May 11, 2019

All the things going right with Miami Dolphins. New column; plus ESPN explains how Fins could win Super Bowl (!), clock ticking for Inter Mami, the horses--- Kentucky Derby, new Back In My Day video (Wallets!), D-Wade rocks Met Gala & more


1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 11. It's always football season, so it's always the right time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

CwilkinsNEW COLUMN: A LOT IS GOING RIGHT WITH THE MIAMI DOLPHINS: I write (very) optimistically about the Dolphins in my latest column, as the team goes through this weekend's rookie minicamp. An impressive new head coach in Brian Flores. Building-block defensive pieces led by Xavien Howard, Minkah Fitzpatrick and rookie Christian Wilkins (pictured). The Josh Rosen trade and the possibility of grand prize Tua Tagovailoa in next year's draft. A premier left tackle in Laremy Tunsil. The 12 draft picks expected next year, and almost $100 million to spend. And more. Miami hasn't been an especially relevant team for some 20  years. Now, I sense this long under-the-radar franchise finally is turning a corner. To read that column, please visit All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right.

DOLPHINS WIN SUPER BOWL! (WELL, ONCE IN 10,000 SIMULATIONS): ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) for the 2019 projects the Miami Dolphins for 5.6 wins, second-lowest to Arizona's 5.5 Dolsb(which is why the Cardinals are given a 16 percent likelihood of securing the overall No. 1 draft pick in 2020 to Miami's 14%). The Dolphins are given a 5 percent shot at making the playoffs, a 2% likelihood of winning the AFC East, and a less than 1% chance to win the Super Bowl. But! Of 10,000 computerized simulation run by ESPN on the season, exactly one had Miami winning it all in the Super Bowl it will host. Writes ESPN today: "To build our projections, we simulated the 2019 season 10,000 times. And exactly once -- simulation No. 5,130 -- the Dolphins went on to win the Super Bowl. How did they do it? A Miami miracle of astronomic proportions. Brian Flores' team made a late run, winning four consecutive games from Weeks 13-16 before dropping a Week 17 contest in Foxborough against Flores' old team. No matter: At 10-6, a feisty Dolphins team led by either Josh Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick (FPI isn't clear) sneaked into the playoffs as No. 6 seed. On the road, Miami dismantled the AFC South champion Texans before a rematch against the division-rival Patriots. And this time, it pulled off the upset. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' defense were then no match for Rosen and/or Fitzpatrick in the AFC Championship Game. And miraculously, Flores' team finished it off with a victory over the Eagles two weeks later. And so it's possible, Dolphins fans. It's spring, and thankfully, due to simulation 5,130, all 32 teams officially have hope." OK, "Su-per Bowl!" chant on my cue. Ready?

Lhdemo'DEMOLITION CEREMONY' STARTS CLOCK ON INTER MIAMI"S FRANTIC RACE TO THE FINISH: It was more ceremony than demolition at Inter Miami's media event today outside the dilapidated shell of the old Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. All they did Wednesday was a glorified photo op during which they began to demolish a small ticket building (pictured). It is hard to envision the site going from this to a brand new Lockhart Stadium essentially in nine months -- by the March start of the 2020 inaugural season for Miami's new Major League Soccer team. But owner Jorge Mas swore assurances it would happen for the stadium Inter will call home at least the first two seasons, until its Miami Freedom Park site is completed where Melreese golf called home. So in effect the Mas/Beckham group is planning and building two stadiums at once, some 35 miles apart. And, ceremonially at least, the the frantic race against time began Wednesday. I was at today's event. For my column, please visit Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish.

KdTHE SHAME AND THE STAIN ON THE KENTUCKY DERBY: The annual horse race at Churchill Downs, kickoff to Triple Crown season, may be America's most hallowed sporting event. The Masters Kderbyin golf -- an event with 60 years' less tradition -- is the only other event guaranteed to be conveyed with strings and tinkling pianos in TV coverage. That's why mess of a controversy engulfing this year's Derby is so big. It is a spray-paint  of graffiti on tradition. Maximum Security won the race. The stewards took it away and made Country House the official, if illegitimate, winner. The sports asterisk, heretofore best used when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's home run record, is now needed in thoroughbred racing. To read my latest column please visit Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain.

Our previous most recent columns: Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson and / Rosen Has Chance To Turn A Good Dolphins Draft Great.

Metserena DwmetgalaRETIREE WADE STRUTS HIS FASHION AT MET GALA: Retired Heat star Dwyane Wade (still not used to saying that) and actress-wife Gabrielle Union rocked the 2019 Met Gala over the weekend -- the "Super Bowl of Fashion" fundraiser in New York, where celebs paid $30,000 per person just to get in the door to be papparazzi'd for a good cause. The Miami power couple are wearing outfits by Dundas, and looking sort of like a royal couple from the Game Of Thrones.  (Has D-Wade just made the hoodie elegant?) Other A-list athletes there included Tom Brady, Serena Williams, A-Rod, Odell Beckham Jr., Colin Kaepernick, Saquon Barkley and Lewis Hamilton. Serena, from Palm Beach, is pictured going all canary in an Atelier Versace gown with matching Nike sneakers, to the degree sneakers and a Versace gown might ever be called "matching."

THE LIST: AMERICA'S OLDEST SPORTS INSTITUTIONS: Another reason this year's Kentucky Derby controversy is such a big deal is its history. A comparative look at when each of these major American sporting events was first held:

Event                                   Year  

Kentucky Derby                    1875

Stanley Cup                          1893

World Series                         1903

Indianapolis 500                    1911

The Masters                          1934

NBA Finals                            1947

Super Bowl                           1966-*

U.S Open tennis                    1968-**

Notes: *-Season of first Super Bowl; game played January '67. **-Open era. (Sorry, Canada, but the U.S. has won every Stanley Cup since 1994, so it's an American event...).

THE NEW BACK IN MY DAY: WALLETS!: The latest BIMD that premiered today/Tuesday on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. One of my better ones based on the reaction in the room and what I'm seeing on social media. Hope you enjoy...

Other recent columns: Dolphins Big Winners With Draft-Day Trade For QB Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Le Batard Takes Miami To Manhattan / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / And our Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft / Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star / And Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

Select other columns: Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / 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

August 16, 2015

Shula at 85: An unabashed appreciation of Miami's great, iconic coach; plus Hot Button Top 10 (updated) with Dolphins, Marlins, Canes, Heat, Jason Day, Ichiro, tennis; also fashionista Serena, Christmas verdict & more


1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 17. Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with UM's Al Golden being ranked No. 1 in preseason list of college football's "hottest coaching seats." 2) Click on A Lot To Like for my previous column off the Dolphins preseason opener. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins drop preseason opener at Chicago, NBA keeps ruining Christmas, tennis sex scandal, Colin Cowherd beer & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, InstagramVine and now Periscope, too.

