January 10, 2019

Why a better coach isn't Dolphins' biggest need. My new column; plus here's your verdict on biggest Miami sports story of 2018, our LeBatard and Canes Chaos-to-Calm columns, new Back In My Day (Dating Sites!) & more

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

Uswed1) It's THURSDAY, JANUARY 10. Happy Anniversary to my wife! She is the greatest person I know, and I'm not even kidding. It's our wedding day at right. Awful photo, great day. 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. The new Back In May Day (Dating Sites!) coughs in around the 52-minute mark. 3) 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. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Biggest Miami sports story of 2018 poll, your biggest-national-story verdict, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: On Dolphins coach-search, then what's really important: Miami is trying to find a new coach who may or may not be bettre than Ada, Gase. That's fine. But a bigger, more important decision looms after that. For my newest column, visit A Better Coach Isn't Dolphins' Biggest Need.

The Le Batard profile, Canes' Chaos-to-Calm columns: Visit From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 for an unusually personal column by me. And UM athletic director Blake James talks about the day when Canes football went from upheaval to the calm of continuity within hours. Visit Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm. Other recent columns: Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / 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.

YOUR VERDICT ON MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2018!: This was 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. Would the vote to name the biggest local story of 2018 be tougher, and closer? You decided. We gave you a roughly alphabetical list of our top 20 finalists, invited you to select your top six, and from that consensus came your verdict. More than 1,400 votes were cast, and here are your top five Miami sports stories of 2018, with my comment:

Diazreturns1. Richt resigns after 7-6 season; UM lures back Diaz from Temple -- 22.74%: Year-end bombshell that rocked Canes was an unsurprising winner. 

2. Inter Miami expansion MLS team wins stadium vote -- 15.21%: Hmm. This was running in 5% range but spiked due to organized rally by Inter Miami fans.
 
3. 'Miami Miracle' stuns Patriots on 69-yard trick play to end game -- 12.08%: Rare a single play would be so big, but this was an exception.
 
4. Wade re-signs with Heat for 'Last Dance' farewell season -- 9.81%: Thought this had a shot to compete for title.
 
 
Rounding out the top 10: Marlins trade Yelich, who wins MVP for Milwaukee 3.91%; Jeter's 1st year as Marlins CEO ends with NL-worst record 3.77%; Miami among sites as U.S. wins joint bid to host 2026 World Cup; Wayne Huizenga, Marlins/Panthers founder, ex-Dolphins owner, dies 3.26%; and Local teams rally, lend support after Majory Stoneman Douglas tragedy 3.06%.
 
Ranking 11th through 15th: Miami Open tennis leaves Key Biscayne for Hard Rock Stadium 2.77%; Dolphins part with Landry, Suh, Pouncey 2.70%; FIU wins bowl for school-record 9-win season 2.49%; Jim Morris retires after 25 years as Canes baseball coach 2.35%; and Serena Williams returns from pregnancy, reaches 2 Grand Slam finals 1.92%.
 
The bottom feeders: Tannehill returns from injuries, ends year with Dolphins future in doubt 0.85: Miamian Carlos Cordeiro elected president of U.S. Soccer 0.71%; UM men's basketball implicated, cleared in national FBI recruiting probe 0.50%; Joey Logano wins NASCAR season title at Homestead 0.43%; and Alabama wins Orange Bowl/CFP semifinal 0.28%.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

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 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1       1       Patrick Mahomes, KC           28.65         588.80

2       2       Drew Brees, NO                   39.30        584.60

3       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                    29.95        556.25

4       4       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        44.00        550.10

5       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 40.65        544.80

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                40.85        534.40

7       6       Philip Rivers, LAC                12.05        506.60

8       8       Jared Goff, LAR                  32.80        491.45

9       11     Aaron Rodgers, GB              52.10        468.30

10     10     Deshaun Watson, HOU         40.95        467.55

11     9       Tom Brady, NE                    10.30         462.25

12     12     Derek Carr, OAK                  25.35        440.20

13     14     Eli Manning, NYG                32.45        428.40

14     15     Dak Prescott, DAL               31.05        425.85

15     16     Russell Wilson, SEA             34.55        423.80

16     13     Cam Newton, CAR               DNP          401.75

17     17     Matthew Stafford, DET        9.80          395.55

18     18     Carson Wentz, PHI              DNP           377.70

19     19     Mitch Trubisky, CHI            41.30          373.00

20     21     Baker Mayfield, CLE          45.20          371.45

21     20     Case Keenum, DEN            19.10         348.90

22     22     Marcus Mariota, TEN         14.50          297.40

23     23     Andy Dalton, CIN               DNP           270.30

24     28     Jameis Winston, TB          39.80          254.35

25     24     Joe Flacco, BAL                 DNP           246.25

30     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA          15.30          218.60

