January 20, 2020

Miami Super Bowl set! It's 49ers-Chiefs!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10, decision that changed Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson's life (column), new John Anderson song (video) & more

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 20. Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect anytime gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tannehill tops NFL final four from Miami perspective, Clemson favored in 2020, NFL Divisional Round picks, new Ozzy/Elton song & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksNFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PLAYOFFS: PEREFECT. WE RODE CHIEFS, NINERS: Update: We were a perfect 2-0 straight-up and 2-0 against the spread on Sunday, with both winners  covering. Original post: Miami awaits. The two-week runup to the February 2 Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium begins this Sunday when the two teams are determined in the AFC and NFC Championship Games. The Cinderella in this final four is discarded Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill trying to lead Tennessee to its first SB appearance in 20 years — in his old stadium. But everybody packs a tale to tell. It has been 50 years (!) since Kansas City’s last Super Bowl appearance and win, and Andy Reid has coached more playoff games (27) than anyone to never win it all. Aaron Rodgers is after his elusive second career championship after Green Bay last reigned in 2010. And San Francisco last appeared in an SB in 2012 — but hasn’t won one since 1994. Of this final four, only K.C. made the playoffs last year, and the NFL is assured a new Super Bowl champ for the 15th season in a row. Two games. Win and you’re in. And Miami awaits. To see who'll get here, visit Will Tannehill Make It? Our AFC, NFC Championship Picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 19-20): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature (back after a one-week hiatus) is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. NFL: It's 49ers-Chiefs in Miami Super Bowl: Chiefs rallied to overwhelm Titans and 49ers comfortably handled Packers on Sunday -- winners take all to reach Miami and the Super Bowl. Ryan Tannehill and Aaron Rodgers were seen as the odd men out and were, with a Kansas City-San Francisco matchup the betting favorite all along. Miami awaited. Fate did its thing.

2. MLB: Sign-stealing scandal rocks Astros, sees 3 managers fired: The Astros fired the manager and GM who'd been suspended for a year by MLB. The Red Sox dumped Alex Cora and the Mets and Carlos Beltran parted. Baseball, if you're serious about stopping sign-stealing, here's your statement: The Astros' 2017 World Series championship is vacated.

3. HEAT: Miami completes excellent first half of season: Heat were 29-12 at the midpoint of the NBA season, second in the East and with a league-best home record (18-1) and seven players averaging in double-figure scoring led by Jimmy Butler's 20.3, before falling in San Antonio Sunday. With Bucks a near-certain No. 1 seed, Miami looks strong to earn playoff home court as season's second half begins.

4. JIMMY JOHNSON: Canes champ, ex-Fins coach makes Canton: Jimmy Johnson made Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2020 class, selected by a blue-ribbon panel as part of NFL 100 celebration. Toasting you with a raised Heineken, J.J! Now here's hoping a guy you draft in Miami, Zach Thomas, a finalist, finally gets in too when players are announced just before the Super Bowl. 

5. INTER MIAMI: New MLS team has first draft, opens camp Monday: New coach Diego Alonso and Inter Miami drafted Clemson forward Robbie Robinson No. 1 overall in recent MLS Draft. Miami opens training camp Monday at Barry University, working toward its inaugural season opener on March 1. Still hoping David Beckham dons a kit, but not holding our breath.

6. DOLPHINS: Miami loses defensive chief to Giants: Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham jilted the Fins for a lateral move to the New York Giants. Hmm. Didn't Miami finish 30th for most yards allowed this season and 32nd (dead-worst) for most points given up? Hey, don't let the door hit you on the way out, Pat!

7. NBA: Top pick Zion Williamson to make NBA debut -- finally!: The New Orleans Pelicans say overall No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson, who has spent all season thus far recovering from a knee injury, will finally make his debut this Wednesday at home vs. San Antonio. Equipment guy, please make sure he doesn't wear the exploding sneaker again.

8. PANTHERS: Cats stay hot as All-Star break nears: Florida is 26-21 off four straight wins after Saturday's W at Detroit, with two other games left before a schedule pause for the Jan. 25 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. Cats are now right on the edge of playoff pace in an uber-competitive Eastern Conference.

9. TENNIS: Serena, Djokovic favorites as Australia Open begins: Against the backdrop of the country's brushfires catastrophe, the 108th Australian Open,the year's first major, opens with Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic the betting picks. Serena looks (again) to tie Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 major singles titles.

10. HURRICANES: UM basketball isn't bad ... except vs. good teams: Miami's men's and women's basketball teams, both slumping, have proven solid vs. lesser foes and lousy against good teams. The Canes women are 0-5 vs. ranked opponents, and the men are now 0-4 after Saturday's heartbreak of an OT home loss to No. 9 FSU, with a Tuesday game at No. 3 Duke on deck.

Missing the HB10 cut: Canes AD Blake James confirmed that Alonzo Highsmith would not be joining football program in "chief of staff" role advising coach Manny Diaz. Not knowing if he'd have been any good at it, Canes fans nonetheless were outraged in their disappointment after premature, misleading media reports suggested he'd be joining UM ..... Wow. Collegiate Baseball ranks the Hurricanes No. 3 in its preseason baseball poll. No pressure or anything, Gino DiMare! ..... Conor McGregor beat up on some guy in a cowoy hat last night in UFC 246 ..... A former player has sued alleging that Penn State -- of all schools -- and coach James Franklin ignored sexual-based hazing that including older players threatening "to Sandusky" younger guys ... Will the last Tigers player leaving national champion LSU for the NFL Draft please turn out the light? ..... The Winter X Games are this week, and nobody cares ..... Can somebody get Antonio Brown some help, please? Seriously ..... Next weekend, Saturday's Senior Bowl battles Sunday's Pro Bowl to see which football game the fewest Americans will watch ..... Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league has lowered its minimum age requirement, surprising analysts who were unaware the BIG3 basketball league still existed ..... Update: Countdown now 2,345 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

JjHALL OF FAMER JIMMY JOHNSON'S BIGGEST VICTORY WAS KNOWING WHEN TO QUIT -- AND WHY: Twenty years earlier, to the day, Jimmy Johnson quit the NFL in despair, at a low point in his life. He retired from coaching and never looked back. It ended for him on January 15, 2000, on a football field in Jacksonville, his Miami Dolphins eliminated in the second round of the playoffs in a 62-7 humiliation. That wasn’t the worst of it. The recent death of his mother had hit him hard, hit him soul-deep, made him rethink everything. One of his two sons was struggling with alcohol addiction. It felt like his life was getting away from him. Wayne Huizenga, then the Dolphins owner, desperately tried to convince Johnson to stay — even offering to let him be a part-time head coach who handled the draft and worked only home games — but Johnson had to get out. "I needed to spend time with my family, and it paid dividends," the former coach was saying Wednesday, 20 years later, from his home 90 minutes south of Miami in the Upper Keys. "My two sons, we’re as close now as we’ve ever been. I am happier than I’ve ever been. Retiring from coaching — it saved my family." Sunday night, the NFL told Johnson he had done enough. He got out early because he felt he had to. But he had done enough. To read our full column on Johnson being welcomed into Canton, please visit Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why.

Other most recent columns: America and Super Bowl Host Miami Have a Rooting Interest Now. Tannehill, Please! Also: Here's Winner Of the Dan Enos Cup For Biggest Disappointment in Miami Sports / Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa Both Dolphins in 2020? / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

NEW JOHN ANDERSON SONG/VIDEO : 'YEARS': Careful readers may know I'm a longtime fan of country singer John Anderson, who has one of the most distinctive voices in all of music. Well, he has a new album coming out that was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, a fan of his. This likely will be the first single, a reflective, wistful song about aging, in which a 65-year-old (let's be honest) fading star reflects on a bountiful career and life:

Select recent other columns: Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes / Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft / Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author as a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

January 15, 2020

Lots of Miami-centric Super Bowl possibilities in NFL's final four. But only one gives America (and South Florida) a rooting interest. Our new column; plus Clemson anointed for 2020 despite loss, hear the new Ozzy/Elton song here & more

1) It's WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15. Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect anytime gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dan Enos Cup for  Miami's biggest disappointment, Dream Ticket Tua and Tom for Dolphins?, our Wild Card Weekend ignominy, new Back In My Day video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

