November 30, 2020

G11: Dolphins crush N.Y. Stinkin' Jets, 20-3: Tua out, Fitz starts as Miami rebounds; plus the latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) is loaded as Fins, Heat, Maradona joust for No. 1; also, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30. Hope y'all are having a nice, safe, long holiday weekend! 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 12 picks, CFB Week 13 for state FBS teams, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 38 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

MianyjG11: DOLPHINS 20, @N.Y. STINKIN' JETS 3: NO TUA, NO PROBLEM AS MIAMI REBOUNDS VS. WINLESS FOE: Original post: Let’s get this out of the way quickly because it has been discussed to death: Coach Brian Flores should not have benched Tua Tagovailoa last week. It reeked of panic. Flores should have conveyed faith and given his rookie starting QB a chance to win the game late — just as Tua had done at Arizona only two weeks earlier. OK. Moving on. No chance of another benching today because Tagovailoa is out with a thumb injury, meaning Ryan Fitzpatrick and his glorious Game of Thrones beard are back in the saddle. Last week’s loss in Denver was a useful wakeup slap for those who’d been fooled by five wins in a row into thinking the Dolphins were a fully arrived, full-fledged good team. They are getting there, but the work is in progress (just as Tua’s development is). Miami is not in a position to take any opponent lightly — no, not even the winless New York Jets up there Sunday at 1 p.m. (CBS). Don’t get me wrong. The Jets stink, and Adam Gase still having a job now ranks among the world’s greatest unsolved mysteries. NYJ has scored the fewest points of any team, given up the second most and lost by an average of 15.3 points per game. Still, if Gase and the Planes could choose to get off the schneid versus any team, surely it would be against the division foe Gase once coached. Jets have lost their past two games by one score, and now get QB Sam Darnold back from injury Sunday. If Fins arrive in auto-pilot mode, they can lose. If they arrive having banked the lesson learned in Denver, it shouldn’t be close. My pick: Dolphins (-6 1/2), 31-13. For all of our latest King Sport picks, visit NFL Week 12 Gems.

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

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua out, Fitz in as Miami wins big at rival N.Y. Stinkin' Jets: Fins needed that comfortable 20-3 win Sunday afternoon vs. winless Jets to restore fans' faith in a playoff run. Losing in Denver as road favorites was bad. Losing to Adam Gase and dysfunctional NYJ would have been far worse. Ryan Fitzpatrick start at QB for Miami as Tua Tagovailoa was out with a thumb injury.

2. HEAT: Team extends Adebayo as training camp nears: The Heat and rising star Bam Adebayo agreed to a five-year max contract extension with clauses that could take the total to $195 million -- richest in total value in franchise history, topping the $141 million deal given Jimmy Butler last offseason. Miami opens preseason training camp on Tuesday with individual workouts, with full team practices beginning the following week. Exhibition games are set December 14 and 18 vs. New Orleans and Toronto. Season opens Christmas Day.  

3. SOCCER: Argentine great Maradona passes away unexpectedly: Argentine soccer treasure Diego Maradona died of a heart attack at age 60, less than three weeks after his release from a hospital surgery to remove a brain clot. The "hand of God" works in mysterious ways. R.I.P. to an international futbol legend.

4. NFL: COVID continues to batter the season: Ravens-Steelers was moved from Thanksgiving Day to Tuesday after Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID. The situation in Denver may be worse. Every Broncos quarterback was out of Sunday’s game vs. New Orleans because one tested positive and the others had close contact with him, so Denver started Kendall Hinton, a wide receiver on the practice squad who was a high school QB and started two games there as a freshman at Wake Forest in 2015.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Hurricanes, other state schools hit hard by virus: Miami learned its already postponed December 5 game with Wake Forest would be canceled and instead, that night, the No 9 Canes will play at Duke before closing the regular season with home games vs. No. 19 North Carolina Dec. 12 and Georgia Tech Dec. 19. This past weekend, Florida State's game with Virginia was postponed, the FIU- Louisiana Tech game was canceled and FAU-Middle Tennessee was postponed.

6. PRO FOOTBALL: Zach makes semifinalists, tries again for Canton: Pro Football Hall of Fame trimmed to 25 semifinalists its list of candidates for 2021 induction, a group headed by certain first-time-eligible inductee Peyton Manning. Among the survivors: Former Hurricanes WR Reggie Wayne and beloved Dolphins LB Zach Thomas.

7. UM BASKETBALL: Hurricanes men open season with win: Under the shadow of a pandemic, college basketball got underway this week. Jim Larranaga's Miami men opened their season Sunday on campus vs. North Florida with a 77-59 win. Katie Meier's UM women are 2-0 after beating Jacksonville 74-58 Wednesday and North Florida 81-39 Saturday, both at home. Neither Miami team is ranked.

8. SARAH FULLER: Vandy kicker makes SEC history: Vanderbilt soccer goalkeeper-turned-football placekicker Sarah Fuller on Saturday became the first female to play in a Power 5 conference football game. Fuller made history when she kicked off to begin the second half as the winless Commodores fell 41-0 at Missouri. 

9. GOLF: Mickelson, Barkley win 'The Match': Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley beat Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning 4 & 3 on Friday in Arizona in "The Match: Champions for Change,” a charity event to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Gee, what a shock that the team with the actual PGA Tour player would win. Highlight: Barkley debuted what looked very close to being actual golf swing.

10. BOXING: Tyson-Jones Jr. party like it's 1999: Once-great fighters Mike Tyson (age 54) and Roy Jones Jr. (51), both now two decades past their primes, went at it Saturday night and fought to a draw in an exhibition bout in Los Angeles. Call it A Fight for the (Old) Ages.

Missing the HB10 cut: Shoppers waited on line for hours for Black Friday sales, evidently unaware the Internet and online shopping was a thing ..... MLS playoffs are down to the final eight and expansion Nashville (unlike fellow newbie Inter Miami) is still alive. Conference semifinals are Kansas City-Minnesota and Dallas-Seattle in the West, and New England-Orlando and Columbus-Nashville in the East ..... U.S. Women's National Team dominated a very good Netherlands team, 2-0, in a soccer friendly in Holland Friday, the USWNT's first match since March ..... Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Barcelona are the only remaining teams perfect at 4-0 as the EUFA Champions League moves on in its group stage ..... It just occurs that the surname of Heat top draft pick Precious Achiuewa is pronounced like the sound of someone sneezing ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 39 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,038 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 39 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 39 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep39 we welcome in special guest Ray Hudson, the soccer voice, to discuss the passing of the great Maradona and also to review Inter Miami's first season. Also, Greg and Chris chat up the Dolphins' win in New York, Heat training camp opening, and turkey soup. Singing, too. And the new Mount Gregmore (V's) and more. Appreciate you listening each week and check out the new ep!

Some of our other most recent stuff: Herald NFL Week 11 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / 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.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other 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.

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 28, 2020

NFL Week 12 picks! Dolphins-Jets, G.O.A.T. Bowl GOTW, 2 big upsets and all the rest; plus State FBS Week 13: Canes idle, FIU canceled; also, a revealing new Greg Cote Show podcast, happy long Thanksgiving weekend & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28. Remembering former Canes and NFL football star Sean Taylor, killed 13 years ago yesterday, November 27, 2007, at age 24. 2) Hope y'all are enjoying the long holiday weekend with safety in mind. 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): Our Thanksgiving Day message to readers and listeners, NFL Bird Day picks, NFL Week 11 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 38 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

PicksNFL WEEK 12 PICKS: DOLPHINS ATJETS, G.O.A.T. BOWL GAME OF THE WEEK, 2 BIG UPSETS AND ALL THE REST: The Week 11 picks were a rough 8-6 straight-up for us but a better 9-5 against the spread. Last week we failed miserably on our Lions-Panthers Upset of the Week, “Aawwk!” turning to “Aawwful.” But plenty else went right. Called Houston’s mini-upset of New England, and also had a pair of ‘dogs-with-points in covers by the Jets and Cowboys. Highlighting our new Week 12 picks: Can Tua and the Dolphins rebound at the winless but nemesis Jets? Who'll prevail in the Game Of the Week G.O.A.T. Bowl between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes? And our big Upset of the Week involves the AFC East ... but which team? 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 games, visit NFL Week 12 Gems. Our week got off to a rousing start on Thanksgiving Day as we went 2-0 both straight-up and against the spread, calling both Houston's big win in Detroit and Washington's upset at Dallas. We're on an ATS roll the past two-plus weeks, on a 22-8 run vs. the betting line. Can we keep it up? Let's see. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print, after the Thursday night pick(s) appear separately Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print.

Some of our other most recent stuff: Herald NFL Week 11 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / 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: REVEALING 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!

CFB WEEK 13: HURRICANES REMAIN IDLED BY COVID, FIU GAME CANCELED: The 10th-ranked 7-1 Miami Hurricanes -- like much of college football and increasingly the NFL -- have seen their seasons directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. with all three remaining regular season games re-scheduled. And 0-5 FIU's scheduled Saturday game vs. Louisiana Tech has been canceled. UM's readjusted remaining schedule: December 5 at Wake Forest, December 12 vs. North Carolina and December 19 vs. Georgia Tech -- although the Ga-Tech game will be played only if Miami is not in the ACC Championship Game, which is also that day. To reach the conference title game, the Canes must win out and hope No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Clemson loses. Irish visit No. 19 North Carolina today. Can the Tar Heels do UM a huge favor? FIU's remaining schedule is December 5 at Charlotte and December 11 vs. Marshall. 

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

UCF (5-3) at South Florida (1-7), 3:30 p.m. Friday: Annual midstate rivalry figures lopsided as visiting Knights are favored today by 25.

Kentucky (3-5) at No. 6 Florida (6-1), noon: Gators, favored by 25 in the Swamp, try to keep College Football Playoff hopes alive.

FAU (5-1) at Middle Tennessee (3-6), 1:30 p.m.: Owls a 6 1/2-point road pick.

Virginia (4-4) at Florida State (2-6), 8 p.m.: UVA favored by 9 1/2. But are we feeling a home-'dog upset by beleaguered 'Noles?

Off this week: Miami. Canceled by COVID: Louisiana tech (4-3) at FIU (0-5).

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

THE ARCHIVES:

Select other 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.

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 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.

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

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).

November 07, 2020

G7: No. 11 Hurricanes 44, @N.C. State 41: Miami finally solves its bye-week blues -- if barely. With column; plus FIU's Butch Davis on his most trying season. Column; also, NFL Week 9 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7. For Le Batard Show faithful: Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Stop the silly noise and give Tua time, More change coming to Le Batard Show, NFL Week 8 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 35 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Our newest Dolphins column: Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance.

MiancstG7: NO. 11 HURRICANES 44, AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE 41: Miami won last night to get to 6-1, but did not cover the 11-point line, which I predicted (see below). For my column off the game, visit Hurricanes Keep Beating Teams They Should (If Barely). Original post: Miami is coming off a bye. Uh oh. The Hurricanes are 0-4 in the Manny Diaz era coming off an off-week, and 0-5 with extra time including last season's bowl collapse. That's pertinent because this is no easy matchup: an ACC foe, with a winning record, on the road. It's another big-stage game for The U -- on ESPN in prime time (7:30) -- and another virtual must-win if Miami hopes to end up in the ACC Championship Game. Run the table and have a chance. Suffer a second conference loss and the likelihood plummets. (No. 1 Clemson at No. 4 Notre Dame Saturday will leave one unbeaten and the other with one loss, and unlikely for a second). Miami has beaten NC State twice in a row including 27-13 last year, also on the road. Canes and QB D'Eriq King are bolstered by the return from injury of TE Brevin Jordan, who is NFL-good. See Canes being able to pile up yards and points against Wolfpack defense giving up 34.2 points per game. Also, Miami catches a break because Wolfpack starting QB Devin Leary is out injured, one of three times this year UM has had such luck. Miami is where it is, knocking on the top-10 door, because it has taken care of business and not stumbled in games it ought to win. Here's another one of those. See The U flying home happy, but the 11-point betting line feels too big. My pick: Hurricanes, 30-20.

Other state FBS games this week (all others Saturday, chronologically):

South Florida (1-5) at Memphis ((3-2), noon: Homies a 17 1/2-point favorite to sink further Bulls' sorry season.

No. 8 Florida (3-1) vs. No 5 Georgia (4-1), 3:30 in Jacksonville: This annual neutral-site grudge match was the 'World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,' pre-pandemic. Now it's just a really big game whose winner will claim the inside lane in the SEC East and a fair shot to reach the four-team College Football Playoff. Money on the Gators bet the line down a point; still, Bulldogs are a 3 1/2-point fave and given a 63.7 percent win-likelihood by ESPN's Football Power Index. Only 1-Clemson at 4-Notre Dame is a bigger game this college weekend, with Trevor Lawrence's COVID absence diminishing the luster but also making the outcome a much tougher call.

Pittsburgh (3-4) at Florida State (2-4), 4: Line opened with Pitt a 1 1/2-point favorite but swung to FSU by 2. I dunno about that. Seminoles not doing much this year to inspire that faith.

Western Kentucky (2-5) at FAU (2-1), 6: Owls a 6 1/2 point pick in the home nest, but that's down from an opening 9 1/2.

Off this week: UCF (4-2).

COVID-related cancellation: FIU (0-3) at UTEP (3-3). This was one of seven FBS games postponed or cancelled this week. Its been that kind of season for FIU. Spoke with coach Butch Davis at length this week for a column on this most trying season of his career. Find it directly below.

ButchIN A PANDEMIC-BATTERED SEASON FOR FIU, BUTCH DAVIS' LOVE OF COACHING SURVIVES: The death of an assistant coach. Fourteen season-ending injuries. Four players opting out. COVID outbreaks. Postponed and canceled games. Butch Davis' love of coaching has survived it all. I caught up with Butch this week for a long conversation. This is his 40th season of coaching, and his most trying of any. For that column, please visit: In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives.

PicksNFL WEEK 9 PICKS: BRADY VS. BREES, DOLPHINS-CARDINALS AND TUA 2.0 TOP MARQUEE: The Week 9 picks marquee is topped by our Saints-Bucs/Drew Brees-Tom Brady Game of the Week. Brees is questionable with a tender shoulder, but few are those who actually think he might not play. The Miami Dolphins take their three-game winning streak out to Arizona in another featured game for us, one that sets the stage for Tua Tagovailoa's first road start. We have only one outright upset this week, but it's a division game. This is (time flies yada yada yada) our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and thanks as always for joining us on the ride! For our Week 9 previews and picks for Fins-Cards, our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and all the rest of the 14-game slate, visit NFL Week 9 Gems. Our week got off to a mixed start Thursday night. We thought Green Bay would win on the road and it did. But we thought San Fran plus-6 would cover and it didn't. 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.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 35 OUT NOW: INCLUDES PREMIERE OF TUA TRIBUTE SONG!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 35 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 35 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep35, myself and Chris dive deep into the first career NFL start of new Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa -- and Greg debuts his new tribute song! Also, a new 'Greg's Top 10' segment and Mount Gregmore -- the R's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast.

Other most recent columns: 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 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.

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

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).

November 02, 2020

G7: Dolphins 28, L.A. Rams 17: Tuaaaaaaaaaa! (And big defense). My new column; 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 2. I'm on ESPN's Le Batard Show today, 11 a.m. to noon, to talk Tua. 2) Hope y'all had a safe Halloween, and now happy November! (Sure hope so, anyway. Know soon enough). 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes bye-week look ahead, NFL Week 8 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 34 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 35 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 35 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep35, myself and Chris dive deep into the first career NFL start of new Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa -- and Greg debuts his new tribute song! Also, a new Greg's Top 10 and Mount Gregmore -- the R's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

TuatG7: DOLPHINS 28, L.A. RAMS 17: BIG DEFENSE MAKES TUA'S FIRST CAREER START EASY: My column off the game: Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start. ..... Original post: It's time. Tua time. Time for the most-anticipated first start by any Miami Dolphins rookie since Dan Marino on October 9, 1983. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa takes the football from Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was openly disappointed to give it up after leading two wins in Lamiaa row and three in the past four games. The Fins’ recent success and Fitzpatrick saying he was "heartbroken" by the decision only increases the pressure on Tagovailoa to be good right away and justify the timing of coach Brian Flores’ QB switch. Having a snorting bull named Aaron Donald across the line of scrimmage won’t make Tagovailoa’s baptism any easier. Typically I’m not huge on the weight of intangibles, but the limited-capacity home crowd witnessing history and the Dolphins themselves will be stoked, firing on adrenaline. South Floridians watching from home will be ravenously glued to Fox starting at 1. Miami is coming off a bye week and L.A. off a short week after playing Monday night — another strong edge. Although these teams rarely play each other, I would also note Fins have won 10 of past 11 over Rams including five in a row in the 3-0-5. More tangible to right now, the Rams and Dolphins rank No. 2 and 3 respectively in scoring defense. Miami averages slightly more points on offense. There is little in the evidence to state the Rams are appreciably better than the Dolphins, or at least that Miami isn’t right there. The wild card on this pick? Tua. A rookie’s maiden start. For this upset to come true Tagovailoa must make quick, sound decisions, the line must give him that extra second in the pocket, and the defense must rise up and insist itself upon a low-scoring game. I see it all happening. My pick: Upset! Dolphins (+3 1/2) over Rams, 23-20. Visit NFL Week 8 Gems for all of our latest previews and picks.

Most recent other columns: Tua Week, Justin Turner: Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami and Turner -- With COVID -- Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season. Also: 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.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 1-2): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: It. Is. Time. Tua wins first start as Fins whup Rams: Thirty-seven years and three weeks after Dan Marino's first rookie start for Miami, Tua Tagovailoa took his turn on Sunday as the Dolphins hosted and beat the favored Los Angeles Rams at The Rock, 28-17. Was the timing right? Should Ryan Fitzpatrick have been benched now, after two straight wins and three in the past four games? Will Tua be the transformational star Dolfans have longed for since Marino? We have just begun to find out. 

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson QB Lawrence tests positive for COVID: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence of No. 1-ranked Clemson tested positive for coronavirus and was held out of Saturday's anxious win over Boston College, as little-known backup D.J. Uiagalelei led a 34-28 comeback. Lawrence also has been declared out for Clemson's huge visit to No. 4 Notre Dame next Saturday in South Bend.

3. HURRICANES: No. 11 UM comes off bye week in 4 days: The now 11th-ranked and 5-1 Canes didn't play this weekend but are back in action Friday night at North Carolina State, with UM expected to be narrow road favorites. It's prime time on ESPN, the latest national showcase for The U. The 4-2 Wolfpack also will be coming off a bye.

4. MLB: Justin Turner's idiocy sullies Dodgers championship: The Dodgers beat Tampa Bay in six games for their first World Series title since 1988, but third baseman Justin Turner quickly kicked dirt on the accomplishment. Turner tested positive for COVID late in the game, was ordered to self-isolate and blatantly defied the protocol. He celebrated on the field with teammates, no mask, no social distancing, putting everyone else at risk of being infected. He shamed MLB and the Dodgers on their crowning night. What a fool.

5. INTER MIAMI: First-year team still chasing playoffs as season wanes: MLS expansion team Inter Miami is 6-13-3 -- a decent 6-8-3 after an 0-5 start -- after Sunday's 2-1 loss at Toronto. Regular season ends next Sunday in Fort Lauderdale vs. Cincinnati. Miami presently stands 12th in the Eastern Conference but is only one point from finishing 10th and earning a postseason play-in game.

6. NASCAR: Sunday completes the Championship 4: Only Joey Logano was safely in the Championship 4 as NASCAR ran its penultimate race Sunday at Martinsville, where the other three spots would be determined for next week's season finale at Phoenix. Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski made it -- and Chase Elliott bumped Kevin Harvick for the final spot. Thatm after Harvick won nine regular season races. Hmm. Playoff format need another tweak?

7. FIU: Panthers season derailed by coronavirus yet again: FIU's Friday night home game vs. unbeaten No. 19 Marshall was postponed for COVID-related reasons -- the fourth FIU game this season so far postponed by the virus. The good news? The 0-3 Panthers' fourth loss is delayed, at least. Poor Butch Davis. What a nightmare season, on and off the field.

8. MLB: White Sox unearth LaRussa to manage: The Chicago White have recycled Tony LaRussa, yes Tony LaRussa, to manage the team. The Tony LaRussa who is 76. And last managed nine years ago. Trump, Biden, LaRussa -- let's hear it for old white men!

9. UFC: Khabib says he's retired and nobody believes him: Undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, after winning last week to go 29-0 and entering the sport's G.O.A.T. pen, announced he is retiring. UFC president Dana White quickly (and wishfully) predicted Khabib would fight again. Nobody on Earth believes he won't.

10. POLITICS: Presidential election is Tuesday: More than 60 million Americans already have early-voted. If you still have not, please do your civic duty on Tuesday. Get out there and vote for the candidate of my choice.

Missing the HB10 cut: World's No. 2 woman tennis player Simona Halep tested positive for COVID ..... College hoops starts November 25 and Hurricanes men and women still don't know their schedules, because, well, pandemic ..... NASCAR announced its 2021 schedule and Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the second race weekend of the season February 20-21, with the secondary Xfinity Series race following by one day the main-race NASCAR Cup Series race. With the Daytona 500 opening the season's schedule, this will mark the first time since 1954 the first two weekends of racing have been held in state of Florida ..... Cream is rising in UEFA Champions League. First clubs to 2-0 in group-stage play are all giants: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona and Man U ..... ESPN inexplicably ranked all 116 World Series for excitement. No. 83--'97 Marlins beat Indians. No. 59--'03 Marlins over Yankees. No. 30--'20 Dodgers-Rays in a pandemic. And No. 1--'75 Reds beat Red Sox ..... NFL trade deadline is Tuesday ..... NBA Draft is November 18 ..... Mike Tyson, 54, and Roy Jones Jr., 51, will stage an exhibition fight for charity November 28 in Los Angeles without fans. Oxygen tanks ready! ..... Old rich white guy Jack Nicklaus, 80, endorsed Donald Trump. Or, did that go without saying? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 35 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,066 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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

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).

October 26, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Topping the marquee, a Fins QB change tinged in drama, wins by Canes and Inter Miami win and World Series; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new episode 34 out now!, NFL Week 7 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 26. Hope y'all had a nice weekend! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes host Virginia with preview and pick, FIU falls badly, NFL Week 7 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 33 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Most recent stuff from me: NFL Week 7 picks, Dolphins' QB change and fun time in Miami sports: NFL Week 7 Gems // Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move // Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 34 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 34 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 34 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep34, myself and Chris engage in a sometimes contentious debate over the Dolphins quarterback-change drama, Chris reveals his first career parenting faux pas, and we offer a new edition of 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies.' And of course a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the Q's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

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

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Miami names Tagovailoa starter, benches Fitzpatrick: Can't say the Fins didn't pack major news and unwanted controversy into their bye week. Miami named rookie Tua Tagovailoa as starting quarterback beginning next Sunday, with benched Ryan Fitzpatrick admitting surprise and disappointing and calling himself "heartbroken." Fins have won two in a row, with Fitzpatrick playing well. His reaction turns up the pressure on Brian Flores to have made the right call -- and on Tua to justify his coach's faith, and timing.

2. HURRICANES: UM doesn't dominate but gets past Virginia: No. 11 Miami never trailed Saturday here in a 19-14 victory over Virginia that was more efficient than overly impressive. D'Eriq King's 322 yards passing -- 170 of them to Mike Harley -- fueled the home win. With No. 8 Penn State losing, the now 5-1 Canes are likely to  nudge up into the top 10 in the next polls. 

3. MLB: Dodgers on brink of World Series title: Dodgers lead Rays 3-2 in games after last night's 4-2 Los Angeles win -- putting L.A. one more victory from its first World Series crown since 1988. Does Tampa Bay have another comeback in it? The Series pauses today before resuming with Tuesday night. And the city that just celebrated the Lakers i poised again.

4. INTER MIAMI: A dramatic late home win for Miami over Orlando: MLS expansion team Inter Miami is now 6-11-3 -- a credible 6-6-3 since an 0-5 start -- after Saturday's 2-1 win over rival Orlando City before a limited number of fans in Fort Lauderdale. Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez headed in  an 89th minute goal off a corner kick to decide it. Next match: Wednesday at FC Dallas.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Cowardly Big Ten, Ohio State join season: No. 5 Ohio State and the Big Ten began their season Saturday, after righteously saying they would not play in 2020 due to the COVID threat -- and then changing their minds, putting money over safety. (Buckeyes beat Nebraska, 52-17, Saturday). Pac-12 also went from not playing to changing its mind and will begin play November 7.

6. NBA: League mulls starting next season sooner, playing fewer games: COVID shows no signs it will stop messing with sports anytime soon. As the NBA plans for a delayed, virtual draft next month, the league's board of governors met and discussed possible changes to the 2020-21 season, including starting as quickly as possible -- as soon as Christmas Day -- playing fewer than 82 games and not waiting for fans to be permitted to all arenas.

7. HEAT: Riley hints at offseason plans: Godfather Pat Riley in his annual postseason state-of-the Heat news conference suggested he's reday to stand pat next season with a team that unexpectedly reached the NBA Finals as a 5 seed. Said he'd keep the team as close to intact as possible and maintain spending money to go whale-hunting in 2021. Our takeaway: Re-sign as many of own free agents as possible -- priority: Goran Dragic -- and gun hard for Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer.

8. SOCCER: Barcelona-Juventus spices Champions League play: UEFA Champions League group-stage play is underway, and this Wednesday delivers the much anticipated Barcelona-Juventus match in Group G. It would pit longtime rival soccer gods Lionel Messi of Barca vs. Juve's Cristiano Ronaldo -- if Ronaldo is cleared to play after testing positive for COVID on October 13. Butsome reports in Europe are that he'll be ruled out.

9. NASCAR: Logano first to reach Championship 4: Joey Logano's win at Kansas made him the first to qualify for the November 8 championship race in Phoenix. Two more runs (Monday at Texas after Sunday's rain postponement and November 1 at Martinsville) will complete the Championship 4 field, with Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski currently owning the inside track.

10. FIU: Butch Davis' miserable 2020 gets worse: Panthers football fell to 0-3 Friday night, absorbing an embarrassing 19-10 home loss to FCS-level Jacksonville State. This after three FIU games already had been postponed by COVID issues. Otherwise, everything going great for Butch Davis!

Missing the HB10 cut: Antonio Brown to Bucs. A 32-year-old problem child on a team with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin getting enough targets to keep him happy? Yeah good luck with that, Tom Brady ..... Steelers-Titans today is only sixth time in Super Bowl era two unbeaten teams have met this late in a season ..... 0Congrats Stan Van Gundy on the New Orleans Pelicans job. He inherits Zion Williamson. Also, Lonzo Ball's dad! ..... Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje in UFC 254. Betting favorite: Me misspelling one of their names ..... South Park cutouts to be seen at Broncos-Chiefs game Sunday ..... Ha! ESPN's Adam Schefter added Antonio Brown to his fantasy team moments before tweeting out the news Brown's suspension had been lifted and the Seahawks were interested ..... Happy birthday to Pele'. The Brazilian soccer legend turned 80 on Friday ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 34 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,073 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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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.

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

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

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

Revisit this blog often because it is updated 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).

October 24, 2020

G6: Virginia at No. 11 Hurricanes: Welcome to the 'No-Stumble Zone.' Our preview and pick; plus NFL Week 7 picks, Dolphins' thrill-ride bye week; FIU takes embarrassing home loss; our column on Tua Time; latest Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24. Happy weekend, all! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins QB change is risky timing but right move, Suddenly great time to be Miami sports fans, NFL Week 6 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 33 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: On Dolphins' QB change and fun time in Miami sports: 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.

VamiaG6: VIRGINIA (1-3) AT NO. 11 HURRICANES (4-1): FAVORED MIAMI IN 'NO STUMBLE ZONE' VS. CAVALIERS: 'No Stumble Zone' means UM will have a fighting chance to reach the ACC Championship Game if it runs the table from here and does not take a second conference loss. That is because Clemson and Notre Dame, the only unbeaten ACC teams, play each other Nov. 7 in South Bend. But a second league loss would severely damage Canes hopes. Virginia, tonight's 8 o'clock opponent at Hard Rock Stadium, should not be a problem, and yet Miami is but a 12 1/2-point favorite -- a rather modest line for a No. 11 team at home vs. a 1-3 visitor. That could be because Cavaliers-Canes has been tight recently. Miami won at home last season 17-9, and lost the year before on the road 16-13. Miami may be without injured tight end Brevin Jordan (shoulder) again, but also could catch a break by not facing the opponent's starting quarterback for a second straight game. UVA's Brennan Armstrong (concussion) was uncertain to be available. Virginia averages almost 50 passes a game, so missing it starter would really hurt. For Miami, as with last week's game vs. Pitt, this is a should-beat opponent but hardly one to be taken casually. Or looked past -- with three ranked opponents in the five games left after this. 'No Stumble Zone,' remember? My pick: Hurricanes 30-16.

Other state FBS games this week:

ButchJacksonville State 19, @ FIU 10: Ouch. This hurts. Bad. Panthers were favored by 10 12 Friday night over their FCS-level foe from Alabama but FIU's offense was dominated. It's been a miserable season so far from coach Butch Davis (pictured). Off the field, he's seen three games postponed by COVID issues. On the field, he can't find a quarterback who's able and just fell to 0-3. ESPN's Football Power Index had put FIU's win likelihood at 80.2 percent. This was an embarrassing home defeat.

Tulsa 42, @South Florida 13: Tulsa was favored by 10 and rolled big Friday to sink the sad Bulls to 1-5.

Florida State (2-3) at Louisville (1-4), noon Saturday: Cardinals a 5-point home fave. But which FSU team will show up? 

Tulane (2-3) at UCF (2-2), 2 Saturday: Knights a 19-point pick with a sky-high over-under of (!) 72.

FAU (1-0) at No. 22 Marshall (4-0), 2:30 Saturday: Visiting Owls are 16-point 'dogs in only second game of season.

Off this week: No. 10 Florida (2-1).

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 33 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 33 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 33 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep33, 'Growing Up Cote II,' we welcome back my older brother for Uncle Dick 2.0. He makes fun of explains the phenomenon of PFPI and the PFPI Gala, shares how Greg is so odd on a golf course, and reveals what he really thinks about how Dan Le Batard treats his little brother on the air. Also, Greg and Chris chat up Tua's long-awaited Dolphins debut. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the P's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

PicksOUR NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: STEELERS-TITANS UNBEATEN BOWL, 3 UPSETS, DOLPHINS' THRILL-RIDE BYE WEEK: The Week 7 picks marquee is topped by our call on the Steelers-Titans battle of 5-0 teams, along with three upsets including one major one. We also delve into the Dolphins' anything-but-quiet-and-tranquil bye week. This is our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and thanks for joining us on the ride! For our Week 7 previews and picks for our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and all the rest of the 14-game slate, visit NFL Week 7 Gems. Our week got off to a mixed start Thursday night. We rightly called the Eagles win over the Giants, but thought Birds would also cover the 4 1/2-point line and they let us down on that. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. (Thursday night picks appear Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print).

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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.

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

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

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

Revisit this blog often because it is updated 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).

October 12, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat fall in Game 6 as LeBron's Lakers win NBA title (with column), Canes routed by Clemson (w/ column), Fins clobber Niners, Marlins run ends, Inter Miami wins again; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 12. Peruse NFL Week 4 QB Rankings for the latest Top 20. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat win to force Finals Game 6, Canes visit Clemson, Marlins eliminated, NFL Week 5 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 31 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

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

HeatPLAYOFFS! HEAT FALL IN GAME 6 AS LEBRON, LAKERS WIN NBA FINALS: Miami's unexpected deep playoff run ended two wins short of a championship Sunday night in a 106-93 Game 6 loss to the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals. Our column off the season-ending loss: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Column off Game 5: They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Column off Game 4: Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Off Game 3: Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Off Game 2: NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Off Game 1: Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

FishPLAYOFFS! MIRACLE MARLINS ELIMINATED BY BRAVES IN NLDS SWEEP: Marlins were ousted by Braves in a three-game sweep of the best-of-5 NL Division Series with Thursday's 7-0 loss in the Houston bubble. Our column off the season-ending Game 3: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Off Game 2: Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Off 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.

MiasfG5: DOLPHINS 43, AT SAN FRANCISCO 17: FINS COMPLETELY DOMINATE NINERS. (DID THIS REALLY JUST HAPPEN?): Original post: The Niners should beat Miami no matter what, but the iffy status of QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) makes picking against the point spread a crapshoot, because it’s a big drop-off to Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard. The uncertainly whittled the bet line all the way from 13 to 8 1/2. San Fran also has mounting defensive injuries, but still will show better pass D that what Fins saw from Seattle last week. After surprise loss to Philly in Week 4, Niners are too good and too well coached to be surprised again. Still, a fat-looking point spread given SF’s injuries has us liking Miami plus-nine. One more thing, an aside: Glad to hear Dolphins coach Brian Flores finally say directly and aloud this week that rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa is not ready to be the starter ahead of Ryan Fitzpatrick. So to you fans with your "We want Tua!" chants, shhh please. And to my fellow media members on the "Tua now!" soapbox, eschew the easy clickbait and find something a little more original (and realistic) to espouse. It’s Tua when it’s Tua time, and the won-lost record or how Fitzpatrick played last game should not matter an iota. It’s Tua time when there is a synchronicity of his complete fitness, his mentality and confidence, his utter knowledge of the offense and the faith his O-line can protect him. It’s Tua time then, not a moment before. Quick update: Looking more and more like Garoppolo will return from a two-game absence. That makes my pick (Fins with points) a bit less secure. My pick: 49ers (-9) over Dolphins, 27-20. Visit NFL Week 5 Gems for this and all of our other latest previews and picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 11-12): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami falls in Game 6 as LeBron, Lakers win NBA Finals: Heat fell 106-93 Sunday night as LeBron won a fourth championship with a third different team. Miami's unexpected deep playoff run ended two wins shy of a title, but respect for a surprising, exhilarating postseason that saw Jimmy Butler elevate from mere star to something closer to elite.

2. HURRICANES: Clemson shows (again) that The U isn't 'back' yet: In 2015 it was 58-0. In 2017 it was 38-3. Last night it was 42-17. Progress, I guess? Miami keeps losing big to ACC nemesis Clemson, and last night's latest loss to the top-ranked Tigers was the latest comeuppance for No. 7 UM.

3. DOLPHINS: Fins crush 49ers on road. Wow. Did that really just happen?: It wasn't that Miami won. But 43-17? Fins were nine-point 'dogs Sunday afternoon in the club's first trip since 2012 to The City by the Bay. Niners had QB Jimmy Garoppolo back after a two-game absence but Miami made him look so  bad he was benched. Dolphins at 2-3 now and bubbling with promise. (Miami will host Jets next Sunday as NFL rejiggers its schedule due to COVID-related issues).

4. MARLINS: Miracle season ends with Miami swept from NLDS: It ended with the thud of a three-game sweep by the Braves in the NL Division Series. Still, this truncated MLB season marked Miami's first winning record in nine years and first postseason in 17 years. The Derek Jeter rebuild is justified three years in, and Marlins fans are left with this odd, unfamiliar feeling. It is called optimism.

5. INTER MIAMI: Higuain pays off with a winning first MLS goal: In only his third match with Inter Miami former Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain lifted the expansion club past New York Red Bulls 2-1 on a gorgeous free kick bent over the wall. Then Saturday Miami made it two straight wins with a 1-0 decision over Houston Dynamo. Miami is now 5-10-2, a credible turnaround after an 0-5 start to the season. Next up: Atlanta United visits Wednesday.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No. 4 Gators bounced on road: No. 4 Florida will fall in polls after Saturday's 41-38 loss at No. 21 Texas A&M. Gators were only top 10 team (besides Miami) to los this week. UF coach Dan Mullen credited A&M's crowd and said he wants 90,000 fans at The Swamp. In a pandemic. Idiot. Fans don't win or lose games, Dan.

7. PANTHERS: Cats take Finnish center first in NHL Draft: With free agency now underway, Florida and new GM Bill Zito made full-ice center Anton Lundell from Finland the 12th overall of eight Panthers picks in the NHL Draft, the haul earning a B-grade in ESPN's analysis. New York Rangers made left wing Alexis Lafreniere the overall No. 1 pick as expected. 

8. TENNIS: Nadal takes heavyweight men's final as French Open ends: Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic on Sunday for his 13th French Open win and record-tying 20th men's major title. The final could not have been higher wattage on star power. No so Saturday's women's final, in which unseeded Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland defeated little-known fourth seeded Russian-American Sofia Kenin.

9. NFL: Second week in row for COVID disruptions to schedule: In Week 5 one game was delayed until Monday night and another until Tuesday night -- then the game delayed o Monday (Broncos-Patriots) was postponed to a later week. That was one week after one game was postponed entirely and another moved to Monday. Test positives around the league are having an impact as King Sport confronts the risk of traveling and having some fans at games instead of the bubble format that worked well for the NBA and NHL.

10. NASCAR: Playoffs pare from 12 drivers to eight: Sunday's run at Charlotte left eight men still contending for the NASCAR Cup season title, with Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick the drivers to catch as the playoffs get serious. The four drivers eliminated Sunday included reigning champion Kyle Busch.

Missing the HB10 cut: Bad home loss for FIU to a Middle Tennessee team that had been 0-4 ..... What were the odds of Tom Brady forgetting it was fourth down? Only time Greg Cote gets mixed up on small numbers is when he shoots a six on a golf hole and "mistakenly" writes five on his scorecard ..... Seattle Storm are celebrating their fourth WNBA title and Sue Bird, 40 next week, is the remarkable ageless athlete who gets way too little appreciation ..... UEFA Champions League group-stage play begins October 20, running into early December. Among the 32 clubs Bayern Munich and Manchester City are co-favorites at most books just head of Liverpool. ..... xxxxx ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 32 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,087 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Ticket line forming yet?

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

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THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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