34     33     Brock Osweiler, MIA           DNP           126.35

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 22, 2018

NFL Week 16 picks for Dolphins-Jaguars and the rest; plus FIU ButchCats upset Toledo in Bahamas Bowl (and did I call it or what!) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22. Happy 1st birthday to my granddaughter, Gracelin! We love you so much! 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): Revealing/explaining my Baseball Hall of Fame vote, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Two Beatles and a Stone video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

PicksNFL WEEK 16 PICKS: DOLPHINS-JAGUARS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: Our rollicking, parade-worthy season of NFL picks continues into Week 16 as we carry a .694 winning percentage overall and a fat .590 against the point spread. We were a stout 11-5 both overall and vs. the betting line last week. We banked yet another Upset of the Week with Steelers beating Patriots ("Aawwk!"), nailed a second outright upset with Titans winning at Giants, and had a pair of 'dogs-with-points in Redskins and Eagles. We move on to the last two regular-season weeks and Week 16 delivers three big upsets. See what they are and whether Jaguars at Dolphins is among them. Also check out our Game of the Week and all the rest. Visit Week 16 Gems for all of our latest selections.

Recent stuff from me: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era. And How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again.

BahamasBAHAMAS BOWL: FIU 35, TOLEDO 32: PANTHERS GET RECORD 9TH WIN: FIU beats Toledo 35-32 in the Bahamas Bowl on Saturday to finish 9-4, a school record for seasons wins. Congrats, Butch Davis. FIU was a 7-point underdog but I called the upset (and the exact margin); see below ..... Original post: FIU is 8-5 and after a school-record ninth season win in today's 12:30 matinee Bahamas Bowl in Nassau vs. 7-5 Toledo on ESPN. It's a surprise (to me) that Butch Davis' ButchCats are big 7-point underdogs in the C-USA vs. MAC matchup, on a line that opened at 4.5 and rose with money against FIU. The biggest certainty might be the "over" on 66 1/2 points, because these are two high-scoring offenses and two susceptible defenses. Buckle up. Toledo averages 41.4 points with a ground game that averages 224 yards, vs. an FIU run-D giving up 198 run yards per. Uh oh. But FIU averages 34.6 points and its air game should have a big day against a shaky Toledo pass-D. The punters may not see the field. My pick: Upset! FIU, 41-38.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town / Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / 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 / 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 20, 2018

Revealed and explained: My 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot; plus latest Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results (still en fuego with our picks!), Radio Tuesday, two Beatles and a Stone (video) & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20. Go here for the sharp fall in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame results. 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins get crushed in Minnesota with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Recent stuff from me: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era, on abrupt departure of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to be Temple's head coach. And How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again.

BallotREVEALED! MY 2019 BASEBALL HALL OF FAME BALLOT: I am a proud BBWAA member and Baseball Hall of Fame voter, despite the Le Batard Show's efforts to make fun. This is (I think) my fourth year as a voter, and I take it seriously. Men's legacies are at stake. Players Bbhoftake Cooperstown seriously, and so do it. My latest ballot is pictured. Hopefully it is readable. If not, licking on it will enlarge the image. I voted for nine players (the maximum allowed is 10). Last year four of the players I voted for got inducted. This year my nine votes go to five returning-eligible players I also voted for last year (Barry, Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield); two first-time-eligible guys (Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera); and two players on the ballot before who got my vote this time (Fred McGriff and Mike Mussina). There were near-misses; Todd Helton was one. For the record, Rivera, the great Yankees reliever, is the only player I'd consider a mortal lock for Cooperstown when results are announced on Jan. 22. A few others could be close in either direction. We'd discussed on the LeBatard Show my support for Juan Pierre, who I think had a very good and underrated career. Upon further research, though, I could not in good conscience vote for a player who didn't make a single all-star team. Sorry, Juan!

WATSON TAKES WEEK, MAHOMES PROTECTS LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 15: The Texans' Deshaun Watson (pictured) Watsontakes Week 15 honors with a 41.70-point game (season's lowest winning week) while Chief Patrick Mahomes maintains his overall No. 1 spot in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill suffered an awful enjoyed 3.40-point game but hangs in 29th place. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 16:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 15
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK15        Season

1       1       Patrick Mahomes, KC           32.15         560.15

2       2       Drew Brees, NO                   23.15         545.30

3       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                    30.55         526.30

4       4       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        26.75         506.10

5       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 25.75         504.15

6       7       Philip Rivers, LAC                34.65         494.55

7       6       Andrew Luck, IND                19.60        493.55

8       8       Jared Goff, LAR                   26.95        458.65

9       9       Tom Brady, NE                     27.95        451.95

10     14     Deshaun Watson, HOU          41.70        426.60

11     10     Aaron Rodgers, GB               18.70         416.20

12     12     Derek Carr, OAK                   20.15        414.85

13     11     Cam Newton, CAR                 6.55         401.75

14     13     Eli Manning, NYG                  6.45          395.95

15     15     Dak Prescott, DAL                16.30         394.80

16     18     Russell Wilson, SEA              32.85         389.25

17     17     Matthew Stafford, DET        28.40         385.75

18     16     Carson Wentz, PHI               DNP           377.70

19     21     Mitch Trubisky, CHI             34.75          331.70

20     19     Case Keenum, DEN             20.85          329.80

21     20     Baker Mayfield, CLE           22.40          326.25

22     23     Marcus Mariota, TEN          13.40          282.90

23     22     Andy Dalton, CIN                DNP           270.30

24     24     Joe Flacco, BAL                  DNP           246.25

25     25     Alex Smith, WAS                 DNP           236.00

29     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA            3.40           203.30

33     33     Brock Osweiler, MIA            DNP           126.35

Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 229.65. Week 15 best: Watson, HOU, 41.70 (22-28, 294, 2-0 in win). Week 15 worst: Cody Kessler, JAC, 0.85 (9-17, 57, 0-1 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 15 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GREAT ... AND BAD: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Great. Again. My magical year continues. We went 11-5 overall this past week and also 11-5 against the spread. We nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Steelers beating Patriots ("Aawwk!"), had a second outright upset with Titans winning at Giants, and bull's-eyed a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Redskins, Eagles and Panthers last night. All in all, maybe our best season ever hits its homestretch! Greg's Lobos: Bad. The Lobos fell to 1-1 in the consolation-bracket playoffs after a 5-8 regular season. Lorenzo Rodriguez had our number, 78 to 66.1, with Deshaun Watson (22.4) the only Lobo who showed up. Nevertheless: #WeAreTheLobos!

HALF THE BEATLES AND A STONE: In his concert last week  in London, Paul McCartney was joined onstage by Ringo Starr and Ron Wood for "Get Back." Old folks like me who actually remember who the hell Ed Sullivan was might enjoy it.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town / Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / 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 / 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 15, 2018

NFL Week 15 picks for Dolphins-Vikings and the rest; plus your overwhelming (!) verdict on Manny Diaz leaving Canes for Temple, our LeBatard scoop 2.0 & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15. Remembering the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre. That might have been an ultimate call for gun-control sanity. How many massacres later are we still waiting? 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from this week's Le Batard Show with me on ESPN Radio. Includes the latest Back In My Day (Impact Windows!). 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Manny Diaz leaves Canes with poll, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

PicksNFL WEEK 15 PICKS: DOLPHINS-VIKINGS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: Our confetti-strewn season of NFL picks continues into Week 15 as carry a .694 winning percentage overall and .582 against the point spread, although those numbers dipped a couple of points last night with the Chargers' unforeseen upset in Kanasas City to start the week. Last week’s 12-4 mark straight-up and a scrambling 8-8 vs. the Evil Betting Line included yet another Upset of the Week bull's-eye with Dolphins stunning Patriots (“Aawwk!”), which I'd have had ATS even without the Miami Miracle finish. We also hit on two other outright upsets (Browns-Panthers, Bears-Rams), and had Raiders-with-points over Steelers, too. We move on with plans to hit the homestretch hard. Will Dolphins at Vikings be among our upset picks? Visit Week 15 Gems for all of our latest selections.

MannyPOLL RESULT: DIAZ LEAVING CANES IS 'MAJOR': The Hurricanes' excellent defensive coordinator Manny Diaz this week became head coach at Temple (Diaz is pictured being introduced). The headline of my latest column about says it all for my opinion; visit Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era to read. We offered a poll and most of you agreed with me. We asked, "How would you describe the impact of Diaz leaving on the Hurricanes football program and Richt?" The choices offered were Major, Medium and Minor. Your vote: 82.05 percent Major, 13.46% Medium and only 4.49% Minor.

DanlebON OUR LEBATARD SCOOP 2.0: It was the most-viewed story yesterday on all of Miami Herald.com and is doing brisk business again today. It's about Dan LeBatard's big new venture, and we revealed it (much to Dan's consternation) ahead of it being announced by ESPN or revealed on-air. If you missed it, visit How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again. (Dan is pictured with his radio-show cohost Stugotz).

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town / Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / 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 / 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 12, 2018

Canes' Manny Diaz bolts for Temple. With my column, new poll. Vote now!; plus virgin winner & new season leader in Herald NFL QB rankings; also, Pix 'n Fantasy results, my Dolphins how-miracle-saved-Gase column, new 'Back In My Day' & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Includes the latest Back In My Day (Impact Windows!) late in the pod, at around the 58-minute mark. 2) Latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results are in, and they're best they've been since Week 3. See them here. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' miracle stuns Patriots with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, your Heisman verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NFL Thursday night: Chargers-Chiefs pick:Two great teams, two great quarterbacks, 21-5 combined record and one clear winner. Visit Thursday Gem to see who, and why.

GaseMiraculous Dolphins! My two columns: 1) Visit Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins for my column from the stadium on Sunday's epic 34-33 win over New England. 2) Visit The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town for today's latest column, on how the miracle finish saved Adam Gase from being severely second-guessed, and positioned Dolphins as the great hope of South Florida sports this holiday season.

MannydMANNY DIAZ BOLTING MIAMI FOR TEMPLE. NEW COLUMN, NEW POLL: My new column -- Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era -- says what I have to say. Losing their excellent defensive coordinator (pictured) is a huge blow for The U, and terribly timed as well. Read why in my column. Your opinion goes here:

DakpPRESCOTT TAKES WEEK, MAHOMES TAKES LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 14: The Cowboys' Dak Prescott (pictured) takes Week 14 honors with a big 60.75-point game -- third-highest of the season -- while Chief Patrick Mahomes leapfrogs Saint Drew Brees into the overall season lead in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. It is only Mahomes' second week on top, following a brief stay in Week 9. Dolphins Ryan Tannehill enjoyed a big 36.25-point game (seventh-best of the week) but stays stalled in 29th place. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 15:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 14
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK14        Season

1       2       Patrick Mahomes, KC           43.85         528.00

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                   32.05         522.15

3       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                    33.10         495.75

4       6       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        41.10         479.35

5       4       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 20.40         478.40

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                40.95         473.95

7       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                28.00         459.90

8       5       Jared Goff, LAR                  -7.00          431.70

9       9       Tom Brady, NE                    37.90         424.00

10     11     Aaron Rodgers, GB               30.80         397.50

11     10     Cam Newton, CAR               20.25         395.20

12     14     Derek Carr, OAK                  43.10         394.70

13     12     Eli Manning, NYG                 29.85         389.50

14     13     Deshaun Watson, HOU         32.35         384.90

15     18     Dak Prescott, DAL               60.75         378.50

16     16     Carson Wentz, PHI              32.40         377.70

17     17     Matthew Stafford, DET       17.05          357.35

18     15     Russell Wilson, SEA            5.60            356.40

19     19     Case Keenum, DEN            18.30          308.95

20     22     Baker Mayfield, CLE          33.90          303.85

21     20     Mitch Trubisky, CHI            6.50            296.95

22     21     Andy Dalton, CIN               DNP            270.30

23     23     Marcus Mariota, TEN          22.10          269.50

24     24     Joe Flacco, BAL                 DNP            246.25

25     25     Alex Smith, WAS                DNP            236.00

29     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA           36.25          199.90

33     31     Brock Osweiler, MIA           DNP            126.35

Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 229.65. Week 14 best: Prescott, DAL, 60.75 (42-54, 455, 3-2 in win). Week 14 worst: Goff, LAR, minus-7.00 (20-44, 180, 0-4 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 14 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: MIXED AND GOOD, BUT...: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picksMixed. We went a solid 12-4 overall this past week and a just-OK 8-8 against the spread. We nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Dolphins over Patriots ("Aawwk!"), which we'd have had ATS even without the miracle ending. Had two other outright upsets with Browns over Panthers and Bears over Rams, and also had Raiders-with-points over Steelers. All in all, .500 is not bad at all as "bad" weeks go. Our excellent season continues. Greg's LobosGood, but... The Lobos defeated Sarah Spain 94.2 to 70.8 to open the playoffs. Alas, after a 5-8 regular season, we're in the consolation bracket, not playing for the championship. Still, Tyreek Hill's 22.5 led the 'Bos to feather his chances to lasso season MVL honors. We'll see. #WeAreTheLobos!

Select other recent columns: Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / 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 / 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 06, 2018

The new Back In My Day video: Nail-clipping!; plus Canes, OB, FIU and the rest: We rank the 7 college bowl games with strongest SoFla ties; also, tonight's Jaguars-Titans pick, latest Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the link to this week's LeBatard Show best-of podcast. 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): Dolphins beat Bills with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Jaguars-Titans pick: Visit Thursday Gem for tonight's Jacksonville-at-Tennessee pick.

Most recent columns: College Football Playoff got it right and more: Why the CFP got it right with Oklahoma for the final spot -- and why the continuing debate is great for the sport. Visit Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day for my latest column. Other recent stuff: 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.

RANKING THE SEVEN BOWLS PLAYED LOCALLY OR INVOLVING STATE TEAMS: Seven of the 39 college football bowl games either being played in South Florida (2) or involve state FBS teams (5). Here they are, based on our interest level:

Bowls1. Orange Bowl Dec. 29: No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1) at Hard Rock Stadium -- College Football Playoff national semifinal features the two Heisman Trophy favorites in QBs Tua Tagovailoa of th Crimons Tide and Kyler Murray of the Sooners. What's not to love? 'Bama a huge 13 1/2-point favorite, but does Tide's struggle in SEC title game foreshadow an upset?

2. Pinstripe Bowl Dec. 27: Miami (7-5) vs Wisconsin (7-5), Yankee Stadium, New York -- A glamorous venue but a middling bowl game finds The U a 3 1/2-point favorite as both teams come in off disappointing seasons. One year ago this same matchup graced the Orange Bowl. What a comedown. 

3. Peach Bowl Dec. 29: No. 10 Florida (9-3) vs. No. 7 Michigan (10-2), Atlanta -- Michigan a big 7-point favorite. Gator defense will try to keep it close, but can that offense and erratic quarterbacking keep up with the Wolverines?

4. Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1: No. 8 UCF (12-0) vs. No. 11 LSU (9-3), Glendale, Ariz. -- The team that saddled Miami with a season-opening loss vs. the team trying to complete a second straight perfect season. LSU a 7 1/2-point pick -- fat because Knights are without injured star QB McKenzie Milton.

5. Bahamas Bowl Dec. 21: FIU (8-4) vs. Toledo (7-5), Nassau -- Holy Toledo a 6-point pick but FIU is gunning for a school-record ninth victory of the season to cap Butch Davis' second year. Never underestimate the ButchCats!

6. Gasparilla Bowl Dec. 20: South Florida (7-5) vs. Marshall (8-4), Tampa -- Thundering Herd a 2 1/2-point favorite despite being de facto visiting team, because USF, once 7-0, has stumbled in off five consecutive losses.

7. Boca Raton Bowl Dec. 18: UAB (10-3) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5), FAU Stadium -- Conference USA champ vs. MAC daddies. 'Bama-Birmingham a 1 1/2-point pick. But does anybody outside of these two campuses care even a little? (And do they even care?)

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': NAIL-CLIPPING!: Here's the new BIMD that debuted Tuesday on the LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:  

DcarrCARR DRIVES TO WIN, TOP TIGHTENS / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 13: The Raiders' Derek Carr (pictured) takes Week 13 honors with a 43.25-point game (a season-low for a win), while Saint Drew Brees' overall season lead shrinks to around six points in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 14:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 13
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK13        Season

1       1       Drew Brees, NO                   14.35        490.10

2       3       Patrick Mahomes, KC           39.75        484.15

3       2       Matt Ryan, ATL                    15.55        462.65

4       4       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 27.05        458.00

5       5       Jared Goff, LAR                   16.35        438.70

6       7       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        30.05        438.25

7       6       Andrew Luck, IND                23.40        433.00

8       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                41.95        431.90

9       10     Tom Brady, NE                     36.55        386.10

10     9       Cam Newton, CAR               24.00        374.95

11     12     Aaron Rodgers, GB               26.65        366.70

12     11     Eli Manning, NYG                 16.00        359.65

13     14     Deshaun Watson, HOU         32.20         352.55

14     16     Derek Carr, OAK                  43.25         351.60

15     15     Russell Wilson, SEA             31.25         350.80

16     17     Carson Wentz, PHI              38.30         345.30

17     13     Matthew Stafford, DET       19.25         340.30

18     19     Dak Prescott, DAL              40.40          317.75

19     20     Case Keenum, DEN             18.55         290.65

20     18     Mitch Trubisky, CHI              DNP          290.45

21     21     Andy Dalton, CIN                 DNP          270.30

22     23     Baker Mayfield, CLE           28.85         269.95

23     27     Marcus Mariota, TEN          27.10         247.40

24     22     Joe Flacco, BAL                  DNP           246.25

25     24     Alex Smith, WAS                 DNP           236.00

29     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA            25.85         163.65

31     31     Brock Osweiler, MIA             DNP          126.35

Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 229.65. Week 13 best: Carr, OAK, 43.25 (29-38, 285, 3-0 in loss). Week 13 worst: Josh McCown, NYJ, 7.40 (17-30, 128, 0-1 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 13 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD 'N GOOD!: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picksGood. ... again! Our strong season continues. We were a solid 11-5 straight-up last week and a stout 10-5-1 against the spread, with Dolphins' win pushing at four points for the tie. Nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Jaguars over Colts ("Aawwk!") and had a big four 'dogs-with-points in Cardinals, Giants, Bucs and Jets. Greg's LobosGood ... for a change. Lobos finished the regular season 5-8 with a 97.5 to 81.1 win over Mina Kimes, with five in double figures led by Zach Ertz's 17.3 points. The ''Bos missed the league's championship-round playoffs but we'll be climbing the consolation ladder. What else is there to do? #WeAreTheLobos!

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

December 01, 2018

NFL Week 13 picks: Dolphins-Bills and the rest; plus ranking College Championship Weekend matchups, your Cooperstown verdict (only 2 get in!), R.I.P. President Bush & more

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

Gbush1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1. Happy new month, all! Ready, set ... spend! 2) Former President George H.W. Bush passed away at 94 very early this morning. His politics and mine were not the same but I always respected his integrity. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes' Gerald Willis/All-America campaign, Baseball Hall of Fame ballot and your vote, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

PicksNFL WEEK 13 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: Our pinch-me season continues (despite Thursday night!). We rose to a robust .690 winning percentage overall for the season and a rollicking .582 against the spread with last week’s 11-4 mark outright and 10-5 vs. the Evil Betting Line. We bull’s-eyed yet another Upset of The Week with Bills beating Jaguars (“Aawwk!”), and had three more ‘dogs-with-points in Dolphins, Giants and Seahawks. But enough bragging. It's all about this week now. Thanksgiving is past. Bye weeks are done. That means the stretch run to the playoffs is upon is. All 16 games in Week 13 have some bearing on playoff aspiration, although some matchups -- like Dolphins-Bills -- are must-win-and-pray for teams hanging on the periphery. Will Miami get the must-win it needs? Visit Week 13 Gems for our latest picks, and Thursday Gem for the separate pick on last night's Saints-Cowboys game. It was a total misfire thinking the Dallas D would dominate Drew Brees in a low-scoring game. Nevertheless, sally forth! 

On UM's Gerald Willis All-America campaign: Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III got snubbed by the All-ACC first team, but Miami nonetheless has chosen Willis to push for All-America  honors. He'd be the first Canes DT so honored since Warren Sapp in 1994, and I'm on board. To read my latest column, visit Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors. And here is the UM's hype video for Willis' candidacy.

Other select most recent columns: Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail. Also: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost (LeBron's return to Miami with Lakers) / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

BIG SIX CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES RANKED BY NATIONAL INTEREST: The Canes, Gators and Noles are sitting this one out, but Conference Championship Weekend goes on. Our ranking of the Power 5 conference title games plus UCF in the AAC:

Champwknd1. No. 1 Alabama (13-0) beats No. 4 Georgia (11-2), 35-281 for SEC Championship: 'Bama was a 13 1/2-point pick but needed an epic rally led by backup QB Jalen Hurts and aided by a very dubious and failed late fake-punt call by Georgia.

2. No. 2 Clemson (13-0) beats No. 24 Pitt (7-6), 42-10 for ACC Championship: Clemson favored by 27 1/2 and it was the mismatch we all expected. If Pitt was league's second-best team, how sad for the ACC.

3. No. 5 Oklahoma (12-1) beats No. 14 Texas (9-4), 39-27 for Big 12 Championship, TX: Oklahoma the pick by 8 and covered, but will it be enough for the coveted CFP top four.

4. No. 6 Ohio State (12-1) beats No. 21 Northwestern (8-5), 45-24 for Big Ten Championship: OSU favored by 14 and won easily, but will Urban Meyer now leapfrog Sooners to make CFP?

5. No. 9 UCF (12-0) beats Memphis (8-5), 56-41 for AAC Championship: UCF a mere 3-point fave but needed huge home rally behind backup QB thanks to injury to star McKenzie Milton.

6. No. 11 Washington (10-3) beats No. 17 Utah (9-4), 10-3 for Pac-12 Championship: Washington was a 5-point favorite Friday night, and nobody outside of these two fan bases cared.

MarianoPOLL RESULT: RIVERA, BONDS GET IN ON YOUR BASEBALL HALL VOTE: We asked, "Who most deserves 2019 induction into Baseball Hall of Fame?," with the 13 of our curated finalists on the ballot and you getting five votes. The five-vote poll means the maximum total for any one player would be 20 percent if every voter cast all five votes. Therefore in our poll it would take a 15 percent vote to equate to the Hall's 75 percent minimum. (Are you getting all of this?) By that standard only Mariano Rivera and Barry Bonds got Cooperstown-level grades from you. Here are your top five overall from more than 3,500 votes cast, with the percentages indicating the share of ballots that included that player's name:

 

 
 
Competitive: Edgar Martinez 36.00% and Curt Schilling 30.45%. Far back: Fred McGriff 20.05%, Mike Mussina 19.65%, Todd Helton 16.65%, Larry Walker 16.65%, Andy Pettitte 15.50% and Omar Vizquel 15.40%.

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 29, 2018

UM's Gerald Willis III / All-America push: All abooaarrd! With hype video, my column; plus your 2019 Cooperstown ballot. Last day to vote!; also, Cowboys-Saints pick, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29. 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. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at Indy with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

GwillisUM's Gerald Willis / All-America campaign: All aboooaaarrrd!: Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III (pictured) got snubbed by the All-ACC first team, but Miami nonetheless has chosen Willis to push for All-America  honors, and I'm on board. UM's promo video for Willis' candidacy is below. He'd be the first Canes DT so honored since Warren Sapp in 1994. To read my latest column, visit Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors.

Cowboys-Saints NFL pick: The Cowboys have a clear path to a huge upset tonight. But the Saints have answer waiting. Visit Thursday Gem for tonight's pick.

Other select most recent columns: Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail. Also: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost (LeBron's return to Miami with Lakers) / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

BbhfBASEBALL HALL OF FAME. YOUR BALLOT. VOTE NOW!: There are 35 names on the new Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for 2019 induction -- 15 back for another shot and a big 20 first-timers. But of the 35, at least half have zero shot, no chance. (Besides, 35 names is a long-ass ballot!) So I have winnowed this ballot to include the nine returning players who got at least 20 percent of the vote last year, and added the four newcomers who, by general consensus, have the best chance. The names are combined and presented alphabetically, 13 in all. If I've left anybody off, it's because I meant to. (Sorry, Juan Pierre!) On the actual ballot, BBWAA voters (such as myself) get to vote for as many as 10 of the 35. Here, I'm letting you pick up to five (5) of the 13. Disclaimer: This poll is for fun only. The results will have no influence over my own official ballot. Ready? What five players from this list most deserve 2019 induction? Vote!  

Vote for up to your top five (5)

Deciphering a five-vote ballot: In this poll, with five votes per person allowed, 20 percent would be a perfect total for a player to get if everyone cast all five votes. Take a player's total and multiply by five to get the percentage of times that player was included on a five-vote ballot. In other words, leader Mariano Rivera is being included on better than 90% of all ballots.

RIVERS IS FLOWING / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 12: Thanksgiving Week kicks off the start of the NFL playoff push and also the stretch run in our Herald NFL quarterback rankings. The Chargers' Philip Rivers (pictured) takes Week 12 honors with a 53.95-point game to edge Vikings Kirk Cousins by a couple of points. Saint Drew Brees maintains his overall season lead. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. With byes done, our playing field is now level to the finish line! This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 13:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 12
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK12         Season

1       1       Drew Brees, NO                   30.55         475.75

2       4       Matt Ryan, ATL                    44.85         447.10

3       2       Patrick Mahomes, KC            BYE           444.40

4       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 51.10         430.95

5       3       Jared Goff, LAR                   BYE           422.35

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                48.15         409.60

7       6       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        46.10         408.20

8       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                53.95         389.95

9       11     Cam Newton, CAR               35.80          350.95

10     10     Tom Brady, NE                     34.15          349.55

11     12     Eli Manning, NYG                 29.85          343.65

12     9       Aaron Rodgers, GB               18.90         340.05

13     14     Matthew Stafford, DET         23.80         321.05

14     16     Deshaun Watson, HOU          35.50         320.35

15     17     Russell Wilson, SEA              40.95          319.55

16     13     Derek Carr, OAK                   10.70         308.35

17     18     Carson Wentz, PHI               31.80          307.00

18     15     Mitch Trubisky, CHI               DNP           290.45

19     22     Dak Prescott, DAL               38.45          277.35

20     20     Case Keenum, DEN              22.85          272.10

21     19     Andy Dalton, CIN                  8.00          270.30

22     21     Joe Flacco, BAL                    DNP           246.25

23     26     Baker Mayfield, CLE            41.90          241.10

24     23     Alex Smith, WAS                   DNP           236.00

25     24t    Blake Bortles, JAC               4.35           229.65

29     31     Ryan Tannehill, MIA             25.20         137.80

31     29     Brock Osweiler, MIA              DNP           126.35

Bubble: Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB, 225.30. Week 12 best: Rivers, LAC, 53.95 (28-29, 259, 3-0 in win). Week 12 worst: Bortles, JAC, 4.35 (12-23, 127, 1-2 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 12 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD, BAD: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picksGood. Our strong season continues. We were a solid 11-4 straight-up last week and a nifty 10-5 against the spread. Nailed another Upset of the Week with Bills over Jags ("Aawwk!") and had three 'dogs-with-points in Dolphins, Giants and Seahawks. Greg's LobosBad. Lobos fall to 4-8 with a 117.1-94.8 loss to Stugotz, despite a heroic 29.4 from Deshaun Watson Monday night. With only one week left in the regular season the 'Bos are out of playoff contention and rightly so. We sucked this season, from the Le'Veon Bell nightmare on down. Only drama left: Who'll win season MVL honors. #WeAreTheLobos!

StateCOTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. Here's the latest, with one final, post-bowls ranking yet to come: 1. UCF (11-0); 2. Florida (9-3); 3. Miami (7-5); 4. Florida State (5-7); 5. South Florida (7-5); 6. FIU (8-4); 7. FAU (5-7).

Select other columns: Dolfans, 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