February 27, 2019

The evolution of sports into big business and Miami's role. New column; plus Heat young players are chopped liver, says ESPN; also, struggling Heat, Kraft arrest, AAF, 'Greg Cote Monday' ESPN podcast & more

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

Bhm1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27. I co-hosted LeBatard Show a day earlier than usual this week on ESPN Radio. Visit Greg Cote Monday for the best-of podcast. 2) Black History Month is February. It was first celebrated at Kent State University in 1970 and was officially recognized nationally in 1976. We spent hours one weekend wandering the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis a couple of  years ago. An irreplaceable trove. Well worth your time and effort! 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10. Le Batard TV show premiere with Riley, Zion Williams Shoegate & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

THE TOP 50 'BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS' IN SPORTS-BUSINESS HISTORY: A new book, The Sports Business Handbook, says it's been around 50 years since we began to understand that "sports Thedecision Williamsbusiness" was about more than games and results -- that it also was about deal-making and law and business and marketing and administration in what has become a trillion-dollar industry. "Fifty years ago was around the first time people really started focusing on those off-field things," said author Rick Horrow. "Before that if it wasn't in a box score, it wasn't reported or talked about." The Miami Beach-born Horrow, who hand a hand in shepherding the original Miami Arena into fruition back in the day, includes in the book a chronological list of the top 50 "breakthrough moments" in sports business. I write of this in my latest column; please visit The Evolution Of Sports Into Big Business to read. Two of those beyond-sports moments mentioned have strong South Florida ties: the emergence of the Williams sisters Serena and Venus in tennis, and LeBron James' 'The Decision' that brought his talents to South Beach and the Heat. (I found it interesting that the first and most recent moments listed both were about social justice involving the national anthem: the raised fists on the medal stand during the 1968 Mexico Olympics, and Colin Kaepernick kneeling. Horrow's book has spawned a "symposium tour" that begins Thursday at Harvard University. A stop in Miami  is expected this summer. The book is out next week, and available now at mascot books.com.

Our other most recent columns: Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Zion Should Say See-Ya Duke and Shut It Down / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' RebuildStain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

WinadeESPN UNDER-25 LIST SNUBS HEAT: ESPN today tossed out a list of top 25 NBA players under 25. Greak Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo is on top, the usual suspects follow, and the whole list is here, based on a mix of right now and "future potential." Next Superstar Rankings, they call it. What jumped out at me, Mr. Miami, was the absence of any love for any Heat player. The list is a by a panel of three experts with 25 votes each. That's 75 votes, total. Number given to any Heat player: Zero. I thought either or both of the two legit candidates, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo (pictured right), might at least have been tossed the crumb of a No. 24 vote something. Nada! (Josh Richardson just missed the poll's kiddie pool at age 26, if you wondered). It's one more gloomy indication that Miami is a team without a current (in-his-prime) superstar and also apparently a team without a future superstar on the roster, at least so says ESPN.

WHAT'S RIDICULOUS IN SPORTS: A quick Tuesday three-pack...

Spo(*) Heat losing at home to Phoenix -- If Miami misses the NBA playoffs, last night's loss will be presented as Exhibit A. Rock bottom. Zero excuse available for a 124-121 home loss to a league-worst Suns team that had lost 17 in a row coming in, and is blatantly tanking for Zion Williamson. Great games by Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk, wasted. Miami has now lost six home games in a row, once unheard of. The season is turning depressing for Miami, although at least Dwyane Wade's long farewell lends an emotional heft and a reason to keep watching.

Kraft(*) Arrest of Robert Kraft -- So the Patriots owner is caught up in a police prostitution sting out of a happy ending massage parlor "day spa" in Jupiter. There are real criminals in this case. They are whomever is involved in the alleged human sex trafficking that may be in play here. Arrest them and throw 'em in jail. But clients unaware of any trafficking who simply went there for what they thought was private enjoyment? Cops have better stuff to do. If a restaurant is selling stolen steaks, you arrest the owner buying them, not the diners.

Aaf(*) Alliance of American Football -- The new spring AAF just finished its third weekend and already it has had to be bailed out financially and seen a coach quit. Ratings have dived after initial curiosity made Week 1 numbers encouraging. The whole venture is just one network's content initiative, and it's stumbling early. The question: Will the AAF even survive to welcome a rebooted XFL as competition a year from now? "LOL," says a grinning NFL.

Select recent other columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

APSE-HONORED WORKThe 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

February 18, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus Kaepernick and Kuchar columns, your verdict on Murray vs. Tagovailoa for Dolphins & more

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

Prezday1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18. Happy Presidents' Day. I honor the office and what it stands for. Not always the man in it. But the office. 2) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Matt Kuchar/underpaid caddie tempest, Dolphins' QB plan with poll, Parkland 1-year anniversary & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Colin Kaepernick, Caddiegate, Kyler Murray: Our most recent columns: Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is SignedHe Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too /  And Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

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. HEAT/NBA: Wade's 'Last Dance' pauses for All-Star Game: It was Team LeBron rallying to beat Team Giannis 178-164 in a typically defense-oriented (!) NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte Sunday night. Heat's Dwyane Wade, a special all-star roster addition, scored seven points with four assists off the bench in 10 minutes of action in the final all-star bow of his Last Dance farewell season. Now back to earth: Miami will return from the break Thursday at 26-30 and narrowly off playoff pace.

2. MARLINS: Fish open full spring training: Marlins are up in Jupiter (the city, not the planet) for Monday's first full-squad work of spring training. With catcher J.T. Realmuto now a Phillie, every Miami veteran with any appreciable trade value has now been swapped out for prospects. Fish could be good someday. We just have no idea when.

3. MOTORSPORTS: Hamlin takes Daytona 500: Denny Hamling won the Daytona 500 for the second time in four years Sunday in NASCAR season-opening race, one marred as usual by multiple wrecks. William Byron (whom Hot Button is not pretending to have heard of) was on the pole. Too bad. Nobody has won this race from the pole position since Dale Jarrett in 2000.

4. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women win at No. 2 Louisville: After earlier stunning No. 4 Notre Dame, Katie Meier's Canes women -- 22-5 and ranked 20th -- visited second-ranked Louisville Sunday and won 79-73. The drama for UM's men is of a far different sort. Jim Larranaga's guys (11-14) will need a miracle finish in last five games and in ACC Tournament for any prayer of an invite to NCAAs.

5. COLIN KAEPERNICK: QB, NFL settle collusion grievance: I'm no lawyer, but this I know: the settlement of a collusion grievance is a compromise but one that does not mean there was no collusion to keep Colin Kaepernick out of the league. Simple to end all doubts, though. Somebody sign the guy!

6. CANES BASEBALL: Canes open season, DiMare era with sweep: With Jim Morris retired after 25 seasons, Gino DiMare took over as coach as the Hurricanes wrapped their season-opening home series vs. Rutgers Sunday with a three-game sweep: 19-3, 7-1, 9-3. Canes are unranked. For now.

7. MATT KUCHAR: 'Cheapskate Champ' finally does right by caddie: The PGA Tour's Caddiegate starred Matt Kuchar, who, after winning a tournament and its $1.3 million prize, paid his fill-in caddie a paltry $5,000. Social media vilification ensued. Friday, Kuchar relented, apologize and said he'd give the bag man 50K.

8. PANTHERS: Barkov hat trick lifts Cats: Florida, in the midst of a seven-game homestand, beat Montreal Sunday behind Aleksander Barkov's hat trick. But Cats are still a big 11 points off playoff pace two-thirds into the NHL season. Panthers have won than three games in a row only once all season. Streak, please?

9. BOB COSTAS: Broadcaster breaks silence on NBC split: Bob Costas revealed details of his breakup with NBC Sports after a 38-year run, saying it came down to his outspokenness on NFL brain injuries clashing with NBC's pricey partnership with the league. No surprise: Costas leaves with his integrity intact.

10. INSPIRATION: A coach with no arms or legs: ESPN told the story of Rob Mendez, a California high-school football coach born without arms or legs. Store away the previous sentence in the back of your mind for use the next time you start feeling sorry for yourself.

Missing the HB10 cut: The Dolphins introduced new coach Brian Flores' staff of assistants to the media on Friday. Time now for them to introduce Miami to something nearly forgotten: a winning Fins team ..... Week 2 for the new Alliance of American Football, and I can already feel interest fading ..... Bengals RB Mark Walton, the ex-Cane, was arrested in Miami for snatching a cell phone from a woman during an argument. And the propensity of some pro athletes to be their own worst enemy continues to astound ..... Finalists for the 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class are led by Marques Johnson, Jack Sikma, Ben Wallace and Paul Westphal, verifying once and for all they're letting too many people in ..... David Beckham watched his first Salford City match since becoming a 10-percent owner of the English non-Premier League club. Hey Becks, how about you concentrate on Inter Miami, yes? ..... R.I.P. Gordon Banks, famed British goalkeeper who ended his career with Fort Lauderdale Strikers in late '70s, gone at 81 ..... Update: Countdown now 2,681 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

KaepNO KAEPERNICK COLLUSION? ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN SETTLEMENT: Colin Kaepernick settled his collusion grievance against the NFL on Friday, but the quarterback remains unsigned entering his third season of suspicious unemployment. For my newest column, please visit Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed. Friday's settlement should not have surprised anyone. The player knows how difficult it is to prove collusion in court. And the NFL wanted very badly to spare commissioner Roger Goodell and several team owners from being deposed and having their phone records and emails examined. It also is important to note that settling the collusion grievance does not mean there was no collusion to blackball Kaepernick from the league, or that there isn't still. I'd rehash the whole background here, but you're living under a rock if you don't know the polarizing QB is where he is as the father of the NFL players' social justice movement that has included kneeling during the national anthem. All it will take is one brave team to see in the "athlete/activist" first as a really good quarterback who is better than what they've got. Only then will the stain of collusion begun to fade.

POLL RESULTS: IT'S TAGOVAILOA OVER MURRAY FOR FINS: We asked, "Which of these 2 options would you prefer as a Miami Dolphins quarterback plan?" And you preferred drafting Tua Tagovailoa in 2020 over Kyler Murray in 2019 by 57.50 percent to 42.50%. So a somewhat less than overwhelming majority is buying into the prevalent "tank in '19 for Tua in '20" theory -- even though odds are against Miami being bad enough next season to draft high enough to get him. And a sizable minority agree with me about fast-tracking the future by going for the more gettable Murray in this April's draft.

Other most recent columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble.

Additional select recent columns: Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / We All Got Cheated, Not Just Saints / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

APSE-HONORED WORKThe 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

February 15, 2019

Matt Kuchar was wrong to stiff caddie, but venomous overreaction is wrong, too. My latest column; plus our Kyler Murray-to-Dolphins posit with Murray vs. Tua Tagovailaoa poll. Last day to vote!; also, remembering Parkland one year later & more

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

Park21) It's FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15. Hope y'all felt much love on Valentine's Day, while also remembering the 17 lives lost one year ago in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. It will never be a happy Valentine's Day for the loved ones left grieving. Shouldn't stricter gun control and a ban on assault weapons be a bipartisan issue above politics? May the March For Our Lives activism this tragedy spawned continue and grow. 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for best-of podcast from this week's Le Batard Show on ESPN. It's really bad, thanks to my record-low performance. You're welcome! 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Bob Costas walks away, your Miami's-next-champion verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.  

KucharYES, KUCHAR DID A DUMB, CHEAP THING. NOW GET OFF HIS BACK!: I guess that would be my latest column if you boiled it down to two short sentences. Yes, the PGA Tour star Matt Kuchar, who'd just won a tournament and its $1.3 million prize, paid his caddie a piddling $5,000. But as bad as that was (and it was), the overreaction vilifying Kuchar may be worse, especially when extenuating circumstances and the full picture of Kuchar are considered. For that more nuanced look I invite you to visit my newest column here: He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too. (Kuchar and the caddie are pictured, in happier times, before the bag man realized his week's pay envelope was a little very thin).

MurraytagMURRAY IN '19 OR TAGOVAILOA in '20? VOTE NOW: In my latest column I propose that the Dolphins fast-track their future by (hopefully) drafting Kyler Murray this year rather than gambling to maybe get Tau Tagovailoa a year later. To read that column, visit Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins. Now, in this poll, I'd like to know your opinion on this. That the Dolphins will be moving on from quarterback Ryan Tannehill seems so increasingly clear it's almost as if he's already gone. But who's next? A stopgap veteran seems unlikely. The draft seems far likelier. And the choices seem fairly clear. Draft Oklahoma's Heisman-winning Murray 13th overall this April if he's there, which he plausibly might be. Or tank this coming season and gamble you'll be bad enough to get a pick high enough to go for Alabama's Tagovailao in 2020. No guarantee Miami would get either guy, of course. But if the plan is to draft your future, Murray now vs. Tagovailao later seems the probable either/or. Your opinion goes here:

Other most recent columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble.

Additional select recent columns: Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / We All Got Cheated, Not Just Saints / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 29, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 11.2% (season final). Ouch. CSM bottoms out at lowest total since '14; plus UM falls to Wisconsin in bowl, 35-3, with no offense, 5 turnovers, awful run-D; also, NFL Week 17 picks, Beckham carves a turkey & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28. If you missed it, visit MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018 to watch out annual holiday video. It's ho-ho-horrible! 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual Christmas video, Dolphins award winners, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

On the 'Debacle of the Disappearing Dolphins': The Grinch stole the playoffs in this past Sunday's 17-7 Dolphins home loss to Jacksonville. But did he also steal Ryan Tannehill's Fins future and Adam Gase's job? I explore in my most column. Visit End Of Hope For Dolphins. For Tannehill, Gase, too?

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: BOWL/FINAL SEASON: 11.2%: Results are certified in the latest -- and season-ending -- Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a final approval rating of 11.2 percent -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, leaving Miami's final season record at 7-6. It's the lowest season rating since 2014. The CSM, completing its 10th season, 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. Because this was the season's final poll, I urged you to please consider placing special emphasis on the season as a whole. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 11 a.m. today/Saturday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 24%).

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.

G13/Bowl: 11.2% following 35-3 Pinstripe Bowl loss to Wisconsin.

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

BOWL: WISCONSIN 35, HURRICANES 3: NO OFFENSE, 5 TURNOVERS, BAD RUN-D SPELL SAD END TO DISAPPOINTING YEAR: Final thoughts: Do not blame the Miami defense for this loss 35-3 loss. I know: 35 points. And I know: 333 yards rushing allowed, 205 by one player. But, no, it was five turnovers, including four interceptions, that killed UM, start to finish. It was an absolute nightmare game by Malik Rosier. UM now 1-8 in its past eight bowl games since 2008 ..... 4Q: Wisconsin 35-3 on 1-yard TD run ... Wisconsin 28-3 on 8-yard TD run following Perry INT ..... 3Q: Wisconsin 21-3 on 2-yard TD run following Rosier INT ... Halftime thoughts: Miami lucky to be trailing by only 14-3, after a very early 14-0 deficit suggested a blowout, three UM  turnovers and two badly missed Wisconsin field goal tries. It should be worse, in other words. Miami still is in it. But it's going to take a turnover-free second half, the Turnover Chain moving again on the Canes' side, and better play from Malik Rosier -- with his arm, not just his legs. That, or Jarren Williams. Just sayin' ..... 1Q: Miami 14-3 on 33-yard FG after Jaquan Johnson INT and Rosier 62-yard run ... Wisconsin 14-0 on 7-yard TD run following Rosier interception ... Wisconsin 7-0 on 35-yard opening-drive TD pass ..... Original post: A year ago these same two programs were ranked and meeting in the top-tier Orange Bowl game, a reward for big seasons. (Wisconsin beat Miami, 34-24). One year later, not so much. Now both teams are a disappointing 7-5 and it's the mid-level Pinstripe Bowl at PinbowlYankee Stadium in Da Bronx, a weak consolation to end the season. It is the middle game (5:15 kickoff) of three in a row Thursday on ESPN. The overarching theme in the buildup has been the capital-D distractions dogging Miami. First defensive coordinator Manny Diaz bolts to become Temple's head coach. Then came reports maturity-challenged quarterback N'Kosi Perry was in trouble again over a sexually explicit video he posted on Snapchat. But I don't see these as big negatives for UM because A) Although Diaz's departure hurt UM's recruiting and caused a disappointing early signing period this month, Diaz will coach Miami in the bowl, which could be an emotional rallying point for the defense; and B) Does it really matter that veteran Malik Rosier will (likely) start at QB instead of Perry? Not much if any is the correct answer. What does matter, though, is the absence of UM's best run stopper in Gerald Willis, who'll skip the bowl to rehab a hand injury. (The truth? I have little doubt he could play. The same injury hadn't kept him out before. But with the draft coming up he doesn't want to risk aggravating the injury). Other factors favor Miami. Temps in the 50s are forecast, so weather shouldn't be the negative it might have been for UM had it been freezing. I'd also guess Canes will enjoy more crowd support, considering half of New York have relatives living in South Florida. Beyond that I see Miami as slightly better overall, so it isn't surprising UM is favored by 3 points. It also isn't surprising the line is only 3, considering the Badgers have the nation's leading rusher in Jonathan Taylor. Both team's QB turmoil -- Jack Coan starts for Wisconsin because Alex Hornibrook, who blistered UM in last year's Orange Bowl, is out with concussion -- should be offsetting factors. But stopping Taylor will be a handful for Miami -- especially without Willis. A win by Wisconsin would not surprise even a little -- the upset risk is very high -- but I'm going to hunch Rosier leaves smiling from his final college game, and that UM's defense sends Diaz off a winner. My pick: Hurricanes, 24-20.

PicksNFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: You know I hate to brag, but The Magical Year of Cote rollicked on last week with a 15-1 record straight-up (our only miss the Dolphins!) and 9-7 against the spread. We're now at .710 overall and .588 ATS entering this final weekend of the regular season. Last week continued our run of Upset of the Week bull’s-eyes with Ravens winning at Chargers, and we nailed two other outright upsets with Seahawks over Chiefs and Raiders over Broncos. Also had a trio of ‘dogs-with-points covering in Redskins, Bengals and Giants. Now, ahead: Four Dolphins-Bills pick, Game of the Week, upsets and all the rest, visit Week  17 Gems for all of our latest selections.

Becksturkey"DEAR GREG...": "Your blog's OK but would be  much better if occasionally you would show a photo of Miami MLS boss David Beckham back home in England carving a Christmas turkey. Thank you.: Dear Reader: Great idea, but how am I gonna get such a picture?

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 26, 2018

On tonight's big Heat test, Dolphins award winners; plus my annual Christmas/holiday video, this year with Jeter, Beckham, Gase and Wade; also, Herald NFL QB rankings (fight to the finish), Pix 'n Fantasy results (Yes, I went 15-1) & more

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

Mc1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26. Hope y'all had a Merry Christmas, fellow Christians, and a joyous holiday season to all! 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall to Jacksonville with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, ButchCats & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our 'Debacle of Disappearing Dolphins' column: The Grinch stole the playoffs in Sunday's 17-7 Dolphins home loss to Jacksonville. Did he also steal Ryan Tannehill's Fins future and Adam Gase's job? I explore in my column from the stadium off the game. Visit End Of Hope For Dolphins. For Tannehill, Gase, too? to read.

MerryxmasMERRY CHRISTMAS! IT'S OUR ANNUAL HOLIDAY VIDEO AND IT'S HO-HO-HORRRIBLEE!: That's me unsmiling in red with a bad beard. My holiday friends are Marlins boss Derek Jeter in blue, Dolphins coach Adam Gase in yellow, MLS Miami potentate David Beckham in green and of course Heat star Dwyane Wade in whatever the heck color that is. The five of us recently got together for a sled race that was recorded for my annual holiday greeting. (Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedules, fellas). Hope you enjoy! Click MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018 to watch.

JoshrON HEAT'S TELLING TEST TONIGHT: Toronto at Miami tonight is a bigger than typical midseason test for the suddenly surging Heat. (Leading scorer Josh Richardson is pictured). Miami rides the NBA's best current winning streak (five games) to 16-16 and tonight can go over .500 for the first time since 3-2. But to do that they must beat the best team in the league in the Raptors, who are 25-10 and atop the standings. Toronto beat Miami 125-115 one month ago in Canada. Is Miami a team that can contend for a top-four playoff seed or will be scrambling for an eighth? Look for clues tonight. Encouraging sign: The Heat surge has been without Goran Dragic, who is out for several more weeks following knee surgery.

XhowardON DOLPHINS' 2018 TEAM AWARD WINNERS: Announced today, it's cornerback Xavien Howard (pictured) as Most Valuable Player, running back Frank Gore the Leadership Award, quarterback Ryan Tannehill the Courage Award, and wide receiver Kenny Stills the Community Service Award. Quick thoughts: No complaint with any of the choices, but  I don't think it's a good sign when a CB on a middle-of-the-pack pass defense is your season MVP. Or, put another way, when your QB or some other offensive skill-position player failed to rise up and seize the award.

NfolesFOLES WINS WEEK, MAHOMES TAKES NARROW LEAD TO FINISH LINE / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 16: The Eagles' Nick Foles (pictured) takes Week 16 honors with a big 58.55-point game, but, more importantly, the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes maintains his overall No. 1 spot in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. Mahomes has a scant 4.20-point lead over the Saints' Drew Brees, and it figures as a two-man race for the season championship entering the final week. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill falls one spot to 30th overall. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering the Week 17 finale:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 16
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK16        Season

1       1       Patrick Mahomes, KC           28.65         588.80

2       2       Drew Brees, NO                   39.30        584.60

3       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                    29.95        556.25

4       4       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        44.00        550.10

5       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 40.65        544.80

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                40.85        534.40

7       6       Philip Rivers, LAC                12.05        506.60

8       8       Jared Goff, LAR                  32.80        491.45

9       11     Aaron Rodgers, GB              52.10        468.30

10     10     Deshaun Watson, HOU         40.95        467.55

11     9       Tom Brady, NE                    10.30         462.25

12     12     Derek Carr, OAK                  25.35        440.20

13     14     Eli Manning, NYG                32.45        428.40

14     15     Dak Prescott, DAL               31.05        425.85

15     16     Russell Wilson, SEA             34.55        423.80

16     13     Cam Newton, CAR               DNP          401.75

17     17     Matthew Stafford, DET        9.80          395.55

18     18     Carson Wentz, PHI              DNP           377.70

19     19     Mitch Trubisky, CHI            41.30          373.00

20     21     Baker Mayfield, CLE          45.20          371.45

21     20     Case Keenum, DEN            19.10         348.90

22     22     Marcus Mariota, TEN         14.50          297.40

23     23     Andy Dalton, CIN               DNP           270.30

24     28     Jameis Winston, TB          39.80          254.35

25     24     Joe Flacco, BAL                 DNP           246.25

30     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA          15.30          218.60

34     33     Brock Osweiler, MIA           DNP           126.35

Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 238.60. Week 16 best: Nick Foles, PHI, 58.55 (35-49, 471, 4-1 in win). Week 16 worst: Josh Rosen, ARI, 5.35 (12-23, 87, 0-0 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 16 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: STRONG ... AND STRONG!: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Strong. Again. My surreal season continues. We went 15-1 -- yes 15-1 -- overall, missing only on the Dolphins home loss to Jacksonville. (Thanks, Fins). And we were 9-7 against the spread. We nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Ravens winning at Chargers ("Aawwk!"), and two other outright upsets Seahawks beating Chiefs and Raiders beating Broncos last night. Also had a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Redskins, Bengals and Giants. All in all, maybe our best season ever girds for its final week! Greg's Lobos: Strong. The Lobos ended 2-1 in the consolation-bracket playoffs after a 5-8 regular season. We closed with a 167.8 to 125.3 rout of Sarah Spain, led by Deshaun Watson's 36.5 points. We'll get 'em next year, because ... #WeAreTheLobos!

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 23, 2018

A personal (serious) Thanksgiving Weekend message from me to you; plus our Turkey Day NFL predictions results, Week 12 picks more

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

Mestudio1) It's FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23. Hope y'all had a very happy Thanksgiving! 2) Enjoyed sitting in with ESPN's Randy Scott on the LeBatard Show Wednesday. With Randy by phone from Bristol, I was in the Big Chair (Dan's seat), as pictured. I was out of my element, but the pros around me made it easy. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State, new Back In My Day video (Banking!) & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Select recent columns: LeBron/Heat, NASCAR, Wade, Gase/Richt: LeBron James majestically dropping 51 points on his former team was enough to make Heat fans wistful: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost. Also: NASCAR Needs A Next Big ThingWade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him. And Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

HappythanlsA PERSONAL THANKS, FROM ME TO YOU, ON THE HOLIDAY MADE FOR THAT: Thank you, readers and listeners, for continuing to allow me to have the career I never imagined I would. Thank you, Miami Herald and ESPN Radio, my professional families. Thank you most of all to the family I have known and loved longest, my wife and two sons and, now, my first grandchild, who will turn 1 just before Christmas. Her arrival has been a joy beyond any expectations or dreams. She has enriched our lives, which seems a cliche' even as I type the words, except that first-time grandparents out there are nodding, I'd bet. This has been a challenging year for me. The newspaper industry is evolving, transitioning digital, and I am trying to keep up. I went through a health scare, with major surgery in September to remove a benign tumor lodged near my lungs and spine. (And thank you, Dr. Irving David!) That reminds me of an old line from Don Shula. Asked once if a player's surgery was "major," Shula said, "If it's happening to me, it's major..." Thanks, again, all of you!

PicksNFL WEEK 12 PICKS FOR DOLPHINS-COLTS AND REST, THANKSGIVING DAY RESULTS: Will Ryan Tannehill's Dolphins return be a triumphant one Sunday in Indianapolis? What won Game of the Week honors? What's our big Upset of the Week? Answers here. Visit Week 12 Gems. On Thanksgiving, the NFL's 13th year (hard to believe) of Turkey Day tripleheaders gave us nonstop football for roughly 11 straight hours. What were you sicker of by midnight? The thought of one more bite of food? Or the thought of one more damned penalty flag? If you're like me and my family, this day was about friends and relatives and gratefulness and turkey, but the football was a constant soundtrack and backdrop -- sort of the glue that knitted the day. We went 2-1 overall and vs. the spread on the day's three picks. Correctly had the Cowboys and Saints winning and covering, but misfired on predicting a Lions upset. Visit Thanksgiving Day Gems for the proof.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 01, 2018

Time for faith in Canes' Richt, and patience, not doubt. My latest column; plus Dolphin-slayer wins week in Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Fins' Tannehill dilemma, Cote's college State of State rank & more

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

Haphall 1) It's THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1. Hope y'all had a safe and happy Halloween. Happy new month, all! Welcome, November. Seems like we've been waiting a year! 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast of this week's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio/ESPNews. 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): Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Newest column: Defending Mark Richt. Two losses in row not time to recalibrate faith: The Hurricanes coach is feeling a little heat for the first time in his 2 1/2 seasons with UM. It is unwarranted. For my latest column, visit Time For Faith In Richt, And Patience.

Our other most recent stuff: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For Dolphins. Also: Dolphins fans vent frustration: Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love. On Fins head coach: Snakebit Adam. On N'Kosi Perry's lap-cash video: Family Tradition. And on Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr.: Victory-y, Miami!

DwatsonDOLPHIN-SLAYING WATSON WINS WEEK / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 8: The Texans' Deshaun Watson (pictured) scored a 43.95-point game Thursday night in beating Miami and it held up for Week 8 honors (edging Chief Patrick Mahomes by less than one point) in the Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Viking Kirk Cousins maintains his season lead and Mahomes rises to second overall. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. Dolphin Brock Osweiler, filling in for injured Ryan Tannehill, slumped to his worst game of three and sticks in 32nd place. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 9:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 8
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK8          Season

1       1       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 41.95         325.55

2       4       Patrick Mahomes, KC            43.15         310.30

3       3       Drew Brees, NO                   24.00         301.50

4       5       Jared Goff, LAR                   31.75         286.25

5       2       Matt Ryan, ATL                     BYE           281.70

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                38.95         277.35

7       8       Tom Brady, NE                      34.20         270.00

8       6       Philip Rivers, LAC                 BYE           251.40

9       10     Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        32.85         248.50

10     9       Eli Manning, NYG                  25.80         244.85

11     13     Andy Dalton, CIN                  33.00         235.10

12     17     Deshaun Watson, HOU          43.95         232.80

13     12     Aaron Rodgers, GB                23.30         231.65

14     14     Carson Wentz, PHI                37.30         230.40

15     15     Derek Carr, OAK                   35.20         227.35

28     27     Ryan Tannehill, MIA              DNP           112.60

32     32     Brock Osweiler, MIA             14.05           91.75

Bubble: Joe Flacco, BAL, 226.95. Week 8 best: Watson, HOU, 43.95 (16-20, 239, 5-0 in win). Week 8 worst: Jameis Winston, TB, 5.80 (18-35, 276, 1-4 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 8 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: EXCELLENCE AND HEARTACHE: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Excellence! Spun a terrific 12-2 mark straight-up and an even more impressive 11-3 against the spread in Week 8. That included another Upset of the Week bull's-eye on Seahawks winning at Lions ("Aawwk!"), a pair of 'dogs-with-points in Packers and Bucs, and a couple of mini-upsets with wins by Cardinals and Saints. Also was spot-on with Dolphins' Thursday loss. (See Week 8 Gems for proof). Greg's Lobos: Heartache. Built a 22-point lead over Roy entering Monday night led by 31 from Deshaun Watson and 26.6 from Adrian Peterson -- only to see Roy get a combined 27 on MNF from Tom Brady and Stephen Gostkowski for a 122.7 to 117.3 win. We're 3-5 now, but still only one game off playoff pace with five weeks left in the regular season. #WeAreTheLobos

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (7-0); 2. Florida (6-2); 3. Miami (5-3); 4. South Florida (7-1); 5. Florida State (4-4); 6. FIU (6-2); 7. FAU (3-5).

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

July 07, 2018

World Cup rooting interest: Which of final 8 teams (now 6, soon 4) do you hope wins it all? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus your verdict on LeBron-to-Lakers, the president and the press & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 7. Hope y'all had a happy (and safe) Fourth of July! For me it's a day of reflection as well as fun. I have not always loved who is president. I have not always loved my country's policies. But I have always loved my country, and been grateful to be among its citizens. 2) Want to surprise the Dolfans in your life? Check out our 'Fins At 50' book on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron to Lakers, Hot Button Top 10, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Cote on vacation: Missed new columns from me lately? It's because I'm on vacation this week. In town, still tending the blog, OD'ing on World Cup, but on vacation. I'll be back with a new column on Monday.

WcupTHE WORLD CUP FINAL EIGHT SIX (SOON FOUR): WHAT'S YOUR ROOTING INTEREST?: Thirty-two nations have been pared to eight -- now six, and soon four -- as the World Cup's quarterfinals stage ran yesterday and again today in Russia. The one good thing about no U.S. team in it is that many of us have had to adopt a team to root for, for whatever reason. I'm curious what your rooting interest is. In this poll I list the final eight national teams still standing in alphabetical order. Brazil and Uruguay were eliminated yesterday. Remember: this is not a poll to predict who will win. This is a rooting-interest poll -- who you WANT to win. And if you don't have a preference, it probably means you haven't been watching, and won't from here, which would be your loss. Past champions in the final eight, ranked in order of most recent title: Brazil (1958-62-70-94-02), France (1998), England (1966) and Uruguay (1930-50). The other four are seeking their first crown. Ready? Vote!

LebronlaWHY LEBRON WAS RIGHT, BEYOND MONEY, TO PICK LAKERS: Well, that was quick. LeBron James decided to take his talents to Hollywood (or thereabouts) on the first day of free agency this past Sunday, agreeing to a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now if LeBron can coax a Spurs trade of Kawhi Leonard to L.A., he'll be set. In my latest column I write how LeBron should be applauded for his latest decision, because it is good for him and for the NBA. There's a poll below to gauge whether y'all agree with me or not. To read that latest column, click LeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding. Our four other columns from the past week: LeBron's 1 Choice to Meet His Legacy Head-OnMLS Miami Says All Are Welcome7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. And Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town).

POLL RESULT: SUPPORT FOR LEBRON'S MOVE, BUT...: I asked in a poll on my Twitter feed if LeBron James made the right choice by going to the Lakers, more than 2,200 voted, and it was 53 percent yes, 32% no and 15% undecided. I ask the same question in the blog poll above (you may still vote) and it was also yes, but closer, when last I checked. The trend? Pretty strong "yes" sentiment initially, but then an increasing number of "no" votes. 

THE PRESIDENT AND ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS: To preview his latest column, the Herald's Leonard Pitts wrote on Twitter: "I will not blame the murders on the toxic environment fostered by the president and his followers. I will say that in routinely denigrating reporters, they set the stage for what happened. They are not guilty, but they are not innocent, either." We agree. In writing in my blog about the Annapolis murders of five Capital Gazette employees, here is what I wrote last week: "The fear moving forward: That the next assault on journalists might be politically motivated as blatant attacks on the First Amendment and unjustified disparaging of journalists continues to spew from the White House. The president of the United States cannot continue to relentlessly, egregiously and unfairly portray journalists as "fake news" purveyors, as the enemy of the people, and not expect that might eventually result in violence." 

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the 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.

Other select more recent columnsCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinTannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 28, 2018

Memorial Day: With reverent thanks, our annual tribute video; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; also, Roger Goodell's Hell Week (newest column), 4-Man Outfield (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MAY 28. It is Memorial Day. To all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and their loves ones: Thank you! 2) Flabbergast and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Case for Canes baseball to make NCAAs, NFL's new anthem policy aims to hide truth, your verdict on Tannehill & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest Sunday column: Roger Goodell's Hell Week: Why NFL's new national-anthem policy is blowing up in commissioner's face is topic of my latest column. To read: Hell Week For Goodell. Other recent columns: NFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes Away / Tannehill's Defining Season / A Solution To Jeter's Impatience / Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim MorrisNBA Rolling A Pair of 7s / Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan / Crossing the Line On American Sports' Pandering For Foreign Money.

Memorial dayMEMORIAL DAY: OUR ANNUAL TRIBUTE VIDEO: On Memorial Day, today, we honor the fallen heroes who deserve our remembrance and thanks every day. They are the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. military. This video is a song, "50,000 Names," by the country legend George Jones, about Vietnam losses and that war's memorial wall. But the sentiment applies to all military action over the years right through to the post-9/11 conflicts and the war on terrorism. This video is sentimental, unabashedly so. If you lost a loved one in action, this is for you:

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. NBA: LeBron comes through again, reaches Finals again: It was Cleveland and LeBron James winning in Boston  last night and Golden State at Houston tonight in the NBA's first pair of conference-finals Game 7s since 1979. Is anyone out there -- anybody -- still doubting LeBron!? BY the way, when the Celtics led 2-0 and the West was tied 1-1, I wrote in this column that the two Game 7s would happen. Most of you laughed. Well ... you're welcome

2. NFL: New anthem-protest policy is polarizing (of course): Commissioner Roger Goodell revealed a new national anthem protest policy that mandates all players on the field stand during the anthem or be subject to fines, with players who don't wish to stand confined to staying in their lockerooms, hidden from sight. President Trump likes the league's new policy. Fans of freedom of expression ... not so much.

3. DOLPHINS: Tannehill back as Fins begin offseason work: The return to the field of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, after a season lost to injury, took center stage as the Fins completed their first three offseason OTA practices, with the next ones coming up this Tuesday though Thursday. Next big deal: A mandatory June 5-7 minicamp. "Can Tannehill stay healthy?" is a reasonable question. So is this: "Can he raise his game and be better than ever?"

4. UM BASEBALL: Denied! Canes, Morris don't get Monday miracle on NCAAs: Going 1-1 in the ACC Tournament after a 27-25 regular season wasn't enough to earn the Canes an NCAA Tournament bid when the field of 64 was announced earler today. It would have taken an answered prayer for coach Jim Morris to make the national playoffs for one last shot at a College World Series title in his final season. Alas, he's done with no last shot at Omaha.  

5. MARLINS: Return of Hanley Ramirez? Um, don't count on it: Fire-Sale Fish are 19-33 after being swept at home by Washington, and now are out on a 10-game road trip. There's Hanley Ramirez chatter since the Red Sox announced they're parting ways, but don't expect his return. Hanley is 34, batting .254 and in a role (1B/DH) the Marlins can't use. Another big factor why he won't be signed: Would cost money.

6. NHL: Vegas-Washington Finals begins Monday: Normally Washington, yet to win a Stanley Cup in 43 franchise years, would get to be Lovable Underdog in this unorthodox Stanley Cup Finals that begins tonight out west. But not here. Not when the expansion Vegas Golden Knights aim to be the first first-year franchise ever to win a championship in any of America's Big Four team sports. Fans of hockey's Original Six teams are looking at this matchup and weeping softly. 

7. TENNIS: Serena back on major stage as French Open begins: Year's second tennis major began Sunday at Roland-Garros in Paris with defending champ Rafael Nadal, King of Clay, the clear men's favorite again. Simona Halep narrowly tops a far more unpredictable women's field that also will see Serena Williams play in her first major since giving birth. Serena is unseeded because the WTA, in effect, penalizes women for being out on maternity leave. (Aside to WTA: It's the 21st Century now. Join us, won't you!)

8. SOCCER: Real Madrid wins Champions League (again): Real Madrid bounced Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday to win the UEFA Champions League title for the third straight year, led by Gareth Bale's two goals including a gorgeous bicycle kick. We'll all forget it in 18 days when the World Cup starts. But, for now, Real is the real deal. Again.

9. AUTO RACING: Power wins INdy 500 in Danica's last ride: The fabulously named Will Power won the 102nd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday in the final career ride for Danica Patrick, which ended in an early crash. The big day for motorsports also included the Coca-Cola 600, but, sorry NASCAR, this was the one day of the year when IndyCar racing glommed the spotlight.

10. MEMORIAL DAY: Thanks to those who made ultimate sacrifice: Not to nitpick, but please don't cheerily say "Happy Memorial Day!" as if you have no idea what this holiday of remembrance is about. It also is not the occasion to thank a veteran for his or her service. This is to honor our fallen war dead. So: Have a somber, reflective Memorial Day!   

Missing the HB10 cut: There is speculation David Beckham's new Miami MLS team will be nicknamed Freedom. Right now, I'd preferred it be called, "Get a damned stadium built first!" ..... The Scripps National Spelling Bee finals are this coming Thursday, when I'll be reminded again how many 10-year-olds are smarter than me ..... Countdown 15 days 'til Justify goes for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. Break a leg! No, wait. That's just for actors. Sorry ..... Are Harry and Meghan still married? ..... ESPN's third annual World Fame 100 came out, listing the globe's most famous athletes. They lost me at the ping-pong player. I wish were kidding.

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD': YELICH OVERTAKES STANTONThroughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog. The latest:

Player, Team                                  OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers       .838   42  167   30  51   23   8-2-5      .305

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees    .800   50 195  34  48   28  10-1-11      .246

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .651   46 189  19  50   23   6-0-3      .265

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .474   50  177  11  28   17    2-0-6     .158

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the 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.

For our more recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote.

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

Twitter @gregcote