January 03, 2020

NFL Wild Card Weekend previews/picks: 4 playoff games, 2 upsets!; plus annual year-end polls: Wade retires (Miami), Woods' Masters (national) were biggest sports stories of 2019. Your final results; also, our Gators/Orange Bowl column & more

1) It's FRIDAY, JANUARY 3. Happy New Year, all! Good to meet you, 2020. 2) Scroll to previous blogpost for season-ending result of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. (It is astonishingly great). 3) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect (late) holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Pats in New England with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our return to Le Batard Show: For those who've asked or otherwise wondered, I'll be back on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio next week, on Tuesday, Jan. 7.

First-time winner claims season title in Herald NFL QB rankings: This was our 22nd year of NFL quarterback rankings, which began in 1998 with Steve Young the inaugural season champ. The 2019 winner had never finished higher than ninth before. For the final, expanded Top 30, visit Herald 2019 Final NFL QB Rankings.

PicksWILD CARD WEEKEND! 4 GAMES, 2 UPSETS. OUR NFL FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a mostly solid 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald. We finished the regular season with a .663 winning percentage overall and .518 against the spread. Now that's erased and all that matters are the 11 postseason games ahead culminating with the backyard Miami Super Bowl on February 2. For all four of our Wild Card Weekend picks -- including a pair of upsets! -- please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call NFL Wild Card Weekend Gems.

MiaANNUAL YEAR-END POLL: BIGGEST MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS STORY OF 2019: DWYANE WADE RETIRES: Final top five: 1. Dwayne Wade retires 17.37%; 2. Hurricanes lose in football to FIU 14.82%; 3. Dolphins win in New England 12.95%; 4. Heat trade for Jimmy Butler 11.48%; 5. Brian Flores hired as Dolphins coach 10.70%. Note: In a 3-vote poll, totals should be tripled to indicate how often an answer was included. In other words, if everyone in this poll used all three votes, Wade would have been included on 52.11% of all ballots -- the only finalist over half. Original post: Dwyane Wade retires, then the Heat sign Jimmy Butler. The Dolphins trade talent for draft picks as "tanking" enters the local lexicon. The Hurricanes lose to FIU, get shut out in a bowl and end 6-7. The Panthers replace retired Roberto Luongo with a star goalie and star coach. The Fins stunningly win in New England, denying the Patriots a first-round bye. These and more make our list of the top 15 choices for biggest Miami/South Florida Sports Story of 2019. (Pictured are Dwyane Wade, Brian Flores and FIU beating UM). Now here is where you come in. What was No. 1? You may select your top three (3) choices from our alphabetical poll, and from your consensus, the winner will arise. We think we know what clearly will win, but, as the saying goes ... you never know. Remember, vote for your top three. We'll announce the final results tomorrow/Friday in the blog. Go!

NattyANNUAL YEAR-END POLL: BIGGEST NATIONAL SPORTS STORY OF 2019: TIGER WOODS WINS MASTERS: Final top five: 1. Tiger Woods wins Masters 25.00%; 2. Megan Rapinoe-led U.S. wins Women's World Cup 16.22%; 3. Washington wins first World Series since 1924 13.51%; 4. Simone Biles dominates world gymnastics 12.16%; 5. Kawhi Leonard leads Toronto to first NBA title 10.14%. Note: In a 3-vote poll, totals should be tripled to indicate how often an answer was included. In other words, if everyone in this poll used all three votes, Woods would have been included on 75% of all ballots. Original post: This happened in American sports in 2019: In no particular order, the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty collapsed spectacularly, a blown call kept the Saints from a Super Bowl, Zion Williamson’s sneaker exploded, the Tampa Bay Lightning got bounced in the first round after a record regular season, the NBA had a tiff with China, MLB set an all-time home run record, Team USA gagged at the FIBA World Cup, horses kept dying at Santa Anita, the NFL staged a sham workout for Colin Kaepernick, and the Angels threw a no-hitter the night they honored the late Tyler Skaggs. And none of that made our final list of nominees for Biggest National Sports Story of 2019. So, yeah, it was a pretty eventful year. It was so eventful that our poll presents our alphabetical choice of the top 15 stories (four are pictured right), and invites you to vote for up to your top three (3). From that consensus, a No. 1 will arise. Remember, vote for your top three. We'll announce the final results tomorrow/Friday in the blog. Go!

ObGATORS WIN ORANGE BOWL IN CANES' BACKYARD. COLUMN: Oh, the comeuppance. The indignity! The hated Florida Gators invaded the Miami Hurricanes’ backyard Monday night — took over UM’s own home stadium — and reminded Canes fans of all they’ve been missing lately. That would be a team that knows how to finish a season strong, and in the top 10. That would be a program rising to national relevance again, not one wondering what just went so wrong. For my full column, from the game, visit On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game.

Select recent other columns: We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football / Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes / Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft / 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! / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / 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. [Note: This link to our APSE-honored work will appear here through the weekend and be gone starting Monday].

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 04, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 76.4% after 26-18 defeat of Stinkin' Jets; plus latest Hot Button Top 10; also, Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.8% after UM beats FSU, Dawgs top Gators, details on Le Batard's return, NFL Week 9 picks & more

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4. Happy new month, all! 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 9 picks, Dolphins/Tua and Tim Donaghy columns & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

My column on Dolphins' win over Jets: Go to After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day for my column from the stadium on Sunday's Miami win.

PicksOur complete NFL Week 9 picks: We went a perfect 15-0 straight-up last week. Can we approach that again? Will the still-winless Dolphins win at home vs. the equally bad Stinkin' Jets and be one of our three upset picks? Answers to that and more, here: NFL Week 9 Gems.

