September 02, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next/Final poll: Date TBD following bowl game. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami hosts LeBron, LeBron torches Heat: LeBron James' L.A. Lakers were here tonight for their only visit of the season, and LeBron James' 51 points led a 113-97 L.A. win that dropped Miami to 6-10 in the continuing paternity absence of Dwyane Wade. Oh, and it was revealed Hassan Whiteside had a $50,000 assault rifle stolen from his unlocked car over the summer. That enough to digest for one week, Heat fans?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 12, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 12.6%; plus UM falls at Georgia Tech 27-21, 4th straight loss; also, your Dolphins-in-playoffs verdict, rest of state Collball, my Bill James column, honoring Bill Torrey & more

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

Torrey1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11. Islanders were at Panthers last night, and they honored the late Bill Torrey (pictured). He made champions of the Isles and founded the Cats. The legacy of the kind man in the bowtie is secure. 2) Football season and the holidays up on us means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 10 picks, Bill James column, Mahomes/Marino parallel, Dolphins-playoffs poll, congrats D. Wade & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: On Bill James and replaceable athletes: The sabermetrics ace and Red Sox adviser fell into hot water by saying baseball players are replaceable, likening their importance to that of beer vendors. By extension he meant athletes in general. But here's the thing. He may be right. I discuss in my latest column. To read it, visit Bill James Struck A Nerve, But He's More Right Than Wrong.

Other most recent stuff: Week 10 Gems (our latest NFL picks). Marino Set the Blueprint For Mahomes. And State of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 12.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 27-21 UM loss at Georgia Tech putting Miami's season record at 5-5 overall and 2-4 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval there was 21%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 17 following game at Virginia Tech.

G10: @GEORGIA TECH 27, HURRICANES 21: UM DROPS 4TH STRAIGHT: Postgame thoughts: Ugh. Three turnovers. Dumb penalties. And a fourth straight loss. UM now 5-8 in its last 13 games under Mark Richt. N'Kosi Perry was OK tonight. The defense wasn't terrible. Mistakes killed UM ..... Original post: The stakes? With both teams at 5-4, only the winner here becomes bowl-eligible, and only the winner keeps at least some semblance of hope (against odds) of still winning the ACC Coastal and reaching the conference title game. That seems far-fetched right now, of course, especially Miagtfor the Canes. The two teams are aimed in opposite directions. Miami carries the weight and burden of a three-game losing streak into tonight's 7 o'clock game in Atlanta, while Georgia Tech has won two in a row, both on the road. That and the home field are why the Yellow Jackets are favored, albeit by a modest 2 1/2 points. UM's desperation for a win is underlined by the fact next week's game at Virginia Tech will be another huge challenge and loss-threat. In other words, if the Canes fall tonight, they'd be realistically facing the school's first five-game in-season losing streak since 1977. But that's getting ahead. The challenge tonight: Finding some offense. UM hasn't scored more than 14 points in a game in over a month as neither Malik Rosier nor N'Kosi Perry has been successful. Mark Richt's latest coin flip landed on Perry, who is to start tonight. The other major task for The U: Contain Tech's vaunted triple-option ground game, which leads the nation averaging 377 rushing yards per game. UM's defense must win the early downs and force Tech to pass, which the Jackets hate to do. Why I like the Canes to end their losing streak with an upset tonight: It isn't that I trust Perry or the offense. Manny Diaz's defense will win this game. UM leads the nation in tackles for loss and is well suited to disrupt or at least limit what Tech does best. GT also is prone to sloppiness, with nine turnovers in their four losses, and forcing those is sort of what Miami's D does. Also, Miami has won eight of past nine meetings in this series including three of the past four in Atlanta. My pick: Upset! Hurricanes 27-23.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 11 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 12 UCF (9-0) beats Navy (2-8), 35-24: Knights, headed for AAC title game, were 25 1/2-point favorites but coasted on autopilot vs. overmatched Midshipmen.

No. 15 Florida (7-3) beats South Carolina (5-4), 35-31: Gators off two straight losses were modest 6-point Swamp favorites and needed to rally and score game's final 21 points to survive.

FAU (5-5) beats Western Kentucky (1-9), 34-15: Lane Kiffin's Owls were 3-touchdown betting picks but needed big second half to win.

FIU (7-3) beats UTSA (3-7), 45-7: ButchCats, still fighting to reach C-USA title game, were 10 1/2-point road faves and crushed it at Texas-San Antonio.

Cincinnati (9-1) beats South Florida (7-3), 35-23Sinking Bulls have now dropped three in a row, giving up 133 points in the process.

No. 3 Notre Dame (10-0) beats FSU (4-6), 42-13Noles have now lost three straight. Backup QB? NO problem for Irish as they solidify hold on College Football Playoff.

Week 11 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 10 Ohio State beats No. 18 Michigan State, 26-6; 1-Alabama beats 16-Mississippi State, 24-0; 5-Georgia beats 24-Auburn, 27-10; and 2-Clemson beats 17-Boston College, 27-7.

POLL RESULT: LANDSLIDE SAY NO DOLPHINS IN PLAYOFFS: We asked very simply, yes or no, will the 5-4 Miami Dolphins make the playoffs? Your answer: 84.75 percent no, 15.25% yes. Ouch.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 28, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 7.8% (season low); plus UM falls at BC 27-14, now 5-3 as ACC title-game hopes take huge hit. Our thoughts; plus it ain't easy being a Dolfan (latest column), other state Collball (Gators fall, FIU wins) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27. Check out the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter (DSM) vote here. Ouch. It's a season low. 2) I've been a Red Sox fan since 1967. They're back in the World Series. Hell NO  I didn't stay up 7 hours until 3 a.m. for  last night's 18-inning game, are you insane!? 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins get clobbered in Houston with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 picks & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

IT AIN'T EAST BEING A DOLFAN (NEW COLUMN): Hundreds of Miami Dolphins fans told me what it's like to be Dolfan. Their answers informed my latest column. To read the venting and frustration, visit Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love. My other most recent work: Latest NFL picks: Week 8 Gems. Dolphins' coach is more than competent, he's just: Snakebit Adam. N'Kosi Perry's cash video isn't Canes outrage, it's a: Family Tradition. And Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr., it's: Victory-y, Miami! 

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 7.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 7.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Friday night's 27-14 UM loss at Boston College putting Miami's season record at 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:15 a.m. today/Sunday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 16% approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 3 following game vs. Duke. 

G8: @BOSTON COLLEGE 27, HURRICANES 14: SECOND STRAIGHT LOSS DROPS UM TO 5-3Postgame thoughts: We called the (slight) upset win by host Boston College. The score was legit, indicative of the flow of the game. Malik Rosier (two picks, one his fault) did not score enough. Mostly, the vaunted Canes defense allowed almost 450 yards of BC offense. Miami now 5-3, a Bc Theusharp step back from last season thus far, and a return to the ACC title game now an unlikelihood ..... Original post: When we last left the Canes they were falling 16-13 at Virginia, falling to a 5-2 record , and falling like a rock from No. 16 clean out of the national polls. (I put out a "Nervous Night Alert" for that game and was right!) Well, now, after a bye week, it doesn't get any easier for The U, folks. Tonight's 7 o'clock game at Boston College before ESPN cameras will be a rugged challenge. Both teams are 5-2 and 2-1 in the ACC. UM needs a win to keep a realistic hope of getting back to the conference championship game, but the Canes are modest 3 1/2 point favorites in temps expected in the 40s, and a win by the BC Eagles should shock nobody. Malik Rosier is back starting at QB for Miami as Mark Richt continues to waffle between his veteran and redshirt-freshman N'Kosi Perry. Rosier is back on merit, Richt says, although Perry's infamous cash-money video surely made returning to Rosier easier. Boston College also is coming off a bye, and is 4-0 at home. Miami has dominated the all-time series, 24-5, but the most recent meeting (2012) predating all the current players lessens the significance of that trend. Miami's stout defense vs. premier BC running back A.J. Dillon will be a key tonight. A shaky Canes offensive line giving Rosier time to operate also will be important. The return of BC's Dillon from injury and the weather magnifying the Eagles' home-field edge tips this coin-flip prediction. My pick: Boston College, 24-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 9 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted otherwise):

Louisiana Tech (6-2) beats FAU (3-5), 21-13: Owls were favored by 3 1/2 in the Boca nest, but Lane Kiffin saw FAU's 10-game home win streak end Friday night as his humbling sophomore season continued. Lane Train: Derailed.

No. 2 Clemson (8-0) beats FSU (4-4), 59-10: This final weekend before first College Football Playoff ranking would have been a really bad time for the Tigers, 17-point favorites, to fall. Um, no chance. A scoreless first quarter turned into an avalanche that buried the Noles.

No. 7 Georgia (7-1) beats No. 9 Florida (6-2), 36-17: World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in neutral-site Jacksonville might have been the college Game of the Year going in, but, after Gators hung in for awhile, it was quite the mismatch. Favored Dawgs earned an inside lane to reach SEC title game and also gets to believe it still has a shot at sneaking up into CFP top four.

Houston (7-1) beats No. 21 South Florida (7-1), 57-36: Big American conference duel found USF a 7 1/2-point road 'dog with good reason. Farewell polls, Bulls!

FIU (6-2) beats Western Kentucky (1-7), 38-17: FIU was a mere 3-point road favorite but the ButchCats rolled to a huge, bowl-assuring victory.

Off this week: No. 10 UCF (7-0); next vs. Temple Thursday Nov. 1.

Week 9 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 9 Florida vs. No. 7 Georgia (see above); 17-Penn State beats 18-Iowa 30-24; and 14-Washington State beats 24-Stanford 41-38.

Other select recent columns: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter GradeWade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackKid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 21, 2018

Who should be the Miami Hurricanes' starting QB? Rosier vs. Perry poll. Vote now!: plus Heat drop home opener but Wade stars (and my column), other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 7 picks, your Heat expectations verdict, The List & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwudHEAT HOME OPENER BEGINS THE FAREWELL TONIGHT: Heat lose 113-112 but Wade stars. One outta two ain't bad. For my column from Saturday night: Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss Him. Original post: Miami's 31st NBA home opener is tonight at 8 vs. Charlotte in the bayside arena. The season's earliest indication is that the Heat will be just what we thought they'd be: a competitive team that will be fighting for one of the East's lower playoff seeds, not luxuriating among the conference's elite. Tonight also begins the season-long goodbye for brothers in arms Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem in their final Heat season. My recent column on Wade's farewell season: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

Select other recent columns: Our latest NFL picks: Week 7 Gems. Also: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-GoodNo More Excuses, Florida Panthers. And Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback.

RichtHURRICANES' TO-DO LIST FOR THE BYE WEEK: "Things To Get Accomplished On Our Off-Week, by Mark Richt: No. 1--Settle on a starting quarterback I can trust and win with. No. 2--See No. 1." The Canes are humbled to be out of the Top 25 for the first time all season as they lick the wounds of last week's 16-13 loss at Virginia, take this week off, then come back next week (Friday night) at Boston College. That's no easy game, by the way. It's another loss-threat. BC is 5-2, also will be coming off a bye, and is 4-0 at home. Could be close to a pick-'em game. Richt benched Malik Rosier for N'Kosi Perry only to reverse field during the UVA game. So who's the starter moving forward? In a prime-time road game at BC, I guessed Richt (pictured) would make the safe call (Rosier), and am right. But this can't be a quarter to quarter thing. Miami needs a fulltime QB. At 5-2 UM still is fighting to return to the ACC Championship Game so it isn't as if the rest of this season is all tinkering and forward-looking. The bowl outlook has shrunk; Auburn in the Music City Bowl is one projection I've seen. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. For now: A quarterback, please! And I mean beyond just Friday night. Your UM QB thoughts are invited in this poll. It's alphabetical, by the way. P before R. Vote now.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Miami idle, here's chronological Week 8 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

Marshall (5-2) beats FAU (3-4), 31-7: Was surprised the Owls flew to Huntington, West Virginia as a 2 1/2-point road favorites. My surprise was borne out. Year 2 a struggle so far from Lane Kiffin.  

FSU (4-3) beats Wake Forest (3-4), 38-17: This game followed Miami and preceded visit by No. 3 Clemson, but Noles avoided the Sandwich Game letdown.

No. 10 UCF (7-0) beats East Carolina (2-5), 37-10: Starting quarterback out injured? No problem for Knights.

No. 21 South Florida (7-0) beats UConn (1-6), 38-30: Bulls, favored by 32, narrowly avoid shocking home defeat.

FIU (5-2) beats Rice (1-7), 36-17: The ButchCats are having a much better Year 2 under their new coach than is FAU, by the way.

Off this week: Miami (5-2; next at Boston College) and No. 11 Florida (6-1; next vs. No. 8 Georgia).

Week 8 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State; 16-North Carolina State at 3-Clemson; 22-Mississippi State at 5-LSU; and 12-Oregon at 25-Washington State.

Other select recent columns: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 09, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.4%; plus Tannehill, Fins collapse, blow huge lead in 27-17 loss in Cincy; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 8. Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results (they're sky-high) may be found in the previous blogpost. 2) Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rally past FSU with CSM poll, other state Collball, your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: From Canes' comeback win over FSU: From the stadium on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, led by N'Kosi Perry's four touchdown passes: Kid QB Passes His Big Test. Also, voting continues all day in the latest Canesfan postgame poll. Find it in the blogpost directly below or get there directly here. 

Select recent other columns: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 6.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 6.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 27-17 road loss at Cincinnati putting Miami's season record at 3-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 20%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 14 following game vs. Chicago.

G5: CINCINNATI 27, DOLPHINS 17: COMPLETE COLLAPSE AS MIAMI BLOWS 17-POINT LEAD!Postgame thoughts at Bengals, 27-17: A tale of two Miamis. Saturday, the Hurricanes overcome a 20-7 halftime hole to beat FSU 28-27. Today, the Dolphins blow a 14-0 halftime lead, completely collapse and fall in Cincinnati 27-17. It was a Tannehill second-half meltdown, first with a 22-yard interception-return TD, then with a sack/fumble returned 19 yards for a score, and finally with another interception. Penalties hurt Miami again, too. As usual. So a season once 3-0 is now 3-2. And Dolfans are left to wonder which was worse: Getting blown out 38-7 in Foxboro. Or the 27 straight unanswered points given up today. Close call. No winning answer .....     Halftime thoughts at Dolphins, 14-0: A Kiko Alonso red-zone interception. A 22-yard Ryan Tannehill TD strike to Kenyan Drake. Vincent Taylor's block of a short field goal attempt. Jakeem Grant's late 70-yard punt=return score. Big plays are carrying the Dolphins so far in Cincinnati, a low-scoring upset in the making. Long way to go, but thus far a very impressive bounceback performance by Dolphins after last week's fiasco in Foxboro ..... Original post: Dolphins need a healing win after last week's 38-7 loss to the Patriots in the Fiasco at Foxboro, but finding Miacinthat remedy Sunday in Cincinnati will be tough in this duel of 3-1 teams and unlikely division leaders. Miami hasn't been 4-1 through five games since 2003, and I do not see them getting there on the road vs. the Bengals. This marks only these teams' seventh meeting since 2000, with Cincy winning the most recent, 22-7, in 2016. Andy Dalton is 1-2 in his career vs. Miami with five interceptions, but the Bengals' uptempo offense is the best and most balanced it has been in years, and the ‘Gals add two key pieces here, getting top defender Vontaze Burfict back from suspension and also expecting to have starting running back Joe Mixon back from injury. In contrast, Miami could be missing as many as six starters to injuries. Yes, there are reasons Cincy is favored by 5 1/2 points. This in some ways might be a bigger defensive challenge for Miami then even the Patriots were last week. Dalton to A.J. Green will be a handful for Xavien Howard, and Mixon and Gio Bernard form one of NFL’s better running back tandems. (Speaking of running backs, look for Dolphins coach Adam Gase to remember that Kenyan Drake is pretty good and start feeding him the ball again. That was the focus of this column by me. Maybe Adam read it). Ball control to limit Cincy’s offensive forays might be Miami’s best upset shot. I do think the Dolphins are a fair bet to cover the point spread. Bengals could be in letdown mode after last week’s last-second 37-36 upset win in Atlanta. But the Fins lost a lot of trust capital with me in that utter collapse last week. Also, the Dolphins are only 1-6 in their past seven road games, making this a strong venue call. My pick: Bengals, 30-20.

Watch for latest DSM postgame poll, right here and also on my Twitter site, right after today's game ends.

Visit Week 5 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Perry, defense lead miracle-rally past FSU: Miami trailed 20-7 at home into the third quarter Saturday. Little was going right. But N'Kosi Perry's three second-half TD passes and a mighty defense rising up worked the Miracle On Marino Boulevard. For my game column centered on Perry: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami blows 17-point in monumental collapse in Cincinnati: At 3-0 Dolfans were chanting "Su-per Bowl!" After a 38-7 loss in New England it was "Here we go again." And then came Sunday's 27-17 loss in Cincy after Fins blew 17-0 lead. Until further notice: Same ol' Dolphins.

3. HEAT: Butler trade reportedly falls apart: Heat is 0-3 halfway through its six-game preseason schedule as the Oct. 17 regular season opens draws nearer. More importantly, the push to trade for Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler, so close, fell apart over the weekend, ESPN reported.

4. PANTHERS: Cats open 25th season with loss, Luongo injury: A 2-1 season-opening shootout loss at Tampa Bay and goalie Roberto Luongo helped off the ice in the second period with a knee injury made for what you'd call an inauspicious debut Saturday night. Luongo will be sidelined two to four weeks, missing Thursday's home opener. 

5. MLB: Brewers first team to clinch division series: Brewers swept Rockies 3-0 while Dodgers are up 2-1 on Braves and can cinch today. In AL, Astros lead Indians 2-0 and can clinch today, while Red Sox and Yankees are tied 1-1 entering Game 3 today. Over/under on that one is what, 4 hours?

6. UFC: Nurmagomedov beats McGregor, brawl ensues: Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title in Las Vegas by submitting Conor McGregor in a chokehold, a highly anticipated and well-fought bout that devolved into a post-fight brawl. Admit it. Didn't you want both guys to lose?

7. GATORS: Florida drowns No. 5 LSU in the Swamp: No. 22 Florida impressively won a third straight SEC game Saturday with a big 27-19 win over favored and 5th-ranked LSU. The Gator defense will keep this team in every game and Dan Mullen is the mayor of Gainesville.

8. MARLINS: The sting of Yelich as Fish begin offseason: Off an NL-worst 63-98 record, the salary-cutting, rebuilding Marlins plan for 2019. But this hurts: Seeing Christian Yelich lead Milwaukee in the playoffs in a likely MVP season. So cheap to keep, Yelich was. (Shake my head...)  

9. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Controversial judge confirmed to Supreme Court: Several women testifying about his past lechery and sexual misconduct were not enough to derail Kavanaugh's approval to the Highest Court. Remember when saying "Only in America" was a good thing?

10. CRISTIANO RONALDO: Soccer god face rap allegation: Ronaldo has resumed league play for Juventus despite the Portuguese superstar facing a rape allegation in the United States stemming from a 2009 accusation he has steadfastly denied. No matter how it shakes out, Ronaldo may have a future on the U.S. Supreme Court!

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,815 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 08, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 91.1%; plus Perry leads 28-27 miracle-rally pat FSU! Our game column; plus other state Collball (Gators!), your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 5 picks, World Series rooting-interest poll, Rocketman trailer & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our column from Canes' rally past FSU: From the stadium today on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, visit: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

Recent select other columns: By Mark Richt's smartly calculated design, the Hurricanes' emerging young quarterback N'Kosi Perry has faced little to no pressure in his first three college appearances. That changes today: We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry. And for our latest NFL predictions: Week 5 Gems Also: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 91.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 91.1 percent overall approval -- the combination of Csm"very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 28-27 home victory over Florida State putting No. 17 UM's season record at 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 55% approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 13 following game at Virginia.

G6: NO. 17 HURRICANES (5-1) BEAT FLORIDA STATE (3-3), 28-27: PERRY'S 4 TDS LEAD HUGE COMEBACK: For our column from the game: Kid QB Passes His Big Test ..... Final synopsis at Miami, 28-27: What to say? UM rallies from 20-7 halftime deficit as redshirt-freshman QB N'Kosi Perry throws four TD passes, three of them after halftime. Miami and FSU have played 63 times. Plenty of previous games have been bigger, with greater stakes. But few have left Miami fans spilling happier into the night than this one ..... 3Q synopsis at FSU, 27-21: Wow. Just when dirt was being shoveled onto UM's chances, TD passes from Perry to Cager and then Thomas have Miami right back in it ..... Halftime synopsis at FSU, 20-7: Miami ties it 7-7 on big 4th-and-2 gamble by Richt, who eschewed easy FG try to watch Perry toss 10-yard TD to Cager. It was downhill from there. Perry sack-fumble loss set up FSU field goal, then 44-yard Noles punt return set up TD pass. Then Richt 4th-and-3 gambled in last minute backfired, led to 53-yard FSU field goal. UM has dug itself big hole in what is unexpectedly a low-scoring game thus far ..... 1Q synopsis at FSU, 7-0: Noles QB Deondre Francois has been sharp, while Canes' attack sputtered to two punts in the quarter. Running game OK but N'Kosi Perry (2-6, 18 yards) off to quiet start ..... Original post: Visit We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry for my column previewing today's game. It isn't the 5-0 vs. 5-0 battle of unbeatens that danced through our heads leading up to the season, but FsumiaSeminoles at Hurricanes still resonates as special -- UM's biggest rivalry and biggest home game of the season even with FSU 3-2 and UM 4-1. Miami is a 14-point favorite for Saturday's 3:30 Hard Rock kickoff before ABC cameras, but that betting line feels fat. I see it closer. I see the first real challenge Miafsufor new Canes starting quarterback N'Kosi Perry in his fourth college game and second career start. The toughest test yet. UM seeks consecutive wins in the series for the first time since 2004, but to do that the Canes must beat FSU in Miami for the first time since '04. Miami lost the last two home games at the Orange Bowl to FSU, and all four at Hard Rock. "That's a meaningful history we need to change the course of," said UM coach Mark Richt, who sees the rivalry as undiminished: "Just the amount of great players who have been in this series," he noted. "How many great players have been on the field at the same time. It's kind of mind-boggling how many first-round, second-round, third-round draft picks that have played in one game." Saturday, UM's pass defense better show up vs. Deondre Francois, how has thrown for 646 yards the past two games. Richt said he envisions a day when Miami vs. FSU has national championship stakes again. "Right this minute I wouldn't say everybody is looking at this game saying it's going to decide who's in the College Football Playoff," he said. "I think for it to be really, really great, it's got to get back to that, and I think it will get back to that. "But it isn't there right yet." My pick: Hurricanes 34-26.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With the Miami-FSU game above, here's chronological Week 6 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 22 Florida (5-1) beats No. 5 LSU (5-1), 27-19: Unbeaten Tigers were 3-point faves in the Swamp, but I told you to beware the Gator. Florida has now won three straight SEC games and big defense rose up again Saturday.

South Florida (5-0) beats UMass (2-5), 58-42: Bulls, off a bye, were 14-point road picks to stay unbeaten and continue wooing the reluctant polls.

FAU (3-3) beats Old Dominion (1-5) at FAU, 52-33: Owls were comfortably favored in the home nest to get Lane Kiffin his misplaced mojo back.

No. 12 UCF (5-0) beats SMU (2-4), 48-13: Knights were favored by 24 at home to stay unbeaten and (maybe) crash the top 10.

Off this week: FIU (3-2; next vs. Middle Tennessee).

Week 6 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 19 Texas beats No. 7 Oklahoma, 48-45; Florida beats LSU (see above); and 6-Notre Dame beats 24-Virginia Tech, 45-23.

POLL RESULTS: NO CONSENSUS, BUT IT'S BREWERS, RED SOX FOR WORLD SERIES: We asked which of the eight final World Series contenders now in divisional play has your rooting-interest to win it all, and the vote was wildly without consensus. The Brewers and Red Sox led with 18.18 percent each, followed by the Yankees at 16.36% and Indians at 14.55%. The second tier: Braves 10.91%, Rockies 9.09%, Dodgers 7.27% and Astros 5.45%.

Other select recent columns: NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 29, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 98.7%;plus UM crushes North Carolina 47-10 as QB Perry plays whole game; also, our latest Canes/Dolphins/Heat columns, NFL Week 4 picks & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29. Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): D.Wade emotional on farewell season, Herald Week 3 NFL QB rankings, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State rankings, latest Back In My Day video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our columns from this week:

HURRICANES: A coach, still looking for his magic man: It wasn't Brad Kaaya. Evidently isn't Malik Rosier. Is it N'Kosi Perry? Finding a great quarterback remains Mark Richt's elusive Holy Grail. That column: Finding Great QB Defines Canes' Season.

DOLPHINS: Defining moment in modern club history is at hand: Unbeaten Fins can stake claim to a power shift in AFC East but to do so must do Sunday what hasn't been done: Beat Tom Brady in Foxborough. That column: For Fins, Moment Of Truth Is Here.

HEAT: On Wade's farewell year: From Heat Media Day as training camp began, an emotional Dwyane Wade discusses his final Heat season.That column: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 98.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-high 98.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 47-10 home victory vs. North Carolina putting No. 16 UM's season record at 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 10 a.m. today/Saturday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 70%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 6 following game vs. FSU.

G5: NO. 16 HURRICANES 47, NORTH CAROLINA 10: PERRY AT QB, BUT HARDLY NEEDED: Canes have the national stage to themselves Thursday night at 8 vs. North Carolina before ESPN
Uncmiacameras at The Rock. It's an ACC Coastal Division game -- UM's conference opener -- so, as much as the season-opening loss to LSU hurt, losing this one would hurt Miami more tangibly in terms of eventually getting back to the ACC Championship Game. With UM an 18-point favorite over the weaker-than-usual Tar Heels, such a loss isn't seen as likely. The U's quarterback situation will be squarely in the spotlight tonight, after N'Kosi Perry replaced Malik Rosier early in last week's win over FIU and played well. Who is Miami's starter from here? Perry? Rosier? Some of both? Whomever has the hot hand? Richt declined to say on Wednesday. Surely we'll know more after tonight. (UNC's QB situation also is up in the air, pun intended, with a likelihood Nathan Elliott and Chazz Surratt both might play). For Miami, dynamic big-play receiver/returner Jeff Thomas should be good to go after dehydration issues last week, but safety Jaquan Johnson and WR Ahmonn Richards are battling knee concerns. Richards' draft stock slips by the day as he continues to display proneness to injury. My pick: Hurricanes, 34-16.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Thursday night's Miami game above, here's chronological Week 5 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 13 UCF (4-0) beats Pittsburgh (2-3), 45-14Knights rolled big to make a run at top 10.

FSU (3-2) beats Louisville (2-3), 28-24: Seminoles (UM's next foe) rallied to get a little mo' going for Willie Taggert.

Florida (4-1) beats No. 23 Mississippi State (3-2), 13-6: Huge defensive road upset should get Gators ranked.

Middle Tennessee (2-2) beats FAU (2-3), 25-24: Bad last-second loss for Owls continues rough sophomore year for Lane Kiffin.

FIU (3-2) beats Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-4), 55-9: A no-worries home win for Butch Davis' Panthers.

Off this week: South Florida (4-0).

Week 5 national Top 25 matchups (5): No. 12 West Virginia beats No. 25 Texas Tech, 42-34; 4-Ohio State beats 9-Penn State, 27-26; 8-Notre Dame beats 7-Stanford, 38-17; 11-Washington beats 20-BYU, 35-7; and 19-Oregon beats 24-Cal, 42-24.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-PATRIOTS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: The Dolphins are going into dreaded Foxboro on Sunday and beating Tom Brady, who is 14-0 starting at home vs. Miami. It will be a watershed road win that signals a power shift in the AFC East. Well, at least that's what I think! I say why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We are a stout 30-16-2 overall and more importantly a strong 27-20-1 against the spread entering Week 4. Now let's keep it going! Dive into Week 4 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included within is a separate link to Thursday night's Vikings-Rams pick, or find it directly here. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing the height of giddy optimism.

Other select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 24, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 84.0%; plus UM handles FIU 31-17 as N'Kosi Perry comes off bench to star. Our thoughts on UM's QB situation: also, why Dolphins will beat Raiders and rest of our NFL Week 3 predictions & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22. Football's back! That makes this the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL Week 2 QB Rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of the State, Marlins Man, the real FitzMagic & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal update: As many know from following me on Twitter, I had recent thoracic surgery to remove a tumor from my chest and am in recovery mode. I'm on pain meds and on rest and no-drive orders this week. That's why I've cut back on a bunch of stuff such as a temporary reduction in Herald workload, no LeBatard Show and so forth. Thanks for the understanding. Hope to be back at it starting Monday.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 84.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-best 84.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 31-17 home victory over FIU putting No. 21 UM's season record at 3-1. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there showed 51% overall approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

Next poll: Sept. 27 following game vs. North Carolina.

Battle305G4: NO. 21 HURRICANES (3-1) BEAT FIU (2-2), 31-17Final: Miami, 31-17. Synopsis: On the day UM honored its 1983 championship team, the men who set the template, Miami may have found its next quarterback. N'Kosi Perry was pretty great Saturday in the 31-17 rout of FIU, replacing Malik Rosier with the game scoreless and taking impressive charge (17-25, 224 yards, 3 TDs), one interception his only blemish. I say rout because the final score does not reflect the lopsidedness. Miami never trailed and was never in jeopardy. But! This was FIU for Perry, a game where the idea of losing was no real concern. This coming Thursday night in prime time vs. North Carolina -- the season's ACC opener -- will tell more about The U's QB situation than Saturday did. The Tar Heels are not great, but, unlike FIU, they are a team UM's size. A fair fight. A challenge. Who starts that game at QB for Miami -- and how he performs -- will shape Mark Richt's ultimate decision more than what we just saw ..... 3Q: Miami, 31-0. Synopsis: An even bigger mismatch than imagined, but the story of the game is N'Kosi Perry replacing Malik Rosier and QB and lighting it up, although his third-quarter interception was a youthful mistake ..... Half: Miami, 24-0. Synopsis: Score doesn't show it even show UM's utter dominance. FIU has no shot, cannot move the ball (13 total net yards) on this Canes defense. N'Kosi Perry is 12-for-13 for 170 yards, two TD passes and all four scoring drives in relief of Malik Rosier. Mark Richt has himself a decision to make moving forward. Or, maybe it's already made? .....  1Q: Miami, 7-0. Synopsis: N'Kosi Perry in at QB for Malik Rosier is the news. Perry looks sharp. Travis Homer 35-yard TD for the score. Earlier 78-yard Jeff Thomas punt-return TD negated by penalty. FIU offense doing nothing. Miami in charge ..... I'll be semi-live blogging here throughout today's game, with up-to-the-minute scoring updates plus quick thoughts after every quarter ..... Original post: Here we go today/Saturday at 3:30 at Hard Rock, in front of ESPN2 cameras, the Hurricanes coming off a solid win at Toledo that failed to move them up in the polls, and crosstown neighbor FIU having hung 63 points on UMass and (as always) looking for respect. Emotion frames the matchup, of course, because so many players on either team grew up friends in MiafiuMiami, and mostly because of what happened when they met 12 years ago, in the 2006 season. BRAAAWWWLLL!!! Both benches emptied, a melee ensued, eight Panthers and five Canes were ejected, and 31 players from both teams were later suspended. Both coaches (Larry Coker, Don Strock) would lose their jobs after that season. The Backyard Brawl obviously was not the sole reason, but it was a shared embarrassment that helped shelve the natural rivalry as a regular series. UM won the brawlgame 35-0. The schools met the next season without incident, Miami winning 23-9. Today is the schools' first meeting since, the first in 11 years and only the third ever. Nobody anticipates an ugly reprise of '06. Said UM coach Mark Richt: "There will be guys getting their blood pumping. But I don't really anticipate anything foolish. I've not mentioned one thing [about the '06 brawl]to our guys." Second-year FIU coach Butch Davis, formerly with UM, of course, recruited the players who would win the 2001 national championship (Miami's most recent), but has a long way to go to hoist FIU onto a competitive par with UM. As we'll likely see Saturday. My pick: Hurricanes, 41-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami-FIU game previewed above, here's chronological Week 4 schedule for the rest:

No. 16 UCF (3-0) beats FAU (2-2), 56-36: Teams got the national ESPN spotlight Friday night with Knights coming off an unexpected bye after Hurricane Florence erased last week's game at North Carolina. UCF, a 2-TD fave, used big second half to crush Lane Kiffin's Owls.

FSU (2-2) beats Northern Illinois (1-3), 37-19: Most recent years this would have been a walkover for Seminoles, but now-struggling FSU was a rather modest 9 1/2-point home favorite as new coach Willie Taggert bought an ounce of patience.

Florida (3-1) beats Tennessee (2-2), 47-21Gators seem to be finding their groove, and this was impressive road win in a big SEC matchup.

South Florida (4-0) beats East Carolina (1-2), 20-13: A win is a win, but this one likely won't be enough vault Bulls up into the Top 25.

Week 4 national Top 25 matchups (2): No. 1 Alabama beats No. 22 Texas A&M, 45-23; and and 7-Stanford beats 20-Oregon, 38-31 in OT.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-RAIDERS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 3 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to defend The Rock and beat the Raiders here Sunday to forge a 3-0 start for only the fourth time since 1998. I explain why at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We were a stout 20-10-1 overall and more importantly a strong 19-12-1 against the spread entering Week 3. Now let's keep it going! Dive into Week 3 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included within is a separate link to Thursday night's Jets-Browns pick, or find it directly at Week 3 Thursday Gem. Got off to another win-win start to our new week, only one point off a rare Exacto on the final score. Thank you, Baker Mayfield!) Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield, the bull's-eye representing the height of giddy optimism.

Select recent columns: Give Dwyane Time And He'll Make Right CallWhy Drake/Gore Will Work, And Why That's Crucial to FinsSomehow, Dolphins Make A 7-Hour Wait Worth ItSoft Stretch In Schedule Is About Improving At QBNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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Twitter @gregcote