October 14, 2019

How satisfied are you with Dolphins? New DSM poll after 17-16 loss to Washington, and my column from game; plus new Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; also, Radio Monday, Canes column, 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: Time again for the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, this in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 17-16 home loss vs. Washington putting DsmMiami’s season record at 0-5. 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 will be around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

G5: Voting now underway following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

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 10, 2019

NBA should quit doing business with China. Latest column; plus Winless Bowl!: Why Dolphins-Redskins on Sunday is not must-lose for Miami; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 5 results, tonight's Giants-Patriots pick, newest Herald NFL QB Rankings & more

1) It's THURSDAY OCTOBER 10. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes fall to Virginia Tech with CSM poll and column, Gators top Auburn, NFL Week 5 picks, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our Thursday Giants-Patriots pick: You know who'll win. But will they cover? Answer: NFL Week 6 Thursday Gem.

Updated Miami Herald NFL Week 5 QB Rankings: Houston's Deshaun Watson wins the Week 5 title with an all-time top-10 point total to vault high in this week's Top 20. But does Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes hang onto the overall No. 1 spot? Find it all here: Miami Herald NFL Week 5 QB Rankings.

NbachinaNBA, OTHERS WHO DEAL WITH CHINA MUST FACE THE HUMAN-RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted something the Chinese government didn’t like, and the NBA has spent much of the past week bending over backwards to express profound regret to all of its great friends in China who might have been offended. Why? Simple. NBA China alone is worth more than $4 billion. It is estimated more than 500 million Chinese regularly consume NBA content. This is American basketball’s richest global partnership, one developed over three decades. But it is an uneasy alliance, one with a dark side — one this controversy has laid bare. And that’s good. The NBA would tell you that, beyond being enriched by the business arrangement, its relationship with China helps build global bridges and bring the world closer. But the relationship also is this: It is a major, immensely popular U.S. sport lending credibility to China — to everything China stands for. Think of it this way: You know how the NFL loves playing games in London every year? Would they still be doing that if Great Britain was notoriously known for systemic human rights violations? But it’s OK for the NBA to do that? And then lamely allude to "political differences?" For my latest column, visit Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? [Image is via usatoday.com]

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 5: NFL picks -- Solid. We struggled at 8-7 overall but will happily take the 9-6 against the spread last week. We nailed our Upset of the Week halfway (ATS, not outright) when Pittsburgh covered. Also had underdog Bills and Raiders with the points. We're due a big week straight-up but sailing nicely vs. the Evil Betting Line. LeBatard Show fantasy (16-team PPR) -- Ouch. Greg's Lobos dropped to 2-3, falling to auto-drafting, fantasy-hating Dan LeBatard, 114.9 to 99.6. Oh the indignity! We got a big 28.3 points from Tyler Boyd and 21.3 from Sony Michel, but a subpar 20.5 from Patrick Mahomes, with too many others in single digits. The killer: Zero -- 0 -- from usually reliable Mike Evans. Time to rally, 'Bos! Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- A record-setter! Lobos are now 2-3 after a 191-122 win, a season-high point total for the league. We got a huge 43 from Deshaun Watson, 28 from Allen Robinson and 26 from Dalvin Cook. And this: 36 from the Eagles D/ST! Cannot ever remember that from a defense! Tailwind. Plus I get Saquon Barkley back soon. Go 'Bos!

IT'S WINLESS WEEK IN MIAMI! BUT WHY DOLPHINS-REDSKINS ISN'T MUST-LOSE FOR FINS: It is an even 200 days until the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, or, as Miami Dolphins fans call it, "A reason to live." Excitement is building. In South Florida, what we are feeling is akin to playoff fever — except the exact opposite. Losses stack up before us like chips at a poker table. Now the Hunt For DolfanApril ratchets up. It is Winless Week in Miami, the official kickoff of the Tua Tournament. Redskins at Dolphins on Sunday — the Battle of the Beatens — is the first of six direct matchups this season between what are currently the NFL’s four remaining winless teams. Washington just fired coach Jay Gruden, isn’t sure who its quarterback is, and is a fully engulfed dumpster fire at 0-5 — yet is an early 3 1/2-point road favorite over an 0-4 Miami team coming off a bye week. Which speaks not to any glimmer of light in the Skins tunnel, but to the abject black hole that is this Fins season. Picking a team to win a Redskins-Dolphins game is likely choosing whether to wear underwear made of sandpaper or burlap. Dolphins coach Brian Flores, asked on Monday how an opponent’s coaching change affects his preparation, replied: "We’re just going to go about our business as we normally do.." A cheer might have erupted had Dolfans been in the room. "Keep Doing What You’re Doing — Losing!" might as well be the official team slogan moving forward. And, yet, Dolfans may cheer guilt-free for a win Sunday, because the game is not must-lose for Miami. The why is in my recent column. To read it in full please visit Why Woeful Dolphins-Redskins Matchup Is Not Must-Lose For Miami.