NFL FINAL FOUR: LOTS OF MIAMI-CENTRIC SUPER OWL STORIES -- BUT ONLY ONE REALLY MATTERS: It’s nothing personal, Kansas City, so please don’t take it that way, Chiefs fans. But would you please lose? I know y’all haven’t been in a Super Bowl since the 1969 season, so being one win away is a little bit of a feel-good story and all that. No matter. K.C. winning the AFC championship would deny host city Miami the most intriguing Super Bowl possibility left in the NFL’s final four playoff teams. The Dolphins haven’t been in a Super Bowl since 1984, so Miami Tannyhosting the game without tasting it can be bittersweet, a cruel tease. So here we are, again, sifting through the Chiefs-Titans and 49ers-Packers semifinal matchups to find what is — or should be — of most interest in this final four to South Florida fans: No. 1--Ryan Tannhill, Ryan Tannehill, Ryan Tannehill: The story is so far-fetched you dare not make it up, but then it actually happens -- this is why we love sports in all its unscripted glory. And the fall and rise of Tannehill is the best thing going right now. Yes, I know. Tennessee rides on the back of running beast Derrick Henry and stout defense more than on Tannehill’s arm. Nevertheless, the Titans season pivoted sharply when Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota as starting quarterback in Week 7. It is why the team is this far. Tannehill led the NFL in passer rating, and if he doesn’t get some MVP votes, call the cops. Now Tannehill is one win from playing in a Miami Super Bowl in the same stadium where for seven seasons he tried and failed to make the Dolphins winners. It was unfathomable as he began the season traded and demoted, sitting as Mariota’s backup. Tannehill of course didn’t fail here nearly as much as the Dolphins failed him by never doing what the Titans did in surrounding him with enough talent. Tannehill returning to Miami and maybe raising the Lombardi Trophy in the Dolphins’ backyard would simply be one of the great redemption tales in sports history — and one every Dolfan with a heart should be rooting for. So get out the way, Chiefs! No. 2--The Hall haul: The 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class to be revealed just before the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 has a distinct local flavor. Sunday night we saw the emotional reaction live on Fox TV as it was announced Jimmy Johnson, former Hurricanes and Dolphins coach, had so deservedly made it to Canton, Ohio. I have not covered a man who took a loss harder, or who ultimately figured out how, when and why to quit coaching, before it ate him all up. Well done, J.J. Finalists who still could make it include longtime Dolphins stalwart linebacker Zach Thomas, former Hurricanes star running back Edgerrin James and receiver Reggie Wayne, and Fort Lauderdale-born/Dillard High receiver Isaac Bruce. Best of luck to all, but let it be Zach’s time. He has shouldered the weight of the wait. No. 3--The Bosa/Kumerow connection: Defensive end John Bosa was the Dolphins’ No. 1 draft choice in 1987 and DE Eric Kumerow was the top pick the next year. They were brothers-in-law. They were not great NFL players. Oh but the bloodlines were good! Now both of their sons are playing in the final four. For more local ties and the full column, please visit America and Super Bowl Host Miami Have a Rooting Interest Now. Tannehill, Please!

TrevorDESPITE LOSS TO LSU, CLEMSON ANOINTED FAVORITE FOR 2020: Ed Orgeron is still rasping his way through victory speeches for his LSU TIgers after last night's convincing win for the CFP national title, but it is vanquished Clemson seen as the favorite for the 2020 season. Caesars Sportsbook has Clemson 2-1 to win it all, Alabama 4-1, Ohio State 7-1, LSU 9-2 , Georgia 10-1 and Florida 15-1. Sportsbetting.ag's Heisman odds have Clesmon QB Trevor Lawernce (pictured) the trophy fave at 7-2, just ahead of Ohio State's Justin Fields at 4-1.

PicksNFL DIVISIONAL ROUND PLAYOFFS: OUR PICKS, RESULTS: Update: We were 3-1 overall on our Divisional Round picks (missed Titans beating Ravens, like the rest of America), but only 1-3 against the spread (Chiefs' rout of Texans our only get). Here's how cruel the ATS gods can be: Packers were favored by four. I said they'd win by three. They won by five. A miss. The good news from the weekend: Tennessee and Ryan Tannehill are one win from reaching the Miami Super Bowl in his old stadium. Delicioso. Yes, please! ..... Original post: Road teams won three of four games last week on Wild Card Weekend as the road to the Miami Super Bowl began. Do not expect a repeat of that in the Divisional Round on Saturday and Sunday as eight teams winnow down to the final four. The home teams -- the four top seeds, all off byes -- are favored by a combined 31 points. Will the odds hold up? No upsets in store? Hint: I think the two NFC games will be a lot more competitive and upset-likely than the two AFC games. For all four of our Divisional Round picks, please visit the motherlode of prognostication I like to call NFL Divisional Round Gems.

Other most recent columns: Here's Winner Of the Dan Enos Cup For Biggest Disappointment in Miami Sports and Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa Both Dolphins in 2020? Also: Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

OZZY AND ELTON: WHAT MORE NEED BE SAID?: Old friends and rock warriors Ozzy Osbourne and Elton John collaborate on the title track from Ozzy's forthcoming new album, Ordinary Man, out February 21. I'm prejudiced as a fan of both, but the song, a mid-tempo, is lush and quite epic. From the backing harmonies to the closing chords, there is a Beatle-esque feeling. Listen. You're welcome.

Select recent other columns: Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes / Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft / Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author as a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

January 09, 2020

Dan Enos Cup: Our nominees for biggest current disappointment in Miami sports. Latest column; plus Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa both Dolphins in 2020? Column; also, a new 'Back In My Day' video & more

1) It's THURSDAY, JANUARY 9. One last chance to visit Herald 2019 Final NFL QB Rankings for the wrapup of our 22nd year of NFL passer ratings. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect (late) holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, NFL Wild Card Weekend, Dolphins All-Decade Team, The List, happy birthday Don Shula & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Dis4IT'S THE DAN ENOS CUP. GOES TO MIAMI SPORTS' BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT. AND THE NOMINEES ARE...: So one year ago this week the Miami Hurricanes hire Dan Enos as their new offensive coordinator, and he arrives with the perfume of Alabama excellence and the papal-like blessing of having worked under Nick Saban. Canes fans are understandably thrilled. Manny Diaz would soon say flatly, "The best recruit we signed was Dan Enos." Not quite one year later, after a 6-7 season that ended with a stupefying shutout loss to Louisiana Tech (!) in a third-tier bowl game, Enos’ firing was announced in a terse one-sentence release. The sentence might as well have been, "Don’t let the door hit you on the way out." We need an annual Disappointment of the Year award in South Florida sports. The trophy would be called the Dan Enos Cup. The cup, in this case, would be half empty, of course. Here, we present our inaugural nominees. A few pictured clockwise from upper left are the Dolphins' Kalen Ballage, Heat's Dion Waiters, UM's Cup namesake Enos, and the Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky. For my full latest column, please visit Here's Winner Of the Dan Enos Cup For Biggest Disappointment in Miami Sports.

TuatomDREAM TICKET: TOM BRADY, TUA TAGOVAILOA BOTH DOLPHINS IN 2020?: What becomes of an aging G.O.A.T? The question insisted itself suddenly upon America as Tom Brady hurried off New England’s home field in playoff defeat and disappeared into free agency. Had he just played his final game as a Patriot? His final game, period? The possibilities for Brady’s future are many, and deliciously unknowable today. He could retire and somehow scrape by on supermodel/wife Gisele Bundchen’s millions as he awaited his call from Canton, Ohio. He could enter the open market (officially becoming a free agent on March 18) as teams in need of a pricey 42-year-old QB -- assuming there were any -- lined up in a bidding war. Hey, what about the Dolphins!? They need an upgrade, and Brady is better than Ryan Fitzpatrick in every measurable category except beard-growing. The idea of Brady as a one- or two-season luxury bridge to a QB Miami might draft and groom in 2020 does have some merit. Tua Tagovailoa on Monday officially declared for the upcoming NFL Draft as expected but is rehabbing from a serious hip injury. Scenario: Miami selects Tagovailao No. 5 overall and he learns under Brady in ‘20. (They are pictured). Betting odds say it isn't even that far-fetched. Likely? Of course. But worth a flight of fancy. For the full recent column, please visit Dream Ticket: Brady, Tagovailoa Both Dolphins in 2020?

Other most recent columns: Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team. Also: On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

PicksOY! WE GOT SHUT OUT ON WILD CARD WEEKEND: Big losers in the first round of the NFL playoffs: Bills, Patriots, Saints and Eagles, who all lost and were eliminated ... and me. I went 0-4 straight-up on Wild Card Weekend and also 0-4 against the spread. I got Brickered, a phrase in dishonor of a former Sun-Sentinel football writer named Charles Bricker, who once infamously went 0-14 one week against the spread, a near impossibility. For me, even 0-4 was a first. Better be a last. We'll be looking for twins 4-0s this week!

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': GIFT WRAPPING!: Weighed in with a new Back In My Day yesterday on ESPN Radio on my first 2020 appearance on the Le Batard Show. Enjoy:

Select recent other columns: Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes / Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft / Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked the blog's author as a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Follow on Twitter @gregcote.

January 06, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team. Newest column; also, our NFL Wild Card Weekend results (unfortunately), happy birthday Don Shula & more

Shula1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 6. A heartfelt happy 90th birthday to the great Dolphins icon Don Shula (pictured in earlier days), who hit the milestone Saturday. Here's to many more! 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect (late) holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild Card Weekend picks, Wade retires (Miami) and Woods' Masters (national) voted biggest sports stories of 2019 in year-end polls, Gators win Orange Bowl & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our return to Le Batard Show: For those who've asked I'll be back on ESPN Radio tomorrow/Tuesday.

Final Herald NFL QB rankings: This was our 22nd year of NFL quarterback rankings. Visit Herald 2019 Final NFL QB Rankings.

PicksWILD CARD WEEKEND! ROAD TEAMS TAKE THREE OF FOUR: Update: Ouch. We were 0-4 straight-up and 0-4 against the spread on our WCW picks. That's a first. May it be a last, please? Original post: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a solid 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald. Finished the regular season with a .663 winning percentage overall and .518 against the spread. Now all that matters are the 11 postseason games ahead culminating with the backyard Miami Super Bowl on February 2. For all four of our Wild Card Weekend picks -- including a pair of upsets! -- visit the motherlode of prognostication I like to call NFL Wild Card Weekend Gems.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 5-6): 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. NFL: Texans, Titans, Vikings, Seahawks advance in playoffs: The king is dead! The king is dead! The reigning champion Patriots and Tom Brady are dethroned. Tennessee and Ryan Tannehill ousted them Saturday while Houston rallied to edge Buffalo. Sunday, Vikings upset Saints and Seahawks handled Eagles on Wild Card Weekend. Away teams won three of four. The road to Miami, indeed.

2. HURRICANES: Miami hiresg SMU hotshot as new offensive coordinator: UM has hired SMU offensive coordinator/QBs coach Rhett Lashlee, 36, for the same job here. Lashlee ran an exciting spread offense that was top 10 in the nation in points and yards this season. Canes fans are excited. Warning: (They were excited about Dan Enos, too, once).

3. HEAT: Miami tops Portland in Whiteside's return: Miami sits pretty in third place in the East at 26-10, with Justise Winslow, who has missed 26 games, finally close to returning from his back injury. Team beat Portland -- and Hassan Whiteside -- Sunday evening, with Whiteside mostly booed throughout the night.

4. UM HOOPS: No. 2 Duke schools Canes men: UM men fell to 9-4 with Saturday's 95-62 home loss to Duke and next plays at No. 7 Louisville Tuesday. Meanwhile No. 23 Canes women gell to 9-5 after Sunday's home loss to Florida State, and now face another top-10 foe in Louisville.

5. PANTHERS: Cats win at Pittsburgh: Florida is 22-20 after Sunday's 4-1 win at Pittsburgh that lifted the Cats to a tie for the final playoff spot at midseason. Team has won seven of past 10 and now plays four straight at home.

6. DOLPHINS: Tagovailoa decision expected Monday: Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, recovering from a hip injury, has said he will announce Monday whether he'll entre the NFL Draft or return to the Crimson Tide. Many NFL teams -- the Dolphins perhaps highest among them -- will see their draft plans shaped by that decision.

7. DAVID STERN: R.I.P. to commissioner who made NBA what it is: Stern died this week at 77 and is being remembered as the longtime commissioner who made the NBA an international brand it is. He's high on a very short of of greatest commissioner in the history of sports.

8. DALLAS COWBOYS: Jerry Jones finally pulls the trigger: The underperforming Cowboys finally fired coach Jason Garrett. Prominent among the possible replacements being interviewed: Mike McCarthy and Marvin Lewis. Good to see that Jerry Jones believes in recycling.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Seven days 'til LSU-Clemson title game: Two 14-0 teams ready for the College Football playoff championship in New Orleans, with LSU a 5 1/2-point favorite and the over/under inching up toward 70. Will either remember to pack a defense for the trip?

10. INTER MIAMI: Coach in place, players next, season soon: With a coach hired in Diego Alonso but players still to come, Inter Miami's inaugural Major League Soccer season is getting more and more real. And close. Countdown to season opener: 54 days.

Missing the HB10 cut: We appear to be inching closer to war with Iran. Have a nice Sunday, everybody! ..... Great to see Dolphins great Zach Thomas make the list of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now get him to Canyon, voters! ..... Florida beats Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Miamians still can't believe they had to watch Florida beat Virginia in the Orange Bowl ..... Update: Countdown now 2,359 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

CamwSIFTING THROUGH THE LOSING, WE ANNOUNCE THE MIAMI DOLPHINS' 2010-19 ALL-DECADE TEAM!: In another few days you will have broken a social faux pas but for now you can still wish people a Happy New Year without them looking at you funny. There are rules for these things. For example, when introducing your new head coach in early January, you probably don’t want to begin the news conference by wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving, as Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder did this week. That got me thinking the window is closing to name the Miami Dolphins’ All-Decade Team for 2010 to 2019, so let’s get to it. First I will pause a second for all of your snide comments and thoughts, like, a team that went 69-91 in the decade, made one playoff and won zero playoff games — did they have any good players? Well, a few, yes. So let’s bid auld lang syne to the past decade by remembering the Dolphins who were the least bad, relatively speaking. Pictured is the most obvious choice for the team: Cameron Wake. Here is our Dolphins’ All-Decade Team, after which we will name the players of the decade from the Dolphins, Heat, Panthers and Marlins. To see our team and get our full latest column, please visit Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team.

Other most recent columns: On Miami's Home Field, Gators Remind Canes How to Win Major Bowl Game and We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

THE LIST: SUPER BOWL RECORDS OF 2019 PLAYOFF TEAMS: Ranked by most victories:

Team                      SB W-L            Last in SB, last won

Patriots                   6-5, .545        2018 / 2018

49ers                      5-1, .833         2012 / 1995

Packers                   4-1, .800        2010 / 2010

Ravens                    2-0, 1.000       2012 / 2012

Saints                     1-0, 1.000       2009 / 2009

Chiefs                     1-1, .500        1969 / 1969

Eagles                     1-2, .333        2017 / 2017

Seahawks                1-2, .333        2014 / 2013

Titans                     0-1, .000        1999 / Never won

Bills                        0-4, .000        1993 / Never won

Vikings                    0-4, .000        1976 / Never won

Texans                    0-0, .000        Never appeared

Select recent other columns: Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes / Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft / Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 03, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Select recent other columns: We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football / Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes / Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft / Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 28, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.8%. It's 3rd worst season-ending grade in CSM history after embarrassing 14-0 bowl to Louisiana Tech; plus NFL Week 17 picks (new), Week 16 Pix 'n Fantasy results, latest Herald NFL QB rankings & more

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28. Hope y'all had a wonderful and  Merry Christmas and are having a great holiday season! Scroll to previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. 2) Personal note: I'm burning a bunch of leftover vacation time this month, in case you wondered why I haven't been in the Herald much lately. Bonus points to you if you noticed! 3) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Cincinnati with DSM postgame poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Updated Herald NFL QB rankings: It's a dead-heat at the top and wild finish entering the final week of the Miami Herald's 22nd annual NFL quarterback rankings. Visit Herald Week 16 NFL QB Rankings for details and the Top 20. 

PicksDOLPHINS-PATRIOTS, PLAYOFF-DECIDING TOP GAMES, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 17 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a mostly solid 29th year of NFL picks thus far in the Miami Herald. We’re running solid at .665 overall and at .521 against the spread after rocking an 11-6 straight-up and 9-6-1 ATS last week. For all of our Week 17 picks to close the regular season, including Dolphins at Patriots, playoff-clinching top games and big upsets, please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call NFL Week 17 Gems.

G13: LOUISIANA TECH 14, HURRICANES 0 IN INDEPENDENCE BOWL: MIAMI FAILS MISERABLY TO END A DOWN SEASON ON UPSWING: Original post: They're playing a Conference USA opponent in a third-tier bowl game. There are UM fans who consider this an indignity -- beneath the program. But this is what you get when you finish 6-6. You get what you are given. You take what you can. But there are stakes Bowlfor the Canes in today's 4 p.m. Independence Bowl vs. Louisiana Tech (on ESPN) from Shreveport, La. It's the difference between finishing with a winning record or a losing record. It's also about Manny Diaz and his team doing what it has repeatedly failed to do this disappointing season: Perform well again an underdog opponent when given extra time to prepare. Think Central Michigan. Think FIU. Miami has underperformed against (supposedly) lesser foes. Will it yet again? UM is not good enough to take anybody lightly, and La-Tech is 9-3 and has won five bowl games in a row. By contrast, UM's bowl record is a sad 1-8 since 2008. Yet Miami is a 6-point favorite despite losing four players who'll skip the game for the NFL Draft, including senior linebacker Michael Pinckney. I expected Jarren Williams and N'Kosi Perry both to see action at QB for Miami. I also expect UM's defense to rise up. But this is a big game for Louisiana Tech. Can Diaz convince his team it is for the Canes, too? We'll see. Cote's pick: Hurricanes. 30-21. Watch for season-finale Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll online and directly below right after today's game ends.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: 2019 FINAL: 5.8%: Results are certified in the latest -- and season's last -- of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter Csmpostgame polls, and they show 5.8 percent final approval in the wake of Thursday's 14-0 loss to underdog Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., leaving the Hurricanes' final 2019 season record at 6-7. That is the third-lowest total in the 11-year history of the CSM, and the worst since 2014. 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. Because this was the final poll, I suggested added emphasis on the season as a whole. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10 a.m. today/Saturday.

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G10: 95.2% following 52-27 victory vs. Louisville.

G11: 9.6% following 30-24 loss to FIU at Marlins Park.

G12: 4.9% following 27-17 loss at Duke.

G13/Bowl/Final: 5.8% following 14-0 loss to Louisiana Tech in Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2019--5.8% (6-7); 2018--11.2% (7-6); 2017--68.4% (10-3). 2016--97.2% (9-4); 2015--20.1% (8-5); 2014--2.7% (6-7); 2013--16.1% (9-4); 2012--80.9% (7-5); 2011--22.1% (6-6); 2010--4.2% (7-6); 2009--41.7% (9-4).

 

LoboslogoNFL WEEK 16 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: NFL picks -- Yes! Went a nifty 11-5 overall and a solid 9-6-1 against the spread in our Week 16 Herald picks. Houston winning by 3 pushed for the tie. Nailed our Upset of the Week with Packers winning at Vikings ("Aawwk!"), and also called Miami's mini-upset of Cincy and had underdog Rams and Cardinals with points. Strong week! ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Izzy Gutierrez beat Mike Ryan for the championship. Greg's Lobos after an 8-5 regular season finished 9-7 after qualifying for the championship-round playoffs. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Greg's Lobos, after a 7-6 season that qualified for the championship-round playoffs, fizzled and finished 7-9. Chris Cote lost to his wife Christie for the league title.

Our most recent other work: We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football / Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes and Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 DraftAlso: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me!

Additional select recent columns: Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick / Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 21, 2019

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21. Personal note: I'm burning a bunch of leftover vacation time this month, in case you wondered why I haven't been in the Herald as much lately. Bonus points to you if you noticed. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): South Florida sweeps state high-school football titles, NFL Week 15 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald  NFL Week 15 QB rankings & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

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

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

Our most recent other work: We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football, Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes and Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 DraftAlso: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

Additional select recent columns: Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 19, 2019

We are the (state) champions! Celebrating the historic sweep of South Florida high school football. Latest column; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 15 results, newest Herald NFL QB rankings, a personal note & more

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19. Personal note: I'm burning a bunch of left over vacation time this month, in case you wondered why I haven't been in the Herald as much lately. Bonus points to you if you noticed. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at Giants with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Updated Herald NFL QB rankings: There's a new No. 1 atop the season rankings, while Drew Brees' Monday show wins the week. For the full Top 20 and more, visit Herald Week 15 NFL QB Rankings.

AFTER 7-FOR-7 SWEEP OF STATE TITLES, SOUTH FLORIDA IS KING OF HIGH-SCHOOL FOOTBALL: The football teams were at the same hotel in Daytona Beach this past weekend for the state championships when a bunch of parents and fans of Miami Northwestern High mingled in the lobby as the Miami Columbus team returned from seeing a movie. "Better win or you can’t come Centralback to the 3-0-5!" Columbus coach Dave Dunn heard a Northwestern fan call out. The message, though said in jest, was probably only half-kidding. Prep football is a serious proposition held to the highest standard in Miami-Dade. In Broward, too — as the neighboring counties just proved in historic fashion. It was an unprecedented show of force from South Florida. There are eight FHSAA divisions based on school size, and Dade/Broward brought home a record seven state championships. Call it a clean sweep, because South Florida has no football team in the smallest division geared to rural schools. (If only some of our local high school mojo might rub off on the Miami Hurricanes, who at 6-6 are preparing to face Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl, or the Dolphins, slogging along at 3-11). Stating South Florida’s case as America’s capital of high school football: Columbus wins Class 8A (the largest division) for the school’s first state title in the sport. Fort Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas wins Class 7A for the school’s state-record 11th championship, breaking a tie for most with Jacksonville Bolles. Miami Central -- pictured celebrating with coach Roland Smith holding trophy -- wins Class 6A for the school’s sixth state crown. Northwestern wins Class 5A for the school’s third state title in a row and seventh overall, the most by a Miami-Dade team. Miami’s Booker T. Washington wins Class 4A for the school’s sixth crown. Hollywood’s Chaminade-Madonna wins Class 3A for its third title and third in a row. And Hialeah Champagnat wins Class 2A for that school’s third state championship. From the continuation of the Aquinas juggernaut to the maiden title for Columbus, it has been a December like no other for local high school football. I explore why in my newest column, after speaking with four of the championships coaches Monday to get their thoughts on So-Fla prep teams are so damned good. To read the full column, visit We Are The Champions: How South Florida Came to Own the State in High School Football.

Our most recent other columns: Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes and Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 DraftAlso: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 15: ANOTHER TOUGH WEEKNFL picks -- Ouch. Managed 9-7 overall but only 6-9-1 against the spread this past week (with Seattle winning by 6 the push for the tie). Had Atlanta with the points at San Fran but not a lot else went right. Need to rally and finish strong. ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- Bad finish. Greg's Lobos after an 8-5 regular season dropped a second straight in the playoffs, 92.2 to 69.4 to Lorenzo despite 26.7 from Patrick Mahomes. It's Mike vs. Stugotz for the league title. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Another bad finish. Lobos after a 7-6 season lost a second straight in the playoffs, 185-114 despite 31 from Saquon Barkley. Can't feel too bad losing to a crazy 185. It'll be my son Chris vs. his wife Christie for the league crown.

Additional select recent columns: Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 14, 2019

NFL Week 15 picks for Dolphins-Giants and all the rest; plus Heat fall to LeBron and Lakers but still come up big, most recent columns & more

Fri131) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14. Do you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia -- the fear of Friday the 13th? You are not crazy. Your concerns are real. Hope you stayed inside yesterday. Safer in there. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Minor bowl still major test for Canes, NFL Week 14 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes and Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft. Also: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

PicksDOLPHINS-GIANTS, GAME OF WEEK, BIG UPSETS AND ALL OF OUR NFL WEEK 15 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a solid 29th year of NFL picks thus far in the Miami Herald. Last week we were 10-6 overall but a season-worst 5-9-2 against the spread (with wins by Vikings and Bucs pushing for the ties). Had underdog Dolphins and Giants covering and nice pick with Rams over Seahawks, but not enough else went right. Now we bounce back, and we're off to a good start! Had Ravens covering 15 1/2 over Jets last night -- and they did. For all of our Week 15 picks, including Dolphins at Giants, our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and all the rest, please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call NFL Week 15 Gems.

LalHEAT LOSE TO LEBRON, LAKERS, BUT STILL COME UP BIG: LeBron and A.D. combined for 61 Friday night as Lakers beat Heat in Miami, 113-110. Original post: You really want respect as an unexpected NBA power, Miami? Go get it tonight. The Los Angeles Lakers are in town. They bring a West-leading 22-3 record. They bring a 12-1 road record. They bring LeBron James and Anthony Davis (pictured). They bring a chance for Miami to measure itself for real. The Heat are good -- second in the East at 18-6 including a perfect 11-0 at home. But here comes the test, with Lakers favored by 5 points. Will Heat demand the league's attention and respect with a huge win? Will they get blown out? Let's find out.

Select other recent columns: Off Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 12, 2019

Minor bowl, small foe, but here's why Hurricanes need to prove something in a game that should be beneath them -- but isn't. New column; plus tonight's Jets-Ravens pick, NFL Week 14 Pix 'n Fantasy results, updated Herald NFL QB rankings & more

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12. Scroll to the previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. They may surprise you. 2) Check out our Miami Dolphins book, 'Fins At 50,' on Amazon. It's the perfect holiday gift for all the Dolfans in your life. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at Jets with DSM postgame poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Jets-Ravens pick: Do you believe in miracles?: It wold be perhaps the upset of the season if the Jets won in Baltimore tonight. See if it'll happen here: NFL Week 15 Thursday Gem.

Updated Herald NFL QB rankings: There's a new No. 1 in the season lead with three weeks left in the Miami Herald NFL quarterback rankings, while a non-contender for the season crowns wins the Week 14 title. Visit Herald Week 14 NFL QB Rankings for details and the Top 20 chart plus Dolphins.

MINOR BOWL GAME. SMALL OPPONENT. BUT HERE'S WHY CANES NEED TO WIN: Manny Diaz has set out on one of the greatest challenges of his college football coaching career: Trying to pretend how happy he is that his Miami Hurricanes are headed to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. Excuse me. Make that the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl. The title sponsor is Indbowla badly named southern chain of Cajun-themed bistro/bars. Except they spell bistro “bistreaux.” Of course they do. Previous Independence Bowl name sponsors have included the Poulan Weed-Eater, Rubbermaid and Duck Commander, so consider this an upgrade of sorts. The aspiring-to-second-tier bowl has been around 44 years and last hosted a ranked team in 1997. If you are a five-time national championship program that finds itself playing in the Independence Bowl, you would just as soon it not be televised or publicized in any way. Interesting to note that Diaz has not tweeted a word about how thrilled he is to be bringing his 6-6 team to face smaller-conference Louisiana Tech on Dec. 26. Be honest. As high honors go, the Canes facing the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the Independence Bowl is closer to an indignity. I asked Diaz on a Monday teleconference call how he motivates his guys for this game when Miami obviously had much bigger bowls in mind before laying down to end the season with losses to FIU and Duke. Quick aside: FIU beat UM 31-24 (and it wasn’t that close). FIU lost this season to Louisiana Tech 43-31. "It should have to do with our standard," Diaz answered. "Your habits, the way that you work, getting to define what our consistency of performance is — being the same team week in, week out. When we begin to realize the opponent is always ourselves, that’s a big step forward in this program." Diaz and his staff are deep into recruiting these days — clearly and smartly a bigger priority than this bowl game. Early signing day is December 18. UM’s 2020 class, Diaz’s first as head coach, is ranked No. 15 by ESPN as of Monday. But there are reasons why this bowl game is big, too. To read my latest full column, please visit Why Minor Bowl, Small Opponent Should Be Of Major Importance to Miami Hurricanes.

Our other most recent work:Fitzpatrick Gives Dolphins Luxury Of Options In 2020 Draft andOff Bad End to Down Season, Miami Hurricanes Should Decline Bowl Invite. Also: Beating Canes Was Huge For FIU, But Even Bigger For Butch Davis / FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / and Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick.

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 14: TOUGH WEEK ALL-AROUND, FOLKS: NFL picks -- Not braggin'. We were an OK 10-6 overall but sputtered home at 5-9-2 against the spread last week, our worst week of the season ATS. Had a pair of 'dogs-with-points in covers by Dolphins and Giants but not a lot else went right. Missed two ATS hits by one points. The two ties were pushes by the Vikings and Bucs. ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (18-team PPR) -- I'm out. Greg's Lobos entered the playoffs 8-5 as the No. 5 seed but lost in the first round to Stugotz by 113.6 to 77.8. I picked a bad week for a bad week as eight of my nine players performed below their projections -- including season MVL Patrick Mahomes. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- I'm out there, too. Lobos made the playoffs at 7-6 as the No. 5 seed but lost in the opening round, 128-100. Got 27 from MVL Deshaun Watson (who edged Dalvin Cook for the honor), but it wasn't enough. Oh well. On to next year. Go 'Bos!

Select other recent columns: FIU's Historic, Magical Night A New Low For Canes / Le Batard Explains the Papi Mystery / If Jeter Doesn't Get In With Unanimous Vote -- Don't Blame Me! / Draft Uncertainty Means Dolphins Need to Hedge Bets. His Name Is Kaepernick / Busch Stars In Emotional, Memorable End to Homestead's Championship Run / The Best Will Race For Title At Homestead. But Here Is What NASCAR Is Missing And Needs / After Not Winning Enough, Are The Dolphins Now Failing At Failing? / The Player Who Started the Glory Days in  for Canes Football / Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote