July 17, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast: A rollicking Tahoe Special!; plus Hot Seat scale for 10 biggest Miami coaches; also, Should Heat try to fix Ben Simmons?, Exhibition losses were Team USA's wakeup call, Tokyo Olympics should be delayed yet again & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 17. I was back in-studio on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Thursday. Check out  that day's show podcasts for way too much of me. Will be back in my regular Tuesday slot next week. 2) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast now on Twitter and Instagram. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW 'TAHOE SPECIAL' EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new 27th episode of 2021 and 69th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 69 we've done so far HERE, for free. In our newest episode Greg and Chris (and Chris Wittyngham, and Mardy Fish, and the lead singer of Earth, Wind & Fire, and a pinch of Stugotz) come to you from Lake Tahoe with a rollicking review of their golf and casino trip. Fun! Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

NevilleHOT SEAT SCALE: RANKING 10 BIGGEST COACHES IN SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS BY MOST TO LEAST JOB SECURITY: Like a wine paired to a certain meal, we can recommend a musical accompaniment to what you are about to read. It is the 1980s song, “Under Pressure,” by Queen and David Bowie. Pressure, pushing down on me, pressing down on you ... We identified the 10 most prominent teams in the Greater Miami/South Florida sports market (no offense, FIU hoops, Miami FC soccer and others who just missed) and then came up with a Hot Seat scale to rank which of the teams’ head coaches (or manager) are under the most pressure in terms of job security. The scale is 0 to 10 — 0 meaning the coach’s job presently could not be safer, 10 meaning the firing line is in view and the blindfold and cigarette are being offered. Our summer of ‘21 Hot Seat rankings include (alphabetically) FIU football's Butch Davis, UM football's Manny Diaz, Dolphins' Brian Flores, UM men's basketball's Jim Larranaga, Marlins' Don Mattingly, UM women's basketball's Katie Meier, Inter Miami's Phil Neville (pictured), Panthers' Joel Quenneville, Heat's Erik Spoelstra and FAU football's Willie Taggart. For our full latest column, visit Hot Seat Scale: Ranking Miami's Biggest Coaches By Most to Least Job Security.
BensimmonsPERIL VS. POSSIBILITY: SHOULD MIAMI AND HEAT 'CULTURE' RISK TRYING TO FIX BEN SIMMONS?: This is a delicious dilemma for the Miami Heat, one fraught with peril and possibility. Ben Simmons. The Heat should avoid him like the proverbial plague. The Heat should inquire aggressively about his reported availability. The case for either polar direction is pretty strong. I know, I know. Here we go again, right? A prominent NBA player is out there dangling, either in free agency or via trade, and Miami always seems to get sucked into the conversation. There is hardly a rumor whispered that doesn’t somehow involve the Heat. It is because Pat Riley is a deal-maker loathe to stand pat. He is forever after the next big asset, the next whale making the next splash. Relevance. Another title shot. Part of it is also because half the fun of the NBA is what’s happening off the court. To most fans, the July 28 draft and the free agency/trade season that follows is more interesting than the Suns-Bucks NBA Finals going on. In Simmons’ case, Miami is a natural link because of the club’s culture-driven reputation as a place where broken players are repaired. Come to Miami, and be healed by the Heat Way! Former NBA player Brian Scalabrine of NBC Sports Boston, as an example, recently said, of Simmons, “The Miami Heat could fix him. Erik Spoelstra as a coach could fix Ben Simmons.” The question is, "Should they try?" The positives and negatives on Simmons both are huge. For our full recent column, visit Peril vs. Possibility: Should the Heat Gamble and Try to Fix Ben Simmons? 
REDEEM TEAM: EXHIBITION LOSSES JUST THE FUEL TEAM USA NEEDS HEADING TO TOKYO: Concern. Worry. Panic? Isn’t it great? Ain’t it fun! There was plenty we expected from Team USA men’s basketball in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, but drama and adversity — and losing and being mocked on social media — were not among those things. Ten days from the start of TeamusaOlympics hoops, America’s Dream Team suddenly is cast as the Redeem Team, needing to reestablish itself as the (literal) gold standard against unexpected doubts. Exhibition losses first to Nigeria (a 28-point underdog) and then Monday night to Australia (a 17-point ‘dog) have superstar-laden Team USA, full of NBA max contracts, on its heels. And the losses have superstar coach Gregg Popovich in the unaccustomed position of looking for silver linings in defeat. “I thought we got better tonight,” he said after the loss to Australia in Las Vegas. Speaking of Vegas, the Americans remain betting favorites to win a fourth consecutive Olympic gold despite the rocky preamble, ahead of national teams like Spain and the Aussies. To most gamblers it’s still a safe bet that Popovich is going to figure it out — heck, that you or I could stand courtside and win gold with a roster that includes Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Jayson Tatum (and the Heat’s Bam Adabeyo, too, of course). Team USA’s talent and pedigree are why the consecutive exhibition losses have been, well, shocking. Consider: This is Durant’s fourth Olympic team and before this 0-2 stumble his teams had been 39-0 in the three previous Olympic seasons (including exhibitions). Team USA had been 54-2 overall since NBA players were first allowed to compete in the Olympics in 1992. That gold-gilded track record has fomented an almost jingoistic attitude surrounding Team USA, an assumption of dominance. Losses to Nigeria and Australia are reminders that things have changed, which is a good thing for Olympic basketball. For our full recent column, visit Exhibition Losses Give Team USA Wakeup Call It Needs Headed to Olympics

TokyoTOKYO OLYMPICS SHOULD BE DELAYED AGAIN, BUT IT'S TOO LATE. WHY? MONEY!: Sports amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a strange thing to experience over the past 16 months. Games postponed, seasons shortened, events canceled or delayed. No spectators to cardboard-cutout or digital fans to limited attendance and mask mandates. A whole new connotation to the word “bubble.” The importance of sports, the role of it in our lives, has been subject to reexamination. The notion of people playing games has seemed somewhat meaningless in the context of a global coronavirus pandemic whose death toll has now topped 4 million worldwide including some 606,000 Americans. Yet, at the same time, sports — the resumption of them, the continuation of them — have felt vitally importance as a symbol of normalcy, a signpost we’re on the road to that, at least. Games and the comforting routine of seasons as a life preserver of sorts. All of which brings us to the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Games will begin July 23, ready or not — and whether they should or not. Sports’ place in a pandemic and the question, “Sports at what cost?” are open for fresh debate as the Olympics go on despite Tokyo just declaring a state of emergency due to a surge in COVID cases fueled by the Delta variant. For our full recent column, visit Tokyo Olympics Should Be Delayed Again, But It's Too Late. Why? Money.  

Other most recent columns: May Sha'Carri Richardson Be Last Victim Of Olympics' Archaic Marijuana Rules / 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Injury-Wrecked Playoffs, Asterisk Champion: Why Greedy NBA Is Getting What It Deserves / Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend / Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight / and Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History.

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ARCHIVES

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

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

March 29, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Huge week as Riley magic, Fins draft trades, Marlins Opening Week, R.I.P. Howard, Elite Eight fight for first; plus our Schnellenberger tribute column, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 29. Thanks to the Paul Castronovo Show for having us on this morning to talk Dolphins and Schnellenberger. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat and Riley steal Oladipo at trade deadline, Beckham keeps name-dropping Messi and Ronaldo for Inter Miami, Deshaun Watson's escalating off-field mess, Greg Cote Show podcast with Pablo Torre & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow MikejackGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 13th podcast of 2021 (55th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 55 we've done so far HERE for free. In our latest Ep13 we offer a tribute to the late great Howard Schnellenberger and welcome in two special guests. Meet Mike Jack (pictured), who just a Guinness World Record for eating the hottest pepper ever grown. And Jeremy Tache' of Bally (nee Fox) Sports Florida is on to discuss Heat, Marlins and Schitt's Creek. Greg and Chris also chew over Dolphins' big draft trades. And hear the return of Mount Gregmore! Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (And remember: Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, Mondays 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HowardripHOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 1934-2021: MY TRIBUTE COLUMN: Like grown children do with aging parents, sports fans know the day is coming for beloved old coaches who have faded from sidelines and headlines but never from our hearts. We have so long to prepare for the day, so many years, yet somehow we always feel unprepared when the news hits. Howard Schnellenberger -- father of the Miami Hurricanes football dynasty but with an impact so much greater -- passed away early Saturday. He had turned 87 two weeks earlier. We forgive hyperbole in eulogies, but sometimes what might seem like a statement too big is just right: “Without him there is no Miami football,” the Hurricanes program tweeted simply. For my full tribute column, visit In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time.

Riley's magic, Beckham's optimism, Watson's mess. Our three othre most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / and Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? Other most recent columns: No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has Needed Fresh Feel As We Welome Back March Madness.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MARCH 28-29): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Slump deepens, but Miami, Riley win big at draft deadline: Bad news? Heat has lost a season-high six straight games and fallen below .500 (22-24) and tumbled from fourth place to eighth in the East after Friday's loss at Charlotte. Good news? Miami and Pat Riley killed it on NBA trade deadline day. Couldn't pry Kyle Lowry from Toronto, but acquired 20-point scorer Victor Oladipo and forward Nemanja Bjelica without having to part with valued pieces like Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson. No Lowry? No problem! Miami is back in play Monday at Knicks.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami trades down in first round, gets draft windfall in return: The Fins on Friday shook up the NFL draft's April 29 first round by trading down from the No. 3 overall pick. Miami in return got San Francisco's No. 12 overall pick, its third rounder this year and two future first-round picks -- one in 2022 and one in 23. Then, Miami got the No. 6 overall pick this year and a '21 fifth-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for the '21 12th overall pick, a '21 fourth-round pick and a '22 first-round pick. Got all that? Bottom line: By moving down third to sixth in this year's first round, Fins gained a 3rd-round pick in '21 and a first-rounder in '23. Smart.

3. MARLINS: It's Opening Week for Miami's 29th MLB season!: Marlins open the regular season with a six-game homestand vs. Tampa Bay and St. Louis starting this Thursday vs. the Rays, with Sandy Alcantara on the mound for Miami. Low expectations for Fish in tough NL East, based on betting numbers, though Miami snapped a 17-year playoff drought last year. Season comes after a successful spring that saw Fish finish atop the Grapefruit League standings at 14-5 (not counting five ties) after Sunday's closing win.

4. HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: R.I.P. to Canes' first champion football coach: Howard Schnellenberger passed away Saturday at age 87. His leading the Miami Hurricanes' 1983 national championship touched off a dynasty that would lead to four titles more over the next 18 seasons. He later built FAU's program from scratch.  A true South Florida sports legend. R.I.P. 

5. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: March Madness' Sweet 16 turns to Elite Eight: The original 68 teams in the men's NCAA Tournament are down to the surviving Elite Eight after weekend results. Saturday, No. 1 Baylor advanced along with Houston, Arkansas and Oregon State. (Notably eliminated: Cinderella-designate Oral Roberts and Sister Jean's Loyola). Sunday, No. 1s Gonzaga and Michigan moved on along with USC and, in an upset, UCLA. Elite Eight games are tonight and Tuesday.

6. BOXING: Tyson-Holyfield III set for Miami in May ... or is it?: The third and last fight in the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson trilogy is set for May 29 at a socially distanced Hard Rock Stadium. But only if it ends up happening. It seemed set. Then Holyfield's camp announced Tyson had rejected the $25 million guarantee. Then, a day after Tyson proclaimed the fight was on, his reps told TMZ the boxer misspoke and wasn't aware how far apart the two sides are in negotiations. So stay tuned. Quick aside: Tyson is 54 and Holyfield 58. Tick tock, fellas!

7. HURRICANES: Spring football practice breaks for UM's NFL Pro Day: Midway through its 15 spring practices, UM pauses on Monday to welcome in scouts for its annual Pro Day in advance of the NFL Draft. Two ex-Cnes -- defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau -- are seen as certain first-rounders, though likely mid-round. Spring practice concludes April 17.

8. PANTHERS: Ekblad injured in Florida win: Florida is 22-9-4, third in NHL Central and only two points off the lead after a pair of wins in Dallas. Sunday's was was costly, though, as defenseman Aaron Ekblad left the ice on a stretcher with a serious left leg injury that will keep him out "an extensive time," said coach Joel Quenneville. Ekblad is a Norris Trophy finalist for NHL defenseman of the year award.

9. TENNIS: What's left of Miami Open reaches midpoint: Rocked by major late withdrawals including Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokvic and Rafael Nadal and with its prize fund gutted, the remains of the Miami Open -- back with limited crowds after being erased by the pandemic last spring -- reached its midway point this weekend outside Hard Rock Stadium.

10. HORSE RACING: Known Agenda wins Florida Derby: Todd Pletcher-trained Known Agenda won Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, a major prep race for Triple Crown season. Win qualified the horse for the Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda's owner? Vinnie Viola, who also owns the Florida Panthers.