Our other most recent stuff: No Quit In Canes, But Still Bad Loss In Down Year (on home loss to Virginia Tech) / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years (as NHL season unfurls) / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat (as team nears preseason) / Also: Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins (off recent loss to Chargers).

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

October 03, 2019

Time for NHL Panthers to stop wasting the Barkov years! Latest column; plus 'Culture' isn't enough. What must happen to make Heat contenders again; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 4 results, updated Herald NFL QB rankings, latest Back In My Day video & more

1) It's THURSDAY OCTOBER 3. Happy new month, all! You tried, September. Except with the Dolphins. 2) Watch for our Herald Week 4 NFL QB Rankings and NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results here later this afternoon. And scroll down to previous blogpost for latest Dolphins postgame poll result. It's surprising. (Or is it?) 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose to Chargers with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, Riley introduces Butler 'cause Heat don't tank, NFL Week 4 pix, Canes/FIU lick wounds & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Herald's updated NFL Week 4 QB Rankings: Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes maintains his comfortable season lead but an interloper unaccustomed to winning takes Week 4 honors. Visit Herald NFL Week 4 QB Rankings for details and the updated chart. 

Our Dolphins column from Sunday's latest loss: Visit Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins.

STAR COACH, STAR GOALIE: WILL 2 BIG ADDITIONS BE ENOUGH FOR NHL PANTHERS TO STOP WASTING THE BARKOV YEARS?: It has been something of a running joke in South Florida sports. "This is the Florida Panthers’ year!" Yes, so this feels like about the fifth anniversary of hearing that, right? Every year it’s "but this time we mean it!" And then the NHL season starts and Coachqgradually the hyped-up Cats lose air as inexorably as a helium party balloon. High hopes, ultimate disappointment, rinse, repeat. Nobody is more sick of this treadmill than Dale Tallon, the Panthers’ general manager. "Talk is cheap, so let’s see. Let’s stop talking and start acting," was Tallon’s message to his 2019-20 team. "We’ve got the pieces in place. Everybody is excited. ‘Great summer, great summer.’ Now let’s prove it!" The proving needs to start as fast as a puck leaves a stick for a franchise more accustomed to slow starts. Florida opens its 26th season Thursday night in Tampa Bay and makes its home debut Saturday vs. the same Lightning — owners of the NHL’s best record (by a lot) last season. Tallon’s great summer co-starred the hiring of a new head coach in Joel Quenneville (pictured) and the free agent signing of a new goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, a starpower quiniela not to be understated. One is the second-winningest coach in NHL history and a three-time Stanley Cup champion. The other is a five-time all-star and twice has won the Vezina Trophy as hockey’s best goalie. The question: Can the two of them lead the Cats out of their rut and into contention at last? Florida has been wasting the prime of Aleksander Barkov, whom defenseman Keith Yandle calls "one of the best players if not the best player in the world." Time for the Panthers to prove they're ready for a championship run. This is my latest column. To read it in full, please visit Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

Rilesbutler'CULTURE' ISN'T ENOUGH. THESE 5 FACTORS MUST LIFT HEAT BACK TO CONTENTION: The question put to Erik Spoelstra on Monday was general enough for him to dodge it with veteran-coach ease. He did not. Does he think the Miami Heat can contend in the NBA’s Eastern Conference this season? "We do," he answered, quickly. "Unequivocally so." But how? How does a franchise trying to shed its post-Big 3 era malaise of three missed playoffs in the past five years turn it around so dramatically? How does a team starting a season without Dwyane Wade for the first time since 2002 pull off the big reboot? I explore in my newest column, and list five factors that must go right for Miami to be East contenders in the mix for top-four seed. Pictured: Pat Riley after introducing Jimmy Butler at a recent news conference. To read my full recent column and see what those five keys to the upcoming season are, kindly visit 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat.

Other most recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days / and Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes. Also: 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 / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 4: NFL picks--Head above water. We did OK in a tough week, going 9-6 overall and 8-7 against the spread. That included another Upset of the Week bull's-eye ("Aawwk!") with Saints over Cowboys, a second outright upset hit with Jaguars winning in Denver, and a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Bills, Lions and Buccaneers. LeBatard Show fantasy--Don't ask. Greg's Lobos dropped to 2-2, falling to unbeaten Izzy Gutierrez, 120.6-93.2. Rough. Mike Evans led us with 18.9 and Patrick Mahomes turned mortal with 18. Shady McCoy chipped in 16.9 but not much else went right. Friends n' family fantasy--No again! Lobos now 1-3 after an embarrassing 143-85 loss. What am I, the Dolphins!? Four starters in single figures and a leading scorer with only 18 (Dalvin Cook) won't win you many games. The Saquon Barkley curse sets in.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': FAKE BURGERS!: This premiered on today's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Select other recent columns: 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 / 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 / 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

