February 05, 2015

How would you rate Hurricanes' recruiting class? Poll. Vote!; plus Bosh says season "slipping" from Heat, latest draft projection for Dolphins & more

1) It is FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6. I'm up at Random Evidence Laboratories today calling out for Sunday's Random Evidence notes column. 2) Mentor LeBron James talks about rehabbing badboy Johnny Manziel; read it here. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): National Signing Day and Canes with poll, betting updates for local teams, Super Bowl verdict, 'Dear Greg' & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Dolphins stadium re-design to include "living rooms": Ridiculous, but true. Click here to read. Remember when the game was the thing? When winning was plenty? When teams didn't need bells and whistles to attract fans?

"Whiteside. Whiteside! WhitesideWhitesideWhiteside. WHITESIDE!!" --Greg Cote

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY POST-MORTEM ON CANES: The dust has settled (even though whenever people say that there invariably is no dust involved), the national rankings are in and opinions have gelled and are 1aa1acanesnsdhardening. So: How'd the Miami Hurricanes and coach Al Golden do this week on National Signing Day? The big-four ratings are not too kind, with ESPN ranking the Canes' class 23rd, Rivals 26th, 247Sports 26th and Scout 34th. There were no 5-stars recruits and the 3's outnumbered the 4's. A staggering 14 de-commitments and only seven kids signed from the South Florida backyard also colored those rankings. I thought UM's class was better than it was ranked; click on The Ones That Got Away for my column. Canes really beefed up on the offensive line, for one. Some emailers are similarly upbeat but many others are not so, seeing this as the latest damnation of Golden. So let's throw it open to debate. I admit no school's recruiting class can be fairly judged for a couple of years, but that doesn't mean you can't have an immediate opinion. Take a dip in our poll and say why.

DESPITE WHITESIDE, HEAT IN PERIL: Chris Bosh after Wednesday's 102-101 loss at lowly Minnesota, the
1aa1ahassanlatest blown-lead defeat: "Things are slipping away from us." And they are. Slumping Miami now is the No. 8 East seed in hunt for eight playoff spots, a mere half-game ahead of Brooklyn. Dwyane Wade, Bosh and Luol Deng have missed a combined 28 games -- and counting, with Wade still out. What's doubly disappointing is that Miami is losing despite the monstrous arrival of 7-foot phenom Hassan Whiteside (pictured), who had 24 points, 20 rebounds, three steals and two blocks on 12-for-13 shooting last night. Mr. Brightside has 101 points, 92 boards and 23 blocks in his past six games. Still, disconcertingly, the Heat is only 7-16 in games Whiteside has played. (It's 5-7 when he plays 20-plus minutes). Get well soon, Dwyane.

LATEST MOCK-DRAFT GUESS FOR DOLPHINS: ESPN's Todd McShay is out with his Mock 2.0 -- oh 1aa1atwaynesthank God! -- and he has Miami selecting Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes (pictured) 14th overall. Drafting a CB first makes some sense if there is no inside-linebacker worth taking that high, although wide receiver still could be the target if Mike Wallace or Brian Hartline or both aren't back. McShay has Jameis Winston going No. 1 overall to Tampa Bay and Marcus Mariota falling to sixth and becoming a Stinkin' Jet.

Poll result: NSD coverage is excessive: My media brethren, take heed. We asked how readers feel about the mountainous coverage of National Signing Day, and 55.9 percent called it "excessive" while another 30.6% paid "little or no attention." Only 13.5% called the coverage "justified."

Check back often because we frequently update and add to our latest blogposts...

February 04, 2015

The ones that got away define UM's recruiting class, keep heat on Golden; plus is National Signing Day big or overblown? New poll. Vote!; also, updated bet-odds for Heat, Canes and Cats & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Super Bowl review and poll, betting outlook for Dolphins and Canes & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

CANES CLASS NOT BAD, BUT LOW RANKINGS KEEP THE HEAT ON GOLDEN: I think UM's 2015 recruiting class is being underestimated on this National Signing Day, but the perception-is-reality thing -- its low rankings -- keeps the heat on coach Al Golden. Miami's class is ranked 24th by ESPN, 26th by Rivals and by 247Sports, and 34th by Scout, thanks to 14 de-commitments that left Golden scrambling. Click on The Ones That Got Away for my National Signing Day column, newly online and shipping to Thursday's inky pulp editions.

THIS IS NOT YOUR 'NATIONAL SIGNING DAY' HEADQUARTERS: I rebel against the NSD mania that engulfs college football fans, ESPN and other media today. Don't get me wrong. The sport's equivalent of the NFL's 1aa1aNSDdraft and free agency is important -- an essential annual influx and replenishing. What I reject as absurd is the over-analysis and over-coverage of it. Hurricanes fans and others around the country will instantly choose elation or disappointment today based on the signing of a couple of dozen players they've mostly never heard of or seen play. Based on what? On the analysis and assigning of a star rating by self-anointed website experts such as Rivals.com, Scout.com and others whose opinions are regurgitated as gospel. It's mostly guesswork that usually takes a couple or three of years to fairly judge, yet by the end of the day today every college's recruiting class will be ranked, poll-style. One year ago ESPN ranked UM's class No. 10 in the nation. Which means ... who knows? The Canes had  the nation's No. 1-ranked incoming class in 2008. And it meant nothing, really. In the 2010-11 seasons, when that glorious class should have been blossoming to greatness, UM was a combined 13-12. Anyway, enough of my rant. Tell us what you think of National Signing Day and why.

BETTING UPDATES ON HEAT, CANES, PANTHERS: Courtesy Bovada, Golden State (7-2) and up-trending Cleveland (15-2) are now nearly tied as faves to win the NBA title, with Heat now 100-1 (was 75-1). In the NHL, Anaheim and Chicago are co-faves at 6-1, with the Panthers now 100-1 (was 75-1). In men's NCAA hoops, Kentucky is even-odds to win it all, with Hurricanes at 200-1 (was 100-1). Best bet for a local player to win an individual honor: Cats' Aaron Ekblad stands third in NHL rookie of year odds at 3-1.

Poll result: Huge majority loved Super Bowl: We asked how this Super Bowl compared to most and 82.8 percent called it "better than average." Another 10.3% called it about the same, and 6.9% -- presumably Seahawks fans and losing bettors -- called it below average.

1aa1acreepy photo"DEAR GREG...": "Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a creepy family portrait in which the Dad looks almost like a ventriloquist's dummy. Thank you!" Dear Reader: Hmm. Tough request, but let me see what I can do. 

Check back often because we often update and add to our latest blogposts...

September 17, 2013

Should I continue on Le Batard's radio show? Self-absorbed poll. Vote now!; plus Dolphins, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, updated SOPY rankings & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Colts, DSM poll result & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

Heady days for Dolphins, Hurricanes: Hard to believe, but in 48 shared seasons since 1966 this week marks only the fourth time the Dolphins and Canes both have been 2-0 and preparing for a home game the same weekend. I explore the state of both teams and the outlook for each in this new column.

SHOULD I BE ON LE BATARD'S RADIO SHOW WHEN IT GOES NATIONAL?: I must ask your indulgence with this. We've been writing the blog since 2005 and polls have been a staple for almost as long, and I 1aa1espnradiothink this is the first poll about, well ... about me. Dan Le Batard actually 1aa1mesuggested it. I've been his Tuesday co-host on 790 and 104.3 The Ticket for about a year now, and his show goes national on ESPN (still airing locally, of course) 1aa1theticketaround Oct. 1. I think Dan wants me to continue with him but has reservations if I'll play nationally. I think I'd like to keep doing it but am not entirely sure (the new studio is much farther from me). So I invite the opinion of readers who listen to the show either locally or by podcast and have heard enough of me to have an opinion. Should I continue doing it or not? This is a boutique poll of limited interest, perhaps, but please forgive me that. And having the poll in my own blog may skew favorably, but I'm not so sure. I do invite your honesty. Vote and say why.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY / WEEK 2: Bonanza! Solid week all the way around. Whoooo! NFL predix: We were 1aa1fripixa nifty 13-3 overall on our Week 2 Friday Page predictions, and a solid 9-6-1 (Atlanta 1aa1hosscpushed) against the spread. We nailed outright upsets by the Dolphins, Bills and Cardinals. Fantasy: Greg's Lobos got even at 1-1 with a 136-115 triumph. I got 30 points from Dez Bryant (I don't care what your mother does, Dez) and 22 from the Seahawks' defense.

DOLPHINS NO. 12 IN NEW ESPN RANKINGS: That's up five from a week ago. Twelve teams make the playoffs, of course. Consensus building that Dolphins are playoff-likely and maybe top-10 material. Heady stuff  Sense the estimation is fragile, though. Must beat Atlanta Sunday to maintain the vibe. 

AQUINAS, NORLAND TOP NFL PIPELINES: It's boom time for local high school football and this reflects that: Miami Norland and St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale lead the nation's high schools with six current NFL players each. Norland's are Antwan Barnes (NYJ), Dwayne Bowe (KC), Antonio Brown (PIT), Lester Jean (Hou), Xavier Rhodes (MIN) and Tourek Williams (SD). Aquinas' are Geno Atkins (CIN, Giovani Bernard (CIN), Marcus Gilbert (PIT), Leonard Hankerson (WAS), Major Wright (CHI) and Sam Young (BUF).

SOPY 'STATE HEISMAN' RANKINGS / WEEK 3: This is the second season of our blog-exclusive State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) rankings, a weekly updated list of the most productive 1aa1bbortlesquarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS schools: Miami, FSU and Florida, FIU and FAU, and South Florida and UCF. Miami's Duke Johnson slips a bit this week because our rankings are cumulative so players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over course of season. Canes QB Stephen Morris won the 2012 season title with 1,900.5 points. Current leader Blake Bortles is pictured. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. Our 2013 standings entering Week 4:

Rk (LW)   Player, Team-pos.               SOPY Pts. Wk2=Year

1 (1)     Blake Bortles, UCF-qb               167 = 485

2 (3)     Marcus Shaw, USF-rb                159 = 451

3 (5)     Storm Johnson, UCF-rb             133 = 392

4 (6)     Jamesis Winston, FSU-qb*         133 = 366 

5 (2)     Duke Johnson, Miami-rb*           BYE = 307

6 (4)     Jeff Driskel, Florida-qb*             BYE = 278

7 (B)     Jaquez Johnson, FAU-qb          110 = 251.5      

8 (7)     Rannell Hall, UCF-wr                  43 = 234

9 (--)     Kenny Shaw, FSU-wr*               100 = 194

10 (--)   J.J. Worton, UCF-wr                  107  = 193

Bubble: Breshad Perriman, UCF-wr, 187. FIU leader: T.J. Lowder, wr, 175. Note: Players for Miami, Florida and FSU have played one fewer game than others.

Cote's State of the State rankings: 1. FSU (2-0); 2. Miami (2-0); 3. Florida (1-1); 4. UCF (3-0); 5. FAU (1-2); 6. USF (0-3); 7. FIU (0-3).

Click back. Will be updating and adding much to this latest blogpost...

August 27, 2013

The legacies of Howard Schnellenberger: What's No. 1? Poll. Vote now; plus Dolphin cuts, Guandolo's slap, Upset Bird Countdown (10 days) & more

1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 27. The Dan Le Batard Show remains on vacation this week, but I'm told today's "best of" show (3 p.m., 790 & 104.3 the Ticket) will include heavy doses of me. So you've been warned! 2) No Dolphins among 13 NFL player featured in new version of Carrie Underwood's "Waiting All Day For Sunday NIght," debuting Sept. 8. But ex-Cane Jimmy Graham is included. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Foot-dragging NCAA holds UM hostage, Miley Cyrus at the VMAs, George Zimmerman at the gun factory & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), on Instagram (Upsetbird) and on Vine (Greg Cote).

HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER: THE MAN, THE LEGEND ... THE HERALD MISTAKE: I wrote a lengthy Howard Schnellenberger column I liked. The timing was perfect, with this week's season-opening UM-FAU game a 1aa1howardsfirst-ever meeting of two football programs that count him as so hugely influential. Just one problem: The column that was supposed to jump to page 3D in the print (newspaper) edition on Tuesday did not jump anywhere in what I'm told were about half of all papers. That's embarrassing. The good news? The Herald re-published the column in Wednesday's editions. Meantime (thank you, Internet), click on AN ARCHITECT OF LEGACIES for the piece in its entirety. I asked Howard in yesterday's interview what accomplishment makes him proudest and he mentioned three, chronologically: Making the Hurricanes national champions, completely turning around the Louisville program in his hometown, and building FAU football from ground zero. Now here's a poll to set the order on Howard's own big three, which are listed here chronologically. (I think this poll might see a landslide winner, but you never know until you know). Vote and say why. I'm also curious if Canes fans upon reflection think less of Schnellenberger because of the "terrible decision" (his words, now) to abruptly leave UM after the '83 title.

DOLPHINS TRIM TO 75: Guard Lance Louis and fullback Jorvorskie Lane were the biggest cuts today as club trimmed roster to 75 to meet NFL deadline. Others among the nine men cut were WRs Julius Pruitt, Jeff Fuller and Andrell Smith; LBs Michael Clay, Nathan Williams and David Hinds; and DE Emeka Onyenekwu. All teams must trim to a final 53 by Saturday.

ON GUANDOLO'S HELMET-SLAP: Cypress Bay football coach Mark Guandolo is suspended two weeks (one game) by the county because ESPN cameras caught him slapping the helmet of his quarterback, Lucas Tellefsen. I get it, I guess. It's discipline for appearance's sake. It's also pretty comical. Such a violent sport. That kid-QB better be prepared for bone-jarring blindside sacks, but if his coach gets a tad physical -- OH NO! Funny to me.

UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 10 DAYS: The Upset Bird and I kick off our season of Friday NFL prediction 1aa1angry birds 1aa1birdupages on Sept. 6, and today we begin a 10-day countdown that each day will honor outstanding notable birds. We kick it off with Angry Birds, the video game franchise. [Never-before-told backstory: The Upset Bird, for reasons obvious, first thought the Angry Bird had usurped his name and considered legal action back in 2009 but was ultimately dissuaded by the Friday Page legal staff, which distracted and placated the Upset Bird with a plate of squirrel entrails].

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

August 05, 2013

MLB drops hammer on A-Rod: Is punishment fair or too harsh? Poll. (It's close!) Vote now; plus Cris Carter, Radio Tuesday & more

It's Radio Tuesday: I'm back in-studio with Le Batard and Stugotz today starting at 3 on 790 and 104.3 the Ticket. Ears and minds welcome. At least one Instagram pic and Vine vid from studio guaranteed.

1aa1t3am1) It is TUESDAY, AUGUST 6. I'll be the oldest person at Lucky's Tavern in downtown Fort Lauderdale tonight to watch the Jacksonville electronica band T3AM (pictured) perform. The guy on the far right I've been knowing his whole life; he's one of my best friend's sons. 2) To Merril Hoge, certain fellow media and hysterical Dolfans: You can't be serious, to quote John McEnroe. Are you really panicked that Ryan Tannehill misfired badly on a couple of passes or that Miami looked sloppy in a preseason opener? The first of five? C'MON, MAN! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose preseason opener to Cowboys, Johnny Manziel poll result & more. 4) You are invited to join us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

Click on The Great Pretender for today's latest column by me, on the A-Rod suspension.

MLB DROPS THE HAMMER ON A-ROD. FAIR? OR TOO MUCH?: Baseball today socked Yankees star Alex Rodriguez with what amounts to a 211-game suspension, more than four times the 50-game suspensions 1aa1arodhanded down to 12 other guys on Monday. A-Rod is appealing the punishment and may play in the meantime. Commissioner Bud Selig explained the harsh penalty by noting Rodriguez's use of PEDs over many years, and also his (alleged) dishonesty and obstruction in the Biogenesis probe. A-Rod also had previously admitted to steroids use earlier in his career. Does the punishment handed down to Rodriguez strike you as harsh or fair? Vote in our poll and say why.

A CRIS CARTER YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW: Not everybody loves or likes Cris 1aa1ccarterCarter, the former receiver inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. So in fairness and in the name of balance I'll pass this along. Carter took a redeye flight home from his crowning weekend so he could be back at practice Monday at St. Thomas Aquinas High, where he is receivers coach. He didn't have to, but he did. Carter is pictured here beside offensive coordinator Bryan Baucom, who sent us the pic from yesterday, as an unidentified photobomber in white saunters in the background.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

August 06, 2012

Dolphins' gloomy outlook: Win odds for each game; plus my latest video (U-S-A!), Canes football over/under, Garrard, Uncle Luke, naked sushi & more

1aa1gc8NEW VIDEO! WHY YOU SHOULD BE ROOTING FOR U.S. WOMEN'S SOCCER MORE THAN FOR LEBRON'S TEAM USA: Click on YouTube/TheGregCote for my latest video, the eighth we've done so far.

[1) It is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8. Marlins activate Giancarlo Stanton. 2) Happy to be back from a week's vacation (more on that below) and in the Blog Saddle again. 3) Join us at Twitter.com/gregcote. 4) U.S. places land rover on Mars. Obama links his administration with NASA triumph. Not to be outdone, Romney says he invented Mars]

"U-S-A!" WOMEN'S SOCCER WINS OLYMPIC THRILLER: America's women's soccer team played itself into the gold-medal match vs. Japan with a 4-3 overtime thriller over Canada yesterday. Extra time in the second overtime, seconds from a penalty-kicks tiebreaker, when Alex Morgan's goal decided it. USA rallied from three deficits to win. One of the best moments of these London Games. (In more of a ho-hum result, LeBron James and Team USA routed Argentina 126-97 in men's basketball).

DOLPHINS ONLY FAVORED TO WIN FIVE GAMES, SAYS MEAN-SPIRITED COMPUTER: The good folks at predictionmachine.com have run the coming NFL season 50,000 times (so you don't have to) and what spits out is not good news for Miami. Dolphins are given more than a 50 percent chance of winning in only 5 games and, factoring upsets, are given an overall victory over/under of 6.5. Best bets to win the Super Bowl are the Eagles (18% likelihood), Patriots (14.2), Packers (9.2), Texans (9.2) and Steelers (7.2), with Miami's title shot put at 0.2%. Game-by-game, here is how the computer sees the Dolphins chances of winning, from most to least likely: 65.8% vs Titans (Game 9); 61.6 vs Jaguars (G14); 60.2 @ Colts (G8); 54.6 vs Rams (G6); 52.3 vs Raiders (G2); 48.5 vs Jets (G3); 44.5 vs Seahawks (G11); 41.1 vs Bills (G15); 37.8 @ Cardinals (G4); 33.7 @ Jets (G7); 32.5 @ Bills (G10); 31.1 @ Bengals (G5); 27.5 vs Patriots (G12); 27.0 @ Texans (G1); 20.7 @ 49ers (G13); and 15.6 @ Patriots (G16).

Garrard out the gate as starting QB: Dolphins' first official in-season depth chart is out and has David Garrard at No. 1 quarterback ahead of Matt Moore and rookie Ryan Tannehill. But, as coach Joe Philbin said in a late-morning news conference, "It's a fluid situation." Offensive chief Mike Sherman today, on his QB situation: "That will not be a weakness of our football team. We'll have a good starter when we get done." Dolphins open their preseason schedule this Frday night at home vs. Tampa Bay.

Poll result: Dolfans not a real optimistic bunch: In the previous blogpost we invited you all to set expectations for the coming Dolphins season (you can still vote) and a plurality of 37.3 peercent voted "short again: 7 or 8 wins." Next came "wild-card contention: 9 wins" with 32.6%, followed by "not pretty: 6 or fewer wins" with 20.9%. Only 9.2% voted for "playoffs: 10-plus wins."

CANES FOOTBALL PEGGED FOR 7 WINS: The latest Bovada over/unders on regular-season college football wins peg UM for 7, trailing fellow in-staters FSU (10), Central Florida (8.5), Florida (8) and South Florida. Nothing for FIU or FAU, although I'd guess Panthers for around 9 and Owls for about 4. Nationally, joining Noles in double-digits are Alabama, Oregon and Southern Cal at 10.5 and LSU and Oklahoma at 10.

1aa1camlukeUNCLE LUKE PREVAILS: Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell (pictured), former notorious 2 Live Crew frontman turned Miami high-school football coach, has won a court fight to regain his full coaching certificate to continue as Northwestern's defensive coordinator. It was a victory over the Florida Department of Education, which was letting its view of Luke's past obscure the good he does now. Congrats to Luke and to his terrific attorney, our friend Mike Carney of Kubicki Draper.

1aa1goldclubOLYMPICS UPDATE: PHELPS PARTIES WITH GOLD MEDALS, PINOCCHIO IN JAVELIN: TMZ.com reports that swimmer Michael Phelps has been partying in London with his gold medals (pictured left), which is considerably more acceptable than partying in London with his bong. Note to regular guys in London bars: You have no pickup line that will compete with Michael 1aa1googlejavelinPhelps whipping out his gold. Pictured right: Google's latest Olympics-related icon appears to picture Pinoccio throwing a javelin. Serious Olympic comment: Serena Williams' gold-medal obliteration of Maria Sharapova was about as dominant a major championship performance as I can recall. Click here to hear a Jacksonville sportscaster rant against Bob Costas signing off past midnight. Updated pertinent Summer Olympics medal leaders are below, entering today's/Tuesday's action:

China 31 gold - 19 silver - 14 bronze -- 64 total

United States 29 - 15 - 19 -- 63

Great Britain 19 - 12 - 12 -- 43

Cote d'Ivoire 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0

Let's go Cote, Official National Team of This Blog!

Spoiler Alert! LeBron, Team USA win basketball gold!: I am tired of media outlets giving Olympic Spoiler Alerts. This is the instant-information age. If you honestly desire a self-imposed info blackout so that you can be surprised by a result eight hours after it happened, well, you're on your own, pal.

1aa1naked sushiEATING SUSHI OFF A NAKED WOMAN: Well who hasn't, right? A Miami Beach restaurant, Kung Fu Kitchen & Sushi, offers -- for $500 -- a platter of sushi served atop a nude woman (pictured). I see at least one health-code violation (no hair net). Personally, I'll stick with a standard dinner plate, thanks. Although I wouldn't mind being at the table next to the person ordering the Nudie Roll.

LATEST WORLD SERIES ODDS: Bovada's post-trade-deadline, stretch-run odds to win the World Series have it Yankees at 19-4, Rangers 5-1, Angels 15-2, Nationals 9-1 and Reds/Tigers both 10-1. Bleepin' Nats! Your disappointing Marlins are slotted 21st and can't imagine many takers even at 90-1.

MY SUMMER VACATION: Just returned from an eight-day New England holiday around Massachusetts and Maine. We started and ended in Boston, around the Wharf/North End area, and in between we hit 1aa1gcvacBar Harbor, Boothsbay Harbor and Ogunquit in Maine, and then Salem and Provincetown in Mass. The latter is proudly self-proclaimed as the gayest city in America and was, for its everybody-gets-along diversity, as impressive and memorable in its way as the vista of rocky coastline. Special thanks to that Minke whale for the impressive breaching. (Who knew there were Minke whales?) The scale says I gained only three pounds while away, which is stunning because I think I ate approximately 415 pounds of lobster and also may have consumed a beer or two, as indicated here.

1aa1dograftDEAR GREG...: "...your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a photo of an unbearably cute dog with plaintive eyes wearing a nautical life-vest. Thank you." Dear reader: Doubt I can find such a photo, sorry.

Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this Back From Vacation Jubilee Blogpost...

February 01, 2012

Grade Hurricanes' 2012 football recruiting class (with poll); plus Angelo Dundee, Super Blog Thursday (pray for Tommy), Matt Moore, LeBron, Cats & more

1aa1punx[1) Happy Groundhog Day! Although it was sad to hear about Punxsutawney Phil (pictured) being run over by that 18-wheeler. Hey that's just a rumor. Can't swear to it. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

Click on Triumphant Day for Golden, Canes for today's latest column from me.

1aa1nsd2UM WINS TRACY HOWARD SWEEPSTAKES, CLAIMS TOP-10 CLASS: Tracy Howard (pictured), the elite cornerback from the backyard, 1aa1tracyhowardMiramar High, chose Miami over Florida and FSU in a nationally televised announcement this morning. Howard was the most prominent South Florida football player not yet committed and is a huge National Signing Day prize for the Canes -- one that elevated UM's 2012 recruiting class into the No. 10 spot nationally in ESPN's rankings. Howard's announcement came in his school auditorium, cheers erupting as he pulled on a UM cap and touched his thumbs together in the familar "U" sign. "Why not win in my city and my hometown?" Howard said. "Why not do it here?" A big, big victory for coach Al Golden and the Canes. Howard is the sixth Canes recruit rated in the ESPN Top 150, and the highest ranked at 18th. The others: RB/CB Duke Johnson, Miami Norland (35th); WR Angelo Jean-Louis, Palm Beach Central (41st); DE Tyriq McCord, Tampa Jefferson (96th); S Deon Bush, Miami Columbus (101st); and WR Malcolm Lewis, Miramar (145th). All in all, a big day for Miami considering the school was recruiting under the cloud of likely NCAA sanctions ahead. How do you feel about UM's new recruiting class? Hey, here's a poll! I know, I don't like instant grades, either. So just think of it as a statement of your level of excitement over this class, all things considered. Vote now.

1aa1dundeeANGELO DUNDEE, R.I.P.: Legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee passed away at 90 in a Clearwater hospital last night after a heart attack, family at his side. Dundee shaped Muhammad Ali's career; they are pictured here way back when. Dundee stands with the fight doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, as kings of Miami's heydays in the sweet science, days when the 5th Street Gym reigned. Farewell, Angelo.

1aa1giselleSUPER BLOG THURSDAY: PRAY FOR TOMMY: Supermodel and superwife Giselle Bundchen, a.k.a. Mrs. Tom Brady, sent an email to family and friends that became privvy to the nefarious media. "I feel Tommy really needs our prayer, our support and love at this time," it partly read. Tommy! Giselle is pictured. Should the Patriots lose Sunday, think of it as one of the better consolation prizes out there. Or perhaps two of the better consolation prizes. (I didn't just say that did I?) Two other quick Super Blog Thursday thoughts: 1) EA Sports' annual SB simulation, using Madden NFL '12, has the Giants winning, 27-24, so why play the actual game? 2) The National Chicken Council reports 1.25 billion wings will be eaten Sunday. And that's just by me!

SUPER BLOG WEDNESDAY: MADONNA, ELTON: Madonna, oldish but aging well, is Sunday's Super Bowl halftime performer and her setlist is revealed! Reportedly Madge's 12-minute show will find her lip 1aa1eltonkingadsyncing singing a new song, "Gimmie All Your Luvin," the classics "Ray Of Light and "Vogue," as well as samples of "Music" and Holiday." Meanwhile, the commercials are always a favorite part of the Super Bowl -- according to the people who produce Super Bowl commercials -- and among them Sunday will be a new Pepsi ad featuring Elton John as a king. This would be the same Elton whose feud with Madonna included him recently exhorting her to "lip sync good" on Sunday. Elton is pictured here in a still from the new ad. (Love your music, Sir, but you are one strange, strange man).

A LITTLE R-E-S-P-E-C-T FOR MATT MOORE, PLEASE?: I'm talkin' to you, Brandon Marshall. But not just to you. Click on Chopped Liver for the column by me (and thanks for making it the most-read thing on all of MiamiHerald.com today). See, the Dolphins' opportunities to upgrade their quarterback situation are few, and risky. They almost certainly won't trade up to draft Robert Griffin III. Peyton Manning is looking more and more doubtful for medical reasons. Matt Flynn stands as the likeliest path, but he is unproven with all of two career starts. The options after those three are marginal free agents and lower-ranked draftees. Don't write off Moore just yet. That's all.

MY BLOG READERS VS. STATEWIDE VOTERS: In my Republican primary poll (a few posts back), rounded results were Mitt Romney 48 percent, Ron Paul 25, Newt Gingrich 19, Rick Santorum 9. In Tuesday's statewide vote it was Romney 46, Gingrich 32, Santorum 13, Paul 7. The big difference: More Paulies here, fewer Newts. That's OK.

1aa1bikelebronLEBRON AND HIS BICYCLE: Heat star LeBron James made big news for bicycling (pictured) the 40 minutes or so from his home to the downtown arena for the recent game vs. the Bulls. I'd be more impressed if he biked last night's game: Heat at Milwaukee. Postscript: LeBron scores 24 in first quarter, Heat lead by as many as 18, but somehow lose to Bucks. Miami forming a reputation for rising for the glamor opponents but sometimes coasting vs. the lesser foes. LeBron, though, has been consistent and consistently great. What a season he is having!

PANTHERS' PASS HUGE TEST: It was overshadowed by National Signing Day and the Heat playing, but the Florida Panthers' 4-2 home win over the Washington Capitals last night was the game of the year so far for the Cats -- one for first place in the NHL Southeast. Bulls-at-Heat the other day was billed as a big statement game but it was false drama; those teams will meet again in the playoffs and everybody knows it. With Caps-at-Cats, this was a truer declarative for the Panthers, who must win the division or risk continuing the club's long playoff drought.

TERRELL OWENS BROKE: Terrell Owens says he is broke (story here) after making more than $80 million in his NFL career. The national group, People Who Feel Sorry For T.O., will be meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth. 

Click back. Will be adding to and updating this latest blogpost throughout the day...

November 29, 2011

Predicting who Dolphins, Heat, Marlins will get; plus Heat title odds, Urban Meyer-as-in-liar, dead rats & more

[Thanks to all who joined our live chat today. Do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. Click HERE to join then or to post questions any time. Tuesday marked 10th anniversary of death of George Harrison: Gone but never forgotten. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote]

HEAT FAVORED TO WIN NBA TITLE: From Bodog, Heat is 9-4 favorite to win NBA championship, with Lakers 5-1, Bulls 7-1, Thunder 15-2, Mavericks 17-2 and Celtics 12-1. Heat over/under on wins (with 66-game season) is 48.5. Also, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade attended Tuesday night's Duke-Ohio State game in Columbus. Click here for the tale.

OH, CRYSTAL BALL: ON DOLPHINS, HEAT, MARLINS...: The newly unlocked Heat and newly spending Marlins are shopping in free agency while the Dolphins are preparing for the draft. Each team has its realistic top targets in mind. Here is my current prediction for each team's eventual top signing:

1aa1barkleymattDOLPHINS: QB MATT BARKLEY, Southern Cal --- Conceding Stanford's Andrew Luck to the Colts, Miami -- likely to choose somewhere between 4th and 10th in the first round -- could very well have its choice between Oklahoma's Landry Jones and USC's Barkley. Dolphins catch a break because many of the teams as bad or worse already think they have their franchise QB (Rams, Panthers) or have recently spent a No. 1 pick on the position (Vikings, Jaguars). Barkley, though only 6-2 and with good-not-great arm strength, is climbing up most mock drafts (surpassing Jones in Todd McShay's latest for ESPN) and has ready-now, pro-style skills that would suit the Dolphins' needs.

1aa1barkleysamueldHEAT: C SAMUEL DALEMBERT, Sacramento Kings --- The 6-11 center, 30, would be an upgrade at the position where Pat Riley most wants improvement/solidity. Dalembert is from Haiti, lives in Palm Beach and already has said in an interview how excited he'd be to join Miami's Big 3. He'd need to accept a significant pay-cut to the $5 million mid-level exception the Heat could offer, but he seems willing to be agreeable.

1aa1barkleycjwMARLINS: P C.J. WILSON, Texas Rangers: Wilson, here being wooed this week, is what the Marlins most need: Not only a starting pitcher, but a lefty. Getting shortstop Jose Reyes might cause more excitement, but getting Wilson would patch a bigger hole. At 31 he is in his prime and coming off a 16-7 season (31-15 the past two years) with a 2.94 ERA and 206 strikeouts. Those are ace-numbers.  

1aa1urbanmeyerURBAN MEYER-AS-IN-LIAR: Urban Meyer resigns as Gators football coach because of health concerns (he says) and to spend more time with his family (he says). One year later he is the new Ohio State coach. Voila! Guess OSU offered some magic Buckeye Juice to make him all better. Also guess he spent so much consolidated quality time with his family that he grew tired of them and needed a break. Also guess maybe Urban was kidding when he called Florida his "dream job" and "the best job in America." Gator fans, y'all got played. Dear Urban: You were always the next great offer from putting football above health and family again, and everybody knew it. Coaches' lip-service might change, but their priorities rarely do.

1aa1ozziegOH THAT OZZIE!: New Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen adorns the cover of the new ESPN The Magazine, along with his dog and his dog's tongue. 

THE SHAME OF SUH: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh suspended two games without pay for his shameful Thanksgiving stomp (followed by that ludicrous lie). That seems fair as long as it comes with a warning against any further breach of sportsmanship. The NFL worries too much about silly sportsmanship issues like end-zone celebrations. What Suh did was feloniously embarrassing.

ME, PICKS: Had an OK-to-solid Week 12 on my NFL picks, going 10-6 straight-up and 8-6-2 (two games were off-board) against the spread. Details coming on this Friday's pix page.

ME, FANTASY: The reeling Greg's Lobos sank to an embarrassing 3-9 in a heartbreaker, losing 139-138. Had an 11-point lead entering Monday night's game, with Hakeem Nicks and Marques Colston both playing. Thought I was golden. My opponent? He only had Victor Cruz. The same Victor Cruz who scored 37 and danced the salsa on my defeated, supine body.

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE: Our latest updated weekly ranking of the seven FBS teams in our state, with previous week's rank in parentheses. Entering collball Week 14:

1aa1fla1. FSU Seminoles (1) 8-4, 5-3 ACC

2. Miami Hurricanes (2) 6-6, 3-5 ACC

3. Florida Gators (3) 6-6, 3-5 SEC 

4. S. Fla. Bulls (4) 5-6, 1-5 Big East

5. FIU Panthers (5) 8-4, 5-3 Sun Belt

6. C. Fla. Knights (6) 5-7, 3-5 C-USA

7. FAU Owls (7) 1-10, 0-7 Sun Belt

1aa1lombardiLOMBARDI AT THE MOSAIC: Thanks to the good folks at the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation for having us out to watch Lombardi and then host an audience discussion afterward. Good time, great play. Those who judge actors and acting only by TV and film cheat themselves. What a performance by Ray Abruzzo as Lombardi in an intimate, 150-seat venue. Check out the Mosaic if you haven't.

1aa1ratA RAT'S LIFE: Over the long holiday weekend I detected and swiftly killed a rat in my garage with a baited trap. Do I feel guilty? Not even a little bit. Do I care what PETA might think? Even less. I wrote a haiku, less in eulogy than celebration: "Oh dirty rat, nocturnal invader. Clickety click, sniff sniff, snap!"

GOLF FOR GOOD CAUSE: The Piper High baseball program I've been involved with has its annual fundraiser golf tournament this Saturday Dec. 3 (1 p.m.) at the new Seven Bridges Springtree course in Sunrise. Only $80 per golfer, includes dinner buffet. If interested call Mike Morejon at (954) 494-8140.

INTERNET VS. SANTA: This story posits that kids' access to the Internet makes it harder for parents to grow Santa Claus-believing children. I hope Santa doesn't read this. He'll stop giving computers as gifts.

THE REAL T-30: The Real T-30 is our weekly cumulative, consensus Top 30 college football ranking based on a season-long combination of the three major polls: Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN. Points based on 30 for a No. 1 ranking, 29 for No. 2, etc. This aggregate ranking following Week 13 will be the last until the final post-bowls standings:

Rank   Team   Points   (Last week)

1   Louisiana State   1,235   (1)

2   Alabama   1,200   (2)

3   Oklahoma   1,104   (3)

4   Stanford   1,080   (4)

5   Oklahoma State   1,073   (6)

6   Boise State   1,059   (5)

7   Arkansas   979   (7)

8   Oregon   960   (8)

9   Wisconsin   889   (9)

10   Virginia Tech   797   (10)

11   South Carolina   744   (11)

12   Nebraska   726   (12)

13   Clemson   628   (13)

14   Michigan State   613   (14)

15   Michigan   486   (16)

16   Houston   459   (17)

17   Texas A&M   457   (15)

18   Kansas State   405   (20)

19   West Virginia   401   (19)

20   FLORIDA STATE   394   (18)

21   Georgia   331   (23)

22   Texas   323   (21)

23   Georgia Tech   307   (22)

24   Penn State   289   (24)

25   Texas Christian   287   (26)

26   Baylor   281   (27t)

27   FLORIDA   262   (25)

28t   Southern Cal   244   (30)

28t   Arizona State   244   (27t)

30   Auburn   209   (29)

33   SOUTH FLORIDA   144   (33)

43   MIAMI   13   (43)

48t   CENTRAL FLORIDA   7   (47t)

Click back. Will be adding much more to this latest blogpost...

October 21, 2011

Dolphins and Tebow and Luck, oh my! Who will you be cheering for Sunday? (with poll); plus Texas Rangers video by me and friends, NFL predix & more

[Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1godtebow 1aa1aluck 1aa1dolphlogoDOLPHINS AND TEBOW AND LUCK, OH MY!: Help me sort through this. The scene at Sunday's Dolphins-Broncos game should be odd to say the least. Fans will be cheering for the Dolphins, of course. Fans also will be hoping Miami loses again with the No. 1 draft pick and Stanford QB Andrew Luck in mind. And fans will be cheering for Broncos QB Tim Tebow. (Luck and Tebow are pictured right). In all three cases I'm talking about South Floridians -- Dolfans for the most part. Take a dip in our poll. Whether you'll be at the stadium or watching on TV, for what will you most be rooting and why? Seems strange to even ask, but these are strange times.

1aa1fripixNFL PREDIX: THE DOLPHINS WIN! THE DOLPHINS!: It had to happen sooner or later. (Didn't it...?) Miami beats Denver, 24-17. The Dolphins are very angry. You helped make them that way with all your "Suck For Luck" talk. They will win, whether you like it or not. Click on Week 7 Gems for all of our latest NFL predictions. And on QB Hotspots for our accompanying Friday Page column.

1aa1gregtexGO RANGERS!: St. Louis has won enough. Texas deserves this. Rangers turned around the entire World Series with last night's ninth-inning rally to even it 1-1 heading to Arlington. In their honor, I offer this brief video starring a few fellow Texas supporters. Pictured left to right: LeBron James, slain Libyan despot Moammar Gadhafi, me, Al Golden and Tim Tebow. Click here to enjoy the video. Well, to watch it, anyway. (One more reason to support the Rangers: A pumpkin honoring manager Ron Washington!)

WHERE PREP FOOTBALL STARS ARE HEADING: Dade-Broward high-school football stars among the ESPN top-150 recruits, and where they are headed: No. 18--CB Tracy Howard, Miramar (UM among 12 finalists); No. 19--Ath Ricardo Lewis, Miami Beach (Auburn commit); No. 48--Ath Randy Johnson, Norland (UM commit); No. 62--WR Amari Cooper, Northwestern (Alabama commit); No. 65--S Deon Bush, Columbus (UM among 20 finalists); No. 74--WR Justin Ferguson, Flanagan (Notre Dame commit); No. 82--WR Avery Johnson, Ely (LSU commit); No. 95--CB Amos Leggett, Homestead (UM commit); No. 146--WR Malcolm Lewis, Miramar (UM among 8 finalists).  

IT ENDED RIGHT WAY FOR GADHAFI: Even though he was nice enough to participate in my baseball video (above), I must say it ended right for the Libyan dictator. To have been captured in the safety of government custody would have been too good. Men like that should see their demise on the streets, among the people they ruined for decades. OK now back to sports!

NEW ODDS FOR SUPER BOWL, TEBOW, MORE: Bodog's updated SB faves have Packers at 3-1 and Patriots 4-1, followed by Ravens 8-1, Chargers and Saints both 10-1, and Lions 12-1. Dolphins are now alone at 750-1, dead last. Over/unders Sunday for two notable new starting quarterbacks: Carson Palmer, 230.5 passing yards; and Tebow, 175.5 in air and 45.5 rushing.

Click back. Will be adding more to this latest blogpost...

April 07, 2011

Heat statement: Rout of Celtics puts NBA title in play; plus Panthers fire DeBoer, LeBron's mom's arrest (with poll); plus Affirmed, pimpin' Cats, '60s songs & more


GAME OF THE YEAR: HEAT ROUT CELTICS: Heat win by 23 at home in a rout of Boston. Small picture: It gives Miami a big edge in winning the overall No. 2 seed in the conference. Bigger picture: It's a statement game that establishes Miami's ability to beat the Celtics and, by extension win the east and reach the NBA Finals. The second-quarter skirmish, set off by Jermaine O'Neal's flagrant foul on LeBron James, underlines that this has become a nasty (and therefore great) rivalry. Delicious! Original post: The No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference is in play, but even more important for Miami, the Heat -- 0-3 against Boston this season -- must prove it can beat its nemesis with the playoffs upcoming and these the two biggest Eastern claimants to reach The Finals. Heat also must resign itself to doing playoff battle with this roster, as it looks more and more as if Udonis Haslem won't be back in time to help much. Prediction: Heat by 6.

DEBOER OUT AS PANTHERS COACH: The Panthers relieved Pete DeBoer of coaching duties this/Sunday morning after three seasons as head coach. It's hard to argue the decision. His tenure showed some upswing but, bottom line, extended Florida's embarrassing NHL-record playoff drought to 10 seasons. GM Dale Tallon has accrued enough trust to back the notion he'll find somebody better.

1aa1gloriaj GLORIA, GLORIA, GLORIA: We briefly mentioned the arrest of LeBron James' mother, Gloria, in the previous post, but here is a new photo of her snapped as cops led her away. She is charged with simple assault for allegedly striking a valet around 4:30 a.m. Thursday outside the Fountainebleau. Click here for a TMZ.com video interview with the valet, Sorel Rockefeller. And click here to access the Miami Beach PD booking video (scroll to 'Gloria James Booking Video'). James also is charged with disorderly intoxication. (Kids, if you plan to be drunk in public, please at least be orderly about it). Gloria had LeBron when she was 16 and is only 43 herself. I envision a new documentary, "NBA MOTHERS GONE WILD!" James reportedly sent a Heat employee to bail Ma out. Remember the good old days when teams just had to worry about their players getting in trouble with the law? Now the cone of concern extends to players' families. (Trend!) I think coverage of this story is justified because it involves LeBron and because it is a legitimate distraction for the Heat as the playoffs near. Am I wrong? Take a dip in our poll and weigh in.

1aa1affirmed MY NEXT READ: AFFIRMED: Friend Lou Sahadi has written a new book, Affirmed (pictured), about the last horse to win the Triple Crown. I don't read many sports books, maybe one in 10 of all those sent to me, but this one I look forward to reading.

PIMPIN' WITH THE PANTHERS: Your Florida Panthers (10 straight seasons out of the NHL playoffs) continue to be much better at making money than scoring goals. The latest: They sold naming rights to the rink (the ice itself) to Lexus. That's right. It's now "the Lexus rink at BankAtlantic Center" -- something I will never, ever again refer to in print. You ever notice that Lexus and lemon both start with 'le'?

1aa1dwade SPEAKING OF SELLING...: Nike Jordan Brand will introduce a new Dwyane Wade sneaker line called Fly Wade in May, billing it as the lightest shoe Nike has yet turned out. No, I do not expect the company to send me a free pair just because of this mention, nor would I accept such an unethical gratuity. (Size 10 1/2, please).

GREATEST SONGS OF THE '60S: This is a new list from Rolling Stone. 10. "God Only Knows," Beach Boys; 9. "All Along the Watchtower," Jimi Hendrix Experience; 8. "Whole Lotta Love," Led Zeppelin; 7. "Hey Jude," Beatles; 6. "Light My Fire," Doors; 5. "My Generation," Who; 4. "Gimme Shelter," Rolling Stones; 3. "Satisfaction," Rolling Stones; 2. "A Day In the Life," Beatles; and 1. "Like A Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan. Can't argue much. Think 5 and 2 are a bit over-ranked but love all these songs. The start of "Gimme Shelter," leading to where Charlie Watts kicks in big, is among the greatest song openings ever.

SLIM PICKINGS FROM LEMMING: Recruiting guru Tom Lemming lists for CBSSports.com his national top 100 college prospects for 2012, and only three Dade-Broward guys make it , and none in the upper half. They are: 58. WR Avery Johnson of Pompano Beach Ely; 65. DB Deon Bush of Miami Columbus; and 77. DL Jelani Hamilton of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

Click back. Adding more stuff to this latest post later...