Missing the HB10 cut: U.S. men's soccer failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after Sunday's 2-1 loss to Honduras in Guadalajara, Mexico. It's the U.S. men's third straight missed Olympics ..... Year 2 for David Beckham's Inter Miami opened with a practice game vs. the USL Tampa Bay Rowdies Sunday, a 1-0 loss in St. Pete. After five friendlies will come the MLS regular season opener April 18. Meantime Beckham keeps name-dropping Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as among stars who could end their careers with Miami. We'll hold you to that, Becks! ..... Attrition clobbers Canes hoops. UM men's season ended at 10-17, worst in 27 years, and the hits keep coming. Guard Chris Lykes announced he's turning pro as expected, although at 5-7 it's unlikely he'll draw NBA Draft attention. Now leading scorer Isaiah Wong also is pondering an early departure, and shooting guard Kameron McGusty also is gauging NBA interest. Oh, and two others, Elijah Olaniyi and Earl Timberlake, have entered the transfer portal. Tough times for Jim Larranaga ..... Yeah, innocent until proven guilty. OK. But 16 civil suits against Deshaun Watson for sexual impropriety or assault? At what point might teams negotiating a trade with Houston have second thoughts? ..... Francis Ngannou KO'd Stip Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title Saturday ..... A Miami Heat arena name change is at hand. It's going from AmericanAirlines Arena to FTX Arena, after a cryptocurrency exchange. Will players now be paid in Bitcoin? ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 11-8 entering Sunday's series rubber game at Virginia ..... Upcoming: UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches are next week on April 6; The Masters at Augusta is April 8-11; Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11; and the Kentucky Derby is in one month, on May 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 13th episode of 2021 and 55th overall drops Monday morning. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,919 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: These Two Questions Will Determine Dolphins' Path On Watson Vs. Tua / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Oh Say Can You See No Anthem At Games? / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

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

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

December 08, 2020

New Greg Cote Show podcast out now! It's Radio Tuesday, too!; plus Dolphins and Tua club Cincy 19-7, Hurricanes roll at Duke 48-0, Le Batard leaving ESPN, NFL Week 13 picks, Pix 'n Fantasy Week 12 results and updated QB rankings & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Stinkin' Jets, Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 39 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday!: Me. Today. Le Batard Show With Stugotz. 10 a.m. to noon nationally on ESPN Radio. Catch it while you can.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 HAD THE DAY OFF. SEE YA NEXT SUNDAY!

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 40 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 40 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep40 we welcome in special guest Harvey Greene, the Dolphins' PR guy for almost 30 years who began his career being fired five times by George Steinbrenner. Hear his great behind-the-scenes stories. Also, Greg and Chris talk over the wild Dolphins-Bengals game, Greg opines on the Le Batard-ESPN divorce, and of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (the W's). Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep40 now!

CinmiaG12: @DOLPHINS 19, CINCINNATI 7: TUA'S BACK, D'S STRONG AGAIN ... AND A BRAWL!: Tua threw for 296 yards, Miami's defense came up big again and there was an ejections-strewn brawl as playoff-chasing Fins improved to 8-4 ..... Original post: You had been savoring a tantalizing platter of Joe Burrow vs. Tua Tagovailoa 1.0 in the maiden head to head duel of the two high-drafted quarterbacks today at 1 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium. You will be settling for Brandon Allen vs. Tua, with Allen subbing for the injured Burrow. Tagovailoa also was iffy with his thumb injury but is now expected to start. Would not heave been surprised by another Ryan Fitzpatrick start, because he is capable and the opponent is lousy. Though the job should be and will be Tagovailoa’s when healthy, one advantage of another Fitz start on Sunday would have been his superior chemistry with top WR DeVante Parker. In any case Miami should be able to get it’s modest ground attack going against a really poor Cincy run defense, especially with Myles Gaskin back from injury. The greatest mismatch might be on the other side. Cannot see the Gals’ offense and Allen, in his fifth career start, doing much at all against Miami’s pass rush and stout secondary. Fins are on a 9-1 roll when favored at home and should keep that streak going without much fret. They'd better as they chase the playoffs, because the schedule closes tougher after today, with home games vs. Chiefs and Patriots and then roadies at the Raiders and Bills. My pick: Dolphins (-11 1/2), 26-0. For all of our latest picks, visit NFL Week 13 Gems.

UmdukeG9: NO. 10 HURRICANES 48, @DUKE 0: KING'S 4 TD'S LEAD ROUT: D'Eriq King threw for three TDs and ran for one and the defense forced five Duke turnovers in Saturday night's 48-0 rout as No. 10 Canes improved to 8-1 ..... Original post: Saturday night at Duke (8, ACCN) will be Miami's first game since November 14 because of COVID-related schedule upheaval. And it should be a fun evening for The U. D'Eriq King's offense should feast on a Blue Devils defense that has been trampled for 112 points in its past two losses. Cam'Ron Harris should run wild, as Duke allows 200 opponent rushing yards per game. And bad defense isn't the only thing the Hurricanes should be able to take advantage of. Duke's offense has committed a nation-leading 30 turnovers, including 13 interceptions by Chase Brice. It's a bit of a surprise Miami isn't bigger than a 14 1/2-point favorite; perhaps that's because Duke has won the past two meetings, in 2018 and '19. This one looks a mismatch, though. Duke's best shot at a home upset might be using its strong ground game to keep the ball out of King's hands. RBs Mataeo Durant and Deon Jackson have 1,276 combined rushing yards, so UM's front seven best be ready. Miami hasn't had a great track record under Manny Diaz performing after time off, so a fast start by UM will be a key. The Canes also may need to shake off the disappointment of officially being eliminated from ACC Championship Game contention. No. 2 Notre Dame is in, and No. 3 Clemson will qualify Saturday night assuming it wins at heavy underdog Virginia Tech. Means the Canes could fly home disappointed, even in victory. My pick: Hurricanes, 45-16.

Other state FBS games this week (in order; all Saturday):

No. 6 Florida beats Tennessee 31-19: Gators are headed to SEC Championship Game vs. Alabama but this win as 17 1/2-point favorites won;t impress rankings voters much. Vols have now lost six straight but put up a fight.

Georgia Southern beats FAU 20-3: Disappointing road effort for the now 5-2 Owls, who were only 2 1/2-point 'dogs.

Off this week: FIU, Florida State, South Florida and UCF. FIU was scheduled on Saturday to make up a postponed game at Charlotte, but that game will not be played. FIU has had six games postponed for COVID-related reasons this season, and only two will have been made up with the other four canceled. 

LE BATARD ERA AT ESPN DRAWING TO A CLOSEWhat has long been rumored and speculated became official Thursday with the news Dan Le Batard and ESPN are Danlebmutually parting ways in one month. The final day on air will be Monday, Jan. 4, for both ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz and the televised Highly Questionable show that Dan hosted. Le Batard immediately assured his legion of fans and listeners that he is not retiring and he will be heard from again soon. "Thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings," Le Batard said. "To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough." Greeny with Mike Greenberg will fill ESPN’s 10 a.m. to noon radio slot beginning Jan. 5. Highly Questionable will remain on the network’s TV lineup with a contributing team of hosts and guests. Le Batard and the network had grown apart in recent months with several moves that disappointed Le Batard or caught him by surprise. One was the national show being reduced from three hours to two. Another, more recently, was when Chris Cote, one of the show’s producers, was included among ESPN’s massive layoffs without Le Batard ever being informed or consulted. For this story in full, visit Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon.

PicksNFL WEEK 13 PICKS: DOLPHINS VS. BENGALS, GAME OF THE WEEK, 2 UPSETS AND ALL THE REST: The Week 12 picks were a sizzling 13-3 straight-up and an unlucky 8-8 against the spread. Now, like Bob Seger, we turn the page. Topping our Week 13 marquee: It won't be Tua Tagovailoa vs. Joe Burrow 1.0, but Dolphins try to stay hot vs. Cincinnati Bengals. We designate a Game of the Week from among a thin list of contenders. Two big upsets. And a tightening AFC East. This is our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and we thank you for joining us on the journey. For our latest picks for the entire slate of 15 games, visit NFL Week 13 Gems. There was no Thursday night game this week. Tampa Bay and Carolina are off for the final byes of the season. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 12 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Mix of good ... and bad luck: We were a robust 13-3 overall in elongated Week 12 -- our second-best week of the season straight-up -- but an unlucky 8-8 against the point spread. Unlucky? We had Denver covering at home vs. Saints -- before all the Broncos QBs went on the COVID list and a wide receiver took snaps to abysmal Loboslogoresults. Unlucky II: Lost another cover when our pick came before Ravens lost QB Lamar Jackson to COVID and the line changed dramatically. Could-a/should-a been 10-6 ATS, but we don’t change/update picks. Such is the peril of predicting NFL games on Thursday afternoons in a pandemic-rocked season. Still, we nailed our Pats over Cardinals Upset of the Week (“Aawwk!”), bull’s-eyed another outright upset with Redskins over Cowboys, and had a trio of ‘dogs-with-points in covers by Bengals, Jaguars and 49ers. Glad you're with us on our 30th season of picks in the Herald! Greg's Lobos: Do you believe in miracles?: Lobos lost a sixth game in a row, this one 112-105. Got 24 from Amari Cooper and 20 from Dallas Goedert and not much else. So we slid to 4-8 in PFPI Fantasy, our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league. Astoundingly we still have a mathematical shot at the sixth and last playoff spot, but it will take a big final-week win coupled with a bunch of other results falling just right. Won't happen. We're done. Sad.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select recent columns: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

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

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

Select other 2020 columns: '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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

November 23, 2020

G10: Dolphins fall at Denver 20-13. Tua benched but still starter; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas 57 years ago yesterday. Never forget. 2) Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 11 picks, Hurricanes season rocked and postponed by COVID, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 37 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Some of our most recent stuff: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Herald Week 10 NFL QB Rankings / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / and In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 38 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 38 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep38 we welcome in special guest Christie Cote to share family secrets and embarrassing stories about her husband Chris and father-in-law Greg. She also talks about being a fan of the winless Jets -- the Dolphins' next opponent. Greg and Chris also chat up Sunday's Fins loss in Denver. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (U's) and more. Appreciate you listening each week and check out the new ep!

MiadenverG10: DOLPHINS FALL AT DENVER 20-13. TUA BENCHED BUT STILL STARTER: Miami was due a loss after five straight wins, and Tua was due a less than stellar start. Both happened Sunday as the Dolphins missed a great chance to tie for the AFC East lead and solidify their playoff hopes. Original post: Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 as a starter with five touchdown passes and zero interceptions — only the second rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era (Carson Wentz, 2016) to start 3-0 with zero picks. If Tagovailoa bags a fourth consecutive victory Sunday to begin his career he will be only the second rook since 1976 to do that, and the first since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Heady stuff, the way the Golden Samoan has introduced himself to Miami. He has helped make the Fins one of 15 teams with six-plus wins, the most ever entering Week 11. He also is a win in Denver Sunday (4:05 p.m., CBS) from hoisting Miami into a tie for the AFC East lead with idle Buffalo. This might give us pause: Miami somehow has lost 10 consecutive road games vs. teams with losing records. Except: Denver has lost eight of the past nine at home vs. teams with winning records. Mile High is no longer a scary visit. The Broncos are in shambles. QB Drew Lock (ribs) is iffy to play and has 10 interceptions in past five games when he does play. The once-proud Denver defense has allowed an average of 36 points during the past four games. The Broncos’ decline and the way Miami is playing are a stark contrast. Can’t recall when last I said what I’m about to: Miami losing on the road Sunday would be a huge surprise. My pick: Dolphins (-3), 27-13. For all of our latest King Sport picks (we're coming off an 11-3 week against the spread), visit NFL Week 11 Gems.

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

1HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua Train pulls into Denver, gets derailed in loss: Favored at Denver Sunday and with Jets and Bengals next, we thought Miami could very plausibly be 9-3 after a dozen games. Now, maybe 8-4? The playoffs still loom realistically, by Miami likely must win the next two to have a cushion entering a much tougher four-game stretch to end the regular season. A bit of pressure on Tua Tagovailoa now, too, after his benching late in Sunday's 20-13 loss.

2. HEAT: Miami nabs Memphis forward in NBA Draft, re-signs Dragic: The Heat selected Memphis 6-9 forward Precious Achiuwa 20th overall, seeing him as a big who'll back up Bam Adebayo. Precious has sisters named Grace and Peace, and brothers named Promise, God'sgift, God'swill and God’slove. If Precious is as good at basketball as his family is at naming babies, Miami just won the draft. Free agency opened two days after the draft and Miami quickly re-signed Goran Dragic and role player Meyers Leonard, but is lsing Jae Crowder to Phoenix.

3. HURRICANES: COVID outbreak disrupts, postpones UM season: No. 12 Canes -- how do you win and then drop three spots in The AP poll? -- were supposed to host Georgia Tech Saturday night. But the global coronavirus pandemic had something to say about that. A COVID outbreak got in the way, with much of the UM team including coach Manny Diaz in isolation after positive tests. Presuming no further outbreak, Hurricanes won't play again until December 5 at Wake Forest.

4. INTER MIAMI: Quick playoff exit ends strangest of rookie years: Inter Miami has finished its inaugural expansion season in Major League Soccer with a 7-14-3 record after Friday night's 3-0 loss at Nashville in the first round of the expanded playoffs. Miami had won its final regular season match to clinch the 10th and last spot in the East playoffs. Inter Miami starters Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez did not play Friday after ill-timed COVID test-positives.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: First CFP ranking due as virus ravages season: The first College Football Playoff raking is out Tuesday and good luck to the committee making sense of this season. Nineteen more games were canceled (12) and postponed (7) this week, including ppd's for Miami-Georgia Tech (see above) and FSU-Clemson. Some games were played. Among results: Gators beat Vandy, FAU won and FIU lost (again).

6. NBA: Crazy week as free agency rolls out two days after draft: A whirlwind: Chris Paul to Suns. Jrue Holiday to Hornets. James Harden turns down $50 million to stay as he attemts to broker deal to join Nets. Anthony Davis not recommitting to Lakers just yet. Giannis mulling options. Toronto re-signs Fred VanFleet. Oh, and Raptors will open season in Tampa after Canada says no home games in Toronto just yet. 

7. UM BASKETBALL: It's opening week for Canes and college hoops: Under the shadow of a pandemic, college basketball gets underway Wednesday, with Gonzaga (AP) and Baylor (coaches) No. 1 in the men's polls and South Carolina dominant in the women's rankings. It's a season of low expectations for UM, with neither team ranked or receiving votes. Canes women open Wednesday at home vs. Jacksonville; Miami men launch next Sunday vs. North Florida.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Champion LSU rocked by scandal: Ed Orgeron's reigning national champion LSU Tigers program is under fire after a USA Today investigative report found systemic mishandling of sexual misconduct and dating violence complaints against the school's football team. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was "deeply troubled" and has called for an investigation, and the NCAA won't be far behind.

9. SOCCER: Champions League play resumes this week: UEFA Champions League group play continues Tuesday toward a winnowing to the round of 16. Barcelona, one of four team that are a perfect 3-0 thus far, plays Tuesday. The other three perfectos, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool, get back at it Wednesday. Two more weeks of play will follow to complete the group stage.

10. THANKSGIVING: Time to give thanks, if at all possible: Thursday we eat (a lot), watch football (a lot), and enjoy the company of loved ones (but not too close). Many of us, when we say grace before the Thanksgiving banquet, count the blessings of the year. In cursed 2020, that could make for a record-short grace. "Thank God this !@#$%in' year is almost over! Let's eat."

Missing the HB10 cut: Waiting for that first big Marlins offseason deal to trumpet GM Kim Ng's arrival ..... R.I.P., Jake Scott, Dolphins career leader in interceptions. Free safety, free spirit, gone at 75 ..... As MLB free agency rolls out, sport suspended Mets 2B Robinson Cano an entire season for PEDs. So long, Cooperstown ..... Baseball Hall of Fame ballots have been mailed, and I (a voter) received mine. Rudy Guiliani is standing by to contest the results of the election ..... The wife of Lions QB Matthew Stafford on Instagram called Michigan a "dictatorship" for its COVID lockdown rules, was shouted down by rational people aware there is a pandemic, and had to apologize ..... LaVar Ball vs. Michael Jordan 1-on-1? Yes, please. But only if it is guaranteed MJ will crush and humiliate the world's most annoying sports dad ..... Florida Panthers have entered into an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Minor-league nicknames rule! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 38 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,045 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other most recent columns: Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

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THE ARCHIVES:

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.

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.

Select other 2020 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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

November 14, 2020

G8: Hurricanes rally past Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, 25-24; plus FAU beats FIU in Shula Bowl, NFL Week 10 picks for Dolphins-Chargers and the rest; record-setting Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14. Hope all y'all Triskaidekaphobes out there and especially you Paraskevidekatriaphobes had a safe Friday the 13th. 2) A belated R.I.P., Alex Trebek. You lifted the American I.Q., and gave 'game show' a good name. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): A personal message for readers and listeners, Colts-Titans pick, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 9 results and QB rankings, a very special Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 36 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

G8: NO. 9 HURRICANES 25, AT VIRGINIA TECH 24: R-E-S-P-E-C-T! LATE RALLY LIFTS ROAD 'DOG CANES: OMy column off Saturday's big win: Canes Flew to Blacksburg Disrespected, Returned With a Win. Original Post: Might seem double-take, shake-your-head. are-my-eyes-deceiving-me weird to some, but No. 9-ranked Miami is a 2-point underdog at Virginia Tech in Saturday's noon ACC matchup. As if to verify, ESPN's Football Power Index has it a 62.2 percent likelihood of a Hokies win Theu Vtover the Hurricanes. Possible reasons: Va-Tech is pretty good, Blacksburg is a tough place to play, and this has been a thorny rivalry for UM. Miami once was 12-0 in this series. Since then, UM is 10-15 including only 4-8 on the road. The Hokies won in Miami last season, 42-35. This figures as a rugged test for The U's defense against an opponent driven by a physical ground game that averages 279 rushing yards per game, fifth in the nation and the most of any team in a Power Five conference. Top back Khalil Herbert is second in the ACC with 803 rush-yards and averages 8.4 a carry -- although Canes catch a huge break of if Herbert is sidelined by the hamstring injury that makes him questionable. Miami also will face a big, elusive, dual-threat quarterback in Hendon Hooker, who is as much a threat on designed runs as he is with his arm. And Miami's run defense has been a bit erratic, allowing an average of close to 150 yards per game. trong (Miami ranks 55th in the country in run defense), it will be critical for the Hurricanes to have its best performance of the season when trying to stop the run. UM's plan os to limit Tech's ground game as best it can and see the offense score plenty on the Hokies' D. Coach Manny Diaz said there is "a hope" TE Brevin Jordan will return after three games out with a shoulder injury, and that would be huge for Miami and QB D'Eriq King. The Hurricanes must earn again the respect that is lacking somewhat in this point spread if they want to stay at only one ACC loss and maintain hopes of reaching the ACC Championship Game. I believe they will here, in a high-scoring game that finds King's offense having the better of a beatable defense. My pick: Upset! Hurricanes, 34-30.

Other state FBS games this week (in order; all Saturday unless noted):

ShulabowlFAU 38, FIU 19: Friday night was the 19th annual Shula Bowl (FAU now leads 14-5) -- and the first since Don Shula's passing at age 90 in May. The Owls were 9-point favorites and showed it in improving to 4-1 and dropping the host Panthers to 0-4. The score easily exceeded the betting over/under of 41 1/2 total points. That's low even for the NFL, and almost unheard of in college. FIU at home was a definite sentimental pick, amid a season turned upside down by COVID-related issues. (Our recent column on Butch Davis' most trying year: In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives).

South Florida (1-6) at Houston (2-3), 3:30 p.m.: Houston a 14-point favorite. SoFla was 21-4 in 2016-17. Bulls have now lost 20 of past 25.

Arkansas (3-3) at No. 6 Florida (4-1), 7 p.m.: Gators a 17 1/2-point Swamp favorite coming off big statement win over Georgia that bestowed upon UF the inside lane toward reaching the SEC Championship Game. But be wary of embarrassed big programs that are used to being good, like Arkansas was before its recent slide.

Temple (1-4) at UCF (4-2), 7:30 p.m.: The Knights from Mousetown are favored by 25 1/2 in an expected rout.

Florida State (2-5) at North Carolina State (4-3), 7:30 p.m.: Wolfpack are 10 1/2-point faves. Between 1992 and 2017 the Seminoles ranked in the polls 22 times when facing NCST. Those days are gone.

Off this week: None. [Nationally, 15 more games this week were postponed (9) or canceled (6) by COVOD issues this week, including No. 1 Alabama at Clemson].

PicksNFL WEEK 10 PICKS: TUA VS. HERBERT. SEAHAWKS-BILLS AND 2 UPSETS LEAD THE PARADE: The rollicking Week 10 picks parade is topped by Sunday's first career meeting of Dolphin Tua Tagovailoa and Charger Justin Herbert, instant career-long rivals via their draft proximity. Can Miami button down its fifth straight win? Also up there: Our Seahawks-Bills Game of the Week, and two big upsets. This is our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and thanks as always for joining us on the ride! For our Week 10 previews and picks for Fins-Bolts, our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and all the rest of the 14-game slate, visit NFL Week 10 Gems. Our week got off to a rousing start Thursday night in Nashville. Host Titans were favored by one point but we called the mini-upset by the visiting Colts. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print, after the Thursday night pick appears separately Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print.