October 01, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 35.3% following 30-10 home loss to Chargers; latest new Hot Button Top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; also, Riley introduces Butler 'cause the Heat don't tank, NFL Week 4 pick & more

1) It's MONDAY SEPTEMBER 30. Visit Herald Week 3 NFL QB Rankings if you missed our updated standings entering this week. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 4 picks, HistoryMiami Museum gives Dolfans escape to glory days, why Fins are still better-positioned than Canes for turnaround, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

LacmiaG4: L.A. CHARGERS 30, DOLPHINS 10: WELL, A LITTLE BETTER, AT LEAST: Visit Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins for my column from Sunday's game. Original post: Fins are 15-point home underdogs for Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff at The Rock, which, compared to the two previous games, is a nail-biter! I wrote last week that I was done with the Dolphins as the bandwagon — driverless, passenger-free and in flames — careened over a cliff. Well, I’m back on the Fins in NFL Week 4. To win? LOL, don’t be silly! But I do believe they’ll at least manage to cover the point spread at home. Why? Philip Rivers is prone to the occasional INT, and my chips are on Xavien Howard doing a reasonable job on Keenan Allen. Plus still no Melvin Gordon for LAC, although the RB ended his holdout Thursday. More than that, the poor Miami offense catches a lil’ break, at last. After facing the monstrous D’s of the Ravens, Patriots and Cowboys the first three games, the Fins see an average unit in the Bolts, whose vaunted pass rush has even been ordinary thus far. Could be offensive fireworks from Josh Rosen and Miami. By which I mean two touchdowns. Maybe. After being outscored 133-16 — the minus-117 the biggest point differential in the NFL through three games since 1950 — Sunday might feel almost like a victory for Dolfans. Hey, I said almost. Cote's pick: Chargers, 31-17. (Visit Week 4 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 35.3%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and Dsmthey show 35.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon’s 30-10 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers putting Miami’s season record at 0-4. This is a new season high as Tank For Tua fans weigh in. 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 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers. Visit DSM: Dolphins-Chargers for complete results.

Next poll: Oct. 13 following game vs. Washington (after bye)

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins, still seeking escape from embarrassment, fall to Chargers: The tanking Dolphins had lost their first three games by (in order) 49, 43 and 25 points, before Sunday's 20-point home loss (30-10) to the Chargers. I call that progress! Hey, trying to accentuate the positive here. It ain't easy. Work with me.

2. BASEBALL: Let the World Series tournament begin!: MLB regular season wrapped Sunday and the two wild-card games are Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the real postseason begins. The four clear betting favorites for the World Series title, in order, are the Astros, Dodgers, Yankees and Braves. My defending champion Red Sox didn't make it and the Marlins finished 873 games back, but we're going to bravely feign interest in the postseason anyway.

3. PANTHERS: Drop that puck. It's Opening Week for Cats!: Florida began the preseason 0-4 but rallied to win three of eight games. Now Panthers open their 26th NHL season this Thursday at Tampa Bay, with the first home game Saturday, also against the Lightning. There is a fresh-start feel led by new coach Joel Quenneville and new goalie Sergie Bobrovsky -- both big stars. No excuses left, Cats. Playoffs or bust.

4. MARLINS: Fish are done (thank you, Lord); Mattingly isn't: Miami finished 57-105 by winning Sunday's season finale in Philadelphia. So it's over for the Fish, but not for manager Don Mattingly, given a two-extension. Upside? At least the young, rebuilding Marlins avoided the club-record 108-loss season set by the Fire-Sale Fish of 1998. In other depressing Marlins news, this week marked the third-anniversary of the tragic death of Jose Fernandez.

5. HEAT: Training camp on deck for new-look, post-Wade Heat: Heat media day was Monday, now comes a five-day training camp Tuesday through Saturday in West Palm Beach, then the preseason begins Oct. 8 vs. San Antonio. Gone: Retired Dwyane Wade. Arrived: New star Jimmy Butler. Expectations: Playoffs. Not  much more than that. No title talk. No East takeover. Just ... playoffs, please.

6. INTER MIAMI: Ouch. Shade from reported top coach candidate: Reports persist that Manchester City star will join Inter Miami after the English Premier League season to become David Beckham's first marquee player. But former Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari, speculated frontrunner to be Inter's new coach, told BBC News: "I would like to coach in Europe, in a serious project in one of the big leagues." Ouch. Shade.

7. HURRICANES: UM licks wounds, preps for ACC in off week: The Canes barely beat little Central Michigan 17-12 at home and the NCAA punished Miami by not letting it play this week. OK, not really. This was a scheduled bye week for UM. And well-timed, as 2-2 Miami girds for its chunk of ACC games starting next Saturday vs. Virginia Tech. If we keep seeing the same Canes who struggled to  survive the Chippewas, this could be a long season in the Gables.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Will Clemson drop from top after near-loss?: No top-10 team lost this week, but No. 1-ranked Clemson barely survived at North Carolina, 21-20, thanks to a failed Tar Heels two-point conversion in the closing seconds. Will the Tigers now fall behind No. 2 Alabama in the next rankings? In my vote (if I had one): Yes. And AP voters agreed.

9. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): Gators play patsy, FIU licks wounds:  No. 9-ranked Florida Gators had a virtual bye week in hosting Towson on Saturday, winning 38-0. In other state FBS action, FSU handled North Carolina State 31-13 in another relieving win for beleaguered Willie Taggert, No. 22 UCF got back on track 56-21 over visiting UConn, FAU won at Charlotte 45-27, South Florida got crushed at home 48-21 by SMU, and 1-3 FIU was idle.

10. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NCAA drops hammer on Kansas, Self: With college hoops season only about five weeks away, an NCAA/FBI investigation has storied program Kansas and Hall of Fame coach Bill Self in the crosshairs. Kansas is accused of substantial cheating and lack of institutional oversight, charges Self is mostly denying. Sorry, Jayhawks but this can't end well. Self said the controversy would be "no distraction." Everybody else said, "Hahahahahahahaha!"

Missing the HB10 cut: The Connecticut Sun and heavily favored Washington Mystics begin a best-of-five WNBA Finals today/Sunday. Why is Washington heavily favored? Because it has Elena Delle Donne, league MVP and perhaps the only WNBA player I can name. Unless Sue Bird is still playing ..... The Rugby World Cup is underway, and host Japan stunned Ireland, which in rugby is a gargantuan upset. If Japan wins it all, I'll swim and hitchhike to Tokyo ..... Update: Countdown now 2,457 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

ButlerRILEY INTRODUCES BUTLER -- 'CAUSE THE HEAT DON'T TANK: Welcome back to winning, South Florida. Or — and this is important — trying to win, at least. Welcome back to the idea of relentless competitiveness, and a sports franchise that bitterly regards the strategy of tanking as an insult, an anathema. Welcome back, Miami Heat. Your return is well-timed. It arrives as an antidote. As salve for what hurts us. Heat season unfurled ceremonially on Friday as club president Pat Riley and new star Jimmy Butler met with the media. Training camp is next week, the preseason begins Oct. 8 and the real NBA games start Oct. 23. This is the one Miami pro team that expects to make the playoffs every season and is plainly embarrassed not to. That’s something very different for us at the moment. Riley did not mention the tanking Dolphins or Marlins, but the message was clear as he said Friday: "The one thing I owe the franchise and the city is to put the most competitive team on the court that I can,” he said. “Having a Jimmy Butler here is a step in that direction for real." For my full latest column, please visit Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank.

PicksOUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a hot Week 3 in our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the Dolphins finally cover a point spread by staying (reasonably) close against the Chargers on Sunday? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 4 Gems now. Beginning this week subscribers get an early look at our picks, ahead of non-subscribers, so sign in or sign up! Tough start to our week         when Green Bay's defense majorly let us down Thursday night. Sally forth!

Also from this week: Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days (on HistoryMiami Museum's new massive Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit) and Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than CanesOther most recent columns: 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 / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

UfiuCANES, FIU TAKE WEEK OFF TO LICK WOUNDS: Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers both are off this weekend, and for each the break seems well-timed. UM is 2-2 after a thoroughly unimpressive 17-12 home win over smaller-school Central Michigan, while Butch Davis' FIU has started 1-3. At least better days are ahead in the short term. Canes resume their ACC schedule Oct. 5 at 3:30 at home vs. Virginia Tech. Hokies are 2-1 but down. Miami beat VT 38-14 last year and figure as around a three-touchdown favorite again. FIU hosts a winless Massachusetts next Saturday at 7 p.m. and should be around a four-TD pick. State FBS games this Saturday: FAU at Charlotte, 3:30; Towson at No. 9-Florida, 4; SMU at South Florida, 4; UConn at No. 22-UCF, 7; and North Carolina State at Florida State, 7:30.

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / 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 / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / 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 / 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 27, 2019

New! Our NFL Week 4 picks are in!; plus Dolfans' escape from this season to the glory days, and why epic-bad Fins might still be better-positioned than Canes for major turnaround; also, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

1) It's FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall in Dallas with DSM poll, Canes eke past Central Michigan with CSM poll, Hot Button Top & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Latest Herald NFL Week 3 QB Rankings: One man is running away with this thing as we enter Week 4. Visit Herald Week 3 NFL QB Rankings to find out who.

PicksNEW! OUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS ARE IN!: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a hot Week 3 in our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our new Week 4 selections. Will the Dolphins finally cover a spread by staying (reasonably) close against the Chargers on Sunday? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 4 Gems now. Our picks appear online Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print). Beginning this week subscribers get an early look at our Week 4 picks, ahead of non-subscribers. So sign in or sign up! Our week got off to a rocky start Thursday night with a misfire on Eagles-Packers. The Green Bay defense let us down majorly. It's OK. Sally forth!

CAN HISTORYMIAMI MUSEUM'S FOOTBALL CELEBRATION HELP US FORGET TODAY'S DOLPHINS?: The Miami Dolphins are having a season most fans would rather forget. The rebuilding team has lost its first three games by scores of 59-10, 43-0 and 31-6. It is historic ineptitude. The worst start in the franchise’s 54 seasons. So what better time to escape to Hismiabetter days! To relive old glories. To snuggle into the past, when Don Shula still roamed the sideline, Dan Marino snapped passes and Jason Taylor was sacking the other quarterback. You won’t find any of that at Hard Rock Stadium these days. But you will find it in Miami. HistoryMiami Museum is celebrating 100 years of the NFL, with a big nod to the halcyon days of the hometown Dolphins, in a major new exhibit called "Gridiron Glory: The Best Of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame." It opens this Saturday, Sept. 28 and runs through Feb. 9, closing one week after the Super Bowl that Miami is hosting. Tickets are $8 to $10. To purchase tickets visit the museum at 101 W. Flagler Street in downtown Miami, or online at historymiami.org. For our full story including what you'll see in the 8,000-square-foot exhibit, visit Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days.

Flores DiazDOLPHINS ARE EPIC-BAD --  BUT STILL MIGHT BE BETTER-POSITIONED THAN CANES. LATEST COLUMN: What we have here with Miami football in 2019 is not unprecedented, but very rare. I wondered when was the last time the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes had simultaneously stumbled into their seasons like this — the Fins 0-3 and UM 2-2. Turns out this is only the fourth such occurrence in 54 combined years. It happened in 2011, the season that got Tony Sparano fired and welcomed Al Golden to town. Other than that it only happened in 1966 and ‘69, when the pre-Don Shula Dolphins of George Wilson had the excuse of being an expansion team and the Canes were spinning wheels with Charlie Tate. A half century later, welcome to your dream jobs, rookie head coaches Brian Flores and Manny Diaz! No honeymoons for you. Just hard times, fast. That is the intro to my latest column, in which I explore the state of the Fins and Canes and posit why currently woeful Dolphins may be better-positioned than UM over the next few years to be nationally relevant again. [Diaz and Flores are pictured, left to right]. To read the full column kindly visit Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes.

Kaepernick, other most recent columns: Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame. Also: Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 3: NFL picks--Strong. Went 12-4 overall and 10-5-1 against the spread -- numbers I'll take any week, thank you. That included bull's-eyeing our Upset of the Week pick with Giants winning at Buccaneers, and another outright upset with Jaguars beating Titans. LeBatard Show fantasy--Yes again! Greg's Lobos, now 2-1, defeated Guillermo (a.k.a Billy) by 144-128 -- our score the highest for the week of the league's 16 teams. Rodee the Mike Evans train for 45 and also got 34 from Patrick Mahomes and a big 23 from Shady McCoy. Friends n' family fantasy--No! Lobos dropped to 1-2 with a tough 103-100 loss to Christopher. That, despite Deshaun Watson and Dalvin Cook giving me 51 combined. Worse, I just lost Saquon Barkley for a big chunk of season.

Other select recent columns: The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that / Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / 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 / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / 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 / 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 / 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

September 24, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 27.5% after 31-6 loss in Dallas; plus Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 8.5% -- season low -- after 17-12 win over Central Michigan; also, NFL Week 3 picks, Hot Button Top 10 & more

1) It's MONDAY SEPTEMBER 23. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 3 picks, Kaepernick blackballing enters Year 3 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksOur NFL Week 3 picks: This is our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and here are our Week 3 selections. Will the Dolphins cover that gargantuan 21 1/2-point line at Dallas Sunday or get blown out yet again? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 3 Gems now. Got the week off to a big start by nailing the Jaguars' upset win last night; see Week 3 Thursday Gem.