"Marcell Ozuna, back with the Marlins, said of his demotion to Triple A, 'It's like a jail.' Dude. Please. Try to fake a little self-awareness, would you?" --Greg Cote

CELEBRATING DON SHULA: As the Miami Dolphins turn 50 this season, the franchise's great coach and icon is a regal 85 now, 20 years off the sideline and out of the game but still sharp and going strong in retirement. Recently
1aa1adoshulaI sat down with Shula for an extensive interview at his home, in a den filled with his career's memorabilia. Journalists are supposed to be neutral, dispassionate. I don't claim or attempt such things when it comes to Shula. I admire the man. What he accomplished, and who he is. I have an in-depth column on Shula in today's Miami Herald on page 1A, a column that is not yet available online but will be starting Tuesday. For now, click on DON SHULA for a video from our retrospective interview; Shula is pictured from during that conversation. Shula talks about perfection, his career, his regrets and more. He even talks about the man who replaced him, the coach he called "Jimmy Who." (Thanks to our online and video folks for their excellent work. My only quibble: the extreme closeups of me. Gawd! I am un-telegenic and old. I demand a far angle and a soft focus! Anyway...) My Shula video and accompanying column begin the rollout of the Herald's ongoing coverage commemorating the Dolphins' upcoming Golden Anniversary season. The package will also include videos of my extensive interviews with defensive legends Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor. Click here for a brief sneak preview of the Thomas video.

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

1aa1ahotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Starters impressive despite loss in exhibition opener: As Dolphins prepare for their annual kickoff luncheon tomorrow/Tuesday, the limitlessness of possibilities was redefined in the preseason opener as Dolfans discovered it was possible to be generally pleased after a game in which Miami lost at Chicago 27-10 while committing 12 penalties and four turnovers. The starters looked great. For mid-August, that’s enough.

2. MARLINS: Lost year as Fernandez, Yelich join Stanton on disabled list: Fish have won four of past five after winning in St. Louis last night but the season was beyond hope, and now Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich have joined Giancarlo Stanton on the DL. Interim manager Dan Jennings said of this season, “Thank God there’s no Prohibition in baseball.” It’s disappointed fans who could use a drink.

3. HURRICANES: Countdown 19 days as UM prepares for opener: Canes held their first scrimmage, but it was closed to fans and media. (If a scrimmage falls on campus but nobody hears it, does it still make a sound?) Miami’s Sept. 5 opener against Bethune-Cookman had better require little more exertion than that intrasquad scrimmage, or the Canes could be in trouble.

4. HEAT: NBA schedule out; Miami hosts Christmas game again: The Heat opens play at home Oct. 28 in Chris Bosh’s comeback, and visits LeBron James in Cleveland two days later. Also notable: A Christmas home game against New Orleans. Bah humbug. NBA should take that sacred holiday off but instead will play a record five games. Jesus!

5. GOLF: Jason Day wins PGA Championship, year’s final major: Jason Day finally won a major by capturing the PGA Championship in Wisconsin, but, once again, Tiger Woods couldn’t find the map to Sunday, missing the cut for the fourth time in his past five majors. Remember when Tiger was thrilling to watch? Now it’s closer to sad.

6. AL GOLDEN: UM coach ranked No.1 on hot-seat list: Canes' Al Golden is a dubious No. 1 on’s preseason list of the 10 “hottest coaching seats” in college football. I don’t want to exaggerate Golden’s unpopularity with fans, though. He isn't Jeffrey Loria. Also, even his biggest critics surely like Golden more than, for example, that Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion. Probably.

7. NFL: Only the Jets! Sucker-punch breaks Geno Smith's jaw: Embattled Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith is sidelined half the season with a broken jaw after being punched by teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali, who immediately was cut. Worst part? Jets fans weren’t sure whether to call Smith’s injury good news or bad.

8. TOM BRADY: Federal suit over Deflate gate still unsettled: The Patriots QB's federal court case against the NFL over his four-game Deflategate suspension has yet to settle. Meanwhile the courtroom sketch artist was ridiculed nationally for her rendition of Brady that was unflattering. Check that, the artist was ridiculed in New England, but hailed as a modern-day da Vinci elsewhere.

9. ICHIRO: No. No, he did not surpass Ty Cobb in career hits!: It keeps getting reported that the Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki just surpassed Ty Cobb's 4,189 hits for second on the all-time list. But that's only if you count his hits in Japan, which MLB does not and never has. In fact, Ichiro still trails Cobb by more than 1,200 hits.

10. TENNIS: Love triangle on tour?: Tennis pro Nick Krygios was fined $10,000 by the ATP tour for telling opponent Stan Wawrinka during a match that another player was, um, ah, engaged in carnal knowledge with Wawrinka’s girlfriend, who also is a touring pro. Well, there goes that Kyrgios-Wawrinka doubles partnership!

Missing the HB10 cut: A Milwaukee Brewers minor-leaguer has revealed he is gay. Um, when do we get to stop caring about stuff like that? ... Bills sign Jets sucker-puncher. ... Dolphins owner Stephen Ross invests in Drone Racing League. Will play-calls now get from sideline to huddle via drone? ... American teen Katie Ledecky wins five golds at world swimming championship in Russia. ... Tigers' Al Avila (from Hialeah High) becomes MLB’s first Cuban-born general manager. ... Floyd Mayweather Jr. announces his final fight before retiring would be Sept. 12, with no date set yet for his final fight after that one. ... Adidas is paying James Harden $200 million to wear its sneakers. No, seriously. ... FIFA said it has opened an internal investigation into corruption. That’s like the Mafia investigating organized crime. ... Little League World Series begins this week despite no Mo'ne Davis. ... Finally, the national gymnastics championships end today in Indiana, where Miami’s Danell Leyva hoped to perform a parallel bars maneuver so groundbreaking that, if successful, it would be named after him. I can relate. In sports writing, someone who writes  a slapdash column is said to have "nailed a Cote."

1aa1aserenamagSERENA, FASHIONISTA: We've poked fun at Palm Beach tennis superstar Serena Williams over the years. She
1aa1aserenamag2can come off as arrogant, a real diva. She has indulged various side interests that have seemed to diminish her attention to tennis at times. Respect, though, must be given. She is chasing history, the career record for most majors won. She may be the greatest women's player ever. Yet steadfastly she maintains her outside interests, such as clothes design. Pictured, Serena adorns the cover of the new New York magazine fashion issue, once again living -- and winning -- by her own rules.

Poll result: Split opinions on NBA, Heat playing Christmas Day: In the previous blogpost we asked what you thought of the Heat hosting a Christmas game, and it was 46.9 percent opposed, 45.7% in favor and 7.4% undecided.

Check back often because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

May 06, 2015

Wells report on Deflategate implicates Patriots, Brady. Full report here; plus is a sombrero politically incorrect? Poll. Vote now!; also local firm sues Pacquiao, D-Wade at the Met, heat on LeBron, DeVante on 'impact' list, Dee Gordon & more


1aa1aeflowers1) It is WEDNESDAY, MAY 6. Hope y'all had a happy Cinco de Mayo, fellow imbibers. 2) At left, Giants 1st-round draft pick and ex-Cane Ereck Flowers throws out first pitch at a Mets game. 3) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package. 4) 
In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ndamukong Suh arm-wrestles Warren Buffett, Mel Kiper grades Dolphins, Mel Sr., Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Average American child, before completing education, sees 40,000 murders on TV. Just sayin'.  

My latest column: I write about what a flop the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was and how the only loser was the fan who paid 100 bucks to watch. Click on Nobody Got Hurt But You to read in full.

Updated MLB beting odds: Via Bovada today, Dodgers now alone as World Series favorites at 6-1, with Cardinals 7-1 and Tigers 15-2. Marlins are 66-1, tied for 22nd. (Ouch). But Miami's Dee Gordon (4th at 6-1) and Giancarlo Stanton (tie 5th at 9-1) both are among NL MVP frontrunners, with D-Backs' Paul Goldschmidt the fave at 3-1.

WELLS REPORT ON DEFLATEGATE IMPLICATES PATRIOTS, BRADY: Click on 'Probable' Guilt Not Enough for my column on this, newly online and shipping to Thursday's inky pulp editions. Click HERE to access the entire 243-page report.The pertinent synopsis: "We have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship 1aa1adefballGame, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules. In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls." The report does not implicate others such as owner Robert Kraft or coach Bill Belichick. Next step: NFL decides what if any punishment will be in store for the Patriots. Update: Bovada and some other betting houses have removed NFL odds and bets on Patriots until it is determined if Brady will be suspended. I doubt he will be based on "probable" implication, but he may well be. 

A SONG, A HAT AND SENSITIVITY: I am not easily offended or as sensitive as a lot of people are -- maybe to a fault. That came up yesterday, on Cinco de Mayo, in a couple of ways. One was that I'd planned on wearing a Mexican-style sombrero in honor of the occasion, strictly for laughs, thinking nothing of it -- but was told by others that would be insensitive and has become politically incorrect. Then I happened upon old audio files from my "Singing Sportswriter" days on the radio and re-listened to a song called "God Bless Our Danica," a personal favorite. It's a fun though admittedly cheeky ode to Danica Patrick. The thing is, when I recorded it around five years ago I heard no objections, only laughs. Now? Now I wonder if it would be heard as sexist. I wonder if it has lapsed into "politically incorrect." Here is the audio of the song for you to decide:

Greg Cote - God Bless Our Danica

As for the sombrero, I saw it as harmless fun, as just a funny hat for a party occasion. I never considered that it could be viewed as belittling the Mexican culture. Maybe that's on me to have not considered that, or maybe people, in general, have just become too sensitive. I'm honestly not sure. I am curious what you think of the idea of wearing a sombrero, for fun, on Cinco de Mayo. OK or inappropriate? Take a dip in our poll and say why.

LOCAL LAW FIRM SUING PACQUIAO: Fort Lauderdale-based law firm Kelley/Uustal has filed the first class-action suit in Florida against boxer Manny Pacquiao, his promotor Top Rank and DirecTV, claiming perjury on Pacquiao's part for not revealing his right shoulder injury, which, had been revealed, might have canceled or postponed the fight.

WHAT DWYANE WADE DOES INSTEAD OF BEING IN THE PLAYOFFS: Heat star Dwyane Wade and 1aa1adwyanemetgalaactress/wife Gabrielle Union attended Monday night's high-end Met Gala, an annual fashion event and fundraiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 1aa1asarahAnybody who's anybody was there, except you and I. The Heat's First Couple (sorry, Bosh) is pictured right, photo via Perez Hilton. Union rocked the Met red carpet in purple. Or is it burgundy? D-Wade had sort of the
French Foreign Legion look going, complete with red sash and military-like medals. Others at the Gala included Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, George Clooney, Common, Cher, Justin Bieber, Reese Witherspoon, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Anne Hathaway and Madonna. Pictured left, Sarah Jessica Parker looking remarkably calm for a woman whose head is flames. Must have been weird for Dwyane and Gabby to be at an event where they were not (nearly) the biggest stars there. Meanwhile, basketball players still playing were otherwise occupied last night...

Bulls turn up heat on LeBron: When isn't the pressure on LeBron James? But sometimes it's more
palpable. Like now, after the Cavaliers went down 1-0 in the 1aa1abullsheatEastern semifinals with a 99-92 home playoff loss to the Bulls entering Game 2 tonight. Did you love it, Heat fans? (Design at left making the rounds on Twitter reflects how the Bulls have become the adopted team of anti-LeBron Heat fans). Derrick Rose was good, Pau Gasol was better and Jimmy Butler stepped up for Chicago, while Cleveland, playing without Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, got 30 from Kyrie Irving but not enough from LeBron. He nearly had a triple-double (19 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists), but also was only 9-for-22 shooting and had six turnovers. "I wasn't that good tonight," said James. No, he wasn't. And he'll need to be better than good -- he'll need to be vintage, MVP-caliber great -- for Cavs to move on.

POST-DRAFT SUPER BOWL, ROOKIE ODDS: New post-draft odds via Bovada have Seahawks an 11-2 Super Bowl favorite followed by Packers 7-1, Patriots 15-2, Colts 8-1 and Cowboys 10-1. Dolphins are 40-1, tied for 17th. AFC East odds are Pats 1-2, Fins and Bills both 5-1, and Jets 9-1. Rookie of the year odds find Melvin Gordon at 13-2 atop a bunched marquee over Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota both 7-1, Amari Cooper 15-2 and Todd Gurley 8-1. Miami's DeVante Cooper is 11th at 16-1. Two ex-Canes show: Phillip Dorsett 14-1 and Duke Johnson 25-1.

1aa1adevantepFins' Parker seen as 'impact' rookie: Mel Kiper Jr. names 10 "impact" rookies from the 2015 draft (five offense, five on D) and Dolphins' WR DeVante Parker is one. Kiper says, "Parker will get his because while Ryan Tannehill has other options in the passing game, such as Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, Parker is easily the best big-play threat in the receiving corps. I could see him getting red zone looks as a jump-ball winner." Parker's target numbers? Here are Dolphins rookie single-season records in the major receiving categories: Catches--84, Landry, 2014; Yards--883, Chris Chambers, 2001; TDs--7, Chambers.

1aa1adeegIN CELEBRATION OF DEE GORDON: So many free-agent or draft busts and disappointments around here. Dion Jordan, Michael Beasley, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Time to celebrate a newcomer success: Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon (pictured), currently leading all of MLB in hitting at .422 (46 hits in 109 at-bats). That's a staggering first month of play that gives Gordon a leg up on Miami's single-season record for batting average. The club's career top five:

Average    Player                    Year

.342         Hanley Ramirez      2009

.339         Miguel Cabrera       2006

.334         Luis Castillo           2000

,332         Hanley Ramirez      2007

.325         Juan Pierre             2004

Check back a lot because we constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...

March 19, 2015

NCAAs a foregone conclusion? Most boring March Madness ever? Poll. Vote now!; plus Charles Clay, Ron Fraser, Haiku Challenge news, Heat/Panthers playoff update, Loria reimaging, Pounceys, D&G & more

1) It is THURSDAY, MARCH 19. Corned beef. The meat I really enjoy one day a year, then never think of again. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): March Madness Haiku Challenge, Wade beats LeBron, UM men denied NCAAs, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine. (New stuff from yesterday's LeBatard Show).

Georgia State coach falls off chair during game: Georgia State coach Ron Hunter, on a courtside office chair due to an injury, falls from chair in closing minutes of his 14th-seeded team's upset of No. 3 Baylor today. Funny! Click here to watch.

Charles Clay to Bills: Dolphins today decline to match contract offer by Buffalo, meaning tight end Clay is headed to Bills. For him it's a smart financial move, dubious football move, awful lifestyle move. 

Ron Fraser statue dedication: The Miami Hurricanes will have a ceremony unveiling a new Rom Fraser statue on April 24 at 4 p.m. outside Mark Light Field. Fraser, the two-time national champion baseball coach, passed Away in at age 79 in 2013.  

PLAYOFF CHASE: Heat soaring, Panthers nearly done. Update entering Thursday/today: A daily blog feature as two teams (one barely) fight to finish in top eight in Eastern Conference. HEAT--Trending up in 7th place at 31-36 (W2), after last night's big 108-104 home win over Portland led by Dwyane Wade's 32 points. Miami is now 2 1/2 games from 6th with 15 games left (next Friday vs. Denver). Heat playoff likelihood: 60.0% (up 13.6) per Hollinger/ESPN. PANTHERS--Trending even in 10th place at 31-39 (L2), 3 points from 9th and 7 points from 8th with 12 games left (next tonight vs. Detroit). Cats playoff likelihood: 1.6% (unchanged) per

ARE WE STARING DOWN THE BARREL OF THE MOST BORING MARCH MADNESS EVER?: You could make the argument that we are if the feel of "foregone conclusion" is a barometer. Think about it. Kentucky is 1aa1amarchmad34-0, a unanimous No. 1 and a huge favorite (near even-odds) to win the men's NCAA Tournament. On the women's side, UConn is 32-1, also a unanimous No. 1 and perhaps an ever bigger favorite. I'd feel very good if you gave me Kentucky and UConn and you took the field. I get the two favorites; you get everybody else. I cannot recall a previous year in which the two overall No. 1s were such prohibitive favorites. Doesn't mean brackets will be filled out any less or that office pools will be smaller, but, for me, at least, the seeming inevitability of Kentucky's men and UConn's women reigning makes this March Madness feel like we know the ending even as the story is just starting.

HAIKU CHALLENGE CONTEST UPDATE: DEADLINE EXTENDED!: Due to unpopular demand we are extending the deadline to enter our annual March Madness Haiku Challenge into next week. (As an 1aa1ahaikuemailer put it, "Why end the contest just as the tournament is beginning, you moron!" Fair comment). So you still have time to get those 17-syllable poems in. Three simple rules: 1. If your poem is 17 syllables exactly and it's about the NCAA Tournament/March Madness/college hoops, it's a valid entry. 2. You may submit entries here in the blog's 'Comments' section below (preferred) OR email them to [email protected]. 3. You may enter as many haikus as you wish. We'll give you some warning on the new deadline but enter now just to be safe. Last year's contest was won by reader Scott Vogelsberg. His winning entry: "Beware Ides of 1aa1adickievMarch * Et tu Brutus the Buckeye * Bubbles pop for all." The judging panel (that's me) appreciated the classic 5-7-5 phrasing, liked the nod to the Roman calendar, loved the link between Ohio State and Shakespeare, and also enjoyed the double entendre on bubbles popping. But you can do better! Contest prize? The grand prize will be the glory of victory, but we'll throw in something else. Maybe a Dolphins or Heat media guide? Maybe a chance to visit the Dan LeBatard Show on a Tuesday we're in-studio? We'll figure something out. In any case, rev your creative mind. Ready, set ... haiku!

JEFFREY LORIA: BIG SPENDER: Still getting used to the re-imaging of Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria, erstwhile notorious tightwad. First, the huge contract for Giancarlo Stanton, Now, the private team jet.
1aa1aboeing767200The Marlins have rented a Boeing 767-200 (the model pictured) for the season and it includes 84 oversized luxury seats, a massage table and card tables. The outside of the jet will bear the Marlins logo. Miami also has expanded its overall payroll as well as its scouting, player development, marketing and sales departments. Did I mention the executive chefs to prepare meals for home games? Many Marlins fans still think negatively of Loria and maybe always will, but give him this. He's trying. And spending.

ON THE POUNCEYS' SNIPES AT WALLACE: Oh, those Pouncey brothers! Cue the ghost of Ronald Reagan 1aa1apounceysshaking his head with a smirk and saying, "Well, there they go again..." So Dolphin Mike Pouncey and his bro Maurkice (pictured) pretty much say in an interview "good riddance" to departed Mike Wallace. Maurkice drops the hot-potato word "coward," assuring media (over-)attention. To me this isn't a big deal because the Pounceys by now are established loose cannons and Wallace is a ship sailing fast from Finland. (Mike who?)

THE SLOW SUICIDE OF DOLCE & GABBANA: It's above my pay grade and sartorial splendor, but Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian luxury fashion line in the category Armani, Gucci and Versace. It is only important to 1aa1ad&gnote that founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana both are gay because of the controversy now embroiling them. Celebrities led by Elton John have condemned the  brand and promoted a boycott of D&G because of the founders' saying in an interview that gay adoption is unnatural and referring to babies born via in-vitro fertilization as "synthetic children." The LGBT community, non-gays who have benefited from IVF and many others inclined toward tolerance are sympathetic to the boycott, which seems to be growing. Many others agree with D&G's opinions or align on the side of freedom of speech in the social media age. What's interesting to me is that it feels like such business-suicide for a high-end fashion house to be perceived as anti-gay or anti-same sex parents. I am generalizing here, but feel safe in thinking D&G's customer base is gay or OK with same-sex adoption to a far greater extent than it would include supporters of D&G's stance on the matter. #BoycottDolceGabbana

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August 05, 2014

Al Golden's new, greatest Canes challenge; plus Stanton's surprising MVP odds, UFC brawl, UM hoops, Gap model, your verdict on Rice & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6. Brawl breaks out at UFC Media Day in Las Vegas. Or, did that go without saying? Click here for the Jon Jones-Daniel Carmier brawl vid. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ray Rice punishment poll, Canton class of '14, Hot Button Top 10 and more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

"Manchester United and Liverpool drew 51,000 to Dolphins stadium last night. What was that you were saying about Miami being a lousy sports town?"  --Greg Cote

GOLDEN'S NEXT CHALLENGE: CLOSING HURRICANES' TALENT GAP WITH FSU: I smile at all the coverage of maturity-challenged Canes redshirt-freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen reportedly being suspended from the season 1aa1acanesfsuopener for a failed drug test. Miami football and coach 1aa1acanes renewedAl Golden have a far greater, broader problem and challenge, and that's making up the recruiting/talent shortfall they suffer compared to national champion Florida State, UM's ACC rival and roadblock. I tackle the topic in my latest column. Golden has spent three years admirably navigating UM through the off-field NCAA bog. Now that sky has cleared, and he must move the Canes forward on the field. Click on Solving The Noles to read the column. UM football won't totally be #Renewed (the latest marketing campaign) until he does. The most recent evidence of Miami's talent gap with Florida State is ESPN's ranking of the 100 best players in college football, voted by a panel of 32 experts. FSU places a nation-leading 11 on the list. UM has only two: RB Duke Johnson (tied for 24th) and LB Denzel Perryman (t35th). FSU's 11 are QB Jameis Winston (1st overall), TE Nick O'Leary (28th), DE Mario Edwards (29th), OL Tre Jackson (t31st), WR Rashad Greene (t31st), OT Cameron Erving (33rd), CB P.J. Williams (t39th), DB Jalen Ramsey (t52nd), RB Karlos Williams (t59th), CB Ronald Darby (t76th) and K Roberto Agauyo (85th). For those wondering the Gators, like UM, place two on the list: CB Vernon Hargreaves (13th) and DL Dante Fowler (t43rd).

Canes hoops opens at Florida: Jim Larranaga's hardwood UM men will visit Gainesville Nov. 17 to face the Gators at 7 p.m. as part of ESPN's 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. It'll be teams' first meeting since March 2009. Nice exposure for the Canes, who were better than expected last season and have nine newcomers on this year's team.

STANTON SECOND IN NL MVP RACE: Surprisingly, at least to me, Marlin Giancarlo Stanton has second-best odds at 7-4 to win the NL MVP award, trailing only clear favorite Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers pitcher, at 4-7. Other favorites: AL MVP--Angels' Mike Trout at 2-5; NL Cy Young--Kershaw at 2-7; and AL Cy--Mariners' Felix Hernandez at 9-4. Stanton is third-fave at 10-1 to lead MLB in home runs, after White Sox's Jose Abreu at 4-7 and Orioles' Nelson Cruz at 2-1.

Poll result: Rice punishment too lenient: We asked about the two-game NFL suspension of Ravens RB Ray Rice for domestic violence and most of you, 68. 3 percent, called it too lenient. Another 19.2% thought it was about right, 6.7% were not sure, and only 5.8% called it too severe.


 Clothing store Gap -- is it just Gap, or is it The Gap? -- is under fire for using the too-skinny model pictured in one of its latest ads. Life is getting hard. It used to be that we just made fun of overweight people like myself. Now apparently we also ridicule people we deem as too thin. (I will admit the young woman pictured looks like a hiker who got lost in the mountains and has been rescued after six days alone eating only berries and wood bark. But why was she hiking in a Gap dress!?) I suppose making fun of thin folks is still somewhat more acceptable than making fun of the morbidly obese, in much the same way making fun of really tall people is less bad than needling the unusually short. Tough to know, though. It's getting to the point the unkind may require a guidebook.

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January 13, 2014

A-Rod poll: What do you believe? Vote now!; plus D.Wade's b-day yacht, radio, NFL Final Four's quiet Cinderella-ness, "Who are you wearing?" & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back-in studio today for my ninth national appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show, airing on 790 & 104.3 The Ticket from 3-7 p,.m. and on ESPN from 4-7. Ears welcome.

1aa1heat13wh1) It is TUESDAY, JANUARY 14. Heat visit the White House later today. Wonder if Obama will remark how he wishes he'd had as good a year as Miami? Photo is from last year's WH visit. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with the merry lunacy of Le Batard's Ballotgate. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Divisional Round playoffs, Super Bowl rooting-interest poll & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Click on Damage Is Done for today's latest column by me, on Alex Rodriguez's fight against baseball, a fight Quixotic but for its lack of nobility. The stain of steroids is not something A-Rod, or his sport, will ever be past. 

TAKING SIDES IN THE ALEX RODRIGUEZ MESS: Sunday night's 60 Minutes interview with Anthony Bosch, the Biogenesis clinic founder, was damning to Alex Rodriguez as you knew it would be. If you beieve 1aa1arodBosch, who is cooperating with Major League Baseball's investigation, then chances are you have little or no doubt A-Rod used various performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and that that his resulting 162-game suspension (reduced from 212 by an arbitrator) is justified. If your sympathies instead are pro A-Rod, then chances are you think Bosch is a lying snitch and that MLB is pursuing a vendetta against Rodriguez, who has denied the allegations and may sue to have his suspension overturned. Chances are, either Bosch or A-Rod is the liar here, without a lot of gray area in between. Maybe our poll question should simply have been "Who do you believe?," although I think the poll choices pretty much cut to that chase. Vote and say why.

D.WADE'S BIRTHDAY YACHT: One of the many ways Heat stars and celeb-athletes in general are
1aa1dwadebdaydifferent than the rest of us is that they throw themselves lavish 1aa1dwadebdaygroupbirthday parties, calling to mind the brilliant two-syllable Muhammad

Ali poem; "Me? Wheee!" Don't get me wrong. I'm not just buying Publix ice-cream cakes over here. I have spent big for a party or two, such as the time I rented out an out an oceanfront hotel ballroom and complained about the cost for a year. But Heat players -- they do it up. Chris Bosh once touted his own birthday with live camels in a Sahara motif. Yesterday, Dwyane Wade topped 1aa1dwadebdayboshhim with a three-story yacht custom-wrapped in his personal logo. Dwyane turns 32 this coming Friday but celebrated early. Pictured are the yacht, Wade and teammates, and in a photo pretty much epitomiziing The Good Life: Bosh in a tux, aboard a yacht, drawing on a fine cigar against the Miami skyline.


NFL FINAL FOUR: GLAMOUR QUARTET, BUT UNDERDOG QUALITY, TOO: Patriots at Broncos and 49ers at Seahawks bring a legit, heavyweight quality to the AFC and NFC Championship Games. The NFL and 1aa1bradymanning 1aa1bradymanning2TV networks undoubtedly are thrilled, and so should fans be. Ten Super Bowl championships are represented by the Final Four. Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning (pictured left) is about as good as it gets for an individual duel, and San Fran-Seattle (right) probably is the league's fiercest team rivalry at the moment. Peel back a layer and see an underdog aspect here too, though. Seattle has never won a Super Bowl in its 38 seasons, and its only SB appearance (2005) saw 'Hawks fans bitterly feeling robbed by the officiating. The other three teams in the Final Four are pedigreed, but with a film of dust on their shine. The Patriots last won it all in 2004, the Broncos in 1998 and the 49ers in 1994. Their fans aren't starving like Dolfans are, no, but it's been awhile for each. That makes this a power Final Four but with an underlying shade of Cinderella. By the way, I went 3-1 overall on my Divisional Round picks (missed on Carolina), and 1-2-1 against the spread (had San Diego with points; Seattle game pushed).

Poll result: You want a Denver-Seattle Super Bowl, and a Broncos win: We aked in the last blogpost who you're rooting for of the final eight NFL playoff teams. Extracting the surviving Final Four it's Broncos 29.9 percent, Seahawks 19.0, Patriots 9.9 and 49ers 7.4. (The now-ousted teams were Panthers 21.7%, Chargers 6.5, Colts 3.2 and Saints 2.7).

Updated Super Bowl odds: Via Bovada, it's Seahawks a slight fave at 19-10, with Broncos 2-1, 49ers 3-1 and Patriots 9-2. Early lines look like Seahawks over Broncos by 2.5; Broncos over 49ers by 2.5; 49ers over Patriots by 3; and Seahawks over Patriots by 6.

"WHO ARE YOU WEARING!?": Golden Globes co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler had a funny line Sunday night, thanking "all the women and gay men who are watching." Awards show audiences I guess skew like that, at least by broad stereotype. They might have added, "...and married men whose wives control the 1aa1bissetremote." That'd be me. My wife informed me last night we have entered "awards season." (I did not know there was such a thing, but have a feeling it's going to be a lonng season). The Globes combine film and television. The TV people are identifiable by their bad seats; some of the TV winners are still making their way to the stage. Highlight of the evening for me: an apparently drunk or stoned Jacqueline Bisset (pictured) floating onstage in a trance, in an appearance that answered the question whether she is still alive. (Answer: barely). The only household rule when I watch an awards show with my wife is I can't constantly make fun of the red-carpet preamble and "Who are you wearing?" -- maybe the most absurd question ever invented. So I vent in my blog instead. "Who are you wearing!?" In other words, give [Your Designer Here] a goose of free national advertising. "Who are you wearing!?" In other words, let's shamelessly promote the idea that beauty and high fashion are above all, even though the cost of it makes them beyond most. "Who are you wearing!?" I don't give a crap, because I'd just as soon see you in a T-shirt, jeans and no makeup. Bulletin: About one-third of the the dresses look halfway to hideous, and all tuxedos pretty much look alike.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

February 14, 2013

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James. Poll. Vote!; plus new Dolphins logo, what makes Canes most remarkable, Marco Rubio, D-Wade's new socks & more

1aa1dear[1) It is FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15. How was your Valentine's Day? 2) Truly shocking: South African paralympian Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius charged with murder in death of his girlfriend. 3) Note: Our Heat Big 5@50 feature will appear as play resumes following the all-star break. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Football Town/Basketball Town poll, Banana Joe, McKeon for Pope, Obama. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Heat win again; LeBron scores 39: Miami wins at Oklahoma City last night, 110-100, in possible NBA Finals rematch preview. LeBron James' 39 points pushes to seven his streak of games with 30-plus.

1aa1compMICHAEL VS. LEBRON MORE COMPLICATED THAN JUST A STATS COMPARISON: Though the Heat's red-hot LeBron James has a long way to go in his career, Michael Jordan always will be considered the greater player by those who simply look at scoring titles or perhaps titles won. But that's too easy, as I discuss in my latest column, The All-Round Game, in which I make the case that James is a more complete player who does more things well than did Jordan. Heck, just this week Stan Van Gundy said on 790 The Ticket he thinks LeBron right now is better than Michael in his prime. The notion isn't blasphemy anymore. Jordan told he'd pick Kobe Bryant right now over LeBron because "five beats one every time," a reference to champions. Again, though, it's more than that. Weigh in. Vote in our poll and say why.

WHAT'S MOST REMARKABLE ABOUT THIS CANES' BASKETBALL RUN: Lots of things, is the answer, with the No. 3-ranked Canes men now 11-0 in ACC after last night's big win at FSU -- and maybe the story of the year so far in American sports. But this jumps out to me: Just looked at Chad Ford's Top 30 NBA draft prospects on and (you guessed it) zero Miami guys are on it. From a senior-dominated team. That's another testament to the job coach Jim Larranga has done, and to the balance and teamwork that more than make of for the lack of NBA-wowing talent.

DOLPHINS LOGO CONTEST-WINNER IS QUITE BAD: Maybe I shouldn't say this because The Miami 1aa1dolphlogoHerald ran the contest, but it isn't our fault that readers inexplicably voted whatever on Earth is pictured at right as the best suggestion for a new Dolphins logo. Seriously!? I had to be told that the thing on top surrounding the mysterious black teardrop are interlocking gloves. The helmets on the bottom look like they should be dangling from charm bracelets. All of the nominated new logos including this one underline my long-held belief that there is simply no way to make a grinning, leaping, friendly bottlenose dolphin appear menacing. The team will introduce a new (or at least modified) logo around the April draft. If there is a God in heaven it will be better than this. 

Poll result: Miami still a Football Town, but basketball gaining: We asked in previous blogpost and 43.5 percent answered "Football Town, but margin is narrowing"; 29.4% said we're Basketball Town now; 14.9% said we're clearly still Football Town; and 12.2% said it's about even.

1aa1socksTHE DWYANE WADE SOCK COLLECTION: Heat star and style icon Dwyane Wade is partnering with sock-maker Stance for a soon-to-be unveiled new line of casual and gentlemen's socks. This is a blog. Could I say it if it weren't true? I love the whole idea of upscale, designer socks. They are hidden by pant legs and covered by shoes but if you could see them you'd be impressed!

1aa1marcoMARCO, MARCO, MARCO...: Marco Rubio, of course, is the junior senator from Florida who was considered a rising star in the Republican Party until the moment he was in the midst of delivering his party's nationally televised counterpoint to the president's State of the Union address and decided it would be a good time -- right then -- to chug from a plastic water bottle.

1aa1kanagroos"DEAR GREG...": "...Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a photo of the LPGA's season-opening Australian Women's Open being delayed because dozens of kangaroos are hopping across the course. Thank you." Dear Reader: Sorry. Can't do it.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

October 03, 2011

Dolphins fans and "Suck For Luck": Legit feeling or wrong? (with poll); plus Henne out for year, Hope Solo waters lawn nude, Marlins logo confirmed & more

[Join us on Twitter @gregcote].

Click on At Last, Hope for my latest column previewing the new-look Panthers as NHL play begins. And on Casualties Of a Train-Wreck Season for my earlier column assessing Dolphins at the bye.

1aa1suck2 SHOULD DOLFANS JOIN THE "SUCK FOR LUCK" MOVEMENT?: A pithy slogan that rhymes has a shot to become instant gold in the Internet/Twitterific age, and so every NFL team that is really bad -- including 1aa1dolshirt this one -- finds many of its disgruntled fans chanting or at least advocating "Suck For Luck," i.e., abandoning hope in the name of the overall No. 1 draft pick and Stanford QB Andrew Luck. See, the beauty of being a fan (or in some cases, a sports columnist, for example) is that you can have it both ways. You get to be outraged at the idea your team would throw games or give anything but its best to try to win every week -- while at the same time rationalizing and sort of hoping that's exactly what happens. To be sure, landing Luck would be the ultimate consolation prize of this currently 0-4 Dolphins season, albeit one coming with the price of great embarrassment. But it also forces fans to be anything but real fans, to all but wish months more continued misery on their team and themselves. Not a tough call from an ethical vantage; you play to win, period. But a tougher call from a practical POV, with a legitimate next-Marino type prospect out there waiting to be somebody's savior (so why not ours, say the Dolfan Luckies). Weigh in on Suck For Luck. Vote and tell us why you come down on the side you do.   

1aa1hopelawn NEKKID ATHLETES! WHOOO!: ESPN The Magazine's third annual Body issue is out today, with 22 athletes posing nude though strategically covered. Miami's Helio Castroneves is included but I of course was much more interested in ogling a thoughtful analysis of soccer goalie Hope Solo, who is pictured here. I especially enjoy the photo here of a nude Hope nonchalantly watering the lawn. I believe this photo might star in a future recurring dream of mine that I like to call, "Greeting the New Neighbor."    

HENNE OUT FOR SEASON: No big surprise, but ESPN'S Adam Schefter first reported today that Chad Henne will have surgery on his (non-throwing) shoulder and miss the rest of the season. As a backup to sudden-starter Matt Moore the Dolphins have brought back ex-Fin Sage Rosenfels. Yes, the Sage Rosenfels Experience is back! Miami preferred David Garrard but he demanded too much money. How fitting that Henne's injury -- possibly signalling the end of his Miami career -- happened because of a busted play.

1aa1marlinslogoseat 1aa1marlinslogo MARLINS LOGO CONFIRMED!: The leaked though unconfirmed new Marlins logo at left appears to be the real deal, based on the logo at right that will appear on seats in the new ballpark. The color theme still is not confirmed, but the basic 'M' and stylized marlin in upper left confirm the basic design. 

ME, PICKS: Went a little crazy on some longshot upsets and limped in at 9-7 overall but managed 8-7-1 against the spread, finishing on the plus side with Colts with the points Monday night. Details on this week's Friday NFL predix page.

ME, FANTASY: Better news. Greg's Lobos won big, 186-100, eveming our season mark at 2-2. Got a huge 54 points from Aaron Rodgers and also 32 from Hakeen Nicks, 29 from the Ravens D/ST, and 23 from Greg Jennings. Go Lobos! Dammit.

1aa1bamboo TRIVIA DU JOUR: Bamboo Harvester was the name of the horse that portrayed Mr. Ed in the 1960s sitcom.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE: Our latest updated weekly ranking of the seven FBS teams in our state, with previous week's rank in parentheses. Entering Week 6:

1aa1fla 1. Florida Gators (1) 4-1, 2-1 SEC 

2. FSU Seminoles (2) 2-2, 0-1 ACC

3. Miami Hurricanes (4) 2-2, 0-1 ACC

4. S. Fla. Bulls (3) 4-1, 0-1 Big East

5. C. Fla. Knights (5) 2-2, 0-0 C-USA  

6. FIU Panthers (6) 3-2, 1-1 Sun Belt

7. FAU Owls (7) 0-4, 0-1 Sun Belt

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FALLOUT?: No Hank Williams Jr. warbling "Are you ready for some football?" 1aa1hankjrlast night on Monday Night Football. ESPN cut the intro after some comments derogatory to President Obama made on Fox News. There was a Hitler reference and another to The Three Stooges. Hmm. I'm a big fan of Hank Jr. -- looking at right a bit like Ben Roethlisberger after a long weekend -- but I also respect the prez (this one, and the office). I support Bocephus' right to pander to his Confederate Flag constituency but I also understand and agree with ESPN wanting to keep the smudge of partisan politics off its national brand. I'll continue to like Hank Jr.'s music; "Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound" for me is one of the truly great country songs. But I think I'll think a little less of the man behind that music.

1aa1fashion HIGH FASHION: I think they call it high fashion because the designers were high when conceiving looks such as this one at left, seen at the recent Paris Fashion Week. The goal used to be "something the average woman would wear." Now apparently it's "something the average woman who is Lady Gaga would wear." I mean, seriously.

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a combination of the three major polls: Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN. Points based on 30 for a No. 1 ranking, 29 for No. 2, etc. The combined ranking entering Week 6:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Oklahoma   534   (1)

2   Louisiana State   517   (3)

3   Alabama   515   (2)

4   Boise State   474   (4)

5   Stanford   454   (5)

6   Oklahoma State   428   (6)

7   Wisconson   426   (7)

8   Oregon   386   (9)

9   Nebraska   360  (11)

10   Texas A&M   344   (8)

11   FLORIDA STATE   340   (10)

12   South Carolina   334   (12)

13   Arkansas   319   (14)

14   Virginia Tech   316   (13)

15   FLORIDA   251   (15)

16   Texas   211   (18t)

17   West Virginia   189   (17)

18   Michigan State   188   (16)

19   Baylor   156   (22)

20t   Clemson   149   (25t)

20t   Texas Christian   149   (18t)

22   Ohio State   145   (20)

23   SOUTH FLORIDA   144   (21)

24   Michigan   137   (25t)

25   Arizona State   119   (23)

26   Auburn   117   (27)

27   Georgia Tech   107   (29)

28   Mississippi State   90   (24)

29   Illinois   84   (32)

30   Missouri   58   (28)

37   MIAMI   13   (36)

40t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   7   (39t)

Click back. Will be adding yet more stuff to this latest blogpost...

February 22, 2011

Knicks saying hello 'Melo complicates Heat's dynasty dream (with poll); plus Shockey to Dolphins?, 'Housewives' of Miami, D-Wade's fashion & more

[Thanks to all of today's live chatters. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join us live then, to read transcripts or to post questions any time. Also, follow at]

1aa1hellomelo KNICKS LANDING 'MELO COMPLICATES HEAT TITLE DRIVE: New York loves stars and big headlines, media as much as fans, and pictured is the New York Post splash welcoming Carmelo Anthony in the mega-deal completed late last night. The Knickerbockers, pairing Anthony with Amare Stoudemire, think they have joined Boston and Miami (OK, and Orlando and Chicago) as NBA Eastern Conference power-brokers. Maybe. But if NYK in turn can now sign Chris Paul this coming 1aa1isiaht summer, which becomes much more likely now, then yes. A Big 3 is all the rage now; every team needs to have one. The point is the Knicks suddenly are in position to be a team to be reckoned with, another big, neon obstacle to Miami's dynasty dream as the league's power continues its West-to-East shift. This trade's impact on the Heat isn't the only interest to South Florida. There are plenty of indications that former NBA star and current FIU coach Isiah Thomas (left) helped lure Anthony and broker this deal behind the scenes, as a presumed precursor to Knicks owner James Dolan now bringing Thomas back to the Knicks in a president/GM-type role. Have the Knicks become a major rival to the Heat's title hopes? Take a dip in our poll.

'THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MIAMI': The show debuts tonight, and I feel like Sally Field in Absence of Malice 1aa1housewives stealing papers off lawns, except I want to steal televisions so nobody can watch this. I dare say the real housewives of Miami will be embarrassed by The Real Housewives of Miami. Why would anyone agree to appear on this most shaming franchise in all of not-really-reality TV? Better we should return to the days when the negative connotation of Miami involved murder and cocaine. The six housewives, pictured, are a six-pack of vapidity begging two questions: 1) Aren't there any black women in Miami? Not even one? Or is it that all the black women in Miami had too much pride to agree to be on this show? 2) I don't think Marysol Patton, second from left, has had enough work done. If those lips were any wider or less real looking she'd be Heath Ledger as The Joker. Ooh, too mean? Sorry, Marysol and you five others, but the exchange for your new piss-ant, Snookie-esque celebrity is that you are under now under a microscope that exposes every pore. I have a feeling the hardest-working man in show business is going to be the guy applying the makeup for this show.

SHOCKEY TO DOLPHINS?: Fox's Jay Glazer reporting the Saints have terminted the contract of tight end Jeremy Shockey, the ex-Cane. Let's start some Shockey-to-Dolphins momentum. He's still better offensively than what they have at that position.

1aa1dwade WADE NBA'S TOP FASHION PLATE: Sports Illustrated polled 136 NBA players, asked, "Who has the best fashion sense off the court? " and Heat's Dwyane Wade won big with 29 percent. Next: Kobe Bryant 13% and LeBron James 11%. Pictured left: Wade, being extremely fashionable. [Updated NBA championship odds, via Heat favored at 11-5, then Celtics 7-2, Lakers 4-1 and Spurs 9-2. For MVP it's LeBron James 2-1, Derrick Rose 5-2, Kevin Durant 5-1 and Amare Stoudemire 11-2. Over/under on Carmelo Anthony's scoring average as a Knick: 27.5].

1aa1bayne TREVOR BAYNE SAVES NASCAR: The five years of the Jimmie Johnson reign have been no remedy for NASCAR, which has seen attendance, sponsorships and TV ratings dip during his unthrilling (except to his fans) dominance. A resurgence by popular Dale Earnhardt Jr. would work wonders as the sport's ultimate tonic, but his winless streak has stretched to 94 races now. Vladimir and Estragon waited for Godot less time than we've been Waiting For Junior. NASCAR is looking for a savior, and may have found one in Trevor Bayne (pictured), Sunday's youngest-ever Daytona 500 champion, fresh face personified, one day past his 20th birthday. I have socks older than him. Click here from my column off the race from the Speedway.

A QUESTION FOR DOG OWNERS: This does not apply to me because my old dog Sandy surveys and sniffs her own fenced-in backyard before choosing where to take a crap. But, to the people who walk their dogs so they can crap on other people's lawns: Isn't it true you carry that little plastic bag just for show and that you only pretend to scoop up Fido's gift? I think so. I think you do a quick glance to see if anyone is watching, do the bend-n-pretend, then walk away with a secret grin. Busted!

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this new post throughout the day...

February 14, 2011

Will Heat win the NBA title? (with poll); plus, my Valentine video, 2011 UM football schedule, new SI swimsuits & more

[Three notes: 1) No live chat today because of a conflicting assignment. Chat returns next Wednesday to its regular 1-2 p.m. slot. 2) Click on King George for today's column by me, an ode to retiring St. Thomas Aquinas football coach George Smith. 3) Join us at It's free, and you'll get your money's worth].

WHAT DOES HEAT'S LOSS IN BOSTON "MEAN"? [Update: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were among seven NBA players with brief voice roles in Sunday night's "The Cleveland Show." Don't worry, the show isn't about the Cavs]. I love the rampaging overanalysis of the Heat, and the 1aa1bosmia predictable, hand-wringing conclusion that a three-point loss in Boston Sunday dooms Miami to never get out of the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. Is February not a long way from June? The problem for now is that both teams have a Big 3 but Boston has a (much) better fourth in point guard Rajon Rondo, and also better bigs in the low post in Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins. Not sure that Udonis Haslem's eventual return will solve that. Coach Erik Spoelstra (and Pat Riley, behind the curtain) need to find how to beat the Celtics in a way they obviously (0-3) haven't so far. There also are shades of sobering gloom in Miami being 1-6 vs. the six teams with the best records in the league. Let's take a temperature read on how confident Heat fans are in an NBA title with the season nearing the two-thirds mark and the all-star break near. Try to vote not wishfully, but realistically. Honestly. Vote and say why. 

1aa1brooklyn 1aa1irina SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT ISSUE: The 2011 edition hits newsstands today/Tuesday. Pictured left is the 2010 cover with Brooklyn Decker, and right is new 2011 cover model Irina Shayk. I'm not sure if it is deft marketing or genuine interest that this annual issue is received with such excitement. It's not as if SI is the only mag offering tastefully presented skin. Not as if bikini models can't be found elsewhere. I think much of it is tradition (the swimsuit issue started in 1964) and marketing, such as David Letterman revealing the identity of the 2011 cover model on last night's show, with his Top 10 list presented by a small army of SI bikini-ites. God bless America!

BE A CANE, FOR NO APPARENT REASON: UM athletic department has created a new brand-building fan site called, which allows you to upload a photo of your face onto a Hurricanes football uniform -- so it's like you're an actual player! Try it if you're incredibly bored.

1aa1meandkatie A VALENTINE FROM KATIE AND I: Happy Valentine's Day everybody. University of Miami women's basketball coach Katie Meier took time out from her newly 13th-ranked team and busy schedule to dance the samba with me for this video valentine from us to you. Wasn't that nice of her? Click HERE to watch, listen and enjoy!

CANES' 2011 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE LOOKS REASONABLE...: Here it is, newly announced: Sep 5 @ Maryland; Sep 17 vs Ohio State; Sep 24 vs Kansas State; Oct 1 vs Bethune-Cookman; Oct 8 @ Virginia Tech; Oct 15 @ North Carolina; Oct 22 vs Georgia Tech; Oct 27 vs Virginia; Nov 5 vs Duke; Nov 12 @ FSU; Nov 19 @ South Florida; and Nov 26 vs Boston College. Being realistic, my initial reaction is that the probable losses are Ohio State, Va-Tech and FSU. The should-be automatic wins are K-State, Bethune, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Duke and Boston College. And the swing games are Maryland, North Carolina and South Florida. Handle who you should, take two of three swing games and pinch one of the three toughest ones and you're at 9-3 entering a substantial bowl game, Al Golden. Simple as that. Any questions?

COACH K LIKES FRANK HAITH: You know your job security might be starting to get shaky when the opposing coach who just beat you volunteers effusive praise. This was Duke's Mike Krzyzewski after Sunday's game: "I think Frank's done a remarkable job with this team." And, "I think he's done as good a job as anybody in the league." The question is whether UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt will agree if the Canes (15-10, 4-7 ACC) miss both the NCAA Tournament and NIT again.

1aa1crown HEAT KING-O-METER UPDATE: Update on our unpopular King-o-Meter, tracking which of Heat's would-be Kings is having the better overall season. This is after 52 games, through Sunday's loss in Boston: LeBron James leading Dwyane Wade by 3,011.14 King points to 2,644.31 in our cumulative ranking factoring 10 statistical categories. The two are tied in games led, 26-26. (Regular updates here in the blog whenever you see the crown symbol pictured).

1aa1gaga2 GAGA AT THE GRAMMYS: Guilty pleasure. I like Lady Gaga. I admit it. Also like her new song, "Born This Way," although the echoes of Madonna (especially "Express Yourself") are a little too real for comfort. (Yes I am aware the photo here has a slight crack in it. I assume she'll be getting that repaired...) Highlight of the Grammy Awards, for me: Watching Justin Bieber work hard to not look crestfallen when somebody else' name was called for Best New Artist. The sound you heard at that moment: A nation of 14-year-old girls weeping incredulously.

1aa1amish AMISH HATS: Evidently Amish hats have become popular on European fashion runways (see right). I don't know why. 

Click back. Will be adding more stuff to this new post...