Our most recent other columns: Canes Keep Beating Teams They Should (If Barely) / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right MoveDolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: CHRIS DISCUSSES ESPN LAYOFFIN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 36 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 36 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In an emotional new Ep36 -- easily the most downloaded and most listened-to episode we've done, climbing as high as No. 3 among all sports podcasts in the national Apple rankings, Chris Cote discusses his layoff from ESPN, which he announced on Twitter Sunday evening. Chris and I also talk Tua and Dolphins, a smidgen of politics and bring you a new Mount Gregmore. But it's the heartfelt discussion of the layoff that is must-listen, especially for fans of the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. Hear all of that and more on the latest Greg Cote Show podcast. Go HERE for the Miami Herald's story on the layoff.

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THE ARCHIVES:

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.

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.

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

December 24, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 54.4% following Fins' 38-35 OT win over Cincinnati in home finale; plus latest Hot Button Top 10, Merry Christmas Eve & more

Eve1) It's TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24. Merry Christmas Eve Eve! 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 as 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): NFL Week 16 picks, FIU and FAU go bowling & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

CinmiaG15: DOLPHINS 38, CINCINNATI 35 (OT): DOMINATION, COLLAPSE, THEN VICTORY: Dolphins blow 23-point fourth quarter lead then survive in overtime. Original post: Miami was favored for the first time all season, albeit by a scant one point ... but only for a minute. Then the betting line swung to even. Then it moved to Bengals favored by 1 (based on Caesars Sportsbook lines). It's the ultimate ignominy, really. A 3-11 Dolphins team that has been relatively competitive lately is playing at home against a 1-13 team -- yet is the underdog! I don’t get it. What an insult. Miami is not only home but also better than Cincy. Granted, that’s like saying Spam is tastier than tripe. Still. One-win Gals have No. 1 draft pick in-pocket at the moment. Why would they want to jeopardize that? While Miami, clearly playing to win under Brian Flores, has the added incentive in this season's home finale of a halftime ceremony honoring the 1972 Perfect Season Dolphins — recently voted best team of all time as part of the NFL’s 100th anniversary rollout. The current Fins should be inspired to not wet the bed as the iconic Perfectos look on. Almost forgot. Did I mention Cincy is 0-7 on the road? Cote’s pick: Upset! (Sort of). MIA 27-20. See Week 16 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. And watch for the latest  Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, here and elsewhere online, right after today's game ends.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G15: 54.4%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald's Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 54.4 percent overall approval --the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 38-35 overtime home win over Cincinnati putting Miami's season record at 4-11. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your own overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

G7: 28.8% following 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh.

G8: 76.4% following 26-18 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G9: 70.9% following 16-12 victory at Indianapolis.

G10: 44.5% following 37-20 loss vs. Buffalo.

G11: 44.9% following 41-24 loss at Cleveland.

G12: 80.5% following 37-31 victory vs. Philadelphia.

G13: 77.4% following 22-21 loss at N.Y. Jets.

G14: 53.9% following 36-20 loss at N.Y. Giants.

G15: 54.4% following 38-35 OT victory vs. Cincinnati.

Next Poll: Dec. 29 G16/Final following game at New England. 

Our most recent other work: We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School FootballWhy 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!

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins dominate, collapse, survive vs. Bengals in home finale: Miami blew a 23-point fourth quarter leads but hung on for a 38-35 OT win. The 1972 Perfect Season Dolphins were honored at halftime as the 1-13 Bengals played the 3-11 Fins in Miami's home finale. Those vintage Dolphins players are mostly hobbling men in their 70s now ... and they still were the best team on the field Sunday.

2. HURRICANES: Early signing done, UM readies for Independence Bowl: UM's early-signing class was rated No. 19 by ESPN, with the bounty of 19 recruits including 11 four-stars and eight who made the ESPN 300. Not bad off a 6-6 season. Now, the season wraps the day after Christmas vs. Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl -- a fitting anticlimax for a down year.

3. HEAT: No fluke! Miami's big season is not letting up: With Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo leading the way the Heat at 21-8 continue to look like not only a playoff team but a top four East seed in the mix for home-court advantage in the first round. More than one-third into this NBA season, Miami has yet to have even a two-game losing streak.

4. NFL: Pro Bowl teams announced as playoffs take shape: Eight of 12 playoff spots had been spoken for entering Week 16. Houston on Saturday became the ninth to clinch, and Dallas and Minnesota both could on Sunday. Meantime Pro Bowl rosters were announced with the Dolphins one of only two teams shut out. But so was Tom Brady -- for the first time since 2008.

5. PANTHERS: Topsy-turvy Cats are hot again: Florida after a nice 4-2 road win at tough Carolina Saturday is 18-17 upon three straight wins -- tied for longest streak of the season. Cats are  back on playoff pace, but narrowly, and need the recent defensive improvement to continue.

6. CHRIS BOSH: Former Heat star among Hall of Fame finalists: Basketball Hall of Fame's eligible list for 2020 induction includes former Heat star Chris Bosh among prominent contenders. Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan top the list as certain inductees, but Bosh (along with Kevin Garnett) should also get the call.

7. MARLINS: One intriguing name among spring non-roster invitees: Matt Kemp, the longtime Dodgers corner outfielder, is 35. He also made the all-star team as recently as 2018 and hit 35 homers as recently as 2016. It's a no-risk gamble whether he has anything left. It's also interesting the Fish think they're close enough to good to make such a veteran, niche signing.   

8. FIU/FAU: Panthers fall, Owls fly in bowl games: FIU closed 6-7 with a 34-26 loss to Arkansas State in the Camellia Bowl on Saturday, after FAU ended 11-3 with a 52-28 pounding of SMU ub the stay-at-home Boca Raton Bowl. Butch Davis figures what went wrong. Lane Kiffin is off to Ole Miss.

9. JIMMY JOHNSON: Ex-Canes, Fins coach gets another shot at Canton: Pro Football Hall of Fame announced 38 finalists for 2020 induction in the categories of senior players (20), contributors (10) and coaches (8) and Jimmy Johnson is one of them. Of more interest to me: Deserving Zach Thomas among the 25 semifinalists for the main vote.

10. THE HOLIDAYS: In case you hadn't heard Christmas and Hanukkah are this week: Wait a second. It's December 23 already? Holy s!@#! I need to start my Christmas shopping!

Missing the HB10 cut: Kansas became fifth No. 1 team to lose in men's basketball. Can't stand the pressure, fellas? ..... An NBA in-season tournament is being proposed. Sounds like the worst idea since New Coke ..... Will Inter Miami have a head coach by its its inaugural MLS season opener? ..... UEFA Champions League down to its round of 16 for matches resuming in February ..... The Miami Heat's arena will no longer be named American Airlines Arena after Jan. 1. Greg Cote Arena, anyone? ..... Barcelona vs. Real Madrid ended in a 0-0 draw for first time in 17 years. This one was not El Clasico ..... Update: Countdown now 2,373 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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 21, 2019

NFL Week 16 picks: Dolphins-Bengals, top games, big upsets and all the rest!; plus FIU, FAU go bowling today, our most recent columns & more

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21. 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 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): South Florida sweeps state high-school football titles, NFL Week 15 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald  NFL Week 15 QB rankings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

FafiFIU, FAU go bowling today: South Florida is repped in two of today's six bowl games. At 3:30 FAU (10-3) stays home in the Boca Raton Bowl vs. 10-2 SMU, an 8 1/2-point favorite. Owls will be interim-coached, with Lane Kiffin off to Ole Miss. At 5:30, 6-6 FIU faces 7-5 Arkansas State in the Camellia Bowl in a stadium miserably named the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., a near pick-'em game that finds Butch Davis' Panthers 1-point 'dogs.

