January 08, 2019

What was Miami's biggest sport story of 2018? Our 20 finalists. You pick top 6. Annual poll. Last day to vote!; plus my LeBatard and Canes columns, Radio Tuesday, Hot Button Top 10, how we did on NFL playoff picks, your top-national-story winner & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, JANUARY 8. Yes I might still say "Happy New Year" and I don't care who objects with their silly rules. 2) Football is at its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild-Card Weekend picks, biggest-national-sports-story-of-2018 poll, make-Wade-an-all-star column & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, my first time back with Dan and Stu since before the holidays. Show airs 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Miami's 790 The Ticket and nationally on ESPN Radio affiliates and on ESPNews from 10 to 1. Join us! 

The Le Batard, Canes' Chaos to Calm columns: Visit From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 for a special, unusually personal column by me. And, in my latest column, UM director of athletics Blake James takes us behind the scenes on the day when Canes football when from a bombshell of upheaval to the calm of continuity within hours. Visit Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm.

Other most recent columns: Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff. Also: The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

PicksNFL playoff picks: Wild-Card Weekend results: I finished 2-2 straight-up and 2-2 against the spread in the Saturday/Sunday TV doubleheaders that got the postseason underway. Straivght-up, I called the Chargers upset win and also had Cowboys winning. ATS, got the Chargers and Eagles covering at Chicago. Got a bit unlucky. Was sailing with Dallas to cover until that late Seattle score and 2-point conversion. And had Bears straight-up if not for that double-boink final makeable field goal miss. Thanks, Cody Parkey. Visit NFL Wild-Card Weekend Gems for all of our opening round selections.

Miami18WHAT WAS MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2018? VOTING CONTINUES!: [Note: Voting continues through today and results will be announced here Wednesday morning]. This is our third year doing this. In 2016 you voted the tragic death of Jose Fernandez the biggest local story of the year, and for 2017 it was the Hurricanes' Turnover Chain-fueled surge to UM's first 10-win season in 14 years. The vote to name the biggest local story of 2018 could be tougher, and closer. We'll see. And you'll decide. Previously we invited you to name the past year's top national sports story and you did (results below). Now we invite you to select the 2018 Miami/South Florida sports story of the year, from a roughly alphabetical top 20 of my choosing. You may vote for your top six (6). I offer no synopsis beyond the description phrase in the poll, because if it needs further explaining, it obviously wasn't that big/impactful/important to you. Voting will continue until results are announced here mid-afternoon Tuesday. OK. Ready? Vote!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP SIX (6)

EaglesYOUR BIGGEST NATIONAL SPORTS STORY VERDICT: We gave you The Associated Press year-end list of Top 10 national sports stories for 2018 and invited you to select your top three. That means the highest possible percentage for any one answer would be 33.3 percent if all voters cast all three votes. Triple each vote total below for the approximate percent of times that answer was included in a top three. Your results: 1. Eagles win first Super Bowl 22.43%; 2. Larry Nasser/gymnastics sexual abuse scandal 20.15%; 3. Supreme Court allows sports betting beyond Las Vegas 15.59%; 4. Tiger Woods comeback from back surgery 9.89%; and 5. Maryland-Baltimore County first 16-seed to beat a No.1 in NCAAs 9.13%. (Nasser/gymnastics scandal won The AP vote). Others: Red Sox win World Series 6.84%; Sister Jean, 98, inspires Loyola-Chicago to NCAA Final Four 4.94%; expansion Golden Knights reach Stanley Cup Finals 4.18%; Alabama wins fifth national title under Nick Saban 4.18%; and Russia doping scandal continues into Pyeongchang Olympics 2.66%.

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 in search for Gase's replacement as coach: Adam Gase is out. Chris Grier gets the personnel power Mike Tannenbaum had. The search is on for a new head coach. And none if it matters as much as this: Finding a quarterback better than Ryan Tannehill.

2. HURRICANES: Diaz continues assembling new staff: New head coach Manny Diaz digs in to try and find a new offensive coordinator to breathe life into the underperforming half of the team. Major Applewhite, perhaps? No matter who the new OC is, will N'Kosi Perry be his guy?

3. NFL: Colts, Cowboys, Chargers, Eagles advance as playoffs begin: Indianapolis won impressively in Houston, handled Seattle, the Chargers upset Baltimore and Philly upset Chicago to open the playoffs -- the latter only because Cody Parkey blew a 43-yard FG try in last seconds.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson routs Alabama for CFP title: Crimson Tide and Tigers met Monday night in Santa Clara, Calif., with both teams 14-0 and 'Bama a 5 1/2-point favorite, but it was Clemson winning in a rout, 44-16. We've seldom seen Nick Saban look so sad. Ain't it great!?

5. HEAT: All-star push for Wade is on: As Heat have won eight of past 11 and are at .500 in East race, the push is on to send Dwyane Wade off as an all-star in his final season. He's running second in fan voting. Now we'll see if the player and media vote gets it right, too.

6. UM BASKETBALL: ACC schedule begins for Canes men, women: Now it gets real. Struggling UM men dropped their ACC opener, fell at Louisville last night and now play at No. 9 Florida State Wednesday. Canes women are 14-3 after two wins to open ACC play but somehow slipped from Top 25.

7. JAMES HARDEN: Rockets star's pointfest continues: Harden has now scored 30 or more points in 13 straight games, and NBA record. There are points hidden in Harden's beard.

8. PANTHERS: Hints of hope for Cats, but is it too late?: Cats at midseason are 17-23 and a big nine points off playoff pace as they head out on five-game road trip. Even a big second half might not be enough -- not a good position to have placed yourself.

9. NBA: Warriors, King set 3's mark: Golden State and Sacramento combined for 41 3's, an NBA record. The game's evolution is such, when you pull up for a 2-point jump shot now, they look at you funny.

10. BASEBALL: Biggest deals still on hold: A destination of top free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. A trade of Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Women carry babies in their wombs less time than it's taken these deals to happen.

Missing the HB10 cut: Update: Countdown now 2,724 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 24, 2018

How satisfied are you with the Dolphins? Latest DSM postgame poll. Vote now!; plus embarrassing Fins lose 17-7 to Jax, end playoff hope. Gase, Tannehill on outs? My game column; plus newest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

Ceve1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 24. Merry Christmas Eve! 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Weeek 16 picks, FIU wins Bahamas Bowl & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our 'Debacle of Disappearing Dolphins' column: The Grinch stole the playoffs in Sunday's dispiriting 17-7 Dolphins home loss to Jacksonville. But did he also steal Ryan Tannehill's Fins future and Adam Gase's job. I explore in my column from the stadium off the game. Visit End Of Hope For Dolphins. Of Tannehill, Gase, too? to read. Other most recent columns: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era and How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G15: Time again for the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, this in the wake of Sunday's 17-7 home loss to Jacksonville putting Miami's season record at 7-8 and eliminating the Fins from playoff contention. 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 will be around 8 a.m. Tuesday/Christmas morning. (The DSM also takes place on Twitter @gregcote. You may vote there now, too.

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

G13: 83.9% following 34-33 victory vs. New England.

G14: 6.5% following 41-17 loss at Minnesota.

G:15 Voting now underway following 17-7 loss vs. Jacksonville. 

G15: JACKSONVILLE 17, @DOLPHINS 7 (FINAL): PLAYOFF HOPE EXPIRES AS MIAMI CLOSES HOME SEASON: Final thoughts: An embarrassing loss by Miami, which had been 6-1 at home this season, to a Jags team that was one of the NFL's biggest disappointments. No excuses for playoff hope to officially expire in this manner. Read my column from the game HERE ..... 4Q: JAC 17-7 on Telvin Smith 32-yard return of Tannehill interception ... JAC 10-7 on 26-yard FG, first score of game since first quarter. It's pretty bad when three points feels like a big hole for Miami ... OK. Next score wins? ..... 3Q: Jags have 1st at Miami 17 after turnover, end up with 4th and 46 and punt. A lot of awfulness on display here ... Oh my. Miami's Bolden loses fumble at own 17. Ex-Cane Calais Campbell recovers ... Jalen Davis blitz-sack for Miami forces Jags punt ... Kessler back at QB for Jags to open second half ..... Halftime thoughts: One good drive by the Miami offense, one bad series by the defense and bunch of nothing about summarizes this 7-7 first half. Telling: Fins get ball at Jags 33 after fumble recovery and fail to score. This game is to close. You must beat a bad Jax team at home! ..... 2Q: Jags have 44-yard punt return but miss 55-yard FG on last play of half ... Wake 3rd-down sack forces punt after Bortles replaces shaken-up Kessler ... Fins' Branch recovers Kessler fumble at Jags 33 but Miami fails to take advantage, misses 47-yard FG ..... 1Q: JAC 7-7 on Fournette 1-yard TD run. Fins defense looked as bad that series as the offense looked good in taking the lead ... MIA 7-0 on Tannehill-Bolden 4-yard TD pass. Ends impressive 78-yard opening drive that includes completions of 20 to Amendola, 31 to Ballage ..... Pregame notes: Xavien Howard is among Miami's inactives. They'd hoped he'd play; instead he's out a third straight game ... Betting line has dipped from Miami favored by 4 to 3 1/2 ..... Original post: Jacksonville, one of the NFL's biggest disappointments, is 4-10. Miami is a standard still-mediocre disappointment at 7-7. Together they make a 1 p.m. Hard Rock kickoff that won't set ratings records for CBS as the Dolphins close their home season before next week's finale at Buffalo. Example No. 438 of how little faith there is Mia Jaxin Miami: The Dolphins are favored by a mere 4 points, or only one point above standard home-field advantage over a colossally disappointing Jacksonville team that has lost nine of its past 10 games. Oh, and that’s with the Jaguars 1-5 on the road while Fins are a stout 6-1 at home. And with Miami still fighting on the periphery of playoff contention while Jags are mentally headed to the first tee. An insult, this 4-point line! QB Blake Bortles was bad enough for Jax to bench him but Cody Kessler has been worse. By a lot. Kessler has led one touchdown drive in 31 possessions over three games since taking over, yet will start again. Ryan Tannehill is sure to look great Sunday if only in contrast to his counterpart’s epic putridity. That figures as Miami’s secret weapon today: The other team’s QB. Dolphins also expect to have top cornerback (and lone Pro Bowl pick) Xavien Howard back from injury. Jaguars’ only real hope is to feed Leonard Fournette enough carries to reduce chances of Kessler doing something dumb. As for my earlier putting "Miami" and "playoff contention" in the same sentence, the two technically fit although it’s win-out-and-pray for the Fins. Closing at Buffalo next week won’t be easy. Neither will getting sufficient help from a confluence of other results all falling just right. But beating Jax and Cody Kessler at home? This should be the easy part of what’s left. Call it a little consolation parting holiday gift from from the Dolphins to Dolfans in the season's home finale -- a little thank-you for enduring what is looking like yet another ultimately unfulfilling Miami season. My pick: Dolphins,24-13.

Visit Week 16 Gems for all of our latest NFL selections. Had a good Saturday. Called Ravens' upset at Chargers in a bull's-eye of an Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"). Was perfect on Titans beating 'Skins until that last-second pick-six ruined us against the spread. Oh well. Them breaks work both ways.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 23-24): 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: Miami ends home season sourly to end playoff hope: Miami playoff hopes were on life support entering the game. The plug was pulled with Ryan Tannehill's late pikc-six interception sealing Sunday's 17-7 home loss to lowly Jacksonville. Now, let the speculation about Ryan Tannehill and Adam Gase's futures begin!

2. HEAT: Hot Heat finally hitting their stride: Miami has won five in a row and nine of post 12 to surge onto playoff pace (current seventh seed) with Sunday's win in Orlando, as Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside do some heavy lifting. Heat has reached .500 at 16-16 and on Wednesday can top it for the first time since 3-2.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Five days' til CFP Orange Bowl semifinal: It'll be No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl this coming Saturday -- the sexier of the two College Football Playoff semifinals. (Sorry, Clemson-Notre Dame). With the Dolphins and Canes a combined 14-13, it'll be a nice change to see excellence on the Hard Rock field for a change.

4. HURRICANES: Bowl Thursday, but latest Perry scandal dogs team: Miami faces Wisconsin in a Pinstripe Bowl duel of 7-5 teams Thursday at Yankees Stadium with Canes a shaky 3-point favorite. Shaky because QB N'Kosi Perry may not play after reports he's posted a sexually explicit video on social media. That would make it three such errors in judgement for Perry. Isn't there a phrase ... something about three strikes?

5. FIU: ButchCats triumph in Nassau, set record for wins: FIU's 35-32 winover Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl capped a 9-4 season to set a school record for wins. Dolphins and Canes disappointed, but at least one Miami team stood up.

6. RECRUITING: Early signing period not a winner for Canes: College football's early signing period Dec. 19-21 found Miami's incoming class ranked only 34th in nation by ESPN.com. A 7-5 season and sudden departure defensive boss Manny Diaz hurt. Ranked No.1 overall is Alabama. Or, did that go without saying?

7. PANTHERS: Signs of life at last for Cats!: It is now four wins in past five games for Florida and signs of life in a down-so-far season after last night's 6-3 win in Chicago. Cats still six points off playoff NHL pace,but finally climbing.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women continue early excellence: Katie Meier's UM women are ranked No. 24 and 11-2 with five straight wins after impressing in the Florida Sunshine Classic with defeats of Vanderbilt and Alabama. Jim Larranaga's guys are more quietly at 7-4 as they ready for ACC schedule.

9. BASEBALL: Biggest winter deals still on hold: Free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and Marlins on-the-trading-block all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto are still out there and available with no deals struck. Hey, pitchers and catchers report in seven weeks. Tick tock.

10. DAVID SAMSON: Marlins ex-president, fans exchange unpleasantries: At a LeBatard Show "Mas Miami" event in Wynwood last weekend David Samson took the microphone to wish Dan a happy birthday, was roundly booed and responded by saying "F--- you" to  the crowd. Alrighty then!

Missing the HB10 cut: A New Jersey high-school wrestling official with a history of racist behavior forced a black competitor to cut his dreadlocks. What needs to be cut next: That official, from his job ..... Answer: Imprisoned-for-life Larry Nasser says his years of sexual abuse of female gymnasts should have been tried as a medical malpractice case. Question: What's the new and ultimate definition of "delusional"? ..... NFL suspends Josh Gordon. Again. The only good to come of it? Belichick and Brady are sad ..... Update: Countdown now 2,738 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

FiuMOMENTUM FOR FIU NICKNAME CHANGE?: In wake of Saturday's Bahamas Bowl victory giving FIU a 9-4 season and school-record for wins -- and two straight encouraging seasons under Butch Davis -- there is a move to change FIU's nickname from Panthers to ButchCats. Actually there is no such move. There is just me playfully suggesting it. I ran a Twitter poll, there were 734 votes, and ButchCats beat Panthers 2-to-1 -- 67 percent to 33%.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 04, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 15.6%; plus Fins beat Buffalo 21-17, improve to 6-6 with must-win; also, our new column on CFP final four, Canes to Pinstripe Bowl, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 3. Happy new month, all! Ready, set ... spend! 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 13 picks, R.I.P. President Bush, ranking college conference title games, your Cooperstown verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

CfpNew column: On the College Football Playoff final four: There was anger and wailing from at least three campuses, but here's why the CFP got it right Sunday with Oklahoma for the final spot. Visit Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day for my latest column. By the way, Miami Hurricanes headed to the Pinstripe Bowl in New York. So much for all the "experts" guessing Gator Bowl!

Select recent columns: Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 15.6%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 15.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo putting Miami's season record at 6-6. 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 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval there was 29%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

Next poll: Dec. 9 following game vs. New England.

BufmiaG12: BUFFALO AT DOLPHINS: IT'S MUST-WIN, MUST-PRAY IN PLAYOFF HUNT: Postgame thoughts: Miami hangs on, survives last-minute Hail Mary throw, wins 21-7 to improved to 6-6 and stay alive in playoff chase. Tannehill's three TD passes and 1-3.7 rating win the day. Defense solid other than allowing Bills QB Allen to scramble for 135 yards. All Miami did was beat a bad team at home, and not easily. Still, the win was dearly needed, making it a good day ..... Halftime thoughts: Tannehill an efficient 10-for-15 for 96 yards and two TDs have Fins up 14-6 in must-win game to stay in playoff hunt. Perry with big special-teams takeaway on muffed Bills punt return. Defense has limited Buffs to 122 total net yards, though Fins have only 115 themselves. Bills are bad, Miami is doing what it should ..... Original postThanksgiving over and bye weeks done means the stretch run to the NFL playoffs has begun. With the Dolphins 5-6 and the Bills 4-7 let's not pretend this game is a major player in the hunt, but it is lurking on the periphery. Miami must run the table to be assured a postseason ticket, whereas winning four of the past five might be good enough. It must start today, at home as a 4-point favorite, against an inferior Buffalo. Drop this 1 p.m. game before CBS cameras and all realistic hope is gone for Miami. Forecast website fivethirtyeight.com puts Miami’s postseason likelihood entering NFL Week 13 at 5 percent, so this is must-win ... followed by must-pray. Bet line opened at Fins by 6 but sank fast in another reminder how little faith there is in Miami. Or maybe somebody (anybody?) is impressed that Buffs have won straight over teams that are a combined 6-16? Give Dolphins this much, at least. They guard the 3-0-5 pretty well. Fins are 4-1 at home and on a 6-2 roll in home division games. And Ryan Tannehill, in his second game back from injury, is on a 7-0 gallop in home starts. Miami figures to be without top target and catchman Danny Amendola (knee), but Fins should be able to run big on Williams’ soft ground D. On the other side, rookie QB Josh Allen has a paucity of weapons. I like Miami to cover but will be mindful of this trend: Buffalo has been outscored 141-9 in the first half of its past six losses, so it could be an ominous sign of Fins don’t jump out early. Buffs swept Miami last year. A dollop of payback arrives Sunday. My pick: Dolphins, 27-16.

Visit Week 13 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

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

Hotbutton1. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oklahoma grabs fourth and final spot: No doubt unbeatens Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame would be 1-2-3 Sunday when the College Football Playoff handed out its four invitations (although there was mucho doubt for the Crimson Tide Saturday before that late rally past Georgia). The question was who would replace Georgia in the big four, which debate among Oklahoma, Ohio State and even Georgia and UCF. Whomever said the CFP would take the argument out of college football was thankfully wrong.

2. DOLPHINS: Tannehill lifts Miami past Buffalo in all but must-win: The Dolphins are now 6-6 after a 21-17 home win over the rival Bills Sunday. That was the easy part. Fins face Patriots and Vikings next.

3. HURRICANES: It's UM-Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl: Sunday came the Miami Hurricanes' consolation prize for a disappointing season. As bowl bids came out nationwide, most experts had pegged UM for the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, but the destination turned out to be the Pinstripe at Yankee Stadium vs. Wisconsin. A year ago these two met in the Orange Bowl. Now they're relegated after 7-5 seasons.

4. HEAT: Miami wins, tries to shake malaise: The Heat are now 9-13 at the NBA season's quarter mark after beating Utah behind Hassan Whiteside's 20/20 game Sunday. It's 5-8 at home. Keep that wakeup alarm sounding.

5. PANTHERS: Cats still looking for a spark: Florida continues in midst of an eight-game homestand in search of a spark as NHL season nears its one-third mark. Cats are 10-15 and off playoff pace. Another local wakeup call, please?

6. MARLINS: Realmuto speculation heating up: As the Dec. 9 start of the baseball winter meetings nears, speculation heats about who might be Miami's trade partner for all-star catcher J.T. Reamuto. The Yankees, Dodgers, Brewers and Astros are among the mentioned. You'd like to think Miami might spend big to keep Realmuto, then you remember, nah, these are the Marlins!

7. UM HOOPS: Canes men are falling apart!: Since starting 5-0 the UM men have lost three straight including Saturday's defeat against Yale. That's right. YALE! At least the Canes women are a bit better, 7-2 and ranked No. 21 one game into an eight-game homestand.

8. NFL: Chiefs abruptly cut star RB Hunt: Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing last season and is fifth this year and at 23 was a bright, rising star. Now he's unemployed and facing a league suspension after the video release of him committing battery against a female. File it away under Dumbass Athletes. Thick file, by the way.

9. SOCCER: MLS championship set: Atlanta United will host Portland Timbers this coming Saturday Dec. 8 in the MLS Cup championship match. Atlanta is in only its second season in the league. See, that's how fast you can go from nonexistent to really good, Miami.

10. HORSE RACING: Gulfstream winter meet underway: Gulfstream Park in Hallandale opened its winter session Saturday. It's where you can go to gamble, dine, shop and, time permitting, maybe even catch horse race! 

Missing the HB10 cut: Thinking some more about last week's Phil-Tiger match, and it was still boring ..... Update: Countdown now 2,759 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 16, 2018

NFL Week 11 pick$ for Chief$-Ram$ and the rest; plus our NASCAR-in-trouble column, your verdicts on Gase/Richt (oy!), Marlins' new logo, Hassan's gun & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16. Visit Greg Cote Friday for the podcast from today's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Gase/Richt support-level polls, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NascarLatest column: NASCAR celebrates, but under cloud: For the 17th straight year Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts NASCAR's Championship Weekend, and it's a quality Championship Four gunning for the top-series season title Sunday. But a celebratory weekend cannot hide the issues confronting the sport, including decreasing attendance and TV ratings and a loss of starpower. We explore. To read, visit NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing.

Other select recent columns: On Dwyane Wade's extended paternity leave: Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him. And Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: NFL WEEK 11 PICKS FOR CHIEFS-RAMS AND ALL THE REST: The Dolphins are off this week on a bye. So is the rest of the AFC East. In keeping with division patterns, anybody doubt Bill Belichick will find a way to dominate the bye week? With Miami off, the Game of the Week, Chiefs at Rams in a battle of 9-1 teams, tops my latest NFL selections. Visit Week 11 Gems. Included are my Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is rockin' hot. Entering the week we were at a .699 winning percentage overall and a big .587 against the spread. And we bull's-eyed last night's game (Thursday Gem), not only calling Seattle's 27-24 win, by getting the score on the nose for a rare Exacto!

GaserichtYOUR VERDICTS ON GASE, RICHT: With both their teams slumping, we wanted to gauge your level of support for Dolphins coach Adam Gase and Canes coach Mark Richt. We asked, "Do you support Adam Gase?" You said: Yes, fully 10.32 percent; Yes, but wavering 36.90%; and Nope 52.78%. Overall Gase support: 47.22%. We asked, "Do you support Mark Richt?" You said: Yes, fully 18.75%; Yes, but wavering 41.07%; and Nope 40.18%. Overall Richt support: 59.82%. I'm surprised both results were so damning, but timing is everything in polls, and the timing of these ones admittedly worked against both men. I'm especially surprised the Gase verdict was so negative, given that his starting quarterback has missed 25 of the past 30 games injured. To make clear to those who misinterpreted my recent Gase/Richt column (Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt) or these polls (love you anyway, Uncle Luke), I support both coaches and would have neither on any hot seat. 

MarlinslogoONE WORD FOR MARLINS NEW LOGO: As Derek Jeter continues to distance himself from anything to do with Jeffery Loria with a broad rebranding of the franchise, the Marlins yesterday unveiled a new logo and uniform colors that eliminate the orange but have blue, black, red and gray as the new colors. The logo depicts a leaping marlin above red baseball seams and the word Miami in script. One logo variation features the Miami skyline, including the Freedom Tower, in the background. The Freedom Tower is notable because the Jeter regime makes unequivocal the overt appeal to Hispanic fans in the makeover. Example: the announcement of the new colors uses the Spanish spelling, "colores." Initial thoughts on the new logo? It's fine. OK. But one word jumps out. Dark. I mean, a black background!? Looks like a retro flyer for Disco Night at a South Beach club.

Hassan M16JUST ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE BOOK OF HASSAN: Mercurial Heat center Hassan Whiteside has done it again: Made news for reasons dubious. Whiteside bought a $50,000 M16 assault rifle, ammunition, a rifle bag, and a silencer in Miami on July 5, all of which were immediately stolen from his unlocked car, 640 AM radio's Andy Slater reported. Whiteside, 29, in a statement issued through the team: "I have a license for the gun that was stolen from me over the summer. I should have secured it better and I’m glad it was recovered. It won’t happen again. It is now locked in a safe and I only use it at the gun range." Whiteside apparently did not violate any team rule, except perhaps the one about using common sense. Dear Heat: Please consider a team rule on the wisdom of players owning military-grade assault weapons such as mass killers tend to favor. Just a thought.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 05, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 12.1%; plus UM loses at home to Duke 20-12, falls to 5-4; also, Biggest Disappointment Poll, NFL Week 9 picks. other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4. Happy new month, all! Welcome, November. Seems like we've been waiting a year! 2) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Defending Mark Richt column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's college State of State rank & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

In defense of Mark Richt and our other most recent columns: The Canes coach is feeling some heat for first time in his 2 1/2 seasons with UM. For my latest column, visit Time For Faith In Richt, And Patience. Also: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For Dolphins. Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love (fans vent). Snakebit Adam (on luckless Adam Gase). Family Tradition (on N'Kosi Perry's $$$ video). And Victory-y, Miami! (on Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr.)

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 12.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 12.1 percent overall approval --the combination of "very" and "satisfied" votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 20-12 home loss vs. Duke putting Miami's season record at 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 21%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 10 following game at Georgia Tech.

G9: DUKE 20, @HURRICANES 12: WE SAW HOW RICHT, UM DEALT WITH THE PRESSURE. NOT WELL!: Postgame thoughts: A 20-12 home loss to Duke is worse than the two previous road losses (at Virginia and at Boston College). Miami at 5-4 is a clear regression from last season, the offense struggling. Standing out, dubiously: the continued waffling by coach Mark Richt on the use of quarterbacks Malik Rosier and N'Kosi Perry. Richt doesn't seem to have a clue as to who his QB is. Worse, neither does Miami's offense. Original post: Blog readers know that I warned y'all with a Nervous-Night Alert before the game at DukemiaVirginia. Then I directly called Miami's loss at Boston College. Duke is not quite as good, and the home game is well-timed for Miami (7 p.m. Saturday at The Rock ) -- but I must say the Blue Devils are decent and will require The U's utmost attention. Both teams are 5-3 and trending wrong, after Duke once was 4-0 and Miami 5-1. UM's two straight losses have heaped some fan criticism on coach Mark Richt and his play-calling, while the Dukesters have dropped three of the last four games. So the desperation factor is close in this ACC bout. More of it though is on Miami, a 9 1/2-point favorite off a line that opened at 8 and grew with money poured onto the Canes. That may be because The U has dominated Duke all-time, leading the series 13-2 including four wins in a row. Pressure is squarely on QB Malik Rosier, who could be an interception or a scoreless quarter away from being benched for N'Kosi Perry, because Richt seems to be lacking a clear conviction on who his QB should be. Duke, though not as good as Virginia or Boston College, is far from the pushover it once was. An outright upset would surprise but not shock. The Devils are well-coached by David Cutcliffe and have a troublesome offense led by QB Daniel Jones, who some see as a potential future first-round NFL draft pick. I like Canes riding the home field to snap that two-game skid, but until Miami shows it is firing on all pistons again Duke seems like a fair play against the spread getting near-double digits. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-23.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 10 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted otherwise):

No. 12 UCF (8-0) beats Temple (5-4), 52-40: As predicted, Thursday night battle for first place in American conference East went to hometown Knights, but not easily.

Tulane (4-5) beats South Florida (7-2), 41-15: Bulls were stinging from first loss and suffered a second even worse.

North Carolina State (6-2) beats FSU (4-5), 47-28: Noles, crushed by Clemson last week, continued their downward spiral this week.

Missouri (5-4) beats No. 11 Florida (6-3), 38-17: Facing Swamp letdown after mega-loss to Georgia, Gators got flat-out swamped.

FiufauFAU (4-5) beats FIU (6-3), 49-14: The 17th annual Shula Bowl found FIU only a 3-point home favorite as Butch Davis' ButchCats fought to reach Conference USA title game. Owls, who preened last year, had little to play for other than an uphill climb to bowl eligibility and Lane Kiffin's wounded pride. FAU led all-time series 11-5 but FIU had won four of past six before FAU won last year. ButchCats were having better season and we thought should have prevailed at home, but we knew Owls would have talons out and that an upset would not surprise.  

Week 10 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 6 Georgia beats No. 11 Kentucky, 34-17; 12-West Virginia beats 15-Texas, 42-41; 5-Michigan beats 14-Penn State, 42-7; and (whoa, Nellie!) 1-Alabama beats 4-LSU, 29-0.

BigdisaANYBODY AROUND HERE WANNA WIN, PLEASE!?: You may have noticed. It's pretty obvious. Things are not good. South Florida's Big 5 sports teams -- the four major pro teams plus UM football -- are struggling to varying degrees. Each of their fans have cause for a degree of disenchantment. But what fans are entitled to be the most disappointed at the moment? I offer five choices and give you two (2) votes. Try to vote not as a fan of any one team in particular but as someone stepping back and seeing the big picture. Remember, vote for the top TWO biggest disappointments right now. Go!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP TWO (2)


PicksUPSET BIRD TIME!: HERE'S DOLPHINS-JETS, OTHER NFL WEEK 9 PICKS: It's the Stinkin' Jets at the Stumblin' Dolphins to see who'll be the least-bad on Sunday at The Rock. Jets Week used to seem big around here. This one sort of just arrives as another game. That's the residue of two franchises that don't matter a lot in the NFL right now. Can you remember when the Dolphins and Jets were both good at the same time? Me neither. So I looked it up. The last three seasons both made the playoffs: 2001, 1998 and 1985. Who'll win Sunday? That pick tops my latest NFL selections. Visit Week  9 Gems. Also included are my Game of the Week (big week for King Sport), Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is sailing very well, thanks. Entering the week we were 84-35-2 (.706) overall and a very solid 67-50-4 (.573) against the spread. Alas, our Week 9 got off to a crash of a start Thursday night as we foresaw an upset win by the Raiders only to watch as Jon Gruden and his entire team took a giant [bleep] all over the godforsaken turf. We'll rally. Our season totals say so. #Rally

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 27, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.8%; plus Fins defense crushed in Houston 42-23 as Miami falls to 4-4 at midyear with our thoughts; also, NFL Week 8 picks, defending Adam Gase, Radio Friday & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26. Watch a for a new blogpost featuring a preview of tonight's Canes game at Boston College to post here by late afternoon. 2) Red Sox lead World Series 2-0. Homer Me very happy! 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Confessions of a Red Sox homer, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of State rank & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Friday!: My role at ESPN is expanding a bit to include occasional LeBatard Show appearances beyond my regular every-Tuesday gig. So I'm co-hosting today, 10 to 1 on ESPN Radio and ESPNews, with the local 9-10 hour on Miami's 790 The Ticket. Join us! 

COTE'S COLUMN TROIKA FOR THE WEEK (SO FAR...):

The Dolphins' head coach is more than competent, he's just ... Snakebit Adam.

N'Kosi Perry's cash video isn't a Canes outrage,  it's a ... Family Tradition.

The Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr., it's ... Victory-y, Miami! 

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 5.8%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 5.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 42-23 Dolphins loss at Houston putting Miami's season record at 4-4. 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 9:45 a.m. today/Saturday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 20% approval).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 4 following game vs. N.Y. Jets

G8: HOUSTON 42, DOLPHINS 23: ANOTHER DEFENSIVE NIGHTMARE RUINS MIAMI: Postgame thoughts: Dolphins 4-4 at midseason after 42-23 loss that was somewhat competitive for awhile but ultimately not really. Osweiler wasn't very good but defense doomed Miami for second straight week. Fins gave up 188 rushing yards (5.4 per carry) and 11.9 yards per pass attempt as Watson threw for five TDs. I hope Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke doesn't have an exit-row seat on the flight home. He might jump ..... Fourth quarter: HOU 42-23 on Watson-Hopkins 2-yard TD -- Watson's fifth scoring pass. Miami defense abysmal for second week in row, including 38-yard interference penalty on McCain ... MIA 23-35 on 46-yard FG ... HOU 35-20 on Watson-Hopkins 49-yard TD -- Watson's fourth scoring pass of game. Miami defense being gouged all over field for second week in row ..... Third quarter: MIA 20-28 on 41-yard FG it make it 1-possession game in last minute of quarter. DeVante Parker 46-yard catch off deflection spearheads drive ... HOU 28-17 on Watson-Fuller 73-yard TD pass that victimized McCain in coverage ... MIA 17-21 on Amendola 28-yard trick-play TD pass to Drake. Strong Gore running led the drive ... HOU 21-10 on Watson-Thomas 2-yard TD and game slipping away from Fins. Miller 58-yard run keyed drive, second straight week of awful run defense by Miami ..... Halftime thoughts: Very encouraging half for Miami, which I thought was in jeopardy of a blowout loss ..... Second quarter: Huge break for Miami when Texans return sack-fumble by Osweiler for TD and apparent 21-10 lead only to have call reversed and called incomplete pass ... MIA 10-14 on 37-yard FG. Game much more competitive than I foresaw. Encouraging for Fins thus far ... HOU 14-7 on Deshaun Watson 13-yard TD to Jordan Thomas right after Brock Osweiler interception. Bad luck on INT, though. Danny Amendola seemed interfered with but no call. Officiating crew having a nightmare ..... First quarter: HOU 7-7 on 2-yard TD run by ex-Fin Lamar Miller late in quarter. A 34-yard catch by Will Fuller led the drive ... MIA 7-0 on Drake 12-yard TD run after penalty against HOU wiped a FG off board ... The 18th straight game with no opening-drive TD for Miami. Right decision but wrong call on 4th-and-1; a pass with about a foot to go ... Any Dolfans out there feeling lucky? ..... Original post: Two 4-3 teams but Houston is home, hot and a 7 1/2-point favorite for the prime-time game. That's Miahoubecause NFL Week 8 launches with the Dolphins on the road battling not only the Texans but also The Curse of Thursday Night. Miami has lost its two Thursday games under Adam Gase, both also on the road, by a combined 62-7 score. The Fins lost the Thursday before that away from home by 36-7. In all Miami has lost five Thursday road games in a row since last winning under Chad Henne (!) at Carolina in 2009. Fast forward nine years and it don’t look good, Dolfans. Just about every measurable skews heavily Houston. Miami has lost eight of its past nine road games dating to last season and is on a 1-7 series skid vs. the Texans, while hot Houston has won four games in a row. The Fins’ erratic offensive line gave up four sacks last week and now faces J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, a pass-rush super-duo "horrible to go up against," admitted Gase. Deshaun Watson is a dynamic dual-threat to Miami’s defense, and elite receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be a handful, while Miami will be missing two of its most dynamic playmakers in injured Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills. (That’ll mean a DeVante Parker sighting!) Bonus sidelight: RB Lamar Miller, facing his ex-Fins, had to love watching Miami’s run-D last week, and ex-Bronco Brock Osweiler, in his third start for ailing Ryan Tannehill, confronts his toughest test yet. OK I’ll admit that’s a lot of gloom piled on Miami. Now three reasons a Dolfan might be hopeful: 1) Law of averages says Miami’s Thursday road-hell will end sometime, right? 2) Watson can be error-prone (seven picks, seven fumbles), so if Miami can rattle his cage and coax a turnover or two, therein lies the upset key. 3) This is the NFL, where ‘dogs are barking every week. (Visit Thursday Gem for the full Dolphins predix capsule as it appears online). My pick: Houston, 30-16.

PicksIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 8 PICKS: The once 3-0 Dolphins stumble to midseason at 4-4 after last night's defensive abomination in Houston, but rather than canceling the remaining Week  8 schedule in mourning for Miami, the NFL plays on! And so do we. My latest NFL picks include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is sailing well. Entering the week we were a stout 72-33-2 (.686) overall and a more solid 56-47-4 (.544) against the spread. And our Week 8 got off to a great start albeit at Miami's expense. We we won-and-won as we had the Texans both winning and covering the 7 1/2-point line. Visit here for that Thursday pick, and dive into Week 8 Gems for all of our latest other selections.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2018

Dolfan Satisfacton Meter: 8.9%; plus defense fails Miami in 32-21 loss to Detroit; also, Wade column off home-opening Heat loss, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), your Perry vs. Rosier verdict & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 22. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes bye-week to-do list with Perry vs. Rosier poll, Heat home opener, other state Collball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

On Dolphins' defensive collapse: Oh let us count all the ways the Dolphins defense embarrassed itself at home Sunday in the 32-21 loss to Detroit. To peruse my column from the stadium, visit: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter Grade. 

Wade shines in Heat rally, but Miami loses home opener: Heat trailed by 26, fought back but lost 113-112 in Saturday's home opener behind Dwyane Wade's 21 points to begin his "Last Dance" season. For my column: Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss Him.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-GoodNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 8.9%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 8.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very"
Dsmand "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 32-21 Dolphins home loss to Detroit putting Miami's season record 4-3. 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 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 25 percent).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 25 following game at Houston.

G7: DETROIT 32, @DOLPHINS 21: 'MR. BROCKTOBER' CONTINUED TO SHINE. IT WAS FINS' DEFENSE THAT STUNKPostgame thoughts: For my full game column: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter Grade. How clear the blame for this loss. It isn't on Brock Osweiler. He was great. Even betgter than last week. This was on the defense. Period and unequivocally. Miami could not stop Matthew Stafford or the Detroit passing game,and could not stop Kerryon Johnson or the Lions ground game. The Fins defense got beaten all day, from the very first play. Miami now 4-3 and sure to be a huge underdog this Thursday night in Houston. That 3-0 start seems a long time ago now. ..... Halftime thoughts: Could Miami's defense be any worse? How are the Fins only down by 10 at 17-7? Matthew Stafford has a near-perfect 140.9 passer rating. Lions backs are one yard shy of averaging 10 yards per carry (14-139). Offensively, Brock Osweiler has been solid (11-13, 103 yards, one TD) but there is zero space for any sort of ground game. The 10-point deficit feels unusually big .....Original post: Dolphins are 4-2 including 3-0 at home, Lions arrive 2-3 and yet Detroit is a 2 1/2-point betting favorite for DetmiaSunday's 1 p.m. kickoff. Not sure I get that. Did you notice how the Bears were wheezing late in last week’s game like me after five flights of stairs? What, you thought it might be an ankle injury or mighty Dolphins blocking that made Khalil Mack disappear? Welcome to 1 o’clock games in hot, humid Miami. And now here come the Lions, from the mild temps of their home dome into the Hades-on-Earth that is South Florida — conditions the Dolphins practice in. Miami has scored 46 points in the fourth quarter of its three home games, because opposing defenses are wilting like week-old roses by then. Did I mention Detroit is 0-2 on the road? I rarely factor heat as favoring either team, but it’s something tangible here this time of year. It makes Miami too tempting a home ‘dog to pass by. Yes, Ryan Tannehill out again (shoulder) and Brock Osweiler in again concerns me. Don’t delude yourself that Osweiler is as good. Then again Miami’s offense was electric last week with Osweiler — the Wizard Of Os, Mr. Brocktober — and the Lions’ defense isn’t as good as Chicago’s. Motown allows 27.4 points per game and is especially generous against the run, inviting a big day by Frank Gore/Kenyan Drake. (Lions worked out Gore in free agency this summer but said no-thanks, so Frank will be extra-pumped Sunday). Could be looking at a shootout. Some of that is Matthew Stafford. And some of it is the heat/humidity toll on the visitors. Give me the game-changing speed of Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills over a bunch of sweating, sagging defenders Almost forgot: Detroit’s offensive coordinator is named "Jim Bob Cooter," if you needed one more reason to like the Fins. Upset! My pick: Dolphins, 27-23.

Visit Week 7 Gems for all of our latest FL picks.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Home-opening loss caps Opening Week: After a 1-1 split on the road Miami was awful (trailed by 26) and brilliant (rallied heroically) in its home opener Saturday before falling to Charlotte, 113-112. Dwyane Wade had a team-high 21 points to begin his "Last Dance" season before the home fans. He's not as good as he once was, but he's as good, once, as he ever was.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami falls to Detroit in defensive collapse: The Dolphins and fill-in QB Brock Osweiler were pretty brilliant in beating Chicago last week. Osweiler was solid again Sunday vs. Detroit. The rest of the Dolphins, not so much in a 32-21 home loss.

3. MARLINS: Fish reel in major double-signing of Cuban brothers: Fish on Monday will formally announce the signing of highly regarded Cuban outfield brothers Victor Victor Mesa, 22, and kid bro Victor Mesa Jr., 17. Yes, the more MLB-ready of the two Mesas is named Victor Victor. I guess among the many things in short supply in Cuba are middle names!

4. MLB: It's a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series!: The rested Boston Red Sox will meet Saturday's Game 7-winning Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series beginning Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Sox have won more recently, but hard-to-like L.A. is led by mouthy Yasiel Puig and dirty Manny Machado. Lesser of two evils, anyone?

5. HURRICANES: UM on bye, preps for Boston College trip: Canes are enjoying an off-week. Although "enjoying" may not be the right word, coming off a bad loss at Virginia, preparing for a dangerous game at Boston College and stuck in a waffling QB situation. It's back to Malik Rosier ... for now.

6. PANTHERS: Cats finally win after 0-4 start: Florida has now played six games in the new NHL season and lost five after last night's 4-3 overtime home loss to a bad Detroit team. The Panthers wanted a fast start. What they've gotten is a fall into frigid water through thin, cracked ice.

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Ohio State loss shakes things up: The first College Football Playoff ranking is due out Oct. 30. And with Saturday's loss by No. 2 Ohio State (don't we all feel bad for Urban!?), all that's assured as of now is Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson in the coveted top four, and UCF moaning and complaining to whomever will listen.

8. FIU: ButchCats continue strong season: FIU is 5-2 with last night's 36-17 home win over Rice. Remember how last season FAU's Lane Kiffin was Wonder Boy in overshadowing FIU's Butch Davis in the rivals' battle of new coaches? The ButchCats have flipped the script.

9. RAE CARRUTH: Imprisoned NFL'er set for release: Former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth is scheduled to become a free man Monday after nearly 19 years behind bars for a 1999 conviction for planning the murder of his pregnant girlfriend. Odds he'll find work before Colin Kaepernick?

10. NASCAR: Vrooom! Homestead finale getting close: Sunday's race at Kansas means only three races are left before the season-ending Nov. 18 grand championship at Homestead-Miami Motor Speedway. Gentlemen, start your engines three more times ... and then start 'em for real. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Admit it. You're a little bit delighted at LeBron James' Lakers are 0-2 ..... Update: Countdown now 2,801 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

POLL RESULT: YOU WANT PERRY OVER ROSIER AS CANES QB: We asked, "Who would you prefer to see as the Hurricanes' starting quarterback the rest of this season?" And you had it N'Losi Perry over Malik Rosier just over a 2-to-1 margin -- 68.82 percent to 31.18%.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 16, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 75.0% after 31-28 OT thriller over Chicago. Plus our postgame thoughts; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 15. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes at Virginia with CSM poll, rest of state Collball, your Heat/Butler trade verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest CSM results in: Voting is complete in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll following Saturday's 16-13 loss at Virginia. Find it in the previous blogpost or directly here.

Our most recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers and Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Also: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 75.0%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 75.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-28 overtime home victory over Chicago putting Miami's season record 4-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 67% approval).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 21 following game vs. Detroit.

G6: CHICAGO AT DOLPHINS: BOUNCEBACK BY FINS DOUBLY TRICKY WITH TANNEHILL OUT: Postgame thoughts: The Dolphins' 31-28 overtime home win over favored Chicago today had to be one of the better regular season shows in franchise history. Ryan Tannehill sat out inactive with a shoulder injury. Miami should have had no chance against a vaunted Bears defense. But the Fins, down 21-10 deep ino the third quarterback, kept fighting back, kept answering. There were heroes everywhere. Brock Osweiler passed for 380 yards and three TDs. Albert Wilson had 155 yards receiving and two scores. Frank Gore rushed for 101 yards. The depleted O-line erased Khalil Mack and gave up zero sacks. But it allwould have zeroed in on Kenyan Drake's goalline lost fumble in OT had Miami not won on a last second 47-yard field goal. What an exhilarating win for a Dolphins team that overcame consecutive bad losses and is now 4-2 on the year ..... Halftime thoughts: With QB Ryan Tannehill unexpectedly inactive with a shoulder injury, Brock Osweiler has done well: 12-for-19 for 114 yards and a 5-yard TD pass to Nick O'Leary. Only a later interception has smudged his day so far. Meanwhile two big defensive  plays -- a Reshad Jones fourth-down stop and a Kiko Alonso goalline fumble -- have preserved the shutout. This would be a significant upset. But can Miami close the deal? ..... Original post: Miami coach Adam Gase has a brief history with the Bears, having served one year as their offensive Miachicoordinator in 2015, in between his time in Denver and his coming to the Dolphins. His relationship with Jay Cutler that year led to Cutler's ill-fated signing by the Dolphins last season. Alas, I don't see Gase getting much more from the Bears on Sunday. Chicago is 3-1 and coming off a bye as a 3-point favorite entering Sunday's 1 p.m. game here. Miami is 3-2 and coming off consecutive awful road losses. It's the right time for a home game for Miami. But the wrong opponent. Our NFL predictions get from conception to delivery in myriad ways. Here, the gut feeling out the gate was to go with Miami — one of seven home ‘dogs in Week 6 — in a pretty big upset. The gut is usually enough. I’m a bit superstitious about thinking one thing and then changing my mind. But I did on this. Yes, the Dolphins (2-0 at home) have a reasonable upset shot, although I’d feel better about that if I was sure left tackle Laremy Tunsil (concussion protocol) would play. I mean, Bears sackstar Khalil Mack will wreak havoc regardless, but the likelihood of a Ryan Tannehill nightmare spikes sharply without Tunsil. This game arrives as a rare treat; it is only these teams’ fifth meeting since 2002 realignment, and also carries the faint echo of the famous 1985 meeting at the Orange Bowl, when the Bears were 12-0 but Miami won 38-24 to protect the Perfect '72 Fins' place in history. Alas, this meeting finds Miami coming off two straight dispiriting losses in Foxborough and in Cincy while hot Chicago is percolating on both sides of the ball. That’s why the betting line opened dead-even but moved strongly as money poured onto the Bears. Tannehill must outperform (not to mention outscore) Mitch Trubisky, but that’s a bigger ask of Tanny versus a Bears defense I’d judge among the league’s top three. For a Dolphins squad trying to heal from consecutive road meltdowns, this home game is well-timed. If only this opponent were as well. My pick: Bears, 23-16.

Visit Week 6 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. Explainer: There was some confusion on two of my picks this week. I had Vikings winning and covering Sunday vs. Cardinals. I had Texans beating Bills, but Bills covering.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Butler deal dead (for now) as season tips off in 2 days: Preseason? Done. Jimmy Butler trade? On life support. Regular season? Upon us. Miami's 31st NBA season tips off with road games Wednesday and Thursday at Orlando and Washington, and then the home opener on Saturday vs. Charlotte. The season will be about Dwyane Wade's "last dance" with Miami. It might have co-starred Jimmy Butler, but it appears that would-be trade has left the building.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami beats Bears in overtime thriller: Consecutive awful road losses -- 38-7 in Foxboro and then a blown 17-point lead in Cincinnati -- had the Dolphins hoping for some home healing Sunday vs. Chicago, and finding it in a 31-28 OT triumph. Ryan Tannehill sat out unexpectedly with a shoulder injury. Didn't matter. Brock Osweiler, the Wizard of Os, threw for 380 yards.

3. HURRICANES: UM loses at Virginia as benched Perry fails in first road start: Miami was No. 16 and 5-1 entering Charlottesville Saturday night but a mere 6 1/2-point favorite over the 3-2 Cavaliers in N'Kosi Perry's first career road start. We saw why. Perry stunk, Miami lost 16-13 and it appears Mark Richt is a man without a quarterback. 

4. PANTHERS: Cats' launch 25th home season with losses: Florida fell down by two goals early only to fight for a 4-3 lead and then lose 5-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in Thursday night's home opener. Worse: Cats have played three games in the young season and are yet to win. Way too desperate way too soon is where this team finds itself.

5. MLB: NL, AL championship series underway: The Brewers and Dodgers are two games into their NLCS and tied 1-1 while the Red Sox pulled even with the Astros in their ALCS Game 2 Sunday night. Milwaukee, having never won a title in 50 seasons, is your Cinderella-designate of the final four. Amazing Christian Yelich had the season he did in those glass slippers.

6. MARLINS: Fish boot half of coaching staff after last-place finish: The Marlins fired four from their coaching staff including their pitching coach and popular longtime infield guru Perry Hill. Yeah, that'll solve it. It wasn't the massive payroll dump that caused the losing. It was coaching!

7. GATORS: Florida escapes Vanderbilt: The Gators trailed much of the game Saturday but a big second half carried UF, 37-27.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Upsets shake up CFP outlook: Georgia, West Virginia and Washington were among ranked upset losers Saturday, with Georgia's loss shaking up the College Football Playoff grid. The one constant: Alabama keeps winning

9. FIU: Rally, late stop lift Panthers: FIU beat Middle Tennessee State with an 11-point fourth quarter rally on then an end-zone interception in final minute. Nice win for the ButchCats.

10. MMA: Controversy throughout sport!: Scandal in the wake of the Conor McGrgeor fight and now controversy in Bellator, too. Or, did that go without saying?

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,808 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 09, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 02, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 17.2%; plus Fins get clobbered at New England 38-7, with our postgame thoughts; also, new Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 1. Happy new month, y'all. Welcome to autumn. Can't stop the holidays now. 2) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes clobber North Carolina with CSM poll, Dolphins' Moment Of Truth, NFL Week 4 pix & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Most recent columns: Dolphins, Canes, Heat: Unbeaten Miami could have staked its claim to a power shift in the AFC East. Oh well. My column is on how this loomed as a defining moment in modern Fins history: For The Dolphins, The Moment Of Truth Is Here. Also: Finding Great QB is Now Richt's Holy Grail. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G4: 17.2%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a steep dip to 17.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday Dsmafternoon's 38-7 road loss at New England putting Miami's season record at 3-1. 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 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 32%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

Next Poll: Oct. 7 following game at Cincinnati.

G4: NEW ENGLAND 38, DOLPHINS 7: IT WAS A MOMENT OF TRUTH GAME, AND MIAMI WAS A NO-SHOW: Postgame thoughts: Everything stunk for Miami on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill was lousy (replaced late by Brock Osweiler). The running game couldn't run. The defense couldn't stop (or pressure) Tom Brady, or stop the Pats run. Miami kept killing itself with penalties, and got dominated in time of possession. It was a thorough humbling, an embarrassing comeuppance, for a Fins team that brought a 3-0 record to Foxboro with dreams of a power shift in the AFC East. The Dolphins came looking to make a statement and got steamrolled instead. Moving forward? A 3-1 mark is still a nice place to be. This can still be a playoff season. Sunday was a slap in the face, though. A needed one, perhaps? Original post: I wrote in this preview column that winning in Foxboro on Sunday would be a defining moment in recent DolpatDolphins franchise history, and why. Now I'm here to tell you it's going to happen. I have drawn a deep swig of the Kool-Aid and gulped it down with gusto. Perhaps by mid-afternoon Sunday there will be signs I have drank poison, but, for now, it is pure ambrosia — the nectar of the gods! I believe the Dolphins will be the best team on this field starting at 1 p.m. I believe that the Patriots’ shortcomings (especially on defense) are real. And I believe the combination will see Miami finally beating Tom Brady in Foxboro. Yes, I get why most would think otherwise. I get all the disclaimers that have New England a 7-point favorite. Miami is 0-14 at Gillette in games Brady starts. The Fins have lost nine consecutive away games in this series (the last win over Matt Cassel) by an average f 18.4 points. The 1-2 Pats haven’t lost three in a row since 2002, and have won their last eight in a row at home. Yes, the Patriots, home and desperate, are a dangerous thing, and the Fins are 3-0 vs. a less-than-ferocious schedule. I get all that! But this I know, too: Ryan Tannehill has been in command and excellent, not just good. The Dolphins offense possesses a quick-strike, chunk-play element not seen in years. Adam Gase’s trick plays have been a delight. Ex-Pat Danny Amendola will be a strong fantasy play. And the big-playmaking defense has been a huge surprise. I’m not saying that when you say Miami, you’re talkin’ Super Bowl. But this is a playoff-contending team with all cylinders pumping, a Dolphins team catching Brady at just the right time for a damned change. My pick: Upset! Dolphins, 30-24.

Visit Week 4 Gems for all of out latest NFL predictions. And watch for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, right here and also on my Twitter feed, right after Sunday's game ends.

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: The day Miami failed to rise to its Moment Of Truth: The Dolphins are now 0-15 against nemesis New England in Foxboro in games that Tom Brady starts, after Sunday's 38-7 shellacking. If this was Miami staking its claim to a power shift in the AFC East at long last, it failed spectacularly.  

2. HURRICANES: UM routs North Carolina as QB audition continues: Canes dominated North Carolina 47-10 at home Thursday night as redshirt-freshman N'Kosi Perry made his first career start in place of Malik Rosier. With a visit by FSU on deck, Mark Richt has a decision to make. Or has he already made it?

3. HEAT: As Butler talk swirls, let the (preseason) games begin!: Miami opened its six-game preseason Sunday with a 104-100 loss in San Antonio today, the ceremonial start of Dwyane Wade's (and Udonis Haslem's) farewell season. Highlight: Hassan Whiteside 20 points and 13 boards on 8-for-10 shooting. Of more pressing urgency, Heat continue maneuvering to acquire four-time all star Jimmy Butler from Minnesota.

4. MLB: Finally! Baseball playoffs are on deck: Two NL tiebeakers for the division title take place today before the wild-card games go on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, followed by the NL and AL Division Series. Football's on and basketball's close, but let's give baseball a couple of weeks to grab us, shall we?

5. GOLF: Europe drubs Team USA in Ryder Cup: The best American players and the finest from Europe ended three days of competition Sunday on a course just outside Paris, with Europe in command and victorious. The U.S. roster? It consisted of, well, Tiger Woods & 17 Other Guys, none of them good enough. 

6. MARLINS: Fish wrap up first year of Jeter era on Sunday: For Miami the long season ended Sunday at the Mets, the rebuilt Marlins team avoiding 100 losses, at least. Trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna took the toll you'd expect. Now it's up to Derek Jeter to deliver signs of progress.

7. PANTHERS: Cats end preseason, await opener: Florida Panthers wrapped up their seven-game preseason Saturday night and now prepare for Oct. 6 NHL season opener at Tampa Bay. Hopes are high. Nothing new. Let's see if Cats meert or exceed expectations. That would be new.

8. URBAN MEYER: Ohio State coach back with a bang: Meyer returned unrepentant from suspension to see his No. 4 Buckeyes win at No. 9 Penn State 27-26 in the maybe the college Game of the Year Saturday night, and everybody on the planet Earth outside of Columbus, O., was hoping Urban would get his a-- kicked.

9. GATORS: Florida should be poll-bound: Gators' big defensive road win at No. 23 Mississippi State, 13-6, should have Florida back in Top 25 in new polls.

10. FIU: Panthers roll up 55 points: FIU clobbered visiting Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 55-9, last night. Quick aside: FIU now has a better record than rival FAU. Just sayin'.

Missing the HB10 cut: David Beckham, president of new MLS team Inter Miami, is still fighting a speeding ticket he got in London last January for going 59 in a 40. Um, can we start a GoFundMe page to pay the fine? ..... Headlines I Never Thought I'd See (one in a series): 'GoPro Captures Seal Slapping Kayaker With Octopus' ..... HBO will no longer televise boxing after 45 years. Howard Cosell is spinning in his grave. Unless he was cremated ..... Update. Countdown now 2,822 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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Twitter @gregcote