Kaepernick, other most recent columns: The NFL's continuing shame is more relevant than ever as quarterbacks fall left and right, and the NFL should not be let off the hook. For my full latest column, visit Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame. Also: Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

ChippsG4: CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT HURRICANES: TOUGHER THAN LAST WEEK ... BUT NOT MUCH: 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 last week. Now Miami should cruise to a level 2-2 record Saturday at 4 p.m. here vs. another undersized foe in the MAC's Central Michigan, whom the Canes have never before played. The Chippewas are 2-0 this season vs. teams their own size but got crushed 61-0 by No. 17 Wisconsin. UM is no Wisconsin but this still should be (better be) another walk in the park for Miami, a 29-point betting favorite. More importantly this is a final tuneup of sorts, because, after this game and a bye week, Miami's full ACC schedule kicks in Oct. 5 vs. Virginia Tech. Pictured: An ad for Chippewa Boots, because, why not? Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 41-10.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 8.5%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 8.5 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday’s 17-12 UM home victory over Central Michigan putting the Hurricanes' season record at 2-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play. That's a season-low rating. 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 2 p.m. 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.

Next poll: Oct. 5 following game vs. Virginia Tech.

G3: DOLPHINS AT DALLAS: IT CAN'T GET ANY WORSE ... CAN IT!?: When your team has opened its NFL schedule with 59-10 (Ravens) and 43-0 (Patriots) home losses -- the worst two-game start in NFL history -- there might literally be nowhere to go but up. Unless, perhaps, your first road game is Sunday at 1 at Dallas, whose very good Cowboys are favored over Miami by even more than New England was last week. You’ve heard of "once bitten, twice shy"? Well, I’m twice bitten by the Dolphins so what does that make me? I pick Miami to win its opener in a big upset and it loses by 49 points. I pick Miami to cover an 18 1/2-point spread last week and the Fins lose by 43. The lesson? I’m done with this team. MIA to me means missing in action from now on. Now the Fins are getting an outrageous 21 1/2 points at Dallas. Along with Patriots-Jets, this marks the first time in 32 years the NFL has seen multiple 20-point spreads in one week. And that was the 1987 strike season, with replacement players. The 2019 Dolphins could use some of those. A bunch, actually. Josh Rosen will start at QB for Miami. Will it matter? Update: Dolphins sign DE Taco Charlton, the Cowboys' semi-draft bust, off waivers, so all is well. The 0-16 talk is silly. I still see the Dolphins having a chance to win four or five games. But oh lord this is not one of them. You have a better chance of winning the lottery while simultaneously being struck by lightning than Miami has of winning Sunday. Cote's pick: Cowboys, 38-7. (Click Week 3 Gems for all our latest NFL picks).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 27.5%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 27.5 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon’s 31-6 Dolphins Dsmloss at Dallas putting Miami’s season record at 0-3. Oddly, that is a season high, presumably reflecting the sizable Tanking for Tua wing of the fandom. 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 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

Next poll: Sept. 29 following game vs. L.A. Chargers.

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. DOLPHINS: Fins have solid half in Dallas ... but lose big: When you have lost your first two home games by an historic combined score of 102 to 10, there is a real chance you head out for your first road trip with absolutely no intention of ever coming back. Especially when that trip finds you a ridiculous 21 1/2-point underdog in Dallas on Sunday. Well, Miami lost 31-6. Bright spot: Fins almost looked like a real team in a 10-6 first half!

2. HURRICANES: UM unimpressive in barely beating Central Michigan: Let's be clear, Manny Diaz. When you start 0-2 with meaningful losses to Florida and North Carolina and then get to .500 with a walkover win vs. Bethune-Cookman and now an unimpressive 17-12 Saturday home win over Central Michigan, nobody is satisfied. Run the table, get into the ACC title game at 10-2, and then we'll talk.

3. MARLINS: Fish wrap up season's home schedule with win: Miami ended its home schedule on Sunday with a 5-3 win over Washington, and now set out on a seven-game road trip to end the long year. Season highlight: At 101 losses, Marlins would have to lose all seven on this road trip to tie the franchise record of 108 losses set in 1998. Woo hoo!

4. INTER MIAMI: Manchester City star Silva taking his talents here?: Manchester City star midfielder David Silva reportedly is set to become Inter Miami's first marquee signing. The English newspaper The Independent reports Silva will leave the reigning Premier League champions at the end of the season and is "likely to join" David Beckham's MLS expansion team. The Spanish star is 33 but still a top midfielder globally. Close the deal, Beckham!

5. BASEBALL: MLB season down to its final week: MLB regular season ends one week from Sunday, with not a lot of playoff-chase drama beyond the fight for both leagues' second wild-card spot. When last I checked the Marlins were 29 games back in the wild-card hunt, and had been mathematically eliminated back in 2014.

6. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): Can Willie Taggert save himself?: FIU a disappointing 1-3 after loss to Louisiana Tech Friday, then it was No. 9 Florida routing Tennessee Saturday, then No. 15 UCF losing at Pitt. Ah, but the big heat is on Florida State hosting Louisville. Noles coach Willie Taggert was 6-9 at FSU, a fast track to former coach, before winning Saturday. 

7. PANTHERS: Altogether, now. Breathe deep and relaaaaax: Florida and new superstar coach Joel Quenneville began their eight-game preseason schedule 0-3. Repeat after me. It doesn't matter. Star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky hadn't played. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter...  

8. HEAT: Adebayo embarrassed in burger fest as training camp nears: The new post-Wade, Jimmy Butler-led Heat announced they'd hold media day September 30, then preseason training camp October 1-5 in West Palm Beach, then open the preseason October 8 vs. San Antonio. Meantime center Bam Adebayo got crushed in a charity burger-eating contest by Japanese legend Takeru Kobayashi, who wolfed 20 burgers while Adabeyo ate only one. One!? C'mon, dude.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Notre Dame-Georgia tops national schedule: No. 7 Notre Dame visited No. 3 Georgia on Saturday and lost. That means Georgia gets to pretend for a little while that it has any prayer of maybe beating Clemson or Alabama this season.

10. WNBA: Playoffs underway, and Delle Donne owns 'em: WNBA playoffs are down to the semifinals, and if Elena Delle Donne doesn't cap her MVP season with a Washington Mystics championship I'm going to boycott the league by watching even fewer games than I do now.

Missing the HB10 cut: In the Chess World Cup in Russia, 43 spectators just fell asleep waiting for the next move ..... If you didn't love Mike Yastrzemski hitting a home run at Fenway Park while grandpa Carl (Yaz) looked on, then to hell with you! ..... The IndyCar racing season ends Sunday. Further details as warranted ..... Team USA kept its No. 1 overall ranking despite bombing in the FIBA World Cup. Has being No. 1 ever felt less like celebrating? ..... Update: Countdown now 2,464 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that / Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / 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 / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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

September 19, 2019

QBs keep falling, yet NFL's shameful blackballing of Kaepernick enters Year 3. Latest column; plus NFL Week 3 picks for Dolphins-Cowboys and the rest, tonight's Titans-Jaguars pick & more

1) It's THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 19. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Laughingstock Dolphins worst team ever?, NFL Week 2 Pix 'n Fantasy results, my weekend in New York City & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings: There's a new overall No. 1 for the season. Who it is should surprise nobody. Visit Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings.

PicksNEW! OUR NFL WEEK 3 PICKS ARE IN!: Off our record-setting 2018 season we're back for our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and here are our Week 3 selections. Will the Dolphins cover that gargantuan 21 1/2-point line at Dallas Sunday or get blown out yet again? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 3 Gems now. Our picks appear online Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print. Visit Week 3 Thursday Gem for tonight's Titans-Jaguars pick). We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the point spread. It's been tougher so far in '19, but, early days!

QBS KEEP FALLING, AND NFL'S SHAMEFUL BLACKBALLING OF COLIN KAEPERNICK ENTERS YEAR 3. NEW COLUMNThe NFL has never tried harder to baby its precious quarterbacks with Colinklegislated protection. Even the sack itself is now penalized unless it is sort of paradoxically gentle, with the defender not permitted to land with his full weight upon the poor QB, the wide-eyed fawn trying to survive the mean jungle. Yet we have just set out on what already is a calamitous season for the most fragile, important position. Andrew Luck abruptly retires from the collective weight of too many injuries. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger is injured Sunday and out for the season. New Orleans’ Drew Brees is hurt the same day and out at least six weeks. Would-be Jacksonville savior Nick Foles is injured in the season opener and done until at least November. Aging Eli Manning is benched by the Giants. The Jets’ Sam Darnold (in the most Jets thing ever) is lost indefinitely with mononucleosis. Now Carolina’s Cam Newton seems injured. Again. The increasing reality is that teams need two quality quarterbacks, not just one. And yet Colin Kaepernick cannot find a job. Darnold’s replacement, Trevor Siemian, also gets injured and is lost for the year, so the Jets are down to third-stringer Luke Falk. The Miami Dolphins can’t decide who’s the least bad between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. The Eagles backup is the relentlessly recycled Josh McCown. The Jaguars are now starting somebody named "Gardner Minshew." And, still, Kaepernick can’t get a job. This the intro to my latest column. This story is a continuing shame more relevant than ever this early season, and the NFL should not be let off the hook. For the full column, visit Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame.

Other most recent work: Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Also: Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / and The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that (game column from opening loss).

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / 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 / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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

September 18, 2019

Worst team ever? Here comes the national mocking of Dolphins. Latest column (including Minkah Fitzpatrick trade); plus our weekend in New York City, Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 2 results & more

1) It's WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 18. Scroll to previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter polls. 2) Coming later today: Our NFL Week 3 Thursday night pick for Titans-Jaguars. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes clobber Bethune with CSM poll, Dolphins crushed by Pats with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, handicapping ex-Canes, Fins on 2020 Hall ballot, R.I.P. Ric Ocasek & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings: There's a new overall No. 1 for the season. Who it is should surprise nobody. Visit Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings.

DOLPHINS: WORST MIAMI TEAM EVER? NATIONAL PUNCHLINE COMING. MY NEWEST COLUMNWhen the losing is this bad, the mocking follows. And that can be worse. It kicks you when you’re way down. It laughs at your pain. Belittles your pride. The Miami Dolphins are getting it already, two games in. The booing, the paper bags over heads, the Tanking Army among your owns fans Saddolsdelighting in the defeat — that isn’t even the worst of it. Becoming a national joke is. Sunday on Fox Sports’ NFL show, Cooper Manning (inexplicably) has a segment. This week the older brother of Peyton and Eli was doing a bit with two Ravens players. Cooper mentioned that Seahawks and Dolphins weren’t real animals, the setup line. One of the Ravens then said, "Dolphins are real." [Short pause] "Their team isn’t!" Cooper delivered the punchline as funny music ended the segment. Soon the Dolphins’ epic terribleness will reach the late-night monologues and be fodder. I happen to be buddies with someone connected to the "Saturday Night Live" writing staff gearing for the Sept. 28 startup of its new season. I asked whether the Dolphins’ woes might make the Weekend Update segment. "On the radar," he texted back. "Just need them to keep being awful." Never on a football field, a basketball court, a baseball diamond or a sheet of ice has South Florida seen a professional sports team this bad. The use of the phrase "professional" team feels dubious, although, technically, this is one. The Dolphins have lost 59-10 and 43-0 — the worst start by any team in the NFL’s 100 seasons — and yet, with no remorse evident, players get paid, anyway. Beleaguered rookie coach Brian Flores, handed a depleted team with an eye on the future, not now, can only put his head down and shoulder on. "We come in, we make corrections and we move on," he said Monday afternoon at camp. Then, as if firing a preemptive strike against reports of unrest and some players wanting out: "We don’t point fingers," he volunteered. "We don’t make excuses. There’s a room full of guys who aren’t doing that." When I say Flores’ Fins are our worst Miami team ever, that covers 137 combined seasons of Dolphins, Heat, Marlins and Panthers, and a fair share of losing. For the full column -- updated to include last night's trade of Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh for a first round draft pick -- visit Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke.

Other most recent work: Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Also: It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Herald Week 1 QB Rankings / The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that (game column from opening loss).

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 2: NFL picks--Improved. Bounced back a rough start with a solid 11-5 mark overall and 8-8 against the point spread. LeBatard Show fantasy--Yes! Greg's Lobos crushed Mina Kimes 140-96.9 to go to 1-1, led by Patrick Mahomes' 39.6 points and and unexpected 22-and-change from Vance McDonald and Tyler Boyd. Friends n' family fantasy--Ouch. Lobos fell to 1-1 with a 128-114 loss. Led into Monday behind a combined 50 from RBs Dalvin Cook and Saquon Barkley, but got buried on MNF by 49 combined from my opponent's Odell Beckham Jr. and Le'Veon Bell.

Brandimsg MockingbirdMY WEEKEND IN NEW YORK CITY: Wife and I spent a long weekend in New York City that was splendid for three main reasons: 1) Saw "To Kill A Mockingbird" Friday night on Broadway at the Shubert Theater; 2) saw Brandi Carlile and Mavis Staples on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden; and 3) lucked to be able to miss Sunday's 43-0 Dolphins home loss to New England. Not sure which would qualify as the highlight, although the first two were hard to beat. "Mockingbird" was everything I thought it would be and more, which A-list performances especially from Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch and Celia Keenan-Bolger in a Tony Award-winning turn as his daughter Scout. It didn't hurt that we had front-row seats and were six feet from where Daniels/Finch sat onstage during courtroom scenes. Catch this play when in NYC if you can. Highly recommended. As for the concert? Well I have been a Mavis fan since the Staple Singers in the '70s and an admirer of her activism and her heart my whole life. Brandi Carlile came into my life like an epiphany just this year, and with such impact I goaded my wife into this trip mainly to see that twin-bill with Mavis opening at a sold-out MSG. It did not disappoint. An emotionally moving concert. Mavis is a national treasure still going strong at 80. Discover Brandi if you have not already, and thank me later.

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / 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 / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / 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 / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / 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 / 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.

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