PicksDOLPHINS-BENGALS, GAME OF WEEK, BIG UPSETS AND REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 16 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a mostly solid 29th year of NFL picks thus far in the Miami Herald. Our season has tailed off a bit lately, especially against the spread the past two weeks, but we’re still running solid at .664 overall and comfortably plus-.500 ATS. Last week we were 9-7 straight-up and a wobbly 6-9-1 vs. the line. Called the Cowboys’ mini-upset over Rams and had the Falcons with points at Niners, but that was about it for the highlight reel. (The tie was Seattle’s 6-point push). Santa, all I want for Christmas is 13-3 against the spread this week. Too much to ask? C’mon, I’ve been a good boy! Time to finish strong. Let's go! For all of our Week 16 picks, including Bengals at Dolphins, our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and all the rest, please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call NFL Week 16 Gems.

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! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

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 10, 2019

G13: Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 77.4% following 22-21 loss at New York Stinkin' Jets; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No.1 and what else ranks where & more

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 9. 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): NFL Week 14 picks & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft and Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite.

MianyjG13: N.Y. STINKIN' JETS 22, DOLPHINS 21: MIAMI LIVES, DIES BY FIELD GOAL: Miami settled for a team-record seven field goals and lost when Jets kicked one of their own on final play -- after a controversial reversal on a pass-interference call against the Fins ..... Original post: This is first time this season that Miami has not been a double-digit underdog on the road. (Hey, sometimes progress comes in small packages!) A couple of things make this a very tough pick Oldprogrambetween the 3-9 Fins and 4-8 Jets. First, the Jets are wildly erratic under Adam Gase. They can be credible; they'd won three in a row. Then last week they get blown out by the winless Bengals. Which NYJ will show up? Second, there are sharply conflicting trends here. For example, the Dolphins have won six of the past seven in this rivalry (including 26-18 in Week 9) and eight of the past 11 trips to NYJ. But Miami also has lost 11 of its past 12 road games overall. The Fins catch break by the likely injury absence of top Planes safety Jamal Adams, with RB Le'Veon Bell also iffy to play. But does that mean inconsistent Ryan Fitzpatrick and the inconsistent Fins can produce the same performance on the road as the one that stunned Philly at home last week? The Jets’ superior defense and Miami’s poor offensive line and lack of running game tilt this pick. The point spread (five points) is fat, though. I mean these are the Stinkin’ Jets. Cote’s pick: NYJ 23-20. See Week 14 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. And watch for the latest  Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, here and elsewhere online, right after today's game ends.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G13: VOTE NOW!: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald's Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 77.4 percent approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 22-21 loss at the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 3-10. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your own overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

G7: 28.8% following 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh.

G8: 76.4% following 26-18 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G9: 70.9% following 16-12 victory at Indianapolis.

G10: 44.5% following 37-20 loss vs. Buffalo.

G11: 44.9% following 41-24 loss at Cleveland.

G12: 80.5% following 37-31 victory vs. Philadelphia.

G13: 77.4% following 22-21 loss at N.Y. Jets.

Next poll: Dec. 15 following game at N.Y. Giants.

Most recent other work: 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.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 8-9): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature -- back after taking last week off -- is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Championship Weekend sets playoff's final four: On Saturday No. 1 Ohio State won the Big Ten, No. 2 LSU won the SEC and No. 3 Clemson won the ACC, nailing down three-fourths of the College Football Playoff. Only question was who would be fourth? Answer: Oklahoma. The semifinals: LSU-Oklahoma and Ohio State-Clemson. No Alabama or Nick Saban. Ain't it great!?

2. DOLPHINS: Fins lose heartbreaker at Stinkin' Jets: Miami lost when a controversial pass-interference reversal went against the Fins and gave NYJ an easy winning field goal on the final play. Brian Flores was livid. But when you settle for a team-record seven field goals, should you complain too loudly that you lost?

3. HEAT: Miami stays hot, readies for LeBron visit: The Heat are sailing along at 17-6 -- including a perfect 10-0 at home -- after Sunday's home win over Chicago. Erik Spoelstar would tell you his team mustn't look ahead. But that doesn't mean we can't. Here on Friday night: the NBA-leading Los Angeles Lakers led by Anthony Davis and some guy named LeBron James.

4. HURRICANES: Miami to Independence Bowl, other destinations: Sunday was bowl invitations day nationwide in college football, and the Canes are headed to play Louisiana tech Dec. 26 in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. Also notable: Florida-Virginia in Orange Bowl Dec. 30; FSU-Arizona State in Sun Bowl Dec. 31; UCF-Marshall in Gasparilla Dec. 23; FIU-Arkansas State in Camellia Dec. 21; and FAU-SMU in Boca Raton Bowl Dec. 21.

5. MARLINS: Fish add offensive pop with two (fairly) big gets: Ahead of the Dec. 8-12 baseball winter meetings the Marlins acquired versatile infielder Jonathan Villar from Baltimore for a minor-league pitcher and signed former Tampa Bay first baseman Jesus Aguilar off waivers. Villar, 28, had a career year in 2019, with 24 homers, 40 stolen bases, a .279 bat and 4.0 WAR. Aguilar fell of last year but was an all-star in '18 with 35 homers and 108 RBIs. Good moves, Fish.

6. INTER MIAMI: Team signs top goalkeeper, close on coach hire: MLS expansion team Inter Miami, its inaugural season just a few months away, signed goalkeeper Luis Robles, who is 35 but coming off a stellar season with 14 shutouts for the league's New York Red Bulls. Next major step: a coach. Finally, please? Patrick Vieira of French cub Nice is the latest big rumor.

7. PANTHERS: OK, are we worried about Bobrovsky yet?: The Panthers are 15-14 after winning two straight and are seventh in the conference -- the far edge of playoff pace. That despite being one of NHL's top-10 scoring teams. So what's the problem? Defense, especially new, high-priced goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, of the career-worst saves percentage and goals-against average. Pick it up, Bob!

8. LANE KIFFIN: FAU coach headed back to SEC with Ole Miss: Three seasons in Boca Raton with the Owls were enough, apparently, to convince a Power 5 conference team to let Lane Kiffin back in. Saturday Kiffin coached FAU to a win in the Conference USA championship game, then changed hats and headed to Ole Miss in a return to the SEC. He's colorful, great on Twitter. Pretty good coach, too.

9. LIONEL MESSI: Barcelona star wins sixth Ballon d'Or: Barca god Lionel Messi won a record sixth Ballon d'Or as international men's futbol player of the year -- and immediately volunteered that he is aware of his age (32) and sees retirement coming. Hopefully by "retirement," he means a few years' swan song in MLS with Inter Miami? 

10. CANES BASKETBALL: UM women face tumble from rankings: Katier Meier's No. 21-ranked squad figures to drop from the Top 25 after falling to 5-3 with a home loss to No. 14 Indiana, making UM 0-3 vs. ranked teams. Canes men also  are 5-3.

Missing the HB10 cut: Former Canes coach Al Golden accuses UM of libel and negligence in a lawsuit against the university set for trial early next year, Palm Beach radio station WMEN reported. Allegations he is owed money from his 2015 buyout is the crux of the matter. Golden hopes his verdict in court exceeds his results on the field while at UM ..... Knicks firing David Fizdale = shameless scapegoating ..... OK, Houston and James Harden got screwed out of a dunk. Get over it, already! ..... Congrats on the second kid, Erik Spoelstra ..... It's 75 days until Homestead hosts another NASCAR race ..... Update: Countdown now 2,387 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 02, 2019

Dolphins trade Tunsil in blockbuster deal. My latest column; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No. 1 and what else lands where, NFL picks return this week ("Aawwk!") & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2. Welcome, September, month of football, month of autumn. Thanks for hopefully sparing South Florida of Dorian's full wrath. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): On Flores' tough spot with Tunsil, Clowney trade talks, Luck's shocking retirement, Dolphins/Canes preview-section columns & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Picks"Aaawwwk!" NFL picks return this week!: Our 29th season -- hard to believe -- of NFL predictions returns this week. A Miami Herald fixture since 1991, our picks appear in print every Friday and online Thursday afternoons. Our Thursday night pick appears Thursday in print and online Wednesday. We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the betting line. Can we slay the evil point spread again this season? Come along for the ride starting this week!

THE TUNSIL TRADE: MY COLUMN: Losing Laremy Tunsil really hurts, but getting two first-round pick and second was too much to turn down. Please visit Trading Tunsil Hurts,But Dolphins Won This Deal.

Our Dolphins and Hurricanes preview-section columns: For our 2019 NFL Team Rankings: Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land. And mining UM history for perspective on a bold decision: Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years.

Previous most recent other columns: Tunsil/Clowney Trade Would Be Powderkeg for Dolphins, Flores / Clowney Would Be Missing Piece in Dolphins' Emerging Plan / and Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football. Also: Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Tunsil trade, QB decision and a season opener -- oh my!Can't say it's been dull in Finsville. Miami wrapped up a 3-1 preseason by (predictably and unfortunately) naming Ryan Fitzpatrick as starting quarterback, and then Saturday traded tackle Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Houston for two first-round picks and a second. (My column on that trade here). Club also released long snapper John Denney, a Fin since 2005. Meantime, oh yeah, the regular season starts this coming Sunday for new coach Brian Flores as the Baltimore Ravens fly into Hard Rock.

2. HURRICANES: UM out to shake Gators loss, preps for Heels in ACC opener: Canes are on the road at North Carolina in five days in a game compelling because it is UM's ACC opener and because, with Miami's opening loss to Florida, an 0-2 start would make UM's season feel derailed right out the gate. It shouldn't be a problem, folks. Miami crushed UNC last season 47-10 and the Heels seem down again. Time for coach Manny Diaz and QB Jarren Williams to bag their first career wins -- or y'all might as well not even bother coming back!

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No big surprises in Week 0/1 so far: Top 25 teams are 23-1 thus far in opening week of college football's 150th season, with Notre Dame playing tonight. And the only ranked-team loss, by No. 11 Oregon, came to another ranked team. What, you wanted Alabama and Clemson to suffer stunning defeats? Dream on, Bubba.

4. NFL: Three days until kickoff of King Sport's regular season!: As the league continues to reel from the aftershock of the sudden retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck, life goes on. The NFL's 100th season kicks off this Thursday night with Chicago hosting Green Bay. As for which two teams will cap the season in the Super Bowl Miami in hosting, let's just say if the Dolphins are one of those teams it would be a bigger stunner than Luck quitting. How about by default we just root as always for ABTP? (Anybody But The Patriots).

5. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): 'Noles, FIU, FAU all lose openers: The state's seven FBS (nee Division 1) teams limped to a combined 2-5 start in their openers, including Florida State losing at home to Boise State 36-31 and losses by both FIU (to Tulane) and FAU (at No. 5 Ohio State). No. 17 UCF won but South Florida fell hard. Seemed like our state mostly dodged a bullet with Hurricane Dorian, but five of seven teams didn't fare as well.

6. BASKETBALL: U.S. wins debut in FIBA World Cup: The two-week, 32-nation FIBA men's World Cup is underway in China, with the favored Team USA playing its first game Sunday and comfortably handling the Czech Republic, 88=67, led by Donovan Mitchell's 16 points. The U.S. remains the betting fave despite a tuneup loss to Australia last week, the first time in 13 years a U.S. team that included NBA players had lost in international play. (Then again, this is a superstar-less American roster whose biggest name probably is Kemba Walker, so...).

7. TENNIS: Djokovic, Osaka out in U.S Open at major's midpoint: No major upsets had happened yet in the in the U.S. Open -- but that was before No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic dropped the first two sets to Stan Wawrinka on Sunday then retired with a shoulder ailment, and No. 1 women's seed Naomi Osaka lost today/Monday. But Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are still alive on the men's side, while women's play finds betting favorite Serena Williams still gunning for the title. A triumph by Serena would be a record-tying 24th major for her. Go Williams, go! 

8. MARLINS: It's official. Jeter calls season "frustrating": You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, and you don't need Derek Jeter to tell you this has been "a frustrating year." Miami, in the midst of a six-game road trip, is on a 105-loss pace entering Sunday and threatening the franchise high of 108 losses set in 1998. Six of MLB's top 100 prospects give the Marlins hope, but when will it begin to show? Meantime, thank god for the Tigers and Orioles, who make even the Fish look good. Well, less awful.

9. FANTASY: Gentleman (and ladies), start your drafts!: This was the biggest weekend for NFL fantasy drafts, because the closer they are to the start of the regular season, the better. You want proof? Talk to anybody whose draft was two weeks ago and who was fist-pumping with happiness to have drafted Andrew Luck.  

10. PANTHERS: Ready or not, hockey is almost back: It's getting close, puckheads. Florida Panthers will stage a two-day rookie camp Sept. 10-11, then open full training camp Sept. 13. With new star coach Joel Quenneville and new star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, hopes are high. Which means a franchise that has let its fans down way too often had better live up this time.

Missing the HB10 cut: Baseball can't even get its playoff chase right. As season wanes, only one of six divisions has a real battle for first place (Cardinals-Cubs), and the biggest wild-card question is whether the Rays will make it. Yawn ..... Countdown: No dates set yet, but Jimmy Butler and the retooled Miami Heat will open training camp in late September ..... R.I.P. Jim Langer, 71, Dolphins glory-days center ..... Update: Countdown now 2,485 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 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 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

November 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next/Final poll: Date TBD following bowl game. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote