July 05, 2021

Happy 4th (and 5th) of July! Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): 'NIL' vs. NBA. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus thoughts with Surfside, links to recent columns, new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

4th1) It's MONDAY, JULY 5. Hope y'all had a Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans! And made it a safe one. 2) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast on Twitter and Instagram. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): 'NIL' means new era in college sports, Greedy NBA gets the asterisk champ it deserves, Panthers to host 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend, Time for sports to tell Cole Beasley he's wrong, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our new 26th episode of 2021 and 68th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 68 we've done so far HERE, for free. In our new episode Greg and Chris go solo -- no guests. Well, OK, Dan Le Batard makes a brief but memorable appearance if that counts. The guys discuss this week's golfing trip to Lake Tahoe, where Greg and Chris will be in a fivesome with Stugotz, former pro tennis player Mardy Fish and Earth, Wind & Fire lead singer Philip Bailey. Also we discuss college sports' new Name-Image-Likeness (NIL) rule and the proposed expansion to a 12-team College Football Playoff. And there's a new Mount Gregmore! Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HunksOur most recent columns: 'I'm D'Eriq King For College Hunks Hauling Junk!' It's Strange New World in College Sports / Injury-Wrecked Playoffs, Asterisk Champion: Why Greedy NBA Is Getting What It Deserves / Better 2 Years Late Than Never, Panthers Get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend / Time For Sports To Quit Hiding, Stand Up And Lead The Pro-Vaccine Fight / and Nassib Coming Out As Gay NFL Player A Milestone In Sports History. Also: Fate Snatched Basketball From Chris Bosh. His new Book Is Part of His Journey Of Healing / Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum / Rumors, Speculation and the Truth on Spoelstra, Lillard and Heat / and Wanted: A 'Next Big Thing' In Men's Tennis, Golf.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JULY 4-5): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Overriding everything, prayers and sympathy to the victims and families affected by the Surfside condominium collapse that has killed at least 24 and left more than 120 unaccounted for. 

HButton1. HURRICANES: King, UM lead way as game-changing 'NIL Rule' kicks in: Name. Image. Likeness. (NIL). It joined the lexicon of college sports this past week as athletes became eligible to barter themselves for financial profit. Canes QB D'Eriq King quickly struck a deal with College Hunks Hauling Junk movers, a Tampa car dealership and The Wharf Miami restaurant/bar. Also, UM launched 'Ignite,’ an initiative to help athletes grow their brand and make money off their NIL.

2. NBA: It's a Bucks-Suns NBA Finals: An NBA postseason steered by injuries has left us a Milwaukee-Phoenix Finals that few outside of those fandoms can be all that thrilled about. Suns eliminated the Kawhi-less Clippers, then Bucks got past a Hawks squad with Trae Young hobbled. Milwaukee seeks its first title since 1971 and Phoenix its first ever starting with Game 1 Tuesday.

3. HEAT: Spoelstra to coach USA Select Team this week: Miami coach Erik Spoelstra was named head coach of the USA Select Team that will help prepare the main U.S. men's national team (which includes the Heat's Bam Adebayo) for the Tokyo Olympics beginning in three weeks. The training camp will be this Tuesday through Friday in Las Vegas. The 14 Select Team members, mostly young NBA players, include Miami's Tyler Herro.

4. MARLINS: Big homestand on deck closes first half: After completing a road swing with a loss in Atlanta Sunday, Marlins finish the first half of the schedule heading into the All-Star break with a seven-game homestand. It starts Monday with four against the red-hot Dodgers, then three vs. the rival Braves. Miami has disappointed so far at 35-47, good for the NL East cellar. Meanwhile the Fish swung a minor deal, acquiring INF Joe Panik and RHP Andrew McInvale from Toronto for OF Corey Dickerson and RHP Adam Cimber.

5. PANTHERS: Florida to host 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend: Cats were supposed to host in '21 but the pandemic canceled the event. The '22 weekend went to Vegas. Better two years late than never, the Panthers will host the league's '23 All-Star Game and surrounding hoopla. Meanwhile, Florida added Tuomo Ruutu to the coaching staff as an assistant. He'd been in player development with the Rangers.

6. SOCCER: Euro '20 reaches semifinals! Finally England's time?: Italy vs. Spain on Tuesday. England vs. Denmark on Wednesday. Winners for the UEFA championship of Europe next Sunday at Wembley Stadium. Spain has won two Euro title and Italy and Denmark one each, while England is still seeking it first. Finally time foe the nation of the throne to be crowned at home?

7. NHL: Lightning embarrassing Canadians in Final: Tampa Bay is up 3-0 on Montreal and by a combine 14-5 score in a lopsided Stanley Cup Final. Canadians try to save face and stay alive and avoid being swept in Game 4 Monday/tonight at home. Canada is trying to claim its first Stanley Cup since Montreal won it in 1993, but needs a miracle on ice.

8. INTER MIAMI: Miserable skid continues for Team Beckham: Inter Miami is 2-2-7 with five straight losses after Saturday's 1-0 fall at Montreal. The second-year squad is now next-to-last in the MLS standings as David Beckham and coach Phil Neville search for missing answers. Miami doesn't play again until July 17.

9. TENNIS: Wimbledon at midpoint finds top seeds still alive: No.1s Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic won Monday to lead a full slate of fourth-round matches to kick off the final week of Wimbledon in London. Results will bring us  to the quarterfinals starting Tuesday. Though depleted of some starpower by injuries and key withdrawals, at least the top seeds survive to front the 16 men and 16 women still contending for major hardware.

10. SOCCER: Copa America semifinals, title match this week: It'll be host Brazil vs. Peru on Monday and Lionel Messi's Argentina vs. Colombia Tuesday in a stout Copa America semifinal round, the winners advancing to next Saturday's championship match in Rio de Janeiro. Copa America is tantamount to the South American championship. It would be Messi's first trophy in a major senior tournament.

Missing the HB10 cut: Sha’Carri Richardson should be running in Tokyo ..... Joey Chestnut seeks his 14th mustard belt today in the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest --- the most vile, stomach-turning event televised ..... Bryson DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers are betting picks over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in The Match IV on Tuesday in Montana ..... The CONCACAF Gold Cup, the main soccer tournament for region of North and Central America and Caribbean -- dominated by Mexico and the U.S. -- begins next Saturday July 10 and runs through August 1. U.S. is not fielding its A-team; no Christian Pulisic, for example. Americans will be in Group B (and play in Kansas City) with Canada, Martinique and a team to be determined in a prelim round running in Fort Lauderdale through Tuesday among Barbados, Bermuda, Haiti and St. Vincent and the Grenadines ..... NFL fined Jaguars $200,000 and Sneaky Urban Meyer 100K for violating OTA practice restrictions. Cowboys and 49ers were fined lesser amounts ..... Vladimir Guerrero and Fernando Tatis were leading vote-getters in each league for the July 13 MLB All-Star Game in Denver ..... MLB Draft begins next Sunday July 11 ..... Tour de France update: The loony woman with the sign got arrested. Updates as needed ..... NFL has had a gay player (Carl Nassib) for more than a week now and league is still operating. Everything is OK! ..... Mark Richt revealed he has Parkinson's. Our best wishes are with him ..... Mississippi State beat Vanderbilt to win the men's College World Series ..... Latest Dolphins Challenge Cancer event raised a record $6.3 million, club announced, bringing 11-year total $45.5M ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,821 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES

Select other recent columns: Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger / As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling / Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs / Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph / The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal / Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins /  Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? /  It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished /  Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

June 19, 2021

Dolphins' biggest concerns (besides Tua). New column; plus Rumors and truth: On Spoelstra, Lillard and Heat; also, Men's tennis, golf both need a 'Next Big Thing,' Juneteenth, latest Greg Cote Show podcast with Jessica Smetana & more

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

Juneteenth1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 19. Today is the first Juneteenth as a national holiday, celebrating the end of slavery. 2) I was back in-studio on the Le Batard Show this week for my regular Tuesday appearance. Check out that day's show podcasts for much too much of me. 3) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast on Twitter and Instagram. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Mejess CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH JESSICA SMETANA OUT NOW!: Our 23rd episode of 2021 and 65th overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 64 we've done so far HERE for free. Our new episode features Jessica Smetana, newest member of the Le Batard Show Shipping Container. (Did the chat get too personal?) Also, hear DeArdo The Magnificent flex his encyclopedic knowledge of sports. Plus, what's in the Queen's handbag? Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

TuaHERE'S WHAT ELSE HAS TO GO RIGHT (BESIDES TUA) TO KEEP DOLPHINS' MOMENTUM GOING: Been a long time coming, but the sense of a franchise and team trending upward is palpable. The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a smartly calculated rebuild that will include eight first-round draft picks in the four year span of 2020-23. The Fins were 10-6 last season, the best team in the NFL to miss the playoffs. Brian Flores has been a prize catch as head coach. If the future isn’t quite now, it’s getting here at a gallop. Areas of concern remain, though, as the Dolphins completed their offseason work Thursday with the finish of a mandatory three-day minicamp. Fins won’t gather on a field again until the late-July start of full preseason training camp. There is a reason Miami is no better than middle of the pack, tied for 16th, in current betting odds to win the Super Bowl. Here are the five biggest concerns, the things that need to go right, if the Dolphins are to build upon the promise of last season. For our full latest column including of course those five concerns, visit Here's What Else Must Go Right (Besides Tua) For Dolphins To Continue Momentum.

Miami HeatWHEN RUMORS FLY, AND LAND WITH THUD: THE TRUTH ON SPOELSTRA, LILLARD AND HEAT: Portland Trail Blazers interested in Erik Spoelstra! Wait. Really? Damian Lillard interested in Miami Heat! Wait. Hold on. Heat fans have been fed reasons this week to turn their attention to northwest Oregon. The question worth exploring: Why? I try to not be a self-loathing journalist — the anti-media crowd is loud enough without my help — but occasionally the business of reporting, of what a “report” even is, makes me cringe a bit. So Tuesday there were reports the Trail Blazers, looking for a new coach, had the Heat’s Spoelstra on their radar. Except the reports were just other media outlets regurgitating the original report that wasn’t actually a report at all. It was Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports Network tweeting this: “We have multiple sources saying Erik Spoelstra’s name has been discussed internally regarding their coach opening. We are NOT reporting contact has been made, or that Spoelstra has any intention of leaving Miami.” It might well have been accurate. Portland supposedly is cobbling a list of potential candidates that might be three dozen long. That’s a lot of internal discussing. Front-runners seem to include Chauncey Billups and Mike D’Antoni. Becky Hammon and Dawn Staley are also in the reported mix, in case Portland works up the nerve be be actual Trail Blazers. But it made sense in terms of speculation that the wide net might include Spo, who grew up in Portland and played for the local university, and whose father Jon is a former Trail Blazers executive. I know Ethan. He’s a former Herald colleague. He’s legit. Knows the NBA. He isn’t some uninformed fan writing in a blog from Ma’s basement. He also has since-deleted the tweet that started this, that other outlets passed along as some variant of news. In the social media age, deleting a tweet is akin to renting a billboard on I-95 that reads, OOPS. It happened to be Skolnick this time but it could have been any of us in the mad rush to be first. For our full recent column, visit Rumors, Speculation and the Truth on Spoelstra, Lillard and Heat.

MEN'S TENNIS, GOLF BOTH AT A CROSSROADS, IN SEARCH OF THEIR NEXT BIG THING: With the French Open in tennis just past and the U.S. Open in golf this week, the majors show us two men’s sports at a crossroads and searching. If there is a Next Big Thing in either worthy of the capital letters and able to stir the imagination, we’ll take a show of hands, please. Please? Novak Bigthree GolftwoDjokovic rallied from two sets down Sunday to win on the red clay of Roland Garros in Paris. It was a remarkable comeback. It also was the latest reminder how men’s tennis is drowning in its own predictability in the Big 3 era (pictured left) of Djokovic, 34; Rafael Nadal, 35; and Roger Federer, who’ll turn 40 in August. Since 2004 those three have combined to win 58 of the sport’s 68 major men’s titles, or 85 percent. There hasn’t been a run like that in any individual sport, ever. That it goes on, though, speaks less of those three’s continued excellence than it does the absence of sustained challengers. Or even one. The slow death of American men’s tennis has played a big role. No American man has won a tennis major since Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick both did in 2003, just as the Federer/Nadal/Djokovic steamroller was beginning its roll. On the women’s side Serena Williams fades by degrees, but there is a young heir in Naomi Osaka, Japan-born but living in the U.S. since age 3. In men’s tennis, very good players such as Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem have failed to become household names outside of the sport’s hardcore fandom, or hasten the past tense on the Big 3 era. And no American man ranks higher today on the ATP than No. 32. That’s a person named Reilly Opelka. He is notable for being 6-11. He is not notable for winning anything of note. In men’s golf the search for the Next Big Thing, the next big era, (Brooks Kopeka and Bryson DeChambeau are pictured right) is similar as the U.S. Open begins Thursday at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California, near San Diego. For our full recent column, visit Wanted: A 'Next Big Thing' In Men's Tennis, Golf.

Other columns from the past week: Where's Tua? Ranking Our Top 15 South Florida Pro Athletes 25 And Younger  /  As Teams Like Miami Pray For Right QB, Packers' Disrespect Of Rodgers Is Galling  /  and Messi-to-Miami Is Shot of Hope David Beckham's Troubled Soccer Club Needs.

Other most recent columns: Pythons, Peppers, Pirate Flag Raised. Inside Le Batard's 24-Hour Triumph  /  The Pirate Ship Sails! Details, Guests For Le Batard Show's 24-Hour Relaunch  /  and The Curious, Complicated Drama Of Naomi Osaka's French Open Withdrawal.

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ARCHIVES:

Heat/Panthers playoff columns: Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee / Heat Fans Showed Up For Game 3. Their Team Did Not / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Time For Heat Fans To Help Lift Their Team Back Into This Series / Heat Fall, Panthers Need Miracle On Ice As Both Lose On Big Day for Miami Sports / Panthers, Hopes Of Fans In Peril After Game 2 Loss, 2-0 Series Hole Chasing Respect, Florida Panthers' 5-4 Home Loss A Crushing Start to Playoffs / This Looks Like Best Florida Panthers Team Ever. But The Proving Starts Now.

Select other recent columns: Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death / Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts / It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate / Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

May 31, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat get swept, Panthers out too, Inter Miami hit with record fine, Osaka's silence. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with Mike Ryan out now & more

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

Memday1) It's MONDAY, MAY 31. Farewell, May! And have a safe and thankful Memorial Day Weekend, all! Take a moment to appreciate the men and women of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice. 2) Check out this past Tuesday's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz podcasts for way too much of me, including (improbably) my belly button. I'll be back on tomorrow. 3) Follow the Greg Cote Show podcast on Twitter and Instagram. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Panthers eliminated by Tampa Bay, Heat seek home lift vs. Milwaukee, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram

Coteshow MryanGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE WITH MIKE RYAN OUT NOW!: Our 21st episode of 2021 and 63rd overall is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 63 we've done so far HERE for free. Our latest episode features Le Batard Show producer Mike Ryan on the upcoming 24-hour marathon broadcast, the joy of Chelsea and agony of Inter Miami. Also, Greg and Chris on Heat and Panthers' early playoff exits, Greg mourns a death in the family and much more. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our column on Heat's season-ending loss: Miami Heat, With No Answers, Put Out of Misery In Game 4 Loss To Milwaukee.

Previous Heat/Panthers playoff columns: Heat Fans Showed Up For Game 3. Their Team Did Not / Another Early Panthers Playoff Exit Ends An Encouraging Season Too Soon / Time For Heat Fans To Help Lift Their Team Back Into This Series / Heat Fall, Panthers Need Miracle On Ice As Both Lose On Big Day for Miami Sports / Panthers, Hopes Of Fans In Peril After Game 2 Loss, 2-0 Series Hole Chasing Respect, Florida Panthers' 5-4 Home Loss A Crushing Start to Playoffs / This Looks Like Best Florida Panthers Team Ever. But The Proving Starts Now.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 30-31): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami suffers only second best-of-7 sweep in its history: After a tight opening-game defeat and then 34- and 29-point losses, Miami got blown out in second half for a 120-103 Game 4 home loss Saturday and a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in their NBA first round playoff series. Heat's only other time being swept in a best-of-7 was in 2007. 

2. PANTHERS: Tampa in first round spells latest early playoff exit for Cats: The deployment of 20-year-old rookie goaltender Spencer Knight shot electricity into Game 5 but it still wound up a 4-2 Panthers series loss to Tampa Bay in the opening round of the NHL playoffs -- the disappointment chasing the best regular season in Florida's history. A 4-0 loss Wednesday ended it, leaving the Cats to figure out how to now get from really good to great.

3. INTER MIAMI: Record fine, loss = nightmare week for Miami: Inter Miami fell to 2-2-4 (four losses) in a 3-0 home loss to D.C. United Saturday night. It was the best part of the week for the beleaguered second-year club. Earlier, MLS fined Miami a league-record $2 million for violations of salary budget and roster regulations. MLS also levied a reduction in allocation money over the 2022 and 2023 seasons amounting to a 12 percent hit, and principal owner Jorge Mas also was hit with a personal $250,000 fine. The team is off until June 19. Good. Embarrassing!

4. MARLINS: Reeling Fish drop third straight: Marlins are 24-28 after a third straight loss despite solid pitching. Sunday's game in Boston was postponed by rain. Miami has fallen to fourth in the winnable (read: bad) NL East as Marlins' nine-game road trip continues Tuesday in Toronto.

5. DOLPHINS: Tua feeling "10 times better" as offseason work continues: Fins completed three days of voluntary organized team activity days this past week. More OTAs are set for this Tuesday through Thursday and then again June 7-8 and June 10, leading to a mandatory full-team minicamp June 15-17. Meanwhile second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa reports he is feeling "10 times better" physically and otherwise than last year. Who else wishes he's said 100 times better?

6. CANES BASEBALL: UM disappoints at ACCs, heads to regional : Miami ended its season 32-17, the most wins in its conference, but failed to make a run in the ACC Tournament in Charlotte this week, losing 3-2 to Duke and 6-3 to Florida State. Canes are headed to the double-elimination NCAA Regional in Gainesville looking to qualify for the College World Series. No. 2 seed UM's first regional game is Friday vs. No. 3 South Alabama (33-20).

7. AUTO RACING: Helio Castroneves unexpectedly wins Indianapolis 500: The 105th Indianapolis 500 was Sunday at the Brickyard, and 46-year-old Helio Castroneves of Fort Lauderdale -- thought too old to win again -- collected his fourth trophy to tie A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears for the most ever. A crowd of 135,000 watch, most at any event since the pandemic.

8. TENNIS: Osaka withdraws as French Open begins at Roland Garros: The French Open, second of four tennis majors, began Sunday on the clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris. Rafael Nadal is the favorite to collect his record 14th French title and fifth in a row. On the women's side Simona Halep's withdrawal (calf injury) left Poland's Iga Swiatek the betting pick to repeat. Meantime world No. 2 Naomi Osaka was fined $15,000 and threatened with default from the tournament for refusing to take part in media obligations. So she withdrew.

9. OLYMPICS: Call to cancel Tokyo Summer Games increases: Japan's prominent Asahi Shimbun newspaper this week called for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled with the Games set to open in less than two months, on July 23. It is the first of Japan's major newspapers to do so. The growing opposition is rooted in the country's continued struggle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

10. SOCCER: Underdog Chelsea reigns in Champions League final: Manchester City and underdog Chelsea met Saturday in Portugal in the 66th championship match of the UEFA Champions League, and Chelsea won 1-0 on a Kai Havertz goal in only the third all-England final, after Man U-Chelsea in 2008 and Liverpool-Tottenham Hotspur in 2019, in Champs League history.

Missing the HB10 cut: Here comes another meaningless golf match everyone will watch. The ink hadn't dried on his new PGA Championship check when it was announced Phil Mickelson would join Tom Brady in a golfer/QB celebrity round -- The Match IV -- vs. Bryson DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers on July 6 in Montana ..... A 24-hour Dan Le Batard Show airing noon Friday to noon Saturday will help kick off the new partnership with DraftKings ..... Falcons receiver Julio Jones reportedly has drawn the offer of a first round pick from at least one team ..... The family of a former White Sox stadium worker is crying foul after a lounge named after her was renamed in honor of Tony La Russa and is now called La Russa's Lounge ..... NBA announced a new business investment entity called NBA Africa with investors including former stars Dikembe Mutombo and Grant Hill ..... Eight prep basketball powerhouses including Montverde and IMG Academy in Florida have formed the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference set to begin later this year ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,856 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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ARCHIVES:

Other most recent columns: Hall of Fame Snubbed Chris Bosh Last year. Time To Make it Right / Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's DeathAaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen / Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins / Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On / What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today? / The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts / and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

May 10, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Fists fly as Cats whip Lightning, Heat beat Boston to protect 6th spot in packed week. See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now with Izzy Gutierrez & more

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

Meandmom1) It's MONDAY, MAY 10. Hope y'all had a Happy Mother's Day! It's a time time to appreciate the Mom you have but also, for me and many others, to remember with love the one no longer with us. Pictured is the last photo of my Mom ever taken before she passed at age 96 in 2015. 2) I was on Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz this past Thursday this week, and back in-studio for first time in more than a year with a new Back In My Day. Check out that day's podcasts for way too much of me. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Aging ex-Fins reflect on 1-year anniversary of Shula's death, Aaron Rodgers involves Miami (of course), Grade-A draft fuels Dolphins' momentum, Greg Cote Show podcast with draft talk and Tony Calatayud & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Coteshow IzzyGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!:  Our new 18th episode of 2021 and 60th overall is out now! A new pod drops Mondays at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 60 we've done HERE for free. Our latest episode features special guest Israel (Izzy) Gutierrez of ESPN (pictured) in a fun conversation about boats, sneakers, golf and Chris Cote's social skills. Oh, and hoops talk, too, including Chris Bosh's Hall of Fame chances and how the Heat are looking as the playoffs near. Also, an historic new Mount Gregmore. Bonus: Greg sings the song that was playing on the radio when he first kissed a girl. Thanks as always for the support, pod family. Please listen, rate, review and follow! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, too, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

Our most recent columns:

Aging Ex-Dolphins Reflect On Own Mortality One Year After Shula's Death

Aaron Rodgers' Packers Drama Involves Miami (Of Course). But Here's Why It Won't Happen

Grade-A Draft Feeds Momentum For Team-On-the-Rise Dolphins

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (MAY 9-10): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

1. PANTHERS: Cats close season, open playoffs vs. bitter-rival Lightning: Florida at 36-14-5 has won five straight and leaped to second in points in the Central ahead of Tampa Bay with Saturday night's penalty-strewn 5-1 home rout of the Lightning, fueled by Alex Wennberg's hat trick. Rivals meet again Monday night in Sunrise to close the 56-game regular, with Cats needing a win or overtime loss to earn home-ice advantage in first round of playoffs. If Saturday was an indication, fists will be flyin' in a Florida-Tampa playoff. 

HButton2. HEAT: Miami jockeying for playoff position and down to stretch run: Miami solidified its lead over the Celtics for sixth place in the East with Sunday's big Jimmy Butler-led win at Boston. Now at 37-31 it's four games left in the shortened 72-game regular-season starting with another game at Boston on Tuesday. Heat are near-certain to make postseason but must finish in the top six to avoid play-in round. (Aside to Jimmy Butler: Could you lay off Karl Anthony-Towns a bit? Dude's had a tough year).

3. DOLPHINS: Fins set offseason schedule, trade for veteran CB: NFL offseason is underway and, for Miami, it starts with rookie minicamp for the Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips-led incoming draft class this Friday through next Sunday. Then: Voluntary-but-not really OTA workdays May 24-26, June 1-3, June 7-8 and June 10, and a mandatory full-team minicamp June 15-17. Also, Fins signed veteran ex-Pats corner Jason McCourty, 33, to 1-year deal, obviously as insurance (and leverage) in case Xavien Howard brays about holding out for more money.

4. MARLINS: Fish lose two of three after 4-game win streak: Miami was 15-16 and out of the NL East cellar after a three-game home sweep of Arizona and then a fourth straight win Friday vs. Milwaukee, before losing two straight to the Brewers. Miami begins 10-game road trip Monday at Arizona. Starters Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers have been terrific, and the 'pen has been lights-out.

5. SOCCER: FA Cup, Champions League finals set: What a time for English football! The 140th FA Cup final will match Chelsea and underdog Leicester City this coming Saturday May 15 at Wembley Stadium. On May 29 the UEFA Champions League final in Turkey will see Chelsea the betting underdog this time vs. Manchester City. It will be only the third all-England final in the Champ League's 66 years. 

6. INTER MIAMI: Franchise-first winning record still elusive after 1-1- draw: Team Beckham is 1-2-1 after a loss-win-draw-draw this young season with Sunday's 1-1- home tie vs. Atlanta United. Miami is still chasing its first-ever winning record into its second season in Major League Soccer. Inter Miami is back home for a Wednesday mid-weeker vs. Montreal.

7. NFL: Aaron Rodgers drama heats up, with Miami a peripheral player: MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers reportedly wanting out of Green Bay has seen ripples around the NFL, including an ESPN piece this week speculating Washington, Denver and Miami as the three likeliest teams to pursue. Dolphins are still publicly in "Tua's our guy" mode. Time will tell.

8. UPCOMING: Preakness Stakes leads parade of big events remaining in May: The Preakness at Pimlico next Saturday will be horse racing's second Triple Crown race, with Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit a 7-2 betting fave to win again. Also upcoming in May: The PGA Championship is May 20-23, the Indianapolis 500 on May 30 and the French Open starting May 30.

9. GOLF: Can new 'Premier Golf League' wins its war with PGA Tour?: A proposed European Super League in soccer failed fast. Now golf? The proposed Premier Golf League,' heavily funded by Saudi money, is promising multi-million-dollar guarantees to top-ranked golfers to break away from the PGA and European Tours. Phil Mickelson calls the notion "interesting." The breakaway tour is set to start in September 2022 ... if it can attract top players. Your move, PGA Tour.

10. MLB: Angels abruptly release future Hall of Famer Pujols: Has certain first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols taken his last-MLB at-bat at age 41? Pujols, in sharp decline the past two years, was abruptly cut by the L.A. Angels this week. His first team, St. Louis, seems likeliest to sign him, but perhaps to a 1-day contract so he might retire as a Cardinal. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Former Miami Heat star Chris Bosh will be among likely honorees next Sunday when the College Basketball Hall of Fame announces its 2021 class ..... Mexican star Canelo Alvarez, no doubt inspired by an appearance on the Le Batard Show (!), stopped Billy Joe Saunders before 65,000-plus fans in Texas Saturday in a super middleweight unification fight ..... House Speaker  Nancy Pelosi honored baseball legend Willie Mays for his 90th birthday by tweeting out a photo of herself with Wille McCovey. OY! ..... Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson's NBA record for most career triple-doubles ..... Portland Thorns won the NWSL Challenge Cup tournament over Gotham FC in a penalty shootout ..... Canes baseball at should re-enter the rankings if it completes a home sweep of Appalachian State today ..... Saturday semifinal wins launched Sam Houston State and South Dakota State to next week's FCS championship game in second-level college football ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with a new episode dropping Monday at 7 a.m. ET ..... Update: Countdown now 1,877 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Our most recent other columns: Iffy Trades That Cost Them Pitts Mean Dolphins Better Hit Big With Waddle / Le Batard Bet On Himself And His Audience -- And Won Big / Justice For George Floyd Helps Heal Our Shaken Faith, But Fight For Equality Goes On  /  What Would Jackie Robinson Think About Race In America Today?  /  The Case For Dolphins Trading Up, Going All-In For Kyle Pitts   and It Won't Fix the World, But Matsuyama's Masters Win Lifts Japan In Time Of Anti-Asian Hate.

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ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Talk Of U.S. Olympic Boycott A Reminder Sports, Politics Are Entwined -- And That's Good / How And Why the Miami Heat Landing Kawhi Leonard This Summer Could Happen / The Miami Dolphins' Six Can't-Lose Options For a Great No. 6 Pick in NFL Draft / Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope / In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time / No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness / Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive / Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. The Boy Was Me.

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

April 05, 2021

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Marlins, March Madness, red-hot Heat and Panthers, Masters Week battle for top. See who's No.1 and what else lands where; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast with Dick Stockton out now & more

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

Eeaster1) It's MONDAY, APRIL 5. Hope ya'll had a Happy Easter Sunday and, to our Jewish friends, a celebratory 'chag Pasach sameach' to end Passover! 2) I was back in my regular Tuesday spot last week on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Check out that day's podcasts, including my latest Back In My Day. 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Opening Week with columns off opener and season preview, Greg Cote Show podcast with Guinness Record-setting hot pepper eater & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

MarlinsOur most recent columns: Even After Playoffs In '20, Marlins Still 'Bottom Feeders' Fighting For Respect (off Opening Day loss) / Special Opening Day as Marlins Welcome Back Fans, Feeling Of Hope (season preview) / and In History And In Hearts, Howard Schnellenberger Will Matter For All Time (tribute column).

CoteshowDickstocktonGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: TV LEGEND DICK STOCKTON IN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our 14th podcast of 2021 (56th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 56 we've done right HERE for free. In our most recent Ep14 we welcome in special guest Dick Stockton (pictured), the newly retired sports broadcasting legend. In a fun chat, he talks about his career and most famous call and does play-by-play on Chris eating a bowl of cereal. Also, he sings! Also on the new pod, a new 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies,' the Mount Gregmore of all-time best sitcom casts, plus loanDepot park and MLB moving its All-Star Game. Almost forgot: Will Greg's toenail soon be for sale? Thanks as always, pod family, for the support. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review! (Our pod now simulcasts on Sirius XM, every Monday 5-6 p.m. ET on Channel 145).

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (APRIL 4-5): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MARLINS: Play ball! Fans (partly) back as Fish open season: Marlins' season-opening six-game homestand continues with games Monday through Wednesday vs. St. Louis after Easter Sunday off. Fish opened 1-2 vs. Tampa Bay, with bats coming alive in Saturday's 12-7 win. Miami is allowing crowds up to 27 percent capacity this season (about 9,700 per game), although the first three games have averaged only about 6,500 or 18 percent capacity. Almost forgot: The ballpark's gruesome new corporate name is "loanDepot park." (It's still Marlins Park  to me).

2. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Men's title game set as Gonzaga, Baylor advance: Unbeaten Gonzaga goes for a wire-to-wire perfect season and Baylor stands in the way in its first title game since 1948 in the men's NCAA Tournament championship game Monday night in Indianapolis. Baylor routed Houston 78-59 in Saturday's semifinal while the Zags survived UCLA 93-90 on a buzzer-beating 3 by Jalen Suggs in OT.

3. HEAT: Topsy-turvy team is hot again as Oladipo joins the flow: Heat has won four in a row and risen to a tie for fourth place in the East after Saturday's win over Cleveland -- after previously losing six straight. Newly acquired shooting guard Victor Oladipo, the trade-deadline prize, made his Heat debut Thursday. In other news, Jimmy Butler appeared shirtless at a postgame news conference, drawing playful derision from Bam Adebayo. Team's back in play Tuesday vs. Memphis.

4. PANTHERS: Fire-on-ice Cats win sixth in a row!: Florida is 26-9-4, alone in first place in the NHL Central and on a season-best six-game win streak after the weekend's 5-2 and 3-0 home dominations of Columbus. Florida now sets out on a six-game road trip starting Tuesday at Carolina. Also last week, Florida signed goalkeeper Spencer Knight, the team's 2019 top draft pick, to a three-year contract.

5. GOLF: It's the week of The Masters at Augusta: With Tiger Woods watching on TV as he recovers from severe leg injuries suffered in his recent car accident, The Masters goes on without him this week at Augusta starting Thursday. Betting favorites are led by Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau and Justin Thomas. As for Woods? L.A. detectives have determined the cause of his wreck, but thus far are refusing to reveal their finings. Hmm. 

6. NFL: Fans cheer, players gripe as league OKs 17-game season: After 43 seasons with a 16-game regular season, the NFL is increasing it to 17 games beginning this year. Fans love it. More football. TV loves it. More revenue and ratings. Players don't love it and can't believe their union let it happen.   

7. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Stanford tops Arizona in women's championship game: Women's NCAA Tournament got an all-Pac 12 title game in which Stanford edged Arizona 54-53 on Sunday for the Cardinal's first national title since 1992. No. 1 seed Stanford had advanced by beating South Carolina 66-65 while No. 3 Arizona had stunned No. 1 UConn, 69-65. Results deprived America of a championship-stage look at UConn freshman sensation and AP Player of the Year Paige Bueckers, who was held to 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting Friday.

8. TENNIS: Ash Barty leads championship weekend at Miami Open: Defending Miami Open champ Ash Barty won again on Saturday, with ease when underdog opponent Bianca Andreescu retired injured in the second set outside of Hard Rock Stadium. A no-name, who's-that men's final four advanced 19-year-old Italian Jannik Skinner and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland to Sunday's men's championship match, won by Hurkacz. This year's Miami Open was back after taking 2020 off but was decimated by star withdrawals and gutted prize money.

9. MLB: Baseball moves All-Star Game to punish Georgia voting laws: Baseball announced it's 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft would be moved from Atlanta in response to Georgia's recently passed voter suppression law. Bravo baseball!

10. INTER MIAMI: Teams cancels preseason scrimmages over COVID concerns: Inter Miami canceled three scheduled exhibition games in Bradenton ahead of its second MLS season on account of COVID-19 concerns. David Beckham's outfit and new coach Phil Neville are prioritizing full health as team preps for its April 18 season opener.

Missing the HB10 cut: Countdown: 24 days 'til Dolphins draft ..... Houston police have now begun an investigation of Deshaun Watson as 21 women have now alleged inappropriate sexual behavior during massages ..... North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams is retiring after 18 years with the Tar Heels and 33 years in the sport overall ..... Also retiring: Veteran TV sports broadcaster Dick Stockton ..... No. 19 Canes baseball is 15-8 off four straight wins and goes for home sweep of Duke today ..... North Macedonia stunned Germany in a World Cup qualifying match ..... UEFA Champions League first-leg quarterfinal matches commence Tuesday with Manchester City-Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid-Liverpool ..... Oh, and Miami FC, the second-tier USL team, prepares to open its new season May 2 ..... Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey, you embarrassed everyone on Earth by saying COVID testing should be done away with so as not to disrupt the Final Four ..... If anybody cares, Tampa hosts WrestleMania 37 next weekend ..... Hurricanes spring football practuce continues through April 17 ..... xxxxx ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's 14th episode of 2021 and 56th overall drops Monday morning on all major podcast platforms. Now Mondays 5-6 p.m. on Sirius XM Channel 145, too! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,912 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

ARCHIVES:

Our other most recent columns: No Lowry, But Stealing Oladipo, Keeping Herro a Win-Win For Heat, Riley / Beckham Keeps Name-Dropping Messi, Ronaldo For Inter Miami. Can He Deliver? / Women Keep Accusing Deshaun Watson of Sexual Misconduct. But Will It Matter to NFL Teams? / No-Splash Free Agency Indicates Dolphins Going All In On Upcoming Draft -- And Tua / Phil Reflects on 25-Year Rivalry/Friendship With Tiger As Honda Classic Tees Off / and Why Men's NCAA Tournament Has A Needed Fresh Feel As We Welcome Back March Madness.

Other recent columns: Reality, Loss, Comeback: How Sports Has Been Guiding Light In America's Awful Past Year / Heat Should Parts Ways With Meyers Leonard Over Anti-Semitic Slur / Beckham's Resolve Tested By Tumult As Inter Miami Nears 2nd MLS Season / Time-Travelling To 1960s And Childhood, When The Baseball Card Was King / Quit Lecturing LeBron On Activism And His Own Conscience / Dolphins' Tua-or-Deshaun QB Choice Strewn with Complications and What-Ifs / Michael Jordan, Pitbull Signal Needed New Era as NASCAR Returns to Homestead / and Doesn't Matter If Tiger Woods Never Wins Again. We Are Lucky He's Alive.

Select other columns: Loss at Aussie Open Leaves Serena's Legacy Firm Yet Still Unfinished / Marlins Stick With Youth As Rest Of NL East Spends Big / Inter Miami's Beckham Risks Stepping Into Massive, Avoidable Mess / Put Brady In Sports' All-Time Pantheon. But He Has Company / Why Schilling Is To Blame For Falling Short Of Hall / Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings / Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio only) and The Ballad Of 1440 (with video).

January 18, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated)! See who or what reigns; also, MLK Day, NFL Divisional Round playoff picks & more

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

Mlk1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 18. It is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America, a time to celebrate the life and works of the slain civil rights leader and to keep on the work of moving his dream forward. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild Card Weekend playoff picks, Hot Button Top10, Dolphins' recommitment to Tua, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

NFL Divisional Round playoff picks!: Four games, one upset. Off a 5-1 playoff start last week, find all our latest picks at NFL Divisional Round Gems.

Say cheese! Packers' Rodgers wins elusive first Herald NFL QB season title: The details including the final season Top 35, here: Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings.

Alabama, king Saban reign in Miami with CFP title: For our full column off the 52-24 rout of Ohio State at Hard Rock Stadium: Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our new No. 3 episode of 2021 (45th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 45 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the new Ep3 of '21, we welcome in friend of the pod (FOP) Amin El Hassan, who explains why he left ESPN after eight years and is betting on Dan Le Batard. Amin also talks Heat, James Harden and NBA. Also, a new listener song, "Greg Cote Killed the Radio Show," the last Mount Gregmore topic you'd ever expect, and a new edition of the popular segment, "Greg Doesn't Know Movies." Hear all of that and more in our third new episode of the new year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 17-18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. NFL: It's Bills-Chiefs, Pack-Bucs in final four set today: The weekend's NFL Divisional Round results have sent Green Bay and Tampa Bay to the NFC final and Buffalo and Kansas City in the AFC. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes. Gee, you get the feeling quarterbacks matter a lot in this sport or what?

2. NBA: Blockbuster Harden trade shakes up basketball: James Harden traded from Houston to  the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal, joining Kevin Durant and (when he's agreeable to be an adult and play) Kyrie Irving. The Beard dropped a 30-point triple-double in his debut vs. Magic Saturday night. Yay, a new Super Team to hate!

3. PANTHERS: Yandle sparks Cats' win in delayed season opener: Puck drops on Florida's 27th NHL season Sunday night with a 5-2 win over Chicago in the Sunrise home rink, a season opener delayed when Thursday and Friday games vs. Dallas were postponed due to the Stars' COVID outbreak. Florida defenseman Keith Yandle scored his 100th career goal and kept his consecutive games streak alive at 867, fourth longest in NHL history, when earlier in week it seemed he might be a healthy scratch.

4. INTER MIAMI: Beckham hiring former teammate as new coach: David Beckham and Inter Miami have agreed to terms to hire as new coach Beckham's former Manchester United teammate, Phil Neville, to replace departed Diego Alonso for Miami's upcoming second MLS season. Neville most recently coached England's national women's team.

5. DOLPHINS: Speculation around QB enlivens offseason: Coach Brian Flores has re-confirmed his re-commitment to Tua Tagovailoa amid swirling rumors that disgruntled Deshaun Watson may want out of Houston and into Miami. Then there's that Herald story in which three unnamed Dolphins questioned how good Tua is. Those three players' names? Lame, Weak and Cowardly.

6. HEAT: Reeling Miami loses third straight: Heat, reigning NBA Finals runnerup, fell to 4-7 with Saturday's 20-point home loss to Detroit a third straight L. Miami hosts Pistons again Monday, needing to get healthy and prove last season's postseason run introduced a team on the rise ... and wasn't an aberration or fluke.

7. NFL: Former star college coach headed to Jaguars, NFL: Urban Meyer, former Florida and Ohio State championship coach, has entered the NFL fray with Jacksonville. Less splashy but arguably a better hire: the New York Stinkin' Jets landed prized 49ers defensive chief Robert Saleh.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Things go right when Canes men go Wong!: Victory of the year Saturday night for Miami's men's team: a 78-72 home upset of No. 16 Louisville, led by Isaiah Wong. Jim Larranaga's guys are now 6-6, with some tailwind. UM women are 6-5 after Sunday's loss at No. 24 Syracuse.

9. HURRICANES: Diaz finalizes '21 football coaching staff: The Miami Hurricanes hired Jess Simpson as defensive line coach and promoted DeMarcus Van Dyke to cornerbacks coach as Manny Diaz finalized his 2021 staff. Three other new additions led by new defensive coordinator Blake Baker previously had been announced. Also notable: Diaz said he'll call defensive plays from now on, after horrible D in the last two games ended 2020's 8-3 season sourly.

10. TENNIS: COVID already shadowing Australian Open: Three coronavirus cases were detected among charter flights carrying tennis players, coaches and officials to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, the year's first major set to begin February 8. A total of 47 players from the two affected flights are now in a tightly enforced 14-day quarantine.

Missing the HB10 cut: Josh Gordon has been suspended again. Or did that go without saying? ..... After 17 years with Coca-Cola, LeBron James is signing with rival Pepsi. Hey, a man's tastes can change! ..... As MLB free agency continues, like a lifeguard surveying a crowded pool, I am looking for a big splash from the Marlins. Bring back J.T. Realmuto? Just sayin' ..... Former Hurricane LB Dan Morgan made the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame -- which lets in way too many people, but, somehow, shamefully, not Howard Schnellenberger ..... Still can't wrap my head around it: Nick Saban crowned college football's all-time G.O.A.T. coach in Miami, of all cities ..... Dolphins coaches will be on one sideline for the January 30 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. What'd they do, lose a bet? ..... A Mickey Mantle baseball card sold at auction for $5.2 million. Sounds like a good deal, if the card was attached to a check for $5.1 million made out to cash ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 45 (No. 3 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,989 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

THE ARCHIVES:

Select other mots recent columns: Dolphins' Re-Commitment to Tua is Smart, And Well-Timed / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing CollapseIt Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue yet Again / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / and Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener.For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

xxx

January 04, 2021

G16: Buffalo 56, Dolphins 26: Collapse! Miami finds a way to miss playoffs. Our column off game; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), our Orange Bowl column, NFL Week 17 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast new episode out! & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 4. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes Rally But Fall in Cheez-It Bowl, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 16 results, Greg Cote Show podcast's Holiday/Year-End episode & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

'Greg Cote Tuesdays' era ends on ESPN: Last week was our final Tuesday cohosting on the Le Batard Show under the ESPN umbrella. Thank you all much for the outpouring. The show's next and final day on ESPN will be Monday January 4. It will continue as a pirate ship on January 5 until it finds a new home. Will my role on the show continue? Ya neva know! (Stay  tuned...).

No. 5 Texas A&M makes its case in 87th Orange Bowl game: For or column off A&M's OB win over North Carolina: It Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB. Other most recent columns: 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue yet Again / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / and For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

MiabufG16: BUFFALO 56, DOLPHINS 26: MIAMI FINDSWAY TO MISS PLAYFFS: Fins finish a credible 10-6 but miss postseason. Our column off the game: Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse ..... Original post: Buffalo. Early January. Temps in the 30s. Snow showers likely. That’s the Dolphins’ opponent today (1 p.m., CBS). Oh, and the AFC East champion Bills, too. The point spread, given the weather, should be favoring Buffalo by maybe double the 3 points it is. Heck, Bills were only favored by a mere 1 1/2 before Miami lost insurance-QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a COVID test-positive Thursday and the bet-line doubled. So what gives? 1) Bills are locked into AFC’s No. 2 or 3 seed, with no clear advantage to either. Makes it likely or at least very possible Buffs will rest key starters. As a template for what we might expect: When Week 17 didn’t matter much one year ago, QB Josh Allen played only seven snaps. 2) Dolphins make playoffs with a win, or if either the Ravens, Browns or Colts lose. No guarantees there, though, so Fins looking at this as must-win. Buffs at full strength, in this climate, are clear faves. But Bills’ big edge is on the attack, and fall from Josh Allen to backup Matt Barkley is steep, so that’s a difference maker if indeed Allen plays little or at all. Having said that, it’s all-or-nothing with Tua Tagovailoa Sunday, because the backup goes now from super-reliable Fitzpatrick to thoroughly untested Jake Rudock. It’s an all-Sunday, all-division games schedule to wrap this NFL regular season, and the slate is a minefield of games like this where the pick is at the mercy of who starts and who plays how much. Bottom line? If Sean McDermott goes all-out and Allen is slinging 40 passes, I may be in trouble picking Miami. If it plays out as I imagine, the weather will limit the score and play into the Fins' defense-first modus operandi. The league’s most improved D has gotten the Fins this far. Time to bring it home. (P.S., please do take the day off Josh Allen. You earned the rest!). My pick: Upset! Dolphins (+3), 20-17. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 17 Gems

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANJUARY 3-4): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:\

HButton1. DOLPHINS: With playoffs on line, Miami suffers monumental collapse: The Dolphins would have made the playoffs Sunday with a win, or if either the Ravens, Browns or Colts lost. Sorry, none of it happened. Leaves Miami as the NFL's only 10-win team to not reach the postseason. Sad ending to an otherwise upbeat season. 

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 'Bama, Ohio State coming to Miami for CFP finale: No Doubt I: Alabama over Notre Dame 31-14. No Doubt II: Ohio State over Clemson 49-28. Result: Crimson Tide an early 7-point favorite over Buckeys in College Football Playoff national championship game January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Oh, and Dabo Swinney keeps insisting he doesn't regret voting Ohio State 11th in the coaches' poll. Admit it or not, Dabo, you were your own team's worst enemy with that motivation-on-steroids for the opponent.

3. HEAT: Embarrassment vs. Bucks tops Miami's slow start: Defending NBA Finals runnerup Miami is only 2-3 entering Monday's game vs. Oklahoma City. Lowlight: A 144-97 blowout home-loss to Milwaukee as the Bucks avenged its playoff ouster by the Heat three months earlier. Milwaukee made an NBA-record 29 3-point shots (of 51 tries) in burying the Heat. Miami allowed fans in the arena (about 100 family and friends of players) for the first time. Pity they had to witness such a night. 

4. HURRICANES: Cheez-It Bowl loss continues UM's recent bowl woes: The Canes fought nobly from an early 21-0 deficit in losing 37-34 to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl to finish 8-3. That's 'A' for effort but still a failing grade overall, with two straight losses to end the season, and a 10th defeat in the past 11 bowl games dating to 2008. (Also, when you are a five-time national champion whose season ends in the Cheez-It Bowl, sorry, but you cannot call that a successful year.

5. ORANGE BOWL: Texas A&M beats North Carolina in overshadowed OB: The No. 5-ranked Aggies handled No. 13 North Carolina, 41-27, in he 87th Orange Bowl game Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium, the same city and stadium that will host the CFP title game next Monday. Did A&M make its case that it should have been in the the four-team playoff. Not convincingly.

6. PANTHERS: Cats set to open camp as NHL season nears: Florida opens preseason training camp today/Monday with a 39-man roster. The Panthers begin their 27th season with a four-game homestand starting January 14 vs. the Dallas Stars.  

7. LE BATARD: ESPN era ends for Miami-based personality: The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz bids farewell to ESPN's airwaves on Monday, then continues Tuesday as an independent enterprise before announcing its next destination. Exciting times ahead!

8. MARLINS: Back to earth for Fish in first '21 rankings: Miami unexpectedly made the expanded MLB playoffs last season and won a series, yet the Marlins are ranked only a mid-pack 17th in MLB.com's initial 2021 pre-spring rankings. Miami also ranks fourth of five in the NL East, ahead of only the Nationals. Still waiting for new GM Kim Ng to make some splash moves.

9. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women try to shake doldrums: Both UM teams began the new season 3-0. Now the Miami men are 4-4 after Saturday's 1-point home loss to Clemson, and the women are 5-3 with Sunday's win, also vs. the Tigers. 

10. MLB: Did someone forget to turn on the Hot Stove?: Yeah, pitchers Blake Snell and Yu Darvish have been traded. Otherwise there hasn't been a lot of major action in the major league offseason.

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy New Year, all! Hot Button Top 10 happy to be back after a week off ..... Johnny Manziel is coming out of retirement to play in something called the Fan Controlled Football league. The FCF is to debut with four teams in February. Over/under on the startup league folding: June 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 43 is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,003 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

PicksNFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, 4 BIG UPSETS, PLAYOFFS ON LINEWeek 16 holiday-gifted us a nice bounceback from a recent lull. We went 12-4 overall and 10-6 against the spread — solid on both. We bull’s-eyed yet another Upset of the Week with Steelers over Colts (“Aawwk!”), nailed a second outright upset with Cowboys over Eagles, and also hit on a trio of ‘dog-covers by 49ers, Falcons and Bengals. This is our 30th season of picks in the Herald and we thank you for following along! Now comes the tough part as Week 17 is wrought with games where it isn’t certain to what degree one team will be resting starters vs. playing to win — Bills-Dolphins one of those. No excuses, though. Let’s finish strong to toast 2021! Topping our Week 17 marquee: Fins at Buffalo, an unusual Game of the Week, four (!) upsets and a slew of game that will shape who's in the playoffs and out. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. For all of our latest picks to wrap the regular season, visit NFL Week 17 Gems

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our No. 1 episode of 2021 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 43 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep1 of '21, ESPN star Sarah Spain discusses the Le Batard Show on Dan's last day at the network, Greg and Chris chat up the Dolphins' massive collapse in Buffalo and, oh no, Mount Gregmore is back! Hear all of that and more in our first new episode of the year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

November 28, 2020

NFL Week 12 picks! Dolphins-Jets, G.O.A.T. Bowl GOTW, 2 big upsets and all the rest; plus State FBS Week 13: Canes idle, FIU canceled; also, a revealing new Greg Cote Show podcast, happy long Thanksgiving weekend & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28. Remembering former Canes and NFL football star Sean Taylor, killed 13 years ago yesterday, November 27, 2007, at age 24. 2) Hope y'all are enjoying the long holiday weekend with safety in mind. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our Thanksgiving Day message to readers and listeners, NFL Bird Day picks, NFL Week 11 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 38 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

PicksNFL WEEK 12 PICKS: DOLPHINS ATJETS, G.O.A.T. BOWL GAME OF THE WEEK, 2 BIG UPSETS AND ALL THE REST: The Week 11 picks were a rough 8-6 straight-up for us but a better 9-5 against the spread. Last week we failed miserably on our Lions-Panthers Upset of the Week, “Aawwk!” turning to “Aawwful.” But plenty else went right. Called Houston’s mini-upset of New England, and also had a pair of ‘dogs-with-points in covers by the Jets and Cowboys. Highlighting our new Week 12 picks: Can Tua and the Dolphins rebound at the winless but nemesis Jets? Who'll prevail in the Game Of the Week G.O.A.T. Bowl between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes? And our big Upset of the Week involves the AFC East ... but which team? This is our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and we thank you for joining us on the journey. For our latest picks for the entire slate of games, visit NFL Week 12 Gems. Our week got off to a rousing start on Thanksgiving Day as we went 2-0 both straight-up and against the spread, calling both Houston's big win in Detroit and Washington's upset at Dallas. We're on an ATS roll the past two-plus weeks, on a 22-8 run vs. the betting line. Can we keep it up? Let's see. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print, after the Thursday night pick(s) appear separately Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print.

Some of our other most recent stuff: Herald NFL Week 11 QB Rankings / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / and In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: REVEALING NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 38 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 38 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep38 we welcome in special guest Christie Cote to share family secrets and embarrassing stories about her husband Chris and father-in-law Greg. She also talks about being a fan of the winless Jets -- the Dolphins' next opponent. Greg and Chris also chat up Sunday's Fins loss in Denver. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (U's) and more. Appreciate you listening each week and check out the new ep!

CFB WEEK 13: HURRICANES REMAIN IDLED BY COVID, FIU GAME CANCELED: The 10th-ranked 7-1 Miami Hurricanes -- like much of college football and increasingly the NFL -- have seen their seasons directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. with all three remaining regular season games re-scheduled. And 0-5 FIU's scheduled Saturday game vs. Louisiana Tech has been canceled. UM's readjusted remaining schedule: December 5 at Wake Forest, December 12 vs. North Carolina and December 19 vs. Georgia Tech -- although the Ga-Tech game will be played only if Miami is not in the ACC Championship Game, which is also that day. To reach the conference title game, the Canes must win out and hope No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Clemson loses. Irish visit No. 19 North Carolina today. Can the Tar Heels do UM a huge favor? FIU's remaining schedule is December 5 at Charlotte and December 11 vs. Marshall. 

State FBS games this week (in order; all Saturday unless noted):

UCF (5-3) at South Florida (1-7), 3:30 p.m. Friday: Annual midstate rivalry figures lopsided as visiting Knights are favored today by 25.

Kentucky (3-5) at No. 6 Florida (6-1), noon: Gators, favored by 25 in the Swamp, try to keep College Football Playoff hopes alive.

FAU (5-1) at Middle Tennessee (3-6), 1:30 p.m.: Owls a 6 1/2-point road pick.

Virginia (4-4) at Florida State (2-6), 8 p.m.: UVA favored by 9 1/2. But are we feeling a home-'dog upset by beleaguered 'Noles?

Off this week: Miami. Canceled by COVID: Louisiana tech (4-3) at FIU (0-5).

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Select other 2020 columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

November 23, 2020

G10: Dolphins fall at Denver 20-13. Tua benched but still starter; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas 57 years ago yesterday. Never forget. 2) Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 11 picks, Hurricanes season rocked and postponed by COVID, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 37 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Some of our most recent stuff: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Herald Week 10 NFL QB Rankings / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / and In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 38 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 38 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep38 we welcome in special guest Christie Cote to share family secrets and embarrassing stories about her husband Chris and father-in-law Greg. She also talks about being a fan of the winless Jets -- the Dolphins' next opponent. Greg and Chris also chat up Sunday's Fins loss in Denver. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (U's) and more. Appreciate you listening each week and check out the new ep!

MiadenverG10: DOLPHINS FALL AT DENVER 20-13. TUA BENCHED BUT STILL STARTER: Miami was due a loss after five straight wins, and Tua was due a less than stellar start. Both happened Sunday as the Dolphins missed a great chance to tie for the AFC East lead and solidify their playoff hopes. Original post: Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 as a starter with five touchdown passes and zero interceptions — only the second rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era (Carson Wentz, 2016) to start 3-0 with zero picks. If Tagovailoa bags a fourth consecutive victory Sunday to begin his career he will be only the second rook since 1976 to do that, and the first since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Heady stuff, the way the Golden Samoan has introduced himself to Miami. He has helped make the Fins one of 15 teams with six-plus wins, the most ever entering Week 11. He also is a win in Denver Sunday (4:05 p.m., CBS) from hoisting Miami into a tie for the AFC East lead with idle Buffalo. This might give us pause: Miami somehow has lost 10 consecutive road games vs. teams with losing records. Except: Denver has lost eight of the past nine at home vs. teams with winning records. Mile High is no longer a scary visit. The Broncos are in shambles. QB Drew Lock (ribs) is iffy to play and has 10 interceptions in past five games when he does play. The once-proud Denver defense has allowed an average of 36 points during the past four games. The Broncos’ decline and the way Miami is playing are a stark contrast. Can’t recall when last I said what I’m about to: Miami losing on the road Sunday would be a huge surprise. My pick: Dolphins (-3), 27-13. For all of our latest King Sport picks (we're coming off an 11-3 week against the spread), visit NFL Week 11 Gems.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 22-23): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

1HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua Train pulls into Denver, gets derailed in loss: Favored at Denver Sunday and with Jets and Bengals next, we thought Miami could very plausibly be 9-3 after a dozen games. Now, maybe 8-4? The playoffs still loom realistically, by Miami likely must win the next two to have a cushion entering a much tougher four-game stretch to end the regular season. A bit of pressure on Tua Tagovailoa now, too, after his benching late in Sunday's 20-13 loss.

2. HEAT: Miami nabs Memphis forward in NBA Draft, re-signs Dragic: The Heat selected Memphis 6-9 forward Precious Achiuwa 20th overall, seeing him as a big who'll back up Bam Adebayo. Precious has sisters named Grace and Peace, and brothers named Promise, God'sgift, God'swill and God’slove. If Precious is as good at basketball as his family is at naming babies, Miami just won the draft. Free agency opened two days after the draft and Miami quickly re-signed Goran Dragic and role player Meyers Leonard, but is lsing Jae Crowder to Phoenix.

3. HURRICANES: COVID outbreak disrupts, postpones UM season: No. 12 Canes -- how do you win and then drop three spots in The AP poll? -- were supposed to host Georgia Tech Saturday night. But the global coronavirus pandemic had something to say about that. A COVID outbreak got in the way, with much of the UM team including coach Manny Diaz in isolation after positive tests. Presuming no further outbreak, Hurricanes won't play again until December 5 at Wake Forest.

4. INTER MIAMI: Quick playoff exit ends strangest of rookie years: Inter Miami has finished its inaugural expansion season in Major League Soccer with a 7-14-3 record after Friday night's 3-0 loss at Nashville in the first round of the expanded playoffs. Miami had won its final regular season match to clinch the 10th and last spot in the East playoffs. Inter Miami starters Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez did not play Friday after ill-timed COVID test-positives.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: First CFP ranking due as virus ravages season: The first College Football Playoff raking is out Tuesday and good luck to the committee making sense of this season. Nineteen more games were canceled (12) and postponed (7) this week, including ppd's for Miami-Georgia Tech (see above) and FSU-Clemson. Some games were played. Among results: Gators beat Vandy, FAU won and FIU lost (again).

6. NBA: Crazy week as free agency rolls out two days after draft: A whirlwind: Chris Paul to Suns. Jrue Holiday to Hornets. James Harden turns down $50 million to stay as he attemts to broker deal to join Nets. Anthony Davis not recommitting to Lakers just yet. Giannis mulling options. Toronto re-signs Fred VanFleet. Oh, and Raptors will open season in Tampa after Canada says no home games in Toronto just yet. 

7. UM BASKETBALL: It's opening week for Canes and college hoops: Under the shadow of a pandemic, college basketball gets underway Wednesday, with Gonzaga (AP) and Baylor (coaches) No. 1 in the men's polls and South Carolina dominant in the women's rankings. It's a season of low expectations for UM, with neither team ranked or receiving votes. Canes women open Wednesday at home vs. Jacksonville; Miami men launch next Sunday vs. North Florida.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Champion LSU rocked by scandal: Ed Orgeron's reigning national champion LSU Tigers program is under fire after a USA Today investigative report found systemic mishandling of sexual misconduct and dating violence complaints against the school's football team. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was "deeply troubled" and has called for an investigation, and the NCAA won't be far behind.

9. SOCCER: Champions League play resumes this week: UEFA Champions League group play continues Tuesday toward a winnowing to the round of 16. Barcelona, one of four team that are a perfect 3-0 thus far, plays Tuesday. The other three perfectos, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool, get back at it Wednesday. Two more weeks of play will follow to complete the group stage.

10. THANKSGIVING: Time to give thanks, if at all possible: Thursday we eat (a lot), watch football (a lot), and enjoy the company of loved ones (but not too close). Many of us, when we say grace before the Thanksgiving banquet, count the blessings of the year. In cursed 2020, that could make for a record-short grace. "Thank God this !@#$%in' year is almost over! Let's eat."

Missing the HB10 cut: Waiting for that first big Marlins offseason deal to trumpet GM Kim Ng's arrival ..... R.I.P., Jake Scott, Dolphins career leader in interceptions. Free safety, free spirit, gone at 75 ..... As MLB free agency rolls out, sport suspended Mets 2B Robinson Cano an entire season for PEDs. So long, Cooperstown ..... Baseball Hall of Fame ballots have been mailed, and I (a voter) received mine. Rudy Guiliani is standing by to contest the results of the election ..... The wife of Lions QB Matthew Stafford on Instagram called Michigan a "dictatorship" for its COVID lockdown rules, was shouted down by rational people aware there is a pandemic, and had to apologize ..... LaVar Ball vs. Michael Jordan 1-on-1? Yes, please. But only if it is guaranteed MJ will crush and humiliate the world's most annoying sports dad ..... Florida Panthers have entered into an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Minor-league nicknames rule! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 38 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,045 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other most recent columns: Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Select other 2020 columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

October 31, 2020

Canes football bye-week special: The road ahead. Analyzing the outlook from here; plus NFL Week 8 picks: 3 big upsets. Are Dolphins one?; also, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 34, our Tua Week and Justin Turner columns, Happy Halloween & more

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

Pump1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31. Happy Halloween and farewell October. To all of you trick or treaters braving the pandemic tonight, remeber, wear a mask! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tua Week in Miami, Justin Turner's outrageous selfishness, NFL Week 7 Pix 'n Fantasy results and QB rankings, new Back In My Day video, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 34 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

My most recent columns: Tua Week, Justin Turner: Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami and Turner -- With COVID -- Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season. Also: Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: EPISODE 34 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 34 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 34 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep34, myself and Chris engage in a sometimes contentious debate over the Dolphins quarterback-change drama, Chris reveals his first career parenting faux pas, and we offer a new edition of 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies.' And of course a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the Q's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

TheuCANES BYE WEEK: ROAD AHEAD: THE OUTLOOK FROM HERE: The 12th-ranked, 5-1 Miami Hurricanes are off this weekend, with a strong likelihood they'll need to run the table and finish with just one ACC loss to have a shot at reaching the league championship game. The pandemic rule -- no divisions this year -- hurts UM by taking it out of the weaker of the two divisions in a single-conference free for all. Miami's remaining schedule and quickie outlook:

@North Carolina State Nov. 6 -- Wolfpack are presently 4-2. Estimate UM a 3-4 point favorite as of now. ESPN Football Power Index says Canes have 69.2% win likelihood.

@Virginia Tech Nov. 14 -- Hokies are now 3-2. Estimate VT a 2-3 point fave. FPI presently has UM with only 37.9% win likelihood.

Vs. Georgia Tech Nov. 21 -- Yellow Jackets are 2-4. Estimate Miami a 7-8 point pick. FPI has UM win likelihood at 89.5%.

@Wake Forest Nov. 28 -- Wake is 3-2. Game too far off for bet-line estimate. FPI has 56.7% Miami win likelihood.

Vs. No. 15 North Carolina Dec. 5 -- UNC is 4-1. Game too far off for bet-line estimate. FPI has 55.8% win likelihood for UM.

Bottom line? No gimmies here. Remaining five foes are a combined 16-11, with three of the five games on the road. Va-Tech and obviously ranked UNC are the danger games. UM lucks to have the latter at home. Clemson and Notre Dame are the ACC's lone unbeaten teams but meet Nov. 7 in South Band. Miami and UNC are the only teams with one conference loss, so that Dec. 5 game could be winner-take all for an ACC Championship Game berth -- especially if Notre Dame is at two ACC losses. One is likely to be vs. Clemson, and Irish still must also play at UNC.

QB Trevor Lawrence's COVID test-positive for Clemson imperils his availability for the Notre Dame game but Tigers remain the national-championship betting favorite, ahead of Alabama and Ohio State. The dichotomy in Florida's and Miami's national-title odds is interesting. In the polls they are close -- Gators 10th and Canes 12th. But Florida has the fifth best championship odds, while Miami's odds are tied for 22nd. Ouch. #NoRespect.

State FBS games this week (all Saturday, chronologically):

UTSA (4-3) at FAU (1-1), noon: Owls are 4-point picks in the home nest over Texas-San Antonio.

UCF (3-2) at Houston (2-1), 2: Knights favored by 3 on road, and the over/under is 82 1/2 points! 

Missouri (2-2) at No. 10 Florida (2-1), 7:30: Gators are less than overwhelming 13 1/2-point Swamp favorites. Maybe that is because Mizzou has won two of past three meetings. More likely it is because, with rival and No. 5-ranked Georgia on deck for UF, will Gator minds be wandering? Better get your guys locked in, Dan Mullen.

Off this week: No. 12 Miami (5-1), Florida State (2-4) and South Florida (1-5).

COVID-related postponement: No. 19 Marshall (5-0) at FIU (0-3). Friday night's was the fourth FIU game this season postponed related to the coronavirus. Man, what a beleaguered season, on and off the field, for coach Butch Davis.

PicksNFL WEEK 8 PICKS: STEELERS-RAVENS AND 3 BIG UPSETS. WILL TUA-LED DOLPHINS BE ONE?: The Week 8 picks leaderboard is topped by our Game of the Week as the last unbeaten, Pittsburgh, travels as an underdog to Baltimore. And by three big upsets including a major one that may be of particular interest to Miami Dolphins fans. This is (hard to believe) our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and thanks as always for joining us on the ride! For our Week 8 previews and picks for our Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and all the rest of the 14-game slate, visit NFL Week 8 Gems.  Our week got off to an unfortunate start Thursday night, alas. We thought host Carolina (-2 1/2) would win and cover but Teddy and the Cats let us down in a 25-17 Atlanta win. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print, after the Thursday night pick appears separately Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Select other recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).