I said they'd win 34-13. Sorry. I'll do better next time. Original post: Trying to pretend any of this is normal as the Canes open their season in a pandemic before a Hard Rock Stadium crowd that will be capped at 13,000 max due to COVID-19 protocols Thursday night at 8, beamed across ACC Network. Will even that many fans risk it to show up? I can tell you UM was still pushing available tickets late Wednesday. UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) is a lesser opponent, with Miami a 14-point favorite, but that alone makes this game an instant measuring stick for The U based on last year's travails. UM's 6-7 season in 2019 include losses to Conference USA foes FIU, the crosstown little bro, and Louisiana Tech, 14-0, in the Why Bother Even Playing In It Bowl. Both were embarrassing losses. Well, UAB is also a C-USA team, and the modest two-TD point spread suggests lingering doubt about unranked (but receiving votes) Miami. The big unveiling of dynamic transfer (from Houston ) QB D'Eriq King is this game's centerpiece. King has as much Heisman Trophy buzz (no, seriously) as any player not named Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, so let's begin to see if the hype is justified. This would be the right game to pad those stats and kick-start the campaign. Miami should roll pretty easily. I thought thata few times last year and got burned. Let's see how new and improved the Canes really are in the Year of Manny 2.0. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-13. Crowd, sub-13K.

[Note to readers: The Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (and Dolfan Satisfaction Meter) postgame polls have retired. After a long and successful run, we are using this weird pandemic season to make a clean break. Thanks to all you many CSM and DSM fans who have participated over the years!]

Other state FBS games this week:

Georgia Tech at FSU (Saturday 3:30 ABC) -- Seminoles a solid 12 1/2-point pick at The Doak. Noles visit UM September 26.

The Citadel at South Florida (Saturday 7 ESPNU) -- Bulls a three-TD (20.5-point) pick to do the goring.

FantFANTASY DRAFT VERDICT: YOU BLIND-VOTED GREG'S LOBOS MID-PACK: Had our annual blind poll inviting you all to rate the 10 teams in my friends 'n family PPR league based on everyone's top five draft picks. Your verdict: 1st--Team #8 (Top pick Dalvin Cook) 25.32%--That's Brandon's team, a family friend. 2nd--Team #3 (Ezekiel Elliott) 17.72%--Alex, another friend. 3rd--Team #1 (Christian McCaffrey) 16.46%--Cori, my daughter-in-law's sister. 4th--Team #5 (Patrick Mahomes) 11.39%--Dick, my brother. t5th--Team #2 (Saquon Barkley) 8.86%--Chris, my eldest son. t5th--Team #4 (Michael Thomas) 8.86%--Me, Greg's Lobos! Others--3.79% each: Christie my daughter-in-law; Joe, my nephew; and Earleen, my wife. No votes:  Michael, my youngest son.

Other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic and our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2: Lifting Spirits And A City: Heat, Up 2-0, Continue Pandemic Playoff Run and Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency. Also: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk. And: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 09, 2020

Greg's Lobos: Mock (or laud) my team. Annual fantasy draft blind poll. VOTE NOW!: plus 3 football preview columns, 30th year of NFL picks debut this week, new Greg Cote Show podcast with Chuck Todd & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Hope y'all had a Happy Labor Day. COVID-19 didn't take the holiday off. Hope you were safe and smart. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top  10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 27 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

It's Radio Wednesday this week: I'll be sitting in on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on Wednesday this week, not my usual Tuesday spot. Airs from 10 a.m. to noon on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. Join us! 

TuaDkingOUR FOOTBALL SPECIAL-SECTION TRIUMVIRATE!

TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE

WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO DOLPHINS LAND? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-A-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS!

FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, READY OR NOT, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 27 STARRING CHUCK TODD OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with new Episode 27! New episodes drop early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 27 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep27 we welcome in very special guest Chuck Todd, the NBC Meet the Press moderator who also happens to be Miami born and raised and a huge Hurricanes fans. He talks growing up in the 3-0-5, UM football and also a bit of politics. What was his pinch-me moment? The answer will surprise you. Greg and Chris also talk Heat-Bucks. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore -- the royal J's. Here all that and more on the the Greg Cote Show podcast now!

Picks"Aaawwwk!" Our NFL picks return this week for 30th season!: Hard to believe but we began our Friday NFL picks in the Miami Herald in 1991 and so this is our 30th season. [Bleep] I'm old! Our picks appear in print every Friday and online Thursday afternoons. (Our Thursday night pick appears Thursdays in print and online Wednesdays). We inexplicably and magically produced our greatest season ever in 2018, with a .705 winning percentage overall and .582 vs. the betting line -- both numbers crazy good. We naturally tailed off in 2019 but were still solid at .663 straight-up and.518 against the spread. To those who've followed our picks for years and to newbies alike, welcome aboard!

FantasyANNUAL FANTASY FOOTBALL POLL: LAUD OR TRASH GREG'S DRAFT: We had our annual PFPI Fantasy draft over the weekend. It' s a 10-team family 'n friends PPR league with a snake draft. The exact draft order is shown below in a blind poll, and we invite you to vote which team you would most like to have based on each team's first five rounds below. We'll count your votes and then reveal where you ranked my team, Greg's Lobos, and tell you who runs the other teams. One vote only. Go!

Other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic and our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2: Lifting Spirits And A City: Heat, Up 2-0, Continue Pandemic Playoff Run and Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency. Also: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk. And: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 28, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.8%. It's 3rd worst season-ending grade in CSM history after embarrassing 14-0 bowl to Louisiana Tech; plus NFL Week 17 picks (new), Week 16 Pix 'n Fantasy results, latest Herald NFL QB rankings & more

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28. Hope y'all had a wonderful and  Merry Christmas and are having a great holiday season! Scroll to previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. 2) Personal note: I'm burning a bunch of leftover vacation time this month, in case you wondered why I haven't been in the Herald much lately. Bonus points to you if you noticed! 3) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Cincinnati with DSM postgame poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Updated Herald NFL QB rankings: It's a dead-heat at the top and wild finish entering the final week of the Miami Herald's 22nd annual NFL quarterback rankings. Visit Herald Week 16 NFL QB Rankings for details and the Top 20. 

PicksDOLPHINS-PATRIOTS, PLAYOFF-DECIDING TOP GAMES, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 17 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a mostly solid 29th year of NFL picks thus far in the Miami Herald. We’re running solid at .665 overall and at .521 against the spread after rocking an 11-6 straight-up and 9-6-1 ATS last week. For all of our Week 17 picks to close the regular season, including Dolphins at Patriots, playoff-clinching top games and big upsets, please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call NFL Week 17 Gems.

G13: LOUISIANA TECH 14, HURRICANES 0 IN INDEPENDENCE BOWL: MIAMI FAILS MISERABLY TO END A DOWN SEASON ON UPSWING: Original post: They're playing a Conference USA opponent in a third-tier bowl game. There are UM fans who consider this an indignity -- beneath the program. But this is what you get when you finish 6-6. You get what you are given. You take what you can. But there are stakes Bowlfor the Canes in today's 4 p.m. Independence Bowl vs. Louisiana Tech (on ESPN) from Shreveport, La. It's the difference between finishing with a winning record or a losing record. It's also about Manny Diaz and his team doing what it has repeatedly failed to do this disappointing season: Perform well again an underdog opponent when given extra time to prepare. Think Central Michigan. Think FIU. Miami has underperformed against (supposedly) lesser foes. Will it yet again? UM is not good enough to take anybody lightly, and La-Tech is 9-3 and has won five bowl games in a row. By contrast, UM's bowl record is a sad 1-8 since 2008. Yet Miami is a 6-point favorite despite losing four players who'll skip the game for the NFL Draft, including senior linebacker Michael Pinckney. I expected Jarren Williams and N'Kosi Perry both to see action at QB for Miami. I also expect UM's defense to rise up. But this is a big game for Louisiana Tech. Can Diaz convince his team it is for the Canes, too? We'll see. Cote's pick: Hurricanes. 30-21. Watch for season-finale Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll online and directly below right after today's game ends.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: 2019 FINAL: 5.8%: Results are certified in the latest -- and season's last -- of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter Csmpostgame polls, and they show 5.8 percent final approval in the wake of Thursday's 14-0 loss to underdog Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., leaving the Hurricanes' final 2019 season record at 6-7. That is the third-lowest total in the 11-year history of the CSM, and the worst since 2014. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game 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. Because this was the final poll, I suggested added emphasis on the season as a whole. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10 a.m. today/Saturday.

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

G3: 83.0% following 63-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman.

G4: 8.5% following 17-12 victory vs. Central Michigan.

G5: 28.8% following 42-35 loss vs. Virginia Tech.

G6: 82.0% following 17-9 victory vs. Virginia.

G7: 11.3% following 28-21 OT loss vs. Georgia Tech.

G8: 61.0% following 16-12 victory at Pitt.

G9: 91.8% following 27-10 victory at Florida State.

G10: 95.2% following 52-27 victory vs. Louisville.

G11: 9.6% following 30-24 loss to FIU at Marlins Park.

G12: 4.9% following 27-17 loss at Duke.

G13/Bowl/Final: 5.8% following 14-0 loss to Louisiana Tech in Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2019--5.8% (6-7); 2018--11.2% (7-6); 2017--68.4% (10-3). 2016--97.2% (9-4); 2015--20.1% (8-5); 2014--2.7% (6-7); 2013--16.1% (9-4); 2012--80.9% (7-5); 2011--22.1% (6-6); 2010--4.2% (7-6); 2009--41.7% (9-4).

 

LoboslogoNFL WEEK 16 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: NFL picks -- Yes! Went a nifty 11-5 overall and a solid 9-6-1 against the spread in our Week 16 Herald picks. Houston winning by 3 pushed for the tie. Nailed our Upset of the Week with Packers winning at Vikings ("Aawwk!"), and also called Miami's mini-upset of Cincy and had underdog Rams and Cardinals with points. Strong week! ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Izzy Gutierrez beat Mike Ryan for the championship. Greg's Lobos after an 8-5 regular season finished 9-7 after qualifying for the championship-round playoffs. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Greg's Lobos, after a 7-6 season that qualified for the championship-round playoffs, fizzled and finished 7-9. Chris Cote lost to his wife Christie for the league title.

Our most recent other work: We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football / Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes and Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 DraftAlso: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me!

Additional select recent columns: Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 19, 2019

We are the (state) champions! Celebrating the historic sweep of South Florida high school football. Latest column; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 15 results, newest Herald NFL QB rankings, a personal note & more

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19. Personal note: I'm burning a bunch of left over vacation time this month, in case you wondered why I haven't been in the Herald as much lately. Bonus points to you if you noticed. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at Giants with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Updated Herald NFL QB rankings: There's a new No. 1 atop the season rankings, while Drew Brees' Monday show wins the week. For the full Top 20 and more, visit Herald Week 15 NFL QB Rankings.

AFTER 7-FOR-7 SWEEP OF STATE TITLES, SOUTH FLORIDA IS KING OF HIGH-SCHOOL FOOTBALL: The football teams were at the same hotel in Daytona Beach this past weekend for the state championships when a bunch of parents and fans of Miami Northwestern High mingled in the lobby as the Miami Columbus team returned from seeing a movie. "Better win or you can’t come Centralback to the 3-0-5!" Columbus coach Dave Dunn heard a Northwestern fan call out. The message, though said in jest, was probably only half-kidding. Prep football is a serious proposition held to the highest standard in Miami-Dade. In Broward, too — as the neighboring counties just proved in historic fashion. It was an unprecedented show of force from South Florida. There are eight FHSAA divisions based on school size, and Dade/Broward brought home a record seven state championships. Call it a clean sweep, because South Florida has no football team in the smallest division geared to rural schools. (If only some of our local high school mojo might rub off on the Miami Hurricanes, who at 6-6 are preparing to face Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl, or the Dolphins, slogging along at 3-11). Stating South Florida’s case as America’s capital of high school football: Columbus wins Class 8A (the largest division) for the school’s first state title in the sport. Fort Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas wins Class 7A for the school’s state-record 11th championship, breaking a tie for most with Jacksonville Bolles. Miami Central -- pictured celebrating with coach Roland Smith holding trophy -- wins Class 6A for the school’s sixth state crown. Northwestern wins Class 5A for the school’s third state title in a row and seventh overall, the most by a Miami-Dade team. Miami’s Booker T. Washington wins Class 4A for the school’s sixth crown. Hollywood’s Chaminade-Madonna wins Class 3A for its third title and third in a row. And Hialeah Champagnat wins Class 2A for that school’s third state championship. From the continuation of the Aquinas juggernaut to the maiden title for Columbus, it has been a December like no other for local high school football. I explore why in my newest column, after speaking with four of the championships coaches Monday to get their thoughts on So-Fla prep teams are so damned good. To read the full column, visit We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

Our most recent other columns: Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes and Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 DraftAlso: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 15: ANOTHER TOUGH WEEKNFL picks -- Ouch. Managed 9-7 overall but only 6-9-1 against the spread this past week (with Seattle winning by 6 the push for the tie). Had Atlanta with the points at San Fran but not a lot else went right. Need to rally and finish strong. ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Bad finish. Greg's Lobos after an 8-5 regular season dropped a second straight in the playoffs, 92.2 to 69.4 to Lorenzo despite 26.7 from Patrick Mahomes. It's Mike vs. Stugotz for the league title. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Another bad finish. Lobos after a 7-6 season lost a second straight in the playoffs, 185-114 despite 31 from Saquon Barkley. Can't feel too bad losing to a crazy 185. It'll be my son Chris vs. his wife Christie for the league crown.

Additional select recent columns: Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 12, 2019

Minor bowl, small foe, but here's why Hurricanes need to prove something in a game that should be beneath them -- but isn't. New column; plus tonight's Jets-Ravens pick, NFL Week 14 Pix 'n Fantasy results, updated Herald NFL QB rankings & more

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12. Scroll to the previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. They may surprise you. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at Jets with DSM postgame poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Jets-Ravens pick: Do you believe in miracles?: It wold be perhaps the upset of the season if the Jets won in Baltimore tonight. See if it'll happen here: NFL Week 15 Thursday Gem.

Updated Herald NFL QB rankings: There's a new No. 1 in the season lead with three weeks left in the Miami Herald NFL quarterback rankings, while a non-contender for the season crowns wins the Week 14 title. Visit Herald Week 14 NFL QB Rankings for details and the Top 20 chart plus Dolphins.

MINOR BOWL GAME. SMALL OPPONENT. BUT HERE'S WHY CANES NEED TO WIN: Manny Diaz has set out on one of the greatest challenges of his college football coaching career: Trying to pretend how happy he is that his Miami Hurricanes are headed to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. Excuse me. Make that the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl. The title sponsor is Indbowla badly named southern chain of Cajun-themed bistro/bars. Except they spell bistro “bistreaux.” Of course they do. Previous Independence Bowl name sponsors have included the Poulan Weed-Eater, Rubbermaid and Duck Commander, so consider this an upgrade of sorts. The aspiring-to-second-tier bowl has been around 44 years and last hosted a ranked team in 1997. If you are a five-time national championship program that finds itself playing in the Independence Bowl, you would just as soon it not be televised or publicized in any way. Interesting to note that Diaz has not tweeted a word about how thrilled he is to be bringing his 6-6 team to face smaller-conference Louisiana Tech on Dec. 26. Be honest. As high honors go, the Canes facing the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the Independence Bowl is closer to an indignity. I asked Diaz on a Monday teleconference call how he motivates his guys for this game when Miami obviously had much bigger bowls in mind before laying down to end the season with losses to FIU and Duke. Quick aside: FIU beat UM 31-24 (and it wasn’t that close). FIU lost this season to Louisiana Tech 43-31. "It should have to do with our standard," Diaz answered. "Your habits, the way that you work, getting to define what our consistency of performance is — being the same team week in, week out. When we begin to realize the opponent is always ourselves, that’s a big step forward in this program." Diaz and his staff are deep into recruiting these days — clearly and smartly a bigger priority than this bowl game. Early signing day is December 18. UM’s 2020 class, Diaz’s first as head coach, is ranked No. 15 by ESPN as of Monday. But there are reasons why this bowl game is big, too. To read my latest full column, please visit Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes.

Our other most recent work:Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft andOff Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite. Also: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 14: TOUGH WEEK ALL-AROUND, FOLKS: NFL picks -- Not braggin'. We were an OK 10-6 overall but sputtered home at 5-9-2 against the spread last week, our worst week of the season ATS. Had a pair of 'dogs-with-points in covers by Dolphins and Giants but not a lot else went right. Missed two ATS hits by one points. The two ties were pushes by the Vikings and Bucs. ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- I'm out. Greg's Lobos entered the playoffs 8-5 as the No. 5 seed but lost in the first round to Stugotz by 113.6 to 77.8. I picked a bad week for a bad week as eight of my nine players performed below their projections -- including season MVL Patrick Mahomes. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- I'm out there, too. Lobos made the playoffs at 7-6 as the No. 5 seed but lost in the opening round, 128-100. Got 27 from MVL Deshaun Watson (who edged Dalvin Cook for the honor), but it wasn't enough. Oh well. On to next year. Go 'Bos!

Select other recent columns: FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 05, 2019

The case for Dolphins' Flores as Coach of Year, Fitzpatrick as starting QB in '20. New column; plus Hurricanes won't but should decline bowl invite, tonight's Cowboys-Bears pick, latest Back In My Day, NFL Week 13 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5. Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for the Dolfans in your life. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins upset Philadelphia with DSM poll, NFL Week 13 picks & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Cowboys-Bears pick: Two desperate teams clawing to make the playoffs meet tonight at Soldier Field. My preview and pick: Thursday Week 14 Gem.

DOLPHINS' FLORES COACH OF YEAR? FITZPATRICK STARTING QB IN '20? LET ME EXPLAIN!: In this strangest of Miami Dolphins seasons, two things to consider have arisen that both would have seemed sheer lunacy only five weeks ago. Before stating these two things and then explaining I should first emphasize that I do not have a concussion and have not been drinking. 1. Brian FitzfloFlores should be considered for NFL Coach of the Year. 2. There is a circumstance and a case to be made why Ryan Fitzpatrick might still be the Fins’ starting quarterback beyond this season. (The QB and coach are pictured). Let me explain quickly, before anyone has time to draw up papers to have me committed under the Baker Act. First, Flores. He won’t win Coach of the Year, of course. Might not even get a vote, because voters are lemmings beholden to formulaic thinking. And for this award you start with what coach improved by the most wins. That’s why the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan (4-12 to a current 10-2) or somebody like that will win. But Flores should be considered, by outside-the-box thinkers, because nobody else inherited his situation, or has made more of less. It isn’t even close. At 0-7 he was the captain of the S.S. Tanktanic. His team was a laughingstock. Epic bad. His own front office undercut him by trading away top players for future draft picks. Those not mocking the Dolphins were excoriating them. ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth (needing a ladder to scale that high horse) called the overt tanking "morally reprehensible." All Flores did was take a winless, laughed-at team bound for 0-16 and keep it believing in itself. Now Miami is 3-9, with a few more winnable games ahead starting Sunday at the Jets and old coach Adam Gase. OK. On to Fitzpatrick and the quarterback spot. This 37-year-old man with the lumberjack beard has proved, again, why he has survived 15 NFL seasons across eight teams. He is an affable, always smiling leader whose love of playing is infectious. He has earned the right to be kept by Miami in 2020 as a backup. But the idea he might start next season is worth consideration. On merit, first, he is capable to lead a team. He has led this one. Today Fitzpatrick’s QBR rating of 64.1, measuring overall efficiency at the position, ranks No. 8 in the league. And that is despite the worst offensive line and the worst running game in the NFL! A strategy worth considering for Miami is to go with Fitzpatrick one more season and instead devote draft capital in 2020 to the team’s many other urgent needs such as O-line, an edge rusher and a running back. What we are seeing from Fitzpatrick gives the Fins the luxury to seriously weigh such an option. Miami could then turn its eye to the quarterback-of-the-future in the 2021 draft, when the available first-round bounty will include Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields — and maybe Alabama’s Tua Tagovailao, who has been pondering bypassing the ‘20 draft ever since his season-ending hip injury on Nov. 16. To read my full latest column, please visit Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft.

HURRICANES AT 6-6 HAVE ZERO TO CELEBRATE, SHOULD DECLINE BOWL INVITE: Here is what should happen this week in a news conference on the University of Miami campus. It won’t. I Mannyam dreaming. But it should. Director of athletics Blake James and head football coach Manny Diaz (pictured) are standing side by a side, a united front. Neither man is smiling. James clears his throat to speak first. "After much consideration the past few days," James would begin, "Manny and I are in agreement the football season just past did not meet the high expectations of the University of Miami, and therefore — although eligible to play in a postseason bowl — the Hurricanes will decline any and all invitations to do so." Diaz adds: "A bowl game should be a reward, and this season has not been one to earn such a thing. Neither myself, my staff nor our players have proved worthy of the prize that is a bowl trip." Canes fans are digesting and trying to fathom a season that had ended 6-6 with consecutive losses — first the comeuppance of ignominy against cross-county rival FIU, then Saturday’s closing defeat at Duke. UM of course will soon perfunctorily accept an invitation to some Grade D bowl game, almost as if it doesn’t have a choice and must. It might be the Independence, the Music City, the Sun or some other lame pity prize the Canes should be embarrassed to attend. Plainly, there is too much incentive (read: money) involved to turn down a bowl invite. The Atlantic Coast Conference, for example, gets $4 million for every one of its teams that goes bowling. But, again, I am not talking about what will happen, but what should in an ideal world. This UM football program should be licking its wounds and closing the sad ledger on this season now, not putting on display one last time one of the most disappointing teams in all of college football. To read our full recent column, please visit Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite.

Our most recent other work: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis. Also FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 13: OK, PLAYOFFS!, PLAYOFFS!: NFL picks -- OK. We were a so-so 9-7 overall and a pretty good 9-7 against the spread last week. Nailed our Upset of the Week with winless Bengals beating Jets. Also had a mini-upset with Steelers over Browns, a 'dog-with-points in Bills covering vs. Cowboys, and a rare Exacto (perfect score) in Packers' 31-13 win over Giants. ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Playoffs! Greg's Lobos improved to 8-5 with a 103.1 to 95.7 win over Sarah Spain led by Patrick Mahomes' 21.5 points. We're in the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and face Stugotz in the first round. Mahomes is frontrunner for MVL honors (Most Valuable Lobo), but Mike Evans has not been ruled out. Go 'Bos! ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Playoffs! Lobos lost their regular-season finale 134-129 to finish 7-6 but still made the six-team playoffs as the No. 5 seed. Dalvin Cook and Deshaun Watson are neck  and neck for MVL (Most Valuable Lobo) honors, and we'll need them both, and Cook healthy, as the playoffs begin. Go 'Bos!

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': FITNESS NUTS!: After several weeks' hiatus, a new Back In My Day returned to ESPN and the Le Batard Show today. Hope you enjoy... 

Select other recent columns: Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

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