MianyjG8: STINKIN' JETS AT DOLPHINS: UPSET! FINS WIN, FINS WIN! OMG!! (AND I CALLED IT...): Go to After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day for my column from game. Original post: We can all agree, I hope, that the Dolphins have risen from being historically embarrassing in the first few games to being merely regular-bad lately. We can also agree, I hope, that the Stinkin’ Jets are hardly any better, and that Adam Gase looks about as happy as an inmate whose final stay of execution has just been denied by the governor. There is negligible difference between the 0-7 Fins and 1-6 Jets -- not enough for NYJ to be a 3-point road favorite. Overshadowing this matchup, of course: The jockeying for the overall No. 1 draft pick, as the winless, bye-week Bengals watch keenly. Why the upset pick? 1) Sam Darnold (who sees ghosts, by the way) has seven interceptions in the past two games. Darnold bad is worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick bad. 2) Fins players and coaches are beyond-tired of the accusation they are intentionally trying to lose games. The franchise is tanking; the lockerroom is not. That is an important distinction. It gives Miami the greater incentive here, in addition to the home field. Am I nervous about the pick? Oh hell yeah. I just picked Miami to win! Let's see. Cote’s pick: MIA 24-21. Vote in the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll directly below.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 76.4%: Results are certified in  the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 76.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- a season high -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 26-18 home victory over the New York Jets Dsmputting Miami’s season record at 1-7. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 1 p.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 10 following game at Indianapolis.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive weekend-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. HURRICANES: Miami with nifty win over 'Noles in Tally: Florida State was favored at home in the battle of two once-proud rivals both coming in 4-4, but it was Miami going home with the big 27-10 win -- and renewed hope. At 5-4 off two straight wins UM is now looking good for a bowl game and still has an outside shot at the ACC Coastal title. Canes must win out vs. Louisville and FIU and at Duke.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins win! Fins win!, beat Stinkin' Jets: I tell ya, Sunday's matchup in Miami had everything ... but a good team in it. The 1-6 Jets at 0-7 Dolphins with the overall No. 1 draft pick among the possible stakes ... what could be worse? Actually, it was a pretty compelling game. Ryan Fitzpatrick was great and the Dolphins (finally) won, 26-18.

3. HEAT: Miami swamps Houston in big early test: Miami is an impressive 5-1 early this season after Sunday measuring-stick triumph here over Houston, 1290-100 led by a surreal 46-14 first quarter. James Harden and Russell Westbrook were only 9-for-25 between them. Can the Heat really be this good?

4. MLB: Nationals top Astros in World Series: Had to feel good about Washington celebrating its first MLB title since 1924. Well, unless you're a Houston fan. But seven games and the home team didn't win a single one. Had never been done before. In any sport. Weird Series is more like it. 

5. UM BASKETBALL: Opening Week! Canes men host mighty Louisville: So much for soft openings. Jim Larranaga's unranked UM men's team opens by hosting No. 5 Louisville Tuesday night. Can they shock the world? More is expected from Katie Meier's No. 18-ranked Canes women, who open at home next Sunday vs. Jackson State.    

6. PANTHERS: Hot Cats rounding into form: With last night's 4-0 home win over Detroit, Florida has now shed a rough 1-4 start to go level at 7-7 in this still-young NHL season. Cats can score, but now new goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky are tightening up on defense. Good signs.

7. UFC: Masvidal bloodies, beats Diaz: Miami's Jorge Masvidal bloodied and beat Nate Diaz in UFC 244 last night at Madison Square Garden, with a doctor stopping the fight in the third round. Masvidal later partied with The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Hopefully, Stugotz crashed the party. Oh, and Donald Trump attended and got loudly booed. Or, did that go without saying?

8. NBA: Reeling Warriors lose Curry: Golden State is 1-5 and now Steph Curry will be lost at least three months with a broken hand. if you didn't think the Warriors' dynasty was done, you sure as hell do now. Call 'em the Golden State Worriers.

9. SOCCER: It's Seattle-Toronto for MLS title: Seattle hosts Toronto next Sunday in a sold-out Major League Soccer Cup championship final. No Cinderellas here. Seattle won the league title in 2016 and Toronto in '17. A year from now ... Inter Miami?

10. HORSE RACING: More tragedy at Santa Anita as Breeders' Cup runs: Vino Rosso won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Saturday at Santa Anita, but tragedy struck as Mongolian Groom injured a hind leg and later was euthanized. It was the 37th horse death at Santa Anita Park since last December. Am I sending my horse to that place? Oh hell naw!

Missing the HB10 cut: World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg opted out of his deal with Nationals and will be a free agent. Teams needing an ace with tons of money, start your bidding! ..... Tiger Woods won a record-tying 82nd PGA Tour event last week, a reminder that all anybody cares about with him is major wins, not "regular" titles ..... South Africa stunned England to win the Rugby World Cup as America mostly yawned ..... Only two more races starting today at Texas before NASCAR's Nov. 17 championship finale at Homestead ..... Thousands more will unnecessarily run 26.2 miles when the New York City Marathon goes off Sunday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,422 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

MiafsuG9: HURRICANES 27, @FLORIDA STATE 10: TWO OLD RIVALS MEET AGAIN -- BOTH TRYING TO GET BACK TO GREAT: Jarren  Williams and defense were great in Saturday's 27-10 Miami win in Tally, and I got the upset pick right! Original post: There were plenty of years when Canes-Noles was a national game of the week with championship implications. But that was plenty of years ago. Now, Saturday's Miami at Florida State meeting at 3:30 p.m. is just a pair of .500 teams trying to rediscover the mojo and get back to where they once were. "I think we’re both kind of waiting for that kick-start to get things going," as Miami coach Manny Diaz put it. Still, "It’s one of those games that you come to Miami to play in, to coach in," Diaz said. "It’s a legacy game." Both old rivals are 4-4, with FSU 3-3 in ACC play and UM 2-3. The Seminoles are stuck in their division behind Clemson. At least if UM wins it still has a shot at the division title in the weaker Coastal, if it wins out and gets some help/luck. FSU was favored by as many as 5 points but that whittled down to 3 as money poured in on Miami. Noles have won their past four home games but Miami has won past two in this rivalry including 28-27 last year at Hard Rock after the Canes trailed 20-7 at the half. These teams' past five meetings all have been decided by 5 points or fewer, so the safest bet is a close game. FSU is better on offense although that draws closer with Jarren Williams back starting at QB for Miami (as he should) and RB DeeJay Dallas expected back from injury. The difference for me is that Miami clearly is better on defense. I do not trust the Seminoles without the ball. Cote's pick: Upset! Hurricanes, 27-23. See latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll results below.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 91.8%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 91.8% approval, the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes  -- a season high -- in the wake of Saturday's 27-10 Hurricanes victory at Florida State putting the Hurricanes' season record at 5-4 overall and 3-3 in ACC conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday.

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 9 following game vs. Louisville.

Other state FBS games (all Saturday):

FlagaNo. 8 Georgia 24, No. 6 Florida 17: A Cocktail Party worth attending: Original post: Annual neutral-site game in Jacksonville kicks at 3:30 Saturday with, well, everything in play. This is for the SEC East lead, and the winner only also maintains at least a prayer of a shot at the College Football Playoff. It's the Game of the Week in collball. Gators 7-1 to Dawgs' 6-1 but Georgia is a 5 1/2-point favorite. I get that. See UGA with slightly more offensive pop and every bit as good defensively. Cote's pick: Georgia 23-20.  

Also: UCF beat Houston 44-29, FIU beat Old Dominion 24-17, and FAU beat Western Kentucky 35-24. South Florida was off this week.

DanlLE BATARD'S RETURN TO AIR, NEW 'MAS MIAMI.' DETAILS HEREFans who have missed Dan Le Batard during his extended on-air absence from ESPN have gotten some welcome news — on two fronts. The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz announced Friday that Dan would return to the show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews on Nov. 11, a week from Monday. The Miami-based show emanates from ESPN studios on South Beach. Le Batard also is to return to his ESPN television show, Highly Questionable, that day, the network confirmed Friday. Le Batard has been off the air for several weeks, first for a long-planned pre-wedding honeymoon and more recently to attend to what the show called "personal matters." Both shows have continued with various guest hosts in his absence. Also Friday, details on Le Batard’s latest "Mas Miami" event were revealed. It is set for Saturday, Dec. 14 at Wynwood Factory, a nightclub at 55 Northeast 24th Street in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. Tickets to the event are $25 and available at MasLeBatard.com. For the full story: Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event.

Our two most recent columns: Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal

Other select recent columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / 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 / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / 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

October 15, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 53.5%. That's season high after 17-16 loss to Washington as Tanking for Tua crowd steps up; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), or Fins and Canes columns, NFL Week 6 picks & more

1) It's MONDAY OCTOBER 14. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NBA should end China ties with column, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 5 results, why Dolphins-Redskins isn't must-lose for Miami & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Monday!: I'm co-hosting the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz today/Monday this week, not Tuesday. It airs 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. And catch the local hour (#LOUR) via links on show's social media platforms.

DOLPHINS COLUMN FROM SUNDAY'S GAME: Another Dolphins Loss, But There was Fight And Heart This Time.

Column from Canes' big win over Virginia: For my column from the stadium on UM's 17-9 win over No. 20 Virginia Friday night, please visit Hurricanes Finally Get Quality Win -- And The Spark They Needed. And scroll to previous blogpost for buoyant result of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

Our most recent other columnsWhy Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? and Why Woeful Dolphins-Redskins Matchup Is Not Must-Lose For Miami. Also: Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years (as NHL season unfurled) / Why Woeful Dolphins-Redskins Matchup Is Not Must-Lose For Miami / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat (as team entered preseason).

Skinsfan DolfanG5: WASHINGTON 17, DOLPHINS 16: WINLESS BOWL ANOTHER LOSER FOR MIAMI, BUT AT LEAST FINS SHOW FIGHT: [Please visit Another Dolphins Loss, But There was Fight And Heart This Time for my game column from stadium]. Original post: The 0-5 Skins visit the 0-4 Fins Sunday at 1, and something's gotta give. Mathematically there is a 0.3 Miawaspercent chance of a tie game here. Save for that negligible possibility, somebody is going to win this Winless Bowl. Somebody is going to be the least-terrible. In this epic battle of Movable Object versus Stoppable Force, one team will outscore the other. Are you sitting? IT WILL BE MIAMI! THE DOLPHINS WILL WIN! THE DOLPHINS WILL WIN!! (And, no, the world will not end. It will not mean the death of Tanking For Tua. Just a lil’ respite. Long season, folks). Miami’s minus-137 is the worst NFL point differential through four games since 1940. Washington is so bad it fired its coach already. That the Redskins are favored by 3 1/2 points underlines the perception that Miami is far and away the NFL's worst team. Still, I don't think they will be today. Case Keenum will return from injury to QB the Skins on Sunday, but that team is a turnover machine no matter who pitches. Fins are coming off a bye and riding a five-game home win streak over this foe. That’s enough for me, Dolfans. Champagne or regrets ready, depending on your point of view. Cote's pick: Dolphins, 20-17. (Visit Week 6 Gems for all of our latest NFL selections).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 53.5%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 53.5 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 17-16 home loss vs. Washington putting DsmMiami’s season record at 0-5. That's a season high as the Tanking for Tua crowd makes its voice heard. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 20 following game at Buffalo.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): 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: Skins edge Fins in epic Winless Bowl: Matchups in the NFL or, heck, in all of sports don't get much sadder than 0-5 Washington at 0-4 Miami, but, oddly, an exciting game ensued. Miami showed heart and fight, but no win i a 17-16 loss when a 2-point try failed with six seconds left. No small consolation: The Road to Tua just got clearer.

2. HURRICANES: Big win over Virginia lifts season hopes: UM still is only 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC, but Friday night's 17-9 home win over No. 20 Virginia felt like it chased away a cloud and gave this season hope again. Now all the Canes have to do is run the table from here.

3. MLB: Final four as League Championship Seriess underway!: Nationals lead Cardinals 2 games to 0 and Yankees-Astros are tied 1-1 in the NL and AL 7-game championship series continuing today/Monday in Washington. Go Nats! End the drought!

4. PANTHERS: Cats having the slow start they didn't want: New-look Florida has now played five games and lost four in the young NHL season underway, failing so far to avoid the slow start that has plagued this franchise. Next: Monday at New Jersey. Snap lout of it, Cats!

5. HEAT: Encouraging start to preseason for Miami: Heat are 2-0 in preseason, led by 18 from Tyler Herro and 19 from Dion Waiters, both off the bench. It's three more exhibitions this week starting Monday vs. Atlanta before regular season opens Oct. 23. Meanwhile there was a roast for Dwyane Wade Saturday night . The man does not retire quietly.

6. GATORS: Florida misses big chance, falls to LSU: A week after beating top-10 Auburn, NO. 7 Florida fell Saturday at No. 5 LSU, 42-28. Big opportunity missed, because, with No. 3 Georgia losing earlier in the day, the Florida-LSU winner would position itself for a legit shot at making the College Football Playoff. 

7. NBA: China mess shadows league as season nears: A tweet by the Rockets GM in support of Hong Kong protests enraged China and created a mess for the NBA as league was there for preseason events. Perhaps a good time for NBA to reconsider doing business with a country that blatantly violates human rights?

8. GYMNASTICS: Queen Simone does it again: American gymnast Simone Biles, 22, made history at the 2019 World Gymnastic Championships in Germany, winning a (male or female) record 24th medal at the competition and a fifth all-round world title. G.O.A.T in leotards.

9. SOCCER: Inter Miami wins coin flip for No. 1 MLS draft pick: Inter Miami out-flipped fellow expansion team Nashville to win the No. 1 pick in the Nov. 19 MLS Expansion Draft. First, though, INter Miami must win a key Oct. 24 city commission vote related to its Freedom Park stadium project. Games, please.

10. WNBA: Delle Donne leads Washington Mystics to title: Season MVP Elena Delle Donne overcame a herniated disk to score 21 as Washington beat Connecticut in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals for their first championship. It capped the league's 23rd season. I'm going to have to catch a game one of these days.

Missing the HB10 cut: No. 3 Georgia chokes in OT loss to South Carolina. Wonder if Dawgs fans will find away to blame Mark Richt? ..... Kenyan superstar runner Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2-hour marathon barrier in 1:59.40.2 Saturday, a once unfathomable feat. I once covered 26.2 miles even quicker, but didn't get credit because I was in a car ..... NASCAR playoffs continue today at Talladega for 12 remaining drivers. Gentlemen, start your sweating ..... The Philadelphia Flyers have a "rage room" in the arena where (for a price) fans can take out their frustrations and break things. Dolphins could use a few of those, no? ..... The XFL announced its first draft would be held Oct. 28, 2000, assuming the startup football league hasn't folded by then ..... Kansas basketball hired rapper Snoop Dogg for a preseason event on campus and seemed shocked that his performance was profane. Um, had they heard of Snoop Dogg before? ..... As they are now allowing women into soccer matches for the first time in 40 years, please join me in welcoming the government of Iran to the 21st Century! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,443 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (preseason NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / 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 / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / 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 / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / 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

October 13, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 82.0% following 17-9 win over No. 20 Virginia. With my game column; plus our NFL Week 6 picks, Gators-LSU, NBA-China mess, Fins-Skins Winless Bowl & more

1) It's SATURDAY OCTOBER 12. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NBA should end China ties with column, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 5 results, why Dolphins-Redskins isn't must-lose for Miami & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Column from last night's Canes win over Virginia: For my column from the stadium on UM's 17-9 win over No. 20 Virginia, please visit Hurricanes Finally Get Quality Win -- And The Spark They Needed.

Our most recent other columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? and Why Woeful Dolphins-Redskins Matchup Is Not Must-Lose For Miami. Also: Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years (as NHL season unfurled) / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat (as team entered preseason).

G6: HURRICANES 17, NO. 20 VIRGINIA 9: DEFENSES RISES AS UM SAVES ITS SEASON: Please visit Hurricanes Finally Get Quality Win -- And The Spark They Neededfor my game column from the stadium. Original post: Canes are a depressing 2-3 (0-2 in ACC play) after last week's home loss to Virginia Tech -- against whom UM had been favored by 14 points coming off a bye week. Miami still is searching for its first quality win, considering the two W's have been a walkover rout of outmanned VamiaBethune-Cookman and a 17-12 escape against Central Michigan. Tonight comes the latest chance for that elusive quality win as Miami hosts 4-1 (2-0 ACC) and 20th-ranked Virginia in an ACC Coastal game. A bit surprisingly, Miami is a 2 1/2-point betting favorite and given a 59.4 percent chance of winning via ESPN's Football Power Index. There seems to be a continuing overestimation of the Canes based on what we have seen through five games, especially lately. Anyway, two big changes this week for The U: 1) N'Kosi Perry starts tonight at quarterback for injured Jarren Williams. The dropoff (or perhaps improvement?) figures as slight. 2) Coach Manny Diaz declared he'll be more hands-on with a defense that has disappointed including that 42-point spree by Va-Tech. Diaz of course was defensive coordinator here the previous three seasons, and said this week, "Ultimately I am responsible for how we play on defense. There is a culture that was created here back in 2016 that, for some reason, we have not been able to recreate. It is not a coaching issue. It is not a scheme issue." The onus on Miami tonight is with the offense more than the D, by my view. Perry must mind his dubious accuracy and be careful with a very strong Cavaliers pass defense. And a bad, Achilles heel of a UM offensive line needs to give Perry time vs. a defense averaging 4 1/2 sacks per game. This is a lot to ask. I'm off the Canes bandwagon until they give me a reason to re-board. Cote's pick: Virginia, 23-17.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 82.0%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 82.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Friday night's 17-9 home win vs. No. 20 Virginia putting the Hurricanes' season record at 3-3 overall and 1-2 in ACC conference play. That narrowly misses being a season high. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was at 9:30 a.m. today/Sunday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 19 vs. Georgia Tech.

FlalsuNo. 5 LSU 42, No. 7 Gators 28: Original post: ESPN College  GameDay may be at USC-Notre Dame, but this is the Game of the Week in college football -- the only top-10 matchup, with the winner allowed to think College Football Playoff. The 6-0 Gators earned cred in beating then-No. 7 Auburn last week, but 5-0 LSU is a big 13 1/2-point favorite in what figures as a high-scoring game Saturday at 8 p.m. Tough to not pick Tigers at home, but that bet-line really disses Florida. Cote's pick: LSU, 31-24.  

Other state FBS games (all Saturday): FSU got clobbered by No. 2 Clemson 45-14; South Florida edged BYU 27-23; FAU beat Middle Tennessee 28-13; and FIU handled Charlotte 48-23. UCF is off.

PicksDOLPHINS WIN! YAY! I MEAN OH NO! (WHAT?)  OUR NFL WEEK 6 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid start to our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Spoiler alert: The Dolphins beat the Redskins in the battle of beatens, the Winless Bowl. Yes I said it. The Dolphins win a game! Followed inevitably of course by Dolfans debating whether that's a good thing or whether that puts the Tanking For Tua initiative at risk. See how on earth Miami will win, our Game of the Week call, our four big upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 6 Gems. Got off to a good start to our week last night, as we correctly had the Patriots not only beating the Giants but also covering the 16 1/2-point betting line. (Go here for that pick).

Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (preseason NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / 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 / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / 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

October 07, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 28.8% following rally-but-loss to Virginia Tech, with latest column; plus Gators handle Auburn, the new Hot Button Top 10 (updated), our NFL Week 5 picks, latest Panthers and Heat columns & more

1) It's MONDAY OCTOBER 7. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Will Panthers stop wasting the Barkov years?, 5 factors to make Heat contenders, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 4 results, latest Back In My Day video (Fake Burgers!) & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

VtumG5: VIRGINIA TECH 42, @HURRICANES 35: EPIC RALLY, BUT BAD LOSS FOR UM: My column from the game: No Quit In Canes, But Still Bad Loss In Down Year. ..... Original post: Canes shook off a season-wilting 0-2 start vs. Florida and North Carolina by taking out their frustrations on poor Bethune-Cookman 63-0 -- then saw the whisper of momentum silenced in that unimpressive 17-12 escape against little Central Michigan, after the Canes had been a 29-point betting favorite. So it's a shaky 2-2 record UM brings into its full ACC schedule, after a bye week, starting at 3:30 today/Saturday vs. also 2-2 Virginia Tech at The Rock. Miami is a generous 14-point home favorite but, for me, must earn that respect. Quarterback Jarren Williams has been mostly really good but his offensive line is a wreck and converting third downs has been a real issue. For me this game turns on Miami's defense, which could wreak havoc against a Va-Tech squad prone to turnovers. The bling could be flyin' on the sideline. One wild card: Speculation out of Blacksburg that Hokies starting QB Ryan Willis may be replaced today by less experienced Hendon Hooker. Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 24-13.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 28.8%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 28.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 42-35 home loss  Csmvs. Virginia Tech putting the Hurricanes' season record at 2-3 overall and 0-2 in ACC conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 11 a.m. today/Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 11 following game vs. Virginia.

NO. 10 FLORIDA 24, No. 7 AUBURN 13: GATORS EARN THE RESPECT THEY'D LACKED: Original post: Florida stayed perfect and dropped one spot in the polls. Gators feeling unloved but with a big chance to get some here in the Swamp in a marquee SEC game that is these schools' first meeting since 2011. With both teams 5-0, Auburn is a 2 1/2-point road favorite and I get why. Tigers QB Bo Nix and his so-far-unstoppable ground game will be an enormous challenge for UF's strong defense. More than that, on the other side, inexperienced Gators passer Kyle Trask and a subpar offensive line and not much of a running game. Two stout defenses here, but only one scary offense. Cote's pick: Auburn 20-16.

Other state FBS games: No. 18-UCF likely falling from polls after 27-24 loss at Cincinnati Friday night. Saturday it was South Florida winning at at UConn 48-22, and FIU crushing UMass 44-0. FAU and Florida State were off.

PicksDOLPHINS OFF, BUT THE LEAGUE CHUGS ON! OUR NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid start to our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the Dolphins manage to not lose o their bye week? Who takes our Packers-Cowboys Game of the Week? Agree with our Upset of the Week call? Find out about that and all the rest by visiting Week 5 Gems. Mixed start to our week last night. Seattle won a 30-29 thriller. We had Seahawks winning but had 'em covering a 2-point line, so we missed an ATS win by two points and a push by one. (Go here for that pick). No problem, though. Let's just go ahead and own Sunday!

Our other stuff from this week: Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years (Cats lost opener in Tampa 5-2 Thursday and open at home tonight) / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat (as team opened training camp) / Also: Herald NFL Week 4 QB Rankings / and Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins (off Sunday's loss to Chargers).

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 5-6): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive weekend-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. HURRICANES: Ugh. UM 2-3 after home loss to Virginia Tech: Canes are now a disappointing 2-2 overall and 0-2 in conference play after Saturday's 42-35 home loss to Virginia Tech. UM was down 28-0 and didn't quit. Didn't win, either.

2. MLB: Playoffs! Final eight battling in division series: We're in the midst of the four best-of-five division series: The NL's Cardinals-Braves and Nationals-Dodgers, and the AL's Twins-Yankees and Rays-Astros. Betting odds say Astros/Dodgers/Yankees, in that order. I say anybody but Houston. They just won the Wold Series in 2017. Share, please!

3. PANTHERS: Opening Week for NHL, new-look Cats: Puck dropped on hockey season this week, with the Florida Panthers infused with a new star coach in Joel Quenneville and a new all-star goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky. Alas, Cats lost their opener in Tampa 5-2 but bounced back to win home opener against same team Saturday, 4-3, behind Mike Hoffman's hat trick.

4. HEAT: Let the games begin! OK, well, the fake games...: Post-Dwyane Wade, the Jimmy Butler-led Heat and coach Erik Spoelstra, of the four-year contract extension, wrap up a week-long training camp in West Palm. Miami opens its five-game preseason schedule Tuesday at home vs. San Antonio.

5. DOLPHINS: Miami will not lose in Week 5. Guaranteed!: The 0-4 Dolphins, outscored by 137 points, are off this week. This is where your snarky joke goes about Josh Rosen throwing an interception from his couch. Or the bye being a 14 1/2-point favorite.

6. GATORS: Florida wins top-10 battle in The Swamp: No. 10 Florida hosted No. 7 Auburn in Gainesville Saturday, with Gators a slight (2 1/2-point) home 'dog but winning 24-13. Florida fans said they are disrespected. This was their team's chance to change that. And they did.

7. NCAA: Will new California law shake up the business of college sports?: California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed a bill that would let college athletes make money from endorsement deals for the first time. The new law does not take effect until 2023 -- meant to give the NCAA time to change its bylaws before then. Good luck with that.

8. NASCAR: Homestead race is officially looming: It's October. Playoffs underway. Close enough to mention that the NASCAR season finale is Nov. 17 - the last season championship race here before Homestead is demoted and becomes just another earlier-season race.   

9. WNBA: Delle Donne injury messes with Finals: The Connecticut Sun and heavily favored Washington Mystics are tied 1-1 entering Game 3 of the WNBA Finals Sunday, but the back injury to league MVP Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics has tossed a monkey wrench into the thing. Sun's victory parade would need a giant asterisk.

10. E-SPORTS: Video gaming arena coming to Miami: A 12,000-square-foot e-sports arena is coming to the Wynwood area of Miami in 2020, it was announced by Millenial Gaming CEO Darren Cox. The arena is to seat 300, for those of you with nothing better to do than to watch other people play video games.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hurricanes men's basketball begins in a month, Nov. 5 vs. Louisville. Jim Larranaga's program is trying to rebound from a 14-18 season that saw a 5-13 struggle in the ACC ..... Katie Meier's UM women's program opens Nov. 10 after going 25-9 (12-4 ACC) last season ..... The Rock returns to WWE Smackdown. Yeah, because Dwayne Johnson doesn't have enough money ..... The shine is off UCF football. No. 18 Knights now 4-2 and likely falling from polls after Friday night's 27-24 loss at Cincinnati ..... Conor McGrgeor is being charged with assault for a punch thrown in a Dublin bar. Dunce! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,450 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / 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 / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / and From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 02, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 29, 2018

Orange Bowl: Alabama 45, Oklahoma 34 (Final): Tagovailao, 28-0 lead lift Tide to title game. NEW: My column from stadium; plus Miami's weird relationship with Nick Saban, our picks for two CFP semifinals, we called Gators upset of Michigan & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29. The season-final Canesfan Satisfaction Meter rating is its lowest since 2014. Go HERE for the sad details. 2) If you missed it, visit MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018 to watch out annual holiday video. It's ho-ho-horrible! 3) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall hard in Pinstripe Bowl with final CSM poll, NFL Week 17 picks, Beckham carves turkey & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

SabanWhy Miami hates Nick Saban is not why you think: He left the Dolphins 12 years ago but Miami fans still seriously dislike Saban. Why? It isn't because he lost here, or lied here. We explore the Saban/South Florida relationship in our latest column. To read, visit Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

NFL Week 17 picks: Visit Week 17 Gems for Dolphins-Bills and all out other latest selections.

ObORANGE BOWL: ALABAMA 45, OKLAHOMA 34 IN CFP SEMIFINAL: Alabama jumped out to fast 28-0 lead and never looked back. And game MVP Tua Tagovailaoa was fantastic: 24-for-27, 318 yards, four TDs. I predicted 'Bama, 44-30; see below. Close enough for ya!? My column from the game: Alabama Dynasty? Canes Have Been There. Now Did They Just See A Map Back? ..... Original post: 'Bama is a big (13 1/2 points) favorite to reach its fourth straight College Football Playoff championship game, and should. The No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide are a complete team, while the No. 4-seeded Sooners are all offense. With OU's awful defense, anything less than a ton of points every week keeps the Sooners from being a .500 team. That imbalance won't cut it vs. Alabama. Nick Saban will find ways to exploit that obvious weakness. Most eyes will be on the two quarterbacks at Hard Rock tonight at 8 as Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray battle for the first time since they finished 1-2 -- Murray winning -- in recent Heisman Trophy voting. Tagovailoa insists he'll be 100 percent, after leaving the SEC title game with an ankle injury. Both are duel-threat QBS and should make for a wide-open, offensive game. It's the only decent defense on the field that should tip this result. My pick: Alabama, 44-30

COTTON: CLEMSON 30, NOTRE DAME 3 IN OTHER CFP SEMIFINAL: No. 2 Clemson was an 11 1/2-point favorite in the 4 p.m. duel of unbeatens over No. 3 Notre Dame in Arlington, Tex. I thought the Fighting Irish would show up. Nah. My pick was: Clemson, 27-24.

PEACH: FLORIDA 41,MICHIGAN 15 IN SATURDAY APPETIZER: Noon start in Atlanta found Michigan a 4 1/2-point favorite but I was feeling an upset led by the Gators' defense. Didn't see the rout. Just the upset. My pick was: Florida, 23-17.

Select other recent columns:End Of Hope For Dolphins. For Tannehill, Gase, too? / Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next/Final poll: Date TBD following bowl game. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 19, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10: LeBron torches Heat (with new column), Logano wins NASCAR; plus Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 50.0% in wake of 38-14 win making UM bowl-eligible; also, other state Collball (FIU wins) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19. Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 11 picks, your Gase/Richt verdicts, Marlins' new logo, Hassan Whiteside's gun & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Lebronlakers Nascar LoganoHEAVYWEIGHT SUNDAY IN MIAMI: LOGANO WINS NASCAR VS. LEBRON TORCHES HEAT: NASCAR ran its season championship race down at Homestead this afternoon with final-four longshot Joey Logano winning the season crown. And as the race was ending the Heat would tip off downtown against LeBron James' L.A. Lakers in his only visit of the season -- with Lakers winning 113-97 led by LeBron James' 51 points. Yes, 51! Pretty rare we get two events of that size on the same day. I took a Twitter poll on who you wanted to win the racing title and it could hardly have been closer: Kyle Busch 27 percent, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr, both 25%, and Logano 23%. Betting odds have it Busch and Harvick co-favorites at 11-4, Truex 6-1 and Logano 10-1. #WhyWeLoveSports

NEW: LeBron torches Heat column: From the arena Sunday night as Lakers' LeBron James drops 51 on Miami: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost.

Our latest other columns: NASCAR, NFL picks, Wade, Gase/Richt: NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing. NFL Week 11 GemsWade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him. And Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday 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. HEAT: Miami hosts LeBron, LeBron torches Heat: LeBron James' L.A. Lakers were here tonight for their only visit of the season, and LeBron James' 51 points led a 113-97 L.A. win that dropped Miami to 6-10 in the continuing paternity absence of Dwyane Wade. Oh, and it was revealed Hassan Whiteside had a $50,000 assault rifle stolen from his unlocked car over the summer. That enough to digest for one week, Heat fans?

2. NASCAR: Logano wins season crown at Homestead: Mega-Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway as SoFla hosted NASCAR's season championship for 17th straight year. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano or Martin Truex Jr. raced for the trophy, with Logano, the betting longshot, raising it.

3. HURRICANES: UM (finally) bowl-eligible after big win in Blacksburg: A bit of a sluggish start but the Canes came on and rolled at Va-Tech 38-14 on Saturday, ending a 4-game losing streak and getting bowl eligible at 6-5. Still a disappointing season, but UM fans were smiling for the first time in a long while.

4. MARLINS: Rebranding Fish unveil new uniforms, logo: The Derek Jeter's group's rebranding of the Marlins -- i.e., an attempt to make you forget Jeffrey Loria and David Samson ever existed -- continued this week the revealing of a new Marlins logo and colors. Rebrand and move new merchandise all at once. Brilliant!

5. DOLPHINS: Fins spend bye week with fingers crossed on Tannehill: Miami spends its bye off this week  at 5-5 after having lost five of past seven games, with a trip to Indianapolis on deck. Ryan Tannehil and his shoulder, out the last five games, is supposed to return. Any hope for a playoff run is all that depends on it.

6. PANTHERS: Cats on road trying to get hot again: Florida is now 7-10 with two straight losses following a five-game win streak. Team is away three more games before returning home as fans still wait to see who the real Cats are in an uneven start to the NHL season. 

7. SOCCER: Miami hosts international conference: Miami hosted "SoccerEx," a two-day global networking conference that drew soccer officials from 40 nations to Marlins Park. No announcement yet, but choice of sites is a strong hint where David Beckham's Inter Miami MLS expansion team might be playing while its new stadium is built at the Melreese site. 

8. UM HOOPS: Canes women lose first game: No. 24-ranked Miami women were 4-0 after Katie Meier's squad notched 63-55 home win over 19th-ranked Marquette, but UM lost Sunday at Iowa State. Almost forgot, Canes men, with an easier early schedule, are 3-0.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Playoff picture remains steady: The top eight teams in the College Football Playoff ranking all won, so teams just below, such as now 10-0 NO. 11 UCF and No. 13 Florida, will have a tough time moving up. Can anything stop an Alabama-Clemson title game? Rhetorical question. Answer: Doubt it.

10. FIU: ButchCats win again, thinking title: FIU is 8-3 after Saturday's 42-35 win over Charlotte on coach Butch Davis' 67th birthday. Mostly, Panthers remain well in the hunt for Conference USA championship. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Awards week in MLB and so your Marlins have now traded away the 2017 and 2018 NL MVPs in Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich ..... Tickets now on sale for Miami Open tennis as event moves from Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium. Aesthetic downturn, yes, but the curiosity factor is there ..... MLS playoffs get intense with first leg of conference finals next Sunday. Soon, Miami. Soon ..... Update: Countdown now 2,773 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show an even 50.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 38-14 Miami victory at Virginia Tech putting Miami's season record at 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 34%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 24 following game vs. Pitt.

MiavtG11: HURRICANES 38, @VIRGINIA TECH 14: MIAMI FINALLY WINS AGAIN, FINALLY IS BOWL-ELIGIBLE: Final thoughts: Big plays defined UM's 38-14 win over Virginia Tech today in Blacksburg to end a four-game UM skid and make the Canes bowl-eligible at 6-5. Shaq Quartman's interception return to the Tech 3. Cam'Ron Davis' 42-yard TD run. Jeff Thomas' 51-yard punt-return score. And N'Kosi Perry's two TD passes without an interception. For me, Perry tightened his grip on the starting job. And freshman Cam Davis gives UM a lot to look forward to at running back. Miami was not consistently solid on offense and the defense allowed two long scoring drives. Still, after a dispiriting four straight losses, this is a huge day for a bowl-getting sixth win. This has been a disappointing season, but the Canes did not disappoint today with a nice road victory. 4QUM 38-14 on Perry-Davis 16-yard TD pass ... UM 31-14 on Thomas 51-yard punt return TD ... UM24-14 on Davis 42-yard TD run for biggest Canes lead ..... Halftime thoughts: Another teetering game by Miami. Offense again has been unimpressive, considering seven of UM's points were directly set up by a turnover. Defense has been OK overall but has allowed 76- and 75-yard scoring drives. Canes still must prove they're the better team ..... 2Q: UM 17-14 on Perry 1-yard TD run capping impressive 10-play, 71-yard drive ... VT 14-10 on 20-yard scoring run ...  UM 10-7 on Perry-Langham 3-yard TD pass, after Quarterman interception and return to VT 3 ..... UM 3-7 on 33-yard FG, after Wiggins drops well-throw Perry pass that should have been TD ... VT 7-0 on 15-yard TD pass, after UM gouged for 5-play, 76-yard opening drive ..... Original postWelcome to Saturday's Misery Bowl kicking off at 3:30 in Blacksburg before ESPN cameras. (Must be a slow week!) Trust us, when ESPN booked this game the Worldwide Leader thought it was getting something big. Instead it's getting oh what might have been! These were two preseason Top 25 teams expected to duel for the ACC Coastal division crown. This game should (theoretically) be to see who plays Clemson for the conference crown. Instead it matches two disappointing teams, also-rans scrambling just to get bowl-eligible. And both come in cold, Miami 5-5 after four straight losses, and Va-Tech 4-5 with three losses in a row. Sad! Two erstwhile proud programs trying to salvage unexpectedly down seasons and work an invite, at this point, to what? The Salad Bowl? Somebody has to snap their losing skid, and it'll be Miami, which opened as a 3 1/2 point favorite but saw that balloon to 6 1/2. And with reason. VT has been a bit of a nemesis for UM, which is 9-14 in the past 23 meetings and has lost four of the past five trips to Lane Stadium. That gives us some pause, yes. But more than that trend is this: the Hokies/Gobblers have one of the worst run defenses on Earth, and Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas should run wild to alleviate pressure and burden from N'Kosi Perry. Also like The U's pass defense really limiting what Tech does best. People, if the Canes lose this game they flat-out don't deserve a bowl, any bowl. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-16.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 12 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted):

North Texas (8-3) beats FAU (5-6), 41-38: With Thursday night's loss, Lane Kiffin's Owls now have one game left to get bowl-eligible then pray somebody invites a .500 FAU.

No. 13 Florida (8-3) beats Idaho (4-7), 63-10: Gators, jockeying for poll 'n bowl position, were up 49-0 at half and coasted in mismatch.

Temple (7-4) beats South Florida (7-4), 27-17: The fast-fading Bulls allowed 17 unanswered points in fourth quarter to blow it again.

FIU (8-3) beats Charlotte (4-7), 42-35: The ButchCats, still with a shot to reach the C-USA title game, with a nice road win. And a happy birthday for coach Butch Davis!

FSU (5-6) beats No. 20 Boston College (7-4), 22-21: Nice little (small) home upset as the Noles stay alive (technically) at the Doak for bowl eligibility.

No. 11 UCF (10-0) beats No. 24 Cincinnati (9-1), 38-13: Huge! UCF extended its nation-best winning streak to 23 games and will host the AAC title game Dec. 1 after routing Cincy. ESPN's College GameDay was in Orlando to bless the Knights, one more reason for Canes fans to begrudge how the UCF program (until further notice) has surpassed UM.

Week 12 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 3 Notre Dame beats No. 12 Syracuse, 36-3; 11-UCF beats 24-Cincinnati, 38-13; and 15-Texas beats 16-Iowa State, 24-10.

Select other recent columns: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 13, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.8%; plus Fins fall 31-12 at Green Bay, drop to 5-5; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated; are Collapsing Canes on top?), thank you Veterans & more

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

Vetday1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12. Veterans Day is when we honor all of those who have served in our military. Thank you! 2) Find results of the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in the previous blogpost or directly here. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose fourth straight with CSM poll, other state Collball, your Dolphins-in-playoffs verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our latest columns: Sabermetrics ace and Red Sox adviser Bill James fell into hot water by saying baseball players are replaceable, likening their importance to that of beer vendors. By extension he meant athletes in general. But here's the thing. He may be right. I discuss in my newest column. To read: Bill James Struck A Nerve, But He's More Right Than Wrong. Also: Marino Set the Blueprint For Mahomes and State of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 5.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-12 loss at Green Bay putting Miami's season record at 5-5. That ties for the season low. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 25%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

G3: 96.2% following 28-20 victory vs. Oakland.

G4: 17.2% following 38-7 loss at New England.

G5: 6.4% following 27-17 loss at Cincinnati.

G6: 75.0% following 31-28 OT victory vs. Chicago.

G7: 8.9% following 32-21 loss vs. Detroit.

G8: 5.8% following 42-23 loss at Houston.

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G10: 5.8% following 31-12 loss at Green Bay.

Next poll: Nov. 25 (after bye week) following game at Indianapolis.

G10: GREEN BAY 31, DOLPHINS 12: TEMPS in 20'S, PACKER POINTS IN 30'S. TOLD YA!: Final thoughts: Four field goals does not pass as decent offense in any world I know. Especially at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers ..... 4Q: GB 31-12 as Pack add 38-yard FG. It's over, people ..... 3Q: GB 28-12 on Rodgers-Adam 25-yard scoring pass. This game feels over ... GB 21- Miagb12 on Jones 12-yard TD run. Like I said, FGs will nit beat Rodgers in Green Bay ... MIA 12-14 on 40-yard FG ... Halftime thoughts: Rodgers less than 100 yards passing? Gore kicking ass? Good, encouraging signs for Miami. But field goals will not beat Rodgers at Lambeau. Book that ..... 2Q: MIA 9-14 on 47-yard FG. Fins competitive, but will settling for threes come back to haunt? ... MIA 6-14 on 25-yard FG after red-zone fizzle ... GB 14-3 on Jones 2-yards TD run set up by his 67-yard run ... 1Q: Fins defense gouged for 67-yard run to arrange another Pack score as quarter ends ... MIA 3-7 on 37-yard FG after Pack fumble. A 3rd-and-8 sack forced the three ... Miami recovers fumble on punt return near midfield ... GB 7-0 on Rodgers-Adams 7-yard TD pass, capitalizing on Miami turnover ... Nice opening drive by Fins ruined by lost fumble. Shotgun snap to Osweiler looked fast and high, but catchable ..... Pregame: Patriots loss today means Miami can move within one game and re-energize whole season with win at Lambeau ... Starting OTs Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James both inactive today. Oh my. Good lukc, Osweiler! ..... Original post: Miami is a surprisingly not-terrible 5-4 and Green Bay is a surprisingly desperate 3-4-1 and yet the Packers are favored by a big 10 points in today's 4:25 p.m. Lambeau Field kickoff before CBS cameras. Why? Quotation of the week to Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who said it deadpan-perfect, when asked if his defense could carry the momentum of last week’s domination of the Jets into this Sunday’s game in Green Bay: "Aaron Rodgers is a little different than Sam Darnold," noted Gase. I might further note that Mr. Rodgers also is a little different than Brock Osweiler. And that temperatures diving into the 20s at Lambeau will be a little different for the Fins than the advantageous comfort of home humidity. I’m scrounging around for reasons to believe in a Miami upset, and finding the cupboard bare short of assuming least a couple of Dolphins takeaways. (Perhaps a pick by Reshad Jones, if he deigns to actually appear in the game rather than pouting on the sideline?) Reasons to not like the Dolphins today are easier to spot. Osweiler is gradually becoming Osweiler again; he has not thrown a touchdown pass for almost nine quarters. Miami is 1-3 away and the Gee Bees 3-0-1 at home. All four of Miami’s losses have been by double digits, and the Dolphins are on a 1-8 skid when kicking off as road underdogs. Miami’s best shot might be that Green Bay — after facing the Patriots last week and with roadies to Seattle/Minnesota on deck — might sort of not pay much attention to this game. Except the Pack’s scant margin of error in the playoff chase assures Rodgers and the Cheesers will be on high alert here, buoyed by the Frozen Tundra and the ghost of Vince Lombardi in a fedora. Bonus fact: GB’s offensive coordinator is Joe Philbin. How much do you figure he’d love to run up the score? The forecast for today in Green Bay: Temps in the 20s, Pack points in the 30s. My pick: Green Bay, 37-20.

Visit Week 10 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. 

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: It's four straight losses with UM's fall at Tech: With Saturday's 27-21 loss at Georgia Tech the Hurricanes are now 5-5, have lost four in a row, are not yet bowl-eligible and are 5-8 in the past 13 games. Let's all agree that the honeymoon is over for Mark Richt. Heck, at this rate, the divorce lawyers may be on call.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami fizzles on the frozen tundra: The Dolphins' defense handled the Jets in winning last week but Aaron Rodgers is different than Sam Darnold about as subtly as Green Bay temps in the 20s are to South Florida humidity. And so 31-12 Green Bay on Sunday has the Fins, once 3-0, now stalled at 5-5.

3. HEAT: Sputtering Heat brace for Sixers and Butler, then LeBron: Heat at 5-7 have lost two straight and five of seven as they prepare to host Philadelphia and newly acquired Jimmy Butler Monday night. Minnesota trading Butler into the East made Miami's playoff chase that much more problematic. Almost forgot: Lakers and LeBron here in seven days.

4. NASCAR: Championship Four is set for Homestead: Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were joined by Kyle Busch and Martin Truex in the Championship Four for next Sunday's NASCAR title run at Homestead. The final two spots were filled in yesterday's penultimate race in Phoenix. Now the entire sport packs up and heads south of Miami.

5. SOCCER: Miami MLS wins stadium vote: The David Beckham group's embryonic Major League Soccer expansion franchise, Inter Miami, comfortably won voter approval on stadium plans for the Melreese site. Meanwhile the MLS playoffs continue with semifinals pitting Portland vs. Sporting KC and New York vs. Atlanta.

6. PANTHERS: Ice on fire! The Cats are heating up: Slow-starting Florida has now won four in a row to rise to 6-8 with Sunday's victory over Ottawa prior to a six-game road trip. Credit some of the rally to the return of goalie Roberto Luongo. They honored the late Bill Torrey, Panthers founding father, before Saturday's home win. All hail the Bowtie!

7. UM HOOPS: Canes men, women off and runnning: UM men routed Lehigh in their opener and will now beef up their record vs. a soft schedule until the serious games start in January, when we start paying attention for real. Meanwhile he 25th-ranked Canes women are 2-0 and continue relentlessly competitive under Katie Meier.

8. GATORS: UF protects ranking with big rally: No. 15 Florida scored the game's last 21 points Saturday to survive South Carolina in the Swamp, 35-31. UM and FSU have lost a combined seven games in a row, but The Gator (oh, and 9-0 UCF) are holding up the state.  

9. FIU: ButchCats sail to 7-3 record: Well at least one Miami college football team is winning. As the Canes marinate in a four-game losing streak, FIU is 7-3 with Saturday's 45-7 rout of UTSA. Overlooked program continues to climb under Butch Davis.

10. DOG RACING: State bans greyhound racing: Florida citizens this week voted to ban dog racing in the state, meaning some 6,000 suddenly retired racing greyhound may need new homes. Breathing a well-earned sigh of relief: the mechanical rabbit!

Missing the HB10 cut: State of Florida's election recount is underway in several key races. Depending on your point of view, it's a noble effort to get it right or screwing your candidate who thought he'd won ..... Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan: the CFP top four, uninterrupted ..... Would somebody give Bryce Harper and Manny Machado a bunch of money already!? ..... I'd like to report that the Duke men's basketball team is, like, really good ..... Update: Countdown now 2,780 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not RainbowTime For Faith In Richt, And PatienceMoving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveSnakebit AdamFamily TraditionVictor-y, Miami! Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote