October 22, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 55.2% after 31-21 loss at Buffalo -- another season high as pro-tanking crowd grows; plus Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Heat Opening Week, my Canes/Diaz column & more

1) It's TUESDAY OCTOBER 22. See previous blogpost for results of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall to Georgia Tech with my column and CSM poll & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our Canes column on bad loss, Diaz's excuse: An awful home loss to 18-point underdog Georgia Tech, 28-21 in OT, dropped the Hurricanes to 3-4 Saturday, and coach Manny Diaz was suddenly talking about a "rebuild." No sale. Lousy excuse, Manny. For my column from the stadium, visit Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech. Also, voting continues online all day in the Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

My NFL Week 7 picks: Will the winless Dolphins cover the enormous point spread in Buffalo? Who'll prevail in our Game of the Week? Can we keep our Upset of the Week streak alive? Answers to all of that and more in the gridiron motherlode that is our NFL Week 7 Gems.

Other most recent columns: LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat.

MiabufG6: BUFFALO 31, DOLPHINS 21: STILL WINLESS, BUT ... GOOD TRY?: Vote in our Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. Original post: Cannot confirm but I hear the Dolphins didn't take a plane to Buffalo — they drove a tank. But, seriously: Winless tanking-suspect Miami switching from Josh Rosen back to Ryan Fitzpatrick is an indication that rookie coach Brian Flores is A) wishy-washy, or B) actually trying to win. (Maybe both?) Thing is, for Miami this year, trying to win and winning seem Doltanka world apart, and that's the case again today as 0-5 Fins visit 4-1 Buffs. Fitzbeardrick gives Miami a better shot today at 1, but it’s slight. Buffalo, off a bye, presents really strong defense to a Fins offense averaging fewer points per game (8.4) than any NFL team has averaged over a full season since 1977. The Beard will be under sack-attack all day. The upset hope — more likely the beating-point-spread hope — is that Miami’s D won’t be overwhelmed by a mediocre Buffs offense. Or that Bills QB Josh Allen (seven INTs, two lost fumbles) will charitably continue his proneness to turnovers. Dolphins have lost 17 of last 19 road games to teams with winning record, and that won’t change in Billsville. But I do lean to Miami covering a very big point spread for what should be a score-shy game. Cote’s pick: Buffalo, 23-10. Click NFL Week 7 Gems for all our latest picks. And watch for the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll right after today's game ends.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6 55.2%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 55.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 31-21 loss at Buffalo putting Miami’s season record at 0-6. That's another season high in an odd year in which DSM voting reflects the sizable influence of "Tanking for Tua" voters among Dolfans who would otherwise likely be very disappointed overall. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 8:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

Next poll: Oct. 28 following game at Pittsburgh.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: It's Opening Week for Miami's regular season: The Heat's 32nd NBA season, d.b.a. Year 1 of the Jimmy Butler era, opens Wednesday night at home vs. Memphis. That's after an encouraging preseason in which Miami was 4-0 with a plus-75 points differential before closing with a loss vs. Houston Friday night. Can the Butler do it? Front a playoff team? The cloud: Dion Waiters suspended for the opener for, essentially, pouting and childish behavior.

2. HURRICANES: Ugh. UM embarrassed in home to Ga-Tech: Manny Diaz had an excuse. He said after Miami's 28-21 OT loss to 18-point underdog Georgia Tech that this was a"rebuild" season. Uh oh. No sale. Lousy excuse. This team can't put away bad opponents and should be better than 3-4. Period.

3. DOLPHINS: Fins tease but stay winless in Buffalo: Miami was the NFL's biggest underdog this week (although by now that may go without saying), but gave it a decent shot in a 31-21 loss Sunday. Fins are 0-6 now but led much of Sunday's game. Alas, in the NFL, you get no points for "good try."

4. MLB: It's Nationals vs. Astros, and I'm World Serious: World Series Game 1 is tonight/Tuesday after Nationals swept Cardinals 4-0 and Astros eliminated Yankees 4-2 on last night's walkoff homer by tiny Jose Altuve. The Astros won the World Series in 2017. Washington last cheered a World Series champion (then the Senators) in 1924. If you aren't living in downtown Houston or related to an Astro, you'd better be rooting for the Nats.

5. INJURIES: Loss of Mahomes, Zion rocks two leagues: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, reigning NFL MVP, and Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, NBA overall No. 1 draft pick, will miss several weeks with knee injuries. People immediately calling Zion the next Greg Oden: Chill, please. 

6. NBA: LeBron drags himself into China mess: Lakers star LeBron James embroiled himself in NBA's China controversy by criticizing Rockets GM Daryl Morey, whose tweet in support of Hong Kong protests started this. James called Morey "misinformed." No. It's called "freedom of expression," LeBron.

7. PANTHERS: Cats back home after needed win: Panthers with a much-needed 3-2 shootout win in Nashville Saturday night are now 3-5 on the season with three OT losses. Cats are back home tonight/Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh looking to get on a run. Or a skate?

8. SOCCER: New-look MLS playoffs underway: The 14-team, three-week Major League Soccer playoffs got underway Saturday with a new single-elimination, win-or-done format. So the one-year countdown has begun to Inter Miami's first playoff game. Right, David Beckham?

9. INTER MIAMI: Getting close on coach, players: Miami's MLS expansion team set to begin play in 2020 plans to hire its first head coach by the end of October and begin adding players in November. This Thursday, Miami city commission takes (another!) vote related to team's Miami Freedom Park stadium plan. Games, please. Can't wait for spring!

10. NASCAR: Playoff field pares to eight: Sunday at Kansas, NASCAR's current 12-man playoff field pared to eight surviving drivers. The prize: A chance to win the season championship Nov,. 17 at Homestead in South Florida's final year hosting the grand finale.

Missing the HB10 cut: MLB is considering a plan that would eliminate 40 of its 160 minor-league teams. Fortunately, the Miami Marlins are thought to be safe ..... Update: Countdown now 2,436 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 15, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 53.5%. That's season high after 17-16 loss to Washington as Tanking for Tua crowd steps up; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), or Fins and Canes columns, NFL Week 6 picks & more

1) It's MONDAY OCTOBER 14. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NBA should end China ties with column, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 5 results, why Dolphins-Redskins isn't must-lose for Miami & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Monday!: I'm co-hosting the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz today/Monday this week, not Tuesday. It airs 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. And catch the local hour (#LOUR) via links on show's social media platforms.

DOLPHINS COLUMN FROM SUNDAY'S GAME: Another Dolphins Loss, But There was Fight And Heart This Time.

Column from Canes' big win over Virginia: For my column from the stadium on UM's 17-9 win over No. 20 Virginia Friday night, please visit Hurricanes Finally Get Quality Win -- And The Spark They Needed. And scroll to previous blogpost for buoyant result of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.

Our most recent other columnsWhy Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? and Why Woeful Dolphins-Redskins Matchup Is Not Must-Lose For Miami. Also: Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years (as NHL season unfurled) / Why Woeful Dolphins-Redskins Matchup Is Not Must-Lose For Miami / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat (as team entered preseason).

Skinsfan DolfanG5: WASHINGTON 17, DOLPHINS 16: WINLESS BOWL ANOTHER LOSER FOR MIAMI, BUT AT LEAST FINS SHOW FIGHT: [Please visit Another Dolphins Loss, But There was Fight And Heart This Time for my game column from stadium]. Original post: The 0-5 Skins visit the 0-4 Fins Sunday at 1, and something's gotta give. Mathematically there is a 0.3 Miawaspercent chance of a tie game here. Save for that negligible possibility, somebody is going to win this Winless Bowl. Somebody is going to be the least-terrible. In this epic battle of Movable Object versus Stoppable Force, one team will outscore the other. Are you sitting? IT WILL BE MIAMI! THE DOLPHINS WILL WIN! THE DOLPHINS WILL WIN!! (And, no, the world will not end. It will not mean the death of Tanking For Tua. Just a lil’ respite. Long season, folks). Miami’s minus-137 is the worst NFL point differential through four games since 1940. Washington is so bad it fired its coach already. That the Redskins are favored by 3 1/2 points underlines the perception that Miami is far and away the NFL's worst team. Still, I don't think they will be today. Case Keenum will return from injury to QB the Skins on Sunday, but that team is a turnover machine no matter who pitches. Fins are coming off a bye and riding a five-game home win streak over this foe. That’s enough for me, Dolfans. Champagne or regrets ready, depending on your point of view. Cote's pick: Dolphins, 20-17. (Visit Week 6 Gems for all of our latest NFL selections).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 53.5%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 53.5 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 17-16 home loss vs. Washington putting DsmMiami’s season record at 0-5. That's a season high as the Tanking for Tua crowd makes its voice heard. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

Next poll: Oct. 20 following game at Buffalo.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Skins edge Fins in epic Winless Bowl: Matchups in the NFL or, heck, in all of sports don't get much sadder than 0-5 Washington at 0-4 Miami, but, oddly, an exciting game ensued. Miami showed heart and fight, but no win i a 17-16 loss when a 2-point try failed with six seconds left. No small consolation: The Road to Tua just got clearer.

2. HURRICANES: Big win over Virginia lifts season hopes: UM still is only 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC, but Friday night's 17-9 home win over No. 20 Virginia felt like it chased away a cloud and gave this season hope again. Now all the Canes have to do is run the table from here.

3. MLB: Final four as League Championship Seriess underway!: Nationals lead Cardinals 2 games to 0 and Yankees-Astros are tied 1-1 in the NL and AL 7-game championship series continuing today/Monday in Washington. Go Nats! End the drought!

4. PANTHERS: Cats having the slow start they didn't want: New-look Florida has now played five games and lost four in the young NHL season underway, failing so far to avoid the slow start that has plagued this franchise. Next: Monday at New Jersey. Snap lout of it, Cats!

5. HEAT: Encouraging start to preseason for Miami: Heat are 2-0 in preseason, led by 18 from Tyler Herro and 19 from Dion Waiters, both off the bench. It's three more exhibitions this week starting Monday vs. Atlanta before regular season opens Oct. 23. Meanwhile there was a roast for Dwyane Wade Saturday night . The man does not retire quietly.

6. GATORS: Florida misses big chance, falls to LSU: A week after beating top-10 Auburn, NO. 7 Florida fell Saturday at No. 5 LSU, 42-28. Big opportunity missed, because, with No. 3 Georgia losing earlier in the day, the Florida-LSU winner would position itself for a legit shot at making the College Football Playoff. 

7. NBA: China mess shadows league as season nears: A tweet by the Rockets GM in support of Hong Kong protests enraged China and created a mess for the NBA as league was there for preseason events. Perhaps a good time for NBA to reconsider doing business with a country that blatantly violates human rights?

8. GYMNASTICS: Queen Simone does it again: American gymnast Simone Biles, 22, made history at the 2019 World Gymnastic Championships in Germany, winning a (male or female) record 24th medal at the competition and a fifth all-round world title. G.O.A.T in leotards.

9. SOCCER: Inter Miami wins coin flip for No. 1 MLS draft pick: Inter Miami out-flipped fellow expansion team Nashville to win the No. 1 pick in the Nov. 19 MLS Expansion Draft. First, though, INter Miami must win a key Oct. 24 city commission vote related to its Freedom Park stadium project. Games, please.

10. WNBA: Delle Donne leads Washington Mystics to title: Season MVP Elena Delle Donne overcame a herniated disk to score 21 as Washington beat Connecticut in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals for their first championship. It capped the league's 23rd season. I'm going to have to catch a game one of these days.

Missing the HB10 cut: No. 3 Georgia chokes in OT loss to South Carolina. Wonder if Dawgs fans will find away to blame Mark Richt? ..... Kenyan superstar runner Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2-hour marathon barrier in 1:59.40.2 Saturday, a once unfathomable feat. I once covered 26.2 miles even quicker, but didn't get credit because I was in a car ..... NASCAR playoffs continue today at Talladega for 12 remaining drivers. Gentlemen, start your sweating ..... The Philadelphia Flyers have a "rage room" in the arena where (for a price) fans can take out their frustrations and break things. Dolphins could use a few of those, no? ..... The XFL announced its first draft would be held Oct. 28, 2000, assuming the startup football league hasn't folded by then ..... Kansas basketball hired rapper Snoop Dogg for a preseason event on campus and seemed shocked that his performance was profane. Um, had they heard of Snoop Dogg before? ..... As they are now allowing women into soccer matches for the first time in 40 years, please join me in welcoming the government of Iran to the 21st Century! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,443 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (preseason NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 07, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 28.8% following rally-but-loss to Virginia Tech, with latest column; plus Gators handle Auburn, the new Hot Button Top 10 (updated), our NFL Week 5 picks, latest Panthers and Heat columns & more

1) It's MONDAY OCTOBER 7. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Will Panthers stop wasting the Barkov years?, 5 factors to make Heat contenders, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 4 results, latest Back In My Day video (Fake Burgers!) & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

VtumG5: VIRGINIA TECH 42, @HURRICANES 35: EPIC RALLY, BUT BAD LOSS FOR UM: My column from the game: No Quit In Canes, But Still Bad Loss In Down Year. ..... Original post: Canes shook off a season-wilting 0-2 start vs. Florida and North Carolina by taking out their frustrations on poor Bethune-Cookman 63-0 -- then saw the whisper of momentum silenced in that unimpressive 17-12 escape against little Central Michigan, after the Canes had been a 29-point betting favorite. So it's a shaky 2-2 record UM brings into its full ACC schedule, after a bye week, starting at 3:30 today/Saturday vs. also 2-2 Virginia Tech at The Rock. Miami is a generous 14-point home favorite but, for me, must earn that respect. Quarterback Jarren Williams has been mostly really good but his offensive line is a wreck and converting third downs has been a real issue. For me this game turns on Miami's defense, which could wreak havoc against a Va-Tech squad prone to turnovers. The bling could be flyin' on the sideline. One wild card: Speculation out of Blacksburg that Hokies starting QB Ryan Willis may be replaced today by less experienced Hendon Hooker. Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 24-13.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 28.8%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 28.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 42-35 home loss  Csmvs. Virginia Tech putting the Hurricanes' season record at 2-3 overall and 0-2 in ACC conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 11 a.m. today/Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 11 following game vs. Virginia.

NO. 10 FLORIDA 24, No. 7 AUBURN 13: GATORS EARN THE RESPECT THEY'D LACKED: Original post: Florida stayed perfect and dropped one spot in the polls. Gators feeling unloved but with a big chance to get some here in the Swamp in a marquee SEC game that is these schools' first meeting since 2011. With both teams 5-0, Auburn is a 2 1/2-point road favorite and I get why. Tigers QB Bo Nix and his so-far-unstoppable ground game will be an enormous challenge for UF's strong defense. More than that, on the other side, inexperienced Gators passer Kyle Trask and a subpar offensive line and not much of a running game. Two stout defenses here, but only one scary offense. Cote's pick: Auburn 20-16.

Other state FBS games: No. 18-UCF likely falling from polls after 27-24 loss at Cincinnati Friday night. Saturday it was South Florida winning at at UConn 48-22, and FIU crushing UMass 44-0. FAU and Florida State were off.

PicksDOLPHINS OFF, BUT THE LEAGUE CHUGS ON! OUR NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid start to our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the Dolphins manage to not lose o their bye week? Who takes our Packers-Cowboys Game of the Week? Agree with our Upset of the Week call? Find out about that and all the rest by visiting Week 5 Gems. Mixed start to our week last night. Seattle won a 30-29 thriller. We had Seahawks winning but had 'em covering a 2-point line, so we missed an ATS win by two points and a push by one. (Go here for that pick). No problem, though. Let's just go ahead and own Sunday!

Our other stuff from this week: Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years (Cats lost opener in Tampa 5-2 Thursday and open at home tonight) / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat (as team opened training camp) / Also: Herald NFL Week 4 QB Rankings / and Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins (off Sunday's loss to Chargers).

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 5-6): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive weekend-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Ugh. UM 2-3 after home loss to Virginia Tech: Canes are now a disappointing 2-2 overall and 0-2 in conference play after Saturday's 42-35 home loss to Virginia Tech. UM was down 28-0 and didn't quit. Didn't win, either.

2. MLB: Playoffs! Final eight battling in division series: We're in the midst of the four best-of-five division series: The NL's Cardinals-Braves and Nationals-Dodgers, and the AL's Twins-Yankees and Rays-Astros. Betting odds say Astros/Dodgers/Yankees, in that order. I say anybody but Houston. They just won the Wold Series in 2017. Share, please!

3. PANTHERS: Opening Week for NHL, new-look Cats: Puck dropped on hockey season this week, with the Florida Panthers infused with a new star coach in Joel Quenneville and a new all-star goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky. Alas, Cats lost their opener in Tampa 5-2 but bounced back to win home opener against same team Saturday, 4-3, behind Mike Hoffman's hat trick.

4. HEAT: Let the games begin! OK, well, the fake games...: Post-Dwyane Wade, the Jimmy Butler-led Heat and coach Erik Spoelstra, of the four-year contract extension, wrap up a week-long training camp in West Palm. Miami opens its five-game preseason schedule Tuesday at home vs. San Antonio.

5. DOLPHINS: Miami will not lose in Week 5. Guaranteed!: The 0-4 Dolphins, outscored by 137 points, are off this week. This is where your snarky joke goes about Josh Rosen throwing an interception from his couch. Or the bye being a 14 1/2-point favorite.

6. GATORS: Florida wins top-10 battle in The Swamp: No. 10 Florida hosted No. 7 Auburn in Gainesville Saturday, with Gators a slight (2 1/2-point) home 'dog but winning 24-13. Florida fans said they are disrespected. This was their team's chance to change that. And they did.

7. NCAA: Will new California law shake up the business of college sports?: California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed a bill that would let college athletes make money from endorsement deals for the first time. The new law does not take effect until 2023 -- meant to give the NCAA time to change its bylaws before then. Good luck with that.

8. NASCAR: Homestead race is officially looming: It's October. Playoffs underway. Close enough to mention that the NASCAR season finale is Nov. 17 - the last season championship race here before Homestead is demoted and becomes just another earlier-season race.   

9. WNBA: Delle Donne injury messes with Finals: The Connecticut Sun and heavily favored Washington Mystics are tied 1-1 entering Game 3 of the WNBA Finals Sunday, but the back injury to league MVP Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics has tossed a monkey wrench into the thing. Sun's victory parade would need a giant asterisk.

10. E-SPORTS: Video gaming arena coming to Miami: A 12,000-square-foot e-sports arena is coming to the Wynwood area of Miami in 2020, it was announced by Millenial Gaming CEO Darren Cox. The arena is to seat 300, for those of you with nothing better to do than to watch other people play video games.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hurricanes men's basketball begins in a month, Nov. 5 vs. Louisville. Jim Larranaga's program is trying to rebound from a 14-18 season that saw a 5-13 struggle in the ACC ..... Katie Meier's UM women's program opens Nov. 10 after going 25-9 (12-4 ACC) last season ..... The Rock returns to WWE Smackdown. Yeah, because Dwayne Johnson doesn't have enough money ..... The shine is off UCF football. No. 18 Knights now 4-2 and likely falling from polls after Friday night's 27-24 loss at Cincinnati ..... Conor McGrgeor is being charged with assault for a punch thrown in a Dublin bar. Dunce! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,450 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / and From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 01, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 35.3% following 30-10 home loss to Chargers; latest new Hot Button Top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else lands where; also, Riley introduces Butler 'cause the Heat don't tank, NFL Week 4 pick & more

1) It's MONDAY SEPTEMBER 30. Visit Herald Week 3 NFL QB Rankings if you missed our updated standings entering this week. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 4 picks, HistoryMiami Museum gives Dolfans escape to glory days, why Fins are still better-positioned than Canes for turnaround, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

LacmiaG4: L.A. CHARGERS 30, DOLPHINS 10: WELL, A LITTLE BETTER, AT LEAST: Visit Winless But Progress Is Perfect Combo For Dolphins for my column from Sunday's game. Original post: Fins are 15-point home underdogs for Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff at The Rock, which, compared to the two previous games, is a nail-biter! I wrote last week that I was done with the Dolphins as the bandwagon — driverless, passenger-free and in flames — careened over a cliff. Well, I’m back on the Fins in NFL Week 4. To win? LOL, don’t be silly! But I do believe they’ll at least manage to cover the point spread at home. Why? Philip Rivers is prone to the occasional INT, and my chips are on Xavien Howard doing a reasonable job on Keenan Allen. Plus still no Melvin Gordon for LAC, although the RB ended his holdout Thursday. More than that, the poor Miami offense catches a lil’ break, at last. After facing the monstrous D’s of the Ravens, Patriots and Cowboys the first three games, the Fins see an average unit in the Bolts, whose vaunted pass rush has even been ordinary thus far. Could be offensive fireworks from Josh Rosen and Miami. By which I mean two touchdowns. Maybe. After being outscored 133-16 — the minus-117 the biggest point differential in the NFL through three games since 1950 — Sunday might feel almost like a victory for Dolfans. Hey, I said almost. Cote's pick: Chargers, 31-17. (Visit Week 4 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 35.3%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and Dsmthey show 35.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon’s 30-10 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers putting Miami’s season record at 0-4. This is a new season high as Tank For Tua fans weigh in. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers. Visit DSM: Dolphins-Chargers for complete results.

Next poll: Oct. 13 following game vs. Washington (after bye)

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins, still seeking escape from embarrassment, fall to Chargers: The tanking Dolphins had lost their first three games by (in order) 49, 43 and 25 points, before Sunday's 20-point home loss (30-10) to the Chargers. I call that progress! Hey, trying to accentuate the positive here. It ain't easy. Work with me.

2. BASEBALL: Let the World Series tournament begin!: MLB regular season wrapped Sunday and the two wild-card games are Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the real postseason begins. The four clear betting favorites for the World Series title, in order, are the Astros, Dodgers, Yankees and Braves. My defending champion Red Sox didn't make it and the Marlins finished 873 games back, but we're going to bravely feign interest in the postseason anyway.

3. PANTHERS: Drop that puck. It's Opening Week for Cats!: Florida began the preseason 0-4 but rallied to win three of eight games. Now Panthers open their 26th NHL season this Thursday at Tampa Bay, with the first home game Saturday, also against the Lightning. There is a fresh-start feel led by new coach Joel Quenneville and new goalie Sergie Bobrovsky -- both big stars. No excuses left, Cats. Playoffs or bust.

4. MARLINS: Fish are done (thank you, Lord); Mattingly isn't: Miami finished 57-105 by winning Sunday's season finale in Philadelphia. So it's over for the Fish, but not for manager Don Mattingly, given a two-extension. Upside? At least the young, rebuilding Marlins avoided the club-record 108-loss season set by the Fire-Sale Fish of 1998. In other depressing Marlins news, this week marked the third-anniversary of the tragic death of Jose Fernandez.

5. HEAT: Training camp on deck for new-look, post-Wade Heat: Heat media day was Monday, now comes a five-day training camp Tuesday through Saturday in West Palm Beach, then the preseason begins Oct. 8 vs. San Antonio. Gone: Retired Dwyane Wade. Arrived: New star Jimmy Butler. Expectations: Playoffs. Not  much more than that. No title talk. No East takeover. Just ... playoffs, please.

6. INTER MIAMI: Ouch. Shade from reported top coach candidate: Reports persist that Manchester City star will join Inter Miami after the English Premier League season to become David Beckham's first marquee player. But former Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari, speculated frontrunner to be Inter's new coach, told BBC News: "I would like to coach in Europe, in a serious project in one of the big leagues." Ouch. Shade.

7. HURRICANES: UM licks wounds, preps for ACC in off week: The Canes barely beat little Central Michigan 17-12 at home and the NCAA punished Miami by not letting it play this week. OK, not really. This was a scheduled bye week for UM. And well-timed, as 2-2 Miami girds for its chunk of ACC games starting next Saturday vs. Virginia Tech. If we keep seeing the same Canes who struggled to  survive the Chippewas, this could be a long season in the Gables.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Will Clemson drop from top after near-loss?: No top-10 team lost this week, but No. 1-ranked Clemson barely survived at North Carolina, 21-20, thanks to a failed Tar Heels two-point conversion in the closing seconds. Will the Tigers now fall behind No. 2 Alabama in the next rankings? In my vote (if I had one): Yes. And AP voters agreed.

9. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): Gators play patsy, FIU licks wounds:  No. 9-ranked Florida Gators had a virtual bye week in hosting Towson on Saturday, winning 38-0. In other state FBS action, FSU handled North Carolina State 31-13 in another relieving win for beleaguered Willie Taggert, No. 22 UCF got back on track 56-21 over visiting UConn, FAU won at Charlotte 45-27, South Florida got crushed at home 48-21 by SMU, and 1-3 FIU was idle.

10. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NCAA drops hammer on Kansas, Self: With college hoops season only about five weeks away, an NCAA/FBI investigation has storied program Kansas and Hall of Fame coach Bill Self in the crosshairs. Kansas is accused of substantial cheating and lack of institutional oversight, charges Self is mostly denying. Sorry, Jayhawks but this can't end well. Self said the controversy would be "no distraction." Everybody else said, "Hahahahahahahaha!"

Missing the HB10 cut: The Connecticut Sun and heavily favored Washington Mystics begin a best-of-five WNBA Finals today/Sunday. Why is Washington heavily favored? Because it has Elena Delle Donne, league MVP and perhaps the only WNBA player I can name. Unless Sue Bird is still playing ..... The Rugby World Cup is underway, and host Japan stunned Ireland, which in rugby is a gargantuan upset. If Japan wins it all, I'll swim and hitchhike to Tokyo ..... Update: Countdown now 2,457 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

ButlerRILEY INTRODUCES BUTLER -- 'CAUSE THE HEAT DON'T TANK: Welcome back to winning, South Florida. Or — and this is important — trying to win, at least. Welcome back to the idea of relentless competitiveness, and a sports franchise that bitterly regards the strategy of tanking as an insult, an anathema. Welcome back, Miami Heat. Your return is well-timed. It arrives as an antidote. As salve for what hurts us. Heat season unfurled ceremonially on Friday as club president Pat Riley and new star Jimmy Butler met with the media. Training camp is next week, the preseason begins Oct. 8 and the real NBA games start Oct. 23. This is the one Miami pro team that expects to make the playoffs every season and is plainly embarrassed not to. That’s something very different for us at the moment. Riley did not mention the tanking Dolphins or Marlins, but the message was clear as he said Friday: "The one thing I owe the franchise and the city is to put the most competitive team on the court that I can,” he said. “Having a Jimmy Butler here is a step in that direction for real." For my full latest column, please visit Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank.

PicksOUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a hot Week 3 in our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the Dolphins finally cover a point spread by staying (reasonably) close against the Chargers on Sunday? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 4 Gems now. Beginning this week subscribers get an early look at our picks, ahead of non-subscribers, so sign in or sign up! Tough start to our week         when Green Bay's defense majorly let us down Thursday night. Sally forth!

Also from this week: Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days (on HistoryMiami Museum's new massive Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit) and Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than CanesOther most recent columns: Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

UfiuCANES, FIU TAKE WEEK OFF TO LICK WOUNDS: Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers both are off this weekend, and for each the break seems well-timed. UM is 2-2 after a thoroughly unimpressive 17-12 home win over smaller-school Central Michigan, while Butch Davis' FIU has started 1-3. At least better days are ahead in the short term. Canes resume their ACC schedule Oct. 5 at 3:30 at home vs. Virginia Tech. Hokies are 2-1 but down. Miami beat VT 38-14 last year and figure as around a three-touchdown favorite again. FIU hosts a winless Massachusetts next Saturday at 7 p.m. and should be around a four-TD pick. State FBS games this Saturday: FAU at Charlotte, 3:30; Towson at No. 9-Florida, 4; SMU at South Florida, 4; UConn at No. 22-UCF, 7; and North Carolina State at Florida State, 7:30.

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / and From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 24, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 27.5% after 31-6 loss in Dallas; plus Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 8.5% -- season low -- after 17-12 win over Central Michigan; also, NFL Week 3 picks, Hot Button Top 10 & more

1) It's MONDAY SEPTEMBER 23. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 3 picks, Kaepernick blackballing enters Year 3 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksOur NFL Week 3 picks: This is our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and here are our Week 3 selections. Will the Dolphins cover that gargantuan 21 1/2-point line at Dallas Sunday or get blown out yet again? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 3 Gems now. Got the week off to a big start by nailing the Jaguars' upset win last night; see Week 3 Thursday Gem.

Kaepernick, other most recent columns: The NFL's continuing shame is more relevant than ever as quarterbacks fall left and right, and the NFL should not be let off the hook. For my full latest column, visit Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame. Also: Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

ChippsG4: CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT HURRICANES: TOUGHER THAN LAST WEEK ... BUT NOT MUCH: Canes shook off a season-wilting 0-2 start vs. Florida and North Carolina by taking out their frustrations on poor Bethune-Cookman 63-0 last week. Now Miami should cruise to a level 2-2 record Saturday at 4 p.m. here vs. another undersized foe in the MAC's Central Michigan, whom the Canes have never before played. The Chippewas are 2-0 this season vs. teams their own size but got crushed 61-0 by No. 17 Wisconsin. UM is no Wisconsin but this still should be (better be) another walk in the park for Miami, a 29-point betting favorite. More importantly this is a final tuneup of sorts, because, after this game and a bye week, Miami's full ACC schedule kicks in Oct. 5 vs. Virginia Tech. Pictured: An ad for Chippewa Boots, because, why not? Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 41-10.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 8.5%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 8.5 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday’s 17-12 UM home victory over Central Michigan putting the Hurricanes' season record at 2-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play. That's a season-low rating. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 2 p.m. Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 5 following game vs. Virginia Tech.

G3: DOLPHINS AT DALLAS: IT CAN'T GET ANY WORSE ... CAN IT!?: When your team has opened its NFL schedule with 59-10 (Ravens) and 43-0 (Patriots) home losses -- the worst two-game start in NFL history -- there might literally be nowhere to go but up. Unless, perhaps, your first road game is Sunday at 1 at Dallas, whose very good Cowboys are favored over Miami by even more than New England was last week. You’ve heard of "once bitten, twice shy"? Well, I’m twice bitten by the Dolphins so what does that make me? I pick Miami to win its opener in a big upset and it loses by 49 points. I pick Miami to cover an 18 1/2-point spread last week and the Fins lose by 43. The lesson? I’m done with this team. MIA to me means missing in action from now on. Now the Fins are getting an outrageous 21 1/2 points at Dallas. Along with Patriots-Jets, this marks the first time in 32 years the NFL has seen multiple 20-point spreads in one week. And that was the 1987 strike season, with replacement players. The 2019 Dolphins could use some of those. A bunch, actually. Josh Rosen will start at QB for Miami. Will it matter? Update: Dolphins sign DE Taco Charlton, the Cowboys' semi-draft bust, off waivers, so all is well. The 0-16 talk is silly. I still see the Dolphins having a chance to win four or five games. But oh lord this is not one of them. You have a better chance of winning the lottery while simultaneously being struck by lightning than Miami has of winning Sunday. Cote's pick: Cowboys, 38-7. (Click Week 3 Gems for all our latest NFL picks).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 27.5%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 27.5 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon’s 31-6 Dolphins Dsmloss at Dallas putting Miami’s season record at 0-3. Oddly, that is a season high, presumably reflecting the sizable Tanking for Tua wing of the fandom. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

Next poll: Sept. 29 following game vs. L.A. Chargers.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins have solid half in Dallas ... but lose big: When you have lost your first two home games by an historic combined score of 102 to 10, there is a real chance you head out for your first road trip with absolutely no intention of ever coming back. Especially when that trip finds you a ridiculous 21 1/2-point underdog in Dallas on Sunday. Well, Miami lost 31-6. Bright spot: Fins almost looked like a real team in a 10-6 first half!

2. HURRICANES: UM unimpressive in barely beating Central Michigan: Let's be clear, Manny Diaz. When you start 0-2 with meaningful losses to Florida and North Carolina and then get to .500 with a walkover win vs. Bethune-Cookman and now an unimpressive 17-12 Saturday home win over Central Michigan, nobody is satisfied. Run the table, get into the ACC title game at 10-2, and then we'll talk.

3. MARLINS: Fish wrap up season's home schedule with win: Miami ended its home schedule on Sunday with a 5-3 win over Washington, and now set out on a seven-game road trip to end the long year. Season highlight: At 101 losses, Marlins would have to lose all seven on this road trip to tie the franchise record of 108 losses set in 1998. Woo hoo!

4. INTER MIAMI: Manchester City star Silva taking his talents here?: Manchester City star midfielder David Silva reportedly is set to become Inter Miami's first marquee signing. The English newspaper The Independent reports Silva will leave the reigning Premier League champions at the end of the season and is "likely to join" David Beckham's MLS expansion team. The Spanish star is 33 but still a top midfielder globally. Close the deal, Beckham!

5. BASEBALL: MLB season down to its final week: MLB regular season ends one week from Sunday, with not a lot of playoff-chase drama beyond the fight for both leagues' second wild-card spot. When last I checked the Marlins were 29 games back in the wild-card hunt, and had been mathematically eliminated back in 2014.

6. STATE COLLEGES (NON-UM): Can Willie Taggert save himself?: FIU a disappointing 1-3 after loss to Louisiana Tech Friday, then it was No. 9 Florida routing Tennessee Saturday, then No. 15 UCF losing at Pitt. Ah, but the big heat is on Florida State hosting Louisville. Noles coach Willie Taggert was 6-9 at FSU, a fast track to former coach, before winning Saturday. 

7. PANTHERS: Altogether, now. Breathe deep and relaaaaax: Florida and new superstar coach Joel Quenneville began their eight-game preseason schedule 0-3. Repeat after me. It doesn't matter. Star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky hadn't played. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter...  

8. HEAT: Adebayo embarrassed in burger fest as training camp nears: The new post-Wade, Jimmy Butler-led Heat announced they'd hold media day September 30, then preseason training camp October 1-5 in West Palm Beach, then open the preseason October 8 vs. San Antonio. Meantime center Bam Adebayo got crushed in a charity burger-eating contest by Japanese legend Takeru Kobayashi, who wolfed 20 burgers while Adabeyo ate only one. One!? C'mon, dude.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Notre Dame-Georgia tops national schedule: No. 7 Notre Dame visited No. 3 Georgia on Saturday and lost. That means Georgia gets to pretend for a little while that it has any prayer of maybe beating Clemson or Alabama this season.

10. WNBA: Playoffs underway, and Delle Donne owns 'em: WNBA playoffs are down to the semifinals, and if Elena Delle Donne doesn't cap her MVP season with a Washington Mystics championship I'm going to boycott the league by watching even fewer games than I do now.

Missing the HB10 cut: In the Chess World Cup in Russia, 43 spectators just fell asleep waiting for the next move ..... If you didn't love Mike Yastrzemski hitting a home run at Fenway Park while grandpa Carl (Yaz) looked on, then to hell with you! ..... The IndyCar racing season ends Sunday. Further details as warranted ..... Team USA kept its No. 1 overall ranking despite bombing in the FIBA World Cup. Has being No. 1 ever felt less like celebrating? ..... Update: Countdown now 2,464 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that / Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 17, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 24.6% after shutout loss to New England and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 83.0% after rout of Bethune-Cookman; plus NFL Week 2 picks, odds for ex-Canes, Fins on 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

1) It's MONDAY SEPTEMBER 16. R.I.P. Ric Ocasek, 75. His group The Cars were very big in  my life when I was in my 20s and always held a place in my memory and heart. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 2 picks, yes Dolphins are tanking and yes they should & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksOur NFL Week 2 picks: Will the Miami Dolphins lose by less than the epic 18 1/2-point betting line on Sunday? What is our Game of the Week. Who are our upset winners? Find out that and more by visiting Week 2 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

Other most recent work: Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Also: It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Herald Week 1 QB Rankings / The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that (game column from opening loss).

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G3: 83.0%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 83.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 63-0 UM home Csmvictory over Bethune-Cookman putting the Hurricanes' season record at 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10 a.m. today/Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

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

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

Next poll: Sept. 21 following game vs. Central Michigan.

BcmiaG3: BETHUNE-COOKMAN AT HURRICANES: NAME YOUR SCORE: I know in the NFL very occasionally you see a crazy score like, say, 59-10. (Sorry, Dolphins). But generally speaking you don't get many silly-sized routs in the pros like you see too much in the college game, when major schools play small schools that have no shot. It is why I prefer the NFL. Which brings us to the Miami Hurricanes hosting Bethune-Cookman Saturday at 4 in UM's home opener at Hard Rock. Miami has played B-C four times this decade (most recently in 2017), and the Canes have won all four by a combined 169-37. Could have been worse. That involved a bunch of clear the bench and foot off the gas pedal. This could be more of a classic, thorough butt-whippin' because, at 0-2 for the first time since 1978, Manny Diaz and Miami are frustrated and eager to take it out on ... anybody. I'd be shocked if the final score was remotely close. If B-C had even half of Miami's score. So you're up, B-C Wildcats. The designated punching bag and stress relief for the Canes' early-season frustration. So I'll say it now, Wildcats. I'm sorry for your loss. Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 61-0.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 24.6%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 24.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 43-0 DsmDolphins home loss to New England putting Miami's season record at 0-2. (That's an uptick. Tanking crowd weighing in). In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the official results. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

Next poll: Sept. 22 following game at Dallas.

NemiaG2: NEW ENGLAND AT DOLPHINS: LET US PRAYMiami is one of eight home underdogs in NFL Week 2, and oh what a dog! Combo of last week’s humiliating 59-10 opening loss to Baltimore and New England being New England has left Dolphins getting 18 1/2 points Sunday at 1. Perspective: That’s biggest NFL spread since 2007, and one of only three times in past 30 years a road team has been favored by this much. Interesting subplots: Brian Flores coaching against his former team, and Antonio Brown’s debut (maybe) for Pats. Oh, and will ornery Bill Belichick want to run it up for the way Miami stunningly beat his team here last season on that late 69-yard miracle lateral-fest? Would it shock for Fins to lose by 30-plus? Nope. But Miami is on a 5-1 run at home vs. Tom Brady, and I’m hunching that whatever pride wasn’t beaten out of the Dolphins last week will be marshaled for a credible performance that beats not the Patriots (don't be silly), but at least the point spread. Cote's pick: Patriots, 34-17. (Click Week 2 Gems for all our latest NFL picks).

ELEVEN EX-CANES, FINS ON 2020 HALL BALLOT: WE HANDICAP THEIR CHANCES: Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed its 122 contenders for 2020 induction into Canton, a list that includes six Ejamesformer Dolphins and five ex-Canes. The mass will be pared to 25 semifinalists in November and then 15 finalists in January, who'll be voted on for induction during Super Bowl Week in Miami. None of the 11 locals is a good bet to get to Canton, but here's how we see them stacking up in terms of at least making the cut to 25: Best chance: Edgerrin James (pictured), because the former UM running back was a finalist in 2019. Decent chance: Ex-Fins LB Zach Thomas deserves Canton (as I've soapboxed many times), longtime stalwart Dolphins LT Richmond Webb has a case, and ex-Canes WR Reggie Wayne has pretty stout career numbers. A tiny shot, maybe?: Dolphins CB Troy Vincent, TE Keith Jackson and punter Reggie Roby, and Canes RB Clinton Portis and TE Jeremy Shockey. Nah, sorry: Punters Jeff Feagles and Matt Turk. 

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Tankier and tankier as Fins crushed again: Miami was an 18 1/2 point underdog. On the bright side, the Dolphins could lose by double that point spread and still come closer than they did in last week's 59-10 loss. That's what I wrote. And it happened. Patriots, 43-0. Can Miami just concede the final 14 games? Please? 

2. HURRICANES: Thank you, Bethune-Cookman. The Canes needed that: Honestly, I wrote that headline Thursday afternoon. But if the Canes do anything but win comfortably Saturday, just go ahead and cancel the rest of UM's season. They won 63-0. That'll suffice. 

3. BASKETBALL: Team USA gags in awful FIBA World Cup performance: Stunner! Team USA was beaten by France and will play for seventh place Saturday in the FIBA Wold Cup in China -- worst finish ever by an American team that included NBA players. Why? Of 35 players originally selected for the U.S. player pool, only four were in China.

4. INTER MIAMI: Messi-to-Miami rumors heating up?: Soccer rumors that bloom and disseminate from Europe and and South America can be notoriously unreliable. Still, there seems to be traction to the notion Barcelona star Lionel Messi could be considering a late-career move to MLS with the new Miami team. Yes, please. Yes. Please!

5. HORSE RACING: Scandal engulfs Triple Crown winner Justify: New York Times reported that 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test one month before the '18 Kentucky Derby, and that the California Horse Racing Board decided to dismiss the case after the colt went on to win the Triple Crown. Shame, shame. Giant asterisk for the record book please.

6. BASEBALL: Going, going ... MLB sets all-time home run record: Baseball broke its all-time home run record with two weeks to spare when the 6,106th was hit this week. Oh, but the ball isn't joined. No way! 

7. PANTHERS: Cats, full of hope, open NHL training camp: The non-superstitious Florida Panthers and new coach Joel Quenneville open training camp on Friday the 13th, working toward the first of eight preseason games this Monday at Nashville. Playoffs or bust, Cats. Excuses all gone.

8. MARLINS: Fish hurtling toward most-losses mark as season wanes: Miami's club-record 108 losses set in 1998 is in play as Marlins play out the string. Currently in midst of a West Coast swing, Miami's final homestand in Sept. 20-22 before ending (mercifully) with seven straight on road.

9. HEAT: Miami announces training camp dates: The new Jimmy Butler-led Heat announced they'd hold preseason training camp Oct. 1-5 at Keiser University in West Palm Beach, after media day Sept. 30. The first of five Heat preseason games is scheduled Oct. 8 vs. San Antonio.

10. SERENA WILLIAMS: She parties after U.S. Open finals loss: Serena rented out a New York Mexican restaurant and partied with friends 'til the wee hours after losing the U.S. Open final to again be denied a record-tying 24th major. Why do I have the feeling I want her to get that record more than she does? 

Missing the HB10 cut: Antonio Brown, just on general principle ..... Sentences I Never Imagined Writing, one in a series: "LeBron James denied trademark application for phrase 'Taco Tuesday' ..... Hated to see Christian Yelich lost injured for rest of season, and in Miami no less ..... Chess World Cup underway in Russia, in case watching paint dry has proved too exciting for you ..... World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships have begun in Azerbaijan. That's like regular gymnastics, only more ridiculous ..... Update: Countdown now 2,471 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 10, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 18.3%. Low (but interesting) result after 59-10 loss to Baltimore; plus my column from game, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), CSM results final following Canes loss, NFL Week 1 picks & more

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose at North Carolina with CSM postgame poll, our NFL Week 1 predictions, your verdict on my fantasy team & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

My column from Dolphins' 59-10 opening loss: It was not as brutal as the score suggests. It was more so. Welcome to the weirdest season, where being really, really bad can be really, really good. For my column from the stadium, visit The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that.    

Canes postgame poll results final: Voting in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll has ended with the approval rating plummeting as expected following the 28-25 loss at North Carolina. Scroll to previous blogpost for details.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 18.3%: Results are  certified to open the 12th season of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 18.3 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon’s 59-10 loss to the Dsmvisiting Baltimore Ravens in the Fins’ season opener. It was the most points ever allowed in a Dolphins home game, the low but perhaps better than expected DSM likely owing to the Tank for Tua wing of the fandom. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today. Online voting determines official results, although you may also vote on Twitter @gregcote, where the vote was 57% approval.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

Next poll: Sept. 15 following game vs. New England.

G1: BALTIMORE 59, @DOLPHINS 10: ONLY THING WORSE THAN FINS' PERFORMANCE? MY PICK!: Original post: "AAAWWWK!" shrieks the Upset Bird, ushering in the 2019 season with a big-bang pick. "Tanking schmanking. BalmiaAawwk!" OK, here’s the thing. Repeat after me: "The Miami Dolphins will not be as bad as you think." I am about the only media-ite saying this — locally or nationally. The view is kind of scary from way up here out on the limb, but that’s all right. Imagine being the Dolphins right now. You spend the whole offseason and preseason hearing and reading about how lousy you are. About tanking and no talent and eve-of-season trades that diminished that talent even further in the name of rebuilding and draft capital. Well, there are two ways to respond: 1) With dejection, dissension and self defeat. Or 2) The way I see Miami responding today/Sunday, which is to show that this maligned, mocked, written-off team is very capable of winning five to seven games in a parity-soaked league. So, yeah, give me the home-’dog upset on a hunch here. Dolphins were 6-2 at home last season and have the anger and intangible edge here. More tangibly, Baltimore had some key free agency losses on defense, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kenyan Drake — even behind a mishmash O-line — could have opportunities. Also think Miami’s defensive line depth and secondary will come through Sunday against the big challenge of dual-threat Lamar Jackson. Yes, this pick is a big swing that could miss badly, but, like the Black Eyed Peas in 2009, I gotta feeling. "Fergie! Dolphins limited ownership partner! Thataway to tie it all together," notes a grinning, nodding Upset Bird. "Tank schmank. AAWWK!" Cote's pick: Dolphins 23, Baltimore 20.

[Click on Week 1 Gems for all of our NFL Kickoff Weekend predictions].

Our most recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Ready or not (not!), Miami falls hard in season opener: The media and betting consensus is that the Dolphins will be worst-in-the league bad this season. Tanking is assumed after a fire sale of veterans in exchange for future draft picks. Some have even floated 0-16 as a possibility. I alone, it seems, thought otherwise. Saw Miami as a five-to-seven win team and even predicted the Fins would upset the Ravens in Sunday's opener here. Um, Ravens won 59-10. Only thing worse than the Dolphins' performance was my pick. And even that's a close call.

2. HURRICANES: Ouch! UM 0-2 after blowing late lead at North Carolina: This head coaching thing ain't so easy, huh Manny Diaz? Canes are 0-2 for the first time since 1978 after last night's 28-25 loss at Chapel Hill. The U trailed much of the game, led late, then blew it, although QB Jarren Williams was great. Pretty bad when your season feels derailed two games in.

3. TENNIS: Serena falls short again, Nadal wins thriller to close U.S. Open: Serena Williams tried again for a record-tying 24th career major win Saturday but stunningly fell to barely known Canadian Bianca Andreescu, 19. (Begins to make you wonder if she'll ever get the record...) Old stalwart Rafael Nadal won the men's crown Sunday in a five-set thriller over Russian Daniil Medvedev.

4. NFL: Antonio Brown drama takes wild turn as season kicks off: First Sunday of NFL's 100th season kicks off today, and the lead story? The Oakland Raiders managing to botch the Antonio Brown situation to such a colossal degree they release the Pro Bowl receiver and he signs with ... of course ... the New England Bleepin' Patriots! If only I were kidding.

5. BASKETBALL: Team USA turns back the Greek Freak: Team USA is now 4-0 and onto the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup in China after Saturday beating Greece and its NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo 69-53 in their toughest test yet, led by Kemba Walker's 15 points. Coach Gregg Popovich's guys have not always looked great thus far, but expectations of another U.S. world title seem increasingly justified. Yanks play Brazil today.

6. SOCCER: Huge Miami crow for Brazil-Colombia: Brazil and Neymar drew a sellout of 65,232 to Hard Rock Stadium Friday night for a 2-2 draw with Colombia in a national teams friendly. Will the Dolphins draw as many to Sunday's season opener? Let's see, shall we? 

7. MARLINS: Yelich visit on deck as Fish play out the string: Stinkin' Fish are 51-91 in midst of a 7-game homestand. Christian Yelich and the Brewers are here for four starting Monday -- yet another sad reminder of all the stars Miami once had -- then Marlins play 13 of last 16 on road to end season. Meantime Marlins' Brian Moran in his MLB debut struck out his brother Thursday, first time ever a pitcher in his debut K'd his own bro.

8. PANTHERS: Cats and hockey are back on the radar: Infused with an accomplished new coach in Joel Quenneville and a top-tier goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida's now-or-bust season unfurls this week. Cats host rookie camp Tuesday and Wednesday, media day Thursday, then full training camp beginning (superstitious people look away) Friday the 13th. Is this finally the Panthers' year? (Have we asked that before?)

9. HEAT: Arisons donate to Hurricane Dorian relief: Micky Arison's Carnival cruise ships make millions bringing tourists to the Bahamas, so it was only fitting the Heat's owner donated $1 million and use of one of his ships to hurricane relief for that devastated area. Micky's other passion, the Heat, opens preseason training camp soon. In other news, Pat Riley was partying with retiree Dwayne Wade on a yacht in St. Tropez, dancing while dressed like Aladdin. Or, did that go without saying?

10.DWYANE WADE: Ex-Heat star will work out with LeBron: Retiree Dwyane Wade, says he'll be on the court with LeBron and the Lakers working out often before games this season. Wade, who is now lives in suburban Los Angeles, said he plans to work out with his former teammate before games, both at the Lakers' training facility in El Segundo and at Staples. "I just want to stay around it and be as involved as I can," says D-Wade. Hmm. Comeback with Lakers a matter of time?

Missing the HB10 cut: The Ironman 70.3 World Championships were held Saturday in France. I'd planned to compete, but decided at the last minute to wait in a long line for one of those Popeye's chicken sandwiches instead ..... The Chess World Cup begins Monday in Russia. Chess is the game/sport for folks not smart enough to play checkers ..... Update: Countdown now 2,478 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 02, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 26, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss to Florida (with column); latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), plus why Rosen should start at QB for Dolphins, Fitzpatrick vs. Rosen poll result & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 25. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, case for Rosen as Dolphins' starting QB & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our column on last night's Canes loss to Gators: Please visit Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 64.1%: Results are certified for the opening game of the 11th 1aa1csmseason of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 64.1 percent overall approval (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday night's season-opening 24-20 loss to No. 8 Florida in Orlando. That's a fairly high number following a loss. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. You may vote here in the blog, elsewhere online here, and also at Twitter.com/gregcote (where the approval was 44%). Online voting will determine the weekly verdict, which will be announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

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

Next poll: Sept. 7 following game at North Carolina.

MiaflaG1: HURRICANES VS. NO. 8 FLORIDA (IN ORLANDO): DIAZ / WILLIAMS ERA OPENS AS BIG 'DOGS: What a stage for Canes rookie head coach Manny Diaz and first-time starting quarterback Jarren Williams to introduce themselves nationally to college football! Miami and old rival Florida own the nation's attention as the sport's 150th season opens with this game, alone, tonight at 7 on ESPN at the old Citrus Bowl. The erstwhile yearly state rivals haven't met since 2013, and the reunion finds the No. 8-ranked Gators big 7-point favorites coming off a 10-3 season capped by a 41-15 bowl thrashing of Michigan. Miami by contrast limped to the finish at 7-6 after a 35-3 bowl loss to Wisconsin, yet expectations are high enough that UM debuts just outside the Top 25 (29th) in the preseason Associated Press poll. This game for me distills to which offense will be better able to find an answer because this matchup figures to be dominated by two strong defenses. Miami's led by linebacker Shaq Quarterman and UF's led by cornerback C.J. Henderson will be very tough to move and score on. The quarterback position alone gives Florida an edge, with Feleipe Franks' experience in contrast to Williams, whose only prior college action was three pass attempts in garbage time vs. Savannah State last year. Diaz surprised most by anointing Williams for the job over returning incumbent N'Kosi Perry and highly touted Ohio State transfer Tate Martell. Tonight we begin to see if Diaz made the right call. Cote's pick: Florida 20, Hurricanes 16.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Miami falls to Gators in season opener: Miami led three times Saturday night in Orlando but fell 24-20 to No. 8-ranked Florida to kick off college football's 150th season and the Manny Diaz era at The U. What if I'd have told you before the game that the Canes would get a really good performance from new QB Jarren Williams and four takeaways from the defense? That's a win, right? Both happened. No win. But a "right direction" feeling moving forward, am I right?

2. NFL: Stunner! Colts QB Luck retires from NFL: Indianapolis and the NFL reel with the news Saturday night that star quarterback Andrew Luck had abruptly and immediately retired from football three weeks shy of his 30th birthday, citing constant shoulder and other injuries. Jacoby Brissett is now the Indy starter. That sound you hear is the Colts falling from top-tier AFC contender to conference also-ran. 

3. DOLPHINS: Three fake games in, Fins' QB battle still undecided: Fins now 2-1 this preseason after beating Jacksonville here Thursday, but nobody cares. Fake games. What does matter is the decision at quarterback, but coach Brian Flores keeps not making it. He's still weighing Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Josh Rosen entering this Thursday's fake finale in New Orleans. Dear Brian: You're trying to find this team's future, remember? Rosen, please!

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Can anyone bust up the Clemson-'Bama stranglehold?: Canes and one other game snuck in early, but for everyone else the start of college football's 150th season is on deck this week. Highlights: Thursday, No. 1 Clemson whips whomever it's playing and Butch Davis' FIU visits Tulane. Saturday, No. 2 Alabama crushes somebody, Florida State hosts Boise State, and Lane Kiffin leads FAU to slaughter at No. 5 Ohio State.

5. BASKETBALL: U.S. shaky with men's FIBA World Cup on deck: The major 32-nation international hoops event begins this coming Saturday and runs though Sept. 15 in China, with Team USA on shaky ground after a tuneup loss to Australia -- the first time in 13 years an American team with NBA players has lost. Team USA is the favorite but no cinch for gold. Most top NBA stars said nah -- Kemba Walker is the biggest-name U.S. player -- so let's see what Gregg Popovich can do with this B-team roster.

6. TENNIS: Serena, Djokovic favored as U.S. Open begins: Year's fourth and final Grand Slam event begins today/Monday and runs through Sept. 9 in New York, with Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic the betting favorites -- although Serena is only the No. 8 seed. Williams tries again for what would be a record-tying 24th career major, but to do it she must first survive a tough first-round draw in unseeded Maria Sharapova in what, oddly, will be these old rivals' first-ever U.S. Open  meeting.

7. MARLINS: Fish playing out the string as homestand continues: Fish are an NL-worst 47-82 after 0-6 road swing and now 2-1 into a seven-game homestand vs. Phillies and now Reds. The 100-Loss Watch now projects to 59-103. The question: When will the Marlins' bright future get here ... and will Don Mattingly still be around to manage it?

8. GOLF: Mclroy wins season ending Tour Championship: Lightning injured six fans (none seriously) and delayed the Tour Championship in Atlanta, the PGA Tour's season-ending event open only to the year's top 30 money winners. But eventually Rory McIlroy avoided rivals and lightning sufficient to win.

9. YOUTH BASEBALL: U.S. reigns in Little League World Series: Curacao upset powerhouse Japan on Saturday for the international crown and River Ridge, La. beat Wailuku, Hawaii for the U.S. title in the Little League Word Series. Sunday, the U.S. team bopped Curacao 8-0 for the grand title. Now all of those 12-year-old boys can go from being on national TV to being nervous about meeting girls again.

10. SPRING FOOTBALL: XFL reveals team names, logos: Vince McMahon's new eight-team XFL, set to begin play in February 2020, revealed its team names and logos (including the Tampa Bay Vipers). If the history of previous pro spring league attempts is any indication, we can expect the "XFL is folding" announcement any time around midseason 2021.

Missing the HB10 cut: Show of hands. Who drafted Andrew Luck on their fantasy team Saturday? ..... U.S. Patent Office denied Tom Brady's trademark request for "Tom Terrific". About damned time Brady lost at something ..... Orioles set all-time record with a 259th home run allowed. Does the pitching coach walk to the mound in a false nose and glasses? ..... Dolphins coach Brian Flores played eight straight Jay-Z songs at practice a day after receiver Kenny Stills criticized Jay-Z's alliance with the NFL. To "challenge" Stills, said Flores. Weird ..... Dwight Howard to the Lakers. Hahahahaha! ..... Larry Bird complained after an artist painted a mural that depicted him with tattoos. A little too much free time there, Lar? ..... Been a minute Conor McGregor did anything embarrassing. Somebody check, make sure he's OK ..... Update: Countdown now 2,492 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

RosenZERO DOUBT NOW. ROSEN MUST START FOR DOLPHINS! LATEST COLUMN: Me, from the stadium, off last night's Dolphins win over Jacksonville in Fake Game 3: The Miami Dolphins seem prepared to take a big loss even before the NFL regular season begins. Is this a thing that might actually happen? This is the feeling, and we hope we are wrong. Because it would be much easier to say "oops" on what we think and fear might happen than to try to explain why on earth a team in the midst of a rebuild might start bearded fossil Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback at the direct expense of fully finding out what it has in young Josh Rosen. Fins coach Brian Flores acknowledged his Fitzpatrick-leaning after Thursday night’s 22-7 home exhibition win over Jacksonville, saying of Rosen’s performance: "He played well. That makes the decision harder." OK, stop right there. The decision should not be hard. The answer is Rosen (pictured), and it didn't take his leading that 99-yard scoring drive to know that. To read my full column, kindly visit Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins.

Previous most recent other columns: Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

POLL RESULT: ROSEN CLOBBERS FITZPATRICK IN HERALD TWITTER POLL: We posted a Fitzpatrick-or-Rosen poll on our Twitter feed, it drew 2,380 votes in one day and Rosen beat Fitzpatrick in a landslide with 76 percent of the vote at Twitter.com/gregcote.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 22, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated). See who's No. 1 this week and what else landed where; plus Dolphins' QB choice (latest column), note to blog readers & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, AUGUST 22. Happy birthday to my wife! The greatest person I know, that's all. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Behind Canes' bold gamble on Jarren Williams, fallout from Ross' fundraiser for Trump, latest Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Note to readers: Blog readers, apologies that I haven't updated here lately. Been busy with special football section stuff. Will properly attend the blog again soon. Stay tuned.

JrosenNEWEST COLUMN: DON'T OVERTHINK IT, DOLPHINS. START ROSEN: The Miami Dolphins and new coach Brian Flores are trying to do the right thing with the most important position. All indications through the first half of this NFL preseason suggest that. Josh Rosen is getting the vast majority of snaps at quarterback. The stage is his to prove he deserves to start, or that he does not. He does. He has shown enough. Flores’ decision on a starter is unmade, or at least unannounced, but it should be clear to him by now. On merit and for other reasons perhaps even more important, Rosen should be given the keys to this season, and that should be unequivocal. The preceding begins my latest column. To read it in full, kindly visit Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen.

Previous most recent other columns: Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump FundraiserLe Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Opening Week as Canes football, QB Williams take on Gators!: Countdown is now 2 days until Hurricanes face No. 8 Florida in Orlando Saturday night in the very first game of college football's 150th season. Game marks opening of the Manny Diaz era and first career start for new quarterback Jarren Williams, who seemed out of the hunt this spring but ended up beating Tate Martell and N'Kosi Perry for the job. That was the easy part. Now he must prove UM made the right choice.

2. DOLPHINS: Fins still haven't named who least-bad starting QB will be: Miami fell in Tampa 16-14 Friday night after beating Atlanta 34-27 to open the preseason, with Fake Game 3 on deck tonight/Thursday vs. Jacksonville. A starting quarterback still hasn't been named between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Maybe Fins will take a page from the Canes, look behind door No. 3 and surprise us with Jake Rudock?

3. INTER MIAMI: Team Beckham reported close to signing coach, first star player: Inter Miami, beginning play in MLS next spring, already has signed a trio of 19-year-olds who may be a part of the club's future. Now the big news is looming for Team Beckham. International reports are that Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani is prepared to join Miami next summer when his contract in France ends. And reports out of Italy are that former AC Milan coach Gennaro "Rino" Gattuso may be a leading candidate to be Miami's inaugural coach. Futbol!

4. MARLINS: Can this season end quicker, please?: Fish have lost five straight games, 15 of their past 18 and are 45-80 as six-game road trip ends tonight before start of a seven-game homestand. The 100-Loss Watch finds team's current pace still at 58-104. Meantime the 2020 schedule is out and next season will open with a seven-game homestand starting March 26 vs. Phillies. Just say that '20 had better be better than what we're slogging through right now.

5. HEAT: Udonis returns, 2019-20 schedule is set: Udonis Haslem announced he'll be back for a 17th Heat season, good news for Heat fans already suffering withdrawal symptoms from no Dwyane Wade. Meanwhile NBA revealed its 2019-20 schedule and the now Jimmy Butler-led Heat will open Oct. 23 at home vs. Memphis. Though Butler and a weakened East make Miami a likely playoff team, Heat will have only a modest six nationally televised games on ESPN or TNT.

6. PANTHERS: Cats to retire Luongo's jersey number: Fittingly and not unexpectedly, Florida announced goaltender Roberto Luongo's No. 1 would become the first retired number in franchise history in a ceremony prior to the March 7 home game vs. Montreal. Luongo, 40, retired June 26. The Cats and new coach Joel Quenneville open the new NHL season Oct. 3.

7. GYMNASTICS: Queen Simone does it again: Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, 22, reaffirmed her place as the world’s undisputed No. 1 gymnast in the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City -- winning a sixth national gymnastics title with an historic double-double dismount on the uneven bars and then an astounding triple-double during her floor routine.

8. JAY-Z: Rapper and NFL in controversial partnership: Jay-Z's Roc Nation partnered up with the NFL to lead its entertainment and social justice platforms, with Jay-Z immediately called a sellout. Might have helped if Colin Kaepernick had been made part of the marriage. But he wasn't.

9. SOCCER: No Messi is no problem as Miami  turns out anyway: Barcelona beat Napoli 2-1 at Hard Rock Stadium earlier this month in a match that drew 57,062 despite Barca star Lionel Messi missing the trip with (supposedly) a calf injury. Miami's continuing embrace of soccer has to have David Beckham and Jorge Mas smiling as they prepare for Inter Miami's first MLS season next spring. 

10. YOUTH BASEBALL: Little League World Series underway: The annually televised LLWS from Williamsport, Pa. began on Friday and runs through Aug. 25. Don't care who wins as long as it isn't the Rhode Island team accused of cheating by stealing signs to win its New England regional. Their coach should be tarred and feathered and then deported -- while still covered in tar and feathers -- to Tristan da Cunha, the world's most remote inhabited island. Update: Rhode Island got eliminated with two straight, the first by a no-hitter. Justice! Karma!

Missing the HB10 cut: Conor McGregor punched an old man in a Dublin bar in an argument over whisky. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Hot Button Top 10 returns after missing the past two Sundays on holiday. Miss us? Lie and say you did! ..... Locals sports radio giants 560 and 790 were put in a blender and mixed up by the company that owns both. In other news, "560 The Joe" may be the worst radio station name in history ..... English Premier League season is underway with U.S. star Christian Pulisic now with Chelsea. I follow Everton and Watford, proving beyond doubt I am not a frontrunner ..... U.S. Open tennis begins in eight days. Can Serena Williams finally tie the ll-time majors record? ..... The men's FIBA Basketball World Cup begins Aug. 31 in China. Will the last player to drop off the U.S. team please turn out he light? ..... Antonio Brown found a helmet he's OK with. Thanks God! We can all rest easy again! ..... Switzerland just hosted the men's Fistball World Championships. Fistball is like volleyball, only with a much dumber name ..... Six players were ejected from a WNBA game for throwing punches, proving that women occasionally can be every bit as dumb as men ..... The World Orienteering Championships end today in Norway. Are eliminated teams said to be dis-oriented? ..... The Big3 has-beens basketball league came through Miami and nobody cared ..... Fantasy football drafts, near. Greg's Lobos, girding ..... Update: Countdown now 